Guest Nose Lauren Bjorkman

Today I’m excited to welcome Lauren Bjorkman, debut author of the serious hilarious YA novel, My Invented Life. Many, many laugh-out-loud moments!

Here’s Lauren:

I never loved my nose. My bridge is too prominent, and I have freckles. But when a close friend of mine in high school seriously pondered a nose job (and she is gorgeous!), I hated that she obsessed about it! So when I have negative thoughts about my nose now, I banish them the best I can :D.

Roz in My Invented Life has issues with her height and weight. It doesn’t help that her sister calls her Chub. But late in the story, she sees her reflection while getting costumed for the dress rehearsal, and has this revelation: Mirrors don’t lie. The fitted bodice, puffed sleeves, and A-line skirt transform me from giantess to goddess. I could slay the heart of Zeus himself. And Juno’s, too.

About My Invented Life

Roz and Eva are sisters, close friends, and fierce rivals. Roz fantasizes about snagging the lead in the school play and sexy skate god Bryan as her boyfriend. Sadly a few obstacles stand between her and her dreams. For one, Eva is the more talented actress. And Bryan happens to be Eva’s boyfriend. But is Eva having a secret love affair with a girl? Enquiring minds need to know.

Roz prides herself on random acts of insanity. In one such act, she invents a girlfriend of her own to encourage Eva to open up. The plan backfires, and Roz finds herself neck deep in her invented life. When Roz meets a mercurial boy with a big problem, she begins to understand the complex feelings beneath the labels. And she gets a second chance to earn Eva’s trust.

My Invented Life is set in a small California high school during rehearsals for a Shakespeare comedy. Buy your own copy on Amazon or Indiebound.

About Lauren Bjorkman

Lauren Bjorkman grew up on a sailboat, sharing the forecastle with her sister and the sail bags. Against all odds, they are still friends. She enjoys making things up, chocolate in large quantities, and anything that makes her laugh. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her husband, two sons, and a cat that plays fetch. Find out more about Lauren at

Guest Nose Jennifer Brown

I’m so excited today to be hosting Jennifer Brown, debut author of Hate List. I read this novel during a family road trip and upon turning the last page, handed it directly to my teenage daughter in the back seat. “You have to read this one, now,” I said. Hate List is an important story, but also a completely gripping read. I hope teens, parents, and especially teachers find this book.

Jennifer shares one of her junior high stories (what is with these school administrators?!?):

Way back in 7th grade (you know, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we had Fire Making 101 in the back of a one-cave school house?), our school decided to do this strange survey that, to this day, I still don’t know if I understand what the purpose was. Basically, what it amounted to was our homeroom teacher pulling us out of the classroom one-by-one and asking us one question: “What is the one thing you would change about yourself?”

Really, I had no idea! I’d never assessed myself that closely up to that point, and I was way into being 13 and cool, so I sure wasn’t going to spend a lot of time out in the hallway pouring out my heart to my extremely O-L-D (probably in her ’30s) and distinctly uncool teacher about my insecurities. So I blurted out the first thing that came to mind: “My nose.”

Even I was kind of surprised to hear myself say it aloud. I mean, I was overweight. Had limp hair. Acne. Bad clothes. Not to mention I could’ve gone the humble way and answered, I don’t know, “Develop more patience,” or “Be more caring,” or “Be a better person” or something like that. But I chose… my nose.

And that’s when it first occurred to me that I was sensitive about my nose. I found it too large for my face. Kind of fat. It was constantly sunburned and in various states of peeling. And it had a perpetual horizontal line across the top of it. I thought it turned up too much, and to this day I, out of habit, push down on the end of my nose when I’m deep in thought to keep it from “pugging.”

Then, in high school, someone told me, “You have your dad’s nose,” and I was highly offended. My nose insecurities ratcheted up about 1,000% after that… until I took a good look at my dad’s nose and realized… my dad has a perfectly fine nose! There’s nothing wrong with his nose. I have never found myself thinking that his nose was anything other than ordinary and nose-like. And, just like that, my nose issues began to take a back seat to other problems.

Nowadays I’m totally cool with my nose, and somewhat amused that I was ever not cool with it. It’s not perfect — much like the rest of me! — but it’s mine and I’m happy with it!

