Summer Reading: Liza Palmer

I am beyond delighted to introduce the brilliant, funny, insightful, wonderful, funny (I know I said that already but she really, really is funny) Liza Palmer as this week’s featured guest author.  I love Liza Palmer’s books and am crazy about her newest novel, More Like Her, and I’ve asked Liza to write something special just for you, my readers.  Lucky us!

 

IN PRAISE OF LIFE, LOVE AND BIRTHDAYS

 

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

–Satchel Paige

 

I’m writing this blog post on my birthday.  And as birthdays tend to do, they make one reflect on the year that’s just passed.  Did I do enough?  Did I make the most of my life?  Did I live up to my endlessly rising expectations of what my life should be about?  Why is it that we never seem to measure up during these moments of reflection?  It’s the New Years’ Resolution Rule, right?  Sure, you did okay – but next year try to do more, be better, get thinner and vow to be even more selfless. The Mantra of today’s woman, I suppose.

This past year I had a bit of a health scare.  It was one of those moments – where the world slows down and I was floating above my body as some doctor told me I had cancer.  HAD.  They got it out – along with half of my thyroid.

The thing is my body and I haven’t gotten along for quite some time. But, earlier this year something happened.  We fell in love.  For the first time.  It was my body and I joined and finally working as one.  Connected.  I was giving it what it wanted – instead of starving it and beating it into submission — and it was grateful.  Patient.  Loving.  As ever.

Then the cancer hit.

And I just… I crumbled.  I’d been so cruel to my body for so long.  So demanding.  So unendingly frustrated and harsh.  And then, come to find out, it had been battling cancer the entire time?  I was gutted.

Birthdays are the only day we get that’s just about us.  Yet as we get older we brush them under the rug as this dark harbinger of aging and some kind of tolling bell of our lost youth.  Birthdays aren’t about impending death.

Birthdays are about life.

Another year.

I propose that instead of using our birthdays to list all of the ways we came up short, all of the things we could have done better and all of the instances where we let ourselves (and others) down, we take the day to lavish ourselves with love, adoration and tenderness.  Swaddle ourselves in the softness we save for others.

We get to be happy.  We get to be loved.

I went to this workshop this past week where the person giving the lecture was talking about writing The Perfect Book.  She said that we shouldn’t strive to write The Perfect Book, we should strive to write The Compelling Book.  I think this transfers over to life as well.

Let’s stop trying to be perfect.

Let’s strive to be compelling.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Liza, many, many thanks so much for joining us today.  Readers and friends,  you can find out more about Liza and her books on her website, http://www.lizapalmer.com.

For a chance to win an amazing prize–all four of Liza’s wonderful titles, including her newest, More Like Her, in a colorful summer tote bag perfect for the beach along with other fun goodies–talk to me about Liza’s blog.  What do you think?  Do you agree?  I’d love to hear what you think (and if you’ve ever read Liza Palmer’s books before). Contest runs through Friday night, with the winner being announced Saturday morning.  Best of luck, thank you Liza, and very happy summer reading!

 

 

81 Comments

  1. What a great post, Liza. I pray that you are able to be kind to your body and that it will be kind back and that the cancer is eradicated. Being kind to ourselves is never easy, especially for women, and you are right, our birthdays should be a time to do that.

    I’ve read a Field Guide to Burying Your Parents and loved it. Would love to read More Like Her too!

    1. Michelle – I think I’m on the path to kindness now. All I can ask for is progress. Every day is better.

      Thank you for your kind words!

      xoxox

  2. I bought More Like Her and it was awesome! I devoured it. That is how I feel about all her books. They are scrumptious! I really appreciate Liza’s incite about our bodies. I finally realized that my body is beautifully made and really on my side. I fought my body, too, for most of my adult life and despised the image of myself. Now I appreciate how, if we play along, our body will work with us not against us! Thanks Liza for being so real!

