Relationship Advice from Laurie Stolarz & Giveaway

Please welcome Laurie Stolarz, author of the TOUCH series. Leave a comment to win the new book in the series! Here’s Laurie’s advice:

What is the dumbest or smartest thing you’ve done after a breakup?

Nothing too exciting in my own break-up experience, but as for the dumbest thing…when a friend of mine found out that her BF was cheating on her, I’m ashamed now to admit that I helped her write up a bogus – and quite embarrassing for him – engagement announcement and had it published in the local papers. We made up details about him, i.e. that he worked as a part-time male escort, and that he only had a 5th grade education. We said he was engaged to a taxidermist who worked as a part-time stripper at a local club. We made sure to put in just enough legit info about him so that people would know it was the right guy. It was all very petty, childish, and awful and I’d never go back and do anything like that again.

It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.

Find someone you can trust, who will be your best friend, who will wholly respect you, and will treat you like gold.

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

Do movies count? My teen self would love to go out with Lloyd Dobbler from Say Anything.

About The Book:

High schooljuniors Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: they both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to see the future through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control. Camelia’s gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn’t yet comprehend. Before either one has a chance to fully grasp their abilities, a new danger surfaces, but this time, Camelia is not the target. Adam, a familiar face from Ben’s past, is drawn into a puzzle he can’t solve. . . and his life is on the line. As the clues pile up, Camelia must decide whether to help him and risk losing Ben or do nothing and suffer the consequences. But in these games,who can be trusted?

With only a few minutes of class remaining, I close my eyes again, still picturing Adam’s mouth. I try to imagine what he would say if he knew what I was doing. Would he suspect that I was interested in him? Would he think it was weird that I remember so much detail about the moment that night inside his car? Would he tell Ben what I was up to? I take a deep breath and try my best to focus on the answers. But the only words that flash across my mind, the ones I can’t seem to shake, don’t even address the questions at all. “You deserve to die,” I whisper, suddenly realizing that I’ve said the words aloud.

About The Author:

Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, Project 17, and Bleed, as well as the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series, which has sold nearly 750,000 copies worldwide. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. For more information, please visit her Web site at

Want to win a copy of the book? Please leave a comment! 
Contest ends Tuesday, January 18, 2011. 

Relationship Advice from Eileen Cook & Giveaway

Today I’m excited to welcome Eileen Cook. To win a copy of her new book, The Education of Hailey Kendrick, please leave a comment.

What is the dumbest or smartest thing you’ve done after a breakup?

Hands down the calling (usually late at night, possibly slightly intoxicated, almost certainly crying) to ask what happened? Whhhhhhhhy? (be sure to draw this out as long as possible. Whining that “we should give it one more chance,”  is an optional stupid activity to add on top of already calling and asking why.

It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.

The best relationships are when the other person makes you want to be a better person. If the relationship is them trying to make you over into someone else (better or not) then it’s not the right fit.

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

I would not say no to going out on a date with Nathan Fillion who plays Castle on TV, but I don’t think that’s what you had in mind. Mr. Darcy is a tried and true favorite.

About the Book

Hailey Kendrick always does exactly what’s expected of her. She has the right friends, dates the perfect boy, gets good grades, and follows all the rules. But one night, Hailey risks everything by breaking a very big rule in a very public way…and with a very unexpected partner in crime. Hailey gets caught, but her accomplice does not, and Hailey takes the fall for both of them.

Suddenly, Hailey’s perfect life–and her reputation–are blowing up in her face. Her friends are all avoiding her. Her teachers don’t trust her. Her boyfriend won’t even speak to her for long enough to tell her that she’s been dumped.

They say honesty is the best policy–but some secrets are worth keeping, no matter the cost. Or are they?

“Hailey may be an A student headed to the Ivy League, but when it comes to taking a chance on life, she’s clueless. She’s also enormously appealing and great company throughout this breezy read. Yes, it’s chick lit, but of the highest quality—like a gourmet truffle. Cook has whipped up a real treat.” –Kirkus starred review

“Cook effectively builds both Hailey’s (justified) feelings of rebellion and the social dynamics of her ostracism, especially in her growing friendship with a challenging townie, Drew, who supervises her punishment working with the janitorial staff….Cook coaxes considerable empathy for the otherwise privileged Hailey as she abandons the achievement treadmill to explore her independence.” –Publishers Weekly

About the Author:

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in six different languages. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anyone else.

To win your own copy of The Education of Hailey Kendrick, please leave a comment. 
Contest ends at midnight, Tuesday, January 11, 2011.

