Friday, September 26, 2008

Freebie Friday - CHOCOLATE!

Fall is officially here! I'm sitting in my office, watching leaves twirl to the ground from the trees outside. Just a few of them, but still. Most of the remaining leaves are still green, but on the outer branches, they're blushing red and yellow. Sigh. I love fall.

And I love Starbuck's new chocolate line. Seriously. Good stuff. As many of you may know, the original Starbucks is located in Seattle - near the Pike Place Market where a lot of the action takes place in DEATH BY LATTE. So, yes, there is a tie-in.

This week's freebie Friday winner will receive a care package of Starbucks chocolate. All you have to do to be entered is to leave a comment below and tell me what you like about fall. If you don't like fall... well, I'm sorry for you, but you can still tell me why you don't like it and I'll enter you anyway.

KC Dyer should be dropping by to announce the winner of her book drawing at any moment, so stay tuned.

And in the meantime, have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who joined us at the party this weekend. You made my book launch a whole lot of fun. Special thanks to my author friends for offering their time, talents and books. And huge thanks to everyone else for stopping by to comment and enjoy the festivities! I was blown away that so many of you took the time to stop in on all those cyber tour sites. That was a huge time commitment and I appreciate it! I hope you discovered some new blogs and books by doing so. I'll be replying to your comments this afternoon. Again, THANK YOU for the support!!!

AND NOW, the moment we've all been waiting for... THE WINNERS!!! If you see your name below, please send your mailing address to me at gerb at lindagerber dot com. Here we go:

Daily DEATH BY LATTE prize package winner:


Tim Tam cookies from Amanda Ashby


READ MY LIPS by Teri Brown




VIOLET IN PRIVATE by Melissa Walker



What is this "work" you speak of?

POPULAR VOTE by Micol Ostow

Cara King

SORORITY 101 book by Marley Gibson (writing as Kate Hammond)


TWISTED SISTERS by Stephanie Hale




YOU'RE AMAZING by Claire Mysko



MelodyJM/Is me!/Is PENGUIN!

I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE by Stephanie Kuehnert

Sabrina Banes

CRUEL SUMMER and FAKING 19 by Alyson Noel


PROJECT 17 by Laurie Stolarz


DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK by Marlene Perez


EIGHTH GRADE BITES by Heather Brewer


THAT'S WHAT'S UP by Paula Chase Hyman


iTunes gift card from Keri Mikulski


THE BOYS NEXT DOOR by Jennifer Echols


AND the grand prize DEATH BY LATTE prize package goes to:


Congratulations, winners! Remember to come back Friday for the drawing for KC Dyer's book. Thanks for being a part of the party!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bonus! The late Partier has arrived!

KC Dyer is fashionably late, but we're going to cut her some slack because she's been swamped, putting together the Surrey International Writers' Conference. (If you are a writer, I highly recommend this conference. It's one of the best I've ever been to.) KC has sent her characters, Cleo and Logan from MS. ZEPHYR'S NOTEBOOK to talk lies with us. Because of their late arrival and to give anyone who is interested a chance to win, I'm going to postpone the announcement of the Latte gift pack and party winners until tomorrow morning. I hope that's OK with everyone... We'll announce the winner of KC's drawing on Friday.

Logan Kemp and Cleo Jones -- Journal Entries on the Subject of Veracity.

Liar? Me? I don't think so. Graphic novel artist -- sure. Wicked rugby player -- absolutely. Don't listen to the little weirdie from down the hall. She's the liar...not me.

Uh -- Logan?
First of all, I am NOT a little weirdie. Just because a person doesn't subscribe to your particular agenda doesn't mean they are weird. And lying? Let's just say I have seen all those candy-bar wrappers in your wastebasket. And I know the lady in the little store in the hospital lobby gives you the stink-eye for a reason, bucko. Anyway, I don't lie. It doesn't count when a person is just trying to present herself in the best light. It doesn't .

Ha. Don't make me laugh. You can't even tell the truth about your own name. You are just Cleo. Plain Cleo -- not some fancy-dancy Jaqueline chick. And as for trying to present yourself in the best light... Well, I guess that's why you're so familiar with the contents of my wastebasket, huh? Just how many times were you hiding your own wrappers in there, anyway? At least my wrappers are for candy -- not little packages of self-destruction....
Read more about Cleo and Logan in Ms. Zephyr's Notebook -- or talk to the author at ! And if you'd like to win a copy of MS. ZEPHYR'S NOTEBOOK, drop a comment here! I'll throw the names into a hat and announce a winner right here on Linda Gerber's site on Friday, September 26th.

