Extracurricular: An earth-shattering incident

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If you thought it was your last moment on earth, would you tell the one person you'd never admit to loving how you felt?

I put my protagonists in an old elevator during an earthquake. They are quite literally tossed into each other's arms. Their initial instincts to protect each other. The next desire is to comfort the one for which love has never been professed.

Fear finally subsides, as does the desire for the declaration of love.

But there are some primal urges that makes words unnecessary. It's what this scene is about.

When I wrote this scene eight years ago, I thought it would take place at the end of the book. Years later, I realized that it was only the beginning of their story.

All the missed opportunities lead to other secrets, leavened with lies that lead to many live-changing mistakes for them and those they love most.

I hope you'll want to go along for the ride.

—Josie

Read the first-chapter excerpt here, then enter my contest for books, a gift card, and a great treasure for your kitchen: a wonderful stoneware pie plate.

Enjoy!

—Josie

Extracurricular-KindleExtracurricular / Book 1

Signal Press (Release Date: June 28, 2019)
BOOK 1 of an Episodic Series of 3 Books
Digital ISBN:978-1-970093-00-1
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-970093-02-5

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It's your child's senior year. 
A private high school's reputation is at stake.
A math teacher refuses to grade his final exams on a curve. 
Students have only one more shot at the SAT before college applications are due. 
And a few desperate parents with much more money than brains are willing to do anything to get their children into Ivy League colleges.

And Audrey's dirty little secret will soon be the downfall of everyone and everything she holds dear: love, family, friends, and her private high school alma mater.

In EXTRACURRICULAR, a dark family secret leads to a college admissions cheating scandal at a private school, setting off a crisis of conscience for the parents, teachers, administrator and the students involved—and a catharsis for one couple about their marriage.

Extracurricular: Why it’s timely.

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My next 3-book women's fiction series, Extracurricular, is being launched just as one of its plot points has caught national headlines: the college admissions scandal.

In my plot, we see it happen in real time when a private high school is caught up in the same exact scheme.

But, like everything in life that never makes it into an attention-grabbing headline, there is a real backstory to the who, what, where, how, and why parents, students, school administrators, and admissions consultants may have gotten caught up in these illegal shenanigans. In Extracurricular, the story begins twenty-two years ago, and envelops two generations of a family in the trauma.

As with most of my books, Extracurricular is sprinkled liberally with satire. Not to worry, there is enough trauma and drama to go around. But, as in all sensational stories, there is a farcical element to the way we live now. I hope I captured it aptly in this three-book episodic series. The first book launches Friday, June 28, 2019. To read an excerpt, click here. You'll also be able to partake in my fun contest celebrating its release.

Enjoy,

—JosieExtra1 Ad TWExtra1NewLustOldLoveBest copy

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Woman gets her jollies on a San Francisco Cable Car. One hundred lovers and a $50K settlement later…

Judy-st.-louis

l love this article, from the archives of the San Francisco Chronicle. Brings to mind one of my favorite Judy Garland classics,  "The Trolley Song," from the musical, "Meet Me in St. Louis:"

Love this lyric: "I went to lose a jolly".

I'll just bet you did,

— Josie

"Cable Car Nymph"

Excerpted from

"San Francisco's Top 10 Sex Scandals"
Kevin Fagan, San Francisco Chronicle 
Published 4:00 am, Thursday, May 28, 2009

It was supposed to be a routine trip on the Hyde Street cable car in 1964, the 29-year-old woman said. But when the car lurched and she was heaved against a pole, the collision "somehow unleashed emotions hidden deep in the dark closet of her mind," The Chronicle reported – and thus was born "The cable car nymphomaniac" who took a trip on the "Cable Car Named Desire."

The woman sued Muni for $500,000 six years later, saying her injuries had triggered an insatiable sexual desire that drove her to take 100 lovers, leaving her perpetually unsatisfied. Reporters left her name out of news accounts, to protect her privacy, referring to her instead by her nickname, or as "the buxom blonde" from Michigan.

