Flash Giveaway! The Witch of Little Italy by Suzanne Palmieri

13548909Giveaway: Two SIGNED copies of The Witch of Little Italy by Suzanne Palmieri The Scoop: When young Eleanor Amore finds herself pregnant, she returns home to her estranged family in the Bronx, called by “The Sight” they share now growing strong within her. She has only been back once before when she was ten years old during a wonder-filled summer of sun-drenched beaches, laughter and cartwheels. But everyone remembers that summer except her. Eleanor can’t remember anything from before she left the house on her last day there. With her past now coming back to her in flashes, she becomes obsessed with recapturing those memories. Aided by her childhood sweetheart, she learns the secrets still haunting her magical family, secrets buried so deep they no longer know how they began. And, in the process, unlocks a mystery over fifty years old—The Day the Amores Died—and reveals, once and for all, a truth that will either heal or shatter the Amore clan.

Our thoughts: Liz just finished it and LOVED it! It's quirky and magical--perfect poolside reading.

Leave a comment here to be entered!  We'll choose the winners on Friday April 5th after 5pm PST!

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Anita Hughes

Today's IT Girl: Anita Hughes Why we love her: We LOVE discovering fab new authors and Anita is no exception!

Her debut: Monarch Beach

The scoop: Anita Hughes' Monarch Beach is an absorbing debut novel about one woman’s journey back to happiness after an affair splinters her perfect marriage and lifewhat it means to be loved, betrayed and to love again.

When Amanda Blick, a young mother and kindhearted San Francisco heiress, finds her gorgeous French chef husband wrapped around his sous-chef, she knows she must flee her life in order to rebuild it. The opportunity falls into her lap when her (very lovable) mother suggests Amanda and her young son, Max, spend the summer with her at the St. Regis Resort in Laguna Beach. With the waves right outside her windows and nothing more to worry about than finding the next relaxing thing to do, Amanda should be having the time of her life—and escaping the drama. But instead, she finds herself faced with a kind, older divorcee who showers her with attention… and she discovers that the road to healing is never simple. This is the sometimes funny, sometimes bitter, but always moving story about the mistakes and discoveries a woman makes when her perfect world is turned upside down.

Our thoughts: We think you'll devour this lovely debut. (And we LOVE that it's set at The St. Regis in Laguna-one of our fave places!)

Giveaway: Five copies! Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  We'll choose the winners on Sunday July 8th after Noon PST.

Fun Fact: Although she lives in the States now, Anita was born in Australia!

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


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I queried quite widely - I got addicted to that send button on my email. Many agents requested fulls at the same time, which was fun.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter?  MONARCH BEACH started with a much longer title. (I love how titles changes after you finish a novel). One agent wrote "I would never represent a novel with a title that long." I was crushed.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? I actually love to write - there is nothing more fun than sitting down at my laptop and writing. I forget everything else (well, not my children or doing the laundry or making dinner) and just write.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? The best advice was to read the acknowledgments in books I loved. I learned so much - the names of agents, of editors, the team it takes to put a book out. I formed a real appreciation for the comraderie of publishing, and I'm thrilled to be part of it!

5. How did you celebrate your book deal?  My whole family are frozen yogurt fans. We went and got cones of Cake Batter frozen yogurt and then I came home and drooled over shoes online. I didn't buy any yet - it's a long way from the book deal to the release date - but I put several on my wishlist.

6. Who is your writer crush? I have a few - I love Allison Winn Scotch for her novels, her upbeat presence online and her advice to debut authors. I think Jennifer Weiner is fantastic and funny, and I really admire Emily Giffin - she writes wonderful books and knows how to engage her fans.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? I love to read, so one book wouldn't last very long. I would have to say OLD SINS by Penny Vincenzi. Penny is a British author who tells such a good story, you forget where you are.

8. What's on your iPod right now? Will you laugh if I say "One Direction?" My twelve year old daughter put it on there and they are really great.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Walking along the beach - the sight of the Pacific on a clear day cures almost every ill!

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? Channing Tatum, hands down. He is everywhere right now. He makes very appealing eye candy as well as being funny and smart.

Thanks Anita!  xoxo, L&L

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Deborah Michel

Our latest Lit IT Girl: Deborah Michel Why she's fit to wear the Lit IT Girl crown: Her writing is sharp, witty and genuine.

Her debut: Prosper in Love

The dealio on it: From the start, Lynn and Jamie Prosper were one of those couples that seem meant to be--so content with each other that they barely notice the rest of the world nodding approvingly at their wedded bliss.

True, Jamie has been working so hard and traveling so much as a young lawyer that he hardly has enough energy to show his devotion. Not that Lynn, a junior museum curator, has any reason to question it. But when Lynn's old college friend turns up at a cocktail party, chinks in their marriage's previously unassailable armor start to show.

Teaser: Read an excerpt of Prosper in Love

Our thoughts: She more than nailed this novel about and the complexities of marriage. She's definitely an author to put not only on your radar but on your bookshelf.

Fun fact: Deborah says Prosper in Love was inspired in part by her own marriage.

Giveaway: 5 copies! Leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Monday, May 7 after 6pm EST.

How to find Deborah: Her website and Facebook.