Relationship Advice from Caridad Ferrer

Please welcome Caridad Ferrer, author of When The Stars Go Blue. Leave a comment to win your own copy! Here’s Caridad’s advice:

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

Well, it’s embarrassing as all get out (which is why it was dumb), but after a college boyfriend broke up with me, I punched my car’s windshield.  Didn’t break anything, but my hand swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. Not one of my better moments.  I have since learned to control my temper a great deal. Punching windshields HURTS.

2. It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.

Well, make sure you set aside a drawer for the takeout menus and make sure your partner knows which drawer it is.

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

Boy, this is kind of tough– I’m torn between Sebastian St. Cyr, the lead of C.S. Harris’ mystery series (tall, dark, and brilliant) or Richard Castle (he’s ruggedly handsome, you know– as well as being brilliant and witty and incredibly devoted to the people he cares about).

About the Book:

A dancer driven to succeed.

A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.

The summer they share.

And the moment it all goes wrong.

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.     
But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad’s affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.
About the Author:
Caridad Ferrer is a first generation, bilingual Cuban-American, whose young adult debut, Adiós to My Old Life won the Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance as well as being named to the 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list, awarded by the ALA. Her second novel, It’s Not About the Accent was released in 2007 with Publisher’s Weekly stating, “…this twisting book amply rewards readers.”
She has also contributed to the anthology, Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and Other Quinceañera Stories. Her newest young adult novel, When the Stars Go Blue, is a contemporary retelling of Bizet’s Carmen, and will be released by Thomas Dunne Books in November 2010. Booklist calls it, “Beautifully written, with contemporary characters and an engaging story line.”

To win a copy of When The Stars Go Blue: 
please leave a comment by midnight, December 7, 2010. 
Open to everyone, everywhere.

Relationship Advice from Daisy Whitney

Today I’m happy to welcome Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds. Leave a comment and win your own copy! Now, here’s Daisy’s relationship advice:

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

Dumbest thing. Oh dear. I supposed that would be going to his gig in the West Village and staring at his beautiful new girlfriend the whole time he played guitar and sang to her.

2. It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.

Trust your gut. If he’s too good to be true he probably is.

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

Etienne St. Clair from Steph Perkins’ ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Sigh. I love him.

More About Mockingbirds:

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way–the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds–a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl’s struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone–especially yourself–you fight for it. Buy the book

To find out more about Daisy Whitney check out her website.

To win a copy of The Mockingbirds, please leave a comment by midnight, Tuesday, November 9, 2010. 

Relationship Advice from Denise Jaden

Please welcome back, Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith:

1. What is the dumbest or smartest thing you’ve done after a breakup?
The dumbest thing I’ve done after a breakup was when I continued to call and pursue the guy. The smartest thing I’ve ever done–the opposite. I decided to move on and not look back.

2. It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.

Don’t be in a rush. Great relationships take time to build and deepen. Quick passion can often hide what’s under the surface between two people. Also, be quick to forgive.

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

Wes from Sarah Dessen’s
The Truth About Forever. He’s that quiet artist type – contemplative and sexy. I’m a little old for him, but whatever!

More about Losing Faith:

When Brie’s sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie’s world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.
As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don’t line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night…a secret that puts her own life in danger.

About Denise Jaden:

Denise lives just outside Vancouver, Canada. When she’s not writing, she can often be found homeschooling her son or dancing with her Polynesian dance troupe. Losing Faith is her first novel. Find out more at   

You know you want this book…Leave a comment for a chance to win your own copy! 
Contest ends, Tuesday, October 26, 2010.

Relationship Advice from Linda Gerber

Linda Gerber’s novels are favorites at my house, so I’m excited to read her new novel, Trance. (Leave a comment and win a copy!) Here’s Linda’s breakup advice:

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

Probably the smartest thing I did was to move away after a serious breakup. It was time for me to return to college anyway, so it’s not like I was altering my life because of a guy, but taking the out option when I did gave us both a clean break.

2. It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.

NEVER change who you are for a guy (or a girl). Try to be a better person around the person you like, maybe, but always be true to yourself.

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

I wouldn’t mind a stroll with Mr. Darcy.

More about TRANCE:
Almost everyone has wished that they could take a glimpse into the future–but what if such visions came unbidden, and they only foretold danger? A dark but addictive tale of one girl’s curse to unwillingly foresee future tragedies, and the debilitating toll that it takes on her present life–until she realizes that her unwanted power may be more of a gift than a curse.

More about Linda Gerber:

Linda Gerber ( is the author of the popular Death by Bikini, Death by Latte, and Death by Denim as well as two books in the S.A.S.S. series. She lives with her family in Dublin, Ohio.

To win a copy of Trance, please leave a comment by Tuesday, October 19, 2010.