She was awarded $50,000 by a jury, whose members said they hoped she would use it for counseling.

(c) 2009 San Francisco Chronicle

 

 

With my high starched collar

And my high topped shoes

And my hair

Piled high upon my head

I went to lose a jolly

Hour on the Trolley

And lost my heart instead

 

With his light brown derby

And his bright green tie

He was quite

The handsomest of men

I started to yen

So I counted to ten

Then I counted to ten again

 

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley

Ding, ding, ding went the bell

Zing, zing, zing went my heartstrings

From the moment I saw him I fell

Chug, chug, chug went the motor

Bump, bump, bump went the brake

Thump, thump, thump went my heartstrings

When he smiled I could feel the car shake

He tipped his hat

And took a seat

He said he hoped he hadn't

Stepped upon my feet

He asked my name

I held my breath

I couldn't speak because

He scared me half to death

 

Buzz, buzz, buzz went the buzzer

Plop, plop, plop went the wheels

Stop, stop, stop went my heartstrings

As he started to go

Then I started to know

How it feels

When the universe reels

The day was bright

The air was sweet

The smell of honeysuckle

Charmed you off your feet

You tried to sing

But couldn't squeak

In fact, you loved him

So you couldn't even speak

 

Buzz, buzz, buzz went the buzzer

Plop, plop, plop went the wheels

Stop, stop, stop went my heartstrings

As he started to leave

I took hold of his sleeve

With my handAnd as if it were planned

He stay on with me

And it was grand just to stand

With his hand holding mine

Till the end of the line

 

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley

Zing, zing, zing went my heart

 

Songwriters: HUGH MARTIN/BLANE, RALPH

Published byLyrics © EMI Music Publishing

 

 

Fabulous! The movie trailer for Woody Allen’s latest, “Blue Jasmine”, starring Cate Blanchett

 

I'm a total Woody Allen fan, and even had a Woody sighting myself, when he was filming his latest flick, "Blue Jasmine," here in San Francisco.

I think the trailer looks great. I love seeing all the San Francisco/Marin County shots, including a scene on the Muni F Line (the 1947 Philadelphia trolley car); several locales in Belvedere, California, across the Golden Gate Bridge; the bar, Aub ZamZam, in the Haight; Market Street; Geary Street; the Sunset District–

And of course, Ocean Beach.  

Hey, even the quaint Mount-Tam-hugging  town, Larkspur, California got into the picture.

And Cate Blanchett looks sublime, doing her "StreetCar Named Desire"-esque Blanche Dubois routine on her sister (played by British "Happy Go Lucky" wonder girl, Sally Hawkins).

It's a wonderfully updated take on that Tennessee Williams classic.

I love it that Alec Baldwin is Woody's new Every Patrician.

Definitely worth checking out, for the eye candy alone.

Because we always rely on the kindness of strangers (and no one is stranger to us than family),

–Josie

 


The-Candidate-Final4
THE CANDIDATE

Signal Press – eBook

Buy it NOW, on Amazon.com!

In all online bookstores June 15, 2013!

Seduction and intrigue are rampant on the campaign trail when a political campaign adviser discovers that Washington's power broker elite have embroiled his presidential candidate in a plot involving an act of terrorism on US soil…

SYNOPSIS

Democratic political campaign consultant Ben Brinker can’t remember the last time he was excited by a candidate’s vision. He feels he’s lost his way, both emotionally and professionally. Worst yet, his show-me-the-money policy seems to have finally caught up with him. Two of his recent clients have been disgraced in one way or another: a senator is caught in lurid sex scandal, and a congressman is indicted in a kickback scandal. In no time at all the political pundits are calling Ben a "candidate cooler." Now Ben is desperate for any campaign gig he can get.

As luck would have it, Andrew Harris Mansfield, the charismatic junior senator from North Carolina  and former Marine pilot, asks Ben if he wants to run his soon-to-be-announced campaign for president.

Little does Ben know what's in store for Andrew, or their country–

Nor does he realize that the key to saving both have been placed in his hands.

