best chick lit of 2011

Robyn Carr's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

We have to admit, we were a little sad when we put 5 Do's and a Do-Over on the shelf a few months ago. Not that we haven't enjoyed 5 Loves and a Dud- we have. It's just that 5 Do's and a Do-Over was one of our all-time faves and it will always have a special place for it in our hearts. So that' why you're going to see it pop up from time to time, starting with today. And who better to share her list than the fabulous New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr? She's only written like a gazillion books! We absolutely loved  Bring Me Home for Christmas--book #16 in her Virgin River series (and not just a book to be read at Christmastime, btw). Here's the skinny on Bring Me Home for Christmas:

This year, Becca Timm knows the number one item on her Christmas wish list: getting over Denny Cutler. Three years ago Denny broke her heart before heading off to war. It’s time she got over her silly college relationship and moved on. So she takes matters into her own hands and heads up to Virgin River, the rugged little mountain town that Denny calls home, as an uninvited guest on her brother’s men-only hunting weekend. But when an accident turns her impromptu visit into an extended stay, Becca finds herself stranded in Virgin River. With Denny. In very close quarters. As the power of Christmas envelops the little town, Becca discovers that the boy she once loved has become a strong and confident man. An the most delicious Christmas present she can imagine.

Read an excerpt from Bring Me Home for Christmas.

So much fun, right? Well, we've got one copy to give away. Just leave a comment to be entered. We'll randomly select the winners after 6 p.m. PST on Sunday, January 29th.

Oh, and be on the look out for the launch of our next feature...coming very soon in honor of our THIRD ANNIVERSARY (woo hoo! Can you believe it? Three years already?!) brought to you with the help of a fabulous author you all love!

And now, without further adieu....


DO'S 1.    Do spend real money on nice under-things and pajamas – you never know when the ER will be staffed with adorable hunks in your age range.  Okay, we don’t want you in the ER, but while you’re at home just slaving away, nice unders will make you feel important; nice sleepwear will make you feel decadent and desirable. 2.   Do give up on reading a book that’s just not doing it for you.  Life’s too short and reading is one of the greatest pleasures.  Nancy Pearl, Uber Librarian, suggests giving a book 50 pages until you reach the age of 50.  Then you can subtract a page for every year over 50.  Ditch the guilt.  There’s an old saying – No two people read the same book; if it’s not for you, that’s all right. 3.    Do live with a glass half full; do vow to be relentlessly happy.  It’s a choice, that’s all.  Negative thinking and acting becomes habit forming and brings negative results.  Likewise, a positive attitude and looking for the silver lining in everything seems to bring good luck!  I remember saying to one of these positive gurus “Bad things do happen to good people, you know.”  And he said.  “Bad things happen to all people, and so do good things.”  Life can be tough.  It can feel less traumatic if you believe everything will work out as it’s supposed to. 4. Do go to your closet and find that one outfit that you loved on the hanger but has never looked good on you and get rid of it.  Pitch it.  Yes, you do have at least one – maybe something that was going to be perfect for you ten pounds from now.  Maybe a color you love but that unfortunately makes you look ill.  A style that never flattered you.  Let it tempt you no more!  Make it go away! 5. Do get a flu shot.  If you don’t, you’ll regret it.

DO-OVER? Can I please go back to the very first writer’s conference in 1980 at which I was actually a speaker?  Can I please make that Ladies Room run once more and pay closer attention and not tuck the back of my skirt in my panty hose?  Please? Rbo

Thanks, Robyn!



To find out more about the fabulous Robyn Carr and her gazillion books, head over to her website.

Best books of 2011 by Lisa

Like Liz mentioned in her best books of 2011 post, we read a f*ckload of books this year. And deciding which books made our favorites list was almost harder than deciding which movie Ryan Gosling looked hottest in this year. (For the record, after careful consideration, I've decided on Crazy, Stupid Love.) And even though it has NOTHING to do with this post...


Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

One more little thing before I get to my list o' books...what kind of end-of year post would this be without another AWESOME giveaway? (Liz gave away ten yesterday so of course I will too!)  Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a BUNDLE O' BOOKS that includes novels from Meg Mitchell Moore to Kristin Hannah to Jackie Collins to Meg Cabot!  Check out the picture below to see all TEN books the winner will receive. We'll choose the winners on Monday December 26th after 6pm PST.

So without further adieu, here's my list.  And don't forget to tell me what YOUR fave novels of 2011 were!


1. The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore You know that feeling you get when a book sucks you in so hard and so fast that you think about the story and the characters when you're not even reading it? That's what happened to me when I devoured Meg Mitchell Moore's debut novel. I found her book about what happens when all of the children come back home to their parent's house at the same time so engaging and powerful that it resonated with me long after I finished reading it. So much so, that I knew it would make this list long before I ever officially created it. The Arrivals makes the perfect gift for any book lover who likes to dive in and barely come up for air until she's reached the last page. (PS: It also has one of my favorite covers of the year.)


2.  A Year and Six Seconds: A Love Story by Isabel Gillies  When I wrote about Isabel Gillies just last month, I was crushing hard. Swooning. In love. All of the above. And let's just say, the crush has only deepened since. (I've re-read the book since writing that post and have to say it was even better the second time.) It's a beautifully written true story about the deep pain and loss of heartbreak and divorce and the deep resilience and sense of humor of love. Ladies, if you haven't yet read this memoir, treat yourself to a copy this Christmas.
3. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio  We named Sarah Jio our Lit IT Girl for a reason. I was so engrossed in this novel about riding a high for ten years and then having to start over that I could not put this debut novel down. And when I say couldn't put it down, that's not an exaggeration. I carried it with me everywhere and, at one point, was reading it while feeding my daughter. This novel makes a perfect gift for anyone who loves a good mystery and a good love story all rolled into one. (And BTW, Sarah Jio isn't done wowing us for 2011, she has a second fabulous novel, The Bungalow, coming out on December 27th. Yes, two in one year! Be looking for her 5 Loves and a Dud and, of course, a chance to win one of 5 copies of The Bungalow later this week!)
4. It's Hard Not to Hate You by Valerie Frankel   In a nutshell, I had a baby at the beginning of this year so I needed a damn good laugh (or a thousand million!).  And with this memoir, the hilarious Valerie Frankel may have just given me the best baby gift of all (sorry, Mom!) In a nutshell, after a health crisis and unlocking years of pent up rage, Frankel discovers that your Bitchy Twin might just be your funniest, most valuable and honest ally. One of the funniest books I read all year (and that's sayin' a lot because there a lot that had me laughing), there was no question this book was going to make my list. Put it in the stocking of anyone who needs a good, healthy LOL.
5. If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster  When one of my favorite authors of all time made her fiction debut, I felt like one of those crazy people that lines up for the latest Apple gadget or to try out for American Idol. I might as well have stayed up all night and slept in the rain on the sidewalk as I waited for this book to come out. And once I got my little mitts on it, I was over 'da moon (me and her million other fans!). It's a story that asks- can your marriage survive a DIY renovation? It follows Amish-zombie-teen- romance author Mia and her husband Mac (and their pets) as they go through the  funny-process of buying and renovating their first home in the Chicago suburbs that John Hughes’s movies made famous...and a lot more! The John Hughes references alone make this novel a must-read!
And one biography pic!
Y'all may not have known that, in addition to being a memoir whore, I'm also a biography whore!
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. In a word, fascinating.








Sarah Strohmeyer's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Because we've been BFF's for sooo long, we love books about friendship. *cue sappy piano ballad* And Kindred Spirits by Sarah Strohmeyer is a novel we absolutely fell for because it's about lifelong friends who come together in the toughest time imaginable. Oh, and they love a good martini! Does it get any better than that? When life gives you lemons, call your best girlfriends and whip up some lemon martinis. Such is the mantra for the Ladies' Society for the Conservation of Martinis, which was established after one fateful PTA meeting, when four young mothers-Lynne, Mary Kay, Beth, and Carol- discovered they had more in common than they ever thought possible. Meeting once a month, the women would share laughs and secrets and toast to their blossoming friendship with a clink of their sacred martini glasses. The Society was their salvation, their refuge, but when life-shattering circumstances force the group to dissolve, their friendship is never quite the same...until two years later, when a tragic event puts the Society back in session.

