From the bottom of my heart, thanks for all the praise.


IHEARTU

Every now and again, I'll run across a reader review that makes me proud of the fact that I've stuck it out as a novelist. Here are a few examples.

I just want to say to those of you who have read me and passed along a few kind words about my book: thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I try to write books I would love to read myself, with characters who grab at my heartstrings, too. Knowing that you're along for the right makes it just that much sweeter.

 

— Josie

 

Baby Planner Low ResAbout The Baby Planner:

"Such a great book, found myself not wanting to put it down. I wasn't me anymore, i became the character. I felt what she felt. her pain, her heartache,her longing and her success. I look forward to seeing what else Josie Brown has written." –M,  New Zealand.

 

 

 


Totlandia5_2About Totlandia, The Onesies, Fall (Book 1)

"I first discovered Josie when I read "True Hollywood Lies" (which I could not put down). I'm not a mom but I picked up the Totlandia series because I love Josie's writing and Totlandia definitely does NOT disappoint. It's a good, fun read – the dialogue is entertaining and funny and the characters are relatable, most are likable, and all have a depth to them that is hard to accomplish in a page turner. I definitely find myself having favorites. For anyone worried about the reviews saying that the book ends without resolution, I completely disagree. There is resolution – as one mom does get cut. And there's a little teaser at the end of Book One which only makes me want to read Book Two that much more." — J.K.

and

"I read the first book which was gifted to me…then immediately bought the other 2 books. I couldn't put them down! One review I read said these are better than crack and she was right! I am completely frustrated that I have to wait 3 months for the next one to come out….but that is part of the allure, I guess. Josie has a way of leaving you hanging so you just HAVE TO KNOW what happens next to the characters. Josie Brown has quickly become one of my favorite authors so I am devouring everything she has written. Highly recommend this series, whether you are a mom or not." — A.Z.

 


Guide-to-Gracious-Killing-FinalThe Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Killing
(The Housewife Assassin Series, Book 2)

"I truly enjoyed reading this book. I didn't want to put it down. I found myself thinking about the story when I wasn't reading it, anticipating the next time I'd get back to it. It was funny and engaging." — V

and

"A good writer makes for ease of reading. Fast paced action breaks the mundane day to day life to a whole new level. I laughed, cried and laughed some more. Great read to bring a lighter mood into our hurried world." — D.M., TN

 

 


ITT 200About Impossibly Tongue-Tied

"About a half hour after finishing this book (10 min ago), I came to the realization that this wonderful book took another layer of shine off of movies and Hollywood. People will do some pretty nasty things for fame and the public will still give it to them. Now, it will be hard not to look at acclaimed actresses and wonder if their sweet personalities aren't also an act. Or if my favorite Hollywood heart-throb is cheating on his girlfriend/wife. I would have given this book 6 stars if the author had just provided one or two actors/actresses with sweet and loyal this in the book. Because, like many of my generation, I may not be ready to face what Hollywood has become.
3) The ending was really romantic but I still wish that the author had given us more of a peek into what Nina's future life holds professionally speaking.

I'm sorry for the rant but if you're still reading, this book was worth the disillusionment about Hollywood."  - Z., Florida

 

 

NaNoWriMo Tip #11: Why the voice you choose matters.

Stand-out-of-crowd
Yesterday I read a comment from an author participating in National Novel Writing Month that made me wince: she was bemoaning the fact that she'd started her book in first person, but now realizing that third person worked better for the story, didn't want to go back and make the changes needed.

In my head, I was thinking, NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Trust me, it's worth the time to make the fix.

Been there, done that. Of my five published novels, four of them are written in first person: that is to say, one of the characters narrates the story, from his/her point-of-view, for the reader.

When it comes to fiction, this is not norm, for a very good reason: sometimes the story needs to be told from many points of view, or in “third person.”

True-Hollywood-Lies
Impossibly Tongue-Tied,
the one novel of mine which was written in third person, didn't start out that way. I spent two weeks and many pages before I figured out that what had worked so wonderfully for my first novel, True Hollywood Lies, would be the death of my second.

True Hollywood Lies is told from the point-of-view of its heroine, Hannah: all the other characters are seen through her eyes, their actions and motives scrutinzed through the mess of Hannah's emotional pain, which comes from the sudden demise of a father with whom she never got to reconcile their differences. He was a revered film star who'd had numerous wives and lovers. As a personal assistant to a red hot film star who reminds her too much of her dad, Hannah has to work hard not to be blinded by his charisma, at the expense of her own dreams and desires. 

 

CandidateThe Candidate takes place in Washington, D.C.,  but follows several characters, all of whom have personal agendas or traumatic plights that put them at cross purposes, and puts the nation in danger.. The hero, Ben, is desperate to find a presidential candidate who won't implode on him. The vice-president wants a slam-dunk into the White House, and will do anything to get it. And the mysterious love of Ben's life, Maddie is a pawn in everyone's game.

Of course, the goal is to make it so that the reader enjoys the twists and turns–and hopefully doesn't see what comes next. 

That's what makes the book so fun: lots of shenanigans happens before the explosive climax.

But had I kept slogging it out to make the story first person, the reader would not have gotten to enjoy all the fun leading up to the climax.

The best rule of thumb in choosing voice is this: Go with what works best for the reader. 

