My NaNoWriMo Tip #6!

NaNo6

It's NaNoWriMo Month!

(National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated…)

For those of you who have begun writing your first book, every day I'll repost my fave creative writing tips here, just for you. 

Here's Tip #6, for Tuesday, November 6th…

The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too.

Here's to your success as an author,

— Josie Brown

Don’t forget to enter my HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO GRACIOUS KILLING contest, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice!

 

 

HAH Hanging Man V2Buy THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK Today, on

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And then there were five (NaNoWriMo tips)…


NaNo5
It's NaNoWriMo Month
!

(National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated…)

For those of you who have begun writing your first book, every day I'll repost my fave creative writing tips here, just for you. 

Here's Tip #5, for Monday, November 5th…

The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too.

Here's to your success as an author,

— Josie Brown

Don’t forget to enter my HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO GRACIOUS KILLING contest, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice!

 

 


HAH Hanging Man V2Buy THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK Today, on

 

 

http://www.authorprovocateur.com/2011/11/nanowrimo_tip_5.html

Are you ready for my NaNoWriMo Tip #4?

 


NaNo4
It's NaNoWriMo Month
!

(National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated…)

For those of you who have begun writing your first book, every day I'll repost my fave creative writing tips here, just for you. 

Here's Tip #4, for Sunday, November 4th…

The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too.

Here's to your success as an author,

— Josie Brown

Don’t forget to enter my HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO GRACIOUS KILLING contest, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice!

 

 


HAH Hanging Man V2Buy THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK Today, on

Day 3 of NaNoWrMo…

NaNo3
It's NaNoWriMo Month!

(National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated…)

For those of you who have begun writing your first book, every day I'll repost my fave creative writing tips here, just for you. 

In fact, here's Tip #3, for Saturday, November 3rd…

The previous day's post can be accessed on this page, too.

Here's to your success as an author,

— Josie Brown

Don’t forget to enter my HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO GRACIOUS KILLING contest, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice!

 

 


HAH Hanging Man V2Buy THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK Today, on

Enter my contest for The Housewife Assassin’s Guide to Gracious Killing

Guide-to-Gracious-Killing-FinalYippee, skippee, the second book in my Housewife Assassin series has launched: 

The Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Killing

Buy it from 

Amazon

Donna and Jack are in to all kinds of trouble–the kind of hot mess that can cause an  international incident:

A nuclear arms summit, hosted by a politically-connected American billionaire industrialist, provides the perfect opportunity for a rogue operative to assassinate of the newly-elected Russian president on US soil. Acme operative Donna Stone's mission:

Seek and exterminate the shooter, before all hell–and World War III–break loose.

Not to mention what happens when Donna files for divorce.

Throw in a couple of off-the-map school field trips and a few naughty neighbors, you've got a whole lot of fun.

To celebrate, I'm doing two things:

First, I've lowered the price of 
The Housewife Assassin's Handbook to 99 cents! 

Also, right now I've got a brand new contest going. 
On Midnight PT, on Sunday, December 15, 2012, 
I'll be drawing the name of some lucky winner 
for a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice.

To enter, all you have to do is read the excerpt here, then answer this question:

What is the name of the song Prince Harry is dancing to, and who sings it?

All correct answers, must be emailed to be at MailFromJosie@gmail.com to be automatically be entered.

I'll be posting the potential winners here…

And guess what? 

Gift-cardYou can add bonus points! Each point equals an extra entry for you. Here's how:

– Click the "Like" button for The Housewife Assassin's Handbook, on either Amazon (1 point) or BN.com (1 point).

– If you've read it, give a review for The Housewife Assassin's Handbook, on Amazon (1 point), on BN.com (1 point), and iTunes Bookstore (1 point). Also, you can review it on Goodreads.com (1 point). 

(If you haven't read it already, you're in luck! It's only 99 cents, during this contest period!)

– If' you've read it, give a review to The Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Killing on Amazon (1 point). Soon it will be up on BN.com (1 point), and Apple iTunes Bookstore. So you can do it there, too. Also, be sure to put up a review on  Goodreads.com (1 point). 

– If you haven't done so already, sign up for my eLetter (1 point). If your name is already in my eLetter list, you'll automatically get a bonus point, as soon as you correctly answer the question above.

– Friend me on Facebook (1 point) at http://www.Facebook.com/josiebrownauthor

– Friend me on Twitter (1 point) at http://twitter.com/JosieBrownCA

Remember: each bonus action means an additional point! 

