Lit IT Girl: Debut author Jessica Grose

Our latest Lit IT Girl: Jessica Grose Why we love her: It's the best feeling when we fall in love with a new author's voice and even though we've just discovered her, cannot wait to read what she writes next. No pressure, Jessica!

Her debut: Sad Desk Salad (Out today!)

The scoop on it: As a writer for Chick Habit, an increasingly popular women's website, Alex Lyons gets paid to be a bitch. She's churning out several posts a day, and she saves her juiciest ones for blog prime time, when working women eat their sad desk salads in their offices. Alex tells herself she's fulfilling her dream of being a professional writer; so what if it means being glued to her couch and her laptop from six a.m. to six p.m., scouring the web in search of the next big celebrity scandal? Since Chick Habit's parent company keeps close tabs on page views, Alex knows her job is always at risk.

So when an anonymous tipster sends her the year's most salacious story—a politico's squeaky-clean Ivy League daughter caught in a very R-rated activity—it's a no-brainer. But is Alex really willing to ruin the girl's life by igniting the next Internet feeding frenzy? And what she doesn't yet realize is how this big scoop is about to send her own life spiraling out of control.

Our thoughts: It's smart, funny and juicy--we loved getting that insider feel about the celebrity world! (You know we're celebrity gossip whores!)

Giveaway: FIVE copies. Leave a comment to be entered to win and we'll select the winners on Monday, October 8th after 3pm PST

Fun fact: Congrats to Jessica! She's going to have a baby! See below...

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


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I was phenomenally lucky to find my beloved agent Elisabeth Weed in my first round of looking. When I was a senior in college, I wrote a series for that caught the eye of a young editor at Random House. I was totally green, and so that editor was kind enough to introduce me to some agents who might be interested in my work. If memory serves, I emailed five or six of them, ended up meeting with three, one of whom was Elisabeth. It was so clear that she got me in ways that the others didn't, and I've been with her for over nine years now.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? I wish I could remember! I think I have a mental block about them in the interest of self-preservation. I do remember a pseudo-boyfriend once telling me in a break-up email that I was too neurotic and dramatic for him. I guess that is my "favorite"?

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? Trying to see the process as a learning experience no matter what the outcome was. When I was about half way through, I started panicking—what if I've devoted all this time to writing this and it never sees the light of day? What if it's actually terrible and no one will tell me? I needed to teach myself to feel good about finishing it, regardless of whether or not I sold it.

4. What is the best advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? Find readers who give you feedback that you trust. My book got about 45 times better after I had three exceedingly generous colleagues read the first draft and give me notes. I am so ridiculously grateful to them for their time and care.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? I bought a pair of stupidly expensive Rag & Bone boots that I had been coveting for six months. And I went out to a fancy dinner with my husband.

6. Who is your writer crush? Oh my god, I have a new one every week. Zadie Smith is the one that comes to mind first. She's so smart and talented and foxy. My parents gave me White Teeth as a high school graduation present and Smith just continues to wow me in both fiction and non-fiction. Her recent profile of Jay-Z is one of my favorites of the year. I hadn't heard of Gillian Flynn before reading Gone Girl, and now I am obsessed with her. Same goes for Maria Semple—I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette in one day over Labor Day weekend and just think Semple is so hilarious and bright.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? The book I've probably read the most is Marion Meade's fabulous biography of Dorothy Parker, What Fresh Hell Is This? I love literary biographies and Parker is a heroine of mine. I know it's kind of an odd choice—I bet most people choose fiction--but I find Parker's life story and the relationship to her work endlessly fascinating, somewhat inspiring (and more than a little sad).

8. What's on your iPod right now? My latest downloads are the new albums from The Divine Fits and The Walkmen. Both could be described as "dad rock."

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Usually I would say running. But since I am 7 months pregnant and running is...comical, my #1 stress reliever is napping.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? I just saw the movie Bachelorette and Lizzy Caplan can do no wrong with me.

Thanks, Jess!


Liz & Lisa


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

Meg Mitchell Moore's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Meg Mitchell Moore Why we love her: Her debut, The Arrivals, (in paperback now) was one of our favorite books of 2012

Her latest: So Far Away (It's out tomorrow- May 29! Pre-order it here. )

The scoop: The lives of a wayward teenager and a lonely archivist are unexpectedly joined through the discovery of an old diary.

Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher is trying to escape: from her parents’ ugly divorce, and from the vicious cyber-bullying of her former best friend. She discovers a dusty old diary in her family’s basement and is inspired to unlock its secrets.
Kathleen Lynch, an archivist at the Massachusetts State Archives, has her own painful secrets: she’s a widow estranged from her only daughter. Natalie’s research brings her to Kathleen, who in Natalie sees traces of the daughter she has lost.
What could the life of an Irish immigrant domestic servant from the 1920s teach them both? In the pages of the diary, they will learn that their fears and frustrations are timeless.
Our thoughts: Meg delivers yet again with this riveting sophomore novel. Definitely an author to watch!

Giveaway: 5 copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm EST on Sunday, June 3rd.

Fun fact: No only is Meg's writer crush Elin Hilderbrand, but Meg was lucky enough to get a blurb from Elin for The Arrivals.