About Hate List

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria.  Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saves the life of a classmate, but is implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create.  A list of people and things they hated.  The list her boyfriend used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year.  Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life. Buy your own copy on Amazon

About Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown is the author of Hate List, a YA novel coming out in September 2009. As a two-time winner of The Erma Bombeck Global Humor award and weekly columnist for The Kansas City Star, as well as Saturday Featured Blogger for, Jennifer spends a lot of time dressing up her dog for laughs and thinking of new ways to works words such as “Puh-lease” and “Ch-yeah!” into sentences. Jennifer grew up in the Kansas City, Missouri area, where she still lives with her husband, three kids, and whole herd of uncooperative pets. Read more about Jennifer at

Guest Nose Megan Frazer

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome Megan Frazer, author of Secrets of Truth & Beauty. I’m reading it this weekend–and it’s so good!  Megan shared one of her beauty disasters with me:

In college I studied abroad in Ireland. I went through a few radical changes in my appearance while I was there. First, I cut my hair from shoulder length to much shorter. And second I got my nose pierced.

Here’s a little Do/Don’t for nose piercing:
DO go to someone who knows what she’s doing.
DON’T get it done with one of those guns they use to do ears.

It hurt like you cannot believe. It probably took hours for my eye to stop tearing. You have to turn the stud just like you do with an earring and man did that bring the pain right back. I don’t even want to think about when I changed the ring the first time.

The worst part of it all: I got back home and went to my summer job in retail, and they had a no face piercing policy. Just as it was starting to heal, I had to pull it out.

About Secrets of Truth & Beauty

Secrets of Truth & Beauty — When Dara Cohen was little, she was crowned Little Miss Maine. That was then. Now Dara’s seventeen and she’s not so little anymore. That’s just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won’t get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives. Buy your own copy here!

About Megan Frazer

Megan Frazer studied English literature and creative writing at Columbia University. She lives with her husband and baby in Maine, where she is a high school librarian. She loves cheese and cooking, and both of these make their way into Secrets of Truth & Beauty. She was not, however, ever in a beauty pageant. Visit Megan’s website:

Guest Nose: Cyn Balog

In Fairy Tale, Morgan has a large nose but she doesn’t obsess about it. She’s the ME I wish I’d been. Starting when I was 11, I was extremely self-conscious because of my own nose. I was made fun of it so much that even by the age of 11 I knew I wanted to have a nose job. I used to do all sorts of shading tricks with cosmetics but they’d just make my nose look dirty. I’d wear my hair down like cousin IT. Any picture of me that shows me in profile has my hand over my nose. My nose just didn’t fit my face. Maybe I would have “grown into” my nose, but I will never know because I got a nose job when I was 15. Though I still think it was the best decision I ever made because it gave me the confidence I lacked, sometimes I wonder if my “real” nose would look better on the ME I am now. I guess I never will know.

About Fairy Tale
Morgan Sparks and Cam Browne are a match made in heaven. They’ve been best friends since birth, they tell each other everything, and oh yeah- they’re totally hot for each other. But a week before their joint Sweet Sixteen bash, everything changes. Cam’s awkward cousin Pip comes to stay, and Morgan is stunned when her formerly perfect boyfriend seems to be drifting away. When Morgan demands answers, she’s shocked to discover the source of Cam’s distance isn’t another girl- it’s another world. Pip claims that Cam is a fairy. No, seriously. A fairy. And now his people want Cam to return to their world and take his rightful place as Fairy King.

Determined to keep Cam with her, Morgan plots to fool the fairies. But as Cam continues to change, she has to decide once and for all if he really is her destiny, and if their “perfect” love can weather an uncertain future. Buy your own copy here!

About Cyn Balog
Cyn Balog is a normal, everyday Jersey Girl who always believed magical things can happen to us when we least expect them. She’s also the Race & Event Manager for several national fitness magazines. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and young daughter. Both are 100% human, or so she thinks. Fairy Tale is her first novel.

