Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Heart Hollywood: Chick Lit Goes to the Movies

          Ah, Chick Flicks + Chick Lit Ficiton = some really good movie watching!! Helen Fielding brought Chick Lit to the big screen in 2001 with a cinematized Bridget Jones. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger’s was a huge hit in 2006 with an even bigger cast. In the summer of 2010 Julia Roberts stole the scene in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love.

          Go to the Screen Scene at the Chick Lit Club for all the latest in gossip, rumors and in-production chick lit flicks based on the chick lit novels you loved and adored! One of my favorites I’ve been looking forward to ever since reading it back in December 2009 is none other than Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed. Ginner Goodwin and Kate Hudson star as best friends who are sleeping with the same guy who’s supposed to be getting married to one of them in this book-made-into-movie slated for release some time in 2011. Other favorites still awaiting production, screen writing or that have just been rumored to be picked up and dusted off their library shelves and reformatted for the big screen include Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret and The Undomestic Goddess, Enchanted, Inc by Shanna Swendson (one of my personal series faves about a girl in NY who discovers magic is real but that she is immune to it), another story about the “other woman”, Jane Fallon’s Getting Rid of Matthew, politico-daughter and chick lit author, Kristin Gire might see her first novel Sammy Hill in big lights, Lauren Conrad’s LA Candy – I can’t wait to see who will play Jane Roberts if LC is determined to stay behind-the-scenes -, Beth Harbison’s debut Shoe Addicts Anonymous which depicts the lives of four young woman who meet at the intersection of their passion for well-made, high-heeled footwear and so many more.

          If you are a fan of chick lit, now is a great time to hit the movies. What movie are you waiting for to come out most?? What chick lit book would you like to see turned into a movie? If you could choose the cast for any chick lit book made into a Hollywood premiere, who would you choose and why?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Art of French Kissing: Chick Lit Stories & Covers

Famous Art Meet Famous Authors...

          When I was in the sixth grade, we studied a new painting and its artist every Friday. There was painting, after portrait, after scene, after new age art lined up all along the border high atop the wall around the entire perimeter of the classroom. I have so many fond memories of the stories behind the paintings. One of my favorites was by a man named George Seurat called, Sunday in the Park. I don’t know what exactly it is about the painting that makes me so happy – maybe it’s the idea that people are lazing and lounging about together at a park, presumably on a Sunday, adding even more to the relaxing tone of the painting. Women stand tall with parasols in their beautiful and colorful clothes and hats, some with children, others with friends. Some families enjoy a picnic and others share a good laugh. There are boats in the calm blue water on the left. There is green grass aplenty and trees in summer foliage. I guess it’s the collective ambiance of the famous artwork that has always spoken to me and emitted the same happy thought and feeling I get when I look at it.

          Remember when you were little and all the books you read had authors and illustrators? For almost every page of text, there was a coinciding page of pictures. I mean before I could even read, I would flip through such books to get an idea of their story through the pictures. The books I read today might not have illustrations on the inside anymore, but they still have cover illustrations – some books even have multiple cover art for each release.

          When I choose the next chick lit book I want to read or buy, especially if it’s a new author or unfamiliar title, I’ll be the first to admit, I judge books by their covers. Like the Seurat painting, I look for book covers to elicit that same feeling of happiness. They don’t need to look like that same day in the Park, however, but I do look for similar qualities of tranquility, vibrancy, friendliness, togetherness and happiness. Interestingly enough, at least when it comes to book covers in the chick lit genre, this can be conveyed in a myriad of ways. For example, I have been really drawn to the new I Heart series by Lindsey Kelk. Each of the books’ covers has a continuing thread of color, feeling and portrait that ties them together. They are done in cartoonish pastels, with a woman, who is clearly traveling to or from somewhere, but she doesn’t look rushed. She looks at peace, like the women in Sunday in the Park. She looks happy in her new surroundings ready to embark on any adventure as she looks into the happy scenery of her new city, be it New York, Hollywood or even Ooh La La, Paris. There is something about the artistry in these covers that gives the character a sense that she is calmly flowing in the picture towards her new destiny. There is so much said and left unsaid, I was intrigued to go out and buy the first book and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second….and third…

           Maybe it’s just me but I’ve also always been drawn to the more cartoonish covers. Like , look at Kyra Davis’ first four Sophie Katz novels. In pink, red, blue and green, readers get a glimpse at a playful take on the sexy, fun and murderous mystery series. An image of (who I assume to be) the cartoon heroine with her weapon of choice, be it a bar of dark chocolate, a double latte, killer highlights or lip gloss, is set back on a bright canvas of vibrant colors. The covers alone exude flirtation and confidence in a woman on a mission to stop the bad guys. Their seem inviting and happy and make the books desirable to be read. Having listened to most of the books (currently on the 4th), I wonder if my perception is already too biased based on my interest in the characters and the mysteries themselves.