Email me with any bonus points, and I'll be sure to include them.

You. Will. Love. It,

— Josie

*Cover design: Andrew Brown, ClickTwiceDesign.com. Thanks, Andy, for another great cover!

Pssst! New cover, and new Housewife Assassin Book: Guide to Gracious Killing!

Guide-to-Gracious-Killing-v6I'm pleased as punch for the cover of the second book in my Housewife Assassin series:

The Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Killing.

Launch date: October, 2012.

Donna and Jack are in to all kinds of trouble–the kind of hot mess that can cause an  international incident:

A nuclear arms summit, hosted by a politically-connected American billionaire industrialist, provides the perfect opportunity for a rogue operative to assassinate of the newly-elected Russian president on US soil. Acme operative Donna Stone's mission:

Seek and exterminate the shooter, before all hell–and World War III–break loose.

Not to mention what happens when Donna files for divorce.

Throw in a couple of off-the-map school field trips and a few naughty neighbors, you've got a whole lot of fun.

And if you haven't done so already, sign up for my eLetter for a heads-up on the pubication…as well as a VERY special contest I'll be running to celebrate the book's launch.

You.

Will.

Love.

It,

— Josie

*Cover design: Andrew Brown, ClickTwiceDesign.com. Thanks, Andy, for another great cover!

 In the meantime, pick up a copy of

 

HAH-Hanging-Man-New-BlueThe Housewife Assassin's Handbook

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

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"This is a super sexy and fun read that you shouldn't miss!"
–Mary Jacobs, Bookhounds

 

Time to play “Revenge”…

 

Revenge
Which character best exemplifies your ability to survive in the Hamptons, and why?

All comments, emailed to me at MailFromJosie@gmail.com prior to midnight PT on Wednesday March  29, 2012, will be entered in my contest for a copy of my book, THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK.

Okay, here are your choices…and good luck!

— Josie

 

HAH Hanging Man V2

Author,
The Housewife Asassin's Handbook

Buy it today on…
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1. Fake Emily (real Amanda)
I never forget a slight. Especially one that put me in detention.

2. Fake Amanda (real Emily)
I'm loyal, no matter how many lies you tell me.

3. Victoria Grayson
I'll save myself, no matter how many lies it takes.

4. Charlotte Grayson
When the shite flies, I look for a crutch: drinks, drugs, what ev….But I'm cute and young, so I'll recover!

5. Nolan Ross
I'm snarky, but I'm also smart and loyal, so everyone cuts me some slack.

6. Daniel Grayson
I'm clueless, but I'm also rich and cute, so everyone cuts me some slack.

7. Conrad Grayson
I'm a douche, but I'm also rich and hold all the purse strings, so everyone cuts me some slack.

8. Jack Porter
I'm in love with some little girl I haven't seen since before puberty, but I'm the only guy in this show with cojones, so everyone cuts me some slack.

9. Satoshi Takeda
I'm the only one in this show with money, brains, and real tae kwon do skills. So I must be on the wrong show…

Murder. Suspense. Sex. Need I say more?

GunsandRoses_800px
COMING NEXT WEEK! 
 
GUNS AND ROSES 
 A Murder She Writes Anthology
 
I'm honored to be part of a group of ten female novelists write about murder and mayhem. If you haven't discovered us already, come on over to MurderSheWrites.com, where we blog about our characters, our crazy lives, and the business of writing.
 
We are pleased to announce the first ever Murder She Writes anthology, Guns and Roses, a collection of ten never-before published short stories and novellas.
 
This book — over 150,000 words — will be available next week, in digital format, for Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iPad, and via Smashwords…
 
For just $4.99!

This was my very first anthology, and I was thrilled to be asked to join in one the fun. I learned that each of my co-bloggers are hard writing, hardworking, solution-solving, cross-the-I's-and-dot-the-T's  businesswomen.
 
Their reputations are proof that they are also among the best writers of our generation.
 
In Guns and Roses,  you'll find romance, suspense, passion, danger–
 
And a whole lot of fun.
 
Ranging in length from 10,000 to 25,000 words, each of these stories and novellas are complete tale of suspense and romance — not samplers or excerpts or reissues. They have been written exclusively for this collection
 
Here's just a taste of what you'll be getting….
 
