“I don’t mind living in a man’s world…”

Marilyn-monroe-reading

 

"…as long as I can be a woman in it."

— Marilyn Monroe

 

____________________________

 

 

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

978-0-9740214-0-9

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The Almost Marilyn Monroe, Almost Naked

Dixie and Marilyn

The renowned burlesque dancer, Dixie Evans, died this weekend. She was known as burlesque's "Marilyn Monroe." Yes, the resemblance was uncanny! See for yourself.  Here's how she built her act.

Take it off, take it all off,

— Josie

August 10, 2013

Dixie Evans, Who Brought ‘Monroe’ to Burlesque Houses, Dies at 86

By MARGALIT FOX / New York Times

Dixie Evans, a popular stage performer billed as the “Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque” — the first two words in very large letters and the last two in very small ones — died on Aug. 3 in Las Vegas. She was 86.

Her death was announced on the Web site of the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, of which she was a former curator and director.

Ms. Evans was a marquee name at midcentury, mentioned in the same avid breath as Gypsy Rose Lee, Sally Rand and Lili St. Cyr. In later years, she was featured in newspaper articles and television programs about burlesque and appeared in the 2010 documentary “Behind the Burly Q.”

She was profiled in the 1996 book “Holding On: Dreamers, Visionaries, Eccentrics, and Other American Heroes,” by David Isay, with photographs by Harvey Wang.

Reflecting on her unlikely stardom in a 1992 interview with CNN, Ms. Evans said, “I was not that talented and I wasn’t that pretty.”

But her close-enough resemblance to Monroe — enhanced by a peroxide blond coiffure and the uncanny ability of Ms. Evans, who never met her subject, to mimic her speech and shimmy — ensured her success as a locus of transference.

“If you couldn’t meet the real Marilyn,” Ms. Evans told The New York Times in 1998, “you could come to the burlesque and meet me.”

Night after night from the early ’50s onward, at burlesque houses around the country, Ms. Evans took the stage in Monrovian garb and swung into musical numbers that recalled those in Monroe’s films. Unlike Monroe, she ended the numbers far more lightly attired than when she began.

She kept the act going for more than a decade, modifying it enough to mollify Monroe, who at once point threatened to sue. Wherever she played, she drew a devoted, even rarefied, following.

“Walter Cronkite used to come every year to see my act,” Ms. Evans told The Los Angeles Times in 1993.

Frank Sinatra was said to be a fan. So, too, was Joe DiMaggio, who was reported to have visited the show for consolation after his divorce from Monroe in 1954.

Then, in 1962, Monroe’s suicide rendered the act obsolete overnight. As Ms. Evans told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2002, “When she died, I died.”

She held a string of jobs, doing public relations for a hotel in the Bahamas and working as a nurse’s aide in California, before an abandoned goat ranch in a dusty Western town afforded her an improbable return to burlesque’s glittering glory.

 

Mary Lee Evans was born on Aug. 28, 1926, in Long Beach, Calif., to a well-to-do family. Her father, an oilman, died when she was a girl, and the family fortunes declined precipitously. Young Mary worked in the celery fields and during World War II was an airplane mechanic.

 

Dreaming of stardom, she began her stage career as a chorus girl in touring musicals. One night, in her late teens or early 20s, she found herself stranded in San Francisco between jobs with 50 cents in her pocket. She discovered that the local burlesque theater paid four times what she had been earning.

 

A few years later, when Ms. Evans was performing at a Minsky’s burlesque house in Newark, Harold Minsky, the son of the impresario Abraham Minsky, transformed her into Marilyn.

In the late 1980s, Ms. Evans learned that her friend Jennie Lee, a retired burlesque star, was terminally ill with cancer. Ms. Lee, who was living on a former goat ranch in the desert in Helendale, Calif., had created a de facto museum there from her old memorabilia.

Ms. Evans moved in to help care for her, assuming responsibility for the collection after Ms. Lee’s death in 1990. She expanded it into the Exotic World Burlesque Museum and Striptease Hall of Fame, whose holdings included Jennie Lee’s silver-sequined pasties, Gypsy Rose Lee’s wardrobe trunk, the cremated remains of the burlesque queen Sheri Champagne and — perhaps the collection’s most curious artifact — a photograph of Lili St. Cyr with Eleanor Roosevelt.

