Tracey Garvis Graves's 5 Firsts and Lasts

UnchartedOur guest today: Tracey Garvis-Graves Why we love her: Her debut, On the Island was fantastic!  And we fell even more in love when we met her last month at BEA.

Her latest:  Uncharted-An On the Island novella! (only 2.99!!!)

The Scoop: When twenty-three-year-old dot-com millionaire Owen Sparks walked away from his charmed life, he had one goal in mind: get as far away as possible from the people who resented his success, or had their hand out for a piece of it. A remote uncharted island halfway around the world seemed like a perfectly logical place to get away from it all.

Calia Reed wasn't part of Owen's plans. The beautiful British girl—on holiday in the Maldives with her brother, James—made Owen wonder if getting away from it all might be a lot more enjoyable with a carefree girl who didn't know anything about the life he left behind.

But Owen had no idea how much his carefully detailed plans would go awry. Nor did he realize that a decision he made would have such a catastrophic effect on two passengers who boarded a plane in Chicago.

And when Owen shows up at Anna and T.J.'s door with an incredible story to tell, everyone involved will learn just how much their lives are intertwined.

Our thoughts: We can't WAIT to read catch up with TJ and Anna!  SO excited!

Fun fact: On the Island was picked up by Penguin after it's incredible self publication sales!

Where you can read more about Tracey: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.


Author of On the Island and Covet, Tracey Garvis Graves


FIRST-My 7th grade boyfriend and I embarked on the world’s longest kissing session when we were at a party. Neither of us really knew what we were doing or that we could take a break to come up for air. I mostly remember worrying that I might pass out from lack of oxygen.

LAST -My dog caught me unaware and slipped me the tongue about an hour ago. I’m embarrassed to admit that this happens frequently. Thankfully I also receive daily kisses from my kids and my husband.


FIRST-The first book I can remember reading – and loving – is The Monster at the End of This Book. You can probably imagine my delight the first time I read it to my own children.

LAST-The last book I read was The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. I am not a huge literary fiction reader, but this book blew me away. The writing is simply gorgeous. I had the pleasure of meeting Meg when I was in New York for BEA. I may have frightened her with my fangirling.


FIRST-I have always been very risk-averse. I have a fearless twin sister who was always the first to try new things, whether it was swimming in the deep end or learning how to drive a car. I have always been the cautious, careful, non-daredevil twin. However, when I wrote On the Island I took a huge risk because the main characters have a thirteen year age difference, and it’s the woman who’s older. She’s also the younger male character’s tutor. I really wanted to write a desert island book, and I knew that I wanted to put two people on an island – two people who should never be together – and see if I could convince the readers to not only fall in love with them as individual characters, but also root for them to be together. I was very, very lucky that readers embraced Anna and T.J. the way they did because it could have easily gone the other way.

LAST-My most recent risk involves following up a contemporary romance novel with a book that fits more solidly in the women’s fiction category. It’s tempting as a writer to write a book that is similar to the one that came before it. It’s safe. It’s comfortable. You know your readers will probably embrace it because you’re giving them more of something they already like. But Covet became the story I just had to tell because it was the one I couldn’t get out of my head.

I know my readers are probably expecting another love story like Anna and T.J.’s, but Covet is about a married couple who live in the suburbs. I remember back in late 2008 when the recession was in full-swing. I was a stay-at-home-mom at the time and my husband was in real danger of being laid off. He works in commercial real estate and it would have been very hard for him to find another job. We were extremely fortunate because he was able to keep his job, but this experience is what gave me the spark of an idea for Covet: What if my husband had lost his job and been out of work for an extended period of time? What might have happened to an otherwise strong marriage if an outside event like this had upset the status quo? I wrote the book to find out the answers to these questions.


