TGIF Excerpt: Scotty is dying. Time for Martin to cross the bridge into the 21st Century.

KirkWithPhaser
My husband, Martin, isn't one of those men who must have the latest/greatest in technology. Nor must he demonstrate his manliness with boy toys that are always the biggest, and therefore presumed the best (phallically speaking).

Which brings me to the death of Scotty–an appropriate topic, now that the latest Star Trek Movie ("Into Darkness") is in movie theaters.

No, I don't mean Scotty, the good ship Enterprise's engineer (thank goodness, because I really really love love love Simon Pegg in the role). 

I mean Martin's cell phone, a relic he calls "Scotty," as a quaint reference to the phasers carried by the Star Trek crew. You see, his phone is that tiny.

And it ispossibly as old as the original TV show itself.

Okay, certainly it's not THAT old. Besides, back then there were no cell phones, not to mention the first ones were attached to suitcases, so that would defeat his purpose of carrying the tiniest phone he could find.

In fact, his current cell is so tiny that texting on it (yes, at least it allows him to text, but only predictively) is a tribulation, despite his opposable-thumb dexterity. (He's right up there with the apes and chimps, so my mother was wrong about him.)

And the darn thing certainly ain't "smart." He can't get The Internets, and the pictures it takes look like they were pulled out of an elephant's ass.

Bottom line: Scotty is dying.

It's showing its wonkiness by asking to "Please Insert Sim Card" when it already has one. Or sometimes the screen goes white (yes, at least, originally it was in color). Other times, the message shows appears upside down.

"Honey, Scotty is dying," I tell him in a soothing tone.

"But I hate the new phones! They're too big," he whines "Much too bulky for a man to carry in his pocket."

"Too bad," I respond. "It's dying. That's okay. It lived long and prospered. But if you're waiting for another cell the size of a Star Trek phaser gun, youve got another thing coming. If you need something to carry it in, I'll lend you one of my purses."

Needless to say, this is not the answer he's looking for. 

If he could, he'd wait it out, until cells got small again. Until then, he's still got to reach out and touch someone with something that receives messages that aren't smoke signals, so down to the Verizon store we go.

Speaking of dying, I've got a great excerpt for you today. It comes from Book 2 of The Housewife Assassin series, Guide to Gracious Killing. In it, my heroine, Donna Stone, is charged with protecting  the Russian president from assassins while he's the guest of an American billionaire. Of course, both an assassin and the billionaire make their appearance at exactly the wrong time: while Donna is trying to take a shower.

Awkward.

 
HAH-2-Book-Set (4)Enjoy it. And if you do, feel free to buy it. 

In fact, if you haven't yet read Book 1, The Housewife Assassin's Handbook you can get it free right now, either by itself, or along with Book 2, in The Housewife Assassin's Killer 2-Book Set.

 

EXCERPT

I’ve just clicked on the dryer again, when
there’s another knock on the door. I crack it open to find a maid standing
there, with an armful of towels. “Shall I take them into the bathroom, Madame?”
Her accent is slightly British, which is par for the course around here.

“No, that’s okay. I’ll take them.”

She smiles and hands them to me.

That’s when I see it—a small tattoo of a wolf on
her left arm.

Her eyes follow mine. She senses I know who she
is.

Her arm comes up toward my face. I block it with
my forearm, then kick her in the gut. She falls back, slamming into the
dresser. This stuns her, but just for a second. She reaches behind her and
yanks the dryer from the electrical socket. In no time at all, she’s got the
cord wrapped around both her wrists and arms.

“You won’t stop me from killing him.” Her vow is
soft, but deadly. “With what he’s done to others like me? That pig does not
deserve to live!”

“Trust me I get it. But it’s not happening here,
or now.”

We both know I can’t talk her out of her mission
anymore than she can talk me out of mine: to save Asimov’s sorry ass.

We circle each other warily, assessing each
other’s weaknesses: She’s got more bulk than me, but she’s also slower. I’m
taller, too. Best yet, I’m now up against the dresser. Obviously, she considers
this a weakness because she charges me.

