Stranger than Fiction! Prince Harry Displays the Crown Jewels

Harry-walk-of-shameSometimes fate just plays into one's hand.

My opening scene for The Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Killing, (the second in my Housewife Assassin series, to be released on September 30, 2012) starts out with my heroine, Donna Stone*, foiling a plot on Prince Harry's life while he's in San Diego, celebrating the completion of his Apache helicopter training.

I've excerpted it here, below.

Well, whattaya know? Just the other day, Harry gets caught with his pants down (in truth, off, along with everything else) while partying in Las Vegas. He was there for a charity fundraiser for the air force base on which he trained.

It's almost as if Handsome Harry, the cheeky sod, said, "That Josie Brown is a sweet bird. Why don't I give her a leg up on the sale of her new book, let her readers sneak a peek of what they're in for?"

A peek indeed!

As these pictures show, which were first released on TMZ.com, he's got a lot to offer some fine lass…

But I'm glad to see he's holding tight to the crown jewels.

You just can't buy this kind of publicity.

–Josie

Read this excerpt of
The Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Killing,
in bookstores on September 8, 2012.

 

 


HAH-Hanging-Man-New-BlueIn the meantime, order Book 1,
The Housewife Assassin's Handbook
Murder. Suspense. Sex. And some handy household tips.

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–Mary Jacobs, Bookhounds

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The Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Killing

Chapter 1: Breaking Bad Hostessing Habits

Every woman wants to be the perfect hostess, and frets over
her inadequacies when it comes to the gracious art of entertaining.  Pshaw! A little forethought and a few hours
of  planning makes it easy as cherry pie!

There is, however, one ironclad rule that every hostess must
follow: make all your guests wish they’d never have to leave.

Especially in a coffin. With a bullet lodged in their heads.

 

Harry Happy Hour“You’re quite a saucy
minx!” Prince Harry’s  ale-slurred
come-on can barely be heard over the techno-vibe emanating from a
starship-worthy console of  the Ivy
Lounge rooftop’s head-bobbing deejay. 
“What say you give me a peek as to where that tattoo ends?”

His head is cocked
downward, as if it might give him the ex-ray vision he’ll need in order to see
the rattle on the faux-tatt’ed snake drawn from my belly, which ends
somewhere  in the nether regions that lay
under my thong bikini.

“You’re a cheeky sod. I
do have a face, you know.” I snap my fingers in front of his nose in order to
draw his eyes northward.

I’ve succeeded, sort
of.  But come on, already: the diplomacy
born and bred into the Prince of Wales can’t beat two millennia of innate urges
and four pints of Guinness.

His eyes linger below my
neck, albeit above my abdomen.

When, finally, our eyes
meet, I lean in and whisper, “You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”

I’m lying, even if he
doesn’t know it—yet.

His outright laugh is
accompanied with a shake of his head, and a tug at the waistline of his briefs.
“Nothing under these trollies, I’m afraid. Sorry to disappoint.”

I finger his briefs
longingly, then sigh. “I’m sure you’ll make it up to me somehow.”

His smile is his vow not
to disappoint.

God save the queen…

It’s no secret the prince
has been stateside with his Royal Air Force unit, learning the latest tricks
and treats of the AH-64D Apache helicopter: his vehicle of choice for his
upcoming tour of duty in Afghanistan. Tomorrow the soldiers complete their
training and head home. To celebrate, the soldiers are here, in San Diego,
which is just a couple of hours west of their training base, the Naval Air
Facility at El Centro.

Seems some chatter,
intercepted by MI-6, has led the Cousins to deduce that the prince is the
latest target of “the Leprechaun,” a notorious assassin affiliated with the
Irish terrorist cell known as 32CSM. If the Leprechaun succeeds in picking off
the spare to the throne, then once again the always thin strand of peace
between Ireland and Great Britain will be ripped to shreds.

If it happens on our
side of the pond, the U.S. will have mud on its face, not to mention the bluest
of blood on its hands.

So yep, I have to stop
the Leprechaun before he gets lucky.

My employer, the
freelance black ops agency known in the field as Acme Corporation, paid big
bucks to the club owners so that I could be up close and personal with the
prince. My goal is not to shag, let alone snag, Harry the Hottie. It’s to save
his adorable hide from a possible assassination attempt.

The prince leans in,
close enough to ask in a seductive albeit ale-sodden growl, “Want me to sign
your bikini?”

I look down between my
breasts. “Oops, forgot my pen. But you seem to be carrying one, in your pants
pocket. Or maybe you’re just happy to see me.”

He’s laughing so hard
his last gulp of Guinness goes down the wrong way.

“Prince Charming has a
one-track mind.” Jack Craig’s snarl comes in loud and clear through the tiny
microphone in my ear. As the team leader for this Acme Industries mission, he
is close by, but far enough away that no potential assassin can spot him.

Trust me, there is an
assassin lurking nearby.

Jack is also my main
squeeze, which is why he’s growling about my having to play the coquette while
under deep cover (in this bikini, I’m talking figuratively if not literally) as
one of the nightclub’s VIP bottle girls, and more specifically, the world’s
most eligible prince ’s pick-up du jour.

Needless to say, the
club’s real bottle girls are pea green with envy. They can’t figure out how
this newbie became Cinderella of this Century.

If I told them that my
aim and my 1st degree black belt status had something to do with it,
would they believe me? Probably not. All they see is that I’m just this side of
Cougarville, which means Harry is less discriminating than they had hoped.

For once I’m glad Jack
is not here with us, in the cordoned-off VIP section. One involuntary muscle
flex and prince’s all too obvious brawny goon squad—three of his Royal Air
Force mates—would be on top of him, like suds on ale. 

At MI-6’s behest, we’ve
kept that a secret from Harry, for now anyway. Which, I’m sure, is why he feels
so cocksure. This mission wouldn’t have been so hard if the prince weren’t so
insistent about partying “like an ordinary surfer bloke,” is how he so
preciously puts it. 

Thus far the natives
have been awed as much by his title as his regular dude  personality.

Just as the deejay
ratchets up the hip hop club mix, six drunken sorority sisters stroll our way.
One of the girls, a Kate Middleton lookalike, pierces me with a jealous glare.

I stare back and smile,
as if to say Take the hint. Get lost.

Her eyes shift from me
to one of Harry’s RAF buds. She waves coyly at him, and he’s smitten. Smirking
back, he nods her over. She squeals and grabs the hand of one of her
girlfriends.

Harry's haremIn no time at all, she
and her besties have jumped the red velvet rope. They toss themselves onto the
prince’s entourage, who don’t seem to be fighting them off too hard.

In fact, they’re
snapping their fingers at me with drink orders for their new arm charms.

“Not good.” Jack’s
warning in my ear is just loud enough for me to here.

“Tell me something I
don’t know,” I mutter back.

“How about this?” Jack
is now shouting into my earpiece. “You’ve
lost Prince Harry
.”

He’s right.

The prince seems
captivated by a petite, busty blond beauty. Even in heels, she barely reaches
his chest. She had pulled him out onto the dance floor for a throbbing
sex-drenched hip grinder, Andree Belle’s Go Go Gadget
Heart
.