When Lynne passes away suddenly, she leaves behind one simple request: that her old friends sort through her belongings. Reluctantly, the women reunite to rummage through her closets. There's nothing remarkable; no kinky sex toys, no embarrassing diary. But buried deep within Lynne's lingerie drawer is an envelope addressed to the Society. And inside they find a letter that reveals a shocking secret and a final wish that will send the women on a life-changing journey...proving that nothing is more powerful than the will of a true girlfriend and a good, strong martini.

And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of five copies of Kindred Spirits. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm EST on Sunday, August 14th.



1) … make a living making yourself happy! I can’t believe how long it took me to figure out that I didn’t have to take calculus in college and that playing with Barbies would launch my dream career. If you LOVE being outside, then for heaven’s sakes, don’t get an office job, check out the park service! And if you love dressing up Barbies like Joan of Arc or Sylvia Plath…go for it!

2)see Springsteen. Three times – THREE! – a friend with rock and roll connections called me up at the last moment while I was living in New Jersey to say that Bruce was going to make a surprise appearance at the Stone Pony or some other club in Asbury Park. All three times I blew him off. TWICE Bruce jumped on stage and played until dawn while I was getting my 40 winks in preparation for the next work day like a good girl. I’ve totally forgotten about the work; but I’ll always remember how I could have reached out and touched Bruce.

3) …become a great listener. Every successful, interesting person I’ve met is a great listener. They approach each stranger with an eagerness that you can see in their “enthusiastic attention.” They don’t interrupt. They ask follow-up questions. As a result, you, the talker, feel like a million bucks. This is especially flattering to guys – or any love interest. Guys will do anything for a woman who listens.

4) … learn how to perfect one somewhat fancy dinner. Cornish game hens with orange glaze, wild rice and roasted asparagus was mine for the longest time. Came in handy for entertaining guests from out of town, throwing an impromptu dinner party or impressing my future in-laws. A dessert from the local bakery or a quick and easy flourless chocolate tart sealed the deal. Email me at for recipes.

5)go out of your way to be really, really nice to someone who’s really not nice to you. Kill them with kindness, as my mother used to say. There is nothing so sweet, so delicious, as turning on the charm when you’ve been doused with acid. And though it sounds Pollyanna-ish, nine times out of ten, that person will melt and underneath you’ll find someone in deep pain who craves love.


Easy. I should have ignored my mother’s admonitions and slept with my cute college boyfriend.

Man. What was I thinking? The guy was hottttt and nice and sweet and dying to make love to me. Yet, there I was holding onto my virginity like it was my passport to female fulfillment. Eventually, he got frustrated (which my mother said proved her point that he was no good) and went off. We remained friends and are to this day. He’s happily married. I’ve been happily married for 22 years, but….still.

To find out more about the talented Sarah Strohmeyer, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

Thanks, Sarah!

xoxo, L&L


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

Beth Harbison's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Tomorrow's the big day! It's the pub date for Beth Harbison's latest (and possibly greatest!) novel, Always Something There To Remind Me. You know we love us some Beth Harbison. She's one of our faves because her stories (like this one) take us back in time (in a good way!). Her novels remind us of the fun and funny times from our past (hello- the 80's provide unlimited fodder!) and resonate because they always center around issues that we dealt with ourselves- like first loves... Can you ever really know if love is true? And if it is, should you stop at anything to get it?

Two decades ago, Erin Edwards was sure she’d already found the love of her life: Nate Lawson. Her first love. The one with whom she shared everything--dreams of the future, of children, plans for forever. The one she thought she would spend the rest of her life with. Until one terrible night when Erin made a mistake Nate could not forgive and left her to mourn the relationship she could never forget or get over.

