chick lit books

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


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!