In 1991, Ms. Evans founded the Miss Exotic World pageant, an annual competition she liked to call the Olympics of burlesque.

In 2006 Ms. Evans moved the competition and the museum, now known as the Burlesque Hall of Fame, to Las Vegas, where she made her home from then on.

 

Ms. Evans’s marriage to Harry Braelow, a prizefighter, ended in divorce. Survivors include a sister, Betty, and many nieces and nephews.

For years in the 1950s, Ms. Evans was a fixture at the Place Pigalle, a burlesque house in Miami Beach. One night, she was arrested.

“Whenever it was election time in Miami, they’d raid the strip joints,” she told The Los Angeles Times in 2009. “I told the judge, ‘Your Honor, this is the same act you saw at the policemen’s show.’ ”

His Honor dropped the charges.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: August 11, 2013

An earlier version of this obituary omitted a survivor, Ms. Evans’s sister, Betty.

(c) 2013 New York Times


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Impossibly Tongue Tied gets its village…in Europe, Australia, and Japan, anyhow.

Impossibly_Tongue_Tied_1024x768For novelists, all of our books are our children. As a parent of nine of them (and counting!), I can honestly say that I don't play favorites, even if one or more has done better than the others.

Until recently, authors shared parenting responsibilities with their publishers. We write the books and in many cases promote them as well, while the publishers edit, create covers, print, distribute and promote the books to bookstores and readers.

Sometimes it's a wonderful collaboration. The book is nurtured by both, and flourishes out in the hard, cold world. But in many cases, the book is neglected by one parent or the other.

Sadly, this was the case with Impossibly Tongue Tied, my second novel. The publisher admitted they had no plans other than to toss the book onto the shelf.

Hearing this broke my heart.  At the time I wrote it, I was going through a family crisis, and put all my energy and angst into creating a fun, dark farce on the world of Hollywood fame and celebrity. I cried and laughed the whole time a wrote it. (Sort of like Diane Keaton, as she processed Jack Nicholson out of her system via her play, in Something's Gotta Give; I've got that clip, below…)

From the letters I received from readers, I was happy to hear I'd accomplished my goal.

Thankfully, the publisher only has rights to the book in North America (for now, anyway; my publisher will only allow me to  buying leftover inventory at a price that is worse than wholesale, and shipping above that; bookstores get free shipping, whereas the authors do not; go figure).

For those of you who live in other parts of the world, I've created a digital eBook version of Impossibly Tongue Tied, and I've priced it at a very reasonably. In Amazon.uk, you'll only pay £1.96 and throughout the other Amazon online stores, EUR 2,68.

If you enjoy it, please do review it within Amazon (it will be up soon, in the Apple iTunes Bookstore as well) and on GoodReads.

My baby deserves to be loved.

It takes a village to love a book,

Josie

Reviews:

"Brad, Angelina, Britney and Kevin may want to check out Josie Brown's new novel, Impossibly Tongue-Tied, for its ripped-from-the-headlines plot that mixes their scandals together…"
– PAGE SIX, New York Post

"Josie Brown gives us another page-turning guilty pleasure." – Marin Magazine


SYNOPSIS:
All over Hollywood, men are dialing O—for orgasms. Her steamy naughty talk fills them with lust and longing, and helps them perform like the studs they claim to be.

In truth, the industry's favorite "erotic phone operatrix" is Nina Harte, a struggling actress who has put her career on hold so that her husband, Nathan, can pursue his own dreams of stardom.

When Nathan's career takes off, so does he, leaving Nina and their four-year-old son, Jake, for his diva costar, Katerina McPherson. Then "Kat 'n' Nat" are crowned the media's newest celebrity sweethearts, and Kat labels Nina an unfit mother in order to win custody of Jake, just so that she can have that highly-coveted celebrity accessory—an adorable child—sans any unsightly stretch marks.

The one person who does care about Nina is Nathan's agent, Sam Godwin. In fact, he's in love with her. And because he has both a heart and a conscience, Sam feels guilty for having put Nat in Kat's path in the first place . . .

So, how will he feel when he learns that Nina and O are one and the same?

Read an excerpt here…

 

 IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED  (Signal Press, 2006, 2012)

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Another reason to read TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES, My red carpet red hot read

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

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

eBook winners will be announced daily.

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

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

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

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

Purchase from Amazon

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Purchase from Sony Link

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

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

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

May 2012 be the year of the (Ryan) Gosling.