Even if you have to start over and replace all the “I”s with “She”s or “He”s.

The pay-off will be a wide open vista of opportunities for your characters. 

Their actions will speak volumes to your readers in the way that your first-person voice could never do.

(c) 2011 Josie Brown

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READ YESTERDAY'S TIP, HERE…

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I've got a question for you, and be honest: Have you ever started a story in the wrong voice, then had to change it? If so, how are were you into it, before you realized it?

Happy National Novel Writing Month,

— Josie

  

HA 8 - Next Up

Don’t forget to enter my Housewife Assassin's Killer App contest, for a chance to win a $200 COLD HARD CASH 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK 
Over 266,000 downloads.
Find out why readers love it.

 

Read more about Donna at www.HousewifeAssassinsHandbook.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Tip #7: Chapter doesn’t work? Fix it in “post.”

THE-HOUR
Both my husband and I have broadcast backgrounds. One very important lesson we learned in those previous gigs serves us well when we're editing text articles or, in the case of National Novel Writing Month, novels:

Should you feel something isn't working on your project, you can always fix it later.

Broadcast producers can always rely on post-production: the time spent in the production booth, editing the footage shot or recorded for the project. If, while shooting the segment, what you're getting on camera runs too long (exposition; needless scenes, etc), or the subject stutters or talks too much (dialogue) — you rarely say "Cut" and start over. Instead, you'd wait until you were in the studio and saw the raw footage to determine which scenes needed to be trimmed.

The same goes for your manuscript. You job over the next few weeks is to put the story on the page. Afterward, you'll go through it page by page, chapter by chapter. If something reads false, go ahead and chop and dice it, until it reads to your satisfaction. 

This won't happen in second draft either. You'll go through several drafts before you're truly pleased with your work.

Even after it sells to a publishing house (YES IT WILL SELL; YOU MUST BELIEVE THAT) you'll get notes back from your editor on how a scene or character should be tweaked. Then it will go through copy edits, where someone with a better grasp than you of grammar and syntax will take a shot at it, as well.

Because when it's ready for its public debut, your readers deserve the best story possible.

(c) 2011 Josie Brown. All rights reserved.

The photo above is from the BBC TV series, THE HOUR, which is one of my favorite shows. It looks at broadcast journalism in London, during the 1950s.

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READ YESTERDAY'S  TIP, HERE…

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I've got a question for you, and be honest: How many times do you read a chapter before you write the next one?

— Josie

 

NaNoWriMo Tip #6: When your “backstory” should be the story.

HarryPotter

During National Novel Writing Month, many an aspiring novelist will start with a great character. He will know his hero backwards and forward, as if he is his very best friend.

He'll describe how the hero looks, down to the cleft in his chin. He'll know about his childhood, his teen angst, his tribulations and his desires.

But now that it's time to give his hero something to do, the writer stalls out.

Why does this happen?

Because in this case, the backstory is the story.

So why not move it front and center?

If you can answer yes to these four questions, then the Muse is trying to tell you (HELLOOOOO!) that the better book to write starts where your hero first intrigued you:

1. When describing your book to others, do you find yourself spending more time describing your hero's past, but get stuck on telling what will happen to him in the book?

2. Is half of what you wrote in your synopsis his backstory?

3. Did it take all of Chapter One to describe your character before you realized you had nowhere to go with Chapter Two?

4. Do you find yourself rewriting the details of your hero's past, because it's more interesting than considering his future?

Take a broad hint: There is gold in the hills of his backstory.

Harry Potter is a perfect example of this. Can you imagine if J.K. Rowling had started her epic story with, say, Book 6 The Half-Blood Prince — when Harry was already at Hogwarts and just realizing his true role in a world turning darker, more sinister? Surely this book in the series and the seventh, could  have been tweaked to stand-alone…

But consider how much was gained by knowing so much more of Harry's backstory.

That's because it was never just his backstory. It was the story.

Bottom line: start at the real beginning: when you first realized that your hero intrigued you.

Maybe it was when he did that old-soul thing at age three. Or when he had his first kiss. Or when he accidently drove his parent's car into the lake.

Not all stories were meant to start where we want them to begin. Sometimes they start earlier, or later.

If you start your story at a point that is most interesting in your character's life, your readers will be sucked along on his journey, too.

So take them along for the ride. 

It ain't the prequel. It's the beginning of a wonderful friendship between your hero and your reader.

(c) 2011 Josie Brown. All rights reserved.

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READ YESTERDAY'S TIP HERE…

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I've got a question for you: Which character's backstory would you have liked to have read about, as a book?

For me, it is the character of Ethan Gage, in the wonderful historical suspense series by William Dietrich. We know that Ethan once studied under Benjamin Franklin. it would be a hoot to see his antics stateside, before we're introduced to him in Napoleon's Pyramids.

— Josie

 

NaNoWriMo Tip #5: Show, don’t tell.



Because your goal each day of National Novel Writing Month is a word count, it's very easy to fall into a common trap: writing long passages of narration or exposition.

In other words, telling your readers, either via a narrator or the omnipotent third person, what is happening to your characters.

Do yourself a favor and FIGHT this temptation. 

Why? Because what you're doing is "telling," not "showing," your readers.

Instead, craft your scenes with dialogue. It is much more interesting to your readers to have your characters talk to each other. 