  3. On a sunny summer day, reading Liza’s post jolted me out of myself and touched me intimately. I wish her continued health and happiness, and I can’t wait to read her book because she writes beautifully.
    I just had a b-day, too, and like most females from about age 13 and up, body image has always been a big deal. I have been heavy and I have been skinny, but now I just try to be healthy and fit, and if that means my legs that get me to the top of the mountain are chunky, then so be it!
    I am grateful for Liza and you, Jane, and other compelling authors who write books that send positive messages to women as we struggle with all the pressures of the world we live in today. THANK YOU!

    1. Kathy –

      Absolutely. Accepting and loving ourselves as much as we accept and love those around us.

      (thank you for the kind words!)

      xoxLiza

  4. More Like Her looks fantastically interesting!

    I agree- birthdays are about celebrating! so after turning 40 this year, I’ve decided to do something fantastic from now on. [took a cruise this year]

    Also, that we need to accept us as we are. I hope I’m teaching my daughter that lesson since no one taught it to me.

    1. Exactly! It’s about what we’re modeling for the next generation. And if we can model self-acceptance and love? That’s the best gift we can give them.

      xoxo Liza

  5. I’ve read all of Liza’s books, and have loved each one. I always wish I new her characters in “real life.” I’ve been fortunate enough to hear her speak, and, Jane is right, she is FUNNY! She is also compelling and real. I’m so glad that Liza is doing well!

  6. I’m sorry to say that I haven’t had the pleasure of reading Liza’s books. Right now, I am in a severe reading slump. But I will have to correct that.
    Liza, sending good thoughts and prayers out to you. It sounds like you have made peace with yourself and that you will strive to become the most compelling person that you can be. I know you will do it.

    1. Latesha –

      Thank you so much for your kind words!

      Not for nothing, Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night are fantastic. Perfect summertime reads.

      xoxo Liza

  7. Hi Liza and Jane,

    Thanks for introducing us to Liza.
    I have already 3 of Liza´s books, and I loved reading “Conversations with the Fat Girl”.
    And Happy Birthday to you Liza. I hope you have a wonderful, splendid day.
    I just celebrated my birthday less that two weeks ago and love what you wrote about birthdays. I try to do something every year to celebrate my birthday and do something that I love.
    It sounds like you, Liza, are doing better again. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Im a huge Liza fan girl. I like that thought of living a compelling life. I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately – wondering what’s next in my career. It’s a good reminder that I need to be the master of my own destiny.

  9. For those of you who haven’t read any of Liza’s books, let me just say, they ALL ROCK! I can’t wait to read the latest. Thank you Liza for a beautiful post. I am happy to hear your health is improving. We all have been guilty of taking our health for granted. After living with a chronic disease since my early 20’s, I am thankful for every birthday that comes along. I recently turned 47 and my body feels better now than it did in my 20’s and 30’s. Birthday’s should be celebrated, they are a gift that isn’t always guaranteed each year. Enjoy the journey and some great books along the way! Thanks, Liza and Jane!

  10. I really enjoyed your post. It makes me think more about how I should treat myself better and not put not down and beat myself up over everything going on. I constantly battle my weight problems, up and down and up and down. All my life it’s been this way. But, lately, it’s been on the up and keeps going up. Then, i stop and think (now) how small my problem is compared to some things lots of other people are going through. Battling cancer like you do is a true miracle and I’m glad to hear you’ve gotten past that huge hurdle.

  11. Happy Birthday Liza! Your book sounds great and will definitely be on my “to be read list.” Love that Jane is letting us get to know her friends and fellow authors on her blog.

    I think your idea of making birthdays and life compelling and therefore kinder to ourselves is wonderful. I know what a cancer scare can do to how you look at life. Even though mine was through my husband’s eyes of battling colon cancer and six months of chemo, the entire family went through it together and we definitely don’t look at life the same anymore.

    May hat is off you to. Can’t wait to read your books!

  12. What a wonderful post Liza! Happy Birthday and your blog made me stop and think about how one (like me) should be thankful with every blessing that we receive.

    I wish you love and happiness.

    Looking forward to your book.

