Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Introducing Advice From Miss Swoon!

To celebrate the release of Swoon At Your Own Risk, I'm introducing a new weekly blog feature: Advice From Miss Swoon. While I wrote all the advice columns in the novel, these questions will be answered by a real psychologist with a Ph.D. Hope you enjoy it!

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Dear Miss Swoon:

My friend and I both like the same guy (he's like the only guy worth liking in my entire school, BTW). The problem: last week after choir practice, he confessed that he has feelings for ME. Should I tell my friend? I don't want to ruin my friendship or make her feel bad. But I do like this guy. –Singing The Blues

Dear Singing:

There are some things best told only to your diary. This sounds like one of them. Not hurting your best girlfriend’s feelings is very kind and smart at the same time. There’s lots of wisdom out there about cherishing your girlfriends because they can last through the ups and downs as boyfriends come and go.

Take a wait-and-see attitude about this delicious news of being liked by who you like. For one thing, it won’t become gossip (a no-gossip policy will endear you to all your boyfriends) and for another, it’s the MOST fun not to rush these things! Yay for flirting!

Now I have a question for you, Singing. Do you attend an old fashioned one-room school? I’m guessing you do! That would be the only way the cutie-in-question could possibly be the ONLY cutie in school! Oh, you don’t? Then…

Are you up for some scientific research? How about this: you and your best friend figure out what you really, really like about the cutie-in-question and see just how many other boys have those qualities too. Cultivating the scientific method and critical thinking in yourself is an excellent thing. You might be quite surprised at all the cute guys that actually attend your school. And this is a project you and your friend can BOTH rock out on! –Miss Swoon

Miss Swoon is a licensed psychologist who has a special affinity for her adolescent clients.
Do you have your own question for Miss Swoon? Leave a comment or send an email here.

Post Questions For Miss Swoon Here

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Have a question you'd like answered by Miss Swoon? Leave a comment below (anonymous posts welcomed) or send an email to MissSwoon AT hotmail DOT com

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thank You Blog Challenge Commenters!

Thank you so much for all your lovely comments during my library blog challenge.

I happily donated $100 to Room To Read this morning. Somewhere in this big wide world, a child is going to discover the magic contained within the pages of books--thanks to you!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You Comment, I Donate: Library Blog Challenge

This is a library-loving blog challenge!

For every commenter on this post between now and March 28th, I will donate $1 per commenter to Room to Read, an amazing organization that builds libraries around the world, up to an amount of $250.

How easy could it be? You comment, I donate money, and kids all over the world have the chance to discover their own love of reading.

Note that my pledge is “per commenter”—so don’t leave 50 comments all by yourself. But please do help me spread the word…link to this post, tweet about it, and send your friends here so they can comment and raise more money.

If you’re moved to make a flat-fee donation to your library, an organization like Room To Read, or to start your own challenge, you are quite welcome, and please leave that information in the comments.

For a complete list of participating bloggers (and to visit other sites where you can help libraries just by leaving a comment!) visit the writerjenn blog at

Thanks, everyone! Let's raise some $$$!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Relationship Advice from Sarah Quigley

Today we hear from Sarah Quigley author of TMI. And, of course, I can't resist giving away a copy of her charming debut. Leave a comment to enter!

1. What is the dumbest or smartest thing you've done after a breakup?

My first love was the Norwegian foreign exchange student at my high school. We began dating in October and tearfully parted the following July when he had to go home. It was always understood that we'd break up when he left. That didn't stop us from falling in love and enjoying our time together. It was such a sweet relationship, and we remain friends to this day. So I guess it wasn't so much that I did something smart afterward; I did something smart beforehand. To all of you in high school: date the exchange students. Saying good-bye is hard, but it's infinitely easier than breaking up with someone because you can't stand him anymore.

2. It's your turn to play Miss Swoon--give us your best relationship advice.

Set your standards high, but decide which flaws you can live with. When I began dating my husband in college, several people warned me of his tendency to talk too much (as if I hadn't already noticed!). I don't mind telling him to put a sock in it every once in a while since he picks up his socks. I knew early on that I would never go the distance with a slob.

3. If you could go on a date with any fictional character, who would it be?

I just read STRUTS & FRETS by Jon Skovron and got a total crush on the main character, Sammy Bojar. I'm a sucker for musicians and loved Sammy's song-writing, guitar-playing dreams. He was a really sweet boyfriend to Jen5, and I imagined he was super cute, too.

