I write daily. I must. Creators—painters, photographers, musicians, and writers too—are like athletes: to keep in the game, you must stay fit. In order to strengthen our plots and dig deep into our characters, authors have to stretch their minds.

We can't do this by sitting in front of a computer for five to eight hours (or more) a day.

For me, even a hour or two's worth of scenery allows me to rethink work in progress. And because I have the great blessing of being married to a writer, we do our best to take our breaks together.

When we do, we walk.

Martin and Josie Cascade Falls MV

We are very fortunate in that we live in a beautiful place: San Francisco, California. If you're not opposed to taking in a few hills when you come upon one (a great cardio workout) it truly is a very walkable town. They say San Francisco is seven miles long by seven miles wide. On a normal day, we'll walk four to five of those. On a day in which we really want to get out of our heads, we'll walk as many as ten miles.

During that time, we talk: sometimes about our three wonderful kids, but mostly about our plots.

If you're a writer and you have a critique partner, you know the drill: you've chosen someone who knows and appreciates your work, understands your characters, and with whom you feel comfortable enough to explain the plot hole you may have fallen into.

Maybe they'll come up with an insight that you somehow missed. Maybe not. But just hearing you explain the concern out loud, you'll work through it. You'll have some sort of “Eureka” moment. 

Even if you don't, you'll be in sunlight. You'll hear others' conversations as you pass them. Something in the sky will catch your eye. Or maybe it'll be something on the bay. Or a front door of a house you've never seen before. Or wisteria is in bloom, and you it stops you in your tracks.

By the way, if you write but have not yet found a critique partner—and for that matter, if you are just dipping a toe in the process—check out the writers' collective known as the 85K Writing Challenge. There, you'll be inspired and challenge to come up with a daily word count that may result in the book you know lives within you. It is the brainchild of Author Julie Valerie, whose debut novel, Holly Banks, Full of Angst, will be out Fall 2019.

If we have the time, sometime we cross the Golden Gate Bridge and take in one of the many hikes in the trails in and around the tiny gem-like towns of Marin County. One of our favorites is in Mill Valley, California. Many of the houses are built on the lanes that zig and zag through the foothills leading up to Mount Tamalpais—or, as the Miwoks (first people of the area) called it, “the sleeping lady.”  This time of year, especially after a rainy season, a few of the falls that in the area are at full strength. The most accessible, and perhaps the most beautiful waterfall in this town is called Cascade.

I want to share it with you.

If you click onto this video you'll enjoy a tiny moment of zen.

—Josie

9780989558822 Smaller CoverSpring has sprung—with a Great price on my two-book set.

The Housewife Assassin's Killer 2-Book Set / Only $3.99!

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An avenging assassin. The spy who loves her. In this two-book set, find out why readers are addicted to this deadly duo.

Are you kissable? That depends. Are you Iron Man?

 


Pepperony_

 

So Zoosk.com, a top online dating service, surveyed more than 3,500 singles to reveal pop culture’s most memorable kisses.

And your name didn't make the list.

Just kidding. Okay, here are some of the results:

The most memorable on-screen smooches of summer 2013 are…

  1. 41% of Americans say Tony and Pepper’s lip lock in “Iron Man 3” was the most memorable kiss among this summer’s blockbuster flicks.
  2. 23% of singles say Spock and Uhura in “Star Trek Into the Darkness.”
  3. 21% of singles say Alan and Cassie in “The Hangover III” shared the most memorable kiss of this summer’s blockbuster films.

The top 3 kissing songs are…

  1.  Could I Have This Kiss Forever” by Whitney Houston & Enrique Iglesias (21%)
  2. “A Kiss From A Rose” by Seal (17%)
  3. “Blow Me One Last Kiss” by Pink (12%)

The most romantic places to kiss are…

  1. On the beach (30%)
  2. In a car (23%)
  3. In front of a roaring fireplace (15%)
  4. On a carriage ride in New York’s Central Park (14%)

Do you agree with these results? Tell me why — or why not — on my FaceBook page:

http://www.facebook.com/JosieBrownAuthor

You can watch the kiss, below. (Of course, it's always better to watch a kiss with foreign subtitles…)

— Josie

 


HAH-Hanging-Man-Oct-5-2012
 THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANBOOK
(Book 1 – Signal Press)  

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Couples Kissing Monday: Coffee Break

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He asked for a little sugar with his coffee.