The Housewife Assassin’s Bloody Valentine
by Josie Brown
What is CIA contract assassin Donna Stone’s idea of a Valentine’s Day getaway? Certainly not orchestrating a jailbreak out of a Mexican prison for a notorious drug lord. But because he has intel as to the whereabouts of an international terrorist organization planning a Valentine’s massacre, there will be no intimate dinner for two or couples massage for Donna and her ops leader, Jack Craig. Just plenty of sun, surf, submarines, sharks… oh yeah, and sex.
 
Dead Flowers
by Lori Armstrong
Cynical, bad girl PI Julie Collins isn’t the hearts and flowers type, especially not after she’s spent the last few weeks spying on cheating spouses. So when Julie suspects her man, Martinez, may be stepping out on her, she sees red and decides to take matters into her own hands. Let’s just hope Cupid’s Bow gets to Martinez  before Julie does.
 
Above Reproach
by Allison Brennan
Sex crimes detective Selena Black knows high-powered government attorney Greg Keller is the River City Rapist; proving it is another matter. Keller enjoys the cat and mouse game with the blonde detective, and makes sure she knows she’s exactly his type. As every possible avenue of investigation is shut down by the courts or her boss, Selena realizes that if someone doesn’t do something to stop Keller, more women will suffer–and she may be next.
 
Bobbie Faye’s Whacked Out, No Good, Really Sucky, Hot Mess of a Wedding
by Toni McGee Causey
Bobbie Faye Sumrall, Cajun Contraband Days Queen, gun expert, and ultimate professional in being in the wrong place at the wrong time, absolutely positively does not want to go through with the ridiculous wedding that Trevor’s forcing her to agree to, but she soon finds out she has more important things to worry about–like surviving the plot to make her disappear when she’s set up as a fall guy for the theft of a priceless religious icon. And that’s the good news.
 
Blood and Roses
by Sylvia Day
When insurance investigator Anastasia Miller sets out to retrieve the rose-hued pink diamonds stolen in a recent heist, she finds herself working alongside former flame, deputy U.S. Marshal Jake Monroe — the man she loved enough to leave behind.
 
Nightfall
by Laura Griffin
Stranded on an icy road as darkness falls, Holly Henriksen knows she is in trouble. A charming stranger stops to help and Holly decides to trust him, but soon finds out he is harboring a deadly secret.
 
King of Hearts (A Rough Rider Short Story)
by Lorelei James
Deputy Cam McKay is devastated after dealing with a Valentine’s Day murder/suicide in his small county. Will allowing his family to see the dark past that haunts him, help heal him?
 
A Punishing Night
by Sophie Littlefield
Detective Joe Bashir returns to his alma mater to investigate the stabbing death of a male college student. Rumors of date rape and fraternity hazing complicate a sensitive case as Joe tries to balance the demands of the investigation with caring for his elderly father. Help – and possibly romance – come from an unexpected source.

Pick Your Poison (A Bullet Catchers Novella)
by Roxanne St. Claire
Benjamin Youngblood’s only chance to prove he’s worthy of being a Bullet Catcher is to find and stop an assassin.  On probation from the elite security force, Ben has to rely on instinct and brains…and one feisty flower farmer.  When Callie Parrish discovers her entire crop of rare black roses has been stolen, she’d partner with the devil himself to recoup her loss.  It doesn’t take her long to realize she’s done just that…and the road to hell is paved with poisonous petals and deadly kisses.
 
Resisting Rebel 
by Karin Tabke
For Detective Cash Cantrell, hunting down a University serial killer is as routine as strapping on his gun each morning.  Until he comes face to face with meddlesome coed, Rebel Yell Culpepper. He doesn’t know if he should arrest her or kiss her, but one thing Cash knows for sure, Rebel is key to finding the murderer, and the killer knows it too…
 
More highlights next week, folks. Until then, stop on over at MURDERSHEWRITES.com. All week long we'll be running contests, including gifting free copies of Guns and Roses — for those who leave comments!

— Josie

HAH Hanging Man V2

Author,
The Housewife Asassin's Handbook

Buy it today on…
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Another reason to read TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES, My red carpet red hot read

Red-carpet-woman
The stars. The scandals. The sex.
 
You'll find it all in my red hot red carpet read, True Hollywood Lies.
And that's not all…

Every day between now and February 26, 2012 — the evening of the event — I'll be giving away digital copies of True Hollywood Lies, gifted from Amazon.com
All you  have to do is read the excerpt, then email back to me at MailFromJosie@gmail.com with the correct answer to the question posed.
 