Ryan_gosling-crazy_stupid_love-3

As if 2011 wasn't?

Three high-profile, well received movies in one year (four, if you remember that Blue Valentine was a limited release last Christmas) and another three on the way

Can it by the year of the Gosling, two years in a row?

Of all the young turks in film today, Ryan Gosling has the depth and breadth and height (at 6'1")  that merits a long-lived and celebrated career.

He is 3D cinematic star power, no CGI needed.

If you wanted to see a man who can lose a woman because he loves her too much, and for all the wrong reasons, as he did in Blue Valentine, go to Gosling.

If you want a tough guy with a soft center who can make a movie so much more than mayhem and violence like Drive might have been without him, go to Gosling.

If you want an actor who embodies a player like the one he played in Crazy, Stupid Love, but then can turn the role on its head by showing that he lost his soul when he broke his heart, go to Gosling.

If you want a guy who can play a cocky political operative yet be ethical and still be believable, as he was in Ides of March–AND hold his own against George Clooney–

You got it: go to Gosling.

Yup. Time to change the Chinese calendar.

I would so enjoy looking down onto a placemat with that face on it.

Yum yum yum,

— Josie

 

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Time to party like it’s 1961

HepburnParty1
Some day, I'll throw a party like Audrey Hepburn.

You know the kind. Other than that iconic image in Breakfast at Tiffany's,  of her walking down an empty Fifth Avenue too early on a Sunday morning, just staring into the glitziest bling shop in the world, to my mind the very best dialogue in that movie took place in that scene in which the whole world shows up to party in her tiny apartment: stews and runway models, aging lotharios, Hollywood agents, Brazilian playboys, and on-the-make Mad men wearing skinny ties. One guy even has an eye patch, and it isn't a Halloween party. Go figure.

The booze is flowing, the bon mots are flying. And Audrey is magnetic.

We should all be Audrey, at least once in our lives, even if our cigarette holder only blows bubbles.

Of course hers is really lit, which is why, in such a confined space, some woman's hat catches on fire.

My last "big" party was formal– that is to say, filled with too many people not willing to let their hair down, let alone go up in flames. 

That's alright. I've made a few faus pax myself: like the time half the guests ended up in the hospital with food poisoning.

This is why I'm not the chef in our family.

But I'm still a party animal.

Here's wishing you a happy and healthy 2012,

— Josie

TrueHollywood Lies

Buy TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES in Amazon!

Right now, #9 in Books/Literature & Fiction/Comic

"…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

 

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

NaNoWriMo Tip #20: Write the way George Clooney acts: with confidence.

George-Clooney

I consider self-sabotage one of the biggest issues facing any aspiring novelist, especially during National Novel Writing Month, when so many others are posting online their daily word count triumphs–

While others are falling short, or perhaps haven't had the time to write at all that day.

Talk about discouraging.

Writing a novel is a Herculean endeavor. Then there are the the additional hurdles of querying agents in the hope that they, too, will love it enough to want to represent you to editors at the various publishing houses.

Publishing is a high-stakes gamble. Considering the fact that  57,000+ adult fiction books were estimated to be published in 2010, you've got every right to wonder if your book will be one of the chosen ones for 2013. (Sorry to break the news to you, but the publishing house catalogs for 2012 are already closed out.) 

My best advice to you: Don't freak out. 

Instead, be cool.

Why? Because like wolves agents and editors can smell fear.

So, what's the best way to keep your eye on the prize that is worth all your sweat equity?

Simple. Pretend you're George Clooney.

When you consider that (despite his dreaminess) he's not much different from you or me.

Remember: before all his “Best Actor” Oscar nods, this was a guy who once starred in Return of the Killer Tomatoes.

Not to mention one of the worst Batman movies ever.

So, how did a guy who got his start on the ridiculously bad TV show Facts of Life catapult himself into the Hollywood firmament as a celebrated producer/director/actor?

He's doing what I'm suggesting to you now: He thought like a winner.

Believe me, every writer wonders if their next book will be their last. Because besides being a craft and a business, fiction writing is also an art, which is very subjective to buyers (initially, an editor). Many great books are turned down by editors before they find a home, and perhaps become a success with readers.