  13. As someone who has battled cancer, that post really spoke to me (sorry about sounding hokey). I was never happy with my body, much like many women. I had a mastectomy, and lost my hair during chemo, which made me feel less like a woman, but when I was declared cancer free, I felt wonderful. I have since had a reconstruction on my breast, and my hair grew back better than before, and I’m now very happy with my body and myself. And I look at each birthday as a celebration of another year of life. I actually look forward to each birthday now (even though I’ll be 40 in just 2 1/2 years)!
    Enough about me! (Sorry, I tend to ramble, even while typing.) Congratulations to you, Liza, for beating cancer, and for this inspiring post! I actually have “More Like Her” on my to-read list on goodreads, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it, but I’m really looking forward to reading it! And I’ll definitely check out your other books.

  14. What an amazing post Liza….I have to be honest I have not read your books but your post has compelled me to do just that and so much more. I myself have had a birthday recently and I as well reflected and I have decided to start putting myself first instead of last, not perfect by any means but want to strive to be the best I can be and give all that I have. Looking forward to reading!!!

  15. I love Liza’s books. I have only been able to read two so far. i love what you wrote about Liza. It is a struggle to go through any health issue, and it will make you think about all things in a different way. I think alot of women try to be perfect and we sell ourselves short when we feel we are not. I tell my daughter and 3 sons to be the best they can be, not perfect; and if they do have a bad day, it’s just that: a bad day.

  16. I agree with what is written. I am glad that doctors were able to get all of the cancer.

    I haven’t read any of her books yet, but I did add them to my to be read list.

  17. Lovely post, Liza. I am in the same boat, except that I don’t have any thyroid at all. it’s a shock, isn’t it? But it also makes you focus on what’s important. Family, friends, and just…life. And I’m celebrating birthdays again – bring them on, the more the merrier!

    Very much looking forward to reading you book.

    Happy birthday!

  18. Hi Liza!
    Happy Birthday! I’m a rare variety, I guess. I love my birthday! My birthday is later this month, and I’ve already started celebrating! :-).
    I’ve not read any of your books, but if Jane is saying a must read, I’m adding you to my list on Goodreads!

    Heather

  19. Hi Liza and Jane!

    So far I’ve read two of Liza’s books and really loved them! Need to get the others. I got to hear you both speak when you came to RWA San Diego. 🙂 And Liza, I am glad they were able to get the cancer out. That happened to a friend of mine recently…lung cancer, but it was caught exceptionally early and they were able to take out the lobe that had the cancer, and now she is doing well. Life is precious, and we for sure should be kind to ourselves and celebrate our birthdays. Happy Birthday to you Liza!

  20. Liza,

    I discovered Seeing Me Naked at the library when looking for something to read. I loved the book, so I had to read your others. I have loved every one so far and cannot wait to read your latest. I’m glad your doing well health wise and I wish you continued success!

    Susan B.

  21. What a lovely post! I agree with you one hundred % on the birthdays. We should all feel more like that. I look at birthdays and having made it another year. This year on my birthday I was having back issues and just had surgery the first of July. Going through physical therpy right now and I sure hope this helps. Take care of yourself and your body and thanks for sharing your books with us.

  22. Happy Birthday Liz! I’ve have never read one of your books even though I’ve heard of you and seen your books at the bookstore,just passed you up!I enjpyed reading your blog and we should be kinder to ourselves and celebrate our birthdays with a joy and be happy,I have to admit I beat myself up all the time, and I have been taking care of 2 kids most of my married life alone, my marriage is complicated living in the same house but legally seperated…sure my kids are both going off to college this month,but I was the one who gave them the encouragement to go after their dreams and I gave them my all-forgeting about “ME” love doing it all the while,anyways, now its my time to go after my dream, I have a home daycare and trying to go back to school to get my teaching degree, I tutor 5-8 kids so they can read better and graducate high school..love doing that…I’ve never had cancer but my cousin has she keeps telling me to live your life to the fullest and be blessed-she’s a 2time surivior, and she’s a real fighter, and i know your are one too! Gotta check-out your books,glad that Jane has introduced me to a new author that is to me,for i love to read and your books sound really good,too!

  23. We do not need to be perfect. I think we should do the things that bring us joy and also try to contribute to a positive community. I have not read any of Liza’s books yet, but am looking forward to doing so soon.

