5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Meg Waite Clayton's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Wednesday Daughters book coverToday's guest: Meg Waite Clayton Why we love her: Her writing draws us in from page one.

Her latest: The Wednesday Daughters (Out July 16th!)

The scoop: It is early evening when Hope Tantry arrives at the small cottage in England’s pastoral Lake District where her mother, Ally, spent the last years of her life. Ally—one of a close-knit group of women who called themselves the Wednesday Sisters—had used the cottage as a writer’s retreat while she worked on her unpublished biography of Beatrix Potter, yet Hope knows little about her mother’s time there. Traveling with Hope are friends Anna Page and Julie, first introduced as little girls in The Wednesday Sisters, now grown women grappling with issues of a different era. They’ve come to help Hope sort through her mother’s personal effects, yet what they find is a tangled family history—one steeped in Lake District lore.

Hope finds a stack of Ally’s old notebooks tucked away in a hidden drawer, all written in a mysterious code. As she, Julie, and Anna Page try to decipher Ally’s writings—the reason for their encryption, their possible connection to the Potter manuscript—they are forced to confront their own personal struggles: Hope’s doubts about her marriage, Julie’s grief over losing her twin sister, Anna Page’s fear of commitment in relationships. And as the real reason for Ally’s stay in England comes to light, Hope, Julie, and Anna Page reach a new understanding about the enduring bonds of family, the unwavering strength of love, and the inescapable pull of the past.

Our thoughts: A layered and rich novel, we love this follow-up to The Wednesday Sisters!

Giveaway: ONE copy. Just leave a comment to be entered to win. We'll select the winner on Sunday, July 14th at 3pm PST.

Fun fact: Check out this special pre-order offer!

Where you can read more about Meg: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.


Meg Waite Clayton author photo1. Embrace Your Brains.

Smart girls are sexy, at least to the right kind of guy. And who wants the wrong kind? But more importantly, who you are is going to be a lot more important to you than who your date is—or if it isn’t you are in big trouble.

But while you’re at it, check out that guy sitting next to you in honors math. In twenty years, he’s going to look a whole lot better than some of those jocks, and be much better company. Honestly, he’s a better bet for the prom, too.

 2. Success Starts with Being Willing to Fail.

There is some possibility your mom and dad are already telling you this, but all that Catholic girls-are-meant-to-be-perfect stuff is getting in the way. Perfect is boring, and while success is nice, safe success is nothing compared to taking risks. If you want to be every thing you were meant to be, giving up worrying about failing and reach. It might feel sort of like driving too fast, but you know you like that too.

3. Appreciate Your Neck.

There are so many parts of you that are that you’re missing as you’re appling the benzoil peroxide. I’m sorry to report that the acne is not ever going away. Seriously. You have a beautiful neck.

4. Don’t Ever Think You Can’t.

See #2 above. You won't know how much you can do until you try.

 5. Make Sure “The One” Will Do His Share of the Laundry.

You hate doing laundry already. What makes you think you’re going to like doing twice as much? Any guy who respects you is going to want to do his share of the drudge work. Don’t settle for less.

Thanks, Meg!

Jane Porter's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Jane Porter Why we love her: Her novels, Flirting with Forty and She's Gone Country are two of our faves!

Her latest: The Good Woman (Out today: September 4th.)

The scoop on it: Is it possible to leave it all behind? The firstborn of a large Irish-American family, Meg Brennan Roberts is a successful publicist, faithful wife, and doting mother who prides herself on always making the right decisions. But years of being “the good woman” have taken a toll and though her winery career thrives, Meg feels burned out and empty, and more disconnected than ever from her increasingly distant husband. Lonely and disheartened, she attends the London Wine Fair with her boss, ruggedly handsome vintner, Chad Hallahan. It’s here, alone together in an exotic city, far from “real” life, that Chad confesses his long-standing desire for Meg.

Overwhelmed, flattered, and desperately confused, Meg returns home, only to suddenly question every choice she’s ever made, especially that of her marriage. For Meg, something’s got to give, and for once in her life she flees her responsibilities—but with consequences as reckless and irreversible as they are liberating. Now she must decide whether being the person everyone needs is worth losing the woman she was meant to be.

Read chapter one and two here.

Our thoughts: Engaging and heartfelt, we hated to reach the final page. But there's good news: This is the first book of three!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll pick the winners after 3pm PST on Monday, September 10th.

Fun fact: Jane also writes romance novels.

Where you can read more about Jane: Twitter, Facebook, her blog and her website.


(NOTE: Photo of Jane as a teen also included! She looks exactly the same!)

1. You are not fat and you do not have a big butt.  In fact, your thighs and butt are the smallest now they will ever be so stop obsessing about your body and enjoy the fact that it doesn’t jiggle and ache.   And while we’re discussing your body, lets talk about something that’s a little nit picky but its been bothering me for awhile:  Please, please stop using flesh colored Clearasil.  It doesn’t look natural and its not invisible and it its obvious you’re trying to cover up a pimple.   You’re not hiding anything, you’re just making the zit look worse.

2. Jane, Jane, Jane...you’re a swimmer, not a cheer leader, a book worm, not a model.  The football players don’t dig you and you’re never going to be popular.  But that’s okay.  It’s okay to not be popular.  In fact, being unpopular will prove to be very good for you.  It will a) give you stories for the future, and b) help you push yourself harder, dream bigger, and take greater risks because you’ve got something to prove, and you can, because you’re not constantly worrying about what the popular crowd thinks.

3. Those guys that seemed so hot in high school?   A little secret, teen Jane: they’re not so hot later.   Sure, they look great now to your 16 year old eyes because they hit puberty earlier than others, and have been shaving since they were thirteen, but those skinny, short, nerdy guys you don’t even notice right now?  They change.  They become the real heartbreakers.  They’re the hunks of the future, as well as the brainy, cool mavericks who transform the world as we know it.

4. To have the life you want to have, to get to where you want to go, you’re going to have to fight hard.  You’re going to have to work hard.  Really hard.  There will be a lot of obstacles in the way, and a lot of naysayers telling you that you’re wrong, and you can’t succeed, but they don’t know you, Jane.   I do, though, and I’m going to tell you something that’s really important: gird yourself.  Be prepared to take some hard hits on the way.  The hits won’t feel good, but they won’t destroy you.  Some hits will hurt more than others, and you might fall down and cry, but you’re tough.  You’re strong.  Get up.  Shake yourself off.   And keep going.  As long as you’re resilient and tenacious you really can do anything.  You can be anyone you want to be.  It’s your life.  It’s your dream.  Fight for it.  Always.

5. Lastly, Jane, you don’t have to please everyone.  In fact, you don’t have to please anyone as long as you’re happy with you.  (Hard to believe when you’re a pleaser, but it’s true).   But how to be happy with yourself?  Stop apologizing for being yourself.   There’s nothing wrong with you.  Sure, you’re geeky and emotional and socially awkward, but that’s part of your charm.   It’s who you are, and your real friends accept the real you.  So stop looking outward for truth, and those answers you think everyone has.  (They don’t...at least, they don’t have the answers you want for you.)  It’s time you realized you have the answers already.  They’re there in your head, and your heart, and lucky you, it’s a good heart.   And it’s a heart that needs to be protected.  So protect yourself, and your heart, and be the person you want to be because that’s the only way you’ll ever be happy.  Loving yourself will allow you to love everyone else and you’ll have the happy ever after you’ve always wanted.

Thanks, Jane! xoxo,

Liz & Lisa

Author photo credit: Kira Stewart Photography

Amy Hatvany's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Amy Hatvany Why we love her: Her writing grips you from the first page.