No doubt, narration or exposition is also important: for adding atmosphere, for setting up your scenes, for describing where the scenes take place, or how the characters look or feel.  

And it utilizes takes more words than dialogue.

But if your characters don't verbalize their thoughts to each other, they aren't interacting normally.

For the majority of us, telepathy isn't a human trait: all the more reason your characters need to open their mouths to express their feelings.

If you're having a hard time moving from tell to show, pretend you're writing a play. What dialogue would you add to each scene? 

Snappy dialogue. Snarky asides. Anger. Heartfelt revelations. All of these expressed emotions make scenes come alive, and make your readers laugh with — or more importantly, fall in love with — your characters. 

This NaNoWriMo first draft may not be on par with Arthur Miller or Edward Albee or William Shakespeare, but it will go a long way to being completed if it engages readers.

Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? Certainly not you!

(c) 2100 Josie Brown.

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HERE'S YESTERDAY'S TIP…

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NaNoWriMo Tip #4: Meet your word count first; edit it later.

JacksonPollock
One analogy about the tips you often hear regarding National Novel Writing Month is to imagine your your sentences as strands of spaghetti that you toss onto the wall of your manuscript.

As with any wall that gets covered with wet noodles and tomato sauce, at some point it either looks like a mess—

Or, like a work of art. 

After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Remember: you are your own Jackson Pollock. This project is just the first of your many masterpieces.

You'll have a natural inclination to go back, re-read it, and edit what you wrote.

Don't.

Why? Because the whole purpose of NaNoWriMo is to put as many words on the page as you can in these precious thirty days.

If you''re spending an hour — or worse yet, a full day — honing a specific page (or paragraph, or sentence) you will NEVER make your word count. The sheer weight of writing — and endless re-writing — are like ankle weights strapped onto a marathon runner: well before you reach the finish line, you will collapse in exhaustion.

Right now, you have only one goal: those 50,000 words, which is about two-thirds or half a standard manuscript submitted for publication, depending on the book.

After your thirtieth day, having reached your 50,000 words, most definitely you should re-read your story.

And re-read it again. And again.

And rewrite it. Continually.

Take note of misspellings, phrasing that is awkward, scenes that are deadly, and characters who don't move the plot forward.

The time you take to reshape your manuscript is what makes it a masterpiece, not how many words it is, or that you even finished it.

Your characters have to be engaging.

Your plot has to challenge them, give them moral dilemmas.

Your story has to be satisfying to your reader.

But your first step is to move that story from your head to the page.

Because ultimately, others want to read your masterpiece, too.

(c) 2011 Josie Brown

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READ YESTERDAY'S TIP HERE…

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Okay, now, tell the truth: Are you meeting your word count? And tell me why, or why not…

— Josie

 

NaNoWriMo Tip #3: Don’t give up.

Boogie-man
Despite the fact that it is only Day 3 of National Novel Writing Month, I'm willing to bet that, before the clock strikes midnight tonight, one-tenth of everyone who began with high hopes of meeting their writing goals each day will have missed today's deadline…

And by tomorrow evening, they will have completely given up the ghost on the ideal of writing their book.

Don't let that person be you.

The only one who can defeat you from finishing your novel, then pitching it to an agent who sees its merit and wants to present it to publishers is YOU.

Yes, you heard me: you are your Boogie Man.

Your voice is the one whispering those niggling doubts that anyone will love your characters as much as you do.

No one taunts you more about your quirky sentence structure.

Only you think that your dialogue sucks, and that your plot has nowhere to go.

Do you see a pattern here? 

Defeat comes from within.

Well, guess what? So does faith.

If you don't believe wholeheartedly in your book, no agent will, either. 

If an agent never sees it, neither will any pub house editor.

And The Book That Never Was will be your greatest personal defeat.

It doesn't have to be.

Writing a book is not easy. Drawing from deep within that fantasy world within your brain and pouring it all out on (digital) paper is a skill that is honed one sentence at a time, and many drafts later.

In time, you will weave those sentences into the tapestry of your great story: one with tightly-woven plot threads that will awe all who have the chance to read it: first your critique partners, then the right agent, then an editor who is just excited about it as you —

And finally, a legion of fans, all of whom will be hungry to read your next book.

My first novel was sold as part of a two-book deal. When I broke this wonderful news to my sister, she was very excited for me, for all of about twenty seconds. Then, in a hushed voice, she asked: "But–they can't make you write another one…can they?"

Make me? Write another book?

Hell yeah, twist my arm…

Because it's what I do.

Whether anyone else believes I can do it or not, I write.

Hey, trust me: I have my own Boogie Man.

He fills me with doubts that the muse will some day kick me to the curb.

He tries to convince me that I'll lose my ability to tweak some real-life situation into a great "what if."

And that, one day, I'll just not care; that I will give up the need to write, to practice my art.

His stale breath has been wheedling doubts in my ear through three agents, four pub houses, and at least a dozen unsold manuscripts.

In fact, he was there last night, taunting me about a book proposal that went out just yesterday. He wants me to believe that it will be laughed out of every publishing house it's been sent to…

Well, he's wrong.

I may not have a magic force field to keep him out of my life, but I have a silver bullet that stops him dead in his tracks, every time:

I believe in my book.

Just like I've believed in all my books, even when others didn't.

I've now got a body of work to prove it. My books have found avid, appreciative audiences.