1. How many agents did you query before you found “the one”? I have two different answers to this question. The first is probably forty from start to finish. I have a card catalog with all their names and info, but it’s too painful, even now, to count them up. My other answer, though, is just a few, and I can maybe even say one. I sent out my novel out to lots of agents over YEARS in a series of drafts. I had some very nice nibbles and even a long, drawn out bite. But no cigar. I thought long and hard about what I’d written and ultimately decided that everything I wanted to be in the book wasn’t quite there, so I buckled down to one last draft. Once I was done, I felt that I’d finally nailed the story, that even if it didn’t sell this time, I could finally put it away knowing I’d written the best possible version of it I could. I sent it out to three new agents—and they all responded enthusiastically. My (wonderful!) agent today happens to be the first one who—almost immediately—got back to me.

2. What’s a line from your “favorite” rejection letter? This wasn’t exactly from a rejection letter, but one editor told my agent she simply couldn’t find the marital mishaps of a young couple compelling—that they’d only been married two and a half years, so who cared?.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? Definitely forcing myself through all those drafts. The trying, the waiting, the trying again, the waiting. I’d heard writers talk about the dozens of drafts they’d go through, but I never quite understood what that meant, or believed it. Of course, now I know to go through those drafts before I sent out the book!

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? The best, and really only advice, was not to give up. Again and again I heard published authors say that they’d be in writing groups and the best writer in the group wasn’t always the one who made it, it was the one who persevered. The other best advice was to read everything (or as much as you can manage) out loud. That’s priceless. Bad advice? None really, although my father-in-law did once comment that he thought a person should be able to knock out a book in 4 months or so.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? Quite a bit jumping around my kitchen, squealing. And I was taken out for a great dinner by my family. We’re not counting new shoes, are we?

6. Who is your writer crush? Living or dead? I am a diehard Anthony Trollope fan. You’ll see what I mean if you read PROSPER IN LOVE. Living, I’d say Helen Simonson. When I read MAJOR PETTIGREW’S STAND I felt so happy and envious. That’s the company I’d love to be in. But I know that in a minute or two I’m going to think of twenty other crushes.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? This is going to sound so pretentious, but Proust’s IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME. Can I count all the volumes as one book? But it’s not all high-minded seriousness—that man could write a party scenes!

8. What’s on your iPod right now? This is another question I’m embarrassed to answer. I don’t listen to much music, never when I’m writing. But I’ve been thinking about a novel set in the 80s—I was a nightlife columnist in New York back then—so I just downloaded a lot of Chaka Khan, Rick James, Roxy Music. It’s that and Mahler. I’m a nerd.

9. What’s your #1 stress reliever?  Pilates. I tell people (my husband!) it’s to counterbalance all that slumping over a computer. But the real reason is that my instructor often ends the session with a 10 minute foot massage.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? Alan Cummings on THE GOOD WIFE. Or wait, can he share the bullseye with Chris Noth?

Thanks, Deborah!




Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Molly Shapiro

It's rare, but occasionally we experience love at first word.  When we pop open a book and fall madly in love with the very first sentence, the narrative so addicting that we're turning the pages as quickly as possible.  We don't quite know how to put our finger why certain books make us swoon, we're just freakin' happy that we found another one that does! The book we're salivating over?  Point, Click, Love by Molly Shapiro.  We LOVED it.  We want you to grab a copy of your own RIGHT NOW.  It's fun and crass yet also thoughtful and insightful. If we actually posted reviews here, we'd give it a gazillion stars!

So OF COURSE we had to crown Molly as our next Lit IT Girl!  Who better to carry on our tradition of wearing the debut author tiara?

Here's the breakdown on Point, Click, Love: Best friends and fellow midwesterners Katie, Annie, Maxine, and Claudia are no strangers to dealing with love and relationships, but with online dating and social networking now in the mix, they all have the feeling they’re not in Kansas anymore. Katie, a divorced mother of two, secretly seeks companionship through the Internet only to discover that the rules of the dating game have drastically changed. Annie, a high-powered East Coast transplant, longs for a baby, yet her online search for a sperm donor is not as easy—or anonymous—as she anticipates. Maxine, a successful artist with a seemingly perfect husband, turns to celebrity gossip sites to distract herself from her less-than-ideal marriage. And Claudia, tired of her husband’s obsession with Facebook, finds herself irresistibly drawn to a handsome co-worker. As these women navigate the new highs and lows of the digital age, they each find that their wrong turns lead surprisingly to the right click and, ultimately, the connection they were seeking.

Sounds great, right?  So leave a damn comment so you can have a chance to have a copy of your own!  We'll choose FIVE winners on Sunday February 26th after 6pm PST. We're crossing our fingers for you!


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I had been through the whole agent search process before with my first two unpublished novels. (I didn’t have an agent for my book of short stories, Eternal City.) So with Point, Click, Love, I really knew what I was doing and had a good idea about who would be right to represent this book. I drew up a list of my 10 top choices and queried them first. Luckily, one of them decided to take me on.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? My rejections were all fairly cordial and kind. For me, the worst was getting no response at all. The silence was deafening.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? Not knowing if anyone was ever going to read it. Because I had written two unpublished novels previously, I knew that the chances that this book would ultimately share the same fate were pretty good. But even though I was realistic about the difficulties of getting published, I had this completely irrational feeling that this time would be different. Writing Point, Click, Love was more fun and I felt more connected to the characters. Deep down, I thought others would feel the same way—and they did!