Her latest: The Language of Sisters

The scoop: Ten years ago, Nicole Hunter left her troubled home behind her, unable to cope with the demands of a life with her disabled sister, Jenny. Though her search for happiness—both in career and in love—has fallen short of her dreams, Nicole pretends that all is well. Then a shattering event turns her world upside down, and suddenly, she is back in her hometown, caring for her pregnant sister and trying to heal her embattled relationship with her mother.

Reunited with her family and forced to confront the guilt that haunts her, Nicole finally has the chance to be the sister she always wished she’d been. And when she is faced with the most difficult choice of her life, Nicole rediscovers the beauty of sisterhood—and receives a special gift that will change her life forever.

Our thoughts: We loved it-this one will tug at your heartstrings for sure!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Just leave a comment here and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners on Monday, September 3rd after 6pm PST.

Fun Fact: The Language Of Sisters is a re-release, and it's already gone into a second printing.  Congrats Amy!

Where to read more about Amy: Her website, Facebook or Twitter.


1. Be Gentle – With yourself, with others. All those people you think have it perfect? They’re fighting some kind of battle, too.

2. Stop Dieting, NOW! – It’s going to screw your metabolism beyond all recognition. Deprivation does not equal beauty. You know what equals beauty no matter what size you are? Self-acceptance! Compassion! Laughter!

3. Dump Him – That’s right. The one you think is THE one? The one who lies to you and tells you that you’d be really cute if you lost some weight? Yeah, him. Kick his ass to the curb. The one who actually turns out to be the one doesn’t show up until you’re thirty-three and divorced with two toddlers. He’s going to be worth the wait.

4. Give Your Parents a Break – Guess what? They’re doing the best they can. And you’re no picnic. (P.S., Karma is one cranky bitch. P.P. S. Your daughter’s name is Scarlett and she’s just like you.)

5. Express Your Gratitude – To your teachers, your friends, your family, the waitress who brings you your sandwich.  The Universe takes kindly to people who are aware of their blessings. And believe me, you’re going to be blessed with more than you can count.

Thanks Amy!  xoxo, L&L

Laura Lippman's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Laura Lippman Why we love her: She's simply the best.

Her latest: And When She Was Good

The scoop on it: When Hector Lewis told his daughter that she had a nothing face, it was just another bit of tossed-off cruelty from a man who specialized in harsh words and harsher deeds. But twenty years later, Heloise considers it a blessing to be a person who knows how to avoid attention. In the comfortable suburb where she lives, she's just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable job who somehow never misses a soccer game or a school play. In the state capitol, she's the redheaded lobbyist with a good cause and a mediocre track record.

But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the area, she's the woman of your dreams—if you can afford her hourly fee.

For more than a decade, Heloise has believed she is safe. She has created a rigidly compartmentalized life, maintaining no real friendships, trusting few confidantes. Only now her secret life, a life she was forced to build after the legitimate world turned its back on her, is under siege. Her once oblivious accountant is asking loaded questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new, mysterious dangers. Her employees can't be trusted. One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, a suicide. Or is it?

Nothing is as it seems as Heloise faces a midlife crisis with much higher stakes than most will ever know.

And then she learns that her son's father might be released from prison, which is problematic because he doesn't know he has a son. The killer and former pimp also doesn't realize that he's serving a life sentence because Heloise betrayed him. But he's clearly beginning to suspect that Heloise has been holding something back all these years.

With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, Heloise has to remake her life—again. Disappearing will be the easy part. She's done it before and she can do it again. A new name and a new place aren't hard to come by if you know the right people. The trick will be living long enough to start a new life.

Our thoughts: She made us care about a suburban madam. That takes serious talent!

Giveaway: FIVE COPIES. Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll select the winners after 3pm PST on Monday, August 27th.

Fun fact: She wrote her first SEVEN books while working full time at The (Baltimore) Sun.

Where you can read more about Laura: Facebook and her website.


1. Stop dieting. Stop right now. Read about mindful eating (Geneen Roth and Martha Beck). Read Susie Orbach's "Fat is a Feminist Issue." Read Caitlin Moran's "How to be a Woman." Sorry to pile on so much homework, but you'll need all this and more. Eat exactly what you want to eat, when you want to eat and stop when you are full and you really will end up at a healthy weight. Do not describe food as "bad." Do not describe your own eating habits as "bad." Do not say "I hate my [fill in the blank]." Do not say anything about your body that you would not say to a beloved. Listen to it. Learn to identify physical hunger, ponder the emotional hunger when you recognize it, try to figure out what it really means. Wanting more is the human condition.

2. Practice being a gracious loser because you're going to get lots of opportunities to trot this skill out. Besides, if you know how to lose graciously, you'll also know how to win graciously.

3. Learn to take a compliment. It goes like this: "Thank you." Not -- "Oh, it wasn't really much of anything, anyone could have done it." Not -- "Well, the others who worked on the project deserve credit, too." Or, even: "I made so many mistakes at first and I really screwed up and I thought I would never finish." Again, this is how you do it. "Thank you."

4. Find a physical activity that you love, preferably one that takes you outside, and do it. Long, slow walks count.

5. Resist the urge to be cruel to others. Years later, of everything you have done, nothing will horrify you more than the tossed-off sarcasm you wielded against others like a weapon. Put it on paper. Keep notes. Use it against imaginary foes. Because, in the end, almost all your foes are imaginary.

Thanks, Laura!


Liz & Lisa

Photo credit: Jan Cobb

Fiona Neill's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Fiona Neill Why we love her:  She's written a standout book, one that will stick with us for a long time.

Her latest: What the Nanny Saw

The scoop on it: It’s the summer of 2008. For the past decade Nick and Bryony Skinner and their four children have ridden high on the economic boom, but their luck is about to run out. Suddenly, the privileged family finds itself at the center of a financial scandal: their Central London house is besieged by the press, Nick disappears, and Bryony and the children become virtual prisoners in their own home. And Ali, their trusted nanny, watches it all. As the babysitter, she brings a unique insider-outsider perspective to the family, seeing far more than even the family itself is capable of. But when a reporter with a personal connection to the story comes asking her for the inside scoop, will Ali remain loyal to the family who never saw her as anything other than the help? Or will she tell her side?

Our thoughts: It's a novel that demands your full attention- in a good way. It's incredibly well-written, the scenes so realistic that you can envision yourself smack in the middle of the story.

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll select the winners after 3pm on Monday, August 27th.

Fun fact: Her first novel, The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy has been optioned to be a TV series in the US.

Where you can read more about Fiona Neill: Her website.


1. Wear a bikini. Youth is lovely, beautiful and effortless so make the most of it. I look back at photos of myself as a teenager and can’t believe how critical I was about my appearance. Teenagers have wonderful bodies in all shapes and sizes. Appreciate it and don’t over-analyze tiny flaws. And be kind to your hair. I had a perm. It looked terrible and required too much upkeep.

2. Parents are mostly right. ‘You’re wearing too much make-up.’ ‘Thirteen is too young to see the Sex Pistols live, even if it might be their last concert.’ ‘I’m picking you up at midnight even if the party is meant to end at 3am.’ ‘Your grandfather’s long johns are not a good look.’  I grew up on a remote farm in rural East England with fairly strict Scottish parents. My friend’s parents were all very laissez faire and Bohemian and I resented the way my parents interfered in my life. I now realize that they prevented me from developing many of the vices that have plagued the lives of some of my contemporaries. They also made me work in the holidays from a young age, which engendered a good work ethic.

3. Don’t burn your diaries. Sometime in my late teens I re-read the diaries I had assiduously kept on a daily basis since I was eleven and decided to destroy them. Obviously they were a testimony to the mood swings and utter self-absorption of adolescence and had no literary value. But now that I have teenage children and am writing teenage characters in my novels, I wish that could read through them to remind myself how it all felt. I would like to pick up the threads of who I was then to see how it impacted on who I am and what I do now.