Daily winners will be announced by noon the following day, on my Twitter feed and my Facebook Fan and personal pages!
Even if you don't win that day's prize,all correct entries will be held over for the grand prize drawing of a $25 Amazon gift card.
 
Contest Deadline: Midnight PT, February 26, 2012.

eBook winners will be announced daily.

Grand prize winner will be announced by noon Mon February 27, 2012.
BONUS POINTS for putting up a review on

Amazon.com (1 bonus point)
BN.com (1 bonus point)
GoodReads.com (1 bonus point)

 
I'll see you on the red carpet!
 –Josie

  TrueHollywood LiesDiversion Books/ ISBN# 13: 9780984515196
Order online today!

Purchase from Amazon

Purchase from Barnes & Noble

Purchase from Sony Link

"…The tone is confessional, the writing laced with venomous humor…"
–The Wall Street Journal

"Brown captures the humor of working for a megalomaniac…[A] well-paced, entertaining story." –Publishers Weekly

"A fine piece of literary work." –New York Post, Page Six

And the winner is…

Queen-for-a-day

I want to thank all of you who entered THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK's Very Merry Contest, I interrupted what I'm sure was a very healthy (aHEM!) lunch of my author pal, Karin Tabke, do the blind pick for the winning numbers —

So feel free to invite her to your  "Why didn't you pick me?" pity party, and pelt her with banana peels.

Okay, here they are:

Grand Prize Winner:  LizzyMA
$25 Gift card to the bookstore of your choice, plus one of these back- listed books (True Hollywood Lies, Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, or  The Baby Planner:

Runners Up: Pam W., and June M
You will one of these back- listed books (True Hollywood Lies, Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, or  The Baby Planner:

Thank you all, for playing!

And thank you, those who wrote me to tell me how much you loved the excerpt for THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK.

— More contests (and new novel releases) to follow,

: )

HAH Hanging Man V2
— Josie Brown

Author,
The Housewife Asassin's Handbook

Buy it today on…
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NaNoWriMo Tip #7: Chapter doesn’t work? Fix it in “post.”

Microphone ready to present at a book store

Both my husband and I have broadcast backgrounds. One very important lesson we learned in those previous gigs serves us well when we're editing text articles or, in the case of National Novel Writing Month, novels:

Should you feel something isn't working on your project, you can always fix it later.

Broadcast producers can always rely on post-production: the time spent in the production booth, editing the footage shot or recorded for the project. If, while shooting the segment, what you're getting on camera runs too long (exposition; needless scenes, etc), or the subject stutters or talks too much (dialogue) — you rarely say “Cut” and start over. Instead, you'd wait until you were in the studio and saw the raw footage to determine which scenes needed to be trimmed.

The same goes for your manuscript. You job over the next few weeks is to put the story on the page. Afterward, you'll go through it page by page, chapter by chapter. If something reads false, go ahead and chop and dice it, until it reads to your satisfaction.

This won't happen in second draft either. You'll go through several drafts before you're truly pleased with your work.

Even after it sells to a publishing house (YES IT WILL SELL; YOU MUST BELIEVE THAT) you'll get notes back from your editor on how a scene or character should be tweaked. Then it will go through copy edits, where someone with a better grasp than you of grammar and syntax will take a shot at it, as well.

Because when it's ready for its public debut, your readers deserve the best story possible.

_________________________________________

READ YESTERDAY'S  TIP, HERE…

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I've got a question for you, and be honest: How many times do you read a chapter before you write the next one?

— Josie

NaNoWriMo Tip #3: Don’t give up.

Alien
Despite the fact that it is only Day 3 of National Novel Writing Month, I'm willing to bet that, before the clock strikes midnight tonight, one-tenth of everyone who began with high hopes of meeting their writing goals each day will have missed today's deadline…

And by tomorrow evening, they will have completely given up the ghost on the ideal of writing their book.

Don't let that person be you.

The only one who can defeat you from finishing your novel, then pitching it to an agent who sees its merit and wants to present it to publishers is YOU.

Yes, you heard me: you are your Boogie Man.

Your voice is the one whispering those niggling doubts that anyone will love your characters as much as you do.

No one taunts you more about your quirky sentence structure.

Only you think that your dialogue sucks, and that your plot has nowhere to go.

Do you see a pattern here?

Defeat comes from within.

Well, guess what? So does faith.

If you don't believe wholeheartedly in your book, no agent will, either.