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? When I was studying creative writing at Columbia, Charles Baxter came to talk to us. He told us that he wrote three novels before getting his first published, and that made a real impression on me. I thought about that when I was unable to get my first two novels published, and it made me realize that sometimes it’s better if everything we write doesn’t make it into print. It also gave me the strength and confidence to keep on trying.

Another guest speaker at Columbia, an editor at a much-celebrated literary magazine, said something that really bothered me. She said that she believed that a really great piece of writing would always be found and published, even if it was sitting at the bottom of a huge slush pile. I know she was trying to be encouraging, but she ended up making me feel like if I didn’t get published, it was simply because I just wasn’t good enough. Personally, I believe that there are tons of great stories and novels out there that will never see the light of day.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? I was in Seattle with my two kids visiting our very close friends when I found out. So that evening we all hopped into their little speed boat and rode from Lake Washington to Lake Union. We docked at our favorite Japanese restaurant and ate sushi and drank wine overlooking a gorgeous marina, the sun setting in the background. Pretty much perfect.

6. Who is your writer crush? I have lots of favorite writers, but in the chick lit genre, I’d have to say Helen Fielding. I think Bridget Jones’s Diary is the most well-written, funniest, and most entertaining piece of women’s fiction I’ve ever read. I also give her credit for writing a fabulous film adaption. I’ve watched that movie more times than I care to admit.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. My absolute all-time favorite. Reading it at age 17 was life-changing.

8. What's on your iPod right now? I’ve got a wide variety of stuff on my iPod, from Ella Fitzgerald to Ciara to Glen Hansard to Justin Timberlake. But the best is when my 12-year-old son, Harry, surprises me by putting a new song on there. The other day I was working out and all of a sudden MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” started blaring in my ears. I couldn’t stop smiling as I imagined Harry dancing around the kitchen to it.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Definitely going to the gym!

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? Jon Stewart. He never fails to crack me up and always manages to stay relevant. As far as I’m concerned, he can be in there every week.

Thanks Molly! xoxo, L&L

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

Lit IT Girls: Debut Authors Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz

We been searching long and hard to find which debut authors should rock the Lit IT Girl crown in 2012.  And when we came across Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz, we knew they were destined to wear it! We love the fact that they are great friends that decided to write a novel, just like us.  And their debut eBook, Unscripted, is funny as hell!  Natalie and Marla are reality TV producers that have worked on shows such as Blind Date, Starting Over, Making the Band, Bands Reunited, Bad Girls Club, The Judds, Ruby, Sweet Home Alabama and Little People, Big World. And their inside knowledge of producing reality TV is one of the many things that makes Unscripted great.

Here's the dish on Unscripted: As a producer on a reality dating show, Abby Edwards knows that true love is a myth. Her career and her friends are all she needs. Right?

When her screenwriter ex makes a hit movie based on their relationship, Abby's faults are projected on screens across the country. Suddenly the fact that her job depends on orchestrating hot tub hook-ups doesn't seem so impressive.

Her friends rally to help. Zoë thinks she needs to meet a guy. Stephanie suggests an attitude adjustment. Nancy wants her to get in touch with her inner Goddess. Abby knows they mean well, but she prefers to focus on her work. Unfortunately, she's already embarrassed herself in front of her new boss, Will Harper, who she would find totally crush-worthy if he weren't so irritating.

Abby's about to be reminded that life doesn't follow a script—and good things happen when you least expect it...

Sound fun?  It is!  And we have 5 eBook copies to giveaway.  Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!   We'll choose the winners on Sunday January 15th after 6pm PST.  Good Luck!

And without further adieu, we present to you the first 2012 Lit IT Girls!


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"?  We probably queried about 20 agents. It was a long and slow process but a lot of fun at the same time (one of the joys of writing with a partner).  We will let you all in on a shameful secret of ours.  When mailing out our queries, we did not just shove each envelope into the mailbox at once.  We decided to make a little ritual of it.  So, at about 10 p.m. one night, we took our group of carefully stuffed and addressed envelopes to the post office.  And each time we dropped one into the mailbox, we shouted out the name of the agent, sang a song (if you can call it that) about why they should represent us, and did a mini “happy” dance to accompany each query.  We’re sure if a security guard had spotted us, we would have been carted off to the nearest jail for drunk and disorderly behavior (we were actually sober).  In the end, we got very, very lucky and had a couple of offers.  By no means was it a bed of publishing roses after that, but at least our little ritual got the ball rolling for us.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? We actually tossed each one of those away as soon as they came in.  We were trying to stay as positive as possible, and not let every “no we don’t like you or your book” letter be a punch to the stomach (which of course it was).  So if there were any great lines, we have systematically erased them from our brains.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel?  The hardest part was actually getting started.  It’s like working out.  You go to bed every night, and think to yourself, ”Tomorrow is the day, dammit!  Tomorrow I am going to go to the gym.  I’m going to eat healthy, drink a ton of water, and start on a brilliant vitamin regime.”  And then the sun rises, you hit the snooze button, you go into work, and lo and behold, some schmo brings in donuts.  That’s how writing was for us.  We talked about our book for ages.  We even sat down together many times and tried to write it but realized that we were not going to get anywhere until we outlined.  Once we outlined everything (and by the way, Marla’s husband Matt mistakenly erased three months of work by placing a magnet next to her computer) we were ready to begin the really hard work of putting actual words to paper.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz?