4. Don’t give up sport. This isn’t post-Olympic euphoria. Until I was sixteen, I played sport six days a week at school. Then when I had the choice to give up, I abandoned it in a fit of pique and stopped taking regular exercise for the next two decades. It has taken me years to make the association between exercise and emotional and physical wellbeing and I wish someone had pointed this out for me before I became a couch potato. Now I am fitter than I have been since I was eighteen.

5. Stop obsessing over Mark Robbins (not his real name). Your friends are right. He is taking up too much headspace and you would be much better off reading even more books, playing sport, writing about subjects other than him in your diary and wondering if your saggy knees (I know) might be putting him off making a move.  He is now a very over-weight, bald middle-aged man who sells industrial storage space.  Don’t waste time on people who don’t make you feel good about yourself and sidetrack you from the things that you are really interested in.

Thanks, Fiona! xoxo,

Liz & Lisa









Thérèse's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Thérèse Why we love her: She wrote the perfect end of summer read.

Her latest: India's Summer

The scoop on it: It's the story of India Butler, single and about to turn forty, who travels from London to LA to reinvent herself. In a world illuminated by the flashbulbs of the paparazzi, she discovers the true meaning of “having it all’ while spending the summer with her sister Annabelle, a famous Hollywood actress, and her brother -in -law, a legendary rock musician.

They welcome India into their opulent, fast-paced lifestyle, whisking her from fabulous fundraisers to parties each more opulent than the last. This does nothing for India’s confidence and she maintains a wry detachment until she begins dating Adam, a gorgeous A- list actor. In an attempt to appear more successful she lies to him about her career.

Disaster strikes and India is drawn behind the veneer of Hollywood glitz and glamor and into Hollywood’s private lives. As her illusions about the perfection of their LA lifestyle fade away, India has an epiphany about her own real talents. .

India is in her element until her new life in LA unravels.

Our thoughts: We love a character we can root for. We were with India every step of the way.

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll select the winners after 3pm PST on Monday, August 27th.

Fun fact: Orlando Bloom, Goldie Hawn and Jane Green have all praised India's Summer.

Where you can read  more about Therese: Facebook, Twitter and her website.


1. Pay more attention in your French classes because one day you will fall in love with Paris and be embarrassed that you can’t speak the language properly. This will lead you to be rendered speechless in case anyone suspects. You look French. You have a French name. You like French food and French style, so learn the language why don’t you.

2. This is not an appropriate age to go steady. Why have you become so attached to one boy? You should be out dancing not sitting at home playing Scrabble. Dancing is legal at all ages- but ‘dirty- dancing’ looks ridiculous at a certain age. You’ll know what that age is when you reach it.

3. Don’t listen to those nuns. They haven’t been out in the world for years. What would they know? One day a woman called Madonna, (the one who is not the mother of Jesus)  will make you feel a whole lot less guilty about not being a Catholic.

4. Neon is not a fashion forward choice at any age. White pants only really work in denim or linen and only then if you have a change of clothes in your purse.

5. Good girlfriends will last a lifetime. Pick wisely. I know you will.

Thanks, Therese!


Liz & Lisa

Mary Carter's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Todays' guest: Mary Carter Why we love her: Although she's written several novels, this is the first we've read. We always love discovering an author we adore and can't wait to read more from.

Her latest: The Things I Do For You

The scoop on it: After years of supporting her husband Brad's generally ill-fated career ventures, Bailey Jordan has a job and a life she loves, working as a high profile real estate agent in Manhattan. Things are wonderful, and she's ready to start a family. Everything changes when Brad is involved in a car crash and dies for thirteen minutes. Previously an agnostic, Brad comes back to life on a mission. Unbeknownst to his wife, he buys a lighthouse on the Hudson River and plans to turn it into a bed and breakfast. Bailey reluctantly joins him, but she's overwhelmed by business stresses, eclectic guests, and strange rumours. And as Brad's behaviour grows increasingly erratic, she must find a way to get him to come back down to earth if their marriage is to survive...

Our thoughts: We're always suckers for a good love story. This was sweet, heartfelt and hit home.

Giveaway:5 copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners after 3PM PST on Sunday, August 12.

Fun fact: Mary has started, The Writers’ Den, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where she will be teaching the exact writing course that helped her write and publish her first novel. Aspiring writers in the New York City area can go to to this website for more information.

Where you can read more about Mary: Her website.


1. Don’t put more effort into a boy than he is putting into you I wasted a lot of time chasing boys, concentrating all of my energy on whichever one I had a crush on, putting a higher value on them than I did myself. It not only doesn’t work, the guy you think is so wonderful often disappoints. If he likes you, you can bet he’ll return your calls, be interested in your dreams and goals, and treat you like you treat him. Be happy and confident, let boys be the icing on the cake.

2. You are not fat I would give anything for the body I had back in high school. Problem was, I didn’t appreciate it then either. I thought I was fat. I hated my thighs. I would go on fad diets, and stay up nights before vacations exercising. Taking care of your body is one thing, obsessing over it is another. Crazy thing is? It usually has nothing to do with what you really look like. If you can get it out of your head, you’ll be much happier.

3. Doing a little bit every day adds up to a lot more than cramming it in all at once I used to wait until the last minute to do most things: practice piano, write that essay or report that was due the next day, even exercise. Now, as an author with deadlines, I realize the time I spend every day working on my projects gets me a lot further at the end of the year than procrastinating until it’s do or die. Take writing for example: One page a day equals the first draft of a novel at the end of a year. A little bit really does add up to a lot.

4. Don’t quit the saxophone or piano I played both growing up, then just drifted away from them after high school. I’d give anything now to be able to whip out my saxophone while waiting for the subway and serenade the commuters. Or have a few gigs a week in little clubs in the village. Or tinkle the ivories on the side. If you have a talent like that, don’t let it slip away! May seem like drudgery now, but some day it will be way cool.

5. Cherish your family My mom and I fought a lot when I was a teenager. Our temperaments were too similar. I remember one screaming match before school where I yelled: “You’re acting like my mother!” There was a pause, then she said quietly, “I am your mother.” It made us both crack up. These days my mother is my best friend and has been the one person who has always had my back. At times, we tend to treat those we love the most the worst.  Once in awhile step back and realize they really are on your side, even when they’re driving you crazy.

Thanks, Mary!


Liz & Lisa

Kathleen McCleary's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Kathleen McCleary Why we love her:  Her writing is honest and heartfelt. We've all been where her characters have been. We love that we can relate.

Her latest: A Simple Thing

The scoop on it: When Susannah Delaney discovers her young son is being bullied and her adolescent daughter is spinning out of control, she moves them to remote, rustic Sounder Island to live for a year. A simple island existence—with no computers or electricity and only a one-room schoolhouse—is just what her over scheduled East Coast kids need to learn what's really important in life. But the move threatens her marriage to the man she's loved since childhood, and her very sense of self.

For Betty Pavalak, who moved to Sounder to save her own troubled marriage, the island has been a haven for fifty years. But Betty also knows the guilt of living with choices made long ago and actions that cannot be undone. The unlikely friendship between Susannah and Betty ignites a journey of self-discovery for both women and brings them both home to what they love most. A Simple Thing moves beyond friendship, children, and marriages to look deeply into what it means to love and forgive—yourself.

Our thoughts: A moving story about friendship and forgiveness.

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, August 5 after 3PM PST.