If an agent never sees it, neither will any pub house editor.

And The Book That Never Was will be your greatest personal defeat.

It doesn't have to be.

Writing a book is not easy. Drawing from deep within that fantasy world within your brain and pouring it all out on (digital) paper is a skill that is honed one sentence at a time, and many drafts later.

In time, you will weave those sentences into the tapestry of your great story: one with tightly-woven plot threads that will awe all who have the chance to read it: first your critique partners, then the right agent, then an editor who is just excited about it as you —

And finally, a legion of fans, all of whom will be hungry to read your next book.

My first novel was sold as part of a two-book deal. When I broke this wonderful news to my sister, she was very excited for me, for all of about twenty seconds. Then, in a hushed voice, she asked: “But–they can't make you write another one…can they?”

Make me? Write another book?

Hell yeah, twist my arm…

Because it's what I do.

Whether anyone else believes I can do it or not, I write.

Hey, trust me: I have my own Boogie Man.

He fills me with doubts that the muse will some day kick me to the curb.

He tries to convince me that I'll lose my ability to tweak some real-life situation into a great “what if.”

And that, one day, I'll just not care; that I will give up the need to write, to practice my art.

His stale breath has been wheedling doubts in my ear through three agents, four pub houses, and at least a dozen unsold manuscripts.

In fact, he was there last night, taunting me about a book proposal that went out just yesterday. He wants me to believe that it will be laughed out of every publishing house it's been sent to…

Well, he's wrong.

I may not have a magic force field to keep him out of my life, but I have a silver bullet that stops him dead in his tracks, every time:

I believe in my book.

Just like I've believed in all my books, even when others didn't.

I've now got a body of work to prove it. My books have found avid, appreciative audiences.

Yours will, too.

How about you?  Do you believe in your story, your characters, about your vision of a life as a writer?

Then start writing it. Again.

Put those words down on the page. Set a daily goal for yourself, and meet it. Trust me, you won't be writing REDRUM REDRUM REDRUM over and over.

To paraphase Winston Groom, author of  Forrest Gump, writing is a bowl of cherries.

Now, in a paraphrasical mashup of Mr. Groom and Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather:

Drop the Boogie Man. Take the bowl of cherries.

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Here's yesterday's  Tip #2…

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— Josie

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Tip #2: Outline the plot of your story.

Journey-dreamstime_m_58653986

I am forever amazed at authors who tell me that they write their books without first outlining the plot of their stories.

Usually the conversation goes something like this:

Would Be Author: “Plotting? NOOOOO! I'd never do that! I'd be crushing my muse! My characters take me on their journey, not the other way around….”

Me: “Yeah, right, whatever….Um, how long have you been working on that book?”

Would Be Author, after a long silence: “Well, let's see…I started it in the third year of Obama's second term in office…”

You get my drift.

Dear NaNo Newbie: I never want to have that same conversation with you.

I never want to see the pain in your eyes when you hear that NaNo Pal Such-and-Such just finished his novel/got an agent/sold his book to Random House. Why? Because I know you'll be thinking, “That could have been me, had I only (a) gotten beyond the first chapter (b) figured out where my story was going (c) hadn't run out of steam….”

By the way, “steam” is a euphenism for “plot.”

Which gets us back to the iceberg at the bottom of this tip: Create an outline for your story — so that you actually have a plot.

Non-plotters are what we scribes call a “pantser”: someone who writes by the seat of their pants.

Even published authors do it. Many of my writer pals, in fact (Hey! Yeah, YOU! You know who you are…)

They are the ones who (a) work 10 hours a day for the same 3,000 words it takes a plotter to do in, say 4 hours, or (b) turn in their manuscripts after their editors deadlines, and yet (c) still stubbornly insist it's the only way they can write….

WRONG.

Writing is a discipline, and plotting is the foundation in which your wonderful book will be built.

Don't get halfway through it, then kick yourself because it needs a character who should have entered 40 pages earlier, or because you have to substitute more action in place of all that middle-of-the-book navel gazing…

Admit it: YOU were navel-gazing, too…weren't you?

That's because you got lost in the wilderness of your wonderful mind…

The breadcrumbs are your plot.

You will still see all those wonderful characters on the way to your final destination, but your novel's outline is the map that takes you there.

Think of it as your GPS system, that tells you the next turn—the next waypoint— on your journey, to your final destination: YOUR NOVEL.