Today, Erin is contentedly involved with a phenomenal guy, maneuvering a successful and exciting career, and raising a great daughter all on her own. So why would the name “Nate Lawson” be the first thing to enter her mind when her boyfriend asks her to marry him?

In the wake of the proposal, Erin finds herself coming unraveled over the past, and the love she never forgot. The more she tries to ignore it and move on, the more it haunts her.

Always Something There to Remind Me is a story that will resonate with any woman who has ever thought of that one first love and wondered, “Where is he?” and “What if…?” Filled with Beth Harbison’s trademark nostalgia humor and heart, it will transport you, and inspire you to believe in the power of first love

And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of five copies of Always Something There To Remind Me. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm on Sunday, July 24th. (We'll be on vacay 'til then, yo!)


But before we do, we just have to say, Beth, we're so with ya on #5! And thankful that email and texting didn't exist back in the day-like in college when we were serious dumb-asses- because we would have really been in trouble!


1. Do: Be Patient. I am not patient. It makes me crazy for 10-90% of every day, meaning my life would be 10-90% easier every day if I were patient. So, don’t do as I do, do as I say. Be patient. And let me know how that goes. Hurry up!

2. Do: Be kind. You should ALWAYS treat your friends and loved ones and, especially, your children with AT LEAST the same respect you’d give a stranger. It’s amazing how many people forget this golden rule.

3. Do: Your Best. Do your best. It doesn’t matter then how it measures up to what you consider someone else’s best. My best looks a bit shabby next to, say, Mother Teresa’s, but it’s pretty damn good compared to Charles Manson’s. If you’re content with what you’re doing, and you’re kind to people and productive in some small measure, count yourself lucky and don’t worry about being a world-burner. Not everyone’s flash is on the outside. Doesn’t matter. I’m thinking of one person in particular here, but it applies to everyone.

4. Do: Expect the best. If you expect the worst, it always happens. You look for it. You point yourself in its direction in ways you aren’t even aware of. Better to expect the best, and march thataway. Look for three lucky things every day. You’ll always see them, even if they’re small…

5. Do: Invent a breathalyzer machine of some sort that will lock electronics and prevent emailing and texting whilst tipsy. Please. I will invest much money in your company. This is a HUGE money-maker, if only someone with that kind of brain would come up with it!


Do over: That’s it – do it over if you need to. Again and again and again. If you fall, get up. Get up. Get up. You don’t fail until you quit. Every single one of us needs to be reminded of this – I need it frequently – it’s ain’t over til it’s over. You can quote me on that.

To find out more about this lovely and incredibly talented New York Times bestselling author, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

Thanks, Beth! xoxo,

Liz & Lisa

Sharing the e-book Love

It's been an amazing few days of celebrating and the party is only just getting started! And now that you've all (hopefully!) bought our latest novel, The D Word and our first book, I'll Have Who She's Having (combined you're spending less than a gallon of gas or the cost a fancy coffee drink) and emailed us the receipt to so you can be entered in the huge ass contest to win rad prizes (iPad 2 anyone?) we want to share the e-book love and tell y'all about some other great books you must download-stat! Click: An Online Love Story by Lisa Becker. When we found out Lisa Becker was from Manhattan Beach (one of Lisa Steinke's favorite places) and she'd also written a book about online dating (something that hit very close to home for Lisa Steinke- she still shudders at the thought of some of those cyberdates) we knew we had to read it. And it turned out to be hilarious, clever and full of fun! Click is the story of Renee Greene who is fast approaching her 30th birthday and finds herself not married, not dating, and without even a prospect or a house full of cats, so she reluctantly joins her best guy pal on a journey to find love online in Los Angeles. The story unfolds through a series of emails between Renee and her best friends (anal-retentive Mark, the overly-judgmental Gretchen and the over-sexed Shelly) as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online. Fraught with BCC's, FWD's and inadvertent Reply to All's, readers will root for Renee to "click" with the right man.