Enjoy the bonus! And now I'm going to go watch the season premier of Heroes! (Love TIVO!) See you tomorrow!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008


OK, that was weird. I posted everything before I took off to take my daughter to the doctor, but when I came home, two of the posts were gone! Sorry about that! Let the launch party commence!!!

This is it - the final day of the launch party. Thanks for dropping in and celebrating with us!

First, before I forget -
Yesterday's DEATH BY LATTE prize package goes to:


And the iTunes gift card winners in honor of Heather's birthday are:

Krysten Hylian Vampire Devyn

Please shoot me your mailing address at gerb at lindagerber dot com and your prize is on its way!

Meanwhile, today will be a little different than originally planned. One of our illustrious authors may be a little late joining us, so we only have three author posts to start off the day. I don't want to limit your chances to win, though, so here's what we'll do. I just did the GCC tour, visiting different blogs and talking about the book. Below are the blog links. For every blog that you visit and leave a comment, you will earn one entry for today's DEATH BY LATTE prize package as well as the grand prize to be drawn tomorrow. The more entries, the greater your chances of winning. (Just let me know where you commented...)

And, as a reminder, if you haven't done so already, you may still comment on any of the posts during this party and receive an entry for the prize drawings. The winners will be announced tomorrow on the blog.

GCC tour links:

alyson noel

megan kelley hall
stacy dekeyser
carrie jones
teri brown
shanna swendson
megan crane
karin gillespie
stephanie kuehnert
amanda ashby
wendy toliver
april henry
eileen cook
jennifer echols
laurie stolarz

Party on!

Note - because of the late posting time today, the contests will remain open until Wednesday evening instead of morning as I had originally planned...


Our first partier today is Lori McGillicuddy, c/o Jennifer Echols, author of the Simon Pulse romantic comedies MAJOR CRUSH and THE BOYS NEXT DOOR and the upcoming hot drama, GOING TOO FAR.

Hi, I’m Lori McGillicuddy. Stop laughing. I am a fabulous actress. Stop laughing! I didn’t think I was such a hot actress either. I am a terrible liar. But I had to do SOMETHING to get Sean, the boy next door, to notice me before he went off to college. First I tried glamming myself up (which was more difficult than it sounds, with nearly sixteen years of dirt under my fingernails), and I thought at first that he was wowed by the enhancement of my natural beauty *snort*. Then he turned around and stole his younger brother Adam’s girlfriend Rachel instead of me!

But now I had an ally. Adam and I conspired to pretend to date each other, thus driving Rachel and Sean mad, I tell you, MAD with jealousy and lust. That was the theory, anyway. It’s been a week, and Sean and Rachel only seem to be growing closer. Luckily Adam and I get along great. We’ve hung out together all summer long since we were kids, so we hardly mind going to the movies together and flirting with each other. We can even stand making out.

Let’s stop and examine this for a moment, shall we? Adam and I are making out, Rachel and Sean know this, and yet Rachel and Sean are not scrambling to tear us apart and reclaim us for their own. What to do? I say Adam and I continue down this path in the hope that our ploy works eventually.

I will let you know.


Keri Mikulski's in the house! Woot! Keri is all around amazing - besides writing, she also coaches softball - so she knows what she's talking about in her novel Screwball!

Can Lies Be Justified?

When Linda emailed me about the party, I was excited to attend and also in the midst of finishing my sequel to SCREWBALL. Then, when Gerb shared her opening scene of
DEATH BY LATTE, which sounds amazing by the way and everyone should order a copy ASAP, I realized that DEATH’s main character Aphra and SCREWBALL’s main character Ashley both lie during the opening scene of their sequels.

Warning: Blatant Promotion Ahead

Ashley Clarke blatantly lies to her parents so she can spend time with her boyfriend, Jake Cole. Ashley’s Cape Town cop father forbid her to see Jake after his mother was found dead of a drug overdose and Ashley was caught on the back of Jake’s illegal moped. Therefore, Ashley’s parents never really gave Jake a chance. They prejudged him based on his family and Ashley’s actions.

Are Ashley’s lies justified?