About TMI
Friends call Becca the Overshare Queen, but her tendency for TMI never seemed like a problem to her until she blabs about her sweet band-geek boyfriend’s sloppy kisses—and gets dumped! Realizing it may be better to resist the temptation to overshare face-to-face, Becca decides to blog anonymously about everything instead. On her blog, Too Much Information, Becca unleashes her alter ego, Bella. Bella tells it like it is . . . though perhaps with a bit more drama. After all, no one’s going to read it, right???

About Sarah
Sarah started a blog when she was procrastinating writing her master's thesis. A few years later, the blog caught the attention of an editor at Dutton Children's Books, who asked Sarah if she was interested in writing a young adult novel. Thus, the seeds for TMI were planted. Sarah is something of a unicorn in the publishing world: a first-time author who has never received a rejection letter.

Sarah currently resides in San Francisco with her husband and daughter. She is a stay-at-home mother, and she never misses an episode of Survivor. Like Becca, the heroine of TMI, Sarah enjoys knitting, baking, and oversharing. Read more at:

To win a copy of TMI leave a comment here by Sunday, March 28, 2010.

Contest Winner!


Elie wins Hate List by Jennifer Brown, Dark Rocks chocolate and Girl Scout cookies!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Book Trailer!

Here's my new book trailer for Swoon At Your Own Risk:

I'm also excited because it starts shipping from today. Yay!!! I got my author copies this week and they're so adorable that I actually kissed them. Okay, enough about me...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Best of Kansas City Contest

Best of Kansas City (IMHO) Contest! Leave a comment here to enter.

Every year I meet up with my high school girlfriends for a weekend getaway. Last year we decided that we'd like to visit each other's cities. So last week I headed off to Kansas City which is in Missouri, but kind of in Kansas too--let's just say I was relieved when I landed at the right airport.

I came a few days early so I could do some author visits. First stop: the fabulous fourth graders at Indian Valley Elementary. What a bunch of cuties! Not only were they a polite group, they asked wonderful questions.
Later I talked about writing at the Leawood Library. How fun to see signs made just for me:

The next day I helped Girl Scouts earn their book badges. First I gave a presentation about being an author and then we had fun writing silly round-robin stories. I seriously want to read more about the President forbidding everyone from wearing pink!

Other highlights from my trip:

I met one of my favorite authors--Jennifer Brown who wrote Hate List--for coffee. She's written an amazing book about a serious topic, but she's incredibly funny in person (and writes a humor column for the Kansas City Star). I could've laughed and chatted with her for hours!

I joined my friend's weekly Rock Band jam session--and once again proved that I lack hand-eye coordination. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs won't be inviting me on tour.

I ate BBQ--a Kansas City specialty.

I visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum.
I saw a Martha Graham dance performance--so cool!
Oh, and I discovered an amazing new made-in-Kansas City chocolate. Christopher Elbow's No. 6: Dark Rocks. Chocolate combined with pop rocks. Sounds weird, but it's like having a party in your mouth. Probably the most fun chocolate I've ever eaten.

Mostly I enjoyed talking and talking and talking with old friends. Okay, and maybe I got a little too excited about all the cute rabbit statues downtown. Let's just say this isn't the only photo of me with a life-size bunny...

So I can't resist sharing the best of Kansas with you..

Leave a comment to enter to win a bar of Dark Rocks chocolate, a copy of Hate List by Jennifer Brown, and a box of Girl Scout cookies (your favorite kind).
Contest ends at midnight on Tuesday, March 22, 2010.

Contest Winner!


Mandy is the winner of Stacey Jay's hilarious zombie books!

Didn't win? Watch for more contests this week, next week, and the ones after that...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Contest Winner!


Yan won The Bedeviled books!!!!

You still have time to enter to win Stacey Jay's books. Leave a comment here to enter.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Breaking Up With Stacey Jay

Today Stacey Jay, author of the hilarious Megan Berry zombie series, shares one of her personal breakup stories. To win copies of the first two books in the series, leave a comment. Now here's Stacey:


Despite the fact that I was an "early bloomer"--I was the weird girl who was 5'6'' and wearing a bra in fourth grade and developing inappropriate crushes on all my camp counselors by sixth--I didn't go on my first real date until I was sixteen. I was shy and had been raised by old-fashioned southern parents who insisted that girls did NOT call boys on the phone and ask them out. EVER. So I had to wait and wait and wait...until a boy finally called me.