Even with the cord wrapped around my neck, all
it takes is one squirt of my spray cologne in her eyes to blind her.

She stumbles into the bathroom, dragging me with
her into the shower, where she turns on the water, full force. She’s hoping to
wash the sting out of her eyes.

What she doesn’t count on is my ability to kick
her into the shower.

She bangs her head against the marble wall.
Before she comes to her senses, I untangle myself from the cord, plug the dryer
into an electrical socket, and throw it into the tub.

Wolverine’s death mask stare and the smell of
her frying skin sends me gagging from the room followed by a shower of sparks
as the electrical system shorts out.

I shut the bathroom door, then lay down on the
bed to catch my breath.

This time when there’s a tap on the door, I
throw it open, to let Jack in.

But no. It’s Jonah Breck.

I pull my robe tightly around me. “My husband is
out right now.”

He smirks. “I know, dear. That’s why I’m here.
Don’t worry, we’ve got all the time in the world. He’s with the Japanese
defense minister, who is somewhat long-winded.” From behind him, he pulls a
bottle of Tattinger’s and two champagne glasses. “I presume you’re finding your
accommodations to your liking.”

“In all honesty, there’s a short in the
bathroom’s electrical system—”

Before I can say another word, he has backed me
onto the bed. When my robe falls open, he whips the sash out from around me.
Before I know it, he’s flipped me onto my stomach.

“I could use that drink right now,” I gasp, as
he binds my wrists with the sash.

“We’ll celebrate afterward.” I hear him fumbling
with his zipper. “You will, anyway. Trust me, I’ll have you begging for more.”

Promises, promises.

I struggle and try to sweet talk him some sense
into him, but no use. He’s got me pinned. I’ve just about given up any hope of
the Calvary coming when there is a sharp knock on the door.

“Mrs. Stone?” Both Breck and I recognize
Edwina’s voice. “Mrs. Stone, your daughter requests you come immediately.”

“Answer her.” Breck’s hot breath sears my ear.

I shout, “I’ll—I’ll be right there.”

“I’ll have to escort you. The girls are eating
in the south wing media room tonight, and with security as tight as it is… Well,
you can just imagine.”

Breck mutters a curse as he rolls off me. Even
as he unties me with one hand, the other gently follows the curve of my ass—

When he smacks it hard, I swallow the urge to
cry out.

“A love tap. There’s more where that came from.
You’ll love the tour of my dungeon.”

He’s got a dungeon? His corporate bio doesn’t
mention a sadistic streak, but yeah, okay, makes sense. 

I leap up and grab my dress, which is hanging
over the chair.

Breck smiles as I struggle into it. “Allow me to
zip you up.”

I suppress a shudder at the thought of his hands
anywhere on me. Instead, I nod.

He presses the zipper into my skin as he inches
it up, ever so slowly. When he’s done, I feel his lips grazing my neck. They
linger there as he breathes in the scent of my skin, sweat, and disgust.

How I long to smash that champagne bottle over
my host’s head, but seriously, what kind of guest would that make me?

And besides, I can’t deal with the disposal of
two dead bodies tonight.

Before I leave, I flip off Elvis Costello.

I can just imagine Ryan and Arnie’s shock and
awe at seeing Breck slithering out of the room.

I don’t even want to think about Jack’s
reaction.

Let alone what he’ll say about the fried maid in
the shower. I guess I have a lot of explaining to do.

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

 


Guide-to-Gracious-Killing-FinalThe Housewife Assassin's 
Guide to Gracious Killing 
(Book 2) Only $3.99! 

Signal Press / In bookstores now!

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Apple iTunes Bookstore 

 

 

 


Thanks, readers, for helping me get to #1 on Amazon/Women Sleuths

HAH-Hanging-Man-Oct-5-2012I woke up this morning to find that my novel, The Housewife Assassin's Handbook was #1 in Amazon, under the category of Free Kindle Books/Women Sleuths.  I was also #3 in Amazon/Free Kindle Books/Romantic Suspense,  #3 in Free Kindle Books/Mysteries & Thrillers

And #20 of ALL Amazon/Free Kindle books.