FIRST-I have two of them. The first was when my agent informed me that On the Island made the New York Times bestseller list. It was late on a Wednesday night and my kids were in bed and my husband wasn’t home. I was overcome with excitement and there was no one I could share the news with, so I excitedly announced the news to my dog, Chloe. That’s probably why she kisses me all the time. I also e-mailed my dad and stepmom, and I used lots of exclamation points. The second truly surreal moment came when I sold over 100,000 copies of the self-published version of On the Island in one month.

LAST-There have been several recent reviews of Covet where the reviewer really understood what I wanted to do with this book. Covet is a book that I think many women can relate to, because it’s about marriage and family and the struggles and triumphs within. The characters are very human. It’s wonderful knowing that my intentions for this book are being realized, and that I was able to successfully transfer them to the page.


FIRST-A friend invited me to a psychic party about fifteen years ago. It was just for fun and I enjoyed hearing the psychic’s predictions. I saw this same psychic a few more times and even hosted my own party, which was a big hit. But one time she really floored me by saying she thought it would be a good idea for me to write a book someday. She didn’t give me any details other than to say, “I think once the kids are a little older you’ll just want something for yourself.” This was about ten or eleven years ago, and I kind of forgot about it. Fast forward to 2011. I was working full-time and in the final revision stage of On the Island.  I had been spreading myself pretty thin and I was exhausted. My husband was gently chastising me and saying that I was going to get sick if I didn’t slow down a bit. I ranted and raved about how I was so close to being done and so happy that I was about to accomplish my goal of writing a novel. I wanted him to know how much it meant to me so I turned to him and said, “I just want something for myself!” It was then that I remembered that those had been the psychic’s exact words, and my aha! moment came when I realized that it’s okay to want something outside of marriage and children that’s just for you. Who wouldn’t want that?

LAST-This one is fairly recent. In the last year I’ve focused so intently on my deadlines that I’ve let a few important things fall by the wayside, including exercise, regular social activity (just try getting me out of the house when I have a book due), and time to let my brain re-charge by letting my mind wander. My goal is to achieve a better balance because even though writing brings me great joy, there are many other things that make me happy, too. I’m also starting to learn the power of saying “no” when it needs to be said.

Thanks, Tracey!

Jamie McGuire's 5 Best Evers

Walking Disaster Final CoverOur guest today: Jamie McGuire Why we love her: She's a total rock star with an inspiring self pub to traditional publishing story.  Not to mention she's an awesome writer too!

Her latest: Walking Disaster (our April 2nd!)

The Scoop: Finally, the highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster.

Can you love someone too much? Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees. Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

Our thoughts: Whether or not you've read Beautiful Disaster, we think you'll love this.  Makes you feel like you're in back in college. (and who doesn't want to feel 21 again?)

Giveaway: FIVE copies BEFORE you can buy them!  Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win. (Remember: our giveaways are US/Canada only).  We'll choose the winners on Sunday March 24th after 8am PST.

Fun fact: Jamie is married to a REAL cowboy and lives on 30 acres of land in Oklahoma!

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


Photo credit: Trisha Johnson

Song: My dad was a member of the Nashville song writer’s association, and when I was little, he wrote a song called Jamie Dail. To hear my dad sing about how much he loves me … that is my all-time favorite song.

Book: Twilight is the only book I’ve read more than once. Even the hardback is well worn. The love story told in those pages is beautiful and simple and special, and it inspired me to write my first novel, Providence. Twilight inspired a lot of novels.

Movie: When I was in grade school, my mother was the manager of a video rental store. I used to lay on a pallet on the floor and pop in whatever VHS tape hadn’t been rented. I fell in love with scary movies during that time. Halloween, Cujo, Nightmare on Elm Street. But my favorite movie of all time has to be Aliens. I can recite almost every word of dialog in that movie. Sigourney Weaver is the baddest of all bad asses. I wanted to be Ripley when I grew up.

Life Moment: I can’t have just one. I have three children.

