Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Rosanna Chiofalo

Our latest Lit IT Girl: Rosanna Chiofalo Why we love her: We heart discovering fabulous new authors!

Her debut: Bella Fortuna

The Scoop on it: Valentina DeLuca has made hundreds of brides' dreams come true. At Sposa Rosa, the Astoria, New York, boutique where she, her sisters, and their mother design and sew couture knock-off gowns, she can find the perfect style for even the most demanding customer. Now, it's her turn. Valentina has loved Michael Carello ever since he rescued her from a cranky shopkeeper when she was ten years old. He's handsome, chivalrous, and loyal. And in a few weeks, she's going to marry him--in Venice.

But just when she thinks everything is falling into place, Valentina is forced to re-examine her life to see what truly makes her happy. And as she soon learns, in a place as magical as Venice, what seems like misfortune can turn out to be anything but, although who knows what may be waiting around the next corner? The chance to enjoy a moonlit gondola ride, to sip Prosecco in St. Mark's Square, to eat mouthwatering gelato, to put aside "sensible" for once and see where the warm Italian breezes guide her as she visits all the sights she's dreamed of: The Doge's Palace, Il Rialto, the little islands of Murano and Burano. And maybe, along the way, to discover that bella fortuna--good luck--isn't what you're given, but what you make.

Our thoughts: Liz lent this one to her friend Jean, who said it best: Bella Fortuna is a novel about friendship and family. Chiofalo writes a beautiful story about the struggles, fantasies, luck and second chances that come along with finding true love. Bella Fortuna is a wonderful portrayal of Italian-American life and a compelling story about destiny!

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

Fun Fact: Rosanna met her future mother-in-law while on jury duty. She then introduced her to her hubs!  Cute!

Where to read more about Rosanna: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I worked in publishing for twenty years as a copywriter/copy director and developed a few contacts. I was able to connect with an editor through one of my publishing contacts, and after submitting an outline and four chapters of my novel, my publisher bought the submission.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? That would be the token "Although your writing is very strong, we can't accept your submission at this time." I never quite understood that; however, I did realize it's important to offer some constructive criticism along with the rejection!

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? The first thought that comes to mind was that I was working full time while writing my debut novel on weekend mornings. Since I hadn't seen my characters or was in their lives for a week, I'd have to reacquaint myself, so to speak, with what had happened in their lives when I last wrote. Also, making sure that what I had written in the earlier parts of the novel was consistent with what I had written in the latter half of it.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? My best advice was staying true to myself and writing about what I loved and knew best. My worst advice would have to be something that's told to many aspiring writers, which is to follow whatever writing trends are hot at the moment. Many aspiring writers write based on whatever genre is the hottest or selling the most at the moment, and if you aren't already a fan of that genre and/or reading it on a regular basis, your writing can come across as very stilted.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? I went out to an ultra fancy restaurant with my husband. We're big foodies and love having special occasions to celebrate at one of our favorite restaurants or at a new place we haven't discovered yet. I also treated myself to a beautiful necklace. Jewelry is my weakness!

6. Who is your writer crush? There are so many. It's hard to choose just one. I love the novels that Cathy Lamb writes, which are often about the strong bonds of family and friends in women's lives. Her favorite novel of mine is HENRY'S SISTERS. Although I discovered Judy Blume as an adolescent, I still love to reread some of her novels. And I especially love her adult novel SUMMER SISTERS. I had heard about Daphne DuMaurier's REBECCA for so many years and last year, I finally read it. I still get chills down my spine when I think about that book and how brilliant it is. And two of my favorite classics are Thomas Hardy's TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES and Charles Dickens' DAVID COPPERFIELD.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? Oh, you're going to make me choose just one again? Okay. I'd have to say LUCIA, LUCIA by Adriana Trigiani. I cried for Lucia during and after I finished reading the book, and she still pops into my mind now and then. I love, love, LOVE that book, and if I were stranded on a desert island I'd want a book that is as engrossing as that book is.