Guest Nose Sarah Ockler

Growing up, I always had a bump on my nose. It wasn’t a big deal — no one pointed or laughed or shot me any horrified looks over it or anything. It just bugged me sometimes, like when I saw my profile pictures or spent a few hours before bed staring at it with a handheld mirror under all possible lighting conditions.

As high school progressed, I traded in my nose fetish for more important fixations, like single-handedly discovering the best big-hair products and cleavage-enhancing bras.

Fast forward a few years to my sophomore year of college. I was 19. I finally had awesome hair and pretty decent cleavage, sans push-up bra. And those old nose worries? Ancient history! I mean, who cares about a little ol’ nose bump when I’ve got a C-cup, right? But then one stupid night, we were all goofing around in the dorm and suddenly… *snap!* My nose connected with someone’s forearm! Oh, the agony! I was on my knees in an instant, holding my hands over my face, tears flowing, no sound coming out of my shocked-open mouth.

There was a lot of blood. Stars. Piercing pain. And then a reallysuperfast ride to the local hospital, where I spent approximately 8 hours waiting for an intern to tell me that my nose wasn’t technically broken, just super swollen. He said I should go back to campus and ice it up for 20 minutes every hour for the next few days. Um, okay. It hurt *really* bad, but this guy was finishing *medical* school whereas I could barely pass my world history class. I shut up. I nodded solemnly. I headed back to my dorm, ice pack pressed to my aching schnozz, tears still fresh in my eyes. Yep. Roomies, let the pity party commence!

Ten days later, I received a call from a nurse at the hospital who was looking over my files…

Warning. This story is about to get *really* ugly. If you have a weak stomach, you might want to skip this whole paragraph. And the next one. Okay? Ready? Turns out the intern misread my X-rays. My nose was in fact broken. And after ten days of icing, the bone had started healing wrong, forming an even bigger bump than the one I’d all but forgotten years earlier. I cried, insisting that I didn’t care, telling a new doctor that I would rather live with a lumpy, bumpy, ginormously crooked nose than deal with any more medical stuff. And this doctor, this sage, gentle, 30-something-year-old doctor, rested his warm hands on my shoulders, met my teary gaze, and spoke softly when he said, “Sarah Ockler, you are the worst patient I’ve ever had. I’ve treated eight-year-olds with more maturity than you. Your nose is broken. The bone isn’t healing properly. And the only way we can help you is to break it again and reset it. There are no other options.”

Between Doctor Tough Love and my mother, I ultimately lost the battle and submitted to the re-breaking, which involved 2 large men holding me down as the doctor jammed a giant needle between my eyes and pressed hard on my nose until the bone snapped while I tried to windmill-punch them all in the nuts, as hard as I could. I mean, I had to do my part in preventing these freaky white-gowned sadomasochists from ever having kids! Ugh!

After the re-breaking ceremony, I swear I cried for like a month straight. My face hurt so bad! Even worse – I had to go around campus with giant, cross-wise bandages over my nose like a washed-up hockey player or boxing drop-out or some other equally unattractive oaf! I tried, but girls? All the great hair and cleavage in the world couldn’t hide those big brown bandages!

Anyway. After enduring two months of excruciating pain and embarrassment, I finally had a straight nose. Despite my earlier insubordination, the break healed perfectly, and the original bump – the one I’d mostly forgotten about in the first place – was totally gone. Yay!

Fifteen years later, I’m slightly less obsessive about my hair, my cleavage, and my nose. But I’ll always be grateful that Doctor Tough Love refused to indulge my worse-than-an-eight-year-old temper tantrum, enduring my rolling eyes and violent threats and failed attempts to sterilize him, all in the name of fixing my broken nose.

Thanks, Doc.

And thanks, Sydney, for hosting my guest nose! 

About Twenty Boy Summer

While on vacation in California, sixteen-year-old best girlfriends Anna and Frankie conspire to find a boy for Anna’s first summer romance, but Anna harbors a painful secret that threatens their lighthearted plan and their friendship.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER is a debut YA novel that explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer. Buy the book at Indiebound here or at Barnes & Noble.

