I first met the lovely Kristin Harmel — author of the internationally bestselling THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING — about a million years ago when we were both working for People magazine. I was in awe of the fact that she managed to balance magazine work with her passion for fiction — publishing several novels over…
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Please Welcome Our Guest Debutante, the Fabulous Jane Green

We are thrilled to welcome New York Times best selling author Jane Green to The Debutante Ball today. Jane has an amazing new book called The Beach House, a book fans and reviewers are calling her best work yet.

The Beach House by Jane Green
Known in Nantucket as the crazy woman who lives in the rambling house atop the bluff, Nan doesn’t care what people think. At sixty-five-years old, her husband died twenty years ago, her beauty has faded, and her family has flown. If her neighbors are away, why shouldn’t she skinny dip in their swimming pools and help herself to their flowers? But when she discovers the money she thought would last forever is dwindling and she could lose her beloved house, Nan knows she has to make drastic changes.

So Nan takes out an ad: Rooms to rent for the summer in a beautiful old Nantucket home with water views and direct access to the beach. Slowly, people start moving into the house, filling it with noise, with laughter, and with tears. As the house comes alive again, Nan finds her family expanding. Her son comes home for the summer, and then an unexpected visitor turns all their lives upside-down.

How do you keep your books so fresh and distinct? You have a great voice- but your books all read (at least to us) as unique and separate, unlike some authors you can’t even remember if you’ve read that book before or if it is just like another one of their books you’ve read.

Jane Green:
I have no idea, and every time I finish a book I think I’ll never be inspired again. In all truth I think my voice is pretty much always the same and quite distinctively mine, but I’m writing about very different characters and very different subject matter with every book, and of course drawing upon my own life for inspiration.

What is your writing process like? Do you outline first, or just work out the story through your writing?

Jane Green:
I always start with a theme, a general story or message, and although I usually have the beginning and a rough idea of the ending, I let the characters dictate the middle, so the ending often changes. I outline each chapter though, before I start to write.

Would you say you spend more time on publicity now, or earlier in your career?

Jane Green:
Far more now. I was lucky in the beginning because it was the start of chick lit and there was a tremendous amount of attention for my first book, but then it dropped off for a while. It’s lovely to finally be recognised for what you do.

What’s it like to be you? Describe your normal day.

Jane Green:
Up at around 6am, struggle downstairs hoping to get coffee before the kids (four of them) wake up. Descend the stairs hearing the TV is on, and thinking, shit, as usual they’re already up. Tiptoe into kitchen hoping they don’t hear me, to find 8-year-old on Pop Tropica in kitchen, complete with weird beeps and bips emanating from computer. Request, many times, for computer to be turned off, but 8-year-old in computer coma and doesn’t hear. Make breakfast. Make packed lunches for kids which I try to make night before but rarely manage. Down coffee. Walk kids to bus stop with large Doberman, Baron, back home to check email and vital news on Perezhilton.com. Throw computer in back of car, head to local library where I grab medium skim latte and sit down to write.

Finish by lunchtime, grab sushi across the street with girlfriend for lunch. Back home, running errands/shopping on way. Back on computer to update blog/return emails/phone calls/write articles/do interviews. Doberman sneaks into house and terrorises one of the three cats. Mayhem ensues until Doberman banished to my office, which is rapidly becoming his. Kids home off bus. Open fridge many times for inspiration for supper. Get supper on, sit with kids, bathtime. Beloved home around 8. Dinner with beloved, chat over wine and supper in kitchen. Collapse into bed and fall asleep to Law & Order. Glamorous? Best-selling author? Are you SURE???

Your newest book, The Beach House is beautifully-written and has an amazing character, Nan. Nan is so eccentric and charming we feel like we know her. Is she based on a real person or entirely concocted in your imagination?

Jane Green:
When Beloved and I were getting to know one another, we would go for long midnight walks on the beach, and every night we’d pass this woman who fascinated me. She must have been in her sixties, very beautiful, riding a bicycle with a cigarette in hand. I thought that snapshot was a wonderful start, and then there were several older women I knew who I suppose inspired me with their wisdom and their acceptance.

In the book, Nantucket itself almost becomes a character. To me, it seems that the setting played a far bigger role than I can ever remember in your past work — did you plan that from the beginning, or did it sort of sneak up on you as you were writing?