Sound like a book you'll "click" on and download? For only $4.99 we say it's a no-brainer! And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of 5 copies of Click! We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm PST on Friday, June 17th.

Momfriends by Ariella Papa. The title alone had us wanting to read this one! Juicy, sassy and smart, it's about three Momfriends- Ruth, Claudia and Kirsten. After years of infertility treatments, Ruth finally has the baby she always wanted, but it’s more difficult than she’d ever imagined. She is almost at the end of her rope when a knock on her door changes everything. Claudia’s life is all about rules and achievement. She is determined to get her toddler twins into the right preschool and eventually Harvard. Everything is going to go according to plan until a flirtation with colleague makes her throw out her rule book. And Kirsten is an artist and a dreamer. She loves the life she made with her boyfriend, David, and their three kids, but lately David is distracted. Something is missing and what Kirsten discovers late one night confirms that her life is not everything she dreamed.

Sound like a book you'd like to read? We say at $4.99, you should definitely add it to your e-book line up for summer (and Ariella's written a few others that you should also check out)! And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of three copies of Momfriends. We'll randomly select the winner after 6pm PST on Friday, June 17th.

The Kitchen Shrink By Dee DeTarsio.  It's the story of Lisby Shaw who wonders when her life turn into a country music song? Probably when her best friend signed her up for the debut of the new reality TV show, The Kitchen Shrink, for the ultimate life and home makeover! Unable to squirm out of this “it will be fun” opportunity, Lisby tries to juggle her upstairs-behind-the-scenes-life with her downstairs-in-front-of-the-camera persona, where everything she says and does can and will be used against her. Hopefully, the show doesn't find out about her fling with that hunky carpenter. Or that she and her friend smoked hootch she found in her daughter's room. Lisby cannot believe what a freak show her life has become. At least no one knows about her crush on Sam, Sam, the Cameraman… Lisby tries to find her way as the TV cameras capture her every move, zooming in on drama with her kids, her ex, her mom and her best friend. Stay tuned for Lisby’s extreme close-up as she becomes a jilted laughingstock on national TV. All is lost…or is it?

We think you'll love this e-book and it's great price- just $2.99! And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win a FAB gift basket that includes an Amazon Kindle eGift of The Kitchen Shrink, Domestic Diva clean-up gloves, Five-in-one hammer/screwdriver tool AND a 1.5” Perdy Paintbrush. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm PST on Friday, June 17th.

Twang: a novel by John Schlimm.  We love us some country music. Carrie Underwood. Kenny Chesney. The list goes on. So we were seriously diggin' this e-book from former Country Music publicist John Schlimm. But it doesn't matter if you're a country music fan because Twang: a novel, is a scandalous and LOL read for any pop culture junkie looking for a surefire beach read this summer. As a former celebrity publicist who worked with several Country Music megastars during his whirlwind tenure in Nashville, Schlimm’s eyes were opened wide, leaving him with an unmatched perspective of what really lies beneath the popular world of entertainment.  What resulted is a comical and unforgettable tale that follows several fictionalized superstars through the most dramatic and life-changing year in their careers.

So much fun and also a steal at $2.99!  And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of one of THREE ebook giftcards-one to Amazon, one to B&N and one to iBooks! We'll randomly select the winner after 6:00 pm PST on Friday, June 17th!

Thanks for sharing in the e-book love!


Liz & Lisa


Claire Cook's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Crack open the bubbly! Because one of our favorite authors and people is in da house. Claire Cook is back to partay with us at Chick Lit Is Not Dead because her eighth book- Best Staged Plans- is out TODAY! (Has it already been a year since we celebrated the release of Seven Year Switch?) Where did the time go? And speaking of time...where does Claire find the time to write so many darn novels? (*She recently revealed the answer to that question over at International Chick Lit Month. Hint: It starts with waking up and ends with at the crack of dawn!) Anywhoo, back to the partay!  Best Staged Plans synopsis: Sandy Sullivan is a professional home stager who lives and works in the Boston suburbs. So getting rid of her own house and downsizing should be a breeze, right? Well, best staged plans and all, Sandy’s husband, Greg, is dragging his feet and their son, Luke, has returned home and moved into the “bat cave” in the basement.