The strobe lights and
smoke machine make it hard to follow them in the crowd. Then I see them,
against one wall. The buxom little tart has draped her arms around his
shoulders and hugs him close, as if she’ll never let him go.

Apparently too close. I
shove my way through the crowd until I’m close enough to I hear Harry’s woozy
cry: “Blimey, you’re no bird! You’ve got
a wanker
!”

Before I can pull him
away, the prince is pricked on the neck with something  his partner has pulled from her cleavage.
Harry’s groan is loud—

Then the smell of smoke,
and the lights go out—

But not before the last
strobe catches the triumphant look on his partner’s face.

 “Oh my God, Jack! The woman with Harry—she’s—not a she! She’s—”

“I know, I saw it, too!
The Leprechaun!”

Proof it pays to hit the
M.A.C. counter before a night on the town.

 And to hang out where the lights are always
low.

Everyone is screaming
and shoving their way to the exits, leaving me room to follow the Leprechaun,
who was shoving Harry in the opposite direction, up against a wall.

“It’s too dark to see
where they went. Does anything show up on the club’s security cams?”

“I’m looking now. In the
meantime, check the wall for a hidden pocket door. The schematic of this club
shows a few of them on every level. I’m sure the Leprechaun had his exit scoped
out in advance.”

While he scans the feeds
from the security cameras, I skim the walls with my hands. Finally I find it: a
tiny catch, waist high.

I pull it open it just
in time to see the Leprechaun heaving Harry down a long corridor.

He may not be used to
running in heels, but I am. If only I wasn’t running in a bikini, too.

“Too many wobbly bits,”
I mutter under my breath.

It is inappropriate for
Jack to be laughing now, but he can’t help it. “Just two. And they’re a sight
to behold. Prince Charming will be upset he slept through it.”

The thought of Harry in
the French-manicured hands of an assassin who can start the United Kingdom and
Ireland down another bloody path of un-neighborly relations has me picking up
my pace. Unlike the Leprechaun, I’m smart enough to ditch my high heels—

But I’m still not fast
enough to reach them before the Leprechaun rolls him into the backseat of a
dark BMW and screeches off.

I can hear Jack slapping
the wall with his fist. “Aw, damn! We lost them!”

“Nope, I slipped a GPS
tracker in the prince’s trollies.”

“You did what?…In his—what?”

“Oh, don’t worry, I
didn’t peek. I’ll meet you around the corner.”

What’s a little white
lie between fake husband and wife?

Before he can say
another word, I snap off my earpiece and run down the block.

(c) 2012 Josie Brown. All rights reserved. This excerpt may not be resold or
redistributed without prior written permission from Josie Brown or
Signal Press Books (info@signaleditorial.com).


Guide-to-Gracious-Killing-v6

The Housewife Assassin's
Guide to Gracious Kil
ling

  In bookstores on September 30, 2012.


In the meantime, order Book 1,
The Housewife Assassin's Handbook
Murder. Suspense. Sex. And some handy household tips.

In the US, just $2.99:

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In the UK, just £1.96 (Kindle UK) and £1.99 (iTunes UK) :

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 Read an excerpt here…

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Details to follow, by September 30, 2012,
with the launch of my new book!

Today, would Bridget Jones be fat? I’ll take Renee Zellweger’s side: NO.

Bridget PlumpNovelist Helen Fielding is hard at work on the third installment of Bridget Jones's Diary. That's fine with me. I loved the first book, and its movie version. 

Not to mention that enough time has passed to make the sequel's rushed-to-cinema-in-a-mere-three-years-I'm-joking-folks mistakes a passing memory. I have no problem revisiting enjoyable characters. Just be sure to give them a dash of realistic conflict, and sprinkle scintilating dialogue liberally throughout. Helen and her gang (director and gal pal Sharon Malone, screenwriters Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis) are great at that.

This time around, however, Renee Zellweger, the actress who's name is synonymous with the lead role, has begged off packing on the pounds to play up Bridget's renowned weight issue. "I had a panic attack with all the specialists talking about how bad this is for you long term, putting on that much weight in short periods of time," the London Daily Mail quotes her as saying.

She's absolutely right. 

But does that make for good cinema?

Granted, we love Bridget because she is us: lovable, albeit flawed. But let's look at it another way: it's been fifteen years since the book hit the shelves, and ten years since the first movie was released. I'd like to think that a smart gal like Bridget would have grown in so many ways–

Not necessarily around her waistline. 

Perhaps she'd have finally conquered that issue. Or maybe she's traded it in for the stress that comes with balancing a relationship with a career, not to mention aging parents and the desire to have children.

As it turns out, that just so happens to be the hook for the new movie's plot: that Bridget can't have children with Mark…and turns to Daniel.

Sometimes a too-thin physique can weaken a woman's ability to make the necessary hormones and/or ovulate, hindering her from having children. Perhaps that could be written into the plot?

Renee-zellweger-met-ball-2011 Let's think out of the box, people. Renee deserves to keep her couture-perfect bod.

Unless the Academy wants to give her an Oscar for pulling a Russell Crowe (The Insider) or a Robert De Niro (Raging Bull).

But Renee already has her Academy Award: for her best supporting actress turn in Cold Mountain. That was payback for passing her over as best actress in Rob Marshall's brilliant adaptation of the musical Chicago.

Those roles were golden. Bridget is just (nonfat) icing on a great slice of life. What a wonderful body of work

What a wonderful body, period,

— Josie

HAH Hanging Man V2

THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK

Murder. Suspense. Sex. 
And some handy household tips.

Signal Press – Digital eBook 

ORDER NOW,  from

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Lissa Rankin’s WHAT’S UP DOWN THERE? is better than sex. Seriously.

Doctor_advice Since when is reading better than sex?

When what you're reading is ABOUT sex–and you're learning that all the things you thought you knew about it (and your body) could fill, like maybe just one page of a book?

That book would be Lissa Rankin MD's book, WHAT'S UP DOWN THERE? Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynocologiest If She Was Your Best Friend .

Take my word for it., you won't be able to put down.

This is one of those seminal books that we'll all remember when we talk about living in this era, sort of like Helen Gurley Brown's SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL was for the mid '60s, or EVERTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX, AND WERE AFRAID TO ASK* was for the early '70s.

Knowledge is power. And ladies (and gentlemen), knowledge about the female body is KRYPTONITE.

What Dr. Rankin has done here is give our fear factor about our womanly parts and sexuality a big pink chill pill. Forget your middle school sex ed class. If your teacher was cool, if she read this now she'd be laughing and nodding her head at all the things she knew she couldn't tell you without getting called into the principal's office.

With honesty and unabashed openness (and some great asides, trivia, and first-hand experience, Dr. Rankin answers such questions as "Is it safe to put perfume on your cootchie to make it smell good?" and "Is it important for me to tell my doctor the truth when she asks how many sexual partners I have?" and my husband's personal fave: "I don't even know what turns me on. How do I get in touch with that?"

