Stupid By Choice ~ Guest Post #FREE READ

SBC-Cover(NearFinal3), final one, Jan. 23 (1)Stupid By Choice

By Leighton Summers

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Drama, Romance


Author Guest Post: What inspired you to write Stupid By Choice?


First of all thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog.  I truly appreciate it!  Your question of wanting to know what inspired me to write Stupid By Choice is a great one, for though overall it is meant to be a fun “escape” read into the lives of the “privileged wealthy,” I was also first inspired to write it because I wanted to explore some serious themes that I hoped people could learn from.


Two of those themes are from the saying, “Don’t be fooled by the fiery wild stallion of love and the silver saddle of vast wealth,” which I heard often growing up, for I was fortunate to be born into (and continue to stay living in) this upscale world the book is set in, and I see the effects money can have on people constantly.  But people with means can trick you and hurt you just as much as those without it—not always, but often.  So I felt it was important to show in a story how no one should be completely influenced by money, both in life and in regards to relationships.  Always remember that appearances are just that, only “appearances,” and you never really know what is underneath them.  It can be very enticing and alluring to belong to exclusive country clubs and attend private galas with a handsome, charming, sexy man—but keep in mind that it could all be a total façade.  (Even if his family is hosting the party!)

The main character of Melanie St. John is totally caught up in this “glamour” of both the men and the worlds in which they live when she first meets each one throughout the book; the fabulous parities, exclusive after parties, romantic get-a-ways, etc.  But after one week of marriage to one of them—on her honeymoon, actually—she realizes she made a huge mistake.


Creating this kind of huge mistake in the main character’s relationship journey was done for a big reason too—I was highly inspired to write this book for my daughter so I could try and show her how to not make the same stupid, foolish choices with men that I saw way too often growing up in my particular social circles.  This book is fiction, but I’ve witnessed some pretty sad (and funny) things about dating and marriage in this elite world while also raising my daughter in it.  I thought writing about it could help her (as well as all women) think very carefully before saying “I do.”  I think it’s hard for anyone to find healthy, lasting love in any environment, but hopefully with some help through some examples of what not to do through Melanie’s relationships I truly hoped people would learn how to choose more wisely and “love smarter” overall.


Lastly, I was also inspired and encouraged by many good friends to write about this particular world and character I created, for we all knew there were lots of situations (both comedic and dramatic) that we had all seen too many times that could easily be recreated in a fictional story set in this environment.  It was not easy, for I am not a trained writer and this book took four long years to complete, but now it is finished I am very proud I stuck with it.  I hope anyone who reads Stupid By Choice enjoys it (and hopefully learns something from it)!


Stupid By Choice

By Leighton Summers


Looking for an intriguing tale about learning to “love smarter”?  You’ve found it with this engaging debut novel about the adventures and regrets of a Texas Oil Princess’s quest for finding love…


Go inside Melanie St. John’s world as she attempts to find lasting love amongst the handsome, wealthy, jet-set, spoiled, sought-after playboy bachelors in the elite worldwide social circles of Texas, Monte Carlo, Manhattan, Newport, Aspen, and Palm Beach. Experience all the rewards, expectations, passions, and struggles that constantly have her having to decide between being smart or stupid with her choices in love and life in order to be truly fulfilled and happy…


Though the story is fiction, it’s written by a sixth generation Texan (Leighton Summers) who was born into this unique, privileged world, giving you—the reader—an up-close, insider’s view of both it and the way love and relationships are found.  Does Melanie ever find the true love she’s seeking, or will this world of wealth and excess always get in the way?  Read Stupid By Choice to find out!  It’s the perfect summer “weekend at the beach” read!


Now available in both paperback and as an ebook on Amazon!