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


1. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. All those people who tell you not to sit in the sun are right. Pale skin can be beautiful. Baby oil is really only for babies.

2. Drive across the country at least once before you have children. I am about to do for this for the first time as our family takes on a cross-country move. The trip will be rushed, the dog will be cranky and I’ll take the shortest way from point A to point B. Oh, how I had wish I had time to take it slowly and do it right! I want to stop in Midwestern diners and eat pie, drive down little main streets in towns I’ve never heard of, hear ten different accents in a week.

3. Appreciate your parents. I guess this is one of the great paradoxes of the world, but truly you do not understand just how much your parents do for you until you are trying to keep little people happy and fed and turn them into productive members of society. Those things you got in trouble for in high school? You deserved it. At the same time, try hard to remember what all of this feels like so that when your own kids go through it you can empathize.

4. Trust your talent, work your butt off. It took me a long time to trust my abilities to write fiction. Turns out the only thing that separated the people who were doing it from me was that they were willing to work for it and take the necessary risks.

5. Honey, Boy George is gay. Take the pictures down from your locker.

Thanks, Meg!


Liz & Lisa


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 Meg Donohue

Our Latest Lit IT Girl: Meg Donohue Why she's fit to wear the Lit IT Girl crown: We LOVE books about food and friendship. Double yum!

Her debut novel: How To Eat a Cupcake

The dealio on it: Free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clairs' housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia's San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls oblivious to class differences could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.

A decade later, Annie bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother's death, and a painful secret jeopardizes Julia's engagement to the man she loves. A chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, but when a mysterious saboteur opens up old wounds, they must finally face the truth about their past or risk losing everything.

Our thoughts: Deliciously satisfying, we think you'll devour this debut!

Fun Fact: Just out this month, How To Eat A Cupcake has already gone into a THIRD printing. You go, girlfrin'! *gives virtual high five*

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and we'll choose the winners after 6pm PST on Sunday, April 1st.


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I simultaneously queried about six agents and ended up receiving offers of representation from two. Luckily, they were the two at the top of my list! I was thrilled.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? An agent wrote that I was a “really terrific writer” and that she’d be cheering me on “from the sidelines!” Which, all in all, was a very nice way to say “No thanks.”

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? I was lucky enough to have a contract to write the novel in advance of actually writing the novel. A looming deadline was a great motivator, but it was also a nerve-wracking. I had days where I worried if the faith my editor, the wonderful Jeanette Perez of Harper, had in me was unfounded. I worried I was going to let her—and myself—down. So I think the hardest part was believing in myself even on the days when the writing simply would not flow…and trusting that as long as I was disciplined I would still meet my deadline, bad days and all.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? One really great piece of advice I received was to look for an agent who expressed enthusiasm for nurturing my career rather than just the possibility of negotiating a single book deal. The idea of finding an agent who could serve as a career advisor really struck a chord with me and ultimately led me to sign with the smart, savvy, and generous Elisabeth Weed.

I honestly can’t think of any bad advice that’s been offered to me! I must have blocked it out.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? With a cupcake, of course! And champagne. My favorite pairing.

6. Who is your writer crush? I have two right now. J. Courtney Sullivan’s MAINE was my absolute favorite book of 2011 and I have had a huge crush on her brain ever since reading it. I’m also totally in love with Amanda Eyre Ward’s writing style. I read their books and feel a sense of awe and delight and, yes, a healthy dose of envy. They are so talented! I’d be totally star struck if I ever met either one.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? I’d want to have Siri Hustvedt’s THE BLINDFOLD. I read it for the first time as part of a college course on contemporary women writers and found it mysterious and beautifully written and utterly mesmerizing. I’ve read it over and over again since college and it never gets old.

8. What's on your iPod right now? I’m attempting to become a runner so my most-used iPod playlist at the moment is all upbeat dance tracks. I particularly love Keri Hilson and Kanye West’s “Knock You Down” right now. It gets me moving—no easy feat!

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? List making. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I make a list of what I need to get done. It helps me to feel a little more in control. I’m a big fan of lists.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? Mark Ruffalo. That is one cute man! And he does far too good a job of staying out of the limelight. I want pictures, Mark! Don’t be shy.

Thanks Meg! xoxo, L&L

To read more about Meg, check out her website or find her on Facebook or Twitter.

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 Samantha March

Lit IT Girl has always been one of our fave features.  Because what's more cool that discovering a brand spankin' new author? Um, Not much! Today we're featuring the lovely Samantha March, debut author of Destined to Fail.  Samantha also runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog Chick Lit Plus (which we love!). And we're thrilled that she's wearing the Lit IT girl crown! (she's totally rockin' it, btw!)

Here's the deets on Destined to Fail: Jasmine Jones is ready to begin her new life as a college student, and is ecstatic to have best friend Abby by her side. But weeks into their new college life, Abby drops the bomb- she is pregnant, and dropping out of college. Jasmine can’t handle the fact that Abby is wasting her opportunity to get an education, and going back to her cheating, abusive boyfriend. She struggles to move on from her friendship with Abby, but befriends two new girls at college. Everything seems back on track for Jasmine- great new friendships and roommates, a strong relationship with boyfriend Nate, and excelling at her college courses. But Jasmine’s newfound happiness is shattered when her pregnancy test comes out positive. Does she have to drop out of college now and become a young mother? Will Nate stay with her? How can she afford a child? Jasmine’s life has been filled with obstacles and challenges along the way- from a missing father, sexual and physical abuse, and addictions that tore her family apart. With this latest setback, Jasmine fears her life will always be a struggle. Destined to Fail is one woman’s story about overcoming adversity in life, about taking the negatives and finding a positive, and about never giving up hope.