LOL! Yep, that's right. My husband delved into this book, too. He read to, cover-to-cover. He now considers himself an expert on my "down there."

I'll be testing him later tonight,

–Josie

Josie's Latest Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

In bookstores June 1, 2010. Order it TODAY!

"Hollywood's got nothing on the cast of characters living in the bedroom community of Paradise Heights, who have the secrets, sex, money and scandal of an OK! Magazine cover story. Josie Brown is a skilled observer whose clever dialogue and feisty style make for truly entertaining reading." –Jackie Collins, Hollywood Wives

My R Rated Book Reading: Mature Audiences Only

WomenWhoWrite Women behaving wildly is the theme at Women Who Write, the monthly book salon thrown by memoirist and club promoter Vicki Abelson in Montrose, CA.

In June, I was lucky to be invited as one of the guest readers, along with comedians Marc Maron and Paul Provenza, and musician James Lee Stanley (who entertained us with several of his many hits), and of course Vicki, who reads one more chapter of her work in progress from her fabulous memoir (I got to read a first draft, and I predict best-seller: lots of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll!)

Vicki tapes every reading. My portion of it can be seen here, below. However, be duly warned: realizing that my co-readers are seasoned performers who knew how to keep their audiences rolling in the aisles in laughter, I chose a funny and somewhat naughty read myself: not exactly R-rated, but a bit more than PG-13. 

So yeah, I'm blushing….and wishing my arms were better toned. ( I'm workin' on that!)

Enjoy!

That's showbiz,

—Josie
http://twitter.com/JosieBrownCA

http://www.facebook.com/Josie.Brown.Author.Page 



  Josie's Latest Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

In bookstores June 1, 2010. Order it TODAY!

"Hollywood's got nothing on the cast of characters living in the bedroom community of Paradise Heights, who have the secrets, sex, money and scandal of an OK! Magazine cover story. Josie Brown is a skilled observer whose clever dialogue and feisty style make for truly entertaining reading." –Jackie Collins, Hollywood Wives


Tome of the Mommy: The Runaway Mom

MotherandChild2 Not everyone is cut out to have children.

Is that a blasphemy to say?

No. Because we all know it's true.

Admit it: Doesn't your belly tighten with dread when you're in the presence of some woman who is visibly annoyed with, or publicly derisive to, her kid, embarrassing the poor thing in front of you or others?

You wonder: "If you can't find a way to say it to your child with respect, you don't deserve him. And he certainly doesn't deserve you."

You're right.

Children deserve parents who are ready to take on the 24/7/lifetime responsibility to feed and nurture, to love and honor, to challenge and inspire them.

Most parents strive to honor this commitment.

But some don't.

And not all of these are deadbeat dads.

Some are runaway moms.

Whereas many of us women act on the yearning to have children, and hold them dear until our dying day, for whatever reason their are others who have made the decision to leave their children, to move on in their lives without them.

One young sister and brother, based in India, is currently suing their mother to come home to them. She moved to Canada. They are being raised by their father, a professional music teacher, who "says the love and affection of a mother are important in the upbringing
of a child and hence the petition aimed to bring his children's mother
back into their lives…"

True, that.

And yet, there are two sides to every story.

Not every woman is ready to become a mother. Not every woman wants to be a mother, even if she finds herself pregnant. 

And not every woman who leaves her children — for a day, a week or two, or even a month or longer — regrets doing so.

But yes, there are some who are. Even if they can't admit it to themselves.

Even if they can't admit it to their children.

The consequences of the runaway mom's decision is felt throughout the lifetime of the children left behind. Life-long resentment is to be expected. Wariness to get into adult relationships because of fears of abandonment is not uncommon. The decision to forgo have children themselves is, sadly, another outcome. Their own role models were awful. They, too, are afraid at failing at this momentous challenge.

Then their are those children, now grown, who use this life experience to better themselves. They become the kind of mother and fathers their own runaway parents never were to them.

They want to prove to themselves that they are not anything like their parents.

The proof comes in the the love and nurturing they provide their own children, and the joy they take in the process of parenting.

Having lived it the hard way, they know best that parenthood isn't a right. It's a privilege.

In this excerpt of my soon-to-be-released novel, SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES, my heroine, Lyssa Harper, happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Because she's carpooling with her new friend, stay-at-home dad Harry Wilder, she witnesses the reaction of Harry's soon-to-be ex, DeeDee, when her thirteen-year-old son Jake, erupts in anger at what he feels is her recent abandonment of him and his five-year-old sister, Temple.

Can there ever be redemption for the runaway mom?

I welcome your comments,

—Josie


Game face.

 We all have one. It takes your
smile and sharpens it into a grimace. Rocked by an emotional earthquake, the
gentle planes of your face shift into stone. The happiness once beaming from
your eyes is now refracted inward: focused, with laser-sharp concentration, on
the dark matter at hand.

 Harry’s is one I don’t recognize.
I’ll admit it: for the past few weeks his dimpled smile and courtly manners
have been the icing on the cake of my day. And while courting the league board,
he was sweetness and light. Now, though, devoid of any joy, it has curdled into
a snarl.

 What I’m seeing now sends icicles
through my veins.

 He is ready to do battle with
DeeDee the Ice Queen.

 Temple won’t be the only
collateral damage. In the side view mirror I see Jake. He sits silently in the
back, just staring out the window, his damp red-rimmed eyes as wide as those of
the ghoul in The Scream. I can only imagine what he’s thinking: that all of
this—not just the lost game, but his father’s fall from grace, even his parents’
breakup—is his fault.

 If I could, I’d reach back there
and hold his hand. And yet, as the mother of one of his friends, the only place
I hold in his life is that of an abstract acquaintance.

 What am I doing here, anyway?

 Almost as if reading my mind,
Harry places his fingers on my arm and pats it absentmindedly.

 That tells me what I need to
know: I’m here because I’m the only friend Harry has in this gated,
well-landscaped corner the world.

 We pull up to the front of
Paradise Waldosorri Pre-School & Kindergarten just in time to see DeeDee
walking out with Temple and Miss Judith, the head of school. DeeDee’s silk
blouse and cashmere slacks look almost militaristic next to Miss Judith’s gauzy
flowing skirt and Birkenstocks. If Miss Judith’s attire isn’t the broadest hint
that she is the community’s one and only hold back from the days in which
Paradise Heights was a hippy commune (hence the first portion of its name,
before being elevated into the economic stratosphere), her head scarf, tied over flowing gray curls, in a dead giveaway.
Whatever DeeDee is saying has Miss Judith shaking her head in dismay. This
causes the beaded fringe on her scarf to jiggle. She glances sympathetically at
Temple, whose eyes are starred with tears, her pillowed lips bitten into a
pout.

The way the car screeches as it
comes to a halt undermines Harry’s attempt at indifference. Jake slumps down
when he his mother comes into view. Either he’s hoping she doesn’t see him and
ask him to recap his inglorious day, or he has his own bone to pick with her.

 “Stay here,” growls Harry. I don’t
know if he’s talking to me or to Jake. But in the mood he’s in, neither of us
plans on disobeying him.