Get the ebook for FREE on Amazon July 1 – July 5, 2014:


Amazon Link:


Attention Book Club Members:

Have a themed “T.O.P. Champagne Party” (that’s short for “Texas Oil Princess Champagne Party”) for your next gathering!  Menu suggestions and free recipes are available on the website,


About the Author

Leighton Summers is a sixth generation Texan who has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe her whole life.  During her travels she was always surrounded by interesting, successful (and often eccentric) people who encouraged her to find her passion and live life to the fullest.  Writing novels always intrigued her, and so one day while in New York City she took out her laptop in a café and decided to jot down some notes about how a female character created from her own world could “love smarter.”  Over the next four years the notes turned into both funny and sad adventures of a woman’s quest for finding friendship, love, self, and family and she weaved them all together into this, her debut novel.


Visit the website for more information about the book.

To contact Leighton, please e-mail

Happy Reading!

My Review of Stupid By Choice by Leighton Summers

SBC-Cover(NearFinal3), final one, Jan. 23Beautiful, bold, and born with a silver spoon firmly planted in hand, Melanie St. John is, by all outside accounts, the picture-perfect Texan Oil Princess. An independently wealthy daddy’s girl through and through, Melanie has spent her adult years flitting from one exotic, exclusive locale to another, being wooed by handsome, successful men, and in the dizzying center of dazzling, diamond-encrusted society life.

But behind the glittering façade of her debutante life lays a very different story.

In Stupid By Choice, this summer’s must-have beach read from author Leighton Summers, we follow the fictional and fabulous Melanie as she attempts to find true, lasting love amongst the wealthy, jet-set, spoiled, sought-after playboys in the elite social circles of Texas, Monte Carol, Manhattan, Newport, and Palm Beach.

Facing one destructive love affair after another, as well as financial troubles, family drama, unplanned pregnancy, and more, Melanie and her friends traipse through the high high’s and low low’s of elite society, all while negotiating the blows they’re dealt with vulnerability, extravagance, and a resilience that every woman, regardless of social strata, will recognize as her own.

Stupid By Choice is pure fiction, but it’s entirely inspired by the affluent, privileged world that I grew up—and still live—in,” says Summers. “All that glitters is not gold. It’s easy to get caught up in the glamour of it all, but no matter what your age or station in life, we all have to learn—as Melanie does—to not be ‘stupid by choice’ and stay stuck or settle if we’re not happy.”

A celebratory romp through the lives of ladies who have, lose, and ultimately triumph over it all, Stupid By Choice is as juicy a summer read as they come—equal parts entertaining, thought-provoking, and emotionally gripping. Among the topics and themes explored in it are:

  • Don’t mess with Texas! An insider’s look—good and bad—at what socialite American society life is really like from a Texans’ P.O.V.
  • The ‘problem-free’ lifestyles of the rich and well groomed: does money solve as many issues as one might think?  Or does it just create more?
  • Handling divorce, infidelity, family problems, motherhood, and career goals with grace and fearlessness
  • Finding courage in the face of the unknown, taking risks, and following your heart!


About the Author:


Leighton Summers is a sixth generation Texan who has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe throughout her whole life. During her travels, she was always surrounded by interesting, successful (and often eccentric) people who encouraged her to find her passion and live life to the fullest. Writing novels always intrigued her, and so one day while in New York City she took out her laptop in a café and decided to jot down some notes about how a female character, created from her own world, could “love smarter.” Over the next four years, those notes turned into both funny and sad adventures of a woman’s quest to find friendship, love, self, and family and became Stupid By Choice, Summers’ debut novel.


Stupid By Choice is available as an e-book from Amazon.




Stupid by Choice is a self-deprecating portrait of dysfunction in the upper echelons of society. The book follows Melanie, a thirty-something Texas debutante who has all the trappings of success in New York through her personal “aha” moment. The story opens with her inviting movers into her home to relocate her from a bad marriage as stealthily as they can. As the three apply their muscle to packing up her belongings, Melanie unpacks the baggage of all that has transpired to get her to that place.