Best: Be patient. We’re used to the fast paced world of TV Production and it was difficult for us to adjust to the, errr, more leisurely pace of the publishing world.

 Worst: We can’t really think of any bad advice…we’ve been lucky to have some great people in our corner.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal?

Since Marla’s husband Matt had sacrificed many Saturdays to the Book Gods, he was instrumental to our celebration. The three of us went for an expensive but delicious meal at Mario Batali's restaurant - Osteria Mozza. We ate and drank far too much and for the first time in months we were able to breathe a collective sigh of relief!

6. Who is your writer crush?

Marla– right now, I’d have to say Sara Gruen and Kathryn Stockett.  And I’m not sure if “crush” would be the right word.  More like, “who do you envy?”  And not because of their success, but because they were both able to create these amazing worlds in which you can completely immerse and lose yourself in.  I am so enamored by authors like these, and wish I had a pinky’s worth of their talent.

Natalie– For me, right now it’s Tina Fey.  I read “Bossypants” in one sitting and was laughing from the moment I started reading the blurbs on the back of the book to a few hours later when I finished. Thanks to Tina Fey, we now have a definitive answer for every jackass who ponders the difference between male and female comedians: “The men urinate in cups. And sometimes jars.”

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be?

Marla– Wow, that is not an easy question!  These days, I rarely read a book twice.  It takes me months to read a novel (I work full-time, have a crazy two-year-old and oh ya…a husband) so when I do finish one, I don’t really have time to revisit old favorites.  But there is, however, one book in the last ten years that I have gone back to time and time again and that is, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Oh wait!  Can I pick two?  Well, I’m going to anyway!  My second choice would be “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.”  I think those two books would keep me somewhat sane on a desert island.

Natalie– Over the weekend, I was casually asked, “who’s your favorite band?” and I nearly had a panic attack. I can never whittle any of my cherished musicians, books, movies, or TV shows down to an absolute favorite – so I’ll go with the first two that popped in my mind. (What?  If Marla gets two, then so do I!) My first choice is Pride and Prejudice. I love Lizzie’s self-deprecating wit, and Darcy is the standard by which I judge all heroes. I’ve read it countless times and never tire of it. My second choice is A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I recently re-read it and it reaffirmed how much I love this book. As someone who lost a parent at a young age (and was similarly afflicted with a nagging fear of dying young), I found great relief in this memoir. And hey, if the Preface and Acknowledgment sections of a book left me crying with laughter, I can easily count that book among my favorites.

8. What's on your iPod right now?

Marla– “Plans” by Death Cab for CutieLove love love those guys and this has been my favorite album for years!

Natalie– “Your Protector” by Fleet Foxes. Their eponymous album is always in rotation on my iPod.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever?

Marla– Probably any form of chocolate I can get my hands on; reading; and sleeping (something that I never realized I would miss so desperately after having a child).

Natalie– Bitching with friends is always helpful (especially if accompanied by a great meal and an adult beverage!) Otherwise a good book or movie can take the edge off.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? Three words: Winter is Coming.

Last Fall’s crop of new TV shows were lackluster at best so we’ve been pinning our hopes on the return of “Game of Thrones.” At the end of last season, we wanted to read all the books so we could find out if Joffrey dies a horrible death (and by we, we mean Natalie since Marla has already established her reading speed) but after much debate, we decided to remain spoiler free. We can only hope that Sansa’s poor direwolf, Lady will be resurrected as a White Walker and return to eat Joffrey alive. But don’t tell us!  Is it April yet?

Thanks Girls!  xoxo, L&L

To read more about Natalie and Marla, head on over to their website or find them on Facebook and Twitter.




Lit It Girl: Debut Author Stephanie Stiles

We hope y'all had a great Fourth of July weekend! We did- although we had a good laugh at how much our Fourth of July's have changed now that were older not as young and have kids. But we still managed to squeeze in a cocktail (or more) and read a couple lines of our rag mags in between "mommy will you come in the pool?" (Liz) and "ba da ga ka baaaah" translation: "change my dirty diaper-stat!" (Lisa). And once the dads started a game of Marco Polo with the kids (thanks to the hubs for understanding that chlorine and blow outs don't mix!) we talked about how perfect it was that we were having Stephanie Stiles on the site today. Because her hilarious debut novel, TAKE IT LIKE A MOM (out today) hits on so many funny things about motherhood... One thing sets her apart from other modern-day superheroes: mom genes.

Annie Fingardt Forster used to be a lawyer who wore dry-clean only and shaved both legs. But things have changed. Now a stay-at-home mom, she wears cargo pants and ponytails and harbors a nearly pathological hatred towards hipster parents.

With a three-year-old and a baby on the way, Annie knows what to least, she thought she did. Faced with her husband's job loss, pre-school politics, and a playground throwdown with her arch nemesis, Annie realizes that even with her husband and friends by her side, what she really needs is to learn to suck it up-and take it like a mom.

This is a must-read for anyone- mom or not- who's looking for a fun read this summer. And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of five copies of TAKE IT LIKE A MOM! We'll randomly select the winners on Thursday, July 7th after 6pm EST.


