The Odd Couple

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One of the joys of writing a book is not only creating a backstory for your protagonists but also fully outlining your secondary characters. When I starting writing ExtracurricularI realized immediately that I could have fun with the FBI agents who are leading the investigation for the college admissions scandal: Lionel Polk and SallyAnne Jagger.

We meet them at the very beginning of the novel. Their interactions there show how such a seemingly Mutt-and-Jeff team can work in tandem by playing to each other's strengths. At the same time, this dynamic duo isn't immune to each other's weaknesses.

And, as you'll read in this excerpt, an chance exchange with one of the book's protagonists is the catalyst for acting on their mutual attraction.

But, before that can happen, they have to agree on one thing: that their key witness, a.k.a., Cooperating Witness 1, is a despicable character.

SallyAnne has already given her a nickname: Maleficent. Read the excerpt here and find out why…

Extracurricular-Kindle

Extracurricular / 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

amazon-2-icon AppleBooks unnamed kobo-blue

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.

A twist of fate.

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Throughout the process of plotting Extracurricular, I wanted each scene to be a bittersweet twist of fate.

If it were put on a timeline, the first twist occurs in Chapter Two, during an SAT test. Appropriate, wouldn't you say, since the plot involves a college admissions cheating scandal?

If you're wondering if there is also a plot twist in Chapter One, rest assured there are several. One involves a set of parents who have the opportunity to walk away from being indicted in the scandal. Do they take it?

Another, involving the teacher and novelist whose life is chronicled in Extracurricular, shows how anger, fear, and too much of a good thing (in this case, liquor) can influence a decision with  severe consequences.

A third fateful twist engages the two FBI operatives in charge of the investigation. When one of the partners sees the other through the eyes of a new Person of Interest, it shades their relationship.

Read the excerpt here. Then be sure to enter the contest for some fun goodies.

EC Book1Extracurricular / 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

amazon-2-icon AppleBooks unnamed kobo-blue

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

Tome of the Mommy: Husbands Who Flirt

Flrtinghusband Having respect for one's partner is the only way a relationship can
survive, let alone thrive. I've watched too many of my friends'
marriages crumble because either a husband or wife didn't understand
that, or just didn't care to deliver it. Their need to be admired by the opposite sex was much more important to them at the time.

In my book SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES, my heroine, Lyssa,
realizes her husband, Ted, thrives on flirting. As you'll read here,
her reaction — and I'm sure it would be the same for a lot of us — is
threefold: denial, resignation, and anger

"Whoa, Tammy, look at those muscles! Flex 'em for me, babe, go on."

Tammy accommodates Ted's demand by taking off the sheer blouse
she wears over her tight tank top, and curling a taut sinewy arm. When
he rewards her with a wolf whistle, she feigns bashfulness by covering
her eyes.

But no one is fooled. This is why she curls 10-pound barbells in
12 reps, four times each arm: so that other women's husbands will
admire her.

Including mine. I hate it when Ted flirts.

It wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't so good at it. Or if he only flirted with me.

But no, that would be too much to ask.

Unlike some husbands who feel awkward in a room full of women,
Ted loves being the cock of the walk. And because he knows I am
completely and utterly assured of his loyalty, he openly flirts with my
friends.

He does it with a certain smile on his face. You know the one. It promises more than he can deliver. I know this first hand.

But Tammy doesn't—until she sees the loving manner in which he
unconsciously strokes my hair while complimenting Brooke on her last
tennis game.

As Tammy follows the other women out the door, she sighs in my ear: "You are sooooooo lucky."

Whereas she is not. Her Charlie's bank account may be humongous, but his sperm bank is all but empty.

This gives her something else to whine about.

It also gives her the audacity to graze up against Ted on her way out the door.

If she thinks I didn't see her, she's crazy. Okay, now I have to be president. Just so I can kick her off the board…

Copyright © 2010 by Josie Brown

Bottom line: it hurts when a significant other flirts.

A gut reaction would be to throw a hissy fit. If Lyssa had, no other wife in the room would have blamed her . . .

But no. She realizes she is not necessarily surrounded by friends.
Had she made a scene, it would give her frenemies something very juicy
to gossip about.

So instead she feigns indifference. Why? Because the sharks are
circling, and she knows it. No way is she going to rock her tiny boat
in this sea of humanity.

What would I have done in this situation? Glad you asked. I would
have waited until we were alone, then honestly and openly told him how
much it had hurt me.

And yes, I would ask him to refrain from doing it again.

And if he forgot, I'd remind him again, in private.

But this time, I'd have a nutcracker in my hand. 'Tis the season, right?

Have you ever been in a situation where your SI flirted in front of
you? If so, how do you handle it? Feel free to comment below…

Inquiring minds want to know,

—Josie


SLHW fauxsmall Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (From Amazon)

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (From Borders)

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (From Your Local Independent Bookstore)

Simon & Schuster/Pocket

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010

Tome of the Mommy: “You Know I Hate to Gossip, But…”

GossipGirls Everyone does it, right? We diss on our best buds, tell tales out of school.

When we're asked to keep a secret, we cross our hearts, hope to die . . .

Instead we spill our guts.

I've always been a social animal. In the human jungle, gossip is the best bait, a tasty fodder that shows we're in the know.

That we're somebody, because we know everyone else's business.

PEOPLE magazine has the highest circulation for a good reason: we are fascinated with others' lives.

Lindsey and Britney are train wrecks which we all craned our necks
over. The divorces of others (friends, exes, celebs) fascinate us. Is
it because our own are so boring—or is it because it's much easier to
pass judgment on others than to critique ourselves and assess our own
actions?

And yet, if we heard others were talking about us, we'd be mortified.

Magnifying mirrors make us wince. Every little wrinkle and pore is
exposed. Is gossip a mirror into our souls? Is what we say of others
really our fears about ourselves?

In my book SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES,
Brooke, the best friend of my heroine, Lyssa, always has the scoop on
everyone else in their tony community, Paradise Heights. Lyssa is just
slightly annoyed by this . . .

But she puts up with it because she would much prefer to be on the
receiving end of the gossip grapevine, as opposed to the topic of
interest.

Wouldn't we all?

What Brooke has to tell her is that the neighborhood's "perfect couple"
has just broken up. Both are enigmas: gorgeous, but aloof. Their
children are adorable and popular . . .

But when the divorce gets ugly, the gossip gets even more vicious.

Needless to say, everyone suffers—including Lyssa, who has befriended
the husband, Harry. He has put his career on pause and has become a
stay-at-home dad in order to prove he deserves custody of the kids.

One of the best lines in STEEL MAGNOLIAS belonged to Olympia Dukakis: "If you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me."

That says it all: impress me with your knowledge. Titillate me. Scandalize me.

Even if it hurts someone. Even if it may not be true. Because that's entertainment . . .

Have you ever been hurt by gossip? If so, I'm all ears,

—Josie


SLHW fauxsmall Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (From Amazon)

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (From Borders)

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (From Barnes & Noble)

Simon & Schuster/Pocket

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010