Fun fact: At age 12 she was briefly considered for the lead role in “The Exorcist,” until her mother found out what the movie was about. (Her mom had a friend who was a casting agent.)

Where you can read more about Kathleen: Twitter, Facebook or her website.


1. No one is really paying that much attention. Do you know how self-conscious you feel? How shy? Let it go. Really. Everyone around you is busy thinking their own thoughts and worrying about the minutiae of their own lives. They don’t notice your pimples (well, okay, maybe that one giant one in the middle of your forehead) or your bad hair days or your bowlegs or that stupid thing you said at a party three weeks ago. And if they do notice all that stuff and tell you about it, they’re not worth your notice. Let them go.

2. Hang on to that friend. Your girlfriend across the street, the one you share most things with, including your biggest crushes, a love of Motown music, and your first taste of alcohol? She’s a keeper. She’ll be the maid of honor in your wedding; you’ll care for her oldest daughter while she’s in the hospital giving birth to baby number two, she’ll cry with you when your father dies, and you’ll still laugh so hard every time you get together that your face hurts. Friends like that don’t come along too often. When you run across one, hang on to her as though your life depends on it. Someday, it will.

3. You get better with age. I’m not kidding. That baby fat will drop away. You’ll lose those chubby cheeks and that awkward way of standing with both arms crossed over your stomach (which believe me, is flatter than you think). You’ll figure out that you are at least as smart as everyone else. You won’t be afraid to express your opinions, to admit it when you’re wrong, or to apologize. You’ll be great at things you never dreamed you’d be good at, like soothing a fussy baby and writing and doing handstands (no kidding!). You’ll learn to love your body for what it can do, and not hate it for what it doesn’t look like. You’ll laugh more easily and without self-consciousness. You’ll understand with your whole being how important it is to be kind. You’ll understand that this is what true beauty is about.

4. It’s okay to be a book nerd. Keep reading. I know you spend a lot of time alone in the library. You know what? One day, you’re going to write books that will sit on those shelves. It’s your little shot at immortality. Grab it.

5. You are worthy. Of attention, of respect, of love, of understanding, of forgiveness—from yourself most of all. You’re a keeper, too. Take care of yourself. Be kind.

Thanks, Kathleen!


Liz & Lisa



Emily Arsenault's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guest today: Emily Arsenault Why we love her: Her books are captivating-we can't get anything else done once we crack it open!

Her latest: Miss Me When I'm Gone

The scoop: Author Gretchen Waters made a name for herself with her bestseller Tammyland—a memoir about her divorce and her admiration for country music icons Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton that was praised as a "honky-tonk Eat, Pray, Love." But her writing career is cut abruptly short when she dies from a fall down a set of stone library steps. It is a tragic accident and no one suspects foul play, certainly not Gretchen's best friend from college, Jamie, who's been named the late author's literary executor.

But there's an unfinished manuscript Gretchen left behind that is much darker than Tammyland: a book ostensibly about male country musicians yet centered on a murder in Gretchen's family that haunted her childhood. In its pages, Gretchen seems to be speaking to Jamie from beyond the grave—suggesting her death was no accident . . . and that Jamie must piece together the story someone would kill to keep untold.

Our thoughts: Beautifully written-we think you'll love this one.  Throw a copy in your suitcase and relax with it by the pool.

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and we'll choose the winners on Sunday, August 5th after 6pm PST.

Fun fact: Emily and her husband served in the Peace Corps together in South Africa!

Where to read more about Emily: her website, or Facebook.


1. Stop trying to write confessional poetry. You are sixteen years old. You have nothing to confess. Put down the pen, close the notebook, and go read a good book or have a cookie or something. You’re embarrassing yourself.

2. Talk to your grandmother more. Ask her about her life. Your grandmother lives just up the street from you, but you are so focused on personal dramas and grades and getting into a fancy college that you rarely have real conversations with her. During your first semester of college, she’ll pass away and they’ll bury her in Arlington National Cemetery because she was an army nurse in WWII. They’ll mention in the eulogy that the ship she served on was called the Mercy. It’ll dawn on you that you never knew that before. You never asked. Over the next few months and years, you’ll think of about a hundred more questions you wish you’d asked. For this you will feel very sad and very foolish.

3.  You know who your real friends are. Pay more attention to treating them well than obtaining newer, “cooler” ones. Your friends put up with a lot from you. You don’t always deserve it.  Do you remember their birthdays? Do you make a real effort to cheer them up when they feel down or stressed? Bring them chicken soup when they’re sick? Not so often? You might try a little bit harder

4.  Quit obsessing about grades. Yes, doing well in school is important, but grades are relatively meaningless symbols on a piece of paper, not assessments of your worth as a person. To put it in perspective: a few years from now you’ll be helping your mother clean her house and you’ll toss those precious report cards of yours in a Dumpster without even glancing at them.

5. Yes, you’re weird. The sooner you own it, the happier you’ll be. You’re not fooling anyone pretending to like the music, books, and movies you think you’re supposed to like. You’re too much of a nerd for anyone to notice if you’re wearing Gap clothes or not, so why not spend that money instead on a harmonica or The Collected Plays of Edward Albee or a trip to Graceland? And no, not everyone will “get” your sense of humor, but always biting your tongue makes you feel invisible and miserable.

Thanks Emily! xoxo, L&L

Kitty Pilgrim's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Kitty Pilgrim Why we love her: She's an incredible talent we wish we'd discovered sooner!

Her latest: The Stolen Chalice

The scoop on it: The black-tie gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art promises to be a star-studded evening. Cordelia Stapleton and John Sinclair have flown in from Alexandria, Egypt, to help celebrate ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian culture with New York’s elite. The influential crowd of artists, collectors, scientists, and New York society dine and dance at the museum’s historic Temple of Dendur, unaware that terrorists are planning to attack. Fortunately, museum security and police stop the terrorists, but the evening is a disaster.

The next morning, Cordelia and Sinclair learn that an art theft ring struck New York while they were at the museum. All over the city, pieces of Egyptian art have been stolen. Ted VerPlanck—a pillar of New York society whom Cordelia met the night before—discovers that his penthouse apartment was robbed and the legendary Sardonyx Cup, an ancient Egyptian chalice, is missing. Ted asks John Sinclair to help him recover his precious artifact.

Despite Cordelia’s objections, Sinclair calls on his old flame the Egyptologist Dr. Holly Graham to help find the chalice. They discover the stolen art is being sold on the black market to fund an international terrorist group. The group’s leader, a sinister Egyptian anarchist, and his aristocratic British partner, Lady Xandra Sommerset, are planning a biological-weapon attack to topple the major governments of the world.

Aided by British and American security forces, Sinclair sets out to find the missing art, which holds clues to where and when the attack will take place. Pieces of stolen art are scattered around the world. The action moves from a sprawling ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to a castle on Scotland’s rugged coastline, a beautiful two-hundred-foot yacht in the Mediterranean, the mysterious canals of Venice, the premier beach resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, and ultimately Cairo. Romance sizzles as Sinclair, Cordelia, and Holly Graham are caught in a love triangle, distracted by their emotions, and unknowingly moving closer to mortal danger.

Superstition and science meet head-on. And one question remains unanswered—does the Sardonyx Cup have special powers?

Our thoughts: So unlike anything else we've read in a while- we found this novel completely refreshing!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win- we'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, July 29 after 3pm PST.

Fun fact: Before becoming an author, Kitty was an anchor and journalist for CNN.

Where you can read more about Kitty: Twitter, Facebook and her website.


1. Don’t worry about your personal style – It develops as you go. For many women, a lot of time goes into figuring out “who am I?” in terms of style.  For me, the love of ultra feminine things– tea parties and tutus, seemed to contrast with the explorer who wanted to ride elephants though jungles and don arctic gear. Over the years I learned there is room for both without having to undergo a personality morph.  Don’t limit yourself to one style.  Let your personal flair develop naturally.