 He’s out of the car in a flash.
Because he’s keeping his voice low and level, I can’t hear every word, but I do
catch the phrases “very sorry” and “won’t happen again.” Miss Judith nods
sympathetically, but tired uncertainty shades her pale gray eyes: it is obvious
that whatever DeeDee has been telling her has colored her view of Harry.

 Temple slips her hand into her
father’s, but does not let go of DeeDee’s either. In fact, she squeezes it even
tighter, as if to prove, if only to herself, that they are still joined in
someway.

 Doing so seems to only amp up
their feelings toward each other—and their voices. “I’ve told you, I’ve got it
under control,” Harry insists.

  “My god, Harry! I
wouldn’t be here now, if that were the case. And if Temple feels more
comfortable going home with me . . .” The way DeeDee’s voice trails makes the
offer seem so inviting. I’m surprised her daughter doesn’t leap at it. When it
comes to their parents, all children possess innate neediness.

 Not Temple. She knows a game is
afoot. Her way to change the rules to suit her needs is brilliant. “
No, Mommy, no! You can just come home
with us,” she states matter-of-factly.

 All three adults stare at her, as
if she’s just landed from another planet.

 Harry’s game face, dampened by
tears he can’t wipe away quickly enough, softens into doubtful hope.

 DeeDee’s on the other hand,
frosts solid with determination. Her teeth are tiny daggers, more a snarl than
a smile.

 “Damn it, Temple!
Jake’s eruption echoes with pain. Opening his car door, his yells, “Don’t you
get it? She doesn’t want to come home. NOT EVER. Aw, just get in the car! NOW!”

All eyes now turn toward us.
Temple’s emotional Geiger counter has picked up on her brother’s anguish as
only a sibling’s can. Unlike the adults, who patronize her with cheery
half-lies that never pay off with the only golden ticket that counts—her mom
and dad together again—Jake’s bellow tells her what she needs to know, even if
it isn’t what she wants to hear:

 Her parents will never love each
other again, ever.

 In Jake’s opinion, it’s all
DeeDee’s fault. Can’t his sister see this too?

 This sudden realization is too
much for the little girl. As if letting go of all hope, a rivulet of urine runs
down Temple’s leg, seemingly at the same pace as the tears streaming down her
face. Despite this, Harry scoops her up into his arms and heads for the car,
Miss Judith clucking soothingly beside him, hoping to hush her student’s heart
wrenching howls.

 All mothers break apart when
confronted with their children’s grief, and DeeDee is no exception.

 Fault lines of anguish transform
her flawless veneer of a face from haughty to sorrowful. She runs after her
child—

 But stops cold when she notices
me in the car.

 DeeDee realizes this battle is
lost. But the war is still to be won. Her eyes narrow and her frown inverts
into a smirk. “You’ve hired some shopgirl from Nordy’s? Oh, now that’s rich!
Why couldn’t she have picked up Temple? Doesn’t she drive?"

 At first Harry doesn’t catch on
that she’s talking about me, but Miss Judith does. Relieved at the chance to
set something straight, she trills nervously, “DeeDee, that’s Lyssa Harper,
Olivia’s mommy—”

 After what I’ve just seen, I don’t
expect a cheery hello. Still, even a stiff nod of recognition would certainly
go a long way to clearing the air.

 But no. DeeDee isn’t apologetic.
She’s shocked.

 Suddenly it dawns on me that
hitching a ride with the soon-to-be ex is not the best way to reintroduce
yourself to a woman who never remembers who you are, no matter how many times
she runs into you.

 From DeeDee’s granite stare, I am
assured she won’t forget me, ever again.

 I can’t help but watch her in the
rear view mirror. She, too, keeps me in her sites.

 DeeDee has a new target.

(c) 2010 Josie Brown, all rights reserved.

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BestSLHW Josie' s Most Recent Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores today!

From Target

From Amazon

From Barnes & Noble

From Bigger Books

From Books a Million

From Borders

From Copperfield's

From Your Local Independent Bookstore

From Powell's

Tome of the Mommy: When to Make a Grown Man Cry

Cryingman I'll admit it, I love to make grown men cry.

On the page, that is.

Does this make me a passive-aggressive bitch? Heck, no!

Say all you want about “alpha” and “beta” males, but bottom line: if you want to make your heroes come to life, you have to do more than just scratch the surface of their characters with a frown, or a grimace, or a curl of the lip. 

At the right time, for the right reason, maybe they need to shed a tear or two.

They're only human, right? Particularly when their marriages are breaking up, and they suddenly realize they can lose all they've taken what they hold most dearly for granted: their wives, their children, their homes.

Their real lives.

In my upcoming book, Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, my heroine, stay-at-home-mom Lyssa Harper, hears a rumor that the neighborhood's “perfect couple” have split up. This is confirmed by the husband in question, a workaholic lawyer named Harry Wilder, whom Lyssa runs into, on the playground. I've got an excerpt for you, below.

Just call me a tearjerker,

—Josie


Harry pulls off his Bluetooth headset for
good to find Temple and my son playing nicely together on the climbing gym.
Mickey has gotten over his wariness of girl cooties (imaginary), and Temple is
reassured that Mickey’s cooties (real, but gone) won’t be invading her full
head of sun-kissed sateen curls. All is right in the world.

Harry smiles his unabashed
gratitude. “Sorry. East Coast,” he says, by way of explanation. “Had to catch
those guys before they go home for the day.”

I nod understandingly, and then
stick out my hand. “Lyssa Harper. We’ve met before.”

Vagueness clouds his eyes. “Sure,
I remember. You’re the Stuckeys’ au pair, right?”

I don’t know whether to be
flattered or miffed. True, both the au pair and I have long dark hair, although
mine is somewhat curlier. Okay, make that frizzy. And yes, it strokes my ego to
be compared to a mere woman-child some ten years younger (not to mention ten
pounds lighter). It’s more likely that he’s suggesting that I don’t seem worthy
enough to live in Paradise Heights—unless I’m in someone’s domestic employ.

Only in my wildest fantasies
would I assume that this is his way of hitting on me. Still, the thought of
being picked up on the playground by the neighborhood DILF (the “dad I'd
like to—.” well, you get the picture) does give me a cheap thrill.

Then it hits me: What if he’s
asking because he thinks he can buy my services, which would leave the Stuckeys
high and dry? Ouch! And those twins of theirs are a handful . . .

Gee, I wonder how much he’s
offering, anyway

Turns out he’s not offering at
all. He just doesn’t remember meeting Ted and me at the Crawleys’ Christmas
party last year. Or sharing a picnic table with us this past summer at the
Paradise Heights Annual July Fourth picnic. Or that we were the ones who found
Lucky after he escaped under their fence in order to chase after the Corrigan’s
tabby.

My God, as oblivious as this guy
is, I’m surprised he remembers his way home.

Then again, maybe he doesn’t.
That might be why DeeDee had an affair in the first place.

“Um . . .no. I'm just a mom
here in the Heights.”

As my black-and-white image of
the Wilders gradates to chiaroscuro in the harsh light of reality, Harry tries
to make amends for forgetting how many times our paths have crossed by
complimenting me on how well my son plays with Temple.