 

_________________________________________

 


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The Housewife Assassin's Handbook
(Book 1) /
Signal Press 

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Great scene in THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN’S HANDBOOK…

Man_with_towelSome mid-week petite amusement:

As I put the finishing touches on the Book 2 in my Housewife Assassin series (The Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Killing) I'm also having fun re-reading The Housewife Assassin's Handbook. The best thing you can offer your readers is an unexpected–and completely believeable–plot twist. The one you'll read below turns the life of my heroine, Donna Stone*, on her head .

Enjoy!

–Josie

 

 

“Mom–” Jeffrey is standing at the door, an ashen look on his face.

I sigh, and shake my head. “Not now, sweetie. Mary and I are–”

“But Mom, someone is here!” Jeff’s eyes are open wide in fear.

“What? Where, at the front door?”

“No. He’s in – your bedroom.”

“My – my bedroom? Where – where’s your little sister?” I try to keep the panic out of my voice as I hurry toward the stairs. Mary and Jeff are right on my heels.

Too late. I see Trisha standing on the threshold of my bedroom door. She hovers there, as if deciding whether or not to go in.

The rest of us freeze, hearing what has drawn her to the door: running water.

Coming from the shower. No…whoever is there has just turned it off.

I make it to Trisha in time to see the master bathroom’s door open slowly. I turn around and thrust my baby girl into Mary’s arms, who is close on my heels. But before I have time to whisper frantically for them to run back down the stairs and out the door, he is standing there, in front of us.

Although I have my back to him, I know this because I see it on my children’s faces: fear, anger—

Hope.

Slowly I turn around and see him:

He is tall, handsome, and humming off-key. One hand holds the towel wrapped around his taut middle. The other is wiping down his broad, muscled chest as he saunters over to us.

Over to me.

A wisp of shaving cream still clings to the dimple in his jaw. His dark hair has coiled into a bed of damp curls. His seductive grin is totally captivating.

And boy, does he know it.

“Honey, I’m home,” he murmurs casually, as if we’d seen each other just this morning.

Is this a dream? How could this be?

What the hell is happening here?

Before I have a chance to catch my breath, he is standing next to the children. “Ah, so this is Trisha! My god, you’re the sweetest littlest princess in the world! Give me a big, big hug – yes, that’s my girl! Jeff – wow, boy, how about a shake, huh? You’re quite a bruiser, eh kid? – ”

Their wariness melts away under his awed, approving gaze.

And now it’s Mary’s turn:

Mary, the most jaded – and yes, the most traumatized – of all my children. He seems to know this instinctively, which is why he does all the right things: the tantalizing smile, the warm hug, and the gentle pat, as if she is a fragile piece of china that might break if he’s not careful . . .

“Ah, Mary,” he murmurs softly, gently. “You beautiful little heartbreaker, you–”

But none of this takes her in. Instead, she looks over to indicate that she’ll take her cue from me.

It’s my call.

So, what do I do now? Embrace him with open arms, or put him on the spot in front of the ones whose approval counts the most: my children?

Then, before I know it, he has me in his arms. I feel his lips gently brush over mine, too quick to resist –

The kiss is sweet . . . deep . . . tempting.

Perfect.

Jeff and Trisha, their radar always in tune, seem to pick up on this and shove us all, including Mary, into a group hug. They too are confused; but thrilled nonetheless.

Finally, their father has come home to them.

We stay suspended in the clinch for what seems like forever.

Then, one by one, the children break away.

Mary, her face a kaleidoscope of emotions, is the first. Slowly and awkwardly, she backs out of the room. The others, less out of doubt than natural shyness, follow suit, closing the door quietly behind them.

