Best memoirs of 2012

Julie Klam's 5 BEST EVERS

Today's guest: Julie Klam Why we love her: We first fell for her when we read her hilarious and lovable memoir (with the cutest dog you've ever seen on the cover!), You Had Me At Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secret of Happiness and we've devoured everything she's written since.

Her latest: Friendkeeping: A Field Guide to the People You Love, Hate and Can't Live Without Out today! (Which also happens to be Julie's bday! Happy Birthday!)

The scoop on it: With her inimitable wit and disarming warmth, Julie Klam shares with us her experiences, advice, and insight in Friendkeeping, a candid, hilarious look at some of the most meaningful and enjoyable relationships in our lives: our friendships.

After her bestselling You Had Me at Woof, about relationships with dogs, Klam now turns her attention to human relationships to great effect. She examines everything—from the curious world of online friendship to the intersection of friendship and motherhood. She even explores how to hang on to our friendships in the toughest circumstances: when schadenfreude rears its ugly head or when we don’t like our friend’s mate.
Klam relays a mix of brand-new and time-tested wisdom—she finds that longtime friends really can grow up without growing apart; that communication is key; that friendship is one of life’s great, free sources of happiness; that you’re not a friend, just a doormat, if you don’t get back what you give—and her discoveries range from amusing to deeply important.

Our thoughts: As BFF's for over 25 years, this laugh-out-loud funny and heartwarming book.

Giveaway: FIVE COPIES. Just leave a comment & be entered to win. We'll select the winners at 3pm on Sunday, October 28th.

Fun fact: Remember VH1's Pop-up Video? Julie not only wrote for that show, but earned an Emmy nomination.

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


1. song- Baker Street by Gerry Raferty. I was looking at my itunes the other day and thinking I've probably bought that song a million times. It reminds me of being on the floor of my brother Matt's room in our house in Katonah and we were just groovin on our coolness -- I was 11 and he was 13 so all of the coolness was invisible

2. book - I've answered this question a lot lately - it's Fraud by the great David Rakoff. There just is no voice like his, he is the funniest writer ever. The first time I met him I gushed about it and he was so genuinely touched and moved and I thought 'wow, this must not happen to him a lot.' And then I learned half the world told him that.

3. movie- Close Encounters of the Third Kind - I loved it when I was a kid and then it was the first movie I bought as an adult. I'd just watch it over and over and over and over. I used to see Richard Dreyfuss in our diner and I felt like he was an old buddy. I once saw him eating with Richard Masur. I don't know if he had friends that weren't named Richard.

4. piece of advice - If someone is paying you to do something then it's a job and you have to do it the way they want it and on time. I think my pet peeve is people who get all artiste-y about their work. People pay you and people need your product to make money. And they count on you. Don't be a jerk. I think when I first started freelancing my aunt told me, no one wants to hear you bellyache.

5. life moment -First time I held my daughter - I had given birth c-section and had pre-eclampsia and she was a premie. So she was born and they whipped into the NICU and I was sent to a recovery room. It was 22 hours before I got to see her and hold her. I was ready to rip out my cords Hulk style and go get her but someone took pity on me. I couldn't believe her existence and how much I desperately loved her.

Thanks, Julie! xoxo,

Liz & Lisa

Photo credit: Sarah Shatz

7 Seconds in Heaven with Tom Ryan

Our guest today: Tom Ryan Why we want to spend 7 Seconds in Heaven with him: He's adventurous and he loves dogs!  What's not to love?

His latest: Following Atticus

The Scoop: After a close friend died of cancer, middle-aged, overweight, acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan decided to pay tribute to her in a most unorthodox manner. Ryan and his friend, miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch, would attempt to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire's four thousand- foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. It was an adventure of a lifetime, leading them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. At the heart of the amazing journey was the extraordinary relationship they shared, one that blurred the line between man and dog.

Our thoughts: This book has A LOT of heart.  We think you'll fall in love with Tom and Atticus!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win. We'll choose the winners on Sunday, October 21st after 6pm PST.

Fun fact: He has the CUTEST pics of Atticus on his Facebook page.

Where to read more about Tom: His website, Facebook and Twitter.


L&L: You conquered a lot of your fears in FOLLOWING ATTICUS. Tell us about that.