1. How many agents did you query before you found “the one”? Is there a way I can answer without looking like a loser?  It’s like asking how many men you dated before finding Mr. Right, isn’t it?  If the number’s really low, I look a desperate cling-on; but if it’s too high, then I look like a dufus who keeps getting dumped.  So, given I can’t win, I suppose I should just be honest and say that it was a lot.  A.  Whole.  Lot.  And we’ve been together since, Greyhaus and I.  For better or for worse.  Til writer’s block do us part.

2. What was your rock bottom moment during the process? I started this story about ten years ago.  Then I had a kid.  Then another one six years later.  And the process just kind of stalled.  Finally, in 2009, when I was on Sabbatical, I resurrected the project, and it’s been a pretty great since.  So, as I think about it, I’d have to say the rock bottom moment during the process was having to deliver my daughter without the benefit of drugs.  ‘Cause, I gotta tell you – that hurt.

3. How long did it take to write your book? The writing part didn’t take too long.  It was all the laundry in between sentences that was the real time-drain.  If I’d been stranded on a deserted island – provided I didn’t have to compete against Ginger in any beauty contests or make a radio out of coconuts – I’d have been done in a couple of months.

4. What did you do to celebrate your book deal? Well, because life is always a party Chez Stiles, I’ll go out on a limb and say that we had frozen food for dinner and watched some reality television.  If it was a really great night, then the t.v. show featured the word “Housewives” somewhere in its name.  Sometime later, I remember a bottle of champagne, but I have a feeling my parents were responsible for that little number.

5. Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently? If I possessed that kind of prescience and wisdom, believe you me: the first thing I’d do is avenge the middle-school years.  Next on the list’d be ex-boyfriends.  Then, I’d probably revisit a few of my old jobs.  After all that was taken care of, I’m thinking that the whole novel-writing thing would start looking pretty well-orchestrated, comparatively.  There are just so many things over the course of my life that I’d have done differently (Matt Shein, I’m looking at you), that the book publishing was a relative high point.

6. What’s your biggest distraction or vice while writing? The fact that no one in my family is addicted to Ambien.  Because I’m fairly certain that would help a lot.  Well, that and the fact that laundry is invisible to everyone in my house except me.

7. Who is your writer crush? I’ve been etching “S.S. + D.S” on my steamy bathroom mirror and shower doors for quite some time now.  What do you think – should I hyphenate when we get married?  Ms. Stephanie Stiles-Sedaris has a pretty nice ring to it.  Of course, the traditional Mrs. David Sedaris – or even just plain old Stephanie Sedaris – sounds alright, too, don’t you think?  In any case, when he knocks on my door (follow Main Street past two lights, turn third left, I’m the second driveway on the right – gray colonial, lovingly tended garden out back), I’ll be ready.

8. GNO drink of choice? On a GNO… seriously?  If I were served the grain-alcohol-Kool-Aid punch I drank from a skanky fraternity house bathtub when I was in college, I would happily sip away.  On a GNO, I ain’t picky.

9. Favorite trashy TV show? I prefer my television denuded of any and all educational value.  The less intellectual and the more times the word “Jersey” appears in the title, the better.

10. What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with? This is a tough one for me – I really have to stop and give it pause.  Celebrities are so easy to hate, it’s hard to narrow it down.  Some of those Real Housewives would do nicely here though.

To learn more about the hilarious Stephanie Stiles, visit her website.

Thanks, Stephanie!


Liz & Lisa


Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Sarah Jio

Girl Crush Alert!  We're so excited that our latest Lit IT Girl pub day is finally here!  Because we read an ARC of Sarah Jio's fantastic debut a few months ago and have been crushin' on her bigtime ever since.  And Sarah is also a successful freelance writer-she is the health and fitness blogger at! We're thrilled she's accepted out Lit IT Girl crown, and we have a feeling she's going to rock it better than Kate Middleton! Already in it's THIRD printing before it's release, The Violets of March(out tomorrow, Tuesday April 26th) is women's fiction at it's best: a fun escape with a dash of mystery and a spoonful of romance.  We raced through this enchanting novel and think that you will too!

In The Violets of March, A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.  Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

Trust us on this one-you will enjoy this book!  And we have FIVE copies to give away!  You know the drill-just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners on Wednesday night after 6pm PST.


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? My agent story is an unusual one. I had been working with a great, established NYC agency, but after my agent left to pursue another career outside of publishing, I decided to take the leap and find a new agent, rather that work with her replacement, who had little experience with women’s fiction. I’m so glad I decided to take that scary risk and look for new representation, because it led me to Elisabeth Weed, my agent extraordinaire, who I believe has a bit of magic in her fingertips. And, I got lucky and didn’t have to do a big search. A magazine writer friend of mine, Allison Winn Scotch, kindly introduced me to Elisabeth, and I knew she was a great fit for me. We worked together to make THE VIOLETS OF MARCH sing, and then she sold it in less than a week at auction. I know writers who are uncertain about and unhappy with their agents, and I just feel so fortunate to work with someone who is so talented, hardworking and genuinely fun and enjoyable to collaborate with.