Okay, here’s another possible justified lie. J This particular lie was the first and only lie I told my hubby. It happened during the first night we met at a college party.

Justified Lie:

“I had no idea you were going to be here,” says Keri, sipping from her red plastic cup and gazing into Justin’s gorgeous big brown eyes. Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” pumps from a beat up speaker resting on top of a step behind Justin’s head. He’s sitting on top of a television.

The Truth:

Yes, I knew your hot butt was going to be at this party. I’ve been checking you out since freshman year of high school when you were a stud senior wrestler. In fact, I wanted to see you so bad tonight that I convinced my friend to drive through a snowstorm just so I could sport my best flannel and grab your attention.

My hubby thinks it was fate that brought us together that February night. Fate. Uh. Huh. Sure. J We married four years later. So, was my lie justified?

My MC Ashley listens to her IPOD a lot during SCREWBALL 2: CHANGE UP. To celebrate the release of DEATH BY LATTE, I’m giving away an ITunes Gift Certificate. To enter to win, just tell me your favorite new song. My IPOD is filled with too many nineties tunes, so I’d love to hear what you’re listening to. J Have a great release day, Gerb!


Our last guest today is Paula Chase Hyman, author of the Del Rio series. I met Paula a few years ago at a writers' conference when we were both starting out. She amazes me. Give it up for Paula!

The real bitch about becoming a parent, is you’ve got to sweat out about 8 years of your kids life (when they’re between 13-20) hoping that they don’t do some of the things you did as a teen. Some call this karma!

The clock is ticking on my eight years. I’ve only got one year in and every year I get more and more nervous wondering when I’ll get that call that my kid is locked up for doing something stupid or when we’ll sit back with her and laugh as she finally shares all the silly things she did without getting caught. I was a pretty good kid, back in the day, and I couldn’t come up with even one lie that I was justified to tell. The fact is, the lies I told as a kid were typical kid lies, told only to hide some sneaky, usually fairly innocent act that, if discovered by my parents, would have resulted in a punishment of sorts.

Some might say I was fortunate and I wouldn’t disagree.

But, as a form of therapy, here are a few things I lied about as a teen:

- Thanks to my friends weak throwing arm, having to tell my dad I had no idea where those wine and beer bottles at the edge of the backyard came from (sophomore year of college).

- Claiming to be at my friends house for easter break, also sophomore year of college, when actually I was only a few miles from home staying with my boyfriend

- Claiming not to know who ran into the mailbox and totally obliterated it (junior year of high school) even though I knew the pizza delivery guy had done it. Since it was too dark to see the damage, my friends and I thought he’d only nicked it. So the money the pizza guy gave us we all split and ordered more pizza. Oops!

See, all minor stuff. But here’s the thing – if my daughter can go through the bulk of her life only dealing with my rules as minor inconveniences to her life resulting in her lying to me about a few things while still emerging unscathed, I’ll be thankful. But we’ll see…I’m on the clock for another 7 years!

Paula Chase, author of the Del Rio Bay series. Her DRB characters get into way more juicy trouble than the author ever did. Visit to find out what kind.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Welcome back to the party. Today is a bonus day!

It's Heather Brewer's birthday today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HEATHER!!! I should tell you - when I was planning this party, I contacted Heather to see if she'd like to participate and she wrote back, "I'd love to, but..." Then she went on to tell me how busy this month is for her and also that her birthday was during the launch week. All I saw in her e-mail was "I'd love to" and "birthday." Selective reading much? So I jumped back in and gushed about how we could have fun with the birthday thing and I was so glad to have her and...

Well, Heather's a sport. It wasn't until about a week later that I read her email more carefully and I was mortified... which I suppose is appropriate, considering the subject of Heather's books...

ANYWAY, in celebration of Heather's birthday, I have an extra three $15 iTunes cards to give away today. Leave a message on Heather's post wishing her happy birthday and you will be entered to win one of those cards as well as the regular prize.

Meanwhile, we have three other great authors to celebrate with us today; Marlene Perez, Laurie Stolarz and Alyson Noel.

Party on!!!

Edited to add: I can't believe I forgot to announce yesterday's winner! The DEATH BY LATTE prize package goes to:

Diane Dang

Please send your mailing address to gerb at lindagerber dot com and I'll get it sent out to you!