This outline will route you through many twists and turns. Along the way, you'll write in many interesting characters that actually DO something in the story which moves the plot forward: up some very challenging plot hills, and down into scary abysses–

All the while allowing the reader to care–no, to LOVE–your hero or heroine.

Bottom line: give your story a great beginning, and page-turning middle, and a satisfying ending.

Think 30 chapters (estimate) in 300 pages (again, nothing written in stone) —

And write something on each page — in each chapter — to make readers want more of your hero(ine).

You may argue, “But doing an outline confines you to those plot points!”

I disagree!

Your outline is the path that takes you from Point A (your first word) to Point Z (The End). Along the way, feel free to stop and smell the roses you find there, be they a character who comes to you out of the blue, or an incident that allows you to meander in a field along your way to your final destination–

The completion of your book.

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READ YESTERDAY'S TIP, HERE…

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Okay, now, tell the truth: Do you plot, or pants? And tell me why…

— Josie

 

 

Best Daniel Craig Anti-James Bond movie ever: Layer Cake

Layer-Cake This side of the pond may know Daniel Craig as 007, but our British cousins have had the good fortune of seeing him in a variety of great roles that show a softer/more vulnerable/much more ironic side of the actor. 

I'd read some fairly great reviews of his 2004 movie Layer Cake, so I decided to check it out. It did not disappoint. Craig plays a bean-counting cocaine middleman who wants to retire from the dirty biz, but gets suckered into doing one last "favor" for the drug kingpin running him. 

Lots of plot twists: not everyone is whom they portend to be. Great cinematography, too, and a superlative sound track. The bad guys are complex characters. If it reminds one of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, that's because the movies share the same producers.

'Flix it. You won't be disappointed. Daniel Craig is more than eye candy. He's just desserts, too.

— 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

Amazon.com

BarnesAndNoble.com

Also in in the Apple iBookstore!

Enter The Housewife Assassin's Handbook Contest to win free movie tickets to AMC theaters, or another theater near you! 

I'm giving away $50 in Fandango Bucks
to some lucky winner who likes thriller movies as much as romantic suspense!

CLICK HERE TO READ THE CONTEST RULES…


 

 

The Help: does the movie’s portrayal of racism ring true?

The-help
I was (as we say there) born and raised in Atlanta. I grew up in the Atlanta of the 1960s. Back then, the mayor, a progressive-minded man named William Hartsfield (and back then, "progressive" wasn't a dirty word) made our slogan, "The city too busy to hate."

Keep in mind that Atlanta was also the home of Martin Luther King, Jr

I was a child of the sixties. I remember segregation and integration, which happened while I was in elementary school. I also remember Dr. King's assassination, in Memphis. At my school in DeKalb County, as we watched the funeral on television, I remember our teacher's prediction: "You will always remember this day."

She was right, although we were too young to understand what it meant.

At one time, it had also been the home of the Klu Klux Klan. In fact, it once stood on what is now the grounds of one of the three elegant churches that grace Peachtree Street at the southern apex of Buckhead known as "Christ Curve." The biggest irony is that the church is a Catholic congregation: a religion that the KKK hated. That the priests decided to invited the Klan's Imperial Wizard to the dedication is proof positive that any piece of land can be sanctified.

Which brings me to the questions being raised by the movie based on Kathryn Stockett's runaway bestselling book, The Help:

First, does it vilify its Caucasian characters? And secondly, does it correctly represent the African-American dialects of the time? And finally, do the African-American experiences ring true?

My own opinion: I loved the book. And my personal take on the first is that Ms. Stockett has been true to the South we both grew up in (albeit a few years, and miles, apart).

Before integration, there was a difinitive separation of classes. Whereas some of it was based on "breeding." (Who was your daddy's daddy, and your mama's people?).

Certainly religion played into it. But mostly, it was based on color.

Integration was resented by most of the Caucasian population. No one who lived through it can deny that.

In many ways Hartfield's Atlanta was a bubble of positive race relations, but no one who lived there during those tulmultious times cannot deny that it had its fair share of racial violence. The 1958 bombing of the Jewish Temple on Peachtree Street in Atlanta's Brookwood neighborhood was one very sad example.

My parents had moved to Atlanta in the mid-fifties, from Manhattan, because of a transfer that my father had agreed to. My maiden name is Martinez, and both my parents had been born in Puerto Rico, albeit raised stateside. Like them–and unlike my older sister–I had thick, curly dark hair and an olive complexion, but also light eyes. I remember a little boy in my class asking me, "What are you?" The question stumped me. I didn't know how to answer! I mean, I was a girl, of course. Wasn't that obvious?