Sound up your alley?  Well, then leave a comment-we have FIVE copies to give away! We'll choose the winners on Sunday December 11th after 6pm PST.  Good luck!


1. Tell us about your decision to self-publish.  It really wasn’t a tough one, actually. When I first started writing, I thought I would query and go the traditional route. Fast forward three years, a recession, and a rising eBook and self-publishing industry, and I started to think differently. Through my book blog, I was meeting and working with more and more self-published authors. I saw that being self-published doesn’t mean failure or weakness. To me, it means taking what you want and making it happen. I’m not good at the waiting game. If I want something, I am going to go for it.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" agent rejection letter? Well, I actually only queried three agents, so I don’t have a big stack of letters to choose from. I was pretty much set on self-publishing once I finished my book, but I thought I should at least give trying the query process a try. I knew my heart wasn’t in it though. I wish I had some good lines to give!

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? When I first started writing, I was really writing with an audience in mind. As I continued to write, I kept thinking about readers, what they would think about this character and that decision. It took all the fun out of writing, and I thought multiple times about giving up. Then, I saw an author on Twitter say that you need to write for you, not for someone else. I let those words sink in, and the spark was back. I write my books because they are my stories that I want to tell. I can’t constantly think about what others will think, what the feedback will be like, or I’m sure I would have never finished.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? I have received some great advice along the way from fellow authors, and am extremely lucky to have their input. I don’t know if this is really considered advice, but I was given a lot of helpful tips––from where to buy ISBN’s to how to navigate Smashwords and great recommendations on helpful people along the way, i.e. book formatters or cover designers. I am very self-sufficient and I think I can do anything, but this process and getting a book published made me realize there were many facets where I needed help. And there’s nothing wrong with that!

5. How did you celebrate your book launch? When my eBooks were released, I went a bit crazy. It was a week-long celebration! Special dinners with the boyfriend, a massage, a new watch, and Friday and Saturday night celebrating with friends. Too much? Wait until my print books are out––who knows what will happen then!

6. Who is your writer crush? Is it weird if I say Ann M. Martin? A “writer” crush to me is crushing on someone’s writing abilities, and I have looked up to Ann since I was seven years old. I was a total BSC fanatic.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? Mine! Too egotistical? Darn it. One of my favorite books (going back to BSC) is BSC IN THE USA. I love reading about all the different places the girls got to see! That book could keep me entertained for a long time.

8. What's on your iPod right now? Beyonce “Love On Top” is on repeat.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? I’m a big fan of massages. Working out can always help me relieve stress, especially kickboxing. Or else yoga!

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? This totally not a writer answer, but I can’t not say the Green Bay Packers! I am a huge cheesehead, and this team is on fire!

Thanks Samantha! xo, L&L

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

Lit IT Girl Isabelle LaFleche

We've got another fab new author for y'all today!  And to make things even more fun, we've switched up our Lit IT Girl Qs too.  We think you'll dig Isabelle Lafleche and her debut novel, J'Adore New York!  It's stylish, sassy and fun-a great book to curl up by the fire with. Here's what's up with J'Adore New York: Offered the chance to transfer to her law firm’s New York City office, stylish Parisian lawyer Catherine Lambert jumps at the opportunity—a fashion devotee with her finger on the pulse of style, she sets her sights on conquering Manhattan’s high-flying worlds of glamour, law, and love tout de suite. But soon, the non-stop New York minute filled with monster bosses, lecherous clients, and vindictive secretaries begins to take its toll. That is, until one handsome and powerful client begins to change her world for the better…only to throw it all into jeopardy with one surprising request. Perfect for fans of Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Devil Wears Prada, and Sex in the City, Isabelle Lafleche’s breakout novel J’adore New York is a rollercoaster of struggle and romance from the city where dreams come true.

Sound fab?  Then leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies!  We'll choose the winners on Sunday October 16th.  Sorry, open to US residents only!


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"?  I actually don't have an agent; I found a publisher on my own. As for the publishers, I probably queried 30 or so.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter?  We're not interested in your story but we see  "lots of potential."  Good luck!

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel?  The rewrites and corrections were pretty intense and brutal. In order to get to the finish line, I consumed gargantuous amounts of Red Bull ( don't try this at home, it's bad for your health!)

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

Best: A friend in the publishing business suggested I contact a local publisher instead of going international. It was definitely the right thing to do for me.

Worst:  To send your manuscript  to agents and publishers quickly in order to get your foot in the door.   Any novel needs time to mature and evolve. It's important to have several trusted friends who will provide honest feedback read it first. No one gets it right the first time, not even the pros.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal?  With a Lady Dior handbag that I wear all the time. (Five years of blood, sweat and tears makes it worth it, non?)