Read an excerpt here…

Enter THE CANDIDATE'S Contest for a $100 Gift Card!

 

Today is a play day (sort of). Which means a trek through Golden Gate Park.

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In many ways, San Francisco is a wonderland. One locale in the city that is always on parade is Golden Gate Park, which runs three miles east to west, and half a mile north to south. Its 1,017 acres make it 20 percent larger than New York's Central Park. 

Our park ends at the Ocean, so I'd say that's another wonderful advantage. It's far side ends in the Haight, which is why it was once a hippy haven ("Once"? Frankly, it still is. Everything changes, and stays the same).

GGParkNorthWindmill2We'll park at one end, and meander through it, down to the other. In the meantime, we'll pass the archery field, the Frisbee Golf grove, merry-go-rounds, drumming circles,  roller blade dancers, both The DeYoung Fine Arts Museum and the California Academy of Sciences, the first home of the San Francisco 49ers (Kezar Stadium) and several lakes (Stowe, for rowers; Spreckels, for those who are running their minature yachts, or sailing their miniature sail boats), not to mention a herd of buffalos. groves of picnickers, and a windmill or two.

Our own favorite passtime is discovering the wooded nooks and crannies; serene groves where one can lose oneself  in a good book, while lolling on a blanket, or sprawling on one of the many benches that you'll come across.

The park was concieved in the 1870s, and hosted several public expositions, of which some of its historic buildings remain (the flower conservatory,and its renowned Japanese Tea Garden are but two).

Strybing_Arboretum_trailAnd to think the park might have never happened, had San Francisco's silver barons gotten their way: they lobbied hard for a race track!

 

Now, go out and discover something new,

— Josie

 

 

Below, the architecturally renowned California Academy of Sciences


CAAcademyScience

Novelist Eileen Goudge introduced me to Capitola’s historic, colorful beach villas.

Capitola
Had I known how beautiful this little seaside town was, I would have come here sooner.

Believe it or not, it is renowned as the oldest beach resort on the West Coast. Its name mimicks that of a heroine in a novel dating back to the 1867: The Hidden Hand, by E.D.E.N. Southworth.

If you guessed E.D.E.N. was a woman, you're right. To get published back then, many women wrote under pseudonyms, which could be taken for men's names, and gain an audience.

The villas, shown above, are the very first condominums. Go figure. Wish I owned one now. They overlook Monterrey Bay, scanning it from its north shore. The old Capitola Pier is still standing, and far enough out to fish from it.

The day we were there with novelist Eileen Goudge, a seal was frolicking in the surf.

Thank goodness Eileen and I can use our real names. Her books, wonderful tales of contemporary women who have had a fall from grace but find redemption, are tightly plotted. My favorite is Woman in Red.

But hey Eileen writes so prolifically, you'll have several others to read afterward.

 

— Josie

It’s not a party unless you show up…

Tot3 launch party poster

TOTLANDIA
Book 3: The Onesies/Spring

In Bookstores Now!

Coliloquy Books
978-1-937804-16-9 / 
eBook

Buy it on Amazon.com

Buy it on BN.com

 

To celebrate the launch of Totlandia: The Onesies, Book 3 (Spring),
join me for a fantabulous Twitter party, and a chance to win a free copy of Book 3!

Now is the time to ask me all your must-know questions about
Jade, Brady, Ally, Lorna, Jillian….and of course, Bettina!
I'll also be tweeting some trivia on all the Onesies moms,
and asking your opinion about some of the characters you love…and love to hate!

Looking forward to having you join me!

– Josie

@JosieBrownCA

 

____________________________

 

Spring comes in like a lamb as the exclusive
Pacific Heights Moms & Tots Club welcomes its newest members.
But that tranquility belies a storm brewing,
as new tensions and old rivalries come to a head.

The surviving moms are ready to reap the rewards of membership,
but none of them counted on club founder, Bettina Connaught Cross,
needing a pick-me-up from a bitter betrayal.
While lesser women might cry into their pillows,
Bettina finds comfort in exerting control over her domain.