His next question shamed me, because I interpreted it as a slur: "Are you a nigger?"

That was a word we never used in my house. Ever. I had no right to feel ashamed.

I wonder if there was a time, even later in life, where he grew to regret his own use of it.

Had I grown up in the North, I'm sure I'd have heard another taunt: "Spic." But since we weren't the predominant minority in Atlanta, that word wasn't as well known back then. I guess we skirted by. Sure, our name was inevitably mispronounced ("Mart-TEEN-ez" became "Martin-EZZ"). That is a small price to pay for the privilege of being allowed to "pass."

To answer the second question: yes, the South has many dialects, for both the predominant races. When I lived there, I could tell if the person speaking to me was from Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina or Texas by his or her "twang." Then again, I could also tell an Aussie from a Kiwi. I guess I have an ear for dialects. It got me into radio. (The need for sanity got me out of it.)

I moved from the South after marriage, to the San Francisco Bay Area. I married a Yankee: a nice Jewish boy from the Bronx, who had moved to Atlanta after college. As much as I loved Atlanta and had grown up around Southerners, I never got over the presumption that I might be too exotic for any man who drank rum and Cokes, had gone to UGA (University of Georgia, but pronounced "ugga," like the infamous mutt mascot for that grand institution school) and aspired to a partnership at King & Spalding. 

So, yep, I can certainly relate to The Help's heroine, Skeeter. The world is a very big place. That's a good thing for those of us who must question the local customs, or who refuse to conform to society's current norm.

I take it as a good sign that some people who have seen the movie or have read the book are truly appalled at the class divisiveness portrayed in The Help, and the cluelessness of the cruelty demonstrated by some of its Caucasian characters.

They should be. That goes for all of us. Especially those of us who lived through it. 

When my daughter was in the fourth grade and studying the Civil War, she chided me for my Southern roots. "Mom, how could you have lived in a place where Eva and I could not have been friends?" Eva, her BFF, is African-American. 

After reminding her that I was born more than a century after the Civil War, I had to agree with her, and break the news to her that some people still judge others by their skin color. 

I will always consider Atlanta my home. I am very proud of my hometown, as I am sure Ms. Stockett is of hers, Jackson, Mississippi. The reality is that neither of us can change its history. Our memories, our perceptions and our interpretations of the places we grew up — as well as those of others who also grew up in that time and those places – are ours own.If they don't reflect that of others, so be it. The South can be charming. It can also be provencial and cruel.

Then again, so can New York, Paris, and London. 

But I guess if a commonor can marry a king-in-the-wings, the world is changing for the good.

— 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

Amazon.com

BarnesAndNoble.com

Also in in the Apple iBookstore!

Enter The Housewife Assassin's Handbook Contest to win free movie tickets to AMC theaters, or another theater near you! 

I'm giving away $50 in Fandango Bucks
to some lucky winner who likes thriller movies as much as romantic suspense!

CLICK HERE TO READ THE CONTEST RULES…

 

Have you entered THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S HANDBOOK Contest?

Fandango BucksThe prize is awesome: $50 in Fandango Bucks, so that you can have a few movie date nights on me.

Here's what you have to do:

1. Read the excerpt here.

2. Now, answer this question: What is the name of Penelope's son?

EMAIL YOUR ANSWER TO: HousewifeAssassinsHandbook@gmail.com along with your name and snail mail address.

All correct entries must be recieved no later than midnight PT, October 31, 2011.  Winners will be announced November 2, 2011, here on this site.

3. BONUS POINTS for friending THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK on:

    - Facebook  5 points!

    –  Twitter    5 points!

   -  Sign up for Donna's Daily Killer Tip.  5 points!

 

HAH Hanging Man V2 See you at the movies!

 

Cool…I mean that, because it is an ice palace: something I could use right about now!

Russi_ice_palace9

Ahhhhhh…. now I feel better!

HAH Hanging Man V2

THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK
Murder. Suspense. Sex. 
And some handy household tips.

Signal Press – Digital eBook 

ORDER NOW,  from

Amazon.com

BarnesAndNoble.com

Also in in the Apple iBookstore!

Enter The Housewife Assassin's Handbook Contest to win free movie tickets to AMC theaters, or another theater near you! 