2. Wing it!  It seems a lot of time and effort goes into being in the “right field” or in the “right school”.  Too much time is spent on strategizing with the goal of finding the optimal situation.  But in reality there are many ways to succeed.  Most of the famous and accomplished women did not have a “game plan”.  (Madam Curie, Gertrude Bell, Eleanor Roosevelt) They simply followed their instincts and interests with their full energy, and ended up being luminaries in their fields.

3. Seek out people who are different from you.  If you run with a pack of clones, how will you really know what you think and what is group-think? Seek out new people, new cultures, new places and you will grow in experience as well as confidence.

4. Don’t exercise.  (I’m joking -sort of!) Don’t destroy your soul with mind-numbing exercises with the intent of dropping down a dress size. Of course you shouldn’t be a couch potato. Be active!  But do stimulating things that also feed your brain and sense of adventure. Take a walk through a new neighborhood, a museum or a new city – more fun than a treadmill.  Swim at the beach, ski a new trail, bike with a friend, or learn to do the tango. Do interesting things that you enjoy and you will always be fit.

5. Breeze past the negative  - Don’t take negative comments to heart.  Forget the snide school lunchroom comments about your big feet, your crooked nose, or stringy hair.   As a teenager I took too many critical comments seriously.  Your life is not up for review by others. Plug your ears, and look out at the world and dream of what you want to accomplish.

Thanks, Kitty! xoxo,


Emily Giffin's 5 Things I'd tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Emily Giffin Why we love her: She will always have a special place in our heart. Her first novel, Something Borrowed inspired us to get off our booties and start writing.

Her latest: Where We Belong (July 24)

The scoop on it: Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.

For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.

Our thoughts: Loved the dual narrative and hearing from both women about how they were affected by adoption. Also loved and appreciated the unexpected ending!

Giveaway:FIVE copies. Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, July 29 after 3PM PST.

Fun fact: Check out this fun video Emily made. (She reveals 12 things we didn't know about her.)

Where you can read more about Emily: Twitter, Facebook and her website.


1. Drop your cash on one great pair of jeans or jacket instead of 15 tops at Forever 21. I finally figured this one out at about age thirty, and I swear I’ve saved so much money with the philosophy.

2. Don’t wear too much makeup, but if you must, don’t pull so hard on your skin when you remove it. Especially your under eye area. And appreciate your taut, perfect neck every single day!

3. When you know a relationship is over, move on and move on fast. You can waste years trying to make something work that isn’t meant to be.

4. You can quit the band, but don’t quit playing your instrument. You’ll wish you knew how later. Ditto to your foreign language!

5. The girl who is being mean to you? You won’t remember her name. And if you do, it’s because she now comes to your book signings!

Thanks, Emily!


Liz & Lisa

Claire & Mia Fontaine's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guests today: Claire and Mia Fontaine Why we love them: Their writing is honest and hilarious. And they have no qualms about putting it all out there.

Their latest: Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Each Other, Themselves and The World (July 17)

The scoop on it: A mother, a daughter, and a life-changing adventure around the world. Their bestselling memoir, Come Back, moved and inspired readers with the story of Mia Fontaine's harrowing drug addiction and her mother, Claire's, desperate and ultimately successful attempts to save her. Now it's a decade later and Claire and Mia each face a defining moment in her life, and a mother-daughter relationship that has frayed around the edges. At fifty-one, Claire's shed her identity as Mia's savior but realizes that, oops, she forgot to plan for life after motherhood; Mia, twenty-five and eager to step outside her role as recovery's poster child, finds adult life isn't all it's cracked up to be. Determined to transform themselves and their relationship once again, the pair sets off on a five-month around-the-world adventure.

What awaits them is an extraordinary, often hilarious journey through twenty cities and twelve countries—one that includes mishaps, mayhem, and unexpected joys, from a passport-eating elephant to a calamitous camel ride around the Pyramids—and finally making peace with their tumultuous past in the lavender fields of France, where they live for the last four months of the trip. Seeing how self-possessed and community-minded twentysomethings are in other countries broadens Mia's perspective, helping her grow, and grow up. Claire uses the trip to examine her broken relationship with her own mother, a Holocaust survivor, and to create a vision for her second act. Watching her mom assess half a century of life, Mia comes to know her as Claire has always known Mia—as all mothers know their daughters—better than anyone else, and often better than themselves.

Wiser for what they've learned from women in other cultures, and from each other, they return with a deepened sense of who they are and where they want to go—and with each embracing the mature friendship they've discovered and the profound love they share.

Read an excerpt here.

Our thoughts: What's better than a book about travel, the nuances, complications and bonds of a mother/daughter relationship with a lot of heart and laughter mixed in?

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Just leave a comment to be entered to win- we'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, July 15 after 3PM PST.

Fun fact: Both Claire and Mia are also national public speakers.

Where you can read more about Claire and Mia: Facebook, Pinterest and their website


(PS: Could they be any more gorgeous??)


Five things I’d tell my teenage self? Now that I’m fifty-five, I realize that some of them aren’t much different than things I’d tell my forty-year-old self (which tells you what a late bloomer I am).

1. You know those grand, romantic dreams you used to have of a “great love?” Of finding your Heathcliff, your Rochester (I guess nowadays it would be your Edward)? Before you decided it was nerdy, pathetic, and unrealistic? Well, it does exist, and it’s going to take four decades and a lot of work for you to become the kind of woman who will attract your Rochester, but you will, trust me on that. And it will be everything you dreamed and more, far more.

2. Listen to what your mom tells you on the Three Big M’s of a woman’s life – money, men, and motherhood. She’s got thirty years, two marriages, six kids, three cultures, and five languages on you and she knows a lot more than you think she does. She’ll turn out to be right on just about everything.

3. You know all those hours you’re spending trying to iron your frizzy hair with heated tin cans, saving for a nose job, and sucking in your lips to make them look smaller because kids made fun of them? Go out and spend those hours having fun instead.

4. Don’t follow a boyfriend to college. You’ll end up leaving him and the school in a year, and with it your dreams.

5. Don’t spend so much time alone or focused on the two jaded, cool girls you hope will like you. Join a team, the school paper, a club; those kids are much nicer and way more fun.

MIA, age 29

1. For all the times your mom says “one day you'll thank me for this–“—it’s true. Seriously. True. You’re rolling your eyes and groaning now when she insists on French lessons, looking up words you don’t know the meaning of, and joining a sports team, but you’ll be really glad when you’re bi-lingual, articulate, and able to join in a pick-up soccer game.

2. Be nice. You have more of an impact on those around you than you can imagine, and a few nice, or thoughtless, words or deeds go a long way. Sometimes things you don’t even remember saying or doing are remembered by others for years to come.

3. No matter how much more “together” than you someone seems, they’re not. College is where everyone opens up about how unattractive, insecure, and unpopular they felt in high school. Even the “popular” girls.

4. Save your clothing. At some point it’s guaranteed to come back in style, at which point either your daughter will want it, or you can sell it as vintage.

5. Amazing but true: one day you’ll actually enjoy classical music. And salad.

Thanks Claire and Mia!


Liz & Lisa

Jennifer Weiner's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Jennifer Weiner! Why we love her: Too many reasons to count! (#5 of the "5 Things" she'd tell her teen self is yet another reason.)

