Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guest today: Meg Cabot Why we love her: Um, hello, we love The Princess Diaries, not to mention all her fun adult novels too!

Her latest: Size 12 And Ready to Rock

The scoop on it: Summer break . . . and the livin' ain't easy!

Just because the students at New York College have flown the coop doesn't mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells can relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp, hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself—who just happens to be newly married to Heather's ex-boyfriend, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead . . . and it's clear that the star was the intended victim.

Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and his highest-earning performer) alive. So he hires his oldest son, black sheep of the family and private investigator Cooper Cartwright—who just happens to be Heather's new fiancÉ. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can't help but get involved. And after Tania shares a really shocking secret with her, this reality suddenly becomes more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated.

Our thoughts: We love the Heather Wells series-it's fun with a bit of mystery thrown in-we think you'll love it!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win-we'll choose the winners after 6pm PST on Monday, July 23rd.

Fun Fact: Meg shared some fun pics of herself last time she was a guest here-check it out!

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


1. Perm: DON'T DO IT

2. That guy who seems like he's so great? He's not.

3. That guy who seems like he's so awful? He's not.

4. You're not fat.  You're not fat.  You're not fat.  YOU ARE NOT FAT.

5. It really doesn't matter what college you go to. What matters is how much effort you make while you're there.  Stop stressing.

Thanks Meg! xoxo, L&L


Meg Cabot's in the Hot Seat

When Meg Cabot offered to share an article she wrote exclusively with lil' ol' us, we jumped at the opportunity. Because, let's face it, when Meg Cabot says "jump" we say "how high?" Plus, it was perfect timing. We'd just brainstormed a new feature called In the Hot Seat where we give our favorite authors a chance to let us know what's on their mind! And we were thrilled when Meg wanted to share an exclusive piece about her latest book, Insatiable (out now), a modern and humorous take on Dracula and it is "juicy"! (Btw, from The Princess Diaries to vampires- we're more than impressed!)

Click here to read an excerpt. And leave a comment on this post to win a copy! (We're giving away two! The only catch? You must be a US resident. Sorry to all of our friends across the pond! But don't worry, we'll make it up to you... )

But first, we need to give you a quick Flip for Liz & Lisa contest update! In just one week, we've gained over two hundred fans! Thanks to everyone who's helped make this happen and welcome to all of our new friends! Please continue to spread the word because once we hit 1,000 new fans(2320 is the magic number!) we'll be giving away a fabulous Flip SideHD. *shouts into megaphone* C'mon Everybody!  Let's do it!

And now, here's Meg's piece about why she wrote the book. It's full of lots of inside scoop like how she's managed to define a new genre. (In all her spare time!)


By Meg Cabot

True confession: I'm not wild about the horror genre . . . so why write a book with vampires in it?  Well, I got an idea for one.  And I love pop culture.

And vampire stories have been around (and part of popular culture) for millennia. The ancient Greeks, the Romans, and the Hebrews all told stories about demonic creatures who fed on the blood of the living.  Vampires aren’t just a trend . . . they’re a tradition.

The first rich, sexy vampire (who was irresistible to women . . . but sadly preferred to dine on virgin blood) appeared in print as far back as 1819.  But it wasn’t until 1897, when a little-known theatre manager slash pulp fiction author named Abraham (Bram) Stoker wrote the most famous vampire novel of all time, Dracula, that we had our first feminist heroine in vampire fiction. Mina Harker was talented and ambitious . . . and a writer.

But Mina didn’t just write about vampires: she battled them! Mina was sort of a Victorian Buffy the Vampire Slayer—although Dracula was in no way as cool, hot, or funny as either Angel or Spike.

In fact, tough vampire-slaying women like Buffy, who have to choose between love and duty—Buffy and Angel couldn’t consummate their relationship, because every time Angel had one true moment of happiness (sex with Buffy, of course) he lost his soul and became evil again, threatening to destroy the world—are direct descendants of the literary tradition that began with Dracula.

So, back to the original question:  Why write a vampire novel?  Well, like I said, I got an idea for one.

And then I got excited.  What did I as a storyteller have to bring to an ages-old tradition that’s always struck a chord with popular culture?

I knew I wanted to bring back all those great original vampire myths from the Romantic period, as well as old school vampires.

But I also wanted to bring back strong, confident heroines (like Mina and Buffy) who battle against them, women who aren’t virgins waiting around to be rescued:  They’re too busy saving the world.