  24. Happy Birthday! My wish for you is that you accept and love you, for you. I am thrilled to hear your surgery was successful! Here’s to many more birthday and many more books! It would be a thrill to receive your books and read them!

  25. Thank you for sharing yourself with us today, Liza. I have not had to face Cancer, but I do have multiple health issues that have impacted my life almost since the beginning. I have an auto-immune disorder which has manifested itself in so many ways that it would be hard to know where to begin to explain them all.

    The one thing that all of these issues has taught me,is that life is always worth fighting for. With the help and support of my family, especially my husband and son, I will keep fighting on.

    Best wishes to you and congratulations on your new book.

  26. It seems that it is so human to learn how to live life fuller and better when faced with its loss. If only we could keep remembering this always. However it is hard not to be drawn back into the same old thinking when the scare fades. Thank you for the reminder and best wishes for continued health and positive thoughts about yourself.

  27. What a wonderful post. Congratulations and best wishes on your new life, great health and happiness. I am battling Breast Cancer now and receiving chemo and am very positive and looking forward to many more birthdays. I will be reading your books which sound special. Wishing you the best of health and continued success.

  28. What a beautiful post! I’ve never though about it in those terms before. Honestly, I think I’ve been cruel and demanding to my body sine I was a teen. Wow. Why is that? I should be, grateful for all that it has and continues to do for me.

    Thank you.

  29. Yes, I agree with Liza. Your birthday is a day to celebrate you. Enjoy it and do what you want to do, eat special treats, do favorite things. And, everyone must go along with you and follow your wishes on your special day – that is the birthday rule.
    I recently finished reading Liza’s new book “More Like Her”, and I loved it! I have read several of her books, thanks to Jane recommending her awhile back.

  30. The other day I realized I’m going to be 40 on my next birthday and I still haven’t written a book. This really made me sad, but I was talking to my husband and I began to talk about all the things I have done. I’m proud of the life I’ve made, so I agree we should celebrate for the lives we’ve made and not worry about the things we didn’t do. Great post.

  31. You asked what I think. I think that we are only on this earth for a brief time and that we should take advantage of every moment we can. Yes, “real life” interrupts, but we can still find joy in so many other ways.

    I am blessed by being able to get together with two high-school girlfriends (from almost 40 years ago now). We meet at each other’s homes, within a 2.5 hour radius, three times a year. Our “girls day” is glorious. We gab, we eat, we gab some more, and we eat some more – and during all that, we laugh a LOT.

  32. Wow, I completely agree. I do tend to ignore the birthdays and just thinking, another year… moving on! Birthdays should be about life! I love that quote at the beginning as well, I cannot decide on how old I would be. I keep changing my mind!!!

    I have not read Liza’s books, but I have always wanted to do!!

  33. I love Liza’s books. She is a wonderful author. I know exactly how she feels when birthdays come around. They tend to make me re-evaluate my life too.

  34. I agree, every year is a score!! We shouldn’t feel like there’s nothing to look forward to after turning 21:) We should hope to be happy and healthy and celebrating at 91. I know I’ve heard Liza Palmer’s name before but I haven’t read a Liza Palmer book yet and it sounds like I’ve been missing out!

  35. Compelling… what a powerful word… and how appropriate when talking about how we have lived our lives and how we interact with and affect others… makes perfect sound shallow. Great post. I have not yet read any of Liza’s books, but I will rectify that situation… I love to laugh when I read and I like to feel I have gained something from the book. Wishing you and everyone health and happiness with each and every birthday…

  36. Happy birthday Liza! I just had a birthday also!
    Hi Jane! I am definitely putting Liza’s books on my to read list!

  37. Life is to be enjoyed & cherished that’s for sure. I think we need to be pampered more than just on our birthday’s.

  38. Hello Jane and Liza,
    and a Happy belated birthday Liza!

    Sorry to hear of your cancer scare, so very glad they were able to get it all. Makes every little moment in our day something to give thanks for and we look at things so differently with greater appreciation than we did prior to something as serious as cancer, loss of a loved one, or something so little as our child having a cold.