Now it’s my turn to blush. I’m
not used to hearing compliments about Mickey from other parents, only pointed
remarks about how much more “rambunctious” he is than their own perfect
progeny. “Thanks,” I stammer, then add, “I think his patience comes from having
a younger sister.”

“Oh yeah? My son isn’t half that
great with Temple. Of course he’s somewhat older, a teenager.” He gives a
conciliatory laugh. “You know how they are.”

“I know your son.”

Surprised, he
blinks, then leans away slightly. He seems wary of what I might say next, so I
continue gently, “Jake, right? He’s a sweet boy, too. He and my son, Tanner,
play together on the basketball team. Very few of Tanner’s friends let Mickey
join in when they come over to shoot hoops. You know how they can be: snubbing
kids who are younger, or not as well coordinated. But Jake doesn’t seen to
mind.”

Harry nods uncertainly. “Well,
I’m glad to hear he’s not so—so judgmental all the time.”

“I never thought of it that way.
I just think some kids instinctively know what to do with younger children.”
Upon hearing this, Harry frowns. Quickly I add, “I’m not saying that that’s a
good thing or a bad thing. In fact, I think it shows that, some day, they’ll
make pretty good parents.”

Harry stares off in stony
silence. As we sit quietly, I wonder what I’ve said wrong.

On the other hand, what does it
matter? It’s my guess that he will forget our conversation the minute we gather
up the kids and say our awkward good-byes. And the next time we meet, be it in
the carpool line, or at a school function, or a neighbor’s party, he’ll vaguely
wonder what the Stuckeys’ au pair has done with the usually caterwauling twins.

Right then and there I make up my
mind that that is not going to happen, that I’m going to make a big enough
impression on him that my name will finally be emblazoned on his brain, or at
the very least that I crack his typically icy demeanor just this once.

Suddenly I remember another thing
we have in common: our daughters.

“So, you’ve decided to give
Temple a day off from school? In fact, my daughter, Olivia, is in preschool
with Temple. Every now and then I let her do that, too. Kindergarten can be so
overwhelming for little kids, even with a year or two of preschool under their
belts. It’s not like they’re missing calculus, or anything really important,
right? And the trade-offs are some wonderful memories. To be honest, though, I
hate when it’s called ‘quality time,’ don’t you? I mean, every second with your
child is memorable. Even watching them while they sleep is precious–”

I’ve been blathering so much I
hadn’t noticed that Harry is crying.

The tears roll down his face in
two steady lines. He turns his head toward me so that the children don’t see
this, but my look of shock must be just as dismaying to him because he ends up
burying his face in his hands.

And sobs even harder.

Harry Wilder, captain of
industry, neighborhood enigma, one half of Paradise Heights’ Perfect Couple, is
now a puddle of mush.

And it's all my doing.

Out of habit I still carry Handi
Wipes. Although they aren’t ideal in situations like this, I can tell that
Harry is appreciative for anything that will sop up this mess that is now his
life.

When he's able to face me again,
he looks me in the eye. “My wife left me. She’s left
us.”

At this point I could feign
ignorance, but since we’re both striving for honesty here, I have no desire to
muck things up with a polite albeit face-saving (for him) lie, a “Gee! Look how
late it’s getting” exit line, and another year or two of polite neighborly
oblivion. Instead, I nod and say, “Yeah, I heard. On Halloween.
I’m—I’m so sorry about it.”

“You know about it? But I—I
haven’t said anything to anyone, yet! And she’s—she’s long gone, so I know it
didn’t come from her.” He shakes his head at the thought that his personal soap
opera is being bandied about the local Starbucks. “Jesus! And I thought news
moved fast on Wall Street.”

“Yeah, well, you’ll find out
about the Height’s mommy grapevine soon enough. I mean, if you plan on sticking
around—

“I am, for sure. I’m not going
anywhere.” The lines on Harry’s face once again realign into a steely
implacability. “This is our home. My kids love it here. We’ll…we’ll work
through it somehow.”

“Sure you will,” I murmur
reassuringly. “There’s no place like the Heights for raising kids. That’s why
we’re all here. Hey listen, really, I didn’t mean to scare you off. You know,
about the way we mommies talk and all. It was just such a shock to everyone.
The two of you always seemed so—so happy.”

“Yeah. Happy. I thought we were,
too.” With this, his eyes get moist again. This time, though, he shrugs, then
passes a broad palm over them. I assume that he’s decided that the Handi Wipes
give off the wrong impression. “You were right when you said that every minute
you spend with your kids is important. And I haven’t been around for most of
it.”

Well, of course you weren’t, I
want to say. You were out making a living! Bringing home the bacon, playing
this millennium’s version of caveman . . .

And boy oh boy, your stucco
palace has all the bells and whistles to prove it.

Too bad you found another
Neanderthal in there, with your wife.

But I keep my mouth shut. Because
you don’t hit a man when he’s down.

 (c) 2010 Josie Brown


The online magazine, Jezebel feels like I do about men: it's good to seem them being human beings. This article profiles 67 Hollywood movies in which men actually cry on camera (and on cue…)

Here's the video that goes with it. Enjoy!



SecretLives400  Josie' s Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010

From Amazon

From Barnes & Noble

From Bigger Books

From Books a Million

From Borders

From Copperfield's

From Your Local Independent Bookstore

From Powell's


Trailer Smash: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY – Hope the Book Lives up to the Trailer

P2 Girls I'll admit it: I hate bastardizing classics. Especially those of dead authors who can't defend themselves and their labors of love and hard work.

Lately Jane Austen has gotten the brunt of these types of sequels, mashups, whatever. Some of the authors take wonderful care to get it right: the voice, the cadence, the mannerisms the stories. Yes, alright, the sense and the sensibility of Miss Austen's books. Sharon Lathan is a perfect example of this.

Not to mention that composer Rita Abrams has put Pride and Prejudice to song, in our musical version of it.


But
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Get outta here.

Having sold enough units of that weak-kneed high concept, now the same pub hosue is mashing up Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters .

Yowch. 

Sigh.

Okay, I gotta admit: the book trailer (see below) is well done. And yeah, I'd see the movie if it came out.

But buy the book? Not on your life.

Although, I'm sure, enough people will.

Poor Jane.

Poor us.

—Josie



SLHW fauxsmall Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Pocket

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010

As Strange as FIction: Hollywood Actress Fights Porn Star for Stepchild

Sandra-Bullock Every now and then real life is stranger than fiction. Ironically this is one of those situations.

Hollywood star, Sandra Bullock, and her husband, the renowned motorcycle mechanic/detailer and reality show celeb, are in a custody battle for for James' seven-year-old daughter with his ex-wife, former porn star, Janine Lindemulder.

Seriously, this scenario could have been taken from my 2006 novel, Impossibly Tongue-Tied, in which a phone sex operator — in this case, a struggling actress — gets kicked to the curb by her hubby, whose own acting career gets kicked into high gear when he stars — and beds — a high-profile Hollywood actress. The actress in my book decides that making the mother of his child look unfit in the press is one way to get the kid she wants, without the stretch marks. In truth, the heroine — the sex phone operator — only took on the job at the behest of her hubby, so that they could make ends meet.