Yours will, too.

How about you?  Do you believe in your story, your characters, about your vision of a life as a writer?

Then start writing it. Again.

Put those words down on the page. Set a daily goal for yourself, and meet it. Trust me, you won't be writing REDRUM REDRUM REDRUM over and over.

To paraphase Winston Groom, author of  Forrest Gump, writing is a bowl of cherries.

Now, in a paraphrasical mashup of Mr. Groom and Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather: 

Drop the Boogie Man. Take the bowl of cherries. 

(c) 2011 Josie Brown. All Rights Reserved

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Here's yesterday's  Tip #2…

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— Josie

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Tip #2: Outline the plot of your story.

Writing-tips-best

I am forever amazed at authors who tell me that they write their books without first outlining the plot of their stories.

Usually the conversation goes something like this:

Would Be Author: "Plotting? NOOOOO! I'd never do that! I'd be crushing my muse! My characters take me on their journey, not the other way around…."

Me: "Yeah, right, whatever….Um, how long have you been working on that book?"

Would Be Author, after a long silence: "Well, let's see…I started it in the third year of W's second term in office…"

You get my drift.

Dear NaNo Newbie: I never want to have that same conversation with you.

I never want to see the pain in your eyes when you hear that NaNo Pal Such-and-Such just finished his novel/got an agent/sold his book to Random House. Why? Because I know you'll be thinking, "That could have been me, had I only (a) gotten beyond the first chapter (b) figured out where my story was going (c) hadn't run out of steam…."

By the way, "steam" is a euphenism for "plot."

Which gets us back to the iceberg at the bottom of this tip: Create an outline for your story — so that you actually have a plot.

Would Be Author is what we scribes call a "pantser": someone who writes by the seat of their pants.

Even published authors do it. Many of my writer pals, in fact (Hey! Yeah, YOU! You know who you are…)

They are the ones who (a) work 10 hours a day for the same 3,000 words it takes a plotter to do in, say 4 hours, or (b) turn in their manuscripts after their editors deadlines, and yet (c) still stubbornly insist it's the only way they can write….

WRONG.

Writing is a discipline, and plotting is the foundation in which your wonderful book will be built.

Don't get halfway through it, then kick yourself because it needs a character who should have entered 40 pages earlier, or because you have to substitute more action in place of all that middle-of-the-book navel gazing…

Admit it: YOU were navel-gazing, too…weren't you?

That's because you got lost in the wilderness of your wonderful mind…

The breadcrumbs are your plot.

You will still see all those wonderful characters on the way to your final destination, but your novel's outline is the map that takes you there.

This outline will route you through many twists and turns. Along the way, you'll write in many interesting characters that actually DO something in the story which moves the plot forward: up some very challenging plot hills, and down into scary abysses–

All the while allowing the reader to care–no, to LOVE–your hero or heroine.

Bottom line: give your story a great beginning, and page-turning middle, and a satisfying ending.

Think 30 chapters (estimate) in 300 pages (again, nothing written in stone) —

And write something on each page — in each chapter — to make readers want more of your hero(ine).

You may argue, "But doing an outline confines you to those plot points!"

I disagree! Your outline is the path that takes you from Point A (your first word) to Point Z (The End). Along the way, feel free to stop and smell the roses you find there, be they a character who comes to you out of the blue, or an incident that allows you to meander in a field along your way to your final desination–

The completion of your book.

(c) 2015 Josie Brown. All Rights Reserved

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READ YESTERDAY'S TIP, HERE…

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Okay, now, tell the truth: Do you plot, or pants? And tell me why…

— Josie

 

 

NaNoWriMo Tip #1: Treat writing as if it’s your career.

Resize.php

My first tip: Treat writing as a career.

Why? Because those of us who call ourselves writers don't see it as a hobby.

It is a way of life.

The term "avocation" fits it well, yes. But so does the word "vocation." That's because writing is also our chosen career.

It can be yours, too — if you choose to make it such.

Fate (zeitgeist, fairy dust, whatever) has a lot to do with any writer's success. But so does determination. That thing called inspiration happens to everyone–but not everyone puts in the hard work to take a high concept and develop it into a full-length story that plays out page after page, and keeps readers intrigued until the very last sentence. 

I truly believe that those of us who take the time and make the effort can be published. 

I believe that person is YOU.

(c) 2011 Josie Brown. All Rights Reserved

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TOMORROW, I'LL HAVE ANOTHER TIP FOR YOU…

__________________________________________

 

If you think so, too, comment below as to why. What drives you to write?

 

— Josie


Check out my website for my latest releases and contests…

 

Art from the Heart: Kelly Reemtsen’s AFFLICTED

Afflicted I saw this wonderful oil-on-board painting on the cover of Marin magazine (a guilty li'l pleasure of mine. I'm such a townie, ain't I?) and I just had to share. It's called "Afflicted," and the artist is Kelly Reemtsen, who shows her work here in San Francisco's Caldwell Snyder Gallery. (They have a second gallery in the wonderful wine country village of St. Helena.)

This is just one painting in a series that, to me, epitomizes the calm desperation of women in the aspiring class: despite an outward sheen of elegance, inside they've come unraveled.

So cool that the viewer can never look the subject in the eye. Without faces, without eye contact, we can only read body language — and the items these women wield in order to vanquish the niggling little problems that are ruining their perfect lives.