2. What was your rock bottom moment during the process? Every writer will tell you that editing a book can be painful and grueling. After I began working with my agent, she provided detailed edit notes and suggestions about how to improve my novel. The work I had to do was substantial and required a lot of rethinking of characters, plot and execution. There were a few times that, honestly, I stared at my computer screen and thought ‘how the heck am I going to do this? I better just throw in the towel right now.’ But I kept at it because I believed in the story and in my dream of publishing a book. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on myself!

3. How long did it take to write your book? Initially, I wrote the first draft very quickly—as in a few months. But the editing process took close to a year.

4. What did you do to celebrate your book deal? Nothing special, which sounds really lame, I know. But I had two young children at the time (I have three now), and going out and doing something big wasn’t an option. But, I do have a funny story about my German book deal (VIOLETS will be coming out this fall from Heyne, a division of Random House in Germany). I got an email on my Blackberry from my agent while I was on the cereal aisle at Trader Joes. I had a 3 year old in the back of the shopping cart, and a 1 year old in the front, and I scrolled through the email on my phone frantically to read the details of the deal. I nearly passed out with excitement right in front of the instant oatmeal. I think I threw a bottle of good wine in the cart to take home for that night (but you know Trader Joes—nothing too fancy!).

5. Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently? Yikes, I don’t know. I’m still learning so much, and I feel so fortunate that—so far—things have gone very well. I adore my editor, my agent, my book’s cover, and I’m proud of the story inside the cover. There’s so much about publishing that is out of the author’s control, however, and I’m learning to roll with the punches.

6. What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing? Facebook, Twitter, repeat.

7. Who is your writer crush? Camille Noe Pagan, who, coincidentally, is also a debut author! Her book, The Art of Forgetting, is out in June from Dutton. Funny thing, Camille and I share an agent and an editor. We’re also the same age, write for the same magazines, and were just pregnant at the same time. Clearly, she’s my East Coast twin. And I adore her for encouraging me and supporting me through the pre-publication process. I also happen to think she’s a phenomenal writer.

8. GNO drink of choice? Dirty martini. Extra dirty. Extra olives.

9. Favorite trashy TV show? The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. It’s a shameless Monday night ritual—the one night I do not write.

10. What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with? Hilarious question. A Twitter war with any celeb would scare my pants off, I’m afraid. I’m a little shy. But I’ll just say that a back-and-forth with Charlie Sheen would sure be interesting, wouldn’t it? I’d stop short of calling myself a rock star from Venus, though.

Want to read more about the fabulous Sarah Jio?  Head on over to her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter!

Thanks Sarah! xoxo, L&L

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Eve Marie Mont

We've been loving all the fantastic books about dogs lately.  From Stay by Allie Larkin to You Had Me At Woof by Julie Klam we've been in doggy heaven.  And this week is no exception!  Today, the fabulous Eve Marie Mont, debut author of Free to a Good Home, is hanging out with us here at  CLIND. And let's just say, she's definitely Lit IT Girl material! In Free to a Good Home, Noelle Ryan works as a veterinary technician at a New England animal shelter, helping pets find the perfect homes. If only it were as easy to find the same thing for herself. After discovering that she can’t have children—and watching her marriage fall apart after a shocking revelation by her husband—Noelle feels as forlorn and abandoned as the strays she rescues.

We enjoyed Free to a Good Home and think you will too.  It's funny and touching at the same time-no doubt the reason we finished it in record time!

And now you have a chance to win this fabulous book. Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies.  So. Freakin'. Easy!

SO... read on to discover more about the fantastic Eve-we think you'll enjoy her answers as much as we do! (Anyone who makes a Dawson's Creek reference is a friend of ours for life!)


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I wrote a novel before Free to a Good Home that never got published, and I probably queried over 50 agents for that one. My search for representation for this book was a little more focused, hovering around the 30 mark. After six months of nibbles and rejections, I followed up with a handful of agents who hadn’t responded yet, and one of them said my manuscript must have gotten lost in their vetting system. So I sent it to her again, she read it, loved it, helped me revise, then signed me on at Kimberly Cameron & Associates. Her name is April Eberhardt, and she’s a pro!

2. What was your rock bottom moment during the process? My earlier novel was ultimately rejected by every agent I sent it to. One small publisher requested the full manuscript, and I spent two months with my fingers crossed, hope and anxiety coursing through my veins. Finally, the editor wrote me a letter saying they couldn’t publish my book because my characters drank too much, and the love interest was not “sufficiently paramount” in the heroine’s life. In hindsight, they probably weren’t the right publisher for me, but it was a crushing moment all the same.

3. How long did it take to write your book? Because Free to a Good Home was my second book, I didn’t obsess about it quite as much as the first. It took me about a year to write the book, then my agent and I revised it for two months to get it polished for editors.

4. What did you do to celebrate your book deal? My husband bought me a bottle of champagne and St. Germaine, and we went to our favorite BYOB and ordered every course on the menu. On my release day, we went on a field trip to local bookstores where my husband took dorky pictures of me holding my book.

5. Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently? I’m an introvert by nature, so I’m still unsure about social networking. When I first got my book deal, I started a website, Facebook page, and blog without really knowing how to utilize them. Looking back, I wish I’d found a mentor who could have guided me through the process. I also wish someone had given me the magical formula for getting a book blurb!