6. Who is your writer crush?Candace Bushnell. I love how her writing keeps evolving and how she keeps surprising us with fabulous New York stories.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be?The Great Gatsby. I can't get enough of that rarified world. I'm thrilled that a remake of the movie is currently in the works with Leonardo Di Caprio!

8. What's on your iPod right now?Jazz, The Black Eyed Peas, Adele, and lots of French music.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Running with Lady Gaga blasting in my ears. Nothing beats that.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? Twitter is abuzz with reports that Marc Jacobs has been confirmed as the new Creative Director of Christian Dior,  however at this stage no official sources have been released. I think it would be a fantastic move!

Thanks Isabelle! xoxo, L&L

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


Lit It Girl: Debut Author: Meg Mitchell Moore

Congratulations to Meg Mitchell Moore on writing such an engaging and relatable DEBUT novel about the power of family. We can't say enough good things about The Arrrivals...or its author and that's why we chose her as our latest Lit: It Girl. So, forgive us, but we demand that you to buy it- and then start reading it-stat! And then start reading her list of answers to our Q's about how she made it in the publishing biz. It's an inspiring story for all of you aspiring authors out there or those just curious about the literary world. It can happen! But first, here's a taste of what The Arrivals is about... It's early summer when Ginny and William's peaceful life in Vermont comes to an abrupt halt.

First, their daughter Lillian arrives, with her two children in tow, to escape her crumbling marriage. Next, their son Stephen and his pregnant wife Jane show up for a weekend visit, which extends indefinitely when Jane ends up on bed rest. When their youngest daughter Rachel appears, fleeing her difficult life in New York, Ginny and William find themselves consumed again by the chaos of parenthood - only this time around, their children are facing adult problems.

By summer's end, the family gains new ideas of loyalty and responsibility, exposing the challenges of surviving the modern family - and the old adage, once a parent, always a parent, has never rung so true

And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of five copies of The Arrivals. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm EST on Sunday, August 7th.



How many agents did you query before you found "the one"?

I don't know the exact answer to this question. Just for fun, I took a peek at my old "query" folder on my desktop and I quickly found 25 rejections. I know there were more that came through the mail, but don't know how many, and there may have been emails I deleted. So I'm guessing somewhere between 30 and 40. I'm sure there were some I sent out that never answered at all. I got every kind of rejection possible: the polite form rejection, the personalized but immediate rejection, the "I'd love to see the first chapter" followed by rejection, the "I'd love to see the whole manuscript" followed by rejection. Now that I understand how much agents do each day for their clients I am amazed anyone is able to write a personal response at all.

What was your rock bottom moment during the process? There was a time, about two months before I found my fabulous agent, when I had a few "almosts" in a row--each time, I thought I was going to get an agent, and each time it didn't work out. At that point I thought maybe this was not the right book to try to start off with. I remember going for a walk with my husband and telling him I was thinking of giving up the querying. He encouraged me to keep going.

How long did it take to write your book? First draft: about six months. Time to find an agent: another six months. Revising with agent after: six months. Time to sell once it went out to publishers: a little over a week.

What did you do to celebrate your book deal? I bought a beautiful Nespresso machine I'd had my eye on for some time. When I sold the book my husband was doing a program at Harvard Business School where he lived on the campus six out of seven days a week for two months. I was home with the three kids, and teetering on the edge of sanity. (Did I mention the littlest one was going through toilet training?) The book sale (and the Nespresso machine) helped my outlook tremendously.

Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently? Let's see. I think I would have started earlier (I mean years earlier) making sure I had a manuscript that was ready to find an agent. I worked for a long time as a freelance writer and while I always had confidence in my writing ability it took me a while to gain confidence in my fiction writing ability.

Who is your writer crush? This doesn't have to be a male, right? I love Elin Hilderbrand. I was lucky enough to have her blurb THE ARRIVALS and have had some communication with her since then. I would love to have a drink with her at one of those glamorous Nantucket locations she's always writing about and pick her brain. I have a list of questions ready to go in case that ever happens.

What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing? This is so lame and boring, but it's hard for me to write when there's a mess around me (and with three kids, there is always a little bit of a mess). I have to stop putting things away and make myself sit down. An unorganized drawer is like a siren call to me--if I know it's there, I'm drawn to it.

GNO drink of choice? Winter: cabernet sauvignon Summer: gin & ginger

Favorite trashy TV show? I have occasionally been known to tune into Real Housewives.

What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with? I would not like to have a Twitter war. I am a pretty private person and I'd feel embarrassed. Not saying that's normal, but there you are!

To find out more about the fabulous Meg Mitchell Moore, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Also, The Arrivals was just announced as the latest SheKnows book club pick! Click here for details!

Thanks, Meg!


Liz & Lisa

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 Camille Noe Pagan

One of the very best perks of this gig is that we often get to read books before they go on sale.  Nothing makes us happier than when we open the front door and see the (totally hot!) FedEx guy dropping off yet another book. A few months ago, the aforementioned hot FedEx guy arrived with a copy of Camille Noe Pagan's The Art of Forgetting.  We instantly fell in love with the fabulous cover and were thrilled to discover that the story was even better. The Art of Forgetting is a must-read from an author who we think may be the next big thing in women's fiction. And she wears her Lit IT girl crown very nicely! We highly recommend that you RUN, not walk to the nearest bookstore and get yourself a copy.

Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine, thank you very much. After all, taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy diet magazine; allowing her to keep the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and enjoying the benefits that came with being best friends with gorgeous, charismatic Julia Ferrar.

Sure, coming up with 15 different ways to lose five pounds month after month could be mind-numbing. And yes, Julia was a walking, talking reminder that Marissa would never be the type to turn heads. So what? There was no reason to upend her perfect-on-paper life.

But when Julia is hit by a cab and suffers a personality-altering brain injury, Marissa has no choice but step into the role of alpha friend. As Julia struggles to regain her memory—dredging up things Marissa would rather forget, including the fact that Julia asked her to abandon the love of her life 10 years ago—and to return to the sharp, magnetic woman she once was, their friendship is shaken to the core.

With the help of 12 girls she reluctantly agrees to coach in an after-school running program, Marissa will uncover an inner confidence she never knew she possessed and find the courage to reexamine her past and take control of her future.

The Art of Forgetting is a story about the power of friendship, the memories and self-created myths that hold us back from our true potential, and most of all, the delicate balance between forgiving and forgetting.

See? It sounds fab!  That's why we have five copies to giveaway-just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  We'll choose the winners on Sunday, June 12th after 6pm PST.


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? Five (which isn't a lot, I know!). I was really fortunate that a publishing colleague of mine--the generous and extremely talented Allison Winn Scotch--recommended I query her agent, Elisabeth Weed. Elisabeth called me three days after I submitted to her and offered to represent me, and one phone conversation convinced me she was "the one". The rest, as they say, is history! (Btw, Elisabeth has a fabulous blog -- -- where she breaks down the mysteries of publishing.)

2. What was your rock bottom moment during the process? I recently received a review from a trade publication that was so nasty I wondered if I'd somehow crossed the reviewer (who was anonymous, so I'll never know). I'm of the school of thought that if you can't find something nice to say, don't say anything at all--which is why I never write negative reviews on Amazon, Goodreads or other forums. A dear friend and fellow author, Sarah Jio, says horrible reviews say more about the reviewer than the author, and I try to remind myself of that when I encounter them.

3. How long did it take to write your book? Just under five months; once I get a solid idea, I write pretty quickly. That said, the revisions for TAOF took longer than the first draft did--so there are some disadvantages to writing fast!

4. What did you do to celebrate your book deal? My husband and I went out to a nice restaurant for dinner and had champagne. I'm a big believer in celebrating the steps along the way--finishing a draft, signing with an agent, getting the first box of ARCs, etc.--because becoming a published author is a dream come true and I want to enjoy every minute of it.

5. Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently? I'm still too close to the process to know for sure what I could or should have done differently. That said, it always seems like a little more could have been done--another edit, more publicity, more networking--but at some point, you have to let go and let it happen.

6. What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing? Email is such a time-suck for me (as are Facebook and Twitter). When I'm writing, I force myself to enter "full screen" mode so my manuscript takes up my entire computer screen. Otherwise, I'll get online and the next thing I know, an hour will have passed.

7. Who is your writer crush? Jonathan Tropper. His books are funny and sad in the most perfect way.

8. GNO drink of choice? Gin and tonic, or a really good glass of red wine.

9. Favorite trashy TV show? Tori & Dean. I so relate to Tori's Type-A dysfunction. Plus, it's a relief to see a celebrity couple be honest about their imperfect marriage.

10.What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with? None of them! Even after a year+ on Twitter, I still question whether I have the hang of it. I'd get schooled by anyone I attempted to take on.

Thanks Camille!  xoxo, L&L

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

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 Cindy Jones

Many people believe that Jane Austen was the original Lit IT girl.  And we've LOVED many of the adaptions of her novels over the years.  (Clueless is our favorite movie EVEH!)  She's also inspired many great books(Jane Austen Book Club comes to mind).  So all of you Jane Austen lovers will be happy to discover we've crowned Cindy Jones, author of My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Parkas our latest Lit IT Girl!  And we think you'll love this delightful book! Lily is caught in a cycle of loss:  her mother died of cancer, her boyfriend left her for an earth mother, and she’s been fired from her job for reading Jane Austen novels when she should have been routing payroll tax deposits.  When the opportunity arises to travel to England to re-enact Mansfield Park, she thinks she may finally realize her dream of living in a novel.  But even in England, where Lily is immersed in a literary festival so rich it seems Jane Austen is present, her problems find her.  Lily must summon her resources and confront painful truths before she is demoted to the role of secondary character in her own life.

And FYI: Cindy worked with Bingley’s Teas Ltd. to create a tea named after her protagonist, and now she's promoting her book through tea parties:  Tea with My Jane Austen Summer.  she believes that tea enhances the reader’s connection with the novel and raises the book from a solitary read to a social event. Book clubs can host their own Tea with My Jane Austen Summer using ideas and recipes offered on her website!

Sound good?  Leave a comment here and you'll be entered to win a copy!  We'll choose the winners on Friday April 8th after 6pm PST. So. Freakin'. EASY!