I wait until I hear the click of the knob.

Then I turn to him, and with a shy smile, I give him a sidekick to the solar plexus that lands him flat on his face, gasping for breath.

His pain is doubled when, a second later, I’ve wrenched his arm behind his back, straight up and out.

“So tell me, you audacious son of a bitch,” I whisper. “Who you are, and what the hell do you think you’re doing?”

 

*Not her real name

© 2011 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).


HAH-Hanging-Man-Oct-5-2012

(Book 1)
Signal Press  

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"This is a super sexy and fun read that you shouldn't miss! How do I love this book, let me count the ways: (1.) A kick ass woman that can literally kick ass as well as cook and clean.  Donna gives a whole new meaning to "taking out the trash". (2.) The book is set around Los Angeles, mostly in a gated community suspiciously like Coto de Caza, full of housewives that could be 'real" and for the setting alone, a big giant WIN! (3.) Super sarcasm, snarky dialogue and making fun of all that is wrong in the OC, politics, as well as current world affairs."  
— Mary Jacobs, Book Hounds Reviews

"The chemistry between the two of them is enough to set water on fire. Add in a healthy dose of humor and ridiculousness, some mayhem, and some really cute kids, and you've got a book that won't be putdown – so go pick it up now!" 
— Cat's Thoughts

Pretend it’s the last day on Earth. Now, what would you say?

Old friends
I was speaking to an old friend the other day. She was dreading a very public run-in with some guy she who she had once been attracted to, dated, fell in love with, felt passion for…

Then they broke up.

The break-up wasn't a "good" one. (The term "good break up" has to be an oxymoron, am I right?)

"So, what do I say to him, if he's there?" she asked. "Or should I say anything at all? Should I just ignore him? I'm sure he'd prefer that. I'll bet he'll ignore me, too."

I nodded. "Good question. But everyone there knows both of you. And they know you used to date."

"Don't remind me," she sighed. It's going to be like the OK Corral. Who takes aim first? Who ends up wounded, or dead and buried?"

"But isn't that the point? Wasn't whatever happened between you buried, long ago?"

She shrugged. Obviously not, if she's still digging it up now, so many years later.

"Okay," I said, "Here's a thought: why not treat him as if this is the last time in your life you'll ever see him? If doing so means getting out your feels, so be it. If it means pretending anything he said or did to get you upset is long forgotten, do it. Ask yourself this: do you really need to hold a grudge this long?"

"No, of course not." The tears rolled in even lines, down her face. "We've both moved on."

Next week, she'll have a chance to prove this, to herself, if not to him as well.

Frankly, I hope it begins and ends with a hug, and a chance to catch up on the life journey each took separately, even as their paths cross once more.

Grudges keep us from being happy.

Grudges don't hurt others, only ourselves.

You may not forget, but yes, you can forgive.

And you're not doing it for anyone but yourself.

–Josie

The Housewife Assassin's Handbook

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

 

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

"…If I was a housewife, I would want to be Donna.  I'm not kidding guys, the girl can shoot, seduce, and kill, all while balancing the demands of carpool and managing the suburban mommies and their opinion of her and her kids.  Her hostess skills are to die for, and many have fallen for her seduction routines.  So what if the neighborhood busybodies think she's cheating on her husband?  The reality is, he's dead, and she can't even mourn him in public.  They can get over it.nter Jack, who is a fantastic and well known agent, and sexy to boot.  The chemistry between the two of them is enough to set water on fire…" — Cat's Thoughts

"This book totally reminded me of the movie Mr & Mrs. Smith. Not that it is a copy of the movie, but that it has all of the thrills and enjoyment of the movie. It's a fast-paced read, the gadgets are awesome, and I could just picture Donna fighting off Russian gangsters and skinheads all the while having a pie at home cooling on the windowsill. As a housewife myself, this book was a fantastic escape that had me dreaming "if only" the whole way through. The book doesn't take itself too seriously, which makes for the perfect combination of mystery and humour…"  –Curled Up with a Good Book and a Cup of Tea

One of my favorite John Singer Sargent paintings is entitled “Repose”.