          What do you see in any of the covers of the books you read? What draws you to pick up a book? Do you judge a book by its cover? If yes, does your opinion change about the book or its cover once you read it? Would you ever not read a book based on its cover? Do you have any interest in art or illustrations? If so, do you have any favorite artists or pictures? Does art influence your reading in any way?

Friday, October 22, 2010

In Her Shoes: Sisters & Chick Lit

     I co-moderate a book club with another woman on the social networking site, Goodreads. We thought our chick lit book of the month for November would best fit the theme of family; as in, “we are so grateful for family at this time of Thanksgiving”. Interestingly enough, it would seem that most of the suggestions (at least) that came in were on sisters, more specifically than just “Family”. Of course, maybe it’s just harder to figure out what and who a novel is about from titles, covers and summaries, alone. Nonetheless, sisters have inspired Chick Lit writers since the beginning.

     For example, the novel Summer Sisters by Judy Blume, despite its title, is not about sisters but actually it’s about best friends who are so close (especially when they share their summers) that they consider themselves sisters. Then again, I would never deny someone the title of “sister” based on purely biological evidence.

     Some of the more famous sisters in contemporary chick lit novels, include the four Walsh sisters in Marian Keyes’ four-book series, each using one sister for its main focus; Becky Bloomwood’s long-lost half-sister, Jess, as revealed in Shopaholic number four, appropriately titled Shopaholic & Sister; The Smart One and the Pretty One’s Ava and Lauren, a story in which Claire LaZebnik shows how a pair of sisters might have been defined by opposites but a lost contract might bind them together, giving the sisters an opportunity to learn just how similar they actually are; Elisabeth Robinson’s The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters describes the bond between Olivia and Maddie as they deal with some of life’s hardest lessons; finally, Jennifer Weiner’s In Her Shoes depicts the story of sisters, Rose and Maggie, who sometimes get along and sometimes, just don’t.

      So many people have sisters. They are the women we call in times of distress, the ones we call on in times of celebration. They are the ones we lean on when we get fired from a great job or the one we love packs up and leaves. They are the ones we want next to us on the night of our 30th birthday and to stand next to, tall and beautiful, in our wedding procession. We might fight with her and make up with her later. She could be a best friend, a mother, a daughter or a real “sister”, but at the end of the day, she is the one you cherish the most.

     What does sister mean to you? Do you have a sister? If so, what kind of relationship do you have? Can you think of any sisters in the fiction you read? (Or nonfiction too)? Do you have any “favorite” sisters in literature? Share here!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Slummy Mummies & Gucci Mamas Inspire Chick Lit

     When my sister and I were kids, we used to play on our swing set and sing songs. Our favorite one was one we made up and the only lyrics to it were, “Mommy made me new clothes.” I don’t remember singing any songs about my dad, but I remember seeing my little brother in pictures with his playschool lawn mower “mowing” the lawn in the same fashion, just a few steps behind my dad – dad was his idol. If that doesn’t give you an idea of the love that we had for our parents, and the love they had for us, I don’t know what else would. They always supported everything we did, all that we wanted to be and more…

     One day, I hope to be a well-balanced parent to a couple of kids. In the meantime, I suppose, we have Honey, our practice child, a little Calico kitten. She is just like an infant – in need of time, love, attention, food, water and medical care. She is vulnerable when she’s tired or sick. She’ll watch over us at night while we sleep (or even during an afternoon catnap). She is so easily entertained and okay, she’s a little spoiled; but so far, she’s our only and we want her to always be happy, safe and healthy – just like any parent would do for their child.

     It’s funny, but in many of the books I read, there is no mention of parent, especially in the ones about single, dating young women. Unless there is a wedding in the air – the perfect opportunity for the mother of bridezilla or overeager wedding planning mother character to appear – parents are usually all but obsolete. I know this is not true of all books – in fact, chick lit has many sub-genres dedicated to the many different sides of mothers, from Mommy Lit to Mommy and Baby Lit and more. Look at Lucy Sweeney as the post-baby Bridget Jones type mom in Fiona Neill’s Slummy Mummy, which showed the hilarious side one toddler-juggling PTA wife and mother. Or there was Claudia, the could-be mom in Emily Giffin’s Baby Proof, in which a thirty-ish woman and wife was so sure she didn’t want to have any children – that was of course, until she got divorced, missed her husband and spent more time in the role of Auntie to her favorite niece. In another exaggerated take on mothers, there are the ones who garnish their infants in all the latest designer fads, as in Gucci Gucci Coo by Sue Margolis or even the latest from Sophie Kinsella, Mini-Shopaholic. Who could forget when Becky Bloomwood's 2-year old Minnie demanded her Balenciaga bag to tote around? What are your parents like? What are you like as a parent? Or how do you see yourself as a future-parent?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Love Letters: On Writing Chick Lit