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I knew my agent was “the one” when I heard her speak at a writer’s conference.  Rather than dash off a query, I took her advice to heart and spent two years finishing and polishing my ms until it was ready.  Eight queries resulted in five rejections, three requests to read the entire ms, and two offers of representation.  I signed with “the one”.

I need to point out that my first novel received at least 21 rejections and would have gotten more except I retired it to a bottom drawer where it died a quiet death.  What happened between my two novels?  I surrendered.  Not only did I listen to the advice of writing professionals and published friends, I acted on that advice.  I think pushing beyond my personal blind spots led to success in the marketplace.


2.  What was your rock bottom moment during the process? The day I received eight swift rejections from editors, shortly after the initial submission, I thought I was finished—not only with this novel—but as a writer.  After wallowing in grief for several hours, I discovered I was unwilling to allow my dream to die.  I returned to the rejections and studied the editors’ comments for a pattern.  After finding one, I applied it to my manuscript, cut the middle 150 pages (again) and pushed my imagination two excruciating levels beyond its personal limit.  A year of revisions later, the book sold.

3.  How long did it take to write your book? I spent five years writing My Jane Austen Summer, taking so long because I was on a steep learning curve.  Twice I cut the middle 150 pages and threw them in the recycling bin.  The next book has been much easier to write since I learned hard lessons on the first.

4. What did you do to celebrate your book deal? I had a quiet dinner with my family, lemon shots with my book club, and champagne with my women’s guild.

5. Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently? I would not do anything differently.  Raising four sons, I could not have spent the time it takes to write and promote books when they were younger.  Writing got as much attention as I could give it at each step of my children’s development and, I would have to say, the timing has been good.

6. Who is your writer crush? Peter Cameron, The City of Your Final Destination.

7.  What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing? The internet is a terrible distraction.  Why negotiate thorny plot issues when I can chat with friends on Facebook, check blog stats, and surf my favorite sites?  It often takes more self-discipline than I can muster to ignore the call of the world wide web.

8.  GNO (Girls Night Out) drink of choice? Chardonnay.  I love a freezing cold glass of dry, mellow, nutty, buttery, chardonnay.

9.  Favorite trashy TV show? Gilligan’s Island.  I will never forget the episode when The Skipper and Gilligan produced Hamlet as an opera set to the music of Carmen.  The fragments of great music and literature sent me on a voyage of discovery, seeking original sources.  I now realize episodes like those influenced the childhood plays I wrote using fragmented fairy tales.  Now I fragment Austen.  Next:  Keats.  I will have succeeded if my work sends one person on their own voyage of discovery.

10.  What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with? I’m a Twitter newbie (@cindysjones) so it would be best to pair me with someone similarly disadvantaged.  Say, Mr. Darcy.

Thanks so much Cindy!  xoxo, L&L

To read more about Cindy, head over to her website or find her on Twitter!

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 Jenny Nelson

In case you haven't noticed, we LOVE books. But what you may not have known is that we also LOVE food. So when we find a great book about food, we get pretty damn excited.  Which is why we're so happy to have debut author Jenny Nelson as our latest Lit IT Girl. Her novel, Georgia's Kitchen, comes out TODAY. And we've been crushing on her since the day we were lucky enough to read an advanced copy! In Georgia's Kitchen, Thirty-three-year-old Georgia Gray is a soon-to-be married head chef until, well, she’s not. The story takes place in New York and Tuscany and will capture you instantly- sucking you in until the very last page. Trust us, this book is a must-read for any woman who’s ever nursed a broken heart, been kicked when she was down, and needed to look inwards to find the strength to persevere (um, that’s all of us!). Click here to get your copy!

And we loved Jenny's background too. She was part of the founding team of and is senior producer at How cool, right?  And we think you'll love her as much as we do after reading about her journey to publication.

And because she's so damn awesome, Jenny also has an incredible launch week contest! When you order Georgia’s Kitchen the week of the book’s release (Aug 3-6th), and email your receipt to, you’ll be entered to win this fantastic giveaway.

What are the prizes, you ask? Well, let us tell you!

A basket full of books! Everyday Italian by Giada DeLaurentiis, After You by Julie Buxbaum, Super in the City by Daphne Uviller, She’s Gone Country and Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter, Girls in Trucks and Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch , I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert!

Magazines! You'll also be entered to win a one year subscription to the food magazine of your choice: Food and Wine; Bon Apetit, Fine Cooking or Everyday with Rachael Ray!

AND a $50 gift certificate to Crate & Barrel!

So what are you waiting for?  Head on over to Barnes & Noble RIGHT NOW and get your copy! Want more details?  Then head on over to Jenny's facebook page!


How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? So many I can’t even count. I essentially went to and searched for any agents based in New York who were accepting new submissions in women’s fiction. I started with any agents I’d heard of, then moved on from there. One day I sent out ten queries. I was way too impatient to wait for any of them to respond before sending out my next round, so my mailbox was very quiet for a long time before – wham – I started getting deluged by, at first, rejections, then some interest and by the end, I had a bunch of offers. I’m convinced that perseverance – and a really good query letter – is key.

What was your rock bottom moment during the process? I never received a totally devastating rejection letter and I didn’t come close to landing my dream agent only to have her change her mind at the last minute, so nothing truly terrible happened during the process. The first few rejections hit pretty hard, but after that I toughened up and began looking at it as a game – how many rejections will I get today? How many requests for partials? For fulls? It was sort of fun to keep a running tally.

