Martin and I found this antique musical Santa snow globe at an old curiosity shoppe.

Christmas Snow Globe 2015

At the time it was a splurge for us—thirty dollars—but how could we resist? Turns out the shop owner had just polished its brass base that very morning before putting it in the shop window. "I knew it would go quickly," he said, chuckling. The shop is gone now. Still, I'm sure he'd be happy to know it's given us many years of joy. Every time I hear its version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," I have to smile.

—Josie

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

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Joplin memory…

  JanisJoplin+Porsche

The trails around Marin County California's Mount Tam take you on wonderous journeys through vast groves of redwood trees, climbing higher and higher until panoramic views of San Francisco, its bay, and the turbulent Pacific Ocean beyond the Marin Headlands come into view.

One of these trails starts in Larkspur's Baltimore Canyon, on the estate where, in 1970, legendary rocker Janis Joplin lived before dying of a drug overdose at the age of twenty-seven, in some nondescript Los Angeles hotel room.

The wood nymphs cried that day.

Had she been at home instead, maybe they could have saved her.

A couple of years, ago, the subsequent owner of Joplin's creekside home sold off the half-acre portion that included an already-established trail head. Now hikers enjoy the trek up to Blithedale Ridge without tresspassing.

It is appreciated by all. Once again, Janis gives joy to the world.

Mike Lessin was just ten when he moved into the house after Joplin passed away. He remembers the walls at deep purple, and "trippy."

But of course.

He'd lived elsewhere on the street before his dad purchased the home, so he also remembers the parties that were held there, attended by  and Joplin's infamous psychdelically painted Porche.

Lessin remembers hearing about sightings of Doors' lead singer Jim Morrison, and rocker Kris Kristofferson, who wrote Joplin's posthumus hit "Me and Bobby McGee".

Kristofferson  has a home on the Hawaiian island of Maui, near Hana.

Some of Joplin's decor still exists in the house. Who would have the nerve to lose the redwood burl bar, or its custom woodwork? If you've visited Horizons Restaurant (formerly the Trident, back in that era) on the Sausalito waterfront, you'll recognize the style, since it was the same carpenter worked on both.

The later owners also held onto Joplin's pool table, and kept the sunken bath and shower, below a skylight that allows one to look up at the redwood trees doing a lazy wave overhead.

Good to see that her legacy lives on in yet another way.

*Photo: Janis and her psychedelic Porsche,
at one of my fave hangs: San Franciso's Palace of Fine Arts.

 

— Josie

   

HAH Hanging Man V2

The Housewife Asassin's Handbook

Buy it today on
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 "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

This Saturday, take my writers’ workshop in Sacramento…

Sacramento-river

Here are the deets. Hope to see you there!

— Josie

Sat May 19, 2012 / 9am check-in / Ends at 12 noon
SACRAMENTO, CA 
Sacramento Valley Rose Romance Writers Chapter

Holiday Inn Rancho Cordova
11269 Point East Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742

Josie's Workshop: "“Your First Scene, Line, Paragraph: Making a Great First Impression”

If you’re going to sell your novel, capturing the hearts and minds of those who will read it first – your dream agents or editors – is tantamount.

In this workshop, participants will learn:

1. 4 Page-Turning Tips Every Story MUST Have
2. The Best Place to Start Your Story, and Why (Believe it or not, it’s may not be where you’ve got it now…)
3. When (and When Not) to Use a Prologue
4. How to Integrate a Backstory without Slowing the Pace of Your Narrative
5. How and When to Balance Dialogue with Narrative

Because these are interactive workshops, prior to the event participants are welcomed to mail Josie the very first scene of a work-in-progress (no more than eight pages, double-spaced) that they feel exemplifies their process.

From what is sent in, she will choose a handful for positive, insightful examples of voice done well.

Hooray for Hollywood….

TrueHollywood Lies
I love the Southland.

Warm, dry heat. Palm fronds waving lazily in the breeze.

The inevitable celebrity sighting. "Is that….Nah! Can't be! Too  (fill in the blank: tiny/old/young/fat/doesn't look anything like the fantasy I had in mind)…"

I'll be making my way to Los Angeles this weekend, where I'll be hosted by the Los Angeles Romance Authors. Here's the deets, below.