Her latest: The Next Best Thing (July 3)

The scoop: Actors aren’t the only ones trying to make it in Hollywood.…At twenty-three, Ruth Saunders left her childhood home in Massachusetts and headed west with her seventy-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to make it as a screenwriter. Six years later, she hits the jackpot when she gets The Call: the sitcom she wrote, The Next Best Thing, has gotten the green light, and Ruthie’s going to be the showrunner. But her dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on her boss, and her grandmother’s impending nuptials.

Set against the fascinating backdrop of Los Angeles show business culture, with an insider’s ear for writer’s room showdowns and an eye for bad backstage behavior and set politics, Jennifer Weiner’s new novel is a rollicking ride on the Hollywood roller coaster, a heartfelt story about what it’s like for a young woman to love, and lose, in the land where dreams come true.

Our thoughts: LOVED. She just keeps getting better. How does she do it?

Fun fact: She mentioned us when she delivered the opening keynote ay BEA’s 2012 Bloggers Conference! We haven't been this excited about anything since Spanx or Lasik eye surgery or Phillip Phillips...

Giveaway: 5 copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm PST on Sunday, July 29.

Want to see Jen on tour? Check out her "Cupcakes Across America" book tour schedule.








1.    It gets better. No, really, it does. If I tell you how much better, you won’t even believe me. So just keep reading; keep writing stories, and some day, all those guys who were mean to you in Mr. Hallas’s American History class are going to ask to be your friend on Facebook. (Never mind what Facebook is. Just trust me – they’re going to want to be your friends. It’s going to be amazing).

2.    Just because it’s your wedding doesn’t mean that everyone’s going to start magically behaving themselves. In fact, it is far more likely that they will magically become even more awful/clinging/self-involved/horrible versions of themselves. Just roll with it. Also, enjoy the appetizers, because you aren’t going to be eating any dinner.

3.    You are not fat. Not even close. In fact, you are never going to be thinner than you are right now. Enjoy it.

4.    It’s all material. Your dad is going to abandon you and your siblings. Your mother’s going to come out of the closet and start dating a woman who wears her wallet on a chain. Your father is going to die, and you’re going to learn about it because the police will call you, and you’ll try to use your Amex to pay for his funeral because you need the miles. It’s all going to be heartbreakingly sad…but it’s going to make you and your siblings so close. It won’t kill you. It will make you stronger. And, someday, you’re going to write about it, and some of the people who read it will feel less alone in the world.

5. Having a book turned into a movie, or hitting the best-seller list, feels wonderful. But nothing feels better than helping someone else’s book take off and find its audience. The sooner you figure that out, the happier you’ll be.

Thanks Jen! xoxo, L&L

To read more about Jen, you can also go to her website, Facebook or Twitter.

Jyotsna Sreenivasan's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Jyotsna Sreenivasan Her latest: And Laughter Fell From the Sky (out today!) 

Why we love her: She writes a powerful novel about the power of love.

The scoop: Still living at home despite a good career and financial independence, beautiful and sophisticated Rasika has always been the dutiful daughter. With her twenty-sixth birthday fast approaching, she agrees to an arranged marriage, all while trying to hide from her family her occasional dalliances with other men.

Abhay is everything an Indian-American son shouldn't be. Having spent his postcollege years living in a commune, he now hops from one dead-end job to another, brooding over what he really wants to do with his life.

Old family friends, Rasika and Abhay seem to have nothing in common, yet when the two reconnect by chance, sparks immediately fly. Abhay loves Rasika, but he knows her family would never approve. Rasika reluctantly accepts she has feelings for Abhay, but can she turn her back on the family rules she has always tried so hard to live by? The search to find answers takes Abhay and Rasika out of their native Ohio to Oregon and India, where they find that what they have together might just be something worth fighting for.

Our thoughts: A charming debut that we couldn't put down. One of the best books we've read in a long time. 

Fun fact: We read the book because Laura Dave blurbed it. Love her taste in authors. She also turned us on to the fabulous Isabel Gillies.

Giveaway: 5 copies! Just leave a comment and we'll randomly select the winners after 6pm PST on Sunday, June 24.

Where you can read more about Jyotsna: Facebook , Twitter and her website.


1. Mom and Dad worked a lot harder to raise you than you’ll ever realize. Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t realize how hard it is to be a parent, or I’d never have become one! My mom and dad were always there for me, maintaining a stable house and life. It looks easy when someone else is doing it for you!

2. You don’t have to pretend that you have it all together. It’s OK to ask for help. When I was a teen and young adult, I somehow had the idea that seeing a counselor or asking for help was only for people who were really messed up—and I didn’t want to be in that category! So I just muddled through my life, making some good decisions and some bad decisions. I wish I had realized that being human means that none of us has it all together, and that all of us need help at times.

3. Boys are a lot less mature and responsible, and probably a lot less clean, than you think they are. Now that I have a teenaged son, this has become immensely clear to me. . . .

4. Sometimes it’s OK to be angry, to show your anger, and to make sure you get your way. I was a “nice girl” and it was only years later that I realized that my anger came out in passive-aggressive ways. For example, some of those bad decisions I mentioned above were made, I think, mainly to annoy my parents. Instead of just getting angry and getting over it, I made decisions that ended up affecting me for years.

5. God is there for you even though you’re going through your agnostic phase. My parents believe in God, and I was taught to say prayers and to believe in God. I thought this was what everyone did. Then I got to high school and encountered teachers who did not necessarily believe in the existence of God. At that time, this seemed very sophisticated to me. I’m glad now that God was looking out for me even when I didn’t realize it.

Thanks, Jyotsna!


Liz & Lisa

Bianca Zander's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guest today: Bianca Zander Why we love her: Not only does her debut novel rock, but the 5 things she'd tell her teen self are spot on!

Her latest: The Girl Below

The scoop on it: After ten years in New Zealand, Suki returns to London, to a city that won't let her in. However, a chance visit with Peggy—an old family friend who still lives in the building where she grew up—convinces Suki that there is a way to reconnect with the life she left behind a decade earlier. But the more involved she becomes with Peggy's dysfunctional family, including Peggy's wayward sixteen-year-old grandson, the more Suki finds herself mysteriously slipping back in time—to the night of a party her parents threw in their garden more than twenty years ago, when something happened in an old, long-unused air-raid shelter. . . .

Our thoughts: Want to dive into something a bit deeper at the pool this summer?  Then pick up Bianca's engrossing novel.

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and we'll choose a winner on Sunday June 24th after 6pm PST.

Fun Fact: Bianca is a Brit but has spent the last two decades in New Zealand!


1. Go easy on the war paint, especially foundation. Later on in life, you will spend a small fortune trying to get your skin to look half as good as it does now, and you will look at photos of yourself in badly applied orange gunk and wince. Instead wear sunscreen, drink water and don’t smoke. Sticking to this theme: the single most beautiful thing in the world is youth. At this point, it’s impossible to comprehend just how beautiful you are simply by virtue of being young, but one day you’ll wish that for even one second you had appreciated what you had, while you still had it.

2. In social situations, don’t waste time feeling embarrassed or self-conscious. Ninety nine percent of the time, people are too absorbed in their own dramas to pay even the slightest bit of attention to yours. Even if your dress is falling off, chances are no one has noticed, and if they have noticed, within seconds their attention will have switched back to its default focus: their own dress.

3. Don’t bother crushing on guys who aren’t interested in you. They will never be interested in you—and no amount of witty puns, sidelong glances or white-girl dance moves will change their minds. The same applies in reverse: if a guy IS interested in you, don’t dismiss him as a psycho until you know that he really is one.

4. What your mother says about guys being only interested in one thing is truer than you can imagine. This is confusing in relation to the last point because occasionally a guy who isn’t interested in you will go to great lengths to have sex with you, and if he does: run a mile. You won’t run a mile, you’ll be pathetically, cringingly grateful but after you have slept with him, he will get dressed in the blink of an eye and the fact that he’s not that into you will hit you like a freight train. Which brings me to point 4b: always use a condom.