Dracula (the most famous vampire story, by which Insatiable is partly inspired) is a gothic novel. I write books about girl empowerment. So combine the two, and you get a brand new genre I'm calling: Girl Gothic.

Other examples of Girl Gothic besides Insatiable (and Mina Harker) include Jane Eyre, Practical Magic, and Buffy: empowered heroines who stand up for themselves and have goals outside of snagging a man (but who still love men, exasperating though they can be at times), and who don't believe that being dead is a happy ending.

I hope you're as excited as I am for the release of Insatiable.  On you’ll find an Insatiable playlist, deleted scenes, maps, FAQs about the Palatine (as well as who they are!), and much, much more.

In the meantime, remember: No biting!

Much love,

Meg Cabot

5 Things Liz and Lisa didn't know about... Katie Fforde

So many great authors and books to choose little time. Or at least that's how we feel over here at CLIND.  And that's why we love to bring you the latest and greatest titles by both up and coming and blockbuster authors. Hope you had a chance to check out Emily Giffin's fabulous video we posted earlier this week and soon we'll be rolling out a new feature that will showcase debut authors.  (They'll even give us a few tips on how they got published-we're taking notes!) Today we're excited to have bestselling author of over fifteen novels, Katie Fforde, sharing five juicy tidbits. (She knows Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman! Germans love her!) Her latest novel, Wedding Season, is about a wedding planner who doesn't believe in love. (Cue irony!) It's a fun, sassy read that will fit perfectly in your favorite beach bag this summer-Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of three copies of Wedding Season!


1. I went to ballet school with Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman. She had hair so long she could sit on it.

2. I can lick my nose with my tongue and clap with one hand. But I don't do these things in public.

3. As part of my research for Wedding Season, I had my colours done. I know now I suit coral red and I shouldn't wear black, but  I sometimes cheat with black. I watched a lot of Bridezillas and also discovered the 'Lindy hop'.

4. My book 'Highland Fling' was turned into a German TV movie. It is now set in the Hudson valley, NY. Where they also have a highlands.

5. My forthcoming book 'A Perfect Proposal' is partly set in New York and Connecticut. My heroine is a poor English girl and my hero is a preppy New York lawyer. Sparks fly as they cross into each others worlds.

To read more about Katie head on over to her website or click here to follow her on Twitter.

xoxo, Liz & Lisa

5 Things Liz & Lisa didn't know about... Meg Cabot

Have we ever mentioned the majuh love we have for NYT bestselling author Meg Cabot? Between Liz's slight obsession with her YA novels (Um, does Princess Diaries ring a bell for anyone?) and Lisa's love for her Chick Lit Queen of Babble series , we consider ourselves huge fans.  Not to mention how we crush on her witty tweets and Facebook updates.  And once you see the, um, creative way she approached her five things, we think that you'll be girl crushin' on her too. And we also have an AWESOME giveaway to share with y'all! Just keep reading to find out what it is...

But first, we have to tell you about Cabots's latest YA release. It's high fashion with a touch of sci-fi. In Runaway, the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling and acclaimed Airhead novels, Emerson Watts is on the run: from school, from work, from her family, from her friends, from herself. And we all know that no one does YA better than Meg Cabot! Click here to read more about the Airhead series.

And the fabulous giveaway we mentioned?  A Bare Minerals Extreme Glimmers eyecolor set and Airhead Prize pack that includes Airhead, Being Nikki and Runaway. Just leave a comment to be entered.  This contest will run for two weeks so be sure to tell all your friends to head over for their chance to win!

*Cue Drum roll*


Since I’ve been blogging circa 2003 (and everything that’s not on my blog is either in my books or on my Twitter), it’s hard to think of five things everybody doesn’t already know about me!

But as a thank you to Chick Lit Is Not Dead for having me here today, I’ll give it a try: The 5 photos no one has ever seen of me (for good reason)!

I’ll admit I came up with the concept for Runaway (which has a modeling/murder theme) because I hate getting my photo taken.  In fact, it was during a book tour that I came up with the idea for the Airhead series... a brain transplant.  Because I would rather have one of those (into Heidi Klum’s body, of course) than deal with getting my picture taken.

That’s because for every good photo of me, there are at least five terrible photos of me.