I'm giving away $50 in Fandango Bucks
to some lucky winner who likes thriller movies as much as romantic suspense!

CLICK HERE TO READ THE CONTEST RULES…

 

Supreme Court on the gender bias class action case against Wal-Mart is narrowed to those women with grievances.

Some_like_it_hot_trio
On one hand, I was disappointed with the Supreme Court ruling that threw the gender bias lawsuit against omnipotent retailer, Wal-Mart, out of court. I would imagine that if it were a company-wide policy, then EVERY woman should have been included in this class-action case.

But who is to say, if only a handful came forward of the thousands of women who at Wal-Mart work, or have worked there over the years?

On the other hand, the women who actually stood up about these practices should be the ones to reap the benefit from the outcome of the case, should the court rules in their favor–

Of course, the attorneys will be getting their cut first, so it may be a hollow victory at best.

To paraphrase Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot? "I'm tired of getting the fuzzy end of the lollypop?"

You can watch that scene here…

–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

Amazon.com

BarnesAndNoble.com

Also in in the Apple iBookstore!

Enter The Housewife Assassin's Handbook Contest to win free movie tickets to AMC theaters, or another theater near you! 

I'm giving away $50 in Fandango Bucks
to some lucky winner who likes thriller movies as much as romantic suspense!

CLICK HERE TO READ THE CONTEST RULES…


Did Celine Dion Names Her Twins After An American Idol?

CelineDion.jpg Okay, now seriously, how hard is it to name a baby boy or two?

You can pay homage to his grandpa; or perhaps your teen crushes (Marky-Mark? M&M? Nahhhh…)

For pop star Celine Dion and her husband, Rene Angelil, it wasn't an easy call. Seems that they struggled on what to call their two-month-old twin sons for at least a week.

In hindsight, I guess their final choices were good ones. The boys are called Nelson, and Eddy.

Which led me to a very wrong presumption: That she named them after the singer, Nelson Eddy.

For those of you who are too young to remember, Eddy was a baritone whose fame and fortune came from the many musicals he made in the 1930s and 1940s, with co-star Jeannette MacDonald. He also had super-star appeal with bobby soxers, allowing him to cross over into pop music in those decades.

Celeb watcher Lori Shewbridge set me straight (see her comment, below). She points out that, according to PopEater.com, the names are tribute of music producer Eddy Mornay, who worked on Dion's first five albums, and former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

Thanks, Lori! In fact, your Li'l Ms. Know-It-All remark wins you a free copy of SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES.

Celine began her singing career at age twelve. Does she have similar tiger mother aspirations for her little guys?

If so, first she'll have to be able to tell them apart.

Or as she jokes with Oprah Winfrey's talk show tomorrow (Monday, February 21, 2011): “Rene said, ‘Listen, people are starting to call me. What's their names? I can't tell them A and B again – that's not working…It's like, ‘Was the hat switched? I thought this was Baby A'. And I'm like, ‘Stop [with] the As and the Bs. I'm going to do C [and] Ds right now. My name is Céline Dion with a C and a D, so don't push me, because I'm close to the edge!'”

We hear ya, Celine.

By the way, it doesn't get any easier. 

Wait until they both get their driver's licenses,

–Josie

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Baby Planner Low Res Don't forget to enter the contest for my novel, THE BABY PLANNER. Here's your chance to win a $100 gift card from you favorite bookstore! 

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Pregnant Moms at the Oscars: That Winning Glow

Is-Natalie-Portman-Pregnant-Golden-Globe-Awards This year, when Natalie Portman gets her shot at Oscar gold, her very visible baby bump will be there, front and center–

And swathed in some sumptious designer couture.

That ain't no OshKosh B'Gosh.

As it should be.

Portman won the Golden Globe for her terrifying performance in THE BLACK SWAN, and she's considered the frontrunner for the Best Performace by an Actress Academy Award as well. 

Even if she doesn't win, what a memorable experience she'll have, sharing this wonderful accomplishment with your soon-to-be-born child! The paparrazi will capture her pregnancy glow. The gown she chooses will have been perfectly cut to enhance her beauty (if not her bounty). She'll be able to show her child the pictures from that magical night and say, "See, honey? You were there with me, too!"

Pregnancy is no stranger to the Bald Golden Boy. Click here to trod down Oscar history's red carpeted memory lane…

 

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Don't forget to enter the contest for my novel, THE BABY PLANNER  for a chance to win a $100 gift card from you favorite bookstore! 

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