    Sometimes it takes a hard shake of reality to get us back on track or at least started on the right track.

    I must say with much shame that I’ve never read any of your books Liza. I’m sure they must be great as so many others are saying so. Jane has proven she has great taste in books and the authors who write them. She introduced me to Claudia Dain with “The Courtesan’s Daughter” and I must say that without winning the book, I would never had picked it up from the shelf at my local Barnes & Noble. So of course I’d love to win a new book and author to add to my much needed reading pile. :-}

  39. It took me many years to really learn the joy in celebrating my own birthday. I always had joy celebratiing my children’s birthdays with them, and now, I’ve learned to enjoy mine too. Thank you Liza for sharing your story. I wish you all the best with your health, your writing, and enjoy many, many more birthday celebrations.

  40. Love this post. And, Liza, I really enjoyed Seeing Me Naked. The whole idea of picking a sweetheart based on what others might think…well,it should be easier to outgrow that. And, as the book points out, half the time the person (or family member) you’re trying to impress isn’t really all that impressive, themself. Heal up. Feel better. Keep writing. Happy Birthday!

  41. I just loved Liza’s blog. When she said that she was cruel to her body, beating it into submission and then “to find out that it was battling cancer all this time”. That was such a tender and loving statement. It made me want to start treating my body with love and respect and to treat it like it is something special, like it is a human being. Thank you so much for the lesson.

  42. Loved, loved, loved, this blog. I constantly criticize my own body and hate it most days. If I talked to a family member or friend the way I talk to and about my body, they would have left me high and dry a long time ago.

    I started reading Liza’s books when “Conversations with the Fat Girl” first came out. I loved that book and had to buy another one when my first copy made the rounds of all my girlfriends and came back read to pieces. Thanks for visiting Jane’s blog. You are both such amazing women and writers.

  43. Liza, I went to your blog this morning, but am just getting the time to write. Jane is always the best about introducing us to great writers. I am looking forward to reading your books. Hope you are 100% healthy ASAP!

  44. Liza, I love your work! I have read, Seeing Me Naked and Conversations With The Fat Girl.

    I am glad to hear they got all of the cancer! Hope you had an amazing birthday! I think most woman struggle with trying to be perfect (I have a big issue with that, although I know I do not succeed!) 🙂 Love this post and the message! Happy Birthday, Liza!!!

  45. Hope your birthday is great.
    We are much happier when we accept that we are not perfect. Live life to the fullest each day.

  46. I have read all of Liza Palmer books, apart from the last one, and loved them.
    So sorry to hear about her cancer scare. We hear it so many times these days, so many people close and far to us are affected. And I liked her post as I believe, sometimes, these scares want to teach us something. Women are always so hard on themselves, but I agree with her that we need to learn to accept that what we do is wonderful and enough and to enjoy life and especially the people in our life. At the end of the day, that is what count, and the legacy we will leave. The love we were able to give and receive.
    Thank you for introducing all these wonderful authors.

  47. Liza is a brilliant author and I can’t wait to read her new book. Wow, I couldn’t imagine having a cancer scare like that. Thank God she is free of that horrible disease now. God is good 🙂

  48. Each member of our family gets a birthday week. Because between a long labor and delivery, the BirthDay could have been one of several days. And of course, because they deserve it.

  49. Birthdays in our house are a nice celebration. You get to pick what you want for dinner and dessert and you can choose what you want for presents or let it be a surprise. Although getting another year older doesn’t thrill me I don’t think I have ever thought about any regrets I had on my birthday.

  50. I’ve never read any of Liza’s books, but they sound interesting & I’m always looking for new authors to read.

    I think we all need to take a time out every day & truly celebrate the loved ones we have in our lives. It should not just be on birthdays – it should be a celebration of life every single day! No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow; we get so wrapped up in our busy lives. But, one day something will happen to someone you love and then you will wish you could go back to yesterday to take time to tell the ones we love how much we care for them, and what an impact they have on our lives.

  51. I love that idea…to be compelling? Far more interesting than perfect. 🙂

    I will have to read your books. I confess I haven’t read any YET. Thanks for the great post.