6. Who is your writer crush? Right now, probably Jonathan Tropper. His books are so smart and funny, but there’s tons of heart there. My brooding high school self would have said Neil Gaiman. Oh, and Elizabeth Berg is still my all-time favorite.

7. What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing? Often when I’m writing, my dog will lie next to me and lean her head against my arm while I’m trying to type. Book blogs also suck considerable time. And Goodreads—love that site!

8. GNO drink of choice? My standby is a gin and tonic, but if it’s a special occasion, I’ll ask for a White Cosmo. If the bartender doesn’t know how to make it, it’s Grey Goose vodka, white cranberry juice, St. Germaine, and a splash of lime. Tastes like lychee fruit!

9. Favorite trashy TV show? Definitely Vampire Diaries. My husband totally makes fun of me for this because I am so not a vampire junkie in general. I only read the first Twilight book, never watched an episode of True Blood, and didn’t read Anne Rice, even when everybody and her grandmother were reading Anne Rice. But there’s something about Vampire Diaries that makes me giddy. I like to think it’s not just that every character is ridiculously good-looking. Incidentally, one of the writers, Kevin Williamson, also wrote Dawson’s Creek, a guilty pleasure of mine ten years ago. He’s brilliant at playing with the audience’s allegiance to the characters—I never know who to root for from week to week.

10.  What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with? My brother set me up a Twitter account just before my book came out, but it remains sadly neglected. I’m not much of a fighter by nature, but one of my feistier characters would love to have a go at the guy who called Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak pornography.

Thanks Eve! xo, Liz & Lisa

To read more about Eve, head on over to her website.  Or you can also find her on Facebook!

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Kim Wright

We think finding a new author to love is the best thing, well, EVEH.  And when we crush on a book, we crush hard.  We think about it when it's not around, we talk about it incessantly to all of our friends and we try to spend as much time with it as possible. So when our publicist suggested we read Love in Mid Air by Kim Wright, we were ecstatic to discover how beautifully written her debut was.  We were in love!  In fact, Liz's husband begged her to stop talking about it on their trip to Cabo. (We think maybe he was just jealous that she wrote Kim a love note after she finished it?)  Liz also chose it as a  hot summer beach read over at!

In Love in Mid Air, Elyse Bearden’s marriage is already in trouble when she meets a handsome stranger on her flight home from Arizona. Her husband, a doting father to their young daughter but an inattentive husband, has been communicating with her via post-it note for far too long and seems content with having sex in the kiss-less "X" position once a week.

So it’s not surprising when she starts a torrid affair with the man she meets in row 29-somehow trying to recapture the excitement she feels is sorely missing from her marriage and her life in general. Love in Mid Air is honest and captivating-one of the best books we've read this year. Want to know more?  Check out the book trailer!

And we're lucky enough to have FIVE copies of Love in Mid Air to give to our fantastic readers!  Just leave a comment and we'll pick a winner by random drawing on Thursday night.

And we're so excited that Kim agreed to be a Lit IT Girl!  Because we discovered that, not only is she a genius author, she loves Grey Goose and trashy TV just like us!  And her journey to publishing should give every aspiring author hope.


How many agents did you query before you found “the one”?

I lost count.  Although several of my friends had published books, I had this nutty idea I was going to make it on my own and not ask anybody for favors.  You know, “If the book is good it will make it on its own merits”  - that sort of insanity.  After thirty something agents turned me down, I called my friend Alison Smith, who had written a highly successful memoir called Name All the Animals, and was like “Um, gee, um, would you introduce me to your agent?”  And he’s turned out to be the perfect fit.  It’s funny because he was on my radar screen all the time.  It’s like traveling the world in search of the perfect man and marrying the boy next door.

What was your rock bottom moment during the process?

During that long hunt for representation I got a lot of rejection, but one of them stands out.  I’d walked to the mailbox and the envelope was thin so I figured it wasn’t good news.  But the agent hadn’t just said no, she’d gone on for a whole page scolding me for writing a book that she thought glorified affairs and divorce.  It started out with “This shameful story….”  I literally sat down in the middle of my driveway.  For a minute I thought I was going to pass out.  My therapist still has a copy of that rejection letter in my file!

How long did it take to write your book?

I never know how to answer this because I wrote a very long, very bad first draft of the book and then put it down for two years.  When I picked it back up I did a brutal revision, slicing out big sections and pretty much building it back up from scratch.  That took a couple of years and then there was the aforementioned hunt for an agent and then, once my agent sold it, the publisher held it for two more years before it was released.  So if you count the fallow periods it took ten years;  I think I actually worked on it for five.

What did you do to celebrate your book deal?

Went to New York and met everyone from the publicity team to the foreign rights team to the receptionist down in the lobby.   Then after being this complete networking fool, I went off on my own and just sat there and let it sink in.   I remember sitting at the bar of the St. Moritz thinking “I have a book.  I actually have a book.”

Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently?

Honestly, nothing.  I made bunches of mistakes but looking back it all seems like a necessary part of the journey.  I might have swallowed my silly country pride and asked my friends for help sooner.

Who is your writer crush?

Tom Perotta!  His “Little Children” was a huge influence on “Love in Mid Air.”  I recently friended him on Facebook and am trying to decide how to stalk him without it being too obvious.

What’s your biggest distraction or vice while writing?

Sudoku.  It’s like crack cocaine for me.