5. Despite falling into all the above pitfalls, you will also eventually fall in love, and even though it seems utterly inconceivable, your first love will not be your last. Try to remember this when your first love cheats on you and then dumps you for a trashy-looking slut.

Thanks Bianca!  xoxo, L&L

To read more about Bianca, head on over to Facebook and Twitter!

Claire Cook's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Claire Cook Her latest: Wallflower in Bloom

Why we love her: What's not to love? She's a bestselling author of 9 fabulous books (always the perfect summer reads). Not to mention she's super supportive of lil ol' authors trying to make it in the big ol' publishing world. Ahem, like two gals you might know.

The scoop: Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound.

Then Deirdre’s sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun.

Our thoughts: As reality TV junkies, we love the idea of a regular gal making it on a show like Dancing with the Stars. C'mon, how great is that?

Giveaway: 5 copies of Wallflower in Bloom (one of them is signed by Claire!). Leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Monday, June 18 after 6PM PST.

Fun fact: Lisa recently got to meet Claire. She's hilarious. And she has great stories about a lot of things-- including John Cusack.

Where you can read more about Claire: Facebook, Twitter and her website.




Thank you so much for inviting me to do this, Liz and Lisa! And can I say how excited I was to finally meet Lisa in person on book tour – so much fun hanging out with you, Lisa! xxxxx

1. When people show you their true colors, color yourself convinced the first time. Do not give them three or four or twelve chances to redeem themselves. Do not think that if you were a better friend, you would inspire them to be, too. Skip all the drama that’s sure to follow, and get out now.

2. Always do more than the situation requires. When you do just the bare minimum, that’s what comes back to you. And because so few people do more than they have to do in any given situation, it’s a great way to stand out.

3. Karma is a boomerang. Do nice things for people. Lots of people. One day you will find that the goodwill this has generated over the years is the thing that propels you to where you want to go.

4. Hang around with the quirky people. They’re so much more interesting than the cool people.

5. Life is long. If you don’t write a book by the time you’re twenty, you’re not a failure. You simply need to live your life to find your stories. There’s no rush, and you will have soooo much fun and appreciate it more when it finally happens to you at forty-five. Yeah, I know that sounds ridiculously old, but trust me, it feels different when you get there.

Thanks, Claire!



Zoe Fishman's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Zoe Fishman Why we love her: Her writing is insightful and heartfelt!

Her latest: Saving Ruth

The scoop on it: When Ruth returns home to the South for the summer after her freshman year at college, a near tragedy pushes her to uncover family truths and take a good look at the woman she wants to become.

Growing up in Alabama, all Ruth Wasserman wanted was to be a blond Baptist cheerleader. But as a curly-haired Jew with a rampant sweet tooth and a smart mouth, this was an impossible dream. Not helping the situation was her older brother, David—a soccer star whose good looks, smarts, and popularity reigned at school and at home. College provided an escape route and Ruth took it.

Now home for the summer, she's back lifeguarding and coaching alongside David, and although the job is the same, nothing else is. She's a prisoner of her low self-esteem and unhealthy relationship with food, David is closed off and distant in a way he's never been before, and their parents are struggling with the reality of an empty nest. When a near drowning happens on their watch, a storm of repercussions forces Ruth and David to confront long-ignored truths about their town, their family, and themselves.

Our thoughts: Liz devoured it over spring break while sitting by the pool sipping margaritas.  She LOVED it with a capital L! Throw it into your beach bag pronto.

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners Sunday May 20th after 6pm PST.

Fun Fact: Zoe met her husband on the subway after working up the nerve for years to say hello to him. Awwwww....


1.Have a point of view.  It’s okay to have an opinion that’s different from everyone else’s. If you believe strongly in or about something, speak up. Who cares if some people are annoyed, or you ruffle a feather or two? As long as you speak from the heart and are respectful of the other perspective, you’re golden.

2.Leave your hair alone. Your hair is curly. Put down the hair drier, invest in a killer product and let it be. Looking like ZZ Top is not the look.

3.Devote about 85% of the energy you waste obsessing about boys and your weight to reading and writing. Oy. If I had a penny for every journal entry that went on and on about some idiot that treated me like crap or my food ingestion guilt, I would be a very rich woman. Personal enrichment is a much better idea than driving past some guy’s house 16 times on a Saturday afternoon. Not that I ever did that.

4.Raise your hand more in class. Ask questions. If you’re unsure about something, ask! No question is dumb. Well, some questions are dumb, but I happen to know that you are smart enough to know the difference.

5.It’s okay to be vulnerable. You don’t have to be a tough girl all the time. Softness is actually a very endearing quality. Besides, you’re really not fooling the people that know you best.

Thanks Zoe! xoxo, L&L

To read more about Zoe, head on over to her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Josie Brown's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Josie Brown Why we love her: She writes about seemingly perfect people and communities that turn out to be not so perfect.

Her latest eBook: The Housewife Assassin's Handbook

The dealio on it: Every housewife wants an alias. Donna Stone* has one, and it happens to be government sanctioned. Oh sure, you need to be ruthless to take on Russian mafia bosses, rogue dictators, and terrorists set on destroying the world. But it takes real killer instincts to survive suburbia. Try juggling the fifth grade phone tree during a shootout with skinhead arms dealers.

Donna’s life wasn’t always this complicated. Five years earlier she was just another woman with two preschoolers, a baby bump, and an adoring husband: Carl, with whom she lived happily ever after in a McMansion in the Orange County, California community of Hilldale. But Donna’s life was changed forever the night she delivered her baby: Carl’s car blew up on the way to the hospital.

Turns out Carl was a “hard man”—an assassin—for the black ops organization known as Acme Industries. The hit on Alex was carried out by the Quorum, a terrorist cell he was tracking. The Quorum’s motto: “Show me the money.” Governments and corporations do as they’re told—or suffer bloody consequences. To protect herself and avenge Carl’s death, Donna joined Acme. Whereas her hostessing skills rival Martha Stewart’s, her marksmanship is second to none.

A good thing, too, because the Quorum has planted a sleeper cell in Hilldale. Acme’s way of flushing out the Quorum is by “bringing Carl back from the dead.” But terrorism makes strange bedfellows--and brings new meaning to that old adage “Honey, I’m home…”

Our thoughts: Fun and sassy, just the way we like it over here!

Giveaway: We have FIVE eCopies!  Just leave a comment by Sunday May 13th at 6pm PST. And for a chance to win a $50 giftcard to the bookstore of your choice, enter The Housewife Assassin Handbook’s Mother’s Day Contest by reading an excerpt here…

Fun Fact: ABC has bought the rights to Josie's novel,  The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives and will be developing it into a series!


1: Listen to your gut. A few years back I ran into an old boyfriend: someone I’d dated for four years, back when I was a mere twentysomething. Back then I thought he was a keeper. Obviously he had other ideas, which is why,  when I walked into his apartment unannounced and found him in bed with someone else,  I gave into the urge to ram his car in a tree.  Warp speed  a decade later: After the shock and awe of seeing each other, we warily played catch up. Of course, by then both of us were married to others, and had children.

 “You told me that you never wanted kids,” he said with a “A-ha!”  tone.

 “I don’t remember that,” was my response. Then it hit me: “In hindsight, I guess what I meant was, ‘I never want to have kids with you.’”

 Your gut tells you when things are right or wrong. He was all wrong for me. Instead I married the right man, and together we share two children who are (to paraphrase Mary Poppins) practically perfect in every way.