But that's just my interpretation. I'd love to hear yours, too.

In fact, I've just made a momentous decision! Every Saturday I'll turn this blog turns into an Internet art gallery by uplinking similar works, by Ms. Reemtsen and other artists, whose works I feel tell a story similar to what I'll be telling you in my next novel, SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES.

A picture is worth 94,000 words,

—Josie


SLHW fauxsmall


 Josie' s Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010

Pre-Order at any of the bookstore links in my sidebar…


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

As Strange as FIction: Hollywood Actress Fights Porn Star for Stepchild

Sandra-Bullock Every now and then real life is stranger than fiction. Ironically this is one of those situations.

Hollywood star, Sandra Bullock, and her husband, the renowned motorcycle mechanic/detailer and reality show celeb, are in a custody battle for for James' seven-year-old daughter with his ex-wife, former porn star, Janine Lindemulder.

Seriously, this scenario could have been taken from my 2006 novel, Impossibly Tongue-Tied, in which a phone sex operator — in this case, a struggling actress — gets kicked to the curb by her hubby, whose own acting career gets kicked into high gear when he stars — and beds — a high-profile Hollywood actress. The actress in my book decides that making the mother of his child look unfit in the press is one way to get the kid she wants, without the stretch marks. In truth, the heroine — the sex phone operator — only took on the job at the behest of her hubby, so that they could make ends meet.

Wanna read an excerpt? Here you go… And btw, you can still order it online at your favorite bookstore, too.

As for this real life case, I can't imagine that Bullock is as mean or as nasty as the actress/celeb in my book. Those that work with her say she's sweet, genuine, and a real pro on the set.

As for the Lindemulder, considering she's done over 100 porn flicks (including Mrs Behavin’,
Sleeping Booty
and Dyke Diner) and has just been released from jail for tax fraud, I'm guessing she's going to have an uphill battle with requesting full custody, more because of her current situation (she makes about $15 an hour, and yet pay back several hundred thousand in back taxes. It's going to be hard to raise a kid that way . . .

Unless she has help with child support from her ex.

In fact, I look at the issue of moms who leave their children in my new novel, Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives. It's due out in August 2010. 

Just do what's best for the child, always,

—Josie


SecretLivesfaux

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives
Simon & Schuster/Pocket
(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores

August  2010

The Art of Quilting: JoAnn Somers Does It Right

Vogue-lady I'm working on a book proposal that includes embroidery — which is possibly why it facinates me that many of my friends are into knitting or quilting.

Back in the day, it used to be drinking and carousing.

Okay, and flirting.

I'm not lumping these fabric arts together, but I do see a similarity here: to excel at them, you need patience, as well  a steady hand, and an artist's eye.

Take, for example, the quilt here, created by JoAnn Somers. entitled "Vogue Lady," this quilt is almost complete, and is a perfect example of taking an impressionist work of art and rendering it in another medium:

One that enhances it to new and unique dimensions.

Granted, this project may end up on a bed, but could easily be hung on a well-lit wall.

JoAnn is married to one of my favorite portrait photographers, Alan David. His most interesting subjects have included Ted Turner, Jimmy Carter —

And Josie, Martin, Anna and Austin Brown.

Because family, too, is a work of art.

As is friendship,

—Josie

SecretLivesfaux

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives
Simon & Schuster/Pocket

Look for it in bookstores
September 2010

TV Show FRIENDS as a movie: Maybe the best way to see Jennifer Aniston on the BIg Screen

Friends

Gunther from FRIENDS is spilling the beans (and I don't mean unground Jamaican coffee):

There is a FRIENDS movie in the works.

Maybe.

According to the LA TImes "The Dish Rag" column (see below), it may be in theaters Summer 2011. FRIENDS producer Marta Kauffman is stealing a page from the SEX AND THE CITY handbook, and taking their beloved characters to the big screen.

Frankly, I'm happy about this. Every now and again I catch FRIENDS reruns, and they still make me smile, and often laugh out loud.

The biggest issue they have, which was not faced by the SATC gang, is
whether sitcom (as opposed to dramady) characters can be given the depth needed on the big
screen

I'm guessing it can: that is, IF the script is GOOD.

Every one of that gang was better than his or her material — and I
can easily see how such empathetic characters, given the history they
have with their audience, can do well in an extended format of 110
minutes or less.

As always, it's all in the writing,

—Josie

SecretLivesfaux

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives
Simon & Schuster/Pocket

Look for it in bookstores
September 2010

LA Times / The Dish Rag / September 28, 2009

Is there a 'Friends' film in the works? And are all the show's stars on board?

Friends

Will there be a movie version of "Friends"?

Could
be. A former "Friends" cast mate has reportedly spilled the beans that
a film version of NBC's hit TV series is in the works.

There's been no official confirmation (or denial) yet. 

But
after the success of "Sex and the City: The Movie" — now shooting the
second installment — and the excitement about the "Seinfeld" reunion
on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," this makes sense now.

James Michael Tyler told Britain’s News
of the World
newspaper, “I still keep in touch with a lot of the cast and
they say that they are really keen. I am definitely on board to do the film."

The
economy is still in the tank and several "Friends" stars' film careers
never got off the ground — with the exception of Jennifer Aniston —
so it's possible that the cast may be open to it now.