How long did it take to write your book? Years. It’s hard to say exactly, because when I first started it wasn’t a full-time thing – I wrote whenever I could sneak it in while caring for my twin daughters. Once I finished the manuscript I spent a long time revising it, and after I signed with my agent, still more time revising it. Let’s just say this day has been a long time coming!

What did you do to celebrate your book deal? I jumped up and down with my kids for a while and then went to dinner with my husband at our favorite Italian restaurant. We brought along a very special bottle of wine we’d been saving for just such an occasion and ordered (and ate!) a ridiculous amount of food.

Knowing what you know now about publishing your first novel, what would you have done differently? I think I would have really cranked it out, allowed myself to write a first draft that was just that – rough and unpolished. Hopefully I’ll bring this lesson to book number two!

Who is your writer crush? Sebastian Junger. A man who courts danger, can string together a mean sentence and looks like that can do no wrong.

What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing? Email and the internet, no question. I’m a big online shopper (and a big returner too!) and I spend way too much time looking for the perfect fill-in-the-blank for myself, my daughters, my husband, my house, my mother, etc.

GNO drink of choice? My old reliable is a glass of Sancerre, but lately I’ve been bitten by the cocktail bug. I recently had an amazing Pisco Sour, but I’m partial to anything with champagne in it. Prosecco with a splash of St. Germain is another fave.

Favorite trashy TV show? Just one? I love the Real Housewives New York version, but the D.C. one looks like my cuppa tea and I’ll definitely be watching that. Bethenny Getting Married, Top Chef (which I don’t consider all that trashy), and The Rachel Zoe Project, which starts up again the same day Georgia’s Kitchen comes out.

What celeb would you love to have a Twitter war with? Oh, this is a toughie. Mel Gibson? That Spencer guy? Laura Ingraham? Truthfully, I’m not a good enough tweeter to win any sort of war, and I’m a pacifist to boot!

Thanks Jenny! xoxo, Liz & Lisa

Become Jenny's tweep on Twitter here and become a fan of Georgia's Kitchen on Facebook here.

Mommy Monday: My Mommy MUST List by Liz

It's been a while since my last Mommy Monday. Lately I've been hanging out over at, bitching about things like Chuck E Cheese and summer camp.  I'll be blogging there couple times a month so don't forget to head on over if you've had one of those days and need an instant mommy blog fix. Today I'm talking about one of my favorite subjects.  Myself!  Or rather, my MOMMY MUST LIST.  You know, those things that I just can't live without.  And maybe a few things that, well, I could live without but just don't want to!  And the Mommy MUST list will be a regular feature here, so don't be shy-let me know what your Mommy MUSTS are.

What are the things that make your day easier? What are your guilty pleasures?  What do you absolutely HAVE to have or you *might* just kill someone?  Tell us here or email me and maybe I'll include it in on the next Mommy MUST list!

But for the first Mommy MUST list, I just started with the basics.  Things that are as essential to me as food and water. Things that I would do just about anything for.  Things that I might cut a bitch for if I had to.

Liz's Mommy MUST list: The essentials!

Starbucks Green Iced Tea-  You don't want to get between me and the nearest Starbucks in the morning.  After patting myself on the back for kicking my daily five shot iced Americano habit, I realized I traded it for another addiction.  And just because I don't get a headache and crackwhore shakes when I don't have my green tea doesn't mean that I'm not just as obsessed with getting my daily fix.  Damn you Starbucks and your refreshing beverages!

Mac Macbook- He helps me blog, email, shop, keep in touch with friends and crop my vacation pictures. He tweets, keeps my calendar and lets me know when I've eaten too many Weight Watcher's points.  And even though he's been a bit slow lately and I'm thinking of upgrading him to a younger, sleeker model, he still gets the job done and never talks back. If he could cook and do laundry, I'd leave my husband for him.

My iTouch-He drowns out Spongebob, Johnny Test and my kids fighting over those lamesass Mighty Beanz. (WTF with those things anyway?)  I'd never would have written one chapter of The D Word without him blaring my favorite playlist as a soundtrack for each chapter.  He can even facebook or tweet for me in a pinch! And most importantly, he plays my music without any commentary about how lame Barry Manilow and Nickelback are.

A weekend getaway- We all need a break sometimes,right? So when I get the chance to get out of town sans kids, I head the most adult place I can find: Las Vegas! Between the pool, the spa and the free drinks, you'll be saying, "Kids? What kids?"  as you play Blackjack next to D list celebrities at The Hard Rock Casino or as you dance on the table at the Playboy Club. My new favorite hotel?  The Aria.

A Good Book- If you don't have the time or money for a quick getaway, why not escape into a good book?  I highly recommend The Divorce Party by the lovely and talented Laura Dave.  Want to peak into someone else's life?  Then check out Julie Metz's fascinating memoir, Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal.  And on that note, tomorrow we'll be introducing new Lit IT Girl Kim Wright and her fabulous debut, Love in Mid Air!  Make sure to stop by and leave a comment for your chance to win a copy.