Sandy reads them both the riot act and takes a job staging a boutique hotel recently acquired by her best friend’s boyfriend. The good news is that she can spend time in Atlanta with her recently married daughter, Shannon. The bad news is that Shannon soon receives a promotion and heads back up to Boston for training, leaving Sandy and her Southern son-in-law, Chance, as reluctant roommates. And then Sandy suspects her best friend’s boyfriend may be seeing another woman on the side. Fixing up houses may turn out to be easier than fixing up lives.

And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of five copies of Best Staged Plans. We'll randomly select the winner after 6pm EST on Thursday, June 9th.


5 DO'S


1. Do rise above the negativity. People will tell you why you can’t or shouldn’t do whatever it is you want to do. Sometimes seeing you go after your dream reminds them of what they’re not doing in their own lives. Sometimes it’s simply jealousy. But whatever the motive, don’t let it hold you back. You have to decide you’re just going to do it anyway. You might want to protect yourself a bit in the beginning, too. I didn’t tell anyone about my first novel until it was finished. You don’t need anyone’s permission – as Nike famously said, just do it!

Long shots happen every day. Believe in them. Believe in yourself. And if there are people in your life who aren't supportive of your dreams, dump them if you can. Or at least stop sharing your dreams with them.

2. Do work your butt off. It’s tough out there, so make it a point to always do more than the situation requires. I did this when I was trying to break in to the publishing biz, and I continue to do it on a daily basis. I meet every deadline. I dive back into a manuscript again and again and again - whatever it takes to make the novel I’m working on as good as it can be.

3. Do decide to be who you really are. The buzz word these days is branding, but I think of it as authenticity.  Being a novelist is the first job I’ve ever had where I wasn’t pretending, or at least trying to pretend, to be a slightly different person. Who I am and what I write are totally in synch. There’s tremendous power in that!

And remember, if everybody’s doing it, it’s already been done. Put a little surprise in everything you do. Originality counts!

4. Do remember karma is a boomerang. This is the truest thing one of my characters has ever said. So do something nice for someone and set that boomerang in motion.

It’s easy to get needy when you’re struggling to figure out what’s next, or you hit a low point in the rollercoaster of your life, but many of the fabulous things that have happened to me (including the Must Love Dogs movie and a Today Show feature!) were triggered by something nice I did for someone else. People talk; your actions determine what they say.

5. Do make friends with the Internet. Whatever your goal, the Internet can help you get there. Learn everything you can about the world you want to conquer – it’s all online if you take the time to look for it, including an ehow video on just about everything! Get your computer and social networking skills up to speed and start connecting – new readers are discovering my books through Facebook and Twitter every day. I’ve also learned to design my own website and taught myself iMovie and Photoshop – so helpful for putting my own stamp on things and interacting with my amazing readers.


Don’t wait around for someone else to make it happen for you. “Nobody gives you power. You just take it,” Roseanne Barr once said. Boyohboy, do I wish I’d learned that one earlier. Here’s the truth: you’re only the center of your own universe. Everybody else thinks of you as a far lesser planet – and that’s if you’re lucky – most people aren’t even thinking about you at all! I think I spent far too much time waiting around politely for other people to give me my power, when, to mix metaphors, I was like Dorothy and those ruby slippers – I had it all along.

So whatever it is you want in your life, figure out how to make it happen yourself. You’ve got the power

Thanks, Claire!

xoxo, Liz & Lisa

Claire Cook wrote her first novel in her minivan in the parking lot outside her daughter’s swim practice when she was 45. At 50, she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of her second novel, MUST LOVE DOGS, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. Midlife rocks! Her seventh novel SEVEN YEAR SWITCH has just gone into paperback, and her eighth, BEST STAGED PLANS, will be published today! And make sure you connect with Claire on Facebook and Twitter, too!