  52. Thanks Jane for having Liza on and the opportunity to win Liza’ books. I’ve read them all except Conversations With the Fat Girl. I would love to own them all. I love how Liza’s books always have issues in them you would not expect to find in a chick-lit/women’s fiction novel.

  53. They sound like fabulous books. And well, a recommendation and accolade coming from Jane goes a long way. Good writer…good taste…what can you say!

  54. What a wonderful post Liza and how quickly things change in our life and with out health, sorry that you had that scare but happy to hear you concered it. We should treasure every moment we have as well as our family and friends because one never knows????

  55. I agree, birthdays are definitely worth celebrating. I happen to share a birthday with my best friend of 20+ years and it is always one of my favorite days of the year because we spend it together. Just the two of us at lunch while the kids are in school and we have those few precious moments to laugh and giggle like we did when we were kids without having to stop the kids from fidgeting or taking one to the restroom. While I don’t really enjoy the getting older part, I always look forward to our day. I hope your health continues in the right direction and you and your body can remain friends.

  56. Wonderful post Liza! Thanks for sharing. I turned 50 this year and wasn’t going to celebrate because, gosh… why should I celebrate being half a century and eligible for an AARP membership? Well, my friends and wonderful husband told me that they wanted to celebrate me and that 50 was a milestone birthday and very special. I had a big party at our house, and each person picked a glass heart from a dish, said a prayer or a wish for me and put it back in the dish. I have the dish of hearts on my desk to remind me of all the amazing people that I have in my life and how lucky I am to be alive.
    I love your books, especially Conversations with the Fat Girl. I look forward to reading your latest.

  57. Liza is one of my favorite authors and quickly becoming a bigger influence on my life than she may think. I admire her perspective on birthdays and cancer. I have not celebrated or acknowledged my birthday in nearly nine years because of a cancer scare that turned out to be Multiple Sclerosis. That was my ‘gift’ for my 30th birthday. I tend to fall into a depression around my birthday. Remembering the weeks I was unable to move my legs and walk. Remembering all the testing and poking and prodding. I do know the annual self-reflection/self-evaluation she speaks of, though. It’s just… I don’t see things like “I walked a marathon this year” because all I see is “I couldn’t walk at all THAT year.” She may not realize it, but Liza gives me food for thought. Perhaps it’s time I stop remembering what WAS and celebrating what IS.

    As far as her books go, I love them all. What I love most is that she writes the words just like every other author does but she also draws the pictures. I feel like I can close my eyes and see all the characters and their clothes and houses and cars and lives. And that’s when I feel connected to them.

  58. Hi Liza and Jane!

    Jane, thank you for introducing me to Liza, she is super funny; and takes the best pictures!

    I bought this at the Literacy event and can’t wait to read it!

    Liza, thanks for showing me how to take the “skinny” pictures. I told everyone at my reunion, when I took pictures that I had to take them Liza’s way so that we would look fabulous!

    Liza, Happy Belated Birthday!

    I loved this blog, I have been doing a lot “soul searching” with myself the last few months, and this really hit home.

    Have a Blessed week everyone!

  59. I definitely agree with Liza that birthdays should be a celebration of your accomplishments and not a day to think about how old you are or what you have not been able to complete in your life to date. I loved the quote that Liza posted from Satchel Paige – How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” A friend of mine said something very similar to me once and I have never forgotten it. Liza’s books sound like they would be fun to read. Fingers crossed that my comment gets picked for he prize package.

  60. Liza, I don’t think I read your books yet but might have one on my shelf. not sure. But I’ll be checking them out. thanks for sharing your post. My thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope everything gets better and the cancer is gone.
    Birthdays sure make a person remember or think about the past. To celebrate.

  61. Hi everyone,
    So sorry I’m late posting the winner! Liza’s winner is –

    #15 Bridget O’Neill

    Bridget, please send me an email with your mailing info and we’ll get the prize in the mail very soon!

    Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I just got back to Hawaii yesterday and plan to spend some time with my boys!

    love to all,
    Jane

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