With Bettina on a rampage, the new Onesies are trying to stay out of sight
long enough to deal with their own issues:
Lorna wants to tell her family about Dante’s autism,
but keeping it on her own terms could be difficult
when her hippie mom and socialite mother-in-law meet for the first time.
Jillian fights to regain her financial footing and confront her own insecurities,
finding comfort in an unexpected place.
And Ally can’t bear the thought of hurting Jade,
so she continues to bury her feelings for Brady.

But when another desperate housewife stirs the mix,
Jade could become a pawn in an even more devious game.
It’s no ordinary spring in Totlandia, as emotions build to a fury and end with a roar.

________________________________

EXCERPT

Friday, 4 January

8:14 a.m.

“What do you mean I don’t qualify for unemployment benefits?” Jillian Frederick’s hand was shaking so hard she could barely hold the phone to her ear.

It had taken her almost an hour to get more than an automated voice on the line, someone who could actually answer her questions about how to file a claim. Within that hour, her cell phone beeped because its battery was low. To top it off, someone had just texted her. No doubt the waiting text was zapping her juice as well.

“Sorry, my dear, but them’s the breaks.” The Unemployment Office clerk practically yawned in Jillian’s ear. “You worked for, like what… two months? And for minimum wage at that. What did you expect?”

“My husband left me and our two babies a few months ago. It was the only job I could find!”

“Seriously, hon, I feel for you. But I’m not Dear Abby, and the Unemployment Office isn’t your parents’ ATM.”

“This is an emergency! I may lose my house! I supported my ex-husband through college, so I’m sure my benefits from back then still count, don’t they? Listen, can you check and see how far back you can go?” 

Just then one-year-old Amelia yanked a branch of the Christmas tree so hard that three glass ornaments fell and cracked. Both she and her twin sister, Addison, wailed in union.

As Jillian scooped both girls up into her arms to cuddle them before they grabbed at the glass shards, the cell phone fell out of her hand, hitting the cold marble floor with a loud crack.

“Oh my God! Are you—are you okay?” Jillian could barely hear her own voice over her daughters’ wails.

 “I think you broke my eardrum,” the clerk finally retorted.

“I’m so sorry! One of my daughters almost pulled down our Christmas tree.” Jillian was trying with all her might to keep the tears out of her voice. “Listen, isn’t there any way to find out if those benefits are still good?”

“Yeah sure. What’s your maiden name?”

“McKeever.”

“I’ll check. Let me put you on hold again.”

Hold? Oh my God, no! My phone battery is dying, and I was on hold for forty minutes before I reached you! Can’t you just all me back? Wait!”

But it was too late. She was being serenaded by a symphonic version of the Black-Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow.”

Frustrated, Jillian fell back onto the couch. The drop in altitude left the toddlers giggling. They smacked Jillian’s face as if that would relieve her too-early-in-the-morning exhaustion. She sighed, forced her lips into a smile and wiped the tears from her eyes before opening them.

Truth be told, even if she hadn’t been canned, Jillian’s credit card bills were mounting so fast that no amount of generous tips could’ve saved her. She was now four months behind on her SUV’s payments. She hid the car in the alley behind her house so she could dodge the repo man who kept knocking on the door. As it was, she barely used the damn thing, except for Costco and Wal-Mart runs. Having rammed it repeatedly into the Porsche of her philandering soon-to-be ex, Scott, her car’s bumper now scraped her front wheels on tight turns.

Last week she had just managed to scrape together the money to pay the gas and electric bill. To keep them under fifty dollars a month, she closed off the vents in every room of her rambling mansion on Pacific Street except for the kitchen and the nursery, where for the most part Addison and Amelia slept and played, or burned used paperbacks in the old home’s fireplaces.

 She had traded the convenience of her pricey local Whole Foods and the neighborhood grocery markets on Union, Polk, and Chestnut streets for Chinatown’s vegetable markets, where produce could be purchased for less than half the price.

The thought of collecting unemployment benefits shamed her. But it was going on three weeks since she lost her job, and she had to do something, anything.