Relationship Advice from Lauren Strasnick

After finishing Lauren Strasnick’s debut novel, Nothing Like You, I immediately ran upstairs to my teen’s room, handed her the book, and told her to read it quick. We later had a great discussion about friends-with-benefits–one that would’ve involved a lot of eye-rolling if we hadn’t been talking about Lauren’s compelling characters.

 Needless to say I can’t wait to read Her And Me And You. Here’s Lauren’s relationship advice (I’ve already thanked her for the parenting help). Lauren is donating one of her author copies for a giveaway, so please leave a comment! 

1. What is the dumbest or smartest thing you’ve done after a breakup?
Smartest?  Cut off all contact.  Dumbest?  I’m not telling 🙂
2. It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.
I’m much better at this when I have some gnarly romantic situation to analyze and dissect!  But!  Be true to yourself!  & don’t stay with someone who treats you like trash!  Stellar advice, right?  Oh boy.
3. If you could go on a date with any fictional character, who would it be?
Marcus Flutie from Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series.  Love!
About Her And Me And You:
First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two.
Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred–and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred–and something about Adina–that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world, no matter the consequences.

“Strasnick’s slim second offering packs a lot into its short chapters: divorce, broken friendships, crushes, the lines between love and sex and more. Characterization, scenes, dialogue and setting are seamlessly distilled into so few sharp, image-rich phrases that the novel reads almost as if it were written in verse. Less is definitely more here, and readers are plunged into Alex’s physical and emotional world within three to four words. Although the plot moves swiftly, the author’s ability to capture Alex’s inner world in so few words give the novel depth and balance. Complex and thought-provoking.” –Kirkus

To find out more about Lauren see:
Please leave a comment by Tuesday, October 12, 2010 to enter to win a copy of Her And Me And You. 

Relationship Advice from Lucienne Diver

Today I’m excited to welcome Lucienne Diver, author of Vamped and the newly released ReVamped. Leave a comment to win a copy! Now here’s Lucienne’s relationship advice:

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

Not many people know this, but I was engaged once before my husband (way back in college). In fact, my husband says that it was years before he knew that the guy had a name other than Slimeball, so you can guess just how well the break-up went. The smartest thing I ever did was have a little funeral for the relationship with my friends. It was very nice closure. We dressed all in black and walked down to the Racquette River chanting “Pie Jesus Domine” (from
Monty Python and the Holy Grail).  We carried candles with which we would shortly set on fire a miniature funeral boat made out of paper and glue holding photographs of Slimeball.  I’m sure anyone who saw our little procession thought we were off to hold a black mass.  Anyway, we very solemnly set the boat alight and watched it go down in flames before heading back to campus doing the Mepos Dance of Joy. It was all very silly and very much what I needed at the time to start the healing process.

2. It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.

If you’re working too hard to fit together, chances are you don’t. Or at least, not right now. The right timing is as important as the right person. I knew my husband for six years before we ever started dating. I don’t think I’d have truly appreciated him before surviving all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (thank you, Shakespeare).  You’d have to meet my husband to know how crazy it is that it took me so long to truly see him. To give you an idea, here’s the great
guest blog he did for me on the top ten reasons you should buy my book.

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

Ack, tough question – all the fictional characters I love are taken, and I’m such a hopeless romantic, I can’t even conceive of getting between my fictional fav and his love!  But…growing up, I was absolutely in love with Nathaniel from The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I was even going to name my first child after him, only my husband put the kibosh on that, since we didn’t really like any of the nicknames.

Congratulations on your new release!

Thank you so, so much!

About the book:

In Vamped, Gina and her minions defeated a vampire vixen, a psycho-psychic and the vampire council of Mozulla, Ohio.  Gina was all ready to expose vampires to the world in all their fanged fabulosity…until the Feds arrived to sweep everything under the rug and make them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

In ReVamped, Gina and her boyfriend Bobby are sent undercover to infiltrate a New York high school where some seriously weird stuff is going down.  Worse than that, Gina’s new super-secret identity is as goth-girl Geneva Belfry.  No color palette to speak of.  More chains than a bike rack.  And don’t even get her started on the shoes.  At least she won’t be too worried about blood spatter when kicking the butt of her newest nemesis, who’s decided that the high school makes a perfect playground. Want to know more? Read Gina’s blog

“This is a witty vampire romance/adventure with plenty of heart and action.  Diver has written a supernatural sequel to Vamped (Flux, 2009/VOYA August 2009) that will attract even reluctant readers.  It is filled with wry twists, such as the difficulties of trying to apply mascara when, as  vampire, you don’t have any reflection in the mirror, as well as the typical agonies of being young and trying to fit in.”   —VOYA

“Gina, the 17-year-old fashionista of the undead, is back and as sassy as ever (
Vamped, 2009). Thoroughly enjoyable, this sequel is a light, fizzy read… listening in on Gina’s thoughts and quick-witted dialogue is what makes this such a treat.” Kirkus Reviews

About the Author:

Lucienne Diver is a writer by night and a literary agent by day. Read more about Gina on her blog and website.