Remember, movie production is tight in Hollywood right now. This could be their only film for a few years.

Find out what could have happened to our favorite friends.

Here's a look at what the friends have been doing:

David Schwimmer has done a
bit of London theater after his small role in "Band of Brothers." He
also directed the 2007 British film "Run Fat Boy
Run." Who knew?

For the most part, Jennifer Aniston's films have been commercial successes. She's doing better than her pals.  

No one dug Courteney Cox's now-canceled
"Dirt." She's trying again with "Cougar Town" on TV and should be in
"Scream 4," so she knows the value of a redux.

Lisa Kudrow's film career is smaller and more indie, but she's still kicking, having played a mom in Summit Entertainment's "Bandslam."

Matt LeBlanc had that flop TV comedy "Joey." Has he done anything else? He's gotta be about ready for "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here."

Matthew Perry starred in
Aaron Sorkin's critically hailed "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." But
it was canceled after one season. Last time we saw him, he was really
good as older Zac Efron in "17 Again." For about five minutes.

What do you think should happen in "Friends: The Movie?"

Should Ross and Rachel get/stay together? 

Will Phoebe announce she's a lesbian and become a street person living in Venice? 

Will Joey develop early onset Alzheimer's? Hey, someone has to have a disease or where are the sad scenes?

Will Chandler and Monica's perfect kids rob houses in their upscale hood for crack money and get sent to juvenile prison?

We'd like to see Monica struggle with losing baby weight and end up looking as heavy as she did in high school. 

Your suggestions? 

Photo credit: Getty Images

 

Posted by Elizabeth Snead on September 28, 2009

Danielle Steel: Aide Embezzled Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars!

Danielle-Steel

Danielle Steel leads the lush life she writes about: gorgeous gowns, jewels, furs, mansions in San Francisco's tony Pacific Heights (the one she owns, the former Alma Spreckels mansion, is one of the city's showpieces) Because I'm all authors grabbing the brass ring and making it big, I applaud Ms. Steel's tenacity, and the body of work and fans that have paid it off.

Even as I walk past her stunning home, I hadn't fathomed just how MUCH money a financially successful novelist can make. I guess because so many of us — make that TOO many — don't make even enough to do our craft full time, if we want to eat and pay our rent, too.

I guess that's why, when I saw this newsbyte, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

With all due respect to Ms. Steel:

Hell yeah, if $400,000 was missing from my account (I'm sure it was taken in bits and pieces: you know, a thousand here, another thou there) I would have figured it out — and fast!

Here's the report from the Associated Press:

Tue Sep 29, 12:46 am ET
SAN FRANCISCO – A former aide to Danielle Steel is facing time in federal prison after admitting she stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the romance novelist.
Federal prosecutors announced Monday that 47-year-old Kristy Watts, who also goes by the name Kristy Siegrist, pleaded guilty last week to one count of wire fraud and four counts of tax evasion.
Prosecutors say Watts admitted stealing at least $400,000 while handling accounting and other duties for Steel.
Watts worked for the best-selling author from 1993 to 2008.
Investigators determined Watts had deposited checks from Steel's accounts into her own account and used Steel's credit cards for herself.
Sentencing is set for Feb. 4 in federal court in San Francisco.

I guess you can be too rich, if not too thin,

—Josie

SecretLivesfaux

My Next Book:

Secret Lives of
Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Pocket
September 22010

Josie’s Latest Radio Recap of THE BACHELORETTE, on Chat With Women

Edandjillian Okay, yeah, I know: morning voice.  Ain't it sexy? That's what happens when you NEED A NEW ALARM CLOCK.

Click here to listen to me recapping THE BACHELORETTE, Jillian's, choices (6/30/09) with Seattle KKNW's very own Chat with Women morning show hosts, Pam  and Rochelle. Every Tuesday morning at 8am PT, I give some insights on why she may be sticking it out with the allegedly two-timin' Wes (even though she is SO OBVIOUSLY attracted to Kiptyn…I'm just sayin'.)

Of course, I'm able to sneak in a few mentions of my book (coming out September 2009) THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO FINDING MR. RIGHT.


Now, go vote on SingleMindedWomen.com's Weekly Bachelorette Elimination Poll. You can win WONDERFUL prizes: $100 of Sephora make-up, a beautiful sterling silver necklace by Big Girl Workshops, and of course, a copy of mine book

Don't we all wish we had 30 (or even 4) guys to luv us,

—Josie

CIG-Finding-Mr.-Right
Complete Idiot's Guide to Finding Mr. Right – In Bookstores September 2009

Tome of the Mommy: Romance (writing) in the Bedroom

Writingmom Writing is in the blood, as well as the heart and the mind. J.K. Rowling may be the most famous (and most successful of us, but many of the writers I know are are women who, like me, have families and all the complexities that implies, but still find the time to slip out a book or two (or more!) of erotic romance a year. This Washington Post article explains how Irene Williams, a mother-of-two, manages to do so, and run her own publishing company as well.

Talk about a busy lady. Then again, as this picture shows, for centuries moms have been writing whenever and wherever they can.

I hope you find this inspiring,

—Josie

The Wizardess of Id: Romance and Sex and Werewolves, Oh My!