About Sarah Ockler

Sarah Ockler wrote and illustrated her first book at age six—an adaptation of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. Still recovering from her own adolescence, Sarah now writes for young adults. After several years of wandering between New York City and Denver, she and her husband Alex now live in Upstate New York with lots of books and an ever-expanding collection of sea glass. Twenty Boy Summer is Sarah’s first novel. Visit her online at


On The Radio

I woke up early this morning, exercised, ate my Cheerios, and primped–for my very first radio interview. I know, I know I could’ve done it in my pajamas, but I felt really nervous–about my nose. Crazy, huh? No one sees you on the radio. 

Blame it on a Seattle DJ. 
Back when my husband (then boyfriend) was a ramen-eating grad student, he supplemented his non-existent income by winning radio contests. He won concert tickets, CDs, and lots of cash. Every day he called into the “Use Your Noodle” contest on KXRX. He’s a smart guy with a great memory and probably played too many hours of Trivial Pursuit, but it paid off in radio contest wins. 

But they wouldn’t let him win every day or even every week. So he’d make me call in. 
DJs have to be funny. I understand that. And the easiest way to be funny: make fun of someone else. 
I don’t remember the Use Your Noodle question. I don’t even remember if I got it right. All I remember is the witty female DJ laughing about my voice and saying something about “nose timber.” Now she might have meant “timbre” (the sound or quality of a voice). But I envisioned my nose stuffed with Giant Redwood trees. 

My Big Huge Nose stuffed with the world’s largest trees and making me sound really, really, really bad on the radio.
And it has stuck with me all these years. It didn’t help that I woke up sniffling with allergies this morning. Nose Timber!!! But I have to say that the radio interview turned out to be fun. I love to talk about writing. And Rachel Hanel at KMSU in Mankato, Minnesota conducts a very nice (and friendly) interview. 
Now that I’ve taken an axe to my fear of nose timber, I’m actually excited to do it again sometime.

Guest Nose: Cynthea Liu

If you want to get an Asian talking about her nose, you’ve asked the right person. Though I’ll say in The Great Call Of China, Cece’s nose isn’t her issue. She’s got other things to worry about like connecting with her birth parents. So all the nose-talk, if there had been any, would have been reserved for the special uncut scenes!

But for me as an author, with a very flat nose, I can tell you some funny stories about how I feel about my nose or lack thereof.
First, a lot of glasses in the U.S. are not made for Chinese people. Eyewear designers assume everyone here has a decent nose bridge to prop the glasses up. Me? If I cry, a tear can roll horizontally across my nose to the other side. That’s how flat it is. So eyewear people, please make a version of your glasses with nose-pads, thank you!
Also as a kid, I remember my cousins telling me I should pinch the skin between my eyes on a regular basis to help the nose grow there. WHATEVER! We knew that was a joke, but seriously, we were all probably pinching away at our faces in a closet somewhere, hoping it was true!
Anyway, I could go on and on about my nose, like how I used to shade in the space between my eyes in pictures so it would look like I actually have a nose. And don’t get me started on my eyes!
About The Great Call of China
Chinese-born Cece was adopted when she was two years old by her American parents. Living in Texas, she’s bored of her ho-hum high school and dull job. So when she learns about the S.A.S.S. program to Xi’an, China, she jumps at the chance. She’ll be able to learn about her passion–anthropology–and it will give her the opportunity to explore her roots. But when she arrives, she receives quite a culture shock. And the closer she comes to finding out about her birth parents, the more apprehensive she gets. Enter Will, the cute guy she first meets on the plane. He and Cece really connect during the program. But can he help her get accustomed to a culture she should already know about, or will she leave China without the answers she’s been looking for? Buy your own copy here!
About Cynthea Liu
Cynthea spent her formative years in Oklahoma and Texas where she was a Whiz Quiz member, an Academic Decathloner, and a spelling bee champion. (Yes, she was very popular.) After attending college on the East coast, she worked at a corporate job where she mastered PowerPoint and racked up thousands of frequent flyer miles. Eventually, she traded in her suit for sweats to do the fun stuff–writing for children. In addition to The Great Call of China and Paris Pan Takes The Dare, Cynthea’s nonfiction book Writing For Children And Teens: A Crash Course (how to write, revise, and publish your kid’s or teen book with children’s book publishers) is available in paperback. Read more about Cynthea at