She was too proud to give up the home she had so lovingly restored. Further, it would have been one more intolerable defeat at the hands of her two-timing husband.

A commotion coming from the alley behind her house roused her from where she sat prostrate on the couch. She picked up both girls before walking to the window, just in time to see her SUV being hoisted onto a flatbed truck.

She set the girls down in their playpen and ran down the stairs and out the side door. The tow operator, a large bear of a man sporting tattoos on every inch of skin not covered by his jeans or the jacket emblazoned with Bay Area Repo, had already chained down her vehicle.

Jillian grabbed his arm. “Wait! That’s my car! Where do you think you’re taking it?”

The man shrugged. “Back to the dealership. Sorry, lady, three missed payments means they own it again.”

“How will I get around without it? It’s the only transportation I’ve got, and I have two toddlers! Please—”

He looked down at her. “Nothing I can do about it. Here’s a tip, though. Next time, disengage the GPS so we can’t find it so easily. Just sayin’.”

If only she’d known that earlier.

She watched as he backed the truck through the alleyway before gunning it down Pacific Street. Then it occurred to her that she’d left the kids alone inside. Both were now adept at catapulting themselves over the playpen’s side with a kamikaze flip they’d learned from their little gal pal, Zoe Thornton. She ran back into the house.

Too late. The girls were toddling toward the Christmas tree.

She grabbed them just before they hit the field of broken glass.

Now, for her cell phone. Where had she put it?

It took her a full five minutes before she realized she’d tossed it into the playpen with the girls. By the time she did, it was too late. The damn battery had gone dead.

She threw it back down into the playpen.

Big mistake. The girls climbed down out of her arms and into the playpen after it. She was just about to fish out all three one more time when the doorbell rang.

Who the hell could it be now? Jillian wondered. Before she opened the door, she looked through the peephole.

Scott.

She slumped up against the wall. What the hell was he doing there?

© 2013 Josie Brown. Published in 2012 by Coliloquy Books. All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

 

To celebrate Totlandia/Book 2’s launch, Book 1 is FREE! Two days only, on Amazon!

Tot2_6x8_300dpiIf you've read Book 1 of my new series, Totlandia, you know there's a lot of snarky fun and silly shenanigans, and heart-felt drama in this posh moms-and-tots group.

In honor of the launch of Totlandia / Book 2 (Winter) , Book 1 (Fall)  is FREE, for two days ony on, Amazon

Book 2 picks up right where Book 1 left off. Now that one mother has been eliminated, the five remaining mommies are just one misstep away from entry into the elite Pacific Heights Moms & Tots Club. Everyone has a scandalous secret to hide, but who will be the next to fall?

As the club's founder, Bettina, ratchets up the stress level with a series of holiday-themed challenges, the cracks begin to show. Jade's past catches up to her in the most unlikely of settings. Jillian's struggles to make ends meet are complicated by Bettina's demands. Ally's work and home lives collide, threatening to expose all of her secrets. And Lorna's already fraying family ties are torn to shreds by a series of devastating events.

With just four spots remaining, will the five remaining ladies turn cutthroat? Or will their newfound friendships be strong enough to help them band together?

http://www.totlandiatheseries.com

________________________________

EXCERPT

Monday, 5 November, 10:23 a.m.

The Tot Tales storytime moderator at the Marina branch of the San Francisco  Library certainly had her hands full reading over the bickering pair of three-year-olds whose short attention spans had deteriorated into wrestling in the back of the reading room. Otherwise, she had a captive audience of forty toddlers, including all of the PHM&T’s probationary Onesies—Dante, Wills, Oliver, Amelia, Addison and Zoe.

It had been Jillian’s turn to host today’s Onesies’ meet-up. Now that San Francisco’s weather had turned iffy, the fifty families who made up the Pacific Heights Moms & Tots Club congregated less frequently at Alta Plaza or Moscone or Lafayette parks on its playgroup days (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). Instead, the club split itself up by tot age—ten families per ‘class’—and met according to that day’s events.