GNO drink of choice?

Grey Goose vodka, very cold and straight up.  It was what I was drinking when I was sitting in the St. Moritz thinking “Holy Mother of God, my book is actually going to be published.”

Favorite trashy TV show?

I love reality TV.  Dancing With the Stars, Top Chef, Project Runway, The Biggest Loser. My latest guilty pleasure is this show called Chopped on the Food Channel.  They give chefs these mystery baskets with strange ingredients like gooseberries, chocolate, bell peppers, and calamari and they have to make an appetizer using them all.  Great stuff.

What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with?

Elisabeth Hasselbeck makes me nauseous.  So she might not be that fun to war with, because I’d be livid the whole time.  Love in Mid Air recently came out in Australia and I heard Germaine Greer is mad at me about some things I said about feminism in an interview and that’s sort of cool.  I think in the long run, I’d like to have a Twitter war with someone I respect.

Thanks so much Kim! xoxo, L&L

To learn more about Lit IT Girl Kim Wright, head on over to her website or find her on Facebook.

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Kate Rockland

We've discovered all kinds of things about our favorite bestselling authors here at CLIND.  But we'd also like to introduce you to some fabulous debut authors too.  Because who doesn't love to find a wonderful new writer? So we're rolling out a brand spankin' new feature called Lit IT Girl: Debut Author that will showcase the very best and the brightest of the class of 2010 and beyond. And because we're also obsessed interested in finding a home for our manuscript, we thought it would be fun to find out how these authors got their foot in the door of the publishing world.  But don't worry, we'll still be asking all the hard-hitting questions our readers want answered (like their GNO drink of choice and who they'd choose to have a celeb Twitter war with).

We're kicking off with fabulous Lit IT Girl Kate Rockland, whose debut novel, Falling is Like This is a rock and roll love story. (Proof: she even got a shout out from Courtney Love!)  It's a comedic and touching account of an affair with a rock star that every girl dreams about. Emily Giffin is a fan too, calling her a "new rock star in women's fiction"!  With credentials like these, we have a feeling Kate is going to have no problem living up to her Lit IT Girl title.

Check out Kate's sassy answers to our Qs and leave a comment for a chance to win one of FIVE copies of Falling is Like This!


How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I had Ryan in mind from the get-go. I mean, the guy loves New Jersey punk bands, how could I go wrong? I used to work at Rolling Stone books, and he would come in and pitch us books. I was a lowly Editorial Assistant (basically a glorified secretary) and he would always be really nice to me when he came in the office. I have a big mouth, and I'd tell him I was planning on writing this chick lit book about a girl who falls in love with a guy in a band, and he'd say as soon as I wrote it I should contact him, so I did. After I'd written about one page. And Ryan said, "Um... it has to be a little longer."

What was your rock bottom moment during the process? I really never felt overwhelmed. It was really hard work, all those edits, but I actually felt really lucky. I mean, come on! I was getting my book published! It was a lifelong dream. Any author who complains about having to work on their book is spoiled.

How long did it take to write your book? It took me six months to type one version which was way too short. I remember tying into Google, "how long is a novel?" A short novel is about 60,000 words, if your readers are curious. My editor and I went back and forth, she had edits about every 3 months for a year or so, and I'd totally give the manuscript a makeover each time. She was always right. Damn it.

What did you do to celebrate your book deal? I used the money to pay for part if my wedding. I married Joe a year ago. I feel that was money well spent!

Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently? I would have started doing PR a long time ago. I waited until the last minute. Good thing you girls are having me on Chick Lit is Not Dead! Other then that, I really don't think I would have done anything differently. Getting a book published is such a crazy thing, that its almost like concocting a wicked witch brew in a cauldron. If you change one ingredient, you might make a potion that turns your hair blue!

Who is your writer crush? I have a huge crush on John Irving. I named my rescue cat Garp. I don't care that he writes about bears and wrestling constantly. He can dress up in a bear suit and wrestle me anytime he wants.

What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing? My cats Elizabeth and Garp bring me their balls, they play fetch like dogs. They constantly want me to throw the ball to them and then chase it. I keep telling them I am a very important and distinguished writer who could be working on the next Pulitzer but they don't care.

GNO drink of choice? I love Chardonnays from California. It makes me imagine I am sitting in a vineyard, the breeze whistling through my hair, the smell of grapes and earth in the air. When really, I am sitting in the same old dusty Irish bar I always sit in, down the street from my house.

Favorite trashy TV show? I LOVE TLC. Anything on TLC. My husband makes fun of me because I love shows about 800 pound people who have to be carried out of their houses on whale stretchers, or children born with two faces, or shows about dwarf families. I love medical abnormalities. I feel like if I have watched those shows so many times that if I ran into a woman on the street with an elephant trunk for a nose I'd be totally cordial to her. That was totally not PC, but there you are.

What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with? I would like to tell Heidi she is crazy for getting all that plastic surgery. She is a shit role model and should be locked to a stretcher and sent to another country, the way Thailand did with Billy Idol in the 1980's when he was doing too many drugs. I liked Heidi's previous long Jay Leno chin just fine. It gave her face character. Now she looks like a barbie doll on crack.

So read more about the lovely Kate Rockland, head on over to her website!

xoxo, Liz and Lisa