Jane Green:
Completely snuck up on me! We rented a house there last summer and the book had originally been set in the fictitious town of Highfield, CT, but as soon as we arrived on Nantucket I knew it had to be there.

What is your favorite deadline stress eating vice? (Cheetos, dark chocolate?)

Jane Green:
Nothing quite so decadent or glamorous as dark chocolate. I go for the crap stuff, I’m afraid. Those mini Hershey bars that the kids bring home from Pinatas, Reese’s Pieces, Snickers. Most of the time I don’t eat sugar at all, but God help my household when I do…

Thanks so much for taking the time to do the interview. We’re so delighted to have you as our guest today!

Jane Green:
I’m thrilled you asked!

Be sure to pick up Jane’s wonderful new book, The Beach House. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and its characters, especially Nan, who reminded me of my favorite Aunties. The Beach House is like a summer vacation you never want to end.

For more on Jane Green or The Beach House, check out Jane’s web site www.janegreen.com

Deb Lisa


Save Holt! Deleted scenes from Fifteen Minutes of Shame by Deb Lisa Daily

Fifteen Minutes of Shame

As many of you know, Fifteen Minutes of Shame was published in the strangest of ways and I miraculously (insanely? stupidly?) sold it with no novel-writing experience whatsoever.

So, check and deadline looming, I sat down and attempted to actually produce a novel.

Something I wasn’t exactly sure how to do.

Here’s the gist of the story: America’s favorite TV dating expert Darby Vaughn finds out her husband Will is cheating on her, live on national television. She throws up and passes out, and becomes the national laughingstock and fodder for late night comedians.

Darby has become particularly close to her stepchildren Lilly & Aidan, who are her husband Will’s children from his former marriage. Her divorce attorney Holt Gregory informs her she doesn’t have a chance of getting custody of her children unless she gets back together with Will.

As I was writing the story, I needed to give Darby a really good reason to resist a relationship with Holt. (Otherwise, there would be no love triangle, just one philandering husband left in the dust on page 72.) Holt is a tall, funny, rakishly yummy, well-mannered, brilliant attorney with a southern accent and Patrick Dempsey hair. No sane woman would ever walk away from that. I had to give him some flaws, some serious flaws.

So, I did what any inexperienced novelist would do. I tried to kill him off.

I gave Holt a fatal, meticulously researched heart condition. And poor Darby, who had already had so much loss in her life, just couldn’t bear to play nursemaid to a dead man walking.

My editor, Allison Dickens, called me as she emailed my editorial letter.

“I love the book,” she said, “but you can’t kill Holt.”

“But his illness is the thing that’s keeping them apart!” I argued, freshly fortified with all of the Novel Writing For Morons/How to Write a Novel books I’d devoured in the previous eight weeks.

“I think you need to find another thing,” she told me. “Darby has been through a lot, this feels like the kitchen sink.”

I thought about it that afternoon and that night, and I realized she was right. I needed to find a more interesting (and frankly, less Movie of the Week) reason why Holt and Darby shouldn’t be together.

(Also, I kept flashing back to my mother, who called me after she read the manuscript wailing, “Why, why, WHY, does Holt have to die? Isn’t there an operation? Some miracle cure? A Czechoslovakian pacemaker? Something???”)

I was very aware of my inexperience with writing a novel, and had promised myself I would give careful consideration to any editorial suggestions, even if my immediate impulse was to dig in, throw my computer out the window or hit the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts for an emergency case of jelly donuts.

I wanted for Fifteen Minutes to be realistic, unpredictable, cheese-free. I wanted it to be good.

That afternoon I got to work on saving Holt.

You’ll be happy to hear that his heart is perfectly fine. As is my mother’s.

Deb Lisa


Newsflash, July 13 2008

Announcing the Debutante Ball Class of 2009

We are most excited to announce the 2009 Debs, who will take over the Debutante Ball on September 1, 2008. We had so many extremely talented authors from which to choose, all with exciting books debuting next year, and narrowing it down to five was no easy task.