For example, while the Fivesies fed sardines to the recovering seals at the Marine Mammal Center, the Foursies found inspiration at the DeYoung Museum from the costumes worn by the ballet dancer, Rudolf Nureyev. And while the Threesies resisted the urge to swat the butterflies roaming freely through the California Academy of Science’s rainforest, the Twosies squealed in delight at a Disney on Ice show at the Cow Palace.

The Legacy Onesies mothers—those who had older children in PHM&T’s other playgroups—were allowed to take their younger children on their older children’s field trips. To their way of thinking, that was a good thing. Until this ghastly contest was over, they had all shied away from getting close to any of the Probationary Onesies. Making a new friend only to have her exiled from the club two months later wasn’t worth the risk of any future awkwardness in a Whole Foods aisle or in some ladies’ room queue at the symphony’s annual Black and White Ball.

This mindset left the Probationary Onesies to fend for themselves. Whereas all the other playgroups chose an event that required an outlay of cash, Jillian had chosen the tot reading because it was a freebie. Her own financial situation was dire, given her pending divorce. In fact, she was keeping the divorce a secret from the PHM&T applications committee, who would certainly frown upon it. Single moms weren’t welcomed into the club because they made those who enjoyed wedded bliss uncomfortable from all that bitterness emanating from the divorcees. Not to mention events where spouses were included would suddenly seem awkward. 

Jillian knew the wisdom of keeping her mouth shut.

From the looks of things, the kids were enjoying themselves. The reader was quite animated. Oliver, Zoe, Dante, Amelia and Addison, as well as little Wills, had crawled on the mat until they were right next to her, enraptured with the way her voice brought the various characters alive.

Their parents, too, listened quietly and happily. Soon though, another presence could be felt in the room. Jillian seemed the first to pick up on it. Glancing behind her, she noticed that Bettina stood silently behind them. From her blank expression, it was hard to determine how she’d rate the event.

Jillian waved hesitantly. Bettina nodded at her, motioning her to rouse the other mothers and follow her into the library’s adjoining alcove.

They were met with a grand smile. “So great to see you and your little ones having such a wonderful time! Who arranged your meet-up today?”

The others nodded or murmured toward Jillian, who practically glowed.

“Well done, Jillian,” Bettina continued. “But sadly there will be points off for the fact that the PHM&T toddlers are being exposed to children outside the club.”

“Why?” Jillian asked, confused.

“These so-called ‘free’ events have their price, too. It is usually an emotional cost. For example, the storyteller’s performance is somewhat uninspired. I’m guessing she has been booed at many a child’s birthday party. Not to mention the exposure of our little ones to the bad behavioral habits of some of the more rambunctious children in the room.”

Lorna laughed. “Okay, so the storyteller will never be up for an Oscar, but I doubt our children picked up on that. All I know is that they’re having a great time. And I’m sure there are just as many rambunctious toddlers in the California Academy of Science’s rainforest—none of whom belong to PHM&T.”

Right then and there, Lorna had made Kelly’s point for her—that she was undermining Bettina’s authority with the other Onesies moms.

“My dear, getting into the Academy is not free. That makes a big difference.” After making her point to her sister-in-law, Bettina’s eyes swept over the other mothers. “You’ve been fairly warned.”

The silence that followed had nothing to do with the fact that they were in a library, and everything to do with the fact that each of them was processing Bettina’s threat.

“On a lighter note, I’ve come up with a wonderful way for you to choose the club-wide event you’ll host.” Bettina pulled out a small-lidded candy dish from her purse. Inside were tiny folded slips of paper. “Each of you will choose one of these. A budget is included. The necessary funds come from our annual dues. Except for the after-Thanksgiving potluck, the budget allows for food and decorations. However, you must decorate, coordinate, and host it on your own. And remember, creativity is key, but organization is just as important. The best part—your event’s success is yours, too!”

What she didn’t say was implicit—fail, and you get axed.

She held the dish out toward the other women.