For so many years I was a chicken.  I was afraid of a lot of things and it got to the point where I thought about what a waste it all was.  Life is short and fear is mostly just a liar that robs of us what we want to be and has very little to do with what’s real. So I decided to face up to my fears as I used to face up to dirty cops and politicians and challenge them.  Now I dance with those fears.  Do that enough and they go away.

L&L: Atticus is adorable! Are you guys still climbing together?

I can’t speak for Atticus, but in my imagination he’d rather be considered rugged, but since we’re answering questions for Chick Lit is Not Dead. . . . today he’s adorable. (Do you hear that Atticus? [He’s sitting next to me as I write this.])

To answer your question, I’m still following Atticus, that rugged and adorable dog, up mountains each week.  He’s now ten and a half so we don’t go at it with the same intensity and we mostly seek out mountains we can have to ourselves.  In the beginning, it was all about accomplishment and fundraising for the fight against children’s cancer and for animals in need.  Now it’s simply about doing what we most love to do and doing it with someone we love.  And since Atticus and I both love the same woman and she’s somewhat new to hiking, we’re introducing her to our favorite hikes and all of us are seeing them anew.  For instance, on one of our most recent hikes, a five mile loop that wouldn’t have taken more than three hours in the past, we started out later in the afternoon, took our time, sunbathed on the summit ledges, then on another set of ledges watched the sunset and the rise of the full moon over neighboring mountains.  We stayed there for quite some time, just the three of us, ate a candlelight dinner, and danced to the music piped from my iPhone under the full moon, and returned to the car nine hours later.

L&L: We have a few good men, but most of our readers are women. Tell us why women would love your memoir.

Well, to start off with there’s that adorable dog on the front cover of our book….

Seriously though, our editor at William Morrow, Cassie Jones, bought the rights to our book because she understood our story was not about hiking or dogs.  It’s layered with many themes.  There are, of course, parts of our story about a unique little dog and hiking in these mountains we call home, but as one blogger noted, “Saying Following Atticus is about hiking is like saying Moby Dick is about whaling.”

There are many themes dealt with: the relationships between fathers and sons; friendship; challenges that lead to growth; facing up to fears; links throughout the book to great literature from the past; nature; and more than anything it’s about the transformation that takes place when getting from where we are to where we are supposed to be.  You’ve read our story so you know how it ends, but without giving anything away to those who haven’t, running through the heart of Following Atticus is the thread of love.

L&L: When you're not climbing mountains or writing, what do you like to do?

Coming from the hectic and controversial life of a newspaperman back in Newburyport, I now like to keep things as simple as possible. There’s our quiet and peaceful existence in the mountains where music is playing (usually old jazz or classical) throughout the house, good food is simmering on the stove, candles burning, long walks and equally long naps, and growing with those I most love in the world.  I’ve also been busy changing myself.

In April I made the leap from a 51-year old man who lived on Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC, and Coca Cola to a man who finally decided my love of animals meant I was in denial about what they went through to make it to my plate so I changed.  My switch to a plant-based diet helped me lose twenty-five pounds in nine weeks. The next step was a sixty-seven day juice fast inspired by Joe Cross’s “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” Now off the juice fast, I’m back to the vegan diet and I’m discovering a love of cooking healthy, natural, and delicious foods.  And let me tell you, it’s a heck of a lot easier climbing mountains weighing eighty pounds less.

And when Atticus and I first moved to the mountains I knew I wanted to write for a living and eventually buy a small farm and start taking in abused and neglected animals.  We’ve yet to buy that little farmhouse, but in May we took our first step in that direction by adopting a fifteen year old miniature schnauzer named Will.  He’s mostly blind, all deaf, very arthritic, and had been abandoned in a kill shelter by the only family he knew after fifteen years.  At first Will was a handful – an angry, depressed handful who was in a lot of pain and he spent those first weeks trying to bite me.  But a funny thing happened over time.  We took him in just to give him a place to die with dignity, but now he’s thriving and getting healthier. He’s no longer angry or depressed.  He’s a joy to be with and his life just keeps getting better. He’s a daily reminder that it’s never too late to love or to be loved.

L&L: What's been your fave book of 2012 so far? What are you reading now?