Without further ado, our 2009 Debutantes are:

Eve Brown-Waite, author of the memoir First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria: How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed My Life (Broadway Books/April 2009).

about the book: With wit and candor, First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria chronicles Eve’s misadventures as an aspiring do-gooder in the developing world. From intestinal parasites to being held hostage, from eating termites to cultural misunderstandings, here is an honest – and hysterical – look at the search for love and purpose – from a woman who finds both in the last place she expected.

Tiffany Baker, author of the literary novel The Little Giant of Aberdeen County (Grand Central Publishing, January 2009).

about the book: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County is about how Truly, a woman born a giant, overcomes her small town’s prejudices, uncovers decades of family secrets, and learns that love doesn’t always come ordered to size.

Katie Alender, author of the YA thriller Bad Girls Don’t Die (Disney/Hyperion, April 2009).

about the book:When 15-year-old Alexis Warren suspects that her younger sister Kasey’s strange behavior is more than just angst, she thinks she can handle it on her own. But creepy parlor tricks are just the beginning, and it soon seems that Kasey may actually be living out the violent legacy of the Warrens’ gothic home. Alexis is forced to seek out the help of her arch-rival, cheerleader queen, Megan Wiley. Only by working together can they try to save Kasey. But what if the green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?

Kristina Riggle, author of the women’s fiction book All Happy Families (Avon/HarperCollins, May 2009).

about the book: Faded flower child Mira Zielinski isn’t about to have surgery for her newly diagnosed breast cancer, which will no doubt upset her grown children — when she gets around to telling them. They’re coming home with their own lives falling apart over spousal secrets, an elopement, and withered dreams. As this all comes to light on one pivotal weekend, will it shake Mira’s resolve?

Meredith Cole, author of the mystery novel Posed for Murder (St. Martin’s Press, February 2009).

about the book: Lydia McKenzie, an edgy art photographer who recreates murder scenes in a film noir style, finally achieves her dream of putting her art in a gallery. But when someone starts killing her models just like they were posed in her photographs, she has to catch the killer before she becomes the next victim.

Deb News:

This week, Deb Jess will be on tour at the following locations…join the fun if you’re in the area!

Wednesday, July 16, 7 pm at The Book Cellar
4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL

Thursday, July 17, 6 pm at the Portage County Public Library
1001 Main Street
Stevens Point, WI
(Enter to win a beach bag full of goodies!)

Saturday, July 19, 11 am – 1 pm at Conkey’s Bookstore
226 East College Avenue
Appleton, WI

Jess is also thrilled to share Swapna Krishna’s glowing review of Driving Sideways for Curled Up With a Good Book. Five out of five stars! From the review: “The novel has a lot of heart and emotion, but it is never cheesy or sappy, demonstrative of Riley’s talent as a writer. She manages to touch her readers and evoke the emotions she wants them to feel without telling them to do so. It is a mark of her ability to write sympathetic and believable characters that the reader really does care about.”

Get an online goodie bag worth $500
when you purchase Fifteen Minutes of Shame at Amazon on Monday, July 14.

Fifteen Minutes of Shame, by Lisa Daily, is a romantic comedy about what happens when America’s favorite TV love guru finds out her husband is cheating – live, on national television.

To get the free $500 online goody bag, purchase Fifteen Minutes of Shame before 12 midnight PST on Monday, July 14 at Amazon.com (where it’s currently bargain-priced around $10) and email your receipt to swagbag (at) lisadaily.com.

For a details and a complete listing of all the swag, which includes one week free at Bag Borrow or Steal, a two-month subscription to Cupid.com, a free lip-plumping serum, an exclusive T-Tapp exercise video download, free mineral makeup, free cellulite firming cream, sneak peek chapters of books and not-yet-released books from debs Eileen Cook, Jenny Gardiner and Danielle Younge-Ullman and former debs Mia King and Kristy Kiernan, (plus Jane Porter, Mary Castillo, Mike Robbins and Lisa McLeod and others) plus lots of other goodies, check out www.lisadaily.com/swagbag on Monday 7/14.

Deb Gail has a cover for her book!!

