Saturday, June 30, 2012


Q.  What inspires your writing?

A. I’ve loved to write since I was a young girl. My dad made a little writing room for me in our attic and I had a very old typewriter, in those days, and I’d peck out stories. Everything around me inspires me. Like many writers, I have a sort of writing muse—there are times when I can hear my words (or the words I should write) in my head and I can’t get them down fast enough. There are other times when I could sit and stare at a screen without a jot of inspiration. I simply can’t write when I’m not inspired—so I usually don’t even try. When I start having thoughts and ideas rattle around in my head, then you can’t get me to a computer fast enough.

Q.  What inspired you to join forces with Clayton M. Christensen and James Allworth and write HOW WILL YOU MEASURE YOUR LIFE?

A. This was a very special book for me to work on. I had originally worked with Clay when I was the editor of Harvard Business Review. Clay is one of the most respected innovation experts in the world—and he’s also a wildly popular teacher at Harvard Business School. Two years ago, I was casting around for ideas for an article to help fill our special double summer issue. At the time, I thought it might be interesting to find out how the graduating class of MBAs had changed their world view—they were the class of 2010. But most of them had applied to business school two years before when the economy was booming and the post-MBA options must have seemed intoxicating. I was curious if they had reset their expectations while in school. In the course of trying to answer that question, a student at HBS told me that Clay had just spoken to the graduating class and that he’d been truly inspiring. So I reached out to Clay to find out what he’d said. That, in turn, became the article I had been looking for in Harvard Business Review. It was a short preview of what later became the book. Our readers responded immediately—they were touched by the questions Clay asked in the article. The article on our website went viral—I think it’s still the single most read article of all time on And I, personally, was profoundly moved, too. What Clay shared in that article made me fundamentally question my own life. It led to a complete recalibration—within a year of that article, I had resigned from HBR and was reprioritizing my life to focus on my family.

At the same time that article came out, one of Clay’s former students, James, was beginning a fellowship with Clay and he had the idea that the article could also be a fascinating book. James and Clay asked if I’d join them in writing the book. Which I was thrilled to do.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?

A.  When you know you’ve got it right.  I can just hear the flow in my head when the writing and thinking come together perfectly. I love when I know I’ve crafted a great lede or the perfect ending to an article or a chapter. Sometimes I’ll work for days on getting that first paragraph or two right and people may think that I’m not being productive or dithering. But in reality, once I get that right, the rest can come quite quickly. In the book that manifested itself in getting the intro to each chapter right. I also love interviewing colorful characters. Some people are just such great quotes and such free thinkers. I love writing about (and with) them. I will make a sweeping generalization that some of the most colorful quotes in my career have come from people with accents (southern, British, and so on.) There’s just something magical about the way they recount a story or share details of something.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?

A.  Fixing things that aren’t working. In a perfect world, every first draft would be exactly right. But that’s never the case. Sometimes getting very constructive feedback is overwhelming—not because it’s not right, but because it’s so hard to figure out how to go back to the piece and start pulling out threads to reconstructing until it is right. But then again, when you do fix something, it’s so so satisfying. It’s also hard to know which feedback and criticism to take – and when to stick to your guns and write something the way that feels right to you.

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?

A.  Does screenwriter count as different enough? I’ve also thought I might have been a good emergency room doctor…

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A.  A Journey of Unexpected Joys

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A.  Oh. That is a tough question. Just one?  I have read the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder series many, many times. And Judy Blume was a trusted friend all through my adolescence. The books you first love in life really do stick with you forever. I remember hearing Judy Blume on NPR not too long ago.  Lots of 40-somethings like me were calling in and fawning over her, deservedly so. I love Toni Morrison, even though sometimes I’ve had to give a couple of her books second chances after putting them down initially. I always love them in the end. The Color Purple was the first book I read in a college class that I simply couldn’t put down until I was done. And in recent years, The Kite Runner has moved me beyond words. I associate favorite books with periods in my life when reading that particular book has somehow moved me, helped me through a transition or gotten me into loving reading again after a fallow period. The Kite Runner was the first book I was able to read start to finish while on a vacation with my then-young children. Being able to sit still and sink into it, even with kids fluttering around, was a gift and a reminder of how powerful escaping into a great book can be.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A.  I think I would have said Laura Ingalls Wilder for many decades of my life. Not sure it’s still relevant now, but when I was a girl, I completely wanted to be her.  I’m sure I should say Elizabeth Bennett or some great heroine of classic literature, but in my heart of hearts, I’m somebody much more fun. Probably now, I’d give my kids a chuckle by saying Hermione Granger. I certainly hope I’m as fearless and loyal as she is.