Piece of Advice: “Do what scares you.” I say it so often that my best friend made me a shadow box with that adage to put in my office. From sharing my stories with the public to transitioning into traditional publishing, something amazing came of my audacity.

Thanks, Jamie!

Susan Wigg's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Susan Wiggs Why we love her: She's fun and sassy! (if you don't believe us, just read her 5 Things below...)

Her latest: Return to Willow Lake-out on August 28th!

Our thoughts: We think you'll love it-there's a reason Susan is a NYT bestselling author!

Giveaway: FIVE bundles of Susan's Lakeshore Chronicle books!  Leave a comment and we'll choose the winners on Sunday June 3rd after 6pm PST.

Fun fact: Susan recently launched a food for thought Facebook app where she shares her favorite recipes!


First off, I actually wouldn't tell the teen me anything because the teen me would not have listened. Because she knew everything already. She didn't start being naive and ignorant and in need of advice until she got much older.

However, for the purposes of this exercise, and on the off chance that this girl might have been listening, I offer the following. 

[A bit of backstory: The Teen Me lived overseas, in Brussels and then in Paris (Versailles, actually). Drinking and smoking were legal for kids back then, though we couldn't drive. We were allowed to operate a mobilette (moped) with an engine up to 50cc, although helmets were optional.]

1. Slow down. You do everything too fast. You ski too fast.* You eat and drink too fast. You drive your moped too fast. You're zooming through school too fast. Do you really have to graduate from college two years ahead of all your peers? Why? What's your hurry? You'll get to adulthood in due time, and you'll have the rest of your life to be there. *In the photo below, it's not visible, but there is a cast on your leg which you broke while skiing too fast. See, I told you so.

2. Pay more attention to your parents. I know this seems incredible to you, but they are actually wise and caring individuals who only want the best for you. When, for example, they tell you it is not a good idea to skip school and take the train to Amsterdam for the weekend, they're not trying to destroy your social life, just preserve your innocence a teensy bit longer.

3. Practice your cello more. You've got a talent for it but if you don't practice, it will get rusty and then you won't feel like playing anymore and one day in the future when you're trying to make it as a writer and you're broke, you're going to hock your cello and it's a Juzak and irreplaceable and in the even further future, you're going to wish you still had it. So there.

4. Don't let negative messages deter you from your dreams. People call you Pollyanna and tease you about being relentlessly optimistic, but it's only because they're envious that you have the attitude of a golden retriever, trying again and again and again until you get it right.

5. Oh, and that guy named Dirk? Don't even bother. You'll thank me for that one day. Same goes for that floor length monstrosity you bought at Kensington Market in London for a Jethro Tull concert. Huge mistake, and I have the photos to prove it.

below: Susan with her big brother in Val d'Isere, France, ca 1974; same two people, decades later:


Thanks Susan! xoxo, L&L

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

Susan Mallery's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guest today: NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery Why we love her: Girlfrin' writes some smokin' hot books! *sizzle*

Her latest: Barefoot Season

The scoop on it: Michelle Sanderson may appear to be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside, she’s still the wounded girl who fled home years ago. A young army vet, Michelle returns to the quaint Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover from the perils of war. Instead, she finds the owner’s suite occupied by the last person she wants to see.

Carly Williams and Michelle were once inseparable, until a shocking betrayal destroyed their friendship. And now Carly is implicated in the financial disaster lurking behind the inn’s cheerful veneer.

Our thoughts: Even if you don't normally read romance, we think you'll love Barefoot Season-it reads more like women's fiction.  So give it a try! You can read Chapter 1 at www.barefootseason.com!

Fun Fact: There's a bunch of fab recipes over at her site-check them out!

Giveaway: FIVE copiesWe'll choose the winners after 6pm PST on Sunday April 8thGood luck!


Thanks so much for having me here to celebrate the release of BAREFOOT SEASON! The “5 Things I’d Tell the Teen Me” theme is very appropriate because, although BAREFOOT SEASON is adult fiction rather than YA, the best friends at the center of the story went through a major upheaval when they were teens, and they’re still feeling the reverberation of it now, in their late 20s.