The story is all at once funny, dramatic, sad and everything in between as we relive Melanie’s life from Texas, Monte Carlo, Manhattan, Newport, and Palm Beach, where she faces destructive love affairs, financial trouble, family issues, unplanned pregnancy, and more of the same with her sister and her friends.  Her father, Oldie, is a figure who could be compared to the Rock Hudson character in the classic movie, Giant, and her mother the Elizabeth Taylor character. Her parents raise her as they were before her, as spoiled children of entitlement who have to learn to separate reality from the trappings of privilege to which they have grown accustomed. Melanie suffers a lot of the same trials and tribulations as women of lesser means, despite having been born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth.

With a surprising and unprecedented opportunity to have lasting love with the most unlikely person, will Melanie squander it on principal or will she experience the epiphany she needs to free herself from being “stuck on stupid,” or will she remain “stupid by choice?” Find out for yourself. Make Stupid by Choice one of your summer reads.

I give Stupid by Choice 3.5 Stars.

Guest Post and Interview of “Stupid By Choice” author Leighton Summers

SBC-Cover(NearFinal3), final one, Jan. 23One of the themes of Stupid By Choice is judgment, the kind many people do to others every day based on how they look, dress, or where they are from.  Judging anyone, for any reason, is unfair and wrong, and it’s a shame people are often so judgmental of another’s differences.  We should embrace another’s differences, for knowing people who are different from us is what keeps life interesting and helps us to learn about other people’s views and lifestyles better.

The best example of this in the book is the character of Beau, who goes from being one of the most popular, handsome, and sought-after wealthy bachelors in all of Texas (if not the world) to being shunned and basically an outcast once he becomes a quadriplegic due to an accident.  People can be so harsh when they don’t understand a situation, and so they end up judging a person who looks different from them (and often doesn’t want them to be around) instead of giving the person a chance to show they are really the same on the inside even if they now look vastly different on the outside.

Another example of this is the character of Eva who is judged as being an “exotic beauty” (and not always in a ‘good’ way) instead of being the typical, all-American “blond bombshell” most Texan girls are.  A man would be happy to have his ‘fun’ with her, but not want to take her home to meet his parents (or even ever have his parents accept her as “good enough” as her doctor husband later learns), and unfortunately many people can relate to this kind of feeling of seeming “different” in different circumstances by others.  But what is the point of making others feel bad for how they look or where they’re from?  From my viewpoint there isn’t one.

Being different through looks, social status, economic means, or whatever the circumstance shouldn’t ever determine how someone should be treated.  People should all be treated the same.  But everyone knows they are not.  Even people with great wealth judge others in their own social circles on how “wealthy” they all actually are and create levels of status based on that sole circle of wealth, but it’s still not right, for money is just money no matter how much you have of it.  It doesn’t make someone better or worse to have less or more of it.  And neither does judging anyone for any reason.

I hope readers come away from Stupid By Choice with an open mind to give everyone, regardless of looks, appearances, or status, a chance.  For everyone deserves that.

Q & A with Stupid By Choice author Leighton Summers:

1. How long have you been writing, and when did you know that you wanted to become a writer?

I started writing this book about four years ago, but to be honest when I first started writing down ideas for the main character of Melanie St. John, I never really knew at the time they would turn into a novel.  I was never trained or studied to be a writer, but for some reason writing novels always intrigued me.  So one day I just started writing down notes and ideas from things I saw or imagined and then worked on them until they turned into a whole bunch of little, separate stories centered on Melanie.  Over time the stories kept coming, and I kept writing them down off and on for about four years.  I showed them to friends who liked them and they encouraged me to keep writing.  I never thought it would become anything really, but then people kept encouraging me to turn my stories into a novel.  I found an editor to help me and we turned all my notes and individual stories into one complete, more structured story, and then this, my first novel, was finally finished.