It's free on Amazon, today only, so get it now…

The reason I'm excited: the more readers' hands my book gets into, even as a free book, the more likely they are to pick up the second and the third books in the series. Book 2 The Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Living is out now, and Book 3, The Housewife Assassin's Killer Christmas Tips will be out December 1st.



Here's a short synopsis of each book. Click the links for excerpts…

In The Housewife Assassin's Handbook


 - Every desperate housewife wants an alias: Donna Stone has one…and it happens to be government-sanctioned.
– But Donna earned it the hard way: her husband was killed the day she delivered their third child.    - To avenge her husband's murder: Donna leads a secret life: as an assassin.    - But espionage makes for strange bedfellows:
 and brings new meaning to that old adage, "Honey, I'm home…"

 

 

Guide-to-Gracious-Killing-Final


– HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN DONNA STONE'S MISSION:
 Stop a rogue operative before he assassinates the newly-elected Russian president — on US soil!

– DONNA WANTS A DIVORCE: But first she's got to serve a summons to a deadbeat dad… who's also a terrorist! - AS FOR DONNA'S LOVE LIFE: Turns out the spy who loves her has a bombshell secret of his own…

 

 



Killer-Tips-Cover-v3The Housewife Assassin's Killer Christmas Tips

(In online bookstores December 1st, 2012!)

Read an excerpt here…

Tis the season for murder, mayhem and mistletoe! There will be no peace on Earth if Donna and Jack don’t find a shipping container filled with heat-seeking missiles.

Forget Santa! Terror is coming to town…

As an author, I’m super impressed with Kobo’s platform and bookstore…

HAH-Hanging-Man-Oct-5-2012I just uploaded the books from my HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN series, and it was easy-peasy, from start to finish.

To buy either The Housewife Assassin's Handbook, or  The Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Killing on Kobo, click onto their titles, or the book's photo.

Also, it has culled reader reviews from various sources, so even if you haven't read it via one bookstore, you can see a more comprehensive list of what readers are saying about it.

For example, a couple of the readers for The Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Killing say this, on Amazon.

Hope you like them…and BUY them!

— Josie

 

 

5.0 out of 5 stars 
So fun with twists you actually don't see coming! October 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase

So many books in this genre fall into the same formula and once you've read more than two of them, the books become predictable. Not so in this book {or any of Josie Brown's books for that matter}. I was actually very surprised by the twists in the book and found my jaw hanging open in shock on more than one occasion. The characters are so well written that I found myself getting emotional as the story went along- I felt angry, sad and happy for the characters and almost became protective as well. Definitely a great read!

Guide-to-Gracious-Killing-Final5.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic read! Love it! October 11, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition

Nothing is ever easy for Donna Stone. Whether its saving Prince Harry from an assassin or serving her husband Carl with divorce papers, things have a way of going drastically against plan.

I loved, loved, loved this book! Just the right balance of love, hate, seedy bad guys, hot good guys. And oh so much fun! It is just so easy to get sucked into the story and just keep going!

I felt the storyline was a bit darker this time around, but it was done well. The book still had enough humour and lighthearted moments that lessended that impact though, and so it wasn't too 'in your face'.

Lots of twists and turns and plenty of OMG moments, and just an all round fun ride.

The only question remaining: how long til there's more?

 

Game of Tomes

TheWayWeWere

As a novelist, I have to keep abreast of the distribution and marketing issues that affect books.  Even if you aren't part this world, you'd have to have been on an extended vacation (say, to Mars and back) not to know about the creation and sale of eBooks (digital books), and how this new format has as changed the publishing industry.

In this letter to its members, Scott Turow, President of the Writers Guild, explains how the Department of Justice's suit against five major book publishers and Apple may in fact financially undercut authors in two ways.

First, should it strengthen the largest book retailer, Amazon, eventually authors may get paid even less for their books.

Secondly, they'll have less places in which to distribute and promote their books. 

For midlist authors such as myself. ePublishing is a mixed blessing. Those books which were abandoned by their original publishers can find new lives–and readers–when an author publishes his or her backlist. And those books which publishers have passed on can now find the readers we authors feel they deserve. In fact, I've had good friends make more money self-pub'ing than they ever made writing for traditional pub houses.

