Thursday, March 28, 2013

What's Fresh with Sarah Skilton's BRUISED...Giveaway!

16-year-old Imogen is a confident high school black belt who freezes up at an armed robbery. When the image you have of yourself is shattered, how do you make it whole again?

We welcome author Sarah Skilton to YA Fresh today, to talk about her debut release, BRUISED.  Sarah and I met a couple years ago at the Romantic Times Conference's Teen Day, and it's a pleasure to introduce her and her novel to our readers.

Hello, Sarah.  Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale? 

Sarah:  I studied TV/Film/Radio in college, and my background in screenwriting was helpful in writing Young Adult novels, as they share a similar sense of pacing, plus an emphasis on dialogue and character voice. I started BRUISED in 2009, and spent about a year and a half writing and revising it. It went on submission in the second part of 2010, sold in January of 2011 to Abrams/Amulet Books, and came out March 2013! Whee!

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule. 

Sarah:  I've got a 14-month-old son and a day job, so writing days are actually writing nights. When I'm not staggeringly tired, I write between 8 and 10pm and I tend to track my progress by pages, not word count. I also have a habit of waking in the middle of the night and speaking into my iPhone's recorder for turns of phrase or ideas that I don't want to forget. (When I listen to my notes later, I'm always disturbed by how my voice sounds.) Glamorous, eh?

Please tell us about your novel, BRUISED, and what we can expect from your characters.

Sarah:  16-year-old Imogen Malley has spent most of her life in the shadow of her popular older brother, but there is one area in which she excels: martial arts. As the youngest black belt at her dojang, Imogen loves assistant-teaching more than anything in the world, and she plans to open her own martial arts studio one day. Per the Tae Kwon Do student creed, she's come to think of herself as a potential hero, a defender of the weak, and a champion of justice. Her confidence disappears when she freezes up at an armed robbery that leaves another person dead. Guilt-stricken and numb, Imogen is left to wonder if martial arts failed her, or she failed it. Estranged from her family and friends, who don't understand why she's still beating herself up for failing to act, she struggles to get by on her own, and decides to prove herself by teaching another student how to fight – no holds barred, no protective gear, no rules.  

With this book, I wanted to explore the question: when you're not who you thought you were, then who are you? 

Nice!  What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Sarah: Yes! My next Young Adult book is called HIGH AND DRY (Amulet Books, 2014). It's a mystery about a high school soccer player, a boy this time, who finds himself in a metaphorical quicksand of never-ending trouble. He's framed for a stranger's near-fatal overdose at a party, blackmailed into finding a missing flashdrive that everyone at school seems anxious to suppress, and pressured to throw a big soccer match, all while trying to win back the girl of his dreams and escape a past that may be responsible for all his current problems.  
Sounds terrific.  Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Sarah:  In screenwriting classes, we memorized the phrase, "Enter the scene late; get out early," meaning, write only the most important moments. But for books, I think it's a good idea to have downtime between scenes of excitement so your reader can catch his or her breath! 

Great advice, and thank you for visiting with us!

Now, our giveaway.  To be entered to win a signed, hardcover copy of BRUISED, simply tell us a sport or after-school activity that you participated in while in high school (past or present).   

Check back on Monday, April 1st to learn the winner's name.   

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

2013 RITA Nominees for Best Young Adult Romance

The Romance Writers of America have announced the finalists in their prestigious RITA contest. Here are the 2013 finalists in the Young Adult Romance category:

Bound by Erica O’Rourke
Kensington Publishing Corp., KTeen
Alicia Condon, editor

The Farm by Emily McKay
Penguin Group USA, Berkley Publishing Group
Michelle Vega, editor

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Houghton Mifflin
Kate O’Sullivan, editor

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Harlequin, Harlequin Teen
Margo Lipschultz, editor

Congratulations to all the finalists, and we will be excited to hear the results at the conference award ceremony in July!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What's Fresh with Jessica Brody's UNREMEMBERED

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Welcome back to YA FRESH, Jessica! Please share with our readers what your YA novel is about.

Jessica: UNREMEMBERED is a lot of things. It’s sci-fi, it’s romance, it’s suspense, but ultimately it’s a mystery. The whole book revolves around one essential question: Who is Seraphina?