I call into evidence the following:

1. I have a lazy eye. Not a charming Paris Hilton, if-I-tilt-my-head-the-other- way-it-will-be-all-right lazy eye.  An I-look-like-I-just-had-ten-beers Lazy Eye.

This was taken at the vet’s office.  I wasn’t drunk.  But I look like I am.

2. I also have what my mom calls the Mounsey Squint (her maiden name is Mounsey).  Here’s a good example.  It’s how I look in most photos that readers have taken with me at book signings.  It’s why they always go, “Oh, your eyes were closed.  Can we take that again?”

Don’t bother.  My eyes are actually open.  It’s the Mounsey Squint:

3. Because of this, I have grown pathologically afraid of having photos taken of me at any time. This is how I now react whenever anyone comes close with a camera, and I’m not on tour and REQUIRED to smile:

4.  If there is nothing handy to cram over my face, I am apparently not above resorting to charming expressions like this one in the hope that the photographer will just go away (all of our vacation albums are filled of photos of me looking like this):

5.  In a sly effort to combat all of the above, the last time I had my author photo done, my publisher sent over professional fashion photographer Ali Smith, her assistant, this makeup artist, and her ten-ton arsenal of equipment.

Don't worry Meg, we aren't very photogenic either! To read more about the hilarious Meg Cabot, click here!

And check out what Lisa wrote about Meg over at Barnes and Noble!

xo, Liz & Lisa

Lisa's Top Twelve All-Time Faves plus one special mention

I'm a girl who doesn't have a favorite anything. I'm the kind of person who loves Italian food but can also get down with some orange chicken and an egg roll. I've watched The Holiday as much as the Die Hard series. I don't have a favorite color, but I lean toward blue and green (if you don't count black and gray). I love Manhattan (New York) as much as Laguna Beach (the city not the television show). So when you ask me for my top ten favorite books, my mind starts spinning. Do I categorize them? Should I make one list that's comprised of my favorite chick lit, another for memoirs, another for biographies and so on? Do I start with the books I read when I was a little girl because then I'd have to include Judy Blume's, Are you There God, It's me Margaret and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing that I still firmly believe are better than many books written today. In the end, I decided to close my eyes and go with my gut. I went to my bookshelf and nightstand and grabbed the ones that made me happy during a time in my life when I needed them. At the end of the day, that's the function of a book as far as I'm concerned.

Somehow, I ended up with 12 (in no particular order) plus one special mention. I doubt my descriptions will do these books justice so I can only hope that you are inspired to read them or to read them again. Sometimes the second time around is even better!

1. Straight Up and Dirty by Stephanie Klein I didn't hear about Straight Up and Dirty from Liz or one of my girlfriends that I often swap books with. Turns out, it was Matt (my "manfriend"), who said the colorful cover caught his eye and after reading the back, thought it sounded like me. (I'm sure it was probably the title more than the cover but anywhoo...) He was right- Straight Up and Dirty and I were/are/always will be a perfect fit. I've read it twice and given it as a gift more times than I can count. Stephanie Klein's writing is the perfect combination of witty, smart, self-deprecating and honest in this memoir about her life with the wrong guy and her journey to finding the right one.

2. The Big Love by Sarah Dunn Time Magazine called The Big Love "Unapologetic Chick Lit" and I couldn't agree more. Sarah Dunn's first novel grabs you from page one when Alison's boyfriend steps out for mustard and never returns.  It's a beach read that also makes you think. Is there a better combination?

3. Something Borrowed & Something Blue by Emily Giffin Emily Giffin is inspirational because her debut novel Something Borrowed hit the NY Times best seller list and when you read it, it's obvious why it did. She has incredible talent because she writes about a girl who sleeps with her best friend's fiancé but still has the ability to make you feel for and even like her. Her follow up novel, Something Blue is the same story but told from the perspective of the friend who was cheated on in Something Borrowed. The one you thought was a shallow, heartless be-yotch but now you suddenly root for and understand.  That, my friends, is talent.

4. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri This is my intellectual book. Not that the others aren't well written with big words. But this has that little sticker on the front that says "Winner of the Pulitzer Prize." If you haven't heard of this author or book, you've probably heard of the movie the Namesake. It was adapted from her novel of the same name (the movie did NOT do the book justice, but do they ever?). Interpreter of Maladies is a series of short stories and Jhumpa's debut novel. The way she writes about people "seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations" as described on the back of her book, makes you feel like you're right there in the room with her characters, smelling the food they're cooking, feeling the emotions they're feeling and hoping, as much as they are, that it will all work out.

5. Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch I just read this book and fell in love. It's all about those two little words so many of us ask ourselves, "What if?" If you've ever questioned your life, wondered what would've happened if you'd married your college sweetheart or if you hadn't, this book will make you look at and appreciate your life for what it really is.

6. Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer Just a few exciting things about this book... It was Liza's debut novel and the first novel for the publisher 5 Spot; it went on to be an international best seller and has been optioned to HBO for a series! Her writing is hilarious, (and so is she--Liz and I saw her speak along with Megan Crane whose book Frenemies is sitting on my nightstand calling out to me) and she's truly the master of snappy dialogue. Her story really hits home for anyone who's ever felt like they could not catch a break and who's ever been insecure or questioned his or her entire life. Face it girls and boys, that's all of us. And if it's not, you suck or you're lying!

7. Sammy's Hill & Sammy's House by Kristin Gore Kristin Gore, you may or may not know, is Al Gore's daughter who established herself as a writer on SNL. Her main character in both books, Sammy, is flawed and quirky (my favorite combo) and even has a pet gold fish (hate them, but gave it a pass because it's funny) and I love her!  Both books are so much fun!

8. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld I love the way Curtis Sittenfeld writes. She paints you an incredibly detailed picture of what her main characters are seeing and feeling. I love this story about a 14 year old girl who feels completely out of place in her prep school. She never fits in over the four years she attends. We all have our junior high and high school traumatic experiences that have followed us through life. I know I empathized with this awkward adolescent (In fact, is there any other kind?). You should've seen me! I had glasses, braces and a perm that I poured a bottle of Infusium on every day. My hair was actually hard to the touch (I'll find & post a picture for you).

9.  The Wonder Spot by Melissa Bank I also loved The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing but The Wonder Spot is lesser known and reminds me a lot of Prep in the way it's written. Like Prep, it's about a girl who feels like she doesn't fit in- anywhere. Through a series of missteps, she searches for the life she wants to have. It's a wise and funny book-- fow show.

10. The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner It goes without saying that Good in Bed and In Her Shoes are fantastic. There's just something about the short story that I love and maybe that's why it's this book by Jennifer Weiner that I'm choosing to highlight. It just can't be easy to tell a compelling and interesting story in only a few pages. I like being left wanting more and personally feel that she could've developed several of these stories into novels!  You should do it, Jennifer!

11. The Bachelorette Party by Karen McCullah Lutz First...a bit of interesting trivia about this author. She wrote the screenplay for 10 Things I Hate About You and Legally Blonde. This is another debut novel that centers around one night. A night we've all experienced... whether we've been the fool in the veil running around Vegas or one of the fools with a plastic penis around her neck chasing after the fool in the veil. This is a fun page turner that I read might be turned into a movie. From chick lit to chick flick!

12. Beginner's Greek by James Collins I loved this book because it was different than anything I'd read in a long time. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it was written by a man about a man who still believes in romance and fate.  It's a story about a man who craves a happy ending and (SPOILER ALERT) he gets it too!

Honorable Mention: See Jane Write, A Girl's Guide to Writing Chick LIt by Sarah Mlynowski & Farrin Jacobs

Liz and I will be the first to tell you that we had no idea what we were doing when we wrote our book. Only after we finished I'll Have Who She's Having, did we start reading books on how to write books. We definitely went about it backwards but that's just who we are. We didn't follow a lot of the rules like outlining (shh!!). And we didn't even know our ending until close to the ending.

See Jane Write, A Girl's Guide to Writing Chick Lit was a little treasure that we discovered on the shelf at Barnes & Noble and devoured while standing in the store.  In true Liz/Lisa fashion, we used it as a guide to see if the novel we'd already written had even a chance of making it.  See Jane Write, A Girl's Guide to Writing Chick Lit is very straightforward and funny. It also meant a lot to us because it was written by Sarah Mlynowski (who we love) and Farrin Jacobs (a former chick lit editor who became a writer who we also now love). They obviously believe in the chick lit genre.  They make no apologies for chick lit-- in fact they champion it. It's a great book that includes great tips from authors like Emily Giffin, Meg Cabot and Sophia Kinsella.

Be sure to tell us about your faves!