Louise Penny is a favorite of mine and her latest, “The Beautiful Mystery”, is as charming as all of her books are.  Reading Louise is like falling into an old friend.  My nightstand has a pile of the latest from some of my other favorite authors: Katherine Howe, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, John Irving, Lisa Gardner, William Martin, and Christopher Moore. And recently I’ve built up a small library of more than thirty vegan cookbooks.

L&L: We have a lot of aspiring authors that come to the site. What advice would you give them about getting published?

Stop seeking advice and follow your heart.  Step away from writing workshops, stop reading magazines about how to write or get published, and simply write what is inside of you. The only advice I can give is to just be you.  That’s the gift you can give the world.

L&L: What's up next for you?

I’m busy writing my next book (a continuation of our journey), enjoying life with Atticus (and now Will), and the love of my life.  (And yes, I’m keeping her name private for now since that’s what second books are for.)

Thanks Tom! xoxo, L&L

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

Liz & Lisa's Best books for Mom + huge giveaway!

Forget the tired mani-pedi. Or the bazillionth massage gift certificate. Or even the flowers (they'll be gone in a week, maybe sooner). This Mother's Day, we're all about BOOKS. We love 'em and we know you do too. And we've come up with our list of reads that we think will make a perfect addition to any mom's bookshelf. From The Language of Flowers to The B*tch, we've selected a book that will satisfy any mom. So as you're shopping for Mom this year (Mother's Day is just a few days a way) consider giving her a book as a gift.  Or more than one. We'll even help you out with that. Because, today, we're giving away 15 books to one lucky person. Yes, you read that right- 15 (plus a couple of other fun things!) Scroll down for the list of books (and goodies) we're giving away--some from our list of Mother's Day picks and others that we've read and loved along the way...

For the mom with a huge heart...

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Why buy? Elle hailed it as "instantly entrancing" and we couldn't agree more. It's rich with love and emotion as the protagonist fights through her painful past.

The scoop: The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.


For the mom who loves Shades of Grey...

Great Aunt Sophia's Lessons for Bombshells by Lisa Cach

Why buy? Why not? Shades of Grey is proving every mom has fantasies. Plus, that *special someone* in her life will thank you! *Even though it won't be released until June 19, we couldn't resist putting it on the list. Pre-order it here.

The scoop: Grace Cavanaugh is hell-bent on proving her Women’s Studies dissertation thesis that beauty only leads to misery. And what better research subject than her great-aunt Sophia, a former B-movie star? Now eighty-five and facing surgery, Sophia has asked Grace for company. . . .Grace imagines a helpless, lonely old woman, forced to turn to a great-niece she barely knows. Instead she finds the aging diva holding court in a Pebble Beach mansion, oozing a bombshell-itude—arthritis and wrinkles be damned—that captivates every male in sight. To Grace’s dismay, her greataunt decides a perfect distraction would be transforming the frumpy feminist into a femme fatale who purrs for her suitors . . . or devours them. She ordains classes in everything from carb cutting to lingerie, culminating in a challenging final exam. The newly svelte Grace must test her wiles—on both devilishly handsome and morally corrupt Declan and sensitive but painfully awkward Dr. Andrew. Newly unleashed desires—and the discovery of a closely held family secret— threaten the bookworm-turned-babe’s entire feminist upbringing. Her thesis gone sadly awry, Grace wonders if her great-aunt is right: Will trusting her heart lead her to find beauty in the most unexpected places?

For the mom who loves a good (and true!) love story...

The Pioneer Woman:Black Heels to Tractor Wheels- A Love Story by Ree Drummond

Why buy? One of the best memoirs we've read this year.

The scoop: That’s when I saw him—the cowboy—across the smoky room. I’ll never forget that night. It was like a romance novel, an old Broadway musical, and a John Wayne Western rolled into one. Out for a quick drink with friends, I wasn’t looking to meet anyone, let alone a tall, rugged cowboy who lived on a cattle ranch miles away from my cultured, corporate hometown. But before I knew it, I’d been struck with a lightning bolt . . . and I was completely powerless to stop it. This isn’t just my love story; it’s a universal tale of passion, romance, and all-encompassing love that sweeps us off our feet. It’s the story of a cowboy. And Wranglers. And chaps. And the girl who fell in love with them.


For the mom who loves Chick Lit

Skinnydipping by Bethenny Frankel

Why buy? Whether the mom in your life likes reality TV, Bethenny, Chick Lit or just wants an escape, this book is perfect.