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. Autumn. I love the sense of endings and new beginnings all wrapped up into one season. I’m drawn to the melancholy of summer fading away and the new scents and sounds and smells of fall kicking in. Everything seems possible in the fall.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A. I don’t know if it’s funny, but it’s sure a sign of the times. I moved with my family lock-stock-and-barrel to London just as we were starting to write this book. So we had one super busy academic in Cambridge, one night-owl MBA grad in Cambridge, and me on a mom schedule in London trying to work together. I came to love SKYPE, dropbox, and googledocs. I spent hours and hours with my colleagues virtually and it became quite a comfortable way of working.

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A.  My 11 year old daughter is a wonderful writer. She and I have talked about writing a mother-daughter book together. But we haven’t gotten past that basic idea yet!

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  It’s been a pleasure thinking about these questions. What a lovely reminder of how powerful and transformative a great book—reading one or aspiring to write one!--can be. If any of your followers do read the book How Will You Measure Your Life, I’d love to hear how it affected them.


Book Description: BUY IT

May 15, 2012
In 2010 world-renowned innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen gave a powerful speech to the Harvard Business School's graduating class. Drawing upon his business research, he offered a series of guidelines for finding meaning and happiness in life. He used examples from his own experiences to explain how high achievers can all too often fall into traps that lead to unhappiness.

The speech was memorable not only because it was deeply revealing but also because it came at a time of intense personal reflection: Christensen had just overcome the same type of cancer that had taken his father's life. As Christensen struggled with the disease, the question "How do you measure your life?" became more urgent and poignant, and he began to share his insights more widely with family, friends, and students.
In this groundbreaking book, Christensen puts forth a series of questions: How can I be sure that I'll find satisfaction in my career? How can I be sure that my personal relationships become enduring sources of happiness? How can I avoid compromising my integrity—and stay out of jail? Using lessons from some of the world's greatest businesses, he provides incredible insights into these challenging questions.

How Will You Measure Your Life? is full of inspiration and wisdom, and will help students, midcareer professionals, and parents alike forge their own paths to fulfillment.

More on the authors HERE

Friday, June 29, 2012

6 Awesome Ideas for Leftover Chicken by Nickelodeon's Parents Connect

Every mother needs some quick and easy recipes 
great recipes for yummy, easy dinners!

Chicken and Dumplings
Serve up a hearty meal in a bowl!

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Frozen Breyers Blasts! Party Cake
Double Chocolate Chip Cookie SandwichesChicken Enchiladas
A little fiesta for your leftovers!

Serves: 8 to10
Prep Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 1hour, 30 mins
Chicken Stroganoff
The tasty chicken cousin of a beefy classic!

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 25mins
Peanut Butter Lovers Ice Cream Pie
Cookies & Cream Banana Shakes
Chicken Caesar Pita
Stuff your pockets with some Caesar!

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Chicken Fajita Grilled Pizza
Your kids'll flip for this South of the Border-inspired pizza!

Serves: 8
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Heath Parfaits
Waffle Cone Sundaes with Hot Salted CaramelZesty Chicken and Rice Casserole
Put a tangy twist on a classic casserole! 

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 1 hour

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Q&A with Douglas Wickard author of A PERFECT HUSBAND

Douglas Wickard
Q. What inspires your writing?

A. WOW! Right off the bat a powerful question.  VOICE!  I’ve always been a reticent person. Writing allowed me the ability to SCREAM!  I think I’ve accomplished ‘that’ quite successfully.

Q. What is your favorite thing about being an author?

A. Solitude. I love the cool loneliness of my writing habitat! At one time, I was of the world, now I only observe and write about it. It’s a much more comfortable place for me to reside.

Q. What is the toughest part of being an author?

A. Oh, procrastination. I’ve mentioned that phenomenon in many interviews.  It is something I think I will always fight with…  

Q. If you could not be author, what would you do/be?

A. Nothing. It took me until middle age to finally find my passion after years of doing soulless, executive, financially appealing, all the perks…blah, blah, blah…and all of ‘that’ left me empty. Drained. And, unhappy. I would rather have nothing than go back to corporate America.

Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?

A.  Mr. Golden. (there’s a HUGE metaphor here.) It will be written soon. And, it’s not all sunshine!

Q. What is your favorite book of all time?

A. Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A. Sami Saxton, the heroine in A PERFECT HUSBAND.

Q. What character from all of your book are you most like?

A. Sami Saxton. Again. My alter-female ego.

Q. What is your favorite season?

A. Fall.

Q. What inspired your book cover?

A. My publisher.

Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A. The huge amount of female interest. I have become so used to being invisible in my Life at my age and stage, that the onslaught of female attention has been…sweet and appreciated. 