2: Do whatever it is that will make you feel great about yourself. Get contacts. Get vajazzled. Straighten your hair. Hell, get a Mohawk, if you want. Confidence is a priceless trait. No one is saying that looking like Lisbeth Salander is going to change your life (okay, maybe looking like her will crossing the street because they think you’re a badass) but if you look fabulous, you feel fabulous, too.

 3. Be a friend—and hang with friends. How do you know if someone is a true friend? You find that answer when the chips are down.

A good friend is someone who loves you even when you’re not at your best: when you’ve been kicked to the curb by the guy in your life, when you’re having a bad hair day, and when everyone else acts as if you’ve got cooties. Being a friend means having the guts to be the same, even when others have lost confidence in your pal.  Having one or two real friends whom you can call when life is mean or slow or awesome, is priceless. Here’s hoping you find them somewhere on your life’s journey.

4. Karma is a bitch, so don’t cross her. If you find it hard to curb the urge to slash and burn on whimsy, inevitably there will be payback. (Cue SFX of evil cackle…) And yes, it will happen when you least expect it. (Hint: Always wear clean underwear.)

5. Never give up on your dreams. Our dreams define us. They are what drive us to be our best selves. If you believe you can accomplish something, you can. I’m not trying to sound like Tony Roberts or the best fortune cookie you ever opened, but I am living proof that if you have the talent and determination to do something, no one can stand in your way.

 Well, maybe one person: YOU.

Thanks Josie! xoxo, L&L

To read more about Josie, head on over to her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Barbara O'Neal's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Barbara O'Neal Why we love her: We LOVED her last book, How to Bake a Perfect Life and couldn't wait for the next one!

Her latest book: The Garden of Happy Endings

The scoop on it: After tragedy shatters her small community in Seattle, the Reverend Elsa Montgomery has a crisis of faith. Returning to her hometown of Pueblo, Colorado, she seeks work in a local soup kitchen. Preparing nourishing meals for folks in need, she keeps her hands busy while her heart searches for understanding.

Meanwhile, her sister, Tamsin, as pretty and colorful as Elsa is unadorned and steadfast, finds her perfect life shattered when she learns that her financier husband is a criminal. Enduring shock and humiliation as her beautiful house and possessions are seized, the woman who had everything now has nothing but the clothes on her back.

But when the going gets tough, the tough get growing. A community garden in the poorest, roughest part of town becomes a lifeline. Creating a place of hope and sustenance opens Elsa and Tamsin to the renewing power of rich earth, sunshine, and the warm cleansing rain of tears. While Elsa finds her heart blooming in the care of a rugged landscaper, Tamsin discovers the joy of losing herself in the act of giving—and both women discover that with time and care, happy endings flourish.

Our thoughts: Perfect Mother's Day gift for your favorite Mom! Or anyone else for that matter.

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and we'll choose the winners May 13 after 6pm PST.

Fun fact: Barbara has a blog called Writer Afoot-check it out!


1.  Get a sport.  I don’t care what you choose (as long as it isn’t a ball sport, because you and I both know that we have very little coordination and are chosen last for team sports for a reason).   But go ahead, join the cross country team or the swim team—you’ll have fun and make better friends and will be forced to stop the silly smoking thing way before you get lines around your mouth.

2.  You are so much smarter than you think you are.  All those counselors trying to get you to go to college, telling you that you’re smart and you’ll like it and they can find you the money?  Listen to them.  Smart is better that hot and you’re going to end up in college anyway in a couple of years, at which time the guy you think you CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT is going to be pissed off and you’ll end up leaving him. Let me say it again: smart will get you a lot more satisfaction than being hot. Not that hotness is bad.

3. Trust your sisters.  They are going to be in your corner for so much longer than anyone else you know right now.   They might be annoying, but hey, you’re annoying, too, and they still love you.  Even when you borrow shirts without asking.

4.  High school will not last forever. I promise.  It’s boring and exhausting and the hours are incredibly irritating, but college will be fantastic.  You will love it and you will finally get to explore all the things you think are incredibly interesting—writing, of course, but also photography and life drawing and anthropology and psychology and horticulture. The parties are great, but the classes are even better.

5.  There are approximately 150 million young men in the world.  A lot of them will be interesting and exciting to you, so don’t put up with guys who cannot hold a conversation and only want to go out to their friends’ houses and drink beer.  Find somebody who likes the things you do, which is talking and writing and thinking and movies, and hang out with HIM.  Smart guys will bring more satisfaction than a merely hot one. Not that hotness is bad.

Thanks Barbara!  xoxo, L&L

To read more about Barbara, head on over to her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Laura Dave's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Laura Dave Why we love her: She was one of our first ever author crushes

Her latest: The First Husband (Out in paperback tomorrow- April 24!)

The scoop: Annie Adams thinks she has it all. Her longtime boyfriend, Nick, is on the verge of becoming a successful film director, her travel column is nationally syndicated, and they've got a great dog. Her life finally feels like it is falling into place. Until, out of nowhere, Nick announces that he's reconnected with a woman from his past and he's moving out. Reeling from Nick's exit, Annie stumbles into her neighborhood bar and finds Griffin, a down to earth chef who seems to be everything she didn't know she wanted. Three months later, they're married. And Annie finds herself in a small Massachusetts town -- completely unmoored and wondering if she's picked a life on the rebound. When Nick returns, wanting a second chance, Annie's stuck: truly torn between her husband and the man she may have been meant to marry.

Our thoughts: The First Husband not only has one of the best titles and book covers out there, but it's a fresh and satisfying story about something we can all relate to--finding "the one."

Fun fact: Lisa first met Laura at Laura's book signing for The Divorce Party (another of our faves!) and sheepishly handed her a copy of our novel, I'll Have Who She's Having. Laura not only accepted it graciously, but actually read it-- proving herself to be an author who never forgets how hard it is to break into this biz.

Giveaway: 5 copies of The First Husband. Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Monday, April 30 after 6pm PST.


1. Remember that you barely passed your driving test.  No need to celebrate by speeding down Fox Meadow Road and getting pulled over a mere seven hours later.  Cry like they do in the movies.  It is the only thing that will save you.

2. Also remember: This is not an episode of My So Called Life.  Seriously, we know you’d like it to be.  But please stop dating the guys who remind you of Jordan Catalano.  Even Angela Chase realized that Krakow was where it was at!  Believe me: One day, in your not too distant future, you’ll realize this too.  And you’ll meet the kind of guy that puts Jordan Catalano to shame.

3. You know more than you think you do.  Give yourself a break.  You may feel like you’re missing something when your ideas of fun and happiness don’t mesh with everyone else’s, but that’s what makes you interesting.  Welcome the quirky, crazy way your mind works—and welcome it in other people.  What makes us feel left out is often the reason we stand out.  Say it to yourself five times fast.

4. Dance more.  Yes, you can be shy, but you love to dance!  So get onto the dance floor, close your eyes, and enjoy yourself.  It’s not just about the dancing.  If you teach yourself to step out of your comfort zone now, you’ll be less inclined to feel embarrassed later on by the other things you really want to do.  So boogie-down, sister.  (Side note: Just don’t do it in your polka dot taffeta dress.  That is still embarrassing.)

5. Learn to cook.  One day, cooking will bring tons of joy to your life.  Why not start now?  You may think it’s uncool, or that you have better things to do, but you already love hanging in the kitchen.  Your mother is a great cook. Spend time with her while she cooks.  There are things you’ll pick up this way that will take twice as long to figure out on your own.  Plus, there’s a TV in the kitchen.  Put Gilmore Girls on in the background while you sauté.  Luke is a TV boyfriend everyone can aspire to.

Thanks, Laura!


Liz & Lisa

To find out more about the fabulous Laura Dave, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.