Everyone, please give it up for birthday auntie, Heather Brewer, author of the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, EIGHTH GRADE BITES, NINTH GRADE SLAYS and the upcoming TENTH GRADE BLEEDS and ELEVENTH GRADE BURNS.

Heather, thank you!

My son, Jacob, is a terrible liar. I know it. He knows it. Everyone who knows him knows it. He can't lie, because the moment he tries, the truth is written all over his face. He sputters and his eyes go all wide and guilty, and if I stare at him for a few seconds, he crumbles and confesses immediately. That's why he doesn't do it often—because he just sucks at it. But as I always tell him, the truth will get you further than a lie.

Unfortunately, I am way better at giving great advice than adhering to it.

When I was in high school, my best friend's name was Jen. We were super close, and basically spent every waking moment together. For her 16th birthday, we formulated a plan of celebration: we'd get pizza, and whip cream-topped hot cocoa at our favorite restaurant on the corner, and spend the night hanging out, maybe watch The Princess Bride. It was all we needed, and all Jen really wanted for her birthday. But her mother had other plans.

As the big day approached, Jen's mom let me in on a little secret: she'd organized a huge surprise sleepover birthday party for Jen and her "friends"—me and a group of roughly fifteen girls that Jen had casually chatted with at one time or another. It was an awful idea, something that Jen absolutely wouldn't have wanted. Her mom swore me to secrecy and made me promise her over and over that I would say nothing to Jen about the party. I swore on my life that I would never say a word.


That was Jen's reaction when I told her about ten minutes after hearing the news.

Yeah. I'm a bad person. But at least Jen was forewarned of the impending unwelcome streamers and balloons. And to this day, I'm still glad I lied.

To be entered to win a copy of Eighth Grade Bites and one of three iTunes cards, be sure to leave Heather a happy birthday message below!!!


Our next party gal is Marlene Perez, author of DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK. Give it up for Marlene!!!
Would I lie to you?

Perms were trendy when I was in high school, but I was broke and couldn’t afford a salon perm. My friend, a budding stylist, volunteered to give me a home perm. We went to the drug store and bought the perm. Although my friend assured me that she knew exactly what to do, she’d never given anyone a home perm before.

My nerves were soothed by the efficient way she tied an old sheet around my neck to cover my clothes. She efficiently rolled up my hair into curlers and applied the solution while I daydreamed about my fabulous new look. She set a timer and we settled down to watch General Hospital. Several minutes later, I looked up and noticed that the timer hadn’t moved.

“Uh, Marie?” I said, pointing to the timer. “I don’t think it’s working.”

Her face paled, but she shrugged it off. “Let’s get you rinsed out.” She bolted to the sink, with me in tow. Needless to say, when she was finished, I looked like a poodle.

“D-do you like it?” she stuttered, holding the mirror so that I could only catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye.

“I love it,” I lied.

“You do?” she said incredulously. “I mean, of course, you do.”

“Would I lie to you?” I responded. It wasn’t exactly a lie. I hated the perm, but I loved my best friend. But not enough to let her touch my hair again. Was the lie worth it? I think so. We’re still friends. I’d like to think that our friendship could survive anything, even a bad perm.


Laurie Stolarz, author of a whole slew of YA novels, including BLEED, DEADLY LITTLE SECRET and PROJECT 17 is here to party!!!

Thanks so much to Linda for inviting me to her cyber launch party!!! I’m very excited about DEATH BY LATTE!

Okay, so here’s the story of how I learned that when it comes to BFF’s and their significant others, lying is sometimes the best policy.

Several years ago my BFF of ten years broke up with her boyfriend of six years after giving him an ultimatum – either he propose or it’s over. He, much to my friend’s disappointment (and mine as well – I really liked the guy), chose the “over” option. My friend was devastated at first, but got over it quicker than I imagined when she started dating this other guy.

Let’s call him Dick.

So, Dick is 30 years old, has never held a job, and is supported 100% by his parents.

We’ll let that slide.

He also likes collecting Nazi memorabilia, pays (or has his Dad pay) 10K so that he can shoot polar bears (a hobby of his, in addition to collecting dead animal heads), and calls certain females the most horrendous names that you can imagine.

We’ll let most of that slide, as hard as that is to imagine – and please know that it was EXTREMELY hard for me (a liberal-vegetarian-supporter-of-women’s-rights pacifist).