By Ian Shapira / Washington Post Staff Writer /Sunday, June 28, 2009

Behind the Rite Aid, next to the house with the American flag, and inside the five-bedroom home with the fish-shaped windsock swaying over the front door — this is where a former government lawyer with a thing for sex and werewolves lives.

Her name is Irene Daisy Williams, a.k.a. Treva Harte. A veteran of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, she has been doubling as novelist, co-owner and editor in chief of Loose Id, a publishing house specializing in erotic romance literature. (Williams favors paranormal erotic romance, a sub-genre heavy with werewolves. More on the werewolves later.)

Married for more than 20 years to a lawyer at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Williams oversees from her Falls Church home an unusually profitable publishing house. In the increasingly battered book industry, Loose Id has sold more than 1 million mostly online books since being founded in 2004, netting profits — Williams won't say how much exactly — that enabled her to quit her trademark lawyer job last year after 20 years. Erotic romance, it seems, is a hot genre. Even heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, the mother of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, just got into the game, with her newly released novel, "Obsession: An Erotic Tale," which just so happens to be blurbed by writer Joyce Carol Oates.

For Williams, 50, whose cat-eye glasses and auburn hair emit a calculated puckishness, writing and editing sexually charged and happy-ending fiction provides a reprieve from the challenges of real life in her household: Beyond the door of her writing studio, her 90-year-old mother lives with dementia, and children Jan, 15, and Frank, 18, contend with dyslexia and autism, respectively. Within her personal history, Williams deals with the fact that she never knew her father, who took off after she was born.

"In some ways, writing is one of the few places I have absolute control — well, I can pretend I have absolute control over my world," she says with determined cheer. "My characters . . . I understand them and I understand where they're going to, and ultimately they're going to have a happily-ever-after."

Growing up in New Jersey in the 1960s and in Arizona in the 1970s, Williams embraced romance writing and, later, erotic romance writing because the narratives conferred freedoms beyond her micromanaged adolescence. And she liked how the story lines, unlike those in mysteries or science fiction, focused on women and were edgier than more esteemed Victorian books about manners and society. "As far back as I remember, I would sneak bodice-ripper books and tuck them under the bed. I would buy them from the grocery," Williams recalls. "I had no siblings, and I also lived with my grandmother. But I did have an allowance. My mom just knew that I was reading big, thick books."

On a recent weekday, Williams sits in her home office, decorated with a framed certificate for excellent government service, her husband's old fencing swords on the wall, and, coincidentally, she insists, a bed. Next to bookcases filled with Nora Roberts paperbacks and erotic romance guidebooks, she continues to crank out her latest e-novel, "Return of the King." In the tale, set in the future, federal agents search for anti-government rebels . . . and a rebel woman meets the foreman of her ranch for the first time . . . igniting a molten-white-hot-volcanic affair . . . and she thinks:

Blue eyes in a tanned face. Blue eyes that looked right into you and almost made you miss that the rest of the man was equally beautiful. Almost. Perfection like that was hard to miss for long. . . . My body was leaning toward him.

* * *

In the genre of erotic romance or "romantica," Loose Id is considered among the top publishers, industry experts say. Doreen DeSalvo, the company's chief financial officer, said the enterprise, which charges $2 to $8 for its online books, grossed $1.3 million in 2008 and is on track to make slightly more this year. Williams said that after profit distribution, she makes about the same money she made as an attorney.

With the same competitiveness that distinguishes the gates of Manhattan's big commercial publishers, Loose Id is not for the rookie or wannabe romantica writer. "Our acceptance rate for new submissions is 4 percent," says DeSalvo, herself an author. (Her work in progress: "Bedding the Beast," about an Italian girl whose father sells her as a mail-order bride to a man moving to America; it's based on her grandmother's life.)

"Loose Id is one of the more respected digital publishers operating now. It's a combination of their quality storytelling, good editing, good business sense," says Sarah Wendell, who co-writes the Trashy Books blog and is co-author of "Beyond Heaving Bosoms," a new romance novel guidebook published by Fireside, a Simon & Schuster imprint.

"What's frustrating to me is that unless it's in print, it's considered not valid, but New York publishers have caught on," Wendell says. "Erotic romance is a way of dealing with the oversexualized image of women in the media — women are airbrushed and ridiculously perfect. This genre is about a woman's sexual experience and the unlimited amount of variety you can have."

Williams published her first digital novel — "The Seduction of Sean Nolan," a Civil War story — eight years ago, but she soon grew frustrated with the slowness and risk-adverse nature of established romance houses.

So, in July 2004, she co-founded Loose Id. The company's freelance editors are sprinkled across the country and include teachers, lawyers, even a World Bank officer from Alexandria. Loose Id's most recent titles include "Georgina's Dragon," "Seducing His Lordship" and "Exploring Savage Places," which capitalizes on today's vampire vogue.

* * *

Back in her home office, Williams returns to typing the tale of sweaty-chested anti-government insurgents. The plot was getting complex: The ranch owner and foreman were savoring the morning, but soon dread surfaced about whether they would be captured.

Rey looked at me and wiped his face off with a damp towel. "Can you hold them off?" He looked ill. Hell, why not? He probably hadn't slept in days. The few hours
drowsing in a cage shouldn't count.

She glances out the window to see her son's school bus arrive. She scampers downstairs to the kitchen. "School was good?" she asks Frank in a soft voice. "Did you try to call me?"