To win a copy of ReVamped, please leave a comment by midnight, Tuesday, September 21, 2010. 
Open to anyone, anywhere.

My Own Relationship Advice

My husband and I are in San Francisco this weekend celebrating our 18th anniversary. He really wanted to see the Giants play, but knowing that I’m not a huge sports fan, he didn’t want to go on our actual anniversary. I said, please buy the tickets.

After 18 years of marriage, I’ve learned that successful relationships aren’t about manufactured romantic moments (or else all those couples who meet on the Bachelor would stay together). So here’s my advice:
1. Laugh together every day. It’s really hard to remain grouchy after an episode of The Daily Show, or a Snuggie infommercial.
2. Don’t blame your partner for your own personal struggles. We’ve been pretty good about keeping professional stresses, extended family strife, and personal unhappiness out of our marriage. Whether it’s been my husband’s demanding schooling, or my long, discouraging path toward publishing, I’ve treated my marriage as an oasis from my other problems.
3. Expect your partner to change. So many of our personal interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes have changed over the years. But here’s what hasn’t changed: I married an intelligent, kind, compassionate, generous person with a great sense of humor. But the teenager who didn’t understand why I hung Monet prints in my dorm room–and that worried me because it didn’t fit my “ideal guy” list–is now the one insisting we visit all the museums in San Francisco.
So we went to the Giants game–and had a really great time. We sat next to a couple on their first date, and giggled a bit when the girl came back with a hotdog loaded down with onions and sauerkraut. A clear sign that the evening would end in disappointment for that poor guy!

Relationship Advice from Holly Cupala

I think I’ll always remember Holly’s smile at the summer SCBWI conference when she found out that she’d sold her first novel–and I won’t forget the gorgeous roses her husband sent her either. So today I’m especially happy to welcome Holly Cupala whose debut novel Tell Me A Secret just hit the shelves. My teen snatched up my copy and read it in one sitting, and I loved it too. If you’d like to win your own copy of this addictive read, please leave a comment. Here’s Holly’s relationship advice:

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

One of the smartest things I ever did was to break up with someone—period. There was this guy I met through work, and we had great chemistry right off the bat. But something about him reminded me of not one but two bad relationships I’d had in the past. Somehow I missed the red flags right there and kept dating him. He got increasingly paranoid and possessive. He tried to catch me in lies (we’d known each other two weeks!), accused me of flirting with people (sorry, I’m a one-guy girl), and was even talking about when we would get married. In a way, it was flattering that he was so into me, but then the unthinkable happened. I told him about a traumatic experience I’d had, and he said, “Well, maybe it was your own fault.” I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but suddenly I realized how destructive he was. We were out to lunch, and I left him right there. He followed me, but I ducked into a store so that there were people around. He was the kind of person who could become violent, and I was saving myself a lifetime of pain by dumping him now. I’m very glad I did!

2. It’s your turn to play Miss Swoon–give us your best relationship advice.

I think we tend to seek out people who mirror our opinions of ourselves. If a boyfriend treats us badly, we may believe on some level (though probably not consciously) that we deserve it—otherwise why would we stay with someone like that? This goes for friendships, too. So my advice would be to have a great relationship with yourself before getting into a relationship with someone else. You’ll be much more likely to attract a person who respects you and cares about you for something that will last.

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

Hmm. Should I admit this? I have to say…Kartik from Libba Bray’s Great and Terrible Beauty series. And I will admit at this point that when I read about Kartik, I picture my devastatingly handsome husband (who is also Indian). So there you have it…art imitating life, at least in my mind! Now perhaps said husband will whisk me off into otherworldy adventures? Anything is possible…

More about Tell Me A Secret:

In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.

Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own.

In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her future.

More about Holly:

Holly Cupala wrote teen romance novels before she ever actually experienced teen romance. When she did, it became all about tragic poetry and slightly less tragic novels. When she isn’t writing and contributing to readergirlz, she spends time with her husband and daughter in Seattle, Washington. These days, her writing is less about tragedy and more about hope. Tell Me A Secret is her first novel. Ten percent of the author’s proceeds go toward World Vision’s Hope for Sexually Exploited Girls. Find out more at:

To win a copy, please leave a comment & your contact info by midnight, Tuesday, June 29, 2010.