If you're going to write for a living, you'll have to develop a thick skin.  Here's how to make it as handsomely rugged as George Clooney's:

Be yourself.
Joan Cusack put it best in Working Girl: “Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn't make me Madonna. Never will.”  Don't try to be (or write) like someone else. You have great ideas for your books, and you have a unique voice with which to render them. Play to those strengths

Believe in your material.
By the time Clooney starred in the movie Out of Sight, he'd made the decision that he was beyond working just to work. He wanted to work on projects he believed in. Writing a novel is a long-term commitment. If you don't enjoy the project or the process, quit it. Start something new. Something you can live with, for a very long time.
 
Surround yourself with great characters.
Clooney works with actors and directors who are just as easygoing and committed to the project as him. That keeps things stress-free.
 
You, too, should have a support group. Form a critique group filled with like-minded authors who can commiserate with you on the craft and business of writing.
 
As for the characters you create on the page, they should be a joy to flesh out. Give them great dialogue. Make their backstories worthy of your time, and that of your readers. Make them interesting, engaging, fun. Your readers will appreciate you for doing so.
 
Love what you do.
Joie de vie is French for “the joy of life.” We are our happiest when we love our work, and our lives. You should feel blessed that you have the talent and the drive to write that book within you. If you believe in yourself, trust me, it will come across in your writing.
 
Enjoy yourself.
Everytime we see a picture of Clooney, or read an interview, it's obvious he's having fun. We think to ourselves, “Why can't our lives be like that?” Guess what? They can. It starts with you. If your life is a ball, everyone wants to be at the party…
 
Including smart agents and editors. 
 
I'm not asking you to be the sexiest author alive. I'm just asking you to believe you are. 
 
Make us believe that you are ready for your close-up.

(c) 2011 Josie Brown. All Rights Reserved

The photo above is of — whom else? — George Clooney. He is now starring in the movie The Descendants, based on the superlative novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings. See the trailer below. 

_________________________________________

READ YESTERDAY'S TIP HERE…

__________________________________________

Question of the day: Which is your least Clooney-esque feature? Share it, below, and maybe you'll see why it's holding you back.  

Happy National Novel Writing Month,

— Josie

 

 

10 very broad hints that Sarah Jessica Parker is wearing the wrong hat…

Sjpx-large

Ya gotta love Sarah Jessica Parker. Not only is she the consumate fashionista, she is also too often a much better actress than the roles she chooses.

Case in point: State and Main

All the more reason to wince at her latest choice in le chapeau, which she wore while wow'ing crowds down under.

Not that I'm any style maven. In fact, I've made a few fashion missteps myself. (Full disclosure: I've been known to wear shoes from different pairs. That's what happens when all your shoes are black flats.)

That said, I would counsel Ms. Parker thusly:

Dear Ms. Parker,

(Can I call you Sarah Jessica? How about SJ? …oh, never mind! How 'bout I just call you a cab?)

You know you're wearing the wrong hat when:

1. You can be mistaken for the Wicked Witch of the West.

2. You've been invited to tea by Johnny Depp — and he's dressed as the Mad Hatter.

3. Your neck starts to hurt because of it.

4. Walls jump up out of nowhere, and smack you on the nose.

5. People on the street yell out: "Gaga! Can I have your autograph?"

6. Bees mistake it for their hive.

7. Even the posh crush attending Aston is giggling and pointing.

8. It is drawing more attention to you than your latest film.

9. Your kids won't hug you because they are scared of you.

10. Your doorman gently reminds you that Halloween is over.

(c) 2011 Josie Brown. All Rights Reserved

Just sayin',

— Josie

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I love it. Shia LaBeouf gives new meaning to the term Office Skank.

Megan-fox-shia-labeouf
Admitting that he hooked up with two of his Transformers co-stars — Megan Fox and Isabel Lucas — actor Shia LaBeouf somes it up this way: ""I never understood the separation of work and life in that situation…I think you can see the chemistry onscreen."

Frankly, I thought the carbots were more animated.

Shia's kissing and telling the press is somewhat ungentlemanly considering that both ladies had (obviously not so) significant others: Megan's long-time squeeze at the time was her now hubby, old school Beverly Hills 90210's Brian Austin Green, and Isabel was dating Entourage's Adrian Grenier at the time.

I guess when your name sounds like something you'd find on a menu in a Parisienne restaurant, you'll say anything to get a few more columns of ink, right?

–Josie

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

Signal Press – Digital eBook 

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