"What's for supper?" he asks.

"I think we're having steak tonight, kiddo," Williams says, then asks again, "Did you try to call today, sweetie?"

Her daughter, Jan, a rising sophomore at George Mason High School, is forbidden to read her mother's books but says she is not even tempted. "I am not really into these sort of books. I might be someday," says Jan, who prefers Harry Potter.

And her husband, Mark Mellon — the guy who works at the FDIC — is not into the erotic romance, either. "I think it's icky," says Mellon, who also fancies himself a fiction writer. He once published, in the magazine Anthrolations, a short story, set in the future after a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, about a 50-pound cockroach sent to disassemble the Taj Mahal and rebuild it in a nonradioactive location.

"It's this weird little subculture that I write about," he explains helpfully. "But I admire Irene so much — she writes somewhere close to 300,000 words a year. That's incredible."

Earlier this month, Williams released "Heal," a novel about "werewolves in human form." A blurb on Loose Id's Web site offers this tease: "Ruth's an Ice Queen and she's really cramping Arlin's freewheeling take-what'll-have-you style. Especially since Ruth smells like sex. How can a woman so cold smell so incredibly hot?"

Williams explicates a bit more: "Werewolves like to make love with lots of people, but they're not that picky." She pauses and glances at her husband's fencing swords.

"I'm going to use these in a story, but I don't know how yet."

Tome of the Mommy: Mr. Mom, Welcome to the (Parent)Hood!

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

The reason for their sudden appearances on our neighborhood parks may not be so wonderful—the result of this recession's layoffs—but happy dads (yeah, I'll say it, even a few DILFs or two) are always welcomed to share a shady spot and shoot the breeze with us moms.

It's interesting to watch the interaction: first a wariness, then a tentative welcome. Soon, everyone's sharing goldfish, carrot sticks and juice boxes.

Wish someone would slip in a Thermos of mojitos. I'm just sayin'…

Guys, don't ever presume the mommy clique on the picnic bench is a club in which no boys are allowed. In fact, the password that gets you in every time (along with a choice spot on the bench) is "Wow, your kid is so well-behaved…"

That's music to any mother's ears.

In The DILF –my book which comes out next summer –one man cracks the code, only to discover he's opened a Pandora's box filled with the misperceptions, fantasies and desires his female neighbors have about him and his now-disintegrated marriage. I'll have an excerpt up soon.

Seems that the timing couldn't be better for my book. As NBC's TODAY SHOW points out in the video piece above, there are enough dads out there now, that they're forming their own papa posses. (Wow! Did I just coin that phrase? Sure what the hey, I'll take credit for it…)

One very interesting comment is one dad's admission that sometimes the men talk about "our past lives before we had children."

Hmmmm. You mean, when the impulse to go out at night wasn't given a second thought ("Oh my god! Who can we get to sit with the baby?")

Or, you could sleep in and snuggle (or whatever) without be tapped on the shoulder by a toddler wanting to play?

Or when conversations revolved around work and sports and all things coupledom, as opposed to diaper-training and schools and all things parenthood?

Welcome to the club.
No, we really mean that. You came through initiation with flying colors.

Or, as one guy put it when the reporter asks if his Mr. Mom stint makes him a better dad: "It makes me a good-enough dad."

Reporter: "Hey, give yourself some credit!"

Dad, conceding: "It certainly makes me a better dad."

Your wife will agree.

 

—Josie

DilfBlue180  

The Stay at Home Dad Ponders DILF-dom

Dilf-225x300 Interesting the response I get to the title of my book (out Summer 2010) The DILF. Those under 40 give knowing chuckles, whereas my pals over that watershed year nod enthusiastically…

Then pause and ask: "What's a DILF?"

Hmmm….So, how do I explain this?

The easiest way is to say, "It's the opposite of a MILF. Get it?"

If then I get the glazed I-don't-know-what-the-heck-you're-talking-about-stare, I'll give it one more stab: "You know, a stay-at-home-dad who's…well, who–is cute."

If someone then says, "But–wouldn't that be 'DWIC''?" at this point, I'm thinking that my friend is..well, is DWIC'ing with me.

Having been put on the spot, I'll level with them: "What it stands for, exactly, is 'Dad I'd Like to…um…Flirt With.'"

And if by then they still don't get it, or they ask "So, why doesn't you acronym have that last W?'"… I'll just refer them to this very succinct article by TheDadJam.com

Coz, yeah, that dude gets it,

—Josie

Mr. Big as The DILF

504x_BAZAARMILLATWO As you know, I'm into DILFs in a big way these days (Blatant Self Promotion: My book, The DILF, hits bookstores Summer 2010). Obviously I've caught the zeitgeist (or, I guess, the economy has caught up with my plottin' and schemin'), because DILFs seem to be the new black.

Case in point: BAZAAR lives up to its name by downsizing SEX AND THE CITY's Mr. Big (Chris Noth) into a stay-at-home dad. He makes a cute DILF, doesn't he?

And needless to say, Milla Jovovich makes a stunning alpha wife. That straight fuchsia skirt is fetching, isn't it? Reminds me of my fave designer jacket of that same color, a wardrobe staple (worn with either a solid black or white skirt) when life required that I suit up.

Dems weren't the daze,

—Josie


PS: Thanks, Poppy, for the link…