They exchanged wary looks. Then Ally nodded, timidly reaching into the small bowl. “It says ‘Parents’ Holiday Party, Friday, December 14th.’”

 “Wonderful! What could be better? Food, folks, and fun!” Bettina continued, “I’ll email you with the details of the location. By the way, your budget allows for a caterer.”’

After the chastisement she’d just received, Jillian considered waiting until last, but then thought better of it. Picking next would give her more options. She reached in,  pulling out a tiny slip. “‘Santa’s Visit to the Children, Monday, December 10th.’” She sighed with relief.

Lorna frowned with concern. “Um…doesn’t the club have a few members who aren’t Christian? How do they feel about Santa?”

“In fact, Jillian, your event should also include Kwanzaa and Hanukkah rites, and some Christmas caroling. In other words, think multi-cultural! But no need for Hanukkah to run the full eight days, since our children’s attention spans are at the most an hour or two.”

Jillian nodded slowly. Everyone was sure she hadn’t been mulling the details of an eight-day extravaganza. Still, it was good that Bettina had spelled it out for her.

“My turn,” Kelly said. After pulling a folded slip, she frowned. “Oh. The After-Thanksgiving Potluck.”

“Easy-peasy,” Bettina assured her. “We hold it at the Presidio Golf Club’s café. No need for a caterer because members bring the food, which you’ll coordinate by monitoring PHM&T’s online dish sign-up sheet. In the last week, you’ll arbitrarily assign a dish category to those laggards who haven’t signed up. And you’ll be in charge of decorating the clubhouse with a Thanksgiving theme. By yourself, of course.”

Kelly’s smile faded. Obviously, she hadn’t counted on a task with so many moving parts.

 “My turn!” Jade put her hand into the bowl and pulled out a tiny slip. “Oh! I have the club’s pumpkin patch visit.” 

“Excellent,” Bettina said. “I’m sure you’ll do a great job explaining the lore around fall harvest. Lots of hands-on fun for our children, what with pony rides and the cornfield maze.”

“Last but not least, I’m sure,” said Lorna, reaching in for the last slip of paper. “I have the coordination of the Recipe Book fundraiser.”

“Aren’t you lucky! With your top-notch organizational skills, it should be a breeze,” Bettina exclaimed. “Let’s see, that means you’ll be in charge of editing the recipes for our cookbook fundraiser. Just think, Lorna! You’ll get so many great ideas to enhance those tired old standbys you insist on preparing for the holidays! Oh, that’s not to imply that your own culinary skills are lacking in any way. It’s nice to polish up on them now and then. You know, just to keep from getting stale.”

As if validating this premise, Kelly gave Lorna a sympathetic pat on the wrist.

Lorna almost jerked her arm away. She had a niggling feeling she shouldn’t trust Kelly, despite the woman’s numerous attempts to ingratiate herself to Lorna. It was obvious to everyone that Kelly and Bettina were close. And just the other day, after Chakra’s dismissal, Bettina had asked Kelly to stay behind while the rest of the group dispersed.

No, something was not right. She could just feel it. Still, if she acted suspicious of Kelly just because she and Bettina were close, she might be hurting her chances of staying in the club.

Lorna smiled, masking her frustration. “You’re right, Bettina. And since it’s the club’s most important charity fundraiser of the year, I’ll do my best to make it an even bigger success than it’s ever been. It’s raised so little money in the past.”

There, she’d thrown down the gauntlet. She’d best Bettina with her pet project.

Bettina’s worried scowl was priceless.



© 2012 Josie Brown. Published in 2012 by Coliloquy Books. All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Totlandia/The Onesies, Book 1 on Amazon

 

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Totlandia/ The Onesies, Book 2, on Amazon

 


 

 



Squeeeee! TOTLANDIA is up on Amazon!

Totlandia5_2TOTLANDIA
Book 1: The Onesies

 Coliloquy Books / 978-0-9740214-0-9 / eBook

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Friendship. Lies. Seduction. Betrayal. 
Welcome to Totlandia.