Wanna read an excerpt? Here you go… And btw, you can still order it online at your favorite bookstore, too.

As for this real life case, I can't imagine that Bullock is as mean or as nasty as the actress/celeb in my book. Those that work with her say she's sweet, genuine, and a real pro on the set.

As for the Lindemulder, considering she's done over 100 porn flicks (including Mrs Behavin’,
Sleeping Booty
and Dyke Diner) and has just been released from jail for tax fraud, I'm guessing she's going to have an uphill battle with requesting full custody, more because of her current situation (she makes about $15 an hour, and yet pay back several hundred thousand in back taxes. It's going to be hard to raise a kid that way . . .

Unless she has help with child support from her ex.

In fact, I look at the issue of moms who leave their children in my new novel, Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives. It's due out in August 2010. 

Just do what's best for the child, always,

—Josie


SecretLivesfaux

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives
Simon & Schuster/Pocket
(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores

August  2010

Swine Flu: Here’s the Straight Scoop

Piggy Moms, concerned about the Swine Flu for you and your family? Lissa Rankin, MD (author of the forthcoming What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend (St. Martin’s Press, 2010) spent much of this week digging through the gossip and paranoia to unearth the real data about the Swine Flu (H1N1) Vaccine, She shares it with you on her website, OwningPink.com

As a rigorously academically-trained OB/GYN now practicing in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Rankin explains that she feels a bit as if she's caught between the worlds.

 "On one side, many docs are blindly following CDC guidelines. On the other, many integrative medicine docs are rabidly and globally anti-vaccine. I don't fit in either category, so I've tried to bridge the worlds with an objective review of the evidence."

Here are her thoughts…

Please, if you read this and are aware of good data she didn't include, Dr. Rankin invites you to share what you know in the comments. The term "swine flu" is getting thousands of hits on Google, so she feels it's important to combine to stop the spread of misinformation and help others who are confused.

And if you have questions, this is your chance. Dr. Rankin willl do her best to answer them.

If this post helps you decide how to approach the vaccine for your family, please pass it on to your friends.

To your health and happiness,

—Josie

SecretLivesfaux

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives
Simon & Schuster/Pocket

Look for it in bookstores
September 2010

MJ: A Rose by Any Other Name Couldn’t Be Sweeter

Mjrose
My pal MJ Rose's new book, THE REINCARNATIONIST, is out. It's a must-read on several lists. Hopefully yours, too.

MJ is all great karma, a consumate schmoozer and one helluva networking diva. But more than that: an author who helps other writers, with an open heart.  I was so glad to stumble across this wonderful piece about that wonderful  MJ magic, written by Publishers Weekly‘s Bethanne Patrick.

Read it and weep,

Josie

Post-BEA-O-Rama: My Friend M.J.
June 7, 2007

It's a week after the BEA festivities began, and I've still got so
many names, ideas, books, authors, parties, and meals floating through
my mind… tell me, please, which galley you nabbed that you're most
excited about.

One that I got is The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose, which was one of the Buzz Panel choices this year:

"Mira Books executive editor Margaret Marbury's primary message to booksellers about M.J. Rose's forthcoming thriller, The Reincarnationist
(September), is that it will appeal to a broad audience, including
historical fiction fans, suspense readers and those with an interest in
Eastern and Western religions. Rose's ninth novel has received a slew
of advance praise, including a nod from Shelf Awareness‘s Marilyn Dahl, who deemed it ‘exhilarating.'"

I've known M.J. Rose for several years, and let me tell you
— if, as I said in an earlier post, Brad Meltzer is the nicest guy in
publishing, Rose is the nicest doll (sorry, I just can't bring myself
to use the world "gal"). She is supportive of other novelists, agents,
working writers, and media. I know I'm not the only friend whom she
supports both personally and professionally, because every time I'm
with her (as I was last Thursday night at the Galley Cat party), she
introduces me to other people with M.J. stories. Congratulations, M.J. You, of all authors, deserve this buzz. I'm having a great time reading The Reincarnationist and would love to hear from anyone else who has read/been reading it, too.

Posted by Bethanne Patrick on June 7, 2007 | Comments (1)


June 8, 2007
In response to:
(Post-)BEA-O-Rama: My Friend M.J.
Miss Snark commented: Read it, loved it

The Virtual Book Tour: Can I have a window seat?

Womanbook
Our publishers and agents have long poo-pooed the effectiveness of the book tour. What I loved about my 17-city tour for TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES was that it allowed me, a debut novelist, to win new friends among both readers and booksellers; and to do some important marketing reconnaissance: what type of readers did the bookstore attract? Where was my book located, on the shelf, or better yet, on a front table? How knowledgeable was the staff? How well did the store promote the event?

The book tour du jour is now virtual, via the blogs of others. No travel hassles or expenses is certainly a plus.  But I still feel that there is nothing like pressing the flesh. Bottom line: add it to your list of things to do to promote your upcoming book.

The New York Times has a wonderful article on how it works, and why. I've posted it below.

Enjoy,

Josie

The Author Will Take Q.’s Now

 

 
 

FOR the publication in July of
her first book, “The Late Bloomer’s Revolution,” Amy Cohen imagined a
promotional tour of bookstores in Sydney, Australia. And Paris. And a
few places closer to home, New York City, would work, too.

Then her publicist at Hyperion told her, as Ms. Cohen recalled
somewhat tongue in cheek, “You aren’t going to Scarsdale.” Instead of
some far-flung Barnes & Noble, there was Prillboyle. Rather than
Borders, there was Bluestalking Reader. Ms. Cohen, a former television
writer for “Spin City” and “Caroline in the City,” was surprised to
learn that most of her “appearances” would be on blogs.

“When you’re not in the book business you think, of course they’re going to send you around,” she said.

Chances are, unless an author is especially high-profile or promising or willing to pony up for expenses, they’re not.

Fortunately for Ms. Cohen, her memoir has made it onto at least one
best-seller list even without a traditional reading and signing tour.
She credits a write-up in People magazine, along with a newer
publishing tool: the blog book tour, in which an author pops up on a
series of blogs, usually over days or weeks, variously writing guest
posts, answering questions from the host or sitting for a podcast, a
video interview or a live chat. The blogs’ readers may comment and
leave more questions. Ideally, they follow links to the author’s Web
site and to an online retailer like Amazon.

Ms. Cohen made virtual stops at blogs related to the experiences she
chronicles in her book — looking for love, learning to cook. At Books
and Beliefs, she answered questions about how Jewish groups can create
more opportunities for Jewish singles (throw parties); on Baking and
Books, she was asked about her favorite comfort food (fried chicken).

Bloggers have written about books since, well, the beginning of
blogging. But a blog book tour usually requires an author or publicist
to take the initiative, reaching out to bloggers as if they were
booksellers and asking them to be the host for a writer’s online visit.
Sometimes bloggers invite authors on their own. In an age of
budget-conscious publishers and readers who are as likely to discover
books from a Google
search as from browsing at a bookstore, the blog book tour makes sense.
Although a few high-profile authors have had their books sent to
bloggers — James Patterson recently promoted a young-adult book this
way — most of the authors are lesser-known and less likely to be
reviewed in the mainstream press.