The boy ended up being one of my early crushes. He was a year older and a great swimmer. I'd seen him in his swim team trunks once when I was in fifth grade and teased him for wearing girl panties for months. I'd thought he was cute and was doing the girl equivalent of pulling his pig tails, I guess. I don't know! I was just awkward. I realized it was a bad call after awhile, but it was already too late.

As a result of the girl panties teasing, he would barely speak to me for years. Years. And he made sure I knew how very lame I was every time I dared speak up at our church youth group. I'd never regretted opening my mouth so much and learned to keep it closed more often, to stop making jokes because I obviously wasn't very good at it. I was positive this boy hated me.

So you can imagine my shock when, come the beginning of my sophomore year, he started flirting and eventually called and asked me out. Even after our first kiss--my first real kiss EVER--I still had the vague suspicion that he was making fun of me, getting back at me for all the girl panties crap from years before. It wasn't until our third or fourth date that I finally realized this was for real. I was dating my old crush! It was amazing. He was so sweet and fun and cute. It was great...until it wasn't anymore.

There wasn't any one thing that was "wrong" with the boy. He was great, I felt lucky to be dating him...but we didn't quite connect the way I'd hoped we would. I'd also started to wonder what else was out there. My girlfriends all had a handful of ex boyfriends and I was sixteen and a half and still dating my first kiss. I started to wonder what other kisses were like...I started to look at other boys with an eye to "what if?"

Finally, around time for Christmas break, I broke up with him. I can't recall now what my exact logic was, only that I was tired of the pressure of being half of a "couple". I wanted to go out with my friends and be unattached and free. Despite my ingrained good manners and the fact that I'd tried my best not to deliberately hurt anyone before, I broke up with him one day after school without much preparation or planning or worry. I think a part of it was my own insecurity. Deep down I assumed that he couldn't really like me that much, that I wasn't that interesting and there was probably someone else he'd rather be with.

It was only when I saw the look on his devastated he was...that I realized I'd made a huge, dumb mistake. I still knew that I didn't want to stay together, but I deeply regretted the casualness with which I'd broken the news. I went home and cried for hours. I remember bawling to my mom that "I hadn't understood it was such a big deal." She was great. She didn't judge me, she just said, "well, now you do, and you'll be more careful next time." And I was. After that, I did my best to do some careful evaluation and be honest about my feelings. I tried to date boys who I guessed had the same level of interest that I had--whether that was casual dating or something more.

I still broke up with other boys--and had a WHOLE lot of boys break up with me (which I found easier for some reason)--but that first break-up was the only time I ever took the decision lightly. Because breaking up is hard. For real.

Book Summary:

Just because you don't have a pulse doesn't mean you can't be perky.

One second, freshman Karen Vera's on top of the most fabulous cheer pyramid ever. The next, she's lying on the pavement with seriously unflattering cranial damage. Freakishly alive without a pulse, Karen learns that she's a genetically undead zombie.

Suddenly, Karen's non-life is an epic disaster. She's forced to attend a boarding school for the "death-challenged," her roommate is a hateful wannabe-Goth weirdo, and she's chowing down on animal brains every day to prevent rot (um, ew?). Even worse, someone is attacking students and harvesting their brains for a forbidden dark ritual. And it might be the hottest guy at DEAD High, the one who makes Karen's non-beating heart flutter!

Armed with a perky smile and killer fashion sense, it's up to Karen to track down the brain snatcher and save her fellow students from certain zombie death. Buy the books on Amazon.

Author Bio:

Stacey Jay is a workaholic with three pen names, and a sick sense of humor. She loves creepies, crawlies, and of course, romance. What would a zombie novel--or any novel--be without kisses that make your toes tingle? Stacey has been a full time writer since 2005 and can't think of anything she'd rather be doing. Her former careers include theatre performer, professional dancer, poorly paid C-movie actress, bartender, and waiter. To find out more about Stacey:

To win the first two books in the series, please leave a comment by midnight (that's for you zombies), March 14, 2010.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Meet Otis, The Animal-Loving Kitten

I wasn't sure how our new kitten would get along with all of our other animals...

It took a few days, but now Otis and Magnum snuggle together like old chums. I also wondered how this small cat would get along with our large dogs.

Otis loves Jack and Rosie--and even sneaks under their legs to snack on their food! He also loves to hang out with our tortoises, Sunny and Sandy.

We now make sure the tortoise cage is covered. Otis still tries to share their sunshine.

One day I found Otis snoozing on the tortoise cage while Sunny munched on his broccoli right below him--not caring even a little bit about the large shadow of a cat looming above. Now if only Otis didn't want to be a writer...

At least he keeps my neck warm.