John-singer-sargent-nonchaloir
While in Washington, DC for my tour for The Baby Planner, my husband Martin and I had the opportunity to stop into The National Gallery, where I was enthralled by this painting from my favorite artist, John Singer Sargent. He entitled it "Repose."

It was a comeback of sorts for Sargent. For over a quarter century he'd made his fame and fortune doing portraits of the world's nouveau riche, but by 1907 he had grown tired of his clients whims, going so far as to renounce his livelihood as “a pimp’s profession.” He then took the time to paint public murals, as well as small watercolors — mostly landscapes — for his own pleasure.

However in 1911, while vacationing with his sister Violet’s family in Switzerland, his found his portraiture muse again: in his niece Rose-Marie Ormond Michel. Note that this is a casual character study as opposed to a formal portrait. He beautifully depicts a young woman at ease in hazy amber afternoon light.

If only we all could have been painted by Sargent in such a sublime state of bliss, at the height of our own attractiveness.

–Josie

HAH Hanging Man V2

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

Signal Press – Digital eBook 

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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…

Kiss and Make Up…

Kissmakeup
My hubby is usually a dreamboat.

Except when we fight.

On the bright side, I guess you could say that arguing is a form of communication. Or, as Rosanne once said, “You can’t love if you can’t fight.”And Tom Arnold had the bruises to prove it.

Sure, there were times when I though a sharp hook to the left would have kept Martin in line, but so far, we’ve been able to avoid fisticuffs.  As professional wordsmiths, we have found that a well-placed barb is indeed mightier than the sword when cutting your lover down to size.

It wasn’t always that way.  When we were crib crawlers we screamed when we weren’t understood, and mumbled under our breaths when they stuck a bottle in our our mouths, or poked at our diapers to shut us up.  after we learned that we could walk with our legs, we found we could toss with our arms—toys, books, blocks, anything, at anyone who annoyed us.

Learning how to talk gave us a new weapon—the argument—which we sharpened on the playground, with phrases like, “Yeah, sez who?” which immediately brought forth, “Sez me, that who?”

To be topped off with the most famous closing argument of them all, “Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, NYAH!”

Granted, this last retort was, in reality, a last resort.  And most of us had outgrown it by the time we were dating, thank goodness.

Fights with my beaus were heated with passion, tinged with remorse, and enacted with enough melodrama to fill a library of Danielle Steel novels.

The best part of breaking up was making up.  After a cooling-off period, I’d cave into the arms of my tormentor.  We’d kiss and swear we’d never hurt each other again.

Until the next time.  Or the next guy.

The fact of the matter is, everyone fights, although some do it more openly than others.  But I’ve met couples who insist they’ve never raised their voices to each other, that they are perfectly in sync on every decision.

Yeah, right.  And Mike Tyson is a vegetarian.

Granted, the word “LIAR!” in this regard is somewhat harsh (not to say a trifle crude). But for argument's sake, (no pun intended) let’s say we believe them.  Does it mean that they have a better relationship than those of us who periodically raise our voices? Does this mean that they’ve found nirvana?

Does this mean they should be running the Geneva Convention?

No.  It just means that they know their neighbors are deaf, and, as Dennis Hastert could tell you if he weren’t busy right about now running an election and dodging reporters’ questions, you can’t convict without evidence.

Of course, most tiffs could be worked out immediately—if an interpreter were present.  The fact that most men bellow “NO!” when asked, “You’re mad, aren’t you?” is proof that a Berlitz course on reading his silences would sell out in no time.

It’s always “the little things” that get the ball rolling: He didn’t tell you your mother called.  You took too long to get ready.  He left the toilet seat up—again!

“Honey, how many times does his have to happen?” I sigh as I slam the seat back down.

Defensively, he’ll answer, “As long as you squeeze the toothpaste from the middle.”

“What does one thing have to do with another?”

“A lot.  You have your bad habits too.”