But the results can be impressive. When Frank Portman, the frontman
for the band the Mr. T Experience, published “King Dork” in 2006, he
teamed up with Andrew Krucoff, a popular blogger, who created a video
“trailer” about the book’s main character, an alienated boy who dreams
up imaginary bands, and asked Mr. Portman questions for a Q. and A.
These files were posted on Web sites like Gawker, Largehearted Boy and
BrooklynVegan, along with a recording of Mr. Portman reading from the
book and performing songs he had written for it. The goal, Mr. Portman
said, was to generate “links and Google-ability.”

He achieved that and more. Tantalized by the Internet attention, USA Today wrote about Mr. Portman and “Late Show With David Letterman” auditioned him as a guest (he wasn’t picked).

“If I had to choose, I’d rather have an author promote themselves
online,” said Felicia Sullivan, the senior online marketing manager of
Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins, who maintains that the Internet
exposes authors to a broader audience than most bookstore readings.

“You can reach at least a few hundred people on a blog, and save
time, money and the fear of being a loser when no one shows up to your
reading.”

Initially slow to embrace the Internet, the publishing industry has
made up for lost time. It is the rare author who doesn’t have a Web
site or MySpace
presence. In June Simon & Schuster introduced BookVideoTV, which
broadcasts short videos of authors. Another venture introduced in July,
Booktour.com, lets authors post
information about their books and tour dates (real and virtual). The
site was founded by Chris Anderson, the editor in chief of Wired and
the author of “The Long Tail”; Adam Goldstein, a 19-year-old sophomore
at M.I.T.; and Kevin Smokler, a publishing expert credited with creating the first blog book tour.

That was for “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” by the
science writer Mary Roach, in 2003. Since then, Mr. Smokler said, “It’s
become de rigueur for public relations to include blogs and online
media as part of regular touring.”

Many publishing houses have now hired Web-savvy publicists or
outside blog tour “producers.” Some blog tour producers say they have,
from time to time, paid bloggers to review an author’s book as part of
a tour. Bloggers may or may not reveal this detail. Producers also say
they may try to dissuade bloggers who want to post a negative review.
But in general, negativity is hard to find on a blog book tour.
Gushiness — on the part of authors, bloggers and readers — is not.

“Wow — I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when Michelle
Rowen invited me along to do a guest spot on the Midnight Hour,” wrote
Amanda Ashby, a romance author, who, like Ms. Rowen, is a member of the
Girlfriends’ Cyber Circuit, a group of about 40 authors who have blogs
and regularly promote one another’s books. In this post on Ms. Rowen’s
blog, Ms. Ashby was chronicling her attempt to land a publishing deal
for her novel “You Had Me at Halo.”

“The book sounds fantastic and is one I’ll definitely have to pick
up soon,” said a poster named Cory in the blog’s comments section.

“Thanks so much, Cory!!” Ms. Ashby responded.

Although blogging is another form of writing, not all authors seem
equally suited. Joshua Ferris, author of the critically acclaimed novel
“Then We Came to the End,” guest-blogged for a week at the Elegant
Variation, a literary blog, where he declared his fondness for the band
the Hold Steady, rounded up literary news and promoted graduate writing
programs. Still, at the end of the week, he apologized to readers: “I
only posted late at night, and only once a day, whereas other bloggers
keep you returning throughout the day. I didn’t respond to many of your
comments, which seems an important part of the blogger-commenter
contract.”

Although authors say that the virtual tours generate traffic for
their Web sites and that they have seen their online sales increase, it
is difficult to tell how much blog book tours increase sales.

“I haven’t been following that or charting it in a quantitative
way,” said Dave Weich, director of marketing and development at
Powell’s Books, a bookseller in Portland, Ore., with a strong Internet
presence, adding that he would notice only if a single blog sent a
significant amount of traffic to Powell’s Web site over a defined
period of time. But then, the dirty little secret of real-life author
tours, he said, is that “most of the people who go to events don’t buy
books.

Copyright 2007
The New York Times Company

Jane Austen: It is No Longer a Truth Universally Acknowledged by Publishers…

Firth_pride_and_prejudice

Rita Abrams, who collaborated with me on a Pride and Prejudice musical (click the link to hear excerpts from her wonderful songs) passed me this article, which appeared in The Guardian (UK). It just goes to show that even a classic by Jane Austen (or several) would have a hard time getting published these days.

Even sadder, though, is the fact that only one of the British editors and agents who received David Lassman's knock-off manuscripts recognized the original source.

Does that indicate an industry-wide ignorance of the classics? 

More than likely it is an indication of how easy it is for a publishing or agency assistant to pull up the boilerplate rejection letter on the computer and hit the "print" button, as opposed to slogging through the slush pile in search of a gem.

The Guardian's article is below…


Steven Morris / Thursday  July      19, 2007 / (courtesy The Guardian )

The author and the Austen plot that exposed publishers' pride and prejudice

Her work has endured for two centuries, sold in its millions and inspired countless film and television adaptations. But would Jane Austen be able to find a publisher and an agent today? A cheeky experiment by an Austen enthusiast suggests not.

David Lassman, the director of the Jane Austen Festival in Bath decided to find out what sort of reception the writer might get if she approached publishers and agents in the age of Harry Potter and the airport blockbuster.

After making only minor changes, he sent off opening chapters and plot synopses to 18 of the UK's biggest publishers and agents. He was amazed when they all sent the manuscripts back with polite but firm "no-thank-you's" and almost all failed to spot that he was ripping off one of the world's most famous literary figures.

Mr Lassman said: "I was staggered. Here is one of the greatest writers that has lived, with her oeuvre securely fixed in the English canon and yet only one recipient recognised them as Austen's work."

Mr Lassman admits that personal disappointment as well as academic interest prompted his experiment. A little like Austen, who initially struggled to find a publisher, he has been unable to find someone to champion his book, a thriller called Freedom's Temple, a modern take on the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. "I know it isn't a masterpiece but I think it is publishable. Yet nobody wanted it. I was talking with some friends and we wondered if Jane would find a publisher or agent if she were around today."

So, styling himself Alison Laydee – a play on Austen's nom de plume A Lady – he typed up chapters from three of her most famous books. First he sent off Northanger Abbey, calling it "Susan" – a title Austen had used for an early draft – and changing the name of the heroine from Catherine Morland to Susan Maldorn.

Mr Lassman expected to be branded a fraud. But he was surprised when publishers and agents failed to spot they had been sent the work of Austen. Bloomsbury, publisher of the Harry Potter books, for instance, suggested the chapters had been read "with interest" but were not "suited to our list".

Still, Northanger Abbey is not seen as one of Austen's great books, so next he sent off Persuasion, under the title The Watsons. Again the letters of rejection flooded in. JK Rowling's agents, Christopher Little, were among those who turned it down, saying they were "not confident" of being able to place it.