2. Who’s your favorite author, and why?

I actually have several so it’s hard to choose one, but F. Scott Fitzgerald and Earnest Hemmingway are both top favorites because of their fantastic writing styles.  I even went to the Florida Keys once and saw where Hemmingway wrote and got his inspiration from.  It was very inspiring just to be there!

3. Tell us about your current book.

Stupid By Choice centers around a hopeful debutante Texas Oil Princess’s struggles from her high school years to her late-thirties as she attempts to find true, lasting love amongst the wealthy, jet-set, spoiled, sought-after playboy bachelors in the elite worldwide social circles of Texas, Monte Carlo, Manhattan, Newport, and Palm Beach.

4. If you could have a conversation with one of the characters in your current novel, which one would it be and why?

The first love of Melanie’s life, Hunter, because I would want to know why in the world a man like him—or any man actually—would lead a woman on for seven years, promising he was going to marry her and build a life, but then never do it and end up running off with a Las Vegas blackjack dealer who dresses up in a bunny costume every night instead.  What would make a man string a woman along for so many years and keep breaking her heart over and over when he knew deep down the woman truly loved him?  I know this happens a lot in all walks of life and I feel many women would like to know the answer to this, but sadly, you sometimes never know why, as Melanie finds out the hard way.

5. Where do you get the ideas and inspiration for your stories?

I was born and raised in Texas in this same kind of upscale, privileged world, and I’ve continued to stay living in it throughout my adult life, so it’s mostly all I know what to write about… I really don’t know anything different.  And like most writers who start out writing mainly about what they know, I decided it was as good a setting as any to place a story in (at least for my first book).  I was also inspired and encouraged by many good friends and my husband to write about this particular world, for we all knew there were lots of situations we had all seen too many times that could easily be recreated in a fictional story set in this world.

6. What is the best thing for you about being a writer?

Even though this is pure fiction, I learned a lot through the process of writing down my thoughts that all writing is really like therapy.  And with fiction you can write just what you want to have happen.  You can even let out demons if you need to.  It was a very satisfying experience just to write in general actually.

7. If we asked your closest friends to describe who you were, what do you think they would say?

What I hear a lot, that I’m very vulnerable, shy, and private.  But also that I enjoy traveling, I never give up on my goals (like finishing this book after four years!), and I always like to get to know interesting people who have something worthwhile to say and don’t want to just indulge in idle gossip (that drives me crazy).  I’m also always misperceived by the way I look, for people are surprised when they get to know me that I’m actually smart even though I’m blond and always dressed to the nines.

8. Why did you decide to go the self-publishing route?

I thought a lot about this, but ultimately decided on self-publishing Stupid By Choice because the publishing industry is changing so much with book stores closing constantly and big publishers merging together just to stay in business themselves.  And after taking four years to write the novel, I also didn’t want to spend another couple of years waiting around for a publisher to have to “discover” it.  I just wanted to get it out and into the hands of people who hopefully would want to read it, and self-publishing was the quickest way towards that goal.  And since technology is also changing the way people are reading now-a-days, I decided to release it first as an ebook too to keep up with the current times.  (But just so you know, a printed version is in the works as well, hopefully by early fall.)

9. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given or given to someone else?

My current editor has given me lots of great advice and help with finishing Stupid By Choice, so my advice for any writer—especially a first time one like myself—would be to find a great editor to help you if you need it.  I went through other editors before finding my current one and know the great ones are hard to find, but keep searching until you find the right fit, both personally and creatively.

10. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as an author?

Spending way too much money and time on people I thought I could trust to help me with this project in the beginning stages of turning it into a novel.  They ended up stabbing me in the back big time instead of helping me to finish it.

11. What’s next on the agenda for you?

A lot actually—I’m excited to be promoting Stupid By Choice all summer long (hopefully making it “the” summer beach read for 2013!), and I’m also working on two more book ideas.  Once you start writing you really can’t stop.  And since I learned a lot about the “do’s and don’ts” of writing from my first novel, I’m hoping the next one won’t take as long!