As the story progresses, we learn more about her. She survived a plane crash without a scratch. She wasn’t on the passenger manifest. Her fingerprints and DNA aren’t in any databases. She has no memories of her former life. She’s fluent in several languages. She can run really fast. And there’s a boy who seems to appear out of nowhere. Who claims they were in love and that he helped her escape from some pretty bad people.

It was a really fun book to write. I wrote it from Seraphina’s perspective so the reader is always squarely in her shoes. Never a step ahead or a step behind.

If you could have any of Seraphina’s unique “abilities” which would you have?

Jessica: When creating Seraphina, the main character of this book, I included a lot of “aspirational” qualities about her that I wish were true about me. That was one of the most fun aspects of writing this series. For example, she can speak multiple languages, can compute numbers and mathematics as fast as a computer, and she’s superman strong!

But I think the one “ability” she has that I would want over any other is her ability to read really fast. She can read a 300-page book in less than 3 minutes. That just seems like such a handy skill to have when you’re an author. My to-read pile is scarier than a Jenga tower. If I were able to read as fast as Seraphina, I could get through that thing in less than a day.

What would you say was your favorite character to write about in Unremembered?

Jessica: I have to say Cody, Seraphina’s 13-year-old foster brother.

This genre was brand new for me. My first time venturing into the world of sci-fi. And as all my contemporaries were comedies, it was oftentimes a challenge for me to write something darker and more serious (see evidence above.) Cody, however, is the comic relief of the novel. So writing him was like a little link back to my comfort zone. I always felt like I was “home” when I wrote him. And it gave me the opportunity to make fun of myself a little. While Sera’s storyline is rather dark and mysterious and all these harrowing things are happening around her, Cody can always be counted on to lighten the mood with a comedic crack on her situation.

You have stepped out of your normal contemporary novels to create a sci-fi paranormal ya-thriller, how was your experience of transitioning from realistic to fantasy ?

Jessica: I must admit, it was VERY difficult. I basically had to create a new world with new rules and new technology. What’s nice about contemporary is the rules are already set up for you. I know how THIS world works, so you can just tell a story about a character’s emotional journey. But having to also incorporate world building elements was a challenge. As was the fact that I was setting up an entire series. Fortunately I knew where I wanted books 2 and 3 to go so I could plant things in book 1 that would pay off in further books, but having to juggle ALL of that in my mind sometimes made me feel like I was going crazy!

Thanks for sharing with us, Jessica! What are you working on now?

Jessica: I just finished writing book 2 of the Unremembered Trilogy, which is called UNFORGOTTEN. And I’m gearing up to start working on book 3, which is called UNTITLED. Haha! But seriously, I’m thinking of keeping that title. What do you think?

LOL! Fits perfectly! Good luck!

JESSICA BRODY knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self “publishing” her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples and electrical tape. She is the author of 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, My Life Undecided, The Karma Club, and now, Unremembered. Her books have been translated and published in over 15 countries. She currently splits her time between California and Colorado.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The FAT ANGIE book trailer!

Earlier this month we did a review and giveaway of e.E. Charlton-Trujillo's latest release, FAT ANGIE.  You can read all about it HERE.

Now that the book trailer is available, we're happy to share it here:

You can see it's a powerful and compelling story.  The book is now out and available!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Have You "Liked" Us on Facebook?

Kelly and I would like to invite you to our Facebook author pages! 

Here is me, Tina Ferraro, in my author profile picture!

I actually just got mine page going this past month, putting up my book covers and random author photos, and had fun with a book giveaway.  Click HERE to visit my page.

Here is my (awesome) blog and critique partner, Kelly Parra!

She's had her page going for way longer than I have--color her much more organized!--and does a wonderful job of updating her readers with photos and inspirational writing quotes, as well as excerpts from her published books.  Click HERE to visit her page!

Kelly and I hope to see all our YA Fresh readers over there on Facebook, too! 

Monday, March 04, 2013


Thanks to all who entered our FAT ANGIE ARC giveaway!  Our random number generator called out our winner as...


So Tricia, if you'd kindly e-mail me at, I'll get the book in the mail to you!