Then he played his trump card, sending off Pride and Prejudice, calling it First Impressions, again an early title Austen had used for it. The names of the main characters and places were changed, but with no great guile.

Mr Bennet became Mr Barnett while the estate Netherfield becomes Weatherfield, the fictional setting for the TV soap Coronation Street.

And he did not change the opening line, one of the most famous in world literature: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

Still the deception was not spotted and the rejection letters thudded on to Mr Lassman's doormat, most notably one from Penguin. Its letter read: "Thank you for your recent letter and chapters from your book First Impressions. It seems like a really original and interesting read."

Only one person appeared to have spotted the deception, Alex Bowler, of Jonathan Cape. His reply read: "Thank-you for sending us the first two chapters of First Impressions; my first impression on reading these were ones of disbelief and mild annoyance, along, of course, with a moment's laughter.

"I suggest you reach for your copy of Pride and Prejudice, which I'd guess lives in close proximity to your typewriter, and make sure that your opening pages don't too closely mimic that book's opening."

David Baldock, director of the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, said he was amused and disheartened by the experiment. He added: "It's interesting that there are these filters that stop work getting through. Clearly clerks and office staff are rejecting these manuscripts offhand."

Publishers and agents yesterday tried to explain what had gone wrong. A spokesman for Christopher Little said: "Our letter was a polite note declining representation and provided a standard response. Our internal notes did recognise similarities with existing published works and indeed there were even discussions about possible plagiarism."

A spokeswoman for Penguin pointed out that its letter had said only that it "seemed" original and interesting. "It would not have been read," she insisted.

Spot the difference . . .

First Impressions Alison Laydee

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

"My dear Mr Barnett," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Weatherfield Manor is let at last?"

Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

"My dear Mr Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"

Joyce Carol Oates on Failure, Persistence, and Finding Your Own Voice

GravediggersThe only incentive I had to get out of my pajamas on Thursday (no, not just lazy, but I write in my pj's as well as sleep in them) was to go see Joyce Carole Oates read her latest novel, The Gravedigger's Daughter, at Book Passage in Corte Madera. Full house, mostly long-time readers. Still, she was awed, gracious, witty, and inspiring.

Her most thoughtful words, in answer to a question from a frustrated new writer, were as follows: "Writers must keep going, they must keep trying. I view it as ‘fishing with a lot of line.' At one point, I had 17 lines out! Maybe one would get a nibble. But you must be upbeat. I would always try my best, and use a rejection to re-read and rewrite….Faulkner tried to write in Aldous Huxley's voice, and failed. But then he found his own voice, and succeeded…All writers and artists have failed at one point. In fact, failure can be instructional. You learn from what you do."

Can't agree more,

Josie

COME JOIN ME AT THESE PUBLIC EVENTS…

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PRE-MOTHER'S DAY
AUTHOR HIGH TEA!

Saturday, May 12, 2007, 2-4pm
Barnes & Noble / Antioch, CA
5709 Lone Tree Way, Antioch,CA 94531. 925-978-1031

One lump, or two? If you're looking for a
real treat to enjoy with your mom, join me and some of my closest
author chums for tea and a tête-à-tête:

IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED by Josie Brown 
SKIN by Karin Tabke 
FEAR NO EVIL by Allison Brennan
DEAD GIVEAWAY by Brenda Novak
DOUBLE DARE by Tawny Weber

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Naughty
cops. Sizzling sex. Celebrity scandal. Scares and dares. These books
make ideal
Mother's Day gifts for any woman who appreciates a hot haute read for
the summer.

Hot Reads for Valentine’s Day!

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I had a fab fab signing at the Barnes & Noble in Dublin, CA
yesterday.  Joining me were eleven other authors who write romance:
everything from contemporary, to romantic suspense, to erotica, to
historic . . . All great reads! 

Two wonderful actors, Melanee E. Nelson and Travis Poelle, read the heroine and hero roles in scenes from our books, which included:

DELICIOUS by Jami Alden
TEMPT ME, TASTE ME, TOUCH ME by Bella Andre
GROUNDS TO BELIEVE by Shelley Bates
SPEAK NO EVIL by Allison Brennan
IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED by Josie Brown
WOLF TALES III by Kate Douglas
JUST ONE OF THOSE FLINGS by Candice Hern
SHARDS OF CRIMSON by Carolyn Jewel
DARK PASSIONS/SECRETS #18 by Rae Monet
DEAD GIVEAWAY by Brenda Novak
SHEER DYNAMITE by Jennifer Skully
GOOD GIRL GONE BAD by Karin Tabke

We left some autographed copies in the store, so stop on by there to
get yourself (or a loved one) the perfect Valentine's gift!

Barnes & Noble, Dublin, CA
Hacienda Crossings
4972 Dublin Boulevard
Dublin, CA 94568
925-560-1495
       

       
        Store Hours: 9-11 Every Day

Vdaycraft002Happy Valentine's Day,

Josie

Catch Me If You Can…

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Just got back from San Diego, where I participated in a FABFAB gal pal shopping event called a CRAVE PARTY.  They happen all over the country. If one is happening near you, do check it out. Great vibe in a posh environ, with lots of wonderful shopping opps and entertainment. And of course, you can pick up an extra copy of IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED for your Secret Santa…

In fact, I'm at another CRAVE PARTY, this time in San Francisco, on Tuesday, December 12, 2006.  It takes place from 5-9pm at the War Memorial Opera House, 401 Van Ness. Stop by and see me, Karin Tabke (GOOD GIRL GONE BAD) and Jasmine Haynes (OPEN INVITATION), as we wine and sign…

Then on Friday, December 15, 2006, you can catch me at the Barnes & Noble in Antioch, CA, where I'll be signing and reading from IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED.

Also, on December 13, 2006, I have another guest blog on AvonFanLit.com‘s Daily Blog. The topic: Believing in Santa. Yes, you SHOULD read what I have to say on the topic…

And of course, this Wednesday all be doing my BRANDED BOOKS column on MJ Rose's Buzz, Balls and Hype blog. I'm cluing you in on the Book Trailer Trash — something you NEVER want to produce, so read between the lines…

I'm also featured on Backstory. It's a tearjerker, so get out your hankies, coz it's gonna be a bumpy night…

And I'm part of the Great American Book GiveawayWanna free book? Check it out…

Must write for mortgage,

Josie

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PS: Check out the excerpt from my new book, IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED

My Lit Launch for IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED…

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To celebrate the launch of my new book, IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED, I was the guest blogger on the Avon FanLit site, as well as on the Black Diamonds RWA chapter's blog.

On Thursday December 7, 2006, I will be the guest blogger on BACKSTORY, thriller writer MJ Rose's wonderful site that gives you the scoop on where and how writers get their inspiration…

And this month, I am a featured author Q&A on Kit Frazier‘s site…

And of course, every Wednesday, I blog on BRANDED BOOKS on MJ's BUZZ BALLS & HYPE site,  so check it out!

Enjoy!  And please comment on what I write!

Hittin' the red carpet,

Josie