If you keep the book locked away in a drawer, what chance will it have to find an audience?

On the flip side, the creators shouldn't be making less money on their product than the distributor.

Competition is good for everyone: publishers, authors, readers, and booksellers. Which begs the question:

What is the fairest way to split the revenue of a book between the author (or author and publisher) and the retailer?


— Josie

 

Dear member,
 
Yesterday's reports that the Justice Department may be near filing an antitrust lawsuit against five large trade book publishers and Apple is grim news for everyone who cherishes a rich literary culture.
 
The Justice Department has been investigating whether those publishers colluded in adopting a new model, pioneered by Apple for its sale of iTunes and apps, for selling e-books. Under that model, Apple simply acts as the publisher's sales agent, with no authority to discount prices.
 
We have no way of knowing whether publishers colluded in adopting the agency model for e-book pricing. We do know that collusion wasn't necessary: given the chance, any rational publisher would have leapt at Apple's offer and clung to it like a life raft. Amazon was using e-book discounting to destroy bookselling, making it uneconomic for physical bookstores to keep their doors open.
 
Just before Amazon introduced the Kindle, it convinced major publishers to break old practices and release books in digital form at the same time they released them as hardcovers. Then Amazon dropped its bombshell: as it announced the launch of the Kindle, publishers learned that Amazon would be selling countless frontlist e-books at a loss. This was a game-changer, and not in a good way. Amazon's predatory pricing would shield it from e-book competitors that lacked Amazon's deep pockets.
 
Critically, it also undermined the hardcover market that brick-and-mortar stores depend on. It was as if Netflix announced that it would stream new movies the same weekend they opened in theaters. Publishers, though reportedly furious, largely acquiesced. Amazon, after all, already controlled some 75% of the online physical book market.
 
Amazon quickly captured the e-book market as well, bringing customers into its proprietary device-and-format walled garden (Sony, the prior e-book device leader, uses the open ePub format). Two years after it introduced the Kindle, Amazon continued to take losses on a deep list of e-book titles, undercutting hardcover sales of the most popular frontlist titles at its brick and mortar competitors. Those losses paid huge dividends. By the end of 2009, Amazon held an estimated 90% of the rapidly growing e-book market. Traditional bookstores were shutting down or scaling back. Borders was on its knees. Barnes & Noble had gamely just begun selling its Nook, but it lacked the capital to absorb e-book losses for long.
 
Enter Steve Jobs. Two years ago January, one month after B&N shipped its first Nook, Jobs introduced Apple's iPad, with its proven iTunes-and-apps agency model for digital content. Five of the largest publishers jumped on with Apple’s model, even though it meant those publishers would make less money on every e-book they sold.
 
Publishers had no real choice (except the largest, Random House, which could bide its time – it took the leap with the launch of the iPad 2): it was seize the agency model or watch Amazon's discounting destroy their physical distribution chain. Bookstores were well along the path to becoming as rare as record stores. That’s why we publicly backed Macmillan when Amazon tried to use its online print book dominance to enforce its preferred e-book sales terms, even though Apple’s agency model also meant lower royalties for authors.
 
Our concern about bookstores isn't rooted in sentiment: bookstores are critical to modern bookselling. Marketing studies consistently show that readers are far more adventurous in their choice of books when in a bookstore than when shopping online. In bookstores, readers are open to trying new genres and new authors: it’s by far the best way for new works to be discovered. Publishing shouldn’t have to choose between bricks and clicks. A robust book marketplace demands both bookstore showrooms to properly display new titles and online distribution for the convenience of customers. Apple thrives on this very model: a strong retail presence to display its high-touch products coupled with vigorous online distribution. While bookstores close, Apple has been busy opening more than 300 stores.
 