The unslide-able part? After three weeks of dating, Dick wanted to whisk my best friend away to NYC for the weekend. Pretty romantic, yes? It would’ve been even more romantic if he’d arranged for them to stay in a hotel. But, no, they’d be staying at his friend’s – a male prostitute’s – apartment. Though, according to Dick, the redeeming factor there was that his prostitute-friend had slept with Charlie Sheen.

My friend: So what do you think? Should I go?

Me: Run for your life. This is the beginning of the relationship, the “honeymoon phase,” when he’s supposedly trying to make his best impression. What kind of guy name-drops his prostitute-friend’s John (even if it is Charlie Sheen) as a way to impress you?

In other words, I told the truth. And it cost me my friendship. Not right away. But things were never the same after that, and eventually we stopped talking altogether.

I vowed not to do that again.

And so, years later, when something similar happened – a friend of mine broke up with his girlfriend and started dating someone new – I didn’t say anything when that new girlfriend made me cuddle with one of her four pet rats. Nor did I say anything about the fact that she liked to walk around naked in front of whoever happened to be in her apartment. I simply nodded, smiled, and agreed when he told me that she was the most amazing woman he’d ever met.

And, you know what? We’re still friends.

For more information about liars, like the characters you’ll find in my books, check out my website here: Leave me a comment below and enter to win yourself a copy of one of my lie-containing titles.


Big welcome to Alyson Noel, author of CRUEL SUMMER and a whole lot more! Alyson's another Teen Fiction Cafe sister.

I’m so excited to take part in Linda’s launch for her awesome new book, DEATH BY LATTE!!! And since the theme of this blog party is lying, it got me thinking about my own lying tendencies, which, truth be told is usually reserved for moments like this:

Friend: So what do you think of my new purse?

Me: It’s great! (Insert big smile and nodding head, hoping she won’t look into my eyes and see what I’m really thinking, while I try to change the subject as quickly as possible).

Harmless, right? I mean, obviously my friend likes her purse, which is why she bought it in the first place. So for me to say that I think it’s hideous (or something far less offensive but still far from my white lie of “it’s great!”) seems kind of pointless. If not a little mean. Which is probably why I usually shop alone.

But those are the kind of white lies we’re ALL guilty of (yes, that includes YOU!). While the bigger lies, the more serious, non-white lies are the sort I try to avoid. Mostly because they tend to turn me into a sweaty, eye avoiding, leg shaking, spazzy mess!

But my characters? Well, they’re another story. And while some of them claim to be terrible at lying too, that doesn’t stop them from trying. Though, since I created them, I like to think that they do have their reasons.

Take Alex, in my debut novel FAKING 19. When she meets sexy, older, Brit, Conner, she doesn’t hesitate to lie about her age, telling him that she’s, um, 19 (hence the title), when the truth is she’s only 17. Her reason for lying? She’s afraid of being rejected if he learns the truth.

Or, Colby, in CRUEL SUMMER, who lies to just about everyone, about just about everything. She even lies to herself. But the only reason she does so, is because she’s afraid of the truth.

And then there’s Ever, in my upcoming paranormal series, EVERMORE, who not so much lies as she withholds information. She’s psychic, she hears other people’s thoughts, sees their auras, and can learn their entire life story merely by touch. And knowing it will freak out her friends almost as much as it freaks her, she chooses not to tell them. Preferring for people to think she’s a freak, rather than learn the real truth.

So, for your chance to win a signed copy of FAKING 19 and CRUEL SUMMER, (sorry, EVERMORE won’t be in stores until Feb 3,2009!), just leave me a comment about one of your lies, someone else’s lies, or your thoughts on lying in general!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Yay! We have full power and Internet at the house today! Now if I only had an extra ten hours to get everything done, it would be perfect. I'm going to leave you in the capable hands of my guest partiers for a little bit - I have to run over to the high school and serve in the concession stand for the JV game. My turn and all.

MEANWHILE, we have some amazing guests today - Steph Kuehnert, Kate Coombs, Claire Mysko and Sara Hantz. Enjoy!

Yesterday's DEATH BY LATTE prize package winner is:


Please email me at gerb at lindagerber dot com and I'll send it off to you. Also, if you don't have a Panera in your area, let me know and I can substitute something else.

Party on!


Regulars to the blog will recognize our first party gal from an interview last month. Stephanie Kuehnert is celebrating the summer release of her book I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, which has gotten rave reviews. Welcome, Stephanie!