“Your First Love”
     My first love of writing came when I was a little girl. I carried around spiral bound notebooks for my “creative writing” My best girlfriend from tennis was into the writing thing too and she came up with the brilliant idea that our author names should be our middle initial, last initial and then middle name would be our “new” last name – or something like that; I have a hard time remembering at this point. Regardless, I remember writing creative stories all the time and writing them everywhere. I found an aqua spiral bound notebook of mine some years later and it was so much fun to look back on the little snippets of fiction I had written, and of course, they all came with adjoining illustrations (even if I never was much of an artist – I’m still not.)
     My first love of chick lit really came in the form of women’s fiction. As a young girl, I loved to read. I went through various genres, but I always came back to books about women like me. As a kid, I remember reading The Kids at Polk Street School Series in addition to the other “fabulous” series of the nineties, including The Babysitters’ Club, the Ramona Quimby books, Sweet Valley High and anything by R.L. Stine. As a preteen, Judy Blume was always among my top picks. In fact, when I read Summer Sisters at age 16, it became the first book to bring tears to my eyes – in public – at work, no less! Shortly thereafter, I remember reading a book recommended by Oprah, Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts that was later made into a movie with Natalie Portman. It was another beautiful story about a girl who you could just relate to and feel compassion for on so many levels. By the time I got out of college and into the world of work, the chick lit focused publishing group, Red Dress Ink, had emerged and through a book swap at work, I was introduced to the likes of infamous characters, Becky Bloomwood, the Walsh Sisters and of course, the Sex and the City Girls. Sophie Kinsella, Candace Bushnell and Marian Keyes were my absolute favorites. I tried to read every book they ever wrote (that I could get at the local library anyways) and with each one complete, I was always so sad to have it end.

     Late last year, I read Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella and my love for chick lit was fully rejuvenated only this time, I vowed to make myself branch out. I read a few of Emily Giffin’s, Lauren Weisberger’s, Beth Harbison’s and more. Not only did I read this time, but I also started listening to unabridged chick lit audio books as well. I was surely hooked! I joined a Chick Lit (only) Book Club online, began writing reviews for the Australian-based Web site,, started this blog and the rest is history really…

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wish Upon A Star: Not Just a Blog Title

where you wish upon a star.....

My blog title comes from a dream, a wish and a combination of sayings....I wanted to create a blog that followed me on one (or even many) dreams throughout my life. Currently, one of my focuses is on my dream of becoming a published chick lit author. This blog follows me on that I wish upon my own star...along the way I read a lot of chick lit novels. I review a lot of chick lit books and audio books and I share little snippets from my day that makes everything personal and unique about my wish.

As someone who loves writing (and also a good play on words), I considered various literary terms and famous quotes for my blog address. I thought about my favorite stories as a child and how they often had two things in common: 1.) they always seemed to "live happily ever after" and 2.) they began "once upon a time"....From there, my train of thought moved onto fairy tales and then to Walt Disney...and that's when I heard the tune to "When you wish upon a star" playing in my can I make it my own? even just a little? Hmmm....I pictured the little cartoon, Jiminy Cricket...I envisioned people clicking on their mouse to visit my blog.....and I pictured bright, twinkling stars over a blue sky...and so it came to be:

where you wish upon a star: a place where I can share my dream of becoming a chick lit author and the journey I take to get there...

more and more elements became intertwined as I've continued writing in this blog, mostly including stars, dreams and anything chick lit...

"The Only Requirement of having a Dream is Believing In It" ~ Molly Barker

Monday, October 18, 2010

Back to the Bedroom: Confessions from a Chick Lit Blogger

      Hi Everyone! My name is Cathy and welcome to my Web page, Where You Wish Upon A Star, where I talk about my dreams of becoming a chick lit author and my journey to get there. I review books; I discuss topics about writing inspired by books and I sometimes share a little about my everyday life.

While you may already know a little about me from my blog, here are 15 new, and some odd, facts about me….

1. I have endless scraps of paper strewn about with famous, philosophical, creative, inspirational, fun and funny quotes.

2. When in doubt, I consult Google. (I Heart Google.)

3. My fiancĂ© and I named our cat El Tigre until we found out it was a female (she’s now called Honey).

4. I have a major weakness for Candy Corn (especially this time of year) but I just found out (on the back of the bag it said) that Americans eat so much candy corn that if it were lined up, candy piece by candy piece, back to back, it would circumvent the Earth 45 times!!! (Ow, my stomach hurts just thinking about it).

5. Even though I’ve been an avid chick lit reader for almost ten years, this was the first year I branched out beyond Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes, Lauren Weisberger and Candace Bushnell.

