We're huge dog lovers. And, of course, huge book lovers. So we absolutely fell in love with I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship edited by critically acclaimed memoirist Wade Rouse. Not only did we LOL our dog-lovin' booties off but we also felt all mushy inside (hey it's about doggys, what can we say?) as we read twenty-one hilarious and touching essays about man's best friend (everything from fighting for bed space to rescuing a dog on a highway.)
Some of the stories are even contributed by some of our (and your!) favorite women's fiction and Chick Lit authors, including Sarah Pekkanen, Jane Green and Jen Lancaster. And the foreward is by Chelsea Handler's very funny and freakin' cute dog, Chunk (that of course you can follow on Twitter).
We were especially lovin' on Wade's own essay, Diddle Diddle Dum Dum, about the made up language he speaks to his dog, Marge.
And yet another reason to love this book? (As if you need one.) Wade is donating to The Humane Society of the United States 50% of the royalties he earns from sales of this book.
Ready for your own copy of I'm Not The Biggest Bitch in This Relationship? Just leave a comment and be entered to win one of five. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm on Monday, September 12th. And ready for even more entertainment? It's time to spend seven seconds in heaven with Wade Rouse!
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS...SEVEN SECONDS IN HEAVEN WITH...Wade Rouse
1) Read My Lips! I’m obsessed with shiny, supple lips. I break down whenever I go 10 minutes without reapplying. I could never go on Survivor because they don’t allow Burt’s Bees, Carmex, or Vaseline. A half-hour into the show, and I’d be choking Jeff Probst and screaming, “Get me to a Walgreen’s!” I will buy any product that promises to make me look like I have bee-stung lips coated in shiny glitter. I mean, I’d buy a live rattlesnake and kiss it if it had Lip Smackers instead of venom. The bad thing is I often look like Lisa Rinna in photos.
2) Erma Is The Bomb(eck)!: My idol is Erma Bombeck. My mom introduced me to her after I made the hideous mistake of singing “Delta Dawn” at a middle school talent contest in my rural middle school and was promptly booed offstage by a crowd that made the boys from Deliverance look like the Jonas Brothers. My mother gave me a copy of At Wit’s End and a little writing journal when I was finished, and said, “You were true to yourself, and that’s all that matters. But you will need these to make sense of your life.” I still try to do what Erma did: Write with humor about the magical, maddening and mundane moments in life that unite us all. My writing M.O. is the same as hers: “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”
3) I Used to Be Seen in 3-D! I lost 120 pounds and have kept it off for nearly 15 years. I grew up a very overweight kid in the Ozarks, which was not the best place for a creative, gay boy to grow up. I was often mistaken for a girl (damn my penchant for feathered hair, ascots and Juice Newton half-shirts!), but eventually discovered love, self-esteem, a passion for life, a love for my work, and myself. I am now a fitness nut, marathon runner (fastest time: 3:28:38). I’ve learned it’s all about balance in life, loving yourself, believing in yourself. This is a short ride we’re all on, and exercise and healthy eating keep me centered. They balance my creative/writer’s life, which is vital to any author. And it’s nice to go to reunions and not be asked, “Weren’t you that teen mom?”
4) I’m Smitten with the Mitten (at least in the summer and fall)!: We left the culture, couture, and creature comforts of city life to move to the woods of Michigan five years ago in order to recreate, ala Thoreau, a modern-day Walden … to very mixed results (my misadventures in search of the simple life were the basis of my memoir, At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream). I love our knotty pine cottage, our woods filled with pines and sugar maples, Lake Michigan and its beautiful beaches (and the quiet: I can only write in total silence), but I realized I also need the city vibe and shopping – just like exercise – to remain balanced. Walking into a Kenneth Cole store, shopping on Michigan Avenue or in Soho is the equivalent of angels singing while handing me a non-fat white chocolate latte and a Sunday New York Times review that adores my latest book. But I just can’t endure three months of lake-effect snow … I go totally Jack Nicholson in The Shining after weeks of winter, and my partner, Gary, worries I’m going to hatchet him. Which is why we head to Palm Springs every winter for two months. Sorry, Thoreau. But mama needs a tan.
5) I Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hound Dog!: I’ve had six rescue dogs in my life, and they’ve all been my best friends and biggest pains in the butt, which is why I created my current book, I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship. I wanted to write a book that captured the neurotic but beautiful relationships we have with our pets. The book is an ode to my beloved Marge, our 80-pound, Scooby-Do, Heinz 57 rescue who died at 14 this past April, and to my late mom, a hospice nurse and an animal advocate, who taught me the beauty of loving unconditionally, despite the hurt, and giving back to others. That’s why I’m giving a portion of all royalties earned from the book to the Humane Society of the United States, and why so many great humorists – from Chelsea Handler and her dog, Chunk, to Jen Lancaster, Laurie Notaro, Beth Harbison, Sarah Pekkanen and Jane Green jumped aboard the Bitch train so early. This book was truly a labor of love, and I’ve never been prouder to give birth to such a litter of great essays (yeah, I know, that analogy not only sucked but was also disturbing).
6) Fuggetabout Fear!: Most Americans, I have come to believe, especially today (and especially writers), are defined by our fears rather than our passion. But fear is what strangles us, prevents us from finding our voices, pursuing our passion, following what calls to us. And, when writers sit down, carrying all that baggage, and are scared to write what truly calls to them, then they are doomed to fail. So, I urge everyone – at some point in their lives – to turn “FEAR” into Free Every Artistic Response. When you do, your true voice will be unleashed, and fear will no longer steer you into a ditch and off your true path. I believe that everyone who wants to write, should write. There is no golden key to success, like I used to believe, only talent, hard work, perseverance and fearlessness. Which is why I teach writing classes and am spreading my gospel to Wade’s Writers! (wadeswriters.com)
7) Book It, Dano!: After my fall tour for Bitch, I have a lot of other books coming your way! My next book is a memoir entitled, THIS BLOWS! A Life, in Locks. It is what I’m calling the first-ever “hair-moir,” a memoir about my addiction to my hair (something to which I think ALL of us can relate). The book is a funny look at the styles – good, bad, sad – and Dippity-do’s and Dippity-don’ts of my and my friends’ hair trends over the years. It’s also a deeper look at addiction, and it juxtaposes my vanity against that of my mom, who had zero. She was a hospice nurse who eventually battled cancer, and could have cared less how she looked, or whether she was wearing a wig. “A body is a body,” she always told me, “but a soul is a soul.” I’m also working on a book about my late mutt, Marge. My partner and I are scattering her ashes in the 16 states she ever lived in, or visited. It’s really a lovely tribute to her, and the power of animals, and loving unconditionally. I’m also working on a new celebrity anthology, which will also showcase humor to raise awareness, as well as a mystery series. And my first memoir, America’s Boy, is back in print, I’m proud to announce. It was my baby that launched all this madness, and it means the world that it’s back in print. I also speak and teach writing workshops around the country (www.wadeswriters.com), am a regular contributor to Michigan Public Radio, and write two humor columns. I’m a busy boy, but I know it is a blessing to be doing what I love.
Liz & Lisa
To find out more about Wade Rouse, check out his website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.