I'm so psyched to be over here celebrating the release of Death by Latte, a book which I know I'm going to love because A. Linda Gerber is an amazing writer and B. It takes place in Seattle, my favorite city! Linda's MC Aphra lies to her dad that she's going to visit a friend when really she is going to Seattle to search for her mom. Clearly, lying to achieve a greater good and Linda asked us to tell about a time when we told one of those kinds of lies.

Personally, I've been racking my brain for days trying to remember such a lie, but it seems I've just told little white lies to protect people's feelings and then I lied a lot when I was a teen to get out of trouble. Like I told my mom that I had to go to Saturday detention because I'd been tardy a couple times and there was a computer glitch that recorded those tardies as absences. Yeah, really I was ditching class. A lot. But still managing to get straight A's, so I was saving my mom the trouble of thinking I was a delinquent. Right? But no, let's face facts, it was all for my personal gain because I didn't want to get grounded.

Then I remembered a lie for the greater good that I planned to tell, but then didn't have to because it turned out to be true. I figured that would be a good one to share. Okay, so my best friend had a kind of troubled home life in high school. She decided that to get away, she would actually ask her parents to send her to boarding school. Of course, she thought she was going to be sent to some place glamorous. Scotland was where she really wanted to go, but she would have settled for the East or West Coast. Her parents couldn't afford that, so they decided to send her to a Quaker school in Iowa. Obviously my friend balked at this. She would have been willing to say goodbye to her friends in order to escape her family if she was going some place where she'd get some culture and a real learning experience, but Iowa, not worth it. She told her parents never mind, but she'd done such a good job selling them on the boarding school idea in the first place that they'd made up her minds that it was what she needed.

She was completely miserable. We talked on the phone 6 hours a night. At first she talked to her boyfriend, too, but then he dumped her for this other chick. I never liked him anyway and thought she was too good for him, but this just made her further depressed. Seriously depressed. Like she wasn't eating and then they would force her to eat until she was sick. And she told me that sometimes she banged her head against the wall hoping she'd pass out. I could tell she was going to self-destruct. So I begged my dad to take me to visit her since it was just a four hour drive. I plotted out with my friend that once I was there for a day that I'd call her mom and tell her what a horrible place it was. My friend told me that people managed to sneak booze and get drunk a lot, so I decided I would exaggerate that and tell her mom that I'd seen someone doing serious hard drugs there, like coke or heroin. Her mom trusted me (the whole straight A's thing made up for my other delinquent tendencies to most parents) and I would use that trust and get my friend home in time to go to the Rancid concert with me the next weekend.

As it turned out, I didn't even have to tell the lie because when my friend and I were walking down to town from her school the next day, we saw some of her hallmates hanging out in the cornfields. One of them, a girl who was drunk when I met her (she said, "I'm Sasha and I'm drunk. I luuuuhve being drunk. Ya'll wanna drink Mad Dog with me?") called out to us to join them. They were smoking something that smelled totally acrid. Sasha thrust a tinfoil pipe at us and asked, "Ya'll wanna smoke some Crystal?" Crystal as in Crystal Meth.

"Uh, no," I said quickly before my friend could even ponder it in her depressed state and I dragged her away. So I didn't even have to lie to my friend's mom. And I wasn't even the only one who told her mom that my friend needed to leave immediately. As soon as my dad picked me up, I told him that we'd be offered Crystal Meth at the school and I wanted to tell my friend's mom about it. He agreed 100% and offered to speak to her too!

My friend left her boarding school four hours after I did and the next weekend we were slamming in the pit at the Rancid show. If I had had to lie, though, I would have. It probably wouldn't have been nearly as convincing as the truth was, but I would have tried because my friend needed my help.

What things have you done for friends who were in a bind? Tell us and you'll win a signed copy of my book I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, which has strong friendships―and lies to protect friends―at the heart of the story.


I'm so happy to have with us today one of my good friends, Kate Coombs, author of RUNAWAY PRINCESS and THE SECRET KEEPER. Kate's also one of my critique partners without whom I would be a mess!

I used to work with someone who opened her mouth, and lies flowed out—streams and rivers and lakes of lies, all shining in the sun as if they were true.