8. What's on your iPod right now? LMAO, Cristina Perri, Lady Gaga, U2, Adele. I'm also a big '80s child much to the chagrin of my husband!

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Massages, especially an intense deep-tissue massage. I get the worst knots in my shoulders and upper back probably because I'm a Virgo who over-analyzes everything! But even when I don't have knots that need to be worked on, I love how relaxed I feel after a massage. I make sure to get one every time I go on vacation as well.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? My recipe for Palline di Limone Biscotti (Glazed Lemon Cookies). Once you pop one of these flavorful lemon cookies in your mouth, you'll be telling everyone how good they are! But even if EW doesn't put my cookies as their bullseye, you can get the recipe in the back of Bella Fortuna!

Thanks Rosanna!  xoxo, L&L

5 Things Liz & Lisa didn't know about Jessica Seinfeld

As we've mentioned before, Liz has a hard time being Top Chef of her own kitchen.  Or at least she did until she picked up Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld one day in a desperate attempt to get her kids to eat something other than pasta with butter.   And no one was more surprised than her when the kids not only ate the recipes she made from there but actually asked for more! And they had no idea that Liz had pureed veggies into each recipe.  So when Jessica's new recipe book, Double Delicious, came out-Liz had to have it!  And once again, Jessica came through with kid-friendly recipes with pureed veggies hidden in every bite! And today we're excited to have Jessica share 5 things we didn't know about her.  And guess what?  We've got THREE copies OF DOUBLE DELICIOUS to give away!  You know the drill-just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!  We'll announce the winners Sunday November 27th after 6pm EST.


1. My favorite appliance in the kitchen is the food processor- because you can make soups and purees and I think it’s one of those things if you don’t’ have time to chop you can quickly do it in a food processor. You can make great pasta sauce or pesto which is a great meal to always keep in your fridge for veggies or pasta.

My 5 favorite kitchen gadgets I can’t live without:

  • A meat thermometer
  • A zester
  • A kitchen timer
  • A cutting board
  • And a great knife that feels good in my hand

2. I teamed up with Target for a new baby clothes line that benefits charity. The clothing line, designed by Petit Trésor for Target, is the second in a series of three that I'm debuting through a one-year, charitable-focused partnership with Target. In addition to affordable prices, 10% of each sale goes to support my non-profit Baby Buggy, a New York City-based organization I founded in 2001 that provides clothing and gear to families in need.

Over the years, I have been approached to take the Baby Buggy Brand into product but I didn’t want to do it unless it was helpful or meaningful in some way. Target is the master at making things feel and look like luxury but keeps them affordable. The new line is the most luxurious feeling cotton – sleepers and bibs and basic stuff – a really gift-able collection palette with price point between $2.99 and $16.99. I love it!

3. My family and Jerry’s are all eating together this year so I’m cooking for about 30 people. Traditionally my mom will help and we’ll serve my Grandma’s turnips, made every year and not eaten by one person, but we have to do it though. There will be kids screaming, someone will be fighting and the kids will be running all around. We’ll have turkey, apple pie (I love that) and pumpkin pie. I’m doing a whole thing on my website about Thanksgiving – how to make the simplest Thanksgiving. (Here’s the video to make the Turkey and Gravy, including recipe and tips and the video to show you how:

4. We love Italy. We also love Colorado and going skiing. My daughter broke her leg skiing three  years ago, so now I live in terror. We love to travel though and would love to travel around and see the world with our kids when they are older.

5. My favorite mom moment? All the times where parents have sent me an email or stopped me at school and mentioned to me something nice my kids have done for their children.  Recently a mom stopped me at school and said, “Your daughter was so nice to my daughter when it was her first day of school and welcomed her warmly.” I love that.

Thanks Jessica! xo, L&L

To read more about Jessica, head on over to her website or find her on Facebook.