6. My favorite author is Emily Giffin – who someone recently pointed out evokes something similar to Judy Blume (my favorite author as a child).

7. I participated in the 48 Hours Film Project in Boston a few years ago (A contest in which you have 48 hours to create, produce, film, edit and submit a short movie based on a random category you’ve selected at random on opening night).

8. I am currently working on getting my Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology.

9. When I was a kid, it was my dream to be a professional tennis player like Monica Seles or Jennifer Capriati (today’s equivalent to Maria Sharapova or the Williams Sisters).

10. When I was a kid, I wished I would grow to over 6 feet tall (luckily, I leveled out at 5’8” – plenty tall enough).

11. Working in Ladies Shoes in college, I was mortified at the comparisons to Al Bundy.
12. Instead of obsessively buying clothes, shoes and handbags, I now swap, trade and barter books online like their going out of print.

13. I think Facebook is to the average population what the paparazzi is to celebrities.

14. My horoscope (Cancer) is right about one thing: I am a total homebody.

15. I still own over a 100 pairs of shoes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Star Book Review: Once Upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson (2006)

     What would you do if you were on your way to work and all of a sudden you saw a Gargoyle changing posts with an Owl to watch out from atop a clock tower or building nearby? Then, you hopped on the bus to get away from the madness on your walking route and across the way from you sat two fairies and the ugliest ogre you’d ever seen? Did I mention that every woman in a five-mile radius was acting like they were so attracted to this ogre that none of them could help themselves but to fawn all over him, sit in his lap and otherwise make goo-goo eyes at him? I think at that point, the running thought in my head would be, “you’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy!” While this may not be the scenario of my daily travels to my 9 to 5, it is the reality of leading heroine and magical immune, Katie Chandler, who we meet once again in the magical/paranormal/witchcraft chick lit novel, Once Upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson.

     Once again, Shanna Swendson hits a magical double play with her second book in the Enchanted Series. In Once Upon Stilettos, Katie Chandler, a Native Texan turned New Yorker, is called upon to use her "powers" of non-magic in a scandal of corporate espionage. Magic, Spells & Illusions (MSI) appears to have an insider causing all kinds of chaos and disturbances in office and amongst employees. By the time Katie is able to make any kind of deductions, the office is in disarray, no one seems to trust anyone and Katie, herself, appears to have lost her magical immunity! Without her “normal” vision and a spy on the loose, Katie’s not sure who to trust and it seems that a new pair of sparkling red stilettos are causing a whole new kind of havoc in her life. Find out if Katie can save MSI from evil once again with or without her magical immunity.

     This is another spell-binding chick lit novel from Shanna Swendson full of romance, fashion, corporate espionage, intellect and of course magic and it does not disappoint.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Damsels Behind Books: Celebrate Reading! October is National Book Group Month!!

October is National Reading Group Month!

     In its Third Annual celebration of Reading Groups Across the Country, Women’s National Book Association is going strong with its National Reading Group Month (NRGM) in the month of October. See all the events, member benefits and fun here:

     I have always loved reading since I was a little girl and could pronounce the words I saw on a page and I have always envied other women when I hear they are part of a social, active book group because I have never found a live group that reads the kind of books that I want to read. Then, early this year, January 2010, I found Goodreads. I have never been big on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace or the like, but since joining Goodreads, a social networking web site dedicated to linking people across the globe based on their love of reading and writing and books in general, I have been hooked! Finally, I have met so many women who share my love of Chick Lit. We read all kinds of different books each month, motivate each other with reading challenges and share the latest releases with each other, contributing to an ever growing to-be-read list and overflowing bookshelf at home. Since I have been more active in organizing the Chick Lit Book Club on Goodreads, I have also begun to notice more and more the high numbers of authors who include Reading Question Guides specifically for book groups either at the end of their novels or on their websites or both.

     I even found a web site where you can register your Book Group and search for reading guides from Tolstoy to Shakespeare to Stephen King and Jennifer Weiner…it just seems to be limitless and FREE! Not only does the site offer questions that might help your group converse with one another but it also gives suggestions and tips on how to run a successful group, whether you’re a novice group leader or a veteran.

*** Just a note: I AM NOT AFFILIATED WITH EITHER WEB SITE MENTIONED IN THIS POST. I just came across them in my search for books. ***

     No matter who you are or where you’re from, reading is an activity that can create bonds between people. It’s fun, healthy, enriching no matter what language you speak or read! I mean just look at all the novels that you like to read – have you ever noticed how many countries they get released in and the number of different languages and covers that get printed?

      Are you a member of any book groups? If so, what made you join it? What’s your favorite part of being involved in a book group? Please feel free to comment, vent or discuss anything else related to book groups or reading, in general.