I’ve never been like that. As a kid, I’d tell the truth even when it meant tattling on myself. (My brother let me know just how idiotic he thought that was!) I also told the truth when people asked me how they looked. Funny how most of them didn’t ask twice. I didn’t cheat on tests, either. I had a do or die mentality when it came to tests.

So, smarmy though it sounds, thinking of a time I told a lie actually took some doing. But the one I came up with, while simple, has stuck in my mind. I was thirteen and in the seventh grade. This was a bad thing. I had braces, a handful of zits, a blah figure, and a trendy haircut that utterly failed in its trendy duties when associated with my particular head. I was in the marching band, with an unrequited crush on a boy named Steven. I was arguably a nerd, complete with a bully in my P.E. class who decided to put me on her hit list. So yeah, not my favorite year.

Then one day I was sitting in science when I felt something new and unexpected flowing between my legs. Why couldn’t my very first period have started when I was safely at home? At least I wasn’t wearing white pants. Still, I’m sure I was a little agitated as I raised my hand and asked the teacher’s permission to go to the bathroom.

I didn’t have any supplies with me, not even money for the dispenser in the girls’ bathroom. Instead I used wads of paper towels to get through the day. Somehow, it worked. But I may have been blushing when I got back to class. The complete opposite of a poker face is what you’d expect from a person with my honesty habit, kind of like the perfect bracelet to match a pair of earrings.

I sat down, trying to concentrate on science. When class ended, a girl I knew slightly from grade school approached me. “What happened?” Laura asked.

“Nothing.” Standard teenage answer, right? Translated, it means Back off!

She didn’t back off, though. “You’re acting kind of funny,” Laura persisted. “Did you start your period?”

What, did she have some girl-based version of ESP? Was my face even more easily read than previously suspected? At any rate, I wasn’t stupid enough to think that Laura was being kind—I didn’t know her that well. This was pure curiosity. And it wasn’t hard for me to guess how a rumor about my budding womanhood might make my already-dismal life even worse. I tried looking realistically baffled as I said, “No.”

Laura finally gave up.

That was a red-letter day, or at least a red one—between the blushing and, well, the obvious. I had managed to cross two lines at the same time, both of them over the border into adulthood, a land where nothing would seem simple anymore.

So hey—truth still works for me. Truth matters to me. I’m into truth. But I’ve never once regretted the sheer shamefully adolescent necessity of telling that one-word lie to Miss Nosy back in the seventh grade.

Have you ever felt cornered and had to lie? Leave a comment and be entered to win a copy of RUNAWAY PRINCESS.


I'm happy to welcome Claire Mysko, author of YOU'RE AMAZING to the party. I met Claire last month in New York and she is about the most genuine person you'd ever want to know. Give it up for Claire!

“I’m fine.” See also: “Don’t worry about me,” “I’ve got it under control,” and “Everything is okay.”

Those were lies I told on a regular basis when I was a struggling Perfect Girl. I didn’t eat enough because I wanted to be the thinnest. I beat myself up over any grade less than an “A” because I wanted to be smartest. I took care of everyone else except myself. And no matter how dark things seemed, I never let down my guard because I was embarrassed to clue anyone in to the fact that I was anything other than that polished, together girl I tried so hard to be. Two things I learned in the process: 1.) The quest for perfection is a very lonely road and 2.) It’s pretty darn exhausting.

I don’t think I ever realized that I was lying all those years until I finally figured out what it meant to be honest about my feelings. Instead of “I’m fine,” I tried “I’m overwhelmed” (and all those other fun emotions I can now conveniently broadcast from my MySpace page). To my surprise, the world didn’t cave in. Shock of all shocks, I did not melt into a pile of nothingness. In fact, I actually started to feel stronger.

I used to believe that the harder I worked on my Perfect Girl act, the closer I would get to real-life perfection. Of course there was one major flaw in my logic--real-life perfection doesn’t exist (not for real-life humans, anyway). So I’ve officially given up the act. I’ll never be perfect, ho-hum. But you what? I am amazing. Amazing girls and women take risks. We make mistakes and we learn from them. We aren’t paralyzed by our “flaws” and fears. We are powerful and beautiful, and if we put all our amazing qualities together, we can change the world. Yep, optimism is another benefit that comes with kicking the perfection habit!

Do you try to be perfect? Do you feel guilty if you're open about your feelings? Leave a comment below to win an autographed copy of You're Amazing!