The scoop: Faith Brightstone is an aspiring actress just out of college, who moves to L.A. determined to have it all—a job on the most popular TV show, a beach house in Malibu, and a gorgeous producer boyfriend. But when reality hits, she finds herself with a gig as a glorified servant, a role that has more to do with T&A than acting, and a dead-end relationship. Finally, Faith decides she’s had enough of La La Land and moves back to New York with just a suitcase and her dog, Muffin.

Five years later, Faith has finally found her groove as an entrepreneur and manages to land a spot on a new reality TV show hosted by her idol—the legendary businesswoman and domestic goddess Sybil Hunter. Diving into the bizarre world of reality TV, Faith’s loud mouth and tell-it-like-it-is style immediately get her in trouble with her fellow contestants—the delusional socialite; the boozy lifestyle coach; the moody headband designer; and her closest friend, the ambitious housewife who eventually betrays her. Even Sybil is not what she appears. As the show comes to a dramatic close, Faith discovers that the man of her dreams may have just walked into her life. Will she choose fame or love? Or can she have it all?

For the mom looking for some sass...

The B*tch by Jackie Collins

Why buy? Um, it's a no-brainer. It's Jackie Collins! Plus, she re-wrote and published this e-book herself!

The scoop: Las Vegas. A carousel town set in the middle of the desert. Blazing neon signs promise all the vices known to man, and then some. Devastatingly handsome ladies’ man Nico Constantine hits town to make a killing at the casinos. But instead of tripling what’s left of his dwindled fortune, he ends up losing everything, and owing the mob — big time. Meanwhile, gloriously beautiful Fontaine Khaled has shed her filthy rich husband for the life she really wants: a riotous whirl of champagne, designer clothes, and the hottest, sexiest men. But her never-ending party comes with a price — one even her ex-husband’s outrageous alimony payments can’t afford. When Nico collides with Fontaine, their mutual lust is immediate and intense. Nico will need to use her if he wants to stay alive, and Fontaine fears she’s met her match. Love is the last thing on their minds, but it may be their fate — if their creditors don’t get them first.

Giveaway deets: Leave a comment and be entered to win ALL of the following books. We'll randomly select ONE lucky winner after 6pm EST on Monday, May 14.

Here's what you can win...

Lucky Stiff by Deborah Coonts, More Like Her by Liza Palmer, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins, Brooklyn Story by Suzanne Corso, I, Iago by Nicole Galland, The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman, Spin by Catherine McKenzie, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Thirteen by Susie Maloney, The Bond by Wayne Pacelle, All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson, The Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond, Bond Girl by Erin Duffy...

Plus:  You can also win: 1 Gift Card for $10 to Amazon, Lucky Santangelo mug and a Lovers & Players notebook and a copy of Hollywood Wives.

Good luck!


Liz & Lisa






Jen Lancaster's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

We're pinching ourselves. Jen Lancaster on our site twice? In three months? WTF?

Last time Jen was here--celebrating CLIND's 3rd birthday and sharing the 5 things she'd tell her teen self--our website LITERALLY crashed (the most exciting thing to happen to us in a long time!) because y'all flooded it with over 600 comments about how much you CRUSH on her and LOVE her books.

Well, we're prepared (and weirdly excited) that it may happen again. Because she's baaaaack and of course giving away 5 copies of her latest- and if you ask us her funniest (we're Gen X'ers, it was a no-brainer)- Jeneration X and sharing her 5 Do's and a Do-Over, which, of course, are perfection. Check out #4- so amazing and makes us love her even more.

So leave a comment to be entered to win!  We'll choose FIVE winners on Sunday May 13th after 6pm PST.  Good luck!

But first, here's the scoop on Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner: In Such a Pretty Fat, Jen Lancaster learned how to come to terms with her body. In My Fair Lazy, she expanded her mind. Now the New York Times bestselling author gives herself—and her generation—a kick in the X, by facing her greatest challenge to date: acting her age.

Jen is finally ready to put away childish things (except her Barbie Styling Head, of course) and embrace the investment-making, mortgage-carrying, life-insurance-having adult she’s become. From getting a mammogram to volunteering at a halfway house, she tackles the grown-up activities she’s resisted for years, and with each rite of passage she completes, she’ll uncover a valuable—and probably humiliating—life lesson that will ease her path to full-fledged, if reluctant, adulthood.