So here are 5 things I’d tell the teen me…

1. Stay in touch with your friends. When you graduate high school, you’ll insist that you’re going to stay in touch with your BFFs, and you will, for a while. But then life happens. You’ll move, and they’ll move, and somewhere along the road, you’ll lose touch. You will miss them. No one will ever know you in quite the same way.

2. Stretch and use sunblock. Using sunblock keeps you young from the outside in, stretching does it from the inside out. Do both, and you’ll get carded well into your 30s. (That will become a good thing, trust me. It’s sad when it stops happening.)

3. You don’t have to try everything… People will imply that you’re narrow-minded if you don’t try stuff they want you to try. Sushi or tattoos or motorcycles or whatever. If your gut tells you something isn’t right for you, don’t succumb to the pressure. It’s okay to decide for yourself what you do or don’t want to try. Forge your own path in life.

4. …but don’t let fear stop you! Don’t mistake fear for wisdom. Just because you’re afraid of something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Do a gut check. Dig deep, and ask yourself, do I really want to? What’s beneath the fear – excitement or disinterest? If the answer is excitement, then do it despite the fear, as long as it’s not illegal, dangerous, or ridiculous. Wait, no. You can do it if it’s ridiculous, especially when you’re young. You grow by taking risks. Have faith that you can handle whatever comes.

5. Boys aren’t jerks just because they don’t want to commit. Sometimes they’re jerks, but not just because of that. My friends and I used to get so mad at boys who didn’t want to be our boyfriends. “Fear of commitment,” we said with identical sneers, as if it meant “evil.” But the truth is, a guy has the right to be single, and he should only commit when he wants to. Otherwise, you both end up in an unhappy relationship, and it’s better to be alone than unhappy. They’re not synonymous. If he’s not into you enough to commit, don’t pressure him. Let go and move on. Not every guy is the One, and you’re not the One for every guy. That’s why they call it the One.

Thanks Susan!  xoxo, L&L

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


9 Things Liz & Lisa Didn't Know About...Allison Winn Scotch

She's not just a majorly talented, New York Times bestselling author with three fabulous books under her belt. Allison Winn Scotch also has serious celebrity radar (case in point: she saw Tina Fey, Ben Stiller AND Cynthia Nixon in the same week!).  She picked her husband up! (Wait till you find out where...) And she has quite a thing for cereal... We're SUPER excited about Allison's latest novel, The One That I Want available everywhere TODAY! We both loved the wonderful story about Tilly Farmer, a girl who's seemingly perfect life begins to fall apart after an old childhood friend gives her the gift to see into the future. Liz was unable to put it down-she finished it in one day flat! (A new all-time record, btw...) And Lisa has already read it twice! Redbook Magazine loved it too, choosing it as a June Book Pick and we agree- it's a must-have for your beach bag this summer!

And to launch The One That I Want, Allison is giving away some FABULOUS PRIZES if you order it between now and June 4th.  Send her the receipt and you'll be entered to win cool stuff like a Blackberry, a Flip camera, a bag of great summer reads and more! Head on over to her website or Facebook page for all the deets!

And that's not all!  We have FIVE copies of The One That I Want to give away!  Just leave a comment on this post to be entered!

Allison took time out of her uber-busy schedule not just to share 9 things about herself that we didn't know, but to make a video to reveal these things to us! (Thanks, Allison!)

And that's not as easy as it may seem. Think lighting, wardrobe and, of course, content. Well, we think she nailed it from start to finish. (But of course she did! We're beginning to think she's good at everything she does-she even has awesome tweets!) And we have no doubt you'll love this video as much as we do.

So, pull up a chair and watch and be prepared to learn some pretty interesting things about Allison. And don't forget to leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy of The One That I Want!