#MadMen creator Matthew Weiner discusses the latest episode (#9, “The Better Half”)

MadMenSeason6__Poster
I love this illustration for Mad Men. It's the type of illustration you'd find for ads from that mid-60s era.

Notice that Don Draper is both coming and going. I like that the artist has captured his duplicity, his wanderlust, and the fact that there are other Don Drapers out there. 

There are other Don Drapers inside of Don Draper.

I also hate the fact that this is the last season of Mad Men. I'm sure the show's actors realize it's a career high for them, thanks to all the elements that make a show great: the direction, the period detail via set design and costumes, and of course the writing. Writer-Producer Matthew Weiner has created an ensemble of characters who faults and foibles ring true as the catapault through life in an era some of us remember all too nostalgically. Six years ago, as watched the first episode with my son, I remember him commenting, “Wow, the men were really cruel to the women who worked with them.”

Yes, to a great extent, barbaric.

Truly, it set the tone of what was to come.

We love these characters,and we also hate them.

In other words, we feel for them. 

It's why it's great television, and why it's sublime storytelling.

Check out the show's creator, Matthew Weiner, discussing the latest episode (9, “The Better Half”).

— Josie

 


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I'm giving away a $100 gift card
 to the bookstore of your choice!

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Nashville’s “Pour Me Something Stronger” has lyrics that hit a high note.

I unabashedly love the ABC TV show, Nashville.

I love that the personalities are big, voices are great, the songs have heart, and the writing has soul.

An example: in the latest episode (February 27, 2013) pop tart Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) throws a suprise birthday party for her lead guitarist, Deacon Claybourne (Charles Eston, and  former lover of her rival, Rayna Jaymes, played by Connie Britton).

It's to be Nashville's party of the year.

It's also an emotional make-good: on a party her mother was to throw for Juliette's nineth birthday, but was too coked up to do so. Her mother's relapse into addiction at the party is a bittersweet reminder to Juliette that all of life's events is the equivialent to a game of Chutes and Ladders. 

No matter who you are, or how far you've come, you can always slip back into failure.

True friends and caring family prop you up again.

The video above is of Connie Britton singing a song that is all about that.

It all starts with the writing,

— Josie

 

PS: In regard to true love and family, I've just released Book 3, the latest in my Totlandia series. But you'll want to try Book 1 first. And lucky you! It's now priced at 99 cents!

Here's a synopsis:

 

Totlandia5_2

Friendship. Lies. Seduction. Betrayal. 
Welcome to Totlandia.

Book 1: The Onesies/Fall

Coliloquy Books / 978-0-9740214-0-9 / eBook

Buy it now…

Amazon.com (eBook)

Amazon.com (App)

BN.com (eBook)

 BN.com (App)

Read a synopsis here…

The Pacific
Heights Moms & Tots Club is the most exclusive children’s playgroup in all
of San Francisco. For the city’s ultra-competitive elite, the club’s ten annual
spots are the ultimate parenting prize.

In a