Greetings from the Jeneration X World (okay, National) Tour!  I'm delighted to be here at Chick Lit Is Not Dead again and so pleased to share this latest round of Dos and a Do-Over. Thanks, ladies - you rock!

Although I'm fairly prolific in telling people what they should and should not do, it's nice when my advice is actually solicited instead of, um... offered anyway. (Read: communicated from the front seat of my car by way of the horn and an obscene finger gesture.)  But seriously, if some kid feels it's imperative to post on Facebook while driving and thus endanger my life over a scintillating missive regarding her great distaste for Mondays, then it's MY job to set her straight.

Not just for me, though.

For the future of America.

The topic of the way things ought to be has been weighing heavily on my mind ever since I began writing Jeneration X, a guide to helping reluctant adults everywhere grow up!  (I realize it's difficult to take the great leap to maturity, but I've done all the hard work for you.)  This book is a bit of a throwback to my early work, meaning I've gotten a little too nice in my past few memoirs. But fear not... the bitch from Bitter is back!

And with that being said, here we go!

1. DO stop flying by the seat of your pants.  For the longest time, I let important things like writing a will fall by the wayside.  I didn't want to have to face the idea of my own mortality so I evaded the whole process.  In my head, I equivocated "no will" with "no untimely demise."  But after one particularly turbulent cross-country flight, it occurred to me that I needed more than a cocktail napkin declaring "I leave everything to my pit bull Maisy" if things suddenly went awry.  Didn't want to do one, but I did it anyway.  Now I'm not prematurely aging from the stress of having so many loose ends, which, clearly, is a priority.

2. DO believe you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, but not in that "I've had zero formal training, yet I'm shocked I didn't make it to Hollywood on American Idol" way.  Dream big, but understand that success doesn't happen by accident.  Put in the effort to cultivate your talent and then you'll be unstoppable.

3. DO your homework when it comes to your bottom line.  Now's the time to take advantage of those lower interest rates, boring though the process may seem.  A quick caveat here - try not to get so wrapped up watching an internet girl-fight before you leave that you barely have enough time to get dressed and, thus, end up throwing on a bra that's too tight and spend the whole refinancing meeting quietly moaning about the shackles binding your chest.  And then also remember that the bank's reflective windows mean you can't see in, but they can see out.  So, when you remove your bra all Flashdance-style in the parking lot, you will have an unintended audience.  I realize this is a very specific example, but trust me when I say the new bank will not be impressed with applicants who strip in the parking lot.

4. DO spread the love.  Over the years, I've learned that my favorite people are other authors.  You'd think that we'd all be ultra-competitive with one another so I was pleasantly surprised at what a supportive sisterhood I've found in wonderful writers like Caprice Crane, Karyn Bosnak, Stacey Ballis, Quinn Cummings, Sarah Pekkanen, Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin, Allison Winn Scotch, Jane Green, and Beth Harbison (and many, many others.) Writing isn't Highlander in that there can be only one.  And this year, at Jen Weiner's suggestion, we're making it our job to champion up and coming authors because it's tough sledding out there for the new gals and we want to do what we can to help them reach larger audiences.

5. DO live in the moment.  I got my start as a writer when I was laid off ten years ago.  In that time while I was searching for a job, I never once just enjoyed the moment.  Granted it's hard to unclench when the wolves are at the door, but I feel like if I'd ever stopped for one second and thought, "For the next couple of hours, I should quit worrying and just appreciate that I don't have eleven bosses telling me what to do," then I probably would have been a lot less intense in my job interviews.  In retrospect, I am very happy with how it all turned out, but I wish I could have cut myself a small break now and again.

And finally...

DO NOT hire the cheapest accountant you can find.  Believe me when I say this is the most expensive lesson I ever learned. Ditto for doctors and lawyers.  These are instances where credentials far outweigh savings.

So... that's it!  Again, ladies, thanks so much for having me and don't forget, it's never too late to unarrest your arrested development.  I know I've crossed over to the dark side of adulthood, but it's clean and nice over here and we never run out of toilet paper...

Thank YOU, Jen!



To find out more about Jen Lancaster, check out her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.