Hey, if want to get into an LA frame of mind, click this link to hear a scat/jazz version of Hooray for Hollywood…

Or if you've got a hankering to talk writerly things, come join us!

 

— Josie

Sun April 15, 2012 / 10am – 12noon
LOS ANGELES, CA
Los Angeles Romance Authors

Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel, 12825 Ventura Blvd, LA CA 91604

Attendance costs $5.00 for members and $10.00 for visitors.
Your first visit is free!

Josie's Workshop: "“Your First Scene, Line, Paragraph: Making a Great First Impression”

If you’re going to sell your novel, capturing the hearts and minds of those who will read it first – your dream agents or editors – is tantamount.

In this workshop, participants will learn:
 

1. 4 Page-Turning Tips Every Story MUST Have
2. The Best Place to Start Your Story, and Why (Believe it or not, it’s may not be where you’ve got it now…)
3. When (and When Not) to Use a Prologue
4. How to Integrate a Backstory without Slowing the Pace of Your Narrative
5. How and When to Balance Dialogue with Narrative

Because these are interactive workshops, prior to the event participants are welcomed to mail Josie the very first scene of a work-in-progress (no more than eight pages, double-spaced) that they feel exemplifies their process.

From what is sent in, she will choose a handful for positive, insightful examples of voice done well.

I’m not going to let 2012 be my “bad hair day” of years, and you shouldn’t either.

AvedonMartin and I used to think that our best years ended in odd numbers.

In hindsight, I think we'd flip that analogy to fit any year in which we weren't having a great year.

For us — and I guess a lot of you, too — 2011 was a mixed blessing. I'm not an avid baseball fan, but there is something to say about "times up to bat": the more you put it out there, the better chance you'll have of scoring a hit, as opposed to an error.

And every now and then, you also hit it out of the park.

Granted, for Team Brown, there were enough errors for 2011 to turn us around on the assumption that odd years are our best. But we also had our fair share of hits, including the launch of four books. My two were The Baby Planner and The Housewife Assassin's Handbook. Martin's books were Fit in 50 Days, and on the last day of the year, The Ultimate New Year's Resolution Diet.

Not only that, but I saw one of my titles, True Hollywood Lies, achieve the ranking of 411 in Amazon Bestsellers, as well as #9 in Amazon's category of Books/Literature & Fiction/Comic.

On the first day of every new year, Martin starts off by saying,  "It's a new year, and we're still here."

He means this, literally as well as figuratively.

It's an inside joke:

One new year's day, just after we moved to Marin County, we were walking our children into Mill Valley's Old Mill Park when the skies opened up. As the rain poured down, an elderly gentleman, standing in his garage called out, "You can stand here with me, if you want, until it blows over."

We were happy to take him up on his offer.

Standing there, we made small talk. I don't know how the subject of the man's wife came up. I guess it had to do with the fact that we'd just started another new year. With the openess  that only comes with fresh emotional wounds, he said, "Yep, just this past new year's day, as we sat down to breakfast, she said, 'Well, it's a new year, and we're still here.' Then she dropped dead of a heart attack."

What a way to start the year: losing the person you love the most, whom you've spent a lifetime.

Any other issues are miniscule. They are a run in the pantyhose of your life.

To put things in perspective: he hadn't had a bad hair day. He had a bad hair year.

Whenever we're coming off a bad year, or we're trepidacious as to what the new year will bring, we remember that man and the wife he mourned.

And we count our blessings. Here are the ones I cherish most:

– We have great health, as do our children.

– We are still as madly in love today as we were on the day we married.

– We saw many of our far-flung family this year, making new memories even as we remembered the old ones.

– Our friends are loving, appreciative and a joy to be around. If only we could see more of them, more often!

– We love what we do, which is write.

You've got to love the fact that life is just one big tease,

— Josie

*Photo: Uber-model Jean Shrimpton, by Richard Avedon. Talk about helmet hair!

 

HAH Hanging Man V2
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THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK 
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