Deb Jenny’s novel Sleeping with Ward Cleaver got a fabulous review from Book Room Reviews: “If you want to laugh until you pee your pants, then pick up this book. If you want to gain some insight into what goes into a marriage, then pick up this book. I loved the character of Claire. She is someone that every woman can relate to, young or old. Jenny Gardiner has a gift for finding humor and at the same time tackling tough issues. This is a great mom lit book to read by yourself, or giggle about with your book club.”
I might suggest you go to the bathroom before you start reading my book 😉 .
Book Room Reviews is raffling off their copy of Sleeping with Ward Cleaver here.

Founder News: Founder Kristy Kiernan’s new novel Matters of Faith (Aug.5) continues to garner great reviews! The newest from Bookpage:

Everyone believes in something. Whether our beliefs are rooted in religion, experience or just intuition, faith is one of life’s strongest arguments. Many believe that life’s trials are there to test faith. However, the true question just might be where we should place our trust—can we even trust ourselves when a crisis is at hand? Kristy Kiernan, the author of last year’s Catching Genius, has centered her new book on a South Florida family with more than a few trust issues. Matters of Faith is a tense but touching novel that forces its characters and readers to re-examine their beliefs.

Chloe Tobias, a free-spirited mother, is constantly at odds with her pessimistic husband Cal. Along with her contentious marriage, her preteen daughter Meghan’s severe food allergies are a constant reminder that all is not as carefree as she would like. When their oldest child Marshall arrives home from college with a new girlfriend, Ada, an uncomfortable tension develops. Ada is from a religious Nebraska community. She looks down on Meghan’s strict diet and strongly pushes her beliefs on the unprepared family. Unfortunately, Marshall seems to agree.

Chloe struggles with her manners until Ada’s faith in prayer over medicine results in a disastrous fate for Meghan. Suddenly the couple must simultaneously deal with Marshall’s betrayal, Meghan’s condition and their deteriorating marriage. The story has the suspense of a blockbuster film with the internal examinations of a breakthrough therapy session. Kiernan draws exquisite parallels between different forms of faith, protection and abandonment. Ultimately, however, the book is about choices: which of their children will Cal and Chloe choose to protect? Will Marshall choose his love for Ada or his family? Should faith be put aside in favor of modern medicine, or can the two work together?

The story gives plenty of perspective on both sides. Matters of Faith begins as a recognizable family story and transforms into a view of human nature under pressure. How open will minds be when lives are interrupted? Will we believe the same things when loss tests our faith? How do we choose between the two things most precious to us? Kiernan’s portrait of the Tobias family is a study in emotional turmoil that will stay with any reader when their beliefs are, inevitably, called into question.


Do You Believe in Magic? by Deb Lisa Daily

My first true love was Shaun Cassidy. I was ten, he was twenty, and I plotted endlessly in my head about how when he was thirty I would be twenty and we could get married.Dreamy Shaun Cassidy

I was certain he would wait for me.


I planned my whole week around the Hardy Boys, and anxiously awaited the show. (And occasionally might have been brought to tears when it was a Nancy Drew week.) I followed his every move in the pages of Teen Beat, memorizing his favorite foods and tennis shoes, poring over his every word searching for clandestine meaning that would prove for once and for all of fourth grade that we were destined to be together.

I put a poster next to my bed, and endlessly, earnestly sang duets with him to Hey Deanie and DaDooRunRun and Hey There Lonely Girl until my mother was ready to soundproof my room or declare a moratorium on all things Shaun Cassidy.

And then the TV show ended, and his third album wasn’t as catchy as the other two and I started thinking that twenty was a little too early to think about marriage.chewiescdynamite.jpg

And I figured, if he’d wait until I turned twenty, he’d surely wait until I turned thirty.

But then he’d be forty, and probably not nearly as cute.

And so it was. My love affair with Shaun Cassidy came to a tragic but quiet end.

We parted amicably.


Fifteen Minutes of Shame by Lisa Daily

Deb Lisa

I am touring this week (month) for the debut of Fifteen Minutes of Shame. Here’s where I’ll be this week:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 7:30pm
Signing & Launch Party
1500 16th Street, Suite D
Oak Brook, IL 60523

Saturday, April 5, 2008 – 2:00pm
Signing & Launch Party
600 North Orlando Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789

Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 7:00pm
The Debs Take Manhattan!

Special Debutante Ball signing with Deb
Lisa Daily signing Fifteen Minutes of Shame
and Deb Eileen Cook signing Unpredictable
461 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022