For those of us who have been fortunate enough to become familiar to large numbers of readers, the disappearance of bookstores is deeply troubling, but it will have little effect on our sales or incomes. Like rock bands from the pre-Napster era, established authors can still draw a crowd, if not to a stadium, at least to a virtual shopping cart. For new authors, however, a difficult profession is poised to become much more difficult. The high royalties of direct publishing, for most, are more than offset by drastically smaller markets. And publishers won't risk capital where there's no reasonable prospect for reward. They will necessarily focus their capital on what works in an online environment: familiar works by familiar authors.
 
Two years after the agency model came to bookselling, Amazon is losing its chokehold on the e-book market: its share has fallen from about 90% to roughly 60%. Customers are benefiting from the surprisingly innovative e-readers Barnes & Noble's investments have delivered, including a tablet device that beat Amazon to the market by fully twelve months. Brick-and-mortar bookstores are starting to compete through their partnership with Google, so loyal customers can buy e-books from them at the same price as they would from Amazon. Direct-selling authors have also benefited, as Amazon more than doubled its royalty rates in the face of competition.
 
Let's hope the reports are wrong, or that the Justice Department reconsiders. The irony bites hard: our government may be on the verge of killing real competition in order to save the appearance of competition.
 
This would be tragic for all of us who value books, and the culture they support.
 
Sincerely,
 
Scott Turow
President
[Feel free to forward or comment. Here it is at our blog: http://tinyurl.com/759tfls]
HAH Hanging Man V2
The Housewife Asassin's Handbook

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What drives authors crazy? Amazon rankings. Here’s why.

Reading-on-the-beach-007We should both be hitting the beach with a good book, just reading…taking it easy…

In other words LIVING — instead of locked up inside, making a living.

To get my mind out of the fantasy of sand and surf, I've been spending my breaks between writing by   gauging my ranking for TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES on Amazon.com, which thanks to my publisher Diversion Books, has hit the zeitgeist in that online bookstore.

Right now it's at #444 on the category called Amazon Bestsellers/Kindle. But when you consider that there are over 3 million books in Amazon, that ain't too shabby.

What is even more astounding is that in the subcategories, it's ranking is even lower: To wit:

-  #9 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Comic (where I'm bookended by Tina Fey and that guy who wrote "Go the F**K to Sleep")

– #14 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Humor

– #25 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Romance > Contemporary (Just behind a Nora Roberts book. How sweet is that?)

I feel honored and blessed that so many new readers are discovering it.

I've got to admit, it's a fun read: lots of sex, scandal, and celebrities gone wild. You know, the usual stuff.

If you haven't read it yet, you can read an excerpt here …

Aw hell, for $1.99, just go ahead and buy it, here!

Blatant self promotion,

: )

— Josie

TrueHollywood Lies

"…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

"Josie Brown does an outstanding job capturing the glitz and glamour of Hollywood living yet illuminating the stark loneliness present beneath the façade.  Filled with good-natured humor and witty repartee…"
–Romance Reader's Connection

Who’da thunk it? TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES is #9 on Amazon’s Book list for “Humor”

TrueHollywood Lies
I can't help but love the fact that TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES is now #9 in Amazon, under Books > Literature & Fiction > Comic.

I'm in very good company: Tina Fey is at #1, Mindy Kaling at #3, and Ellen DeGeneres at #5.

Overall, TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES' Amazon ranking at this very moment is #451.

The novel is a very satirical look at LA and celebrity, so glad others have picked up on that. Or as the critcs have put it:

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

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

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

My goal is to get TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES somewhere in the Amazon 100. Want to help me out? If you want a quick, fun read for only $1.99, you can check it out here… 

Thanks for allowing me to share this bit of happiness,

— Josie

 

We have a winner…


HAH Hanging Man V2Thanks, all 116 correct entrants, for making my $50 Fandango Bucks contest for the launch of The Housewife Assassin's Handbook a total success.

The winning entry is Lynn S., from Towson, MD.

Lori squeeled very loudly (via email). I would have, too, since this upcoming fall movie season looks super. Of special interest to me it Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy — not just because it's got a great cast (Gary Oldman, Colin Firth to name two), but because it seems like an excellent adapted by my favorite espionage novelist John LeCarre,  

Hmmm….maybe that will give me an excuse to throw another Fandango Bucks contest…

You'll be the first to know,

–Josie

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