Q. Are you working on something new?

A. Yes. I finished a novel in December of 2011 entitled ENCOUNTER, a psychosexual thriller with San Francisco as the backdrop. But, with the amazing reviews and interest in Sami, I have decided to do a sequel to A PERFECT HUSBAND called A PERFECT SETUP and after... A PERFECT WIFE.  (THE PERFECT SERIES) It is very bizarre when something unexpectedly takes off…you just never know!

Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A. I have so much gratitude for my readers, followers, supporters and fans. It even feels weird writing that…fans…but, I have so many from across the continent…so, simply…thank you…thank you…thank you…

A Perfect Husband

Book Description

Publication Date: January 24, 2012

An abandoned cabin… a diabolical killer…a hidden cemetery… a deadly secret is about to be uncovered.

Far from the neon blur of Manhattan – the dizzy buzz of restaurants, theater openings and one too many cocktails – located seventy-two miles outside the City in the sleepy, rural township of Montague, New Jersey, Sami Saxton is looking to rebuild her life. A rebirth, one might call it. And, she intends to do this spiritual resurrection in a small, abandoned fishing cabin, built over forty years ago by her deceased father.

Not quite abandoned…

A lethal serial killer has taken up residence in the basement of Sami’s remote cottage, using her father’s carpenter table for a hobby much more sinister than woodcutting.

Sequestered deep within forty-two acres of tall pine trees, bristling brooks and fresh water lakes, Sami Saxton is about to fight for her life.

The hard truth… nobody will ever hear her scream!



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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Big News & Review: The Selkie Spell by Sophie Moss

Mrs Mommy Booknerd has welcomed a new reviewer in order to keep up with the review requests coming in. 

Meet Mandy AKA "Mrs Jonsey Book Queen" 

I am a mother of three wonderful children who give me a run for my money on daily basis, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I am hitting the big 40 this year and can't wait to see what is store for me in the next decade.  I love to read.  I am the person who will stay up to read a book until the wee hours of the morning.  Reading books gives me a way to unwind and loose myself for a little while.  

I like to read lots of different types of books: mystery, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, and romance. I really like the romance genre (even the stuff that is really "in depth and revealing").   I belong to a wonderful book club (She is a proud member of the TIARAS) and we meet once a month.  The only thing is they won't let me pick out the books because of my fetish for "really good" romance novels.  Oh well :)  Here is my first review.  I hope you enjoy it and the others forth coming!


The Selkie Spell (Seal Island Trilogy)Get swept away in the legends of Ireland and romance.  I really loved this book and the story that was weaved within the legend of the Selkies.  Tara Moore is on the run from a terrible life back in the United States and ends up on Seal Island in Ireland.  The story told says that Tara is a descendant of the Selkie that was captured on the island many years ago and is there to fulfill the legend and set the Selkie free.  Tara and Dominic O'Sullivan fall in love, conquer the terrible life that followed Tara from the states and set the Selkie free.  

Sophie Moss does a wonderful job of making you believe in legends, the magic of Ireland, of good over coming evil, and most of all believing in love.  The book held me captivated and rooting for Tara to stand up for herself and fight back.  I couldn't put it down.  I can't wait to see what else Sophie Moss has in store for us to read.  I would highly recommend this book, even those of you who are not romance fans - this is an excellent book.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

REVIEW: KEEPSAKE by Kristina Riggle

Keepsake: A Novel


This is the first novel I have read by Riggle and all I can say is WOW.  Riggle captured the true psychology of the mind and environment of a hoarder and the dynamic within the family and extended family.  Trauma affects people differently and Riggle takes the story down uncharted territory into the minds and lives of two very different sisters who grew up in the same dysfunctional home.  Both sisters have their share of issues from growing up in the environment in which they did, both dealing with it in quite different ways.  Through the pages of the novel both the sisters deal with loss, disappointment, fear and the fight to move forward despite how hard it may be.  Can the sisters really move past their trauma or will the past continue to repeat itself?  Grab a copy of this 4.5 star novel to find out for yourself!   RELEASED TODAY!!!  

Book Description

June 26, 2012
From the critically acclaimed author of Real Life & Liars and Things We Didn't Say comes a timely and provocative novel that asks: What happens when the things we own become more important than the people we love?
Trish isn't perfect. She's divorced and raising two kids—so of course her house isn't pristine. But she's got all the important things right and she's convinced herself that she has it all under control. That is, until the day her youngest son gets hurt and Child Protective Services comes calling. It's at that moment when Trish is forced to consider the one thing she's always hoped wasn't true: that she's living out her mother's life as a compulsive hoarder.
The last person Trish ever wanted to turn to for help is her sister, Mary—meticulous, perfect Mary, whose house is always spotless . . . and who moved away from their mother to live somewhere else, just like Trish's oldest child has. But now, working together to get Trish's disaster of a home into livable shape, two very different sisters are about to uncover more than just piles of junk, as years of secrets, resentments, obsessions, and pain are finally brought into the light.