Happy hour with the girls- It's muy importante to take  the time to have a glass of wine and detox with your girlfriends every so often. Staying connected with your besties is the best gift you can give yourself!  My favorite place to relax and talk some shit with my favorite girls?  The Rooftop Bar in Laguna Beach.  Their view is amazing and the sunsets there are like no other.

So there you have it!  What's on YOUR Mommy Must list?  Leave a comment and I'll enter you in a random drawing to win one of TWO copies of Christine Lemmon's Sand In My Eyes.

xoxo, Liz

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Allie Larkin

Where do we begin? The brilliant, eye-catching book cover (it's her own German Shepard, Argo. Need we say  more?). The fantastic writing? The story that makes your heart melt over and over again? Since discovering Allie Larkin and devouring her DEBUT novel, STAY (in stores NOW), we're in love (yes, we've fallen hard- again!). STAY is the story of how heartbroken Savannah"Van" Leone, in love with her best friend's husband (ouch!), finds comfort in a dog "Joe" that she adopts from, um, Slovakia. Best part? She buys the dog over the internet while in a drunken vodka and Kool Aid haze after watching a Rin, Tin, Tin marathon. Hey, it could happen to anyone... Er, like the time Lisa picked up her home phone and called everyone in her address book (remember those?!) after drinking too many shots of Captain Morgan's that she chased with chocolate chips?!  This was in college, before cell phones, before internet. Before common sense & good taste in liquor. But we digress...

When Van discovers the pint-size dog she thought she ordered isn't so pint-sized (try 100 pounds!) she rolls with it. (At least Joe's vet is HOT!) She's someone you root for and someone you feel for. She's someone you can relate to- especially when you think of how lonely it can be to nurse a broken heart.  And when her best friend and her husband return from their honeymoon (yup, to make matters worse they recently tied the knot), Van must decide just how much she's willing to sacrifice to have the life she's always wanted.

After reading STAY, we had a million questions for this break out author. Because we're deep in the trenches trying to find an agent for our our next project and we know many of you are aspiring writers, we wanted to know everything about how Allie got her book from the computer to the bookstores. And because we're, well, US, we threw in some "hard hitting" Q's like her "GNO drink of choice".

And we have FIVE copies of her book to give away! You guys know the drill.... leave a comment to be entered and we'll randomly select the winners this Friday!

1. How long did it take to write your book?

STAY started as a writing exercise in a class in 2002.  I turned the exercise into a short story, and then filed it away for several years.  I revisited it for a writing group, and realized it needed to be a novel.  I wrote the first few drafts at a rate of eight pages a week for my writing group.  So, it took many years, but I wasn’t working on it full time until the very end.

2. How long did it take you to get your book published? What were your rock bottom moments along the way?

I had my share of rejection and mopey moments while I was trying to find an agent, but I really believed in the story and the characters, and that kept me going.

Two years ago, our dog, Argo, who is the inspiration for the dog in STAY, had a growth that turned out to be cancer. I was a wreck.  I had shelved STAY to work on something new.  But while we were waiting for his surgery date and through his recovery, there was so little we could do.  I felt like I needed to finish STAY.  I know Argo will never know one way or another that he inspired a book, but it was important to me to finish it. STAY is fiction, but it’s also a celebration of the way Argo has changed my life and made me a better person.  I’m thrilled that Argo recovered fully and has been a part of this whole process with me.

3. How did you get teamed up with your publisher? Why did you feel your publisher was a good match for you?

Rebecca Strauss, my agent, met with Erika Imranyi at Dutton, and gave her the manuscript.  Dutton is the perfect match for STAY.  They have an amazing reputation for strong commercial fiction, and give so much attention to every book they publish. Everyone I’ve worked with at Dutton cares passionately about what they do, and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work with them.

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

I feel really lucky, because my agent has been an amazing guide through this process and it’s really helped me to make decisions I feel good about along the way.  I don’t think there’s much I would change if I could.

5. What did you do to celebrate your book deal?

My husband took me out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, and I called a bunch of friends and cried at them.

6. Who is your writer crush?

When I read NAKED in college, I was positive David Sedaris was my soul mate and we were meant for each other.  Then I got to the chapter entitled “I Like Guys.”  I guess I’m not his type, and I’m married now anyway, but I’d be open to being just friends.

7. What's your biggest distraction or vice while writing?

Twitter and Facebook are big distractions.  Although, also useful.  When I’m feeling like I want to take a break, it keeps me home and in my office to spend a few minutes on Twitter.  Otherwise, I’d get the itch to run errands or go grab coffee, and might not make it back to my desk that day.

8. GNO drink of choice?

I love Campari & soda.  I get teased about it being an old lady drink all the time, but it’s my drink of choice anyway.  I also enjoy driving slow and going to bed early.

9. Favorite trashy TV show?

There was a BBC show called Hotel Babylon.  Most of the seasons are on Netflix.  I watched as many as I could get my hands on in an embarrassingly short amount of time.  And I plan to do it again when I can.  So fun!

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

If @NathanFillion ever tweeted at me – war or otherwise, I’m pretty sure I’d pass out.

To find out more about this fab Lit It-Girl Allie Larkin, follow her on TwitterFacebook and visit her website. And definitely buy her book!

Thanks so much, Allie!

xoxo, Liz & Lisa

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