The salacious secrets of Desperate Housewives meet the aspirational lifestyles of Sex and the City in San Francisco’s most elite mommies group

In this sometimes bittersweet (and always humorous) novel, the friendships among four women who meet in a moms-and-tots playgroup are tested as they address their presumptions, family traumas, love, passion, and the hard realities of parenting their children.

Read an excerpt here…

Author's Q&A here…

Join the TOTLANDIA Facebook Page (Lots of contests and prizes…)

Mad Men at the DeYoung Museum, San Francisco

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Yesterday Martin Brown and I caught the tail end of the Arthur Tress photography exhibit at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum. It is entitled "San Francisco 1964." Loved the Mad Men-esque blast from the past I never knew.(Yes, I was alive then; but no, I wasn't in San Francisco.)

Tress's genius was not capturing the happenings, but the people who turned out for them. For example, this one was a demonstration against the hiring practices of Cadillac dealership on 1000 Van Ness (Van Ness was more an auto row then than it is now).

The guy in the middle, in the sweater, has such a contemporary face! but he'd be mid-sixties now. The guy far left, has some really interesting political buttons on his white sweater shirt,, including a peace sign. The guy in the front, with the hat, is leading the demonstrators in a chant.

That year — 1964 — was also an election year. In fact, the Tress also caught supporters of both Republican candidates Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller at the Cow Palace, where that year's GOP convention was being held. (I'm guessing we won't see another Republican convention here in a very, very long time…)

Tress ringo
The exhibition juxtaposed that against a Beatles publicity stunt in which shouting fans held up signs that say "RINGO FOR PRESIDENT."  Had that campaign caught the zeitgeist, I'm sure the fact that he hadn't been born in the United States (let alone wasn't a US citizen) would have been an issue. Then again, if enough (then baby boomin') 18 year-olds had rallied to overturn that Constitutional mandate, our 37th president might have been sporting a mop top.

Go figure.

— Josie

 

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What was she thinking? Where is she now? Whoever she is, she was one classy gal.

 

   

HAH Hanging Man V2

The Housewife Asassin's Handbook

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"You've got a book that won't be putdown – so go pick it up now!"  — Cat's Thoughts

"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 humor…" –Curled Up with a Good Book and a Cup of Tea

 "This is a super sex and fun read that you shouldn't miss! How do I love this book, let me count the ways: (1) a kick ass woman who 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 along, 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

 

TGIF!

Washington-Square-Park
Today was one of those cinematically picture perfect San Francisco Spring days. Everyone was in sundresses, shorts and camisoles, and flipflops.

The sky was California blue. (Sorry, Carolina folk! We claim it, too!)

Our walk took us from Pac Heights, through Fort Mason Park and down beside Gashouse Cove and the Maritime Museum, cutting away from the tourists into North Beach, in order to score some fresh-baked bread from an Italian bakery there.

Martin likes a bread they make called a "stubby," because it is wide, and just long enough to poke out beyond the bag they wrap it in.

Frankly," I told him, "I think the name is emasculating."

He answered, "Hell, I don't know a man in the world who wouldn't be proud of this as a…."  

SPEAK TO THE HAND.

The route we take drops us into Washington Square, North Beach's premier park. It is flanked by Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church on its north side, which is famous because newlyweds Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe, had their pictures taken on the steps of the church, after a civil ceremony. I'm guessing that the Yankee Clipper's previous marriage and divorce kept them from going down aisle in his hometown parish's church.

Because we the the grandeur and solitude we find there, invariably we stop in and take a few moments to bask in its grace, and to say a prayer or two.

Do prayers work? They do for me. I don't know if it's because the Supreme Being feels my pain and deems it worthy to grant relief, or if it is what the universe had in mind for me all along.

I do know one thing: it's much more than, "Try it, and see what happens."

I'd say it's more like, "Some things we just can't explain…and that's okay."

No doubt about it: where there's a will, there's a way. But when the will isn't enough, I've got all the proof I need that faith picks up the slack.

Yep, thank God! It's Friday!

— Josie

 

HAH Hanging Man V2
The Housewife Asassin's Handbook

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