Monday, June 25, 2012

REVIEW: Pretty Little Liars #11: Stunning by Sara Shepard

Pretty Little Liars #11: Stunning


Another fun installment of Sara Shepard's series of Pretty Little Liars.  Just when I thought I would have some more answers as to who A is, Shepard leaves me guessing some more.  I really enjoy these novels and cannot wait to keep reading!  4 stars.

Book Description

June 5, 2012 Pretty Little Liars (Book 11)

In Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four stunningly beautiful girls are haunted by a very ugly past. Spencer, Aria, Hanna, and Emily want nothing more than to forget Alison DiLaurentis, their former best friend who tried to ruin their lives. But someone refuses to let her memory die. A is still out there, lurking in the shadows and digging up the pretty little liars' newest secrets.
Emily's reconnecting with an old flame, one baby step at a time. But is she headed toward true love or another bundle of heartache? Spencer's learning about the highs and lows of campus life on a trip to Princeton. Aria's seeing a whole new side to Noel's dad—and it could drive a wedge between her and Noel. And, for better or worse, Hanna's getting in touch with her inner A.

Secret by secret, lie by lie, the girls get tangled in A's dangerous web. A knows about everything, from their tiniest transgressions to the awful incident in Jamaica. Soon A will have enough ammunition to pull the trigger and end the pretty little liars, once and for all. . . .

Sunday, June 24, 2012 New Book Releases - July 2012

By , Guide

'Gold' by Chris Cleave - July 3, 2012

Gold by Chris CleaveSimon & Schuster
Just in time for the Summer Olympics, Gold by Chris Cleave is the story of two athletes who are competing in their last Olympics. Their friendship and personal lives are on the line as they give everything to go for gold.

'The Next Best Thing' by Jennifer Weiner - July 3, 2012

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer WeinerAtria
Jennifer Weiner's annual summer beach read is here. The Next Best Thing is about a 23-year-old who moves to Hollywood hoping to be a TV writer.

'Shadow of Night' by Deborah Harkness - July 10, 2012

Shadow of Night by Deborah HarknessPenguin
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness is the second book in Harkness' All Souls Trilogy. The first book, A Discovery of Witches, was one of ourTop 10 Books of 2011, so we're excited to see where the story goes in the next installment.

'The Sandcastle Girls' by Chris Bohjalian - July 17, 2012

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris BohjalianDoubleday
Chris Bohjalian returns with a novel that takes place in Syria in 1915 and present-day New York. It is both a love story in the aftermath of the Armenian genocide, and a story of one woman's search into her family's past.

'Broken Harbor' by Tana French - July 24, 2012

Broken Harbor by Tana FrenchViking
Broken Harbor by Tana French is the fourth book in the Dublin Murder Squad Series. In this psychological suspense novel, Scorcher Kennedy investigates a murder-suicide.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Turtle in Paradise

Turtle in Paradise


A 2011 Newbery Honor Book
Inspired by family stories, two-time Newbery Honor winner and New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Holm beautifully blends family lore with America's past in this charming gem of a novel, rich in historical detail, humor, and the unique flavors of Key West.
Life isn't like the movies, and eleven-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935, and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida, to stay with relatives she's never met.
Florida's like nothing Turtle has ever seen. It's hot and strange, full of wild green peeping out between houses, ragtag boy cousins, and secret treasure. Before she knows what's happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she has spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways.


Friday, June 22, 2012


What You Wish For: A Novel

"Having a baby is . . . complicated. "

Dimple knows. She's a successful actress who is turning forty--though her agent and her resume insist she's only thirty-six--and she figures it's now or never. Certainly it's not a good time for an intriguing director to show up at her door with a great script.

Eva, fabulous agent to the stars, doesn't want kids--and "never" wanted kids. Why is her decision so damned hard for everyone else to accept?

When Maryn was undergoing treatment for cancer, she and her husband both agreed to have embryos frozen. But that was way before their divorce and her remission--and now she's single and childless, and caught in the middle of a controversy she never saw coming.

The traditional and nontraditional couples desperate for a baby . . . the adoptive parents . . . the single mom . . . the two who want "nothing" to do with parenthood. . . . This is a thoroughly modern story of the pursuit of family in all its forms--and of five very different ways of getting there.

Publication date: 7/3/2012
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