“That may be true, but you have more than me!  It doesn’t bother me that you’re cruel,smelly, and obnoxious.  That fact that you chew with your mouth open has never been a problem.  But I have to draw the line somewhere.  The toilet seat is it!”

“Yeah, sez who?”

“Sez me, that’s who!”

“Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, NYAH!”

“Huh? Oh, that’s so mature,” I taunt him.

“If you want mature, just look in the mirror,” he retorts.

Touché. (Hey, ya gotta admire his negotiation skills…)

I don’t see a Nobel Peace Prize anywhere in our future, but I’ll settle for a couple of make-up kisses.

Breakin' up to make up,

Josie

You can email me at: JosieBrownAuthor@yahoo.com

Hey, and read my blog on Amazon.com.

And definitely check out my website, and read about my books: http://www.josiebrown.com

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HEY! ENTER MY SECRET SANTA CONTEST FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A BRAND NEW 1GB iPOD SHUFFLE!

Here's how it works:

1. First you have to READ THIS EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT OF IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED HERE!

2. Then, send me an email, at JosieBrownAuthor@yahoo.com, with the answer to this question:

WHAT IS THE NAME OF HUGO'S WIFE?

3. All answers must be recieved no later than MIDNIGHT, Pacific Time, on my book's launch date, on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2006. Include your name and address, of course.

4. All correct answers will be included in a drawing, to take place that very next day. The winner's name will be posted here on my site, and the iPod will ship out the next day!

Of course, if your name is not chosen, you still have time to order your copy of IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED — and extras, as gifts for all your friends!

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ATTENTION BOOK CLUB MEMBERS: Read THE IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED Book Club Questions here, and an author interview with Josie Brown.

__________________________________________________________

UPCOMING EVENTS FOR JOSIE BROWN'S
IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED:

Hollywood
Saturday, November 18, 2006, 1pm

BARNES & NOBLE / Burbank, CA
731 North San Fernando Blvd (Media Mall), Burbank 91502
This is a free event!

Naughty cops. Sizzling sex.
Celebrity scandal. These two books make ideal stocking stuffers for the
reader who appreciates a hot read during the holidays. Hear authors Josie Brown (IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED) and Karin Tabke (GOOD GIRL GONE BAD) read from their books. For more information, call 818-558-1383.

Impossiblytongue_pb_c_1

Thursday, November 30, 2006, 6:30pm

BORDERS EXPRESS/ Santa Clara, CA
731 Valley Fair Mall,
2855 Stevens Creek Blvd. Santa Clara, CA 95050
 
This is a free event!

Hear Josie read from IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED. Joining her is Karin Tabke (GOOD GIRL GONE BAD), Jasmine Haynes (OPEN INVITATION), and Jami Alden (DELICIOUS). For more information, call 408-249-1728.


Cravepartysf_1
Tuesday, December 12, 2006, 5-9pm

CRAVE PARTY SAN FRANCISCO!
War Memorial Opera House, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA

Ticket PRICE: $15

The ultimate pre-holiday shopping party! Crave Party San Francisco
brings together San Francisco's trendiest boutiques. You'll find all
the latest fashions, fab accessories, trinkets and potions–all in one
location! Have a make-over, a chichi cocktail, and a relaxing massage,
while you pick up your stocking stuffers (including extra copies of
Josie Brown's IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED) at this exclusive glam-gal gathering. Other authors attending are Karin Tabke (GOOD GIRL GONE BAD) and Jennifer Skully (OPEN INVITATION), so join us, and get a jump on Santa, with your shopping!

Gggb_cover_art_1
Friday, December 15, 2006, 6pm

Barnes & Noble / Antioch, CA
5709 Lone Tree Way, Antioch,CA 94531. 925-978-1031

Naughty
cops. Sizzling sex. Celebrity scandal. These two books make ideal
stocking stuffers for the reader who appreciates a hot haute read
during the holidays. Hear authors Josie Brown (IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED)
and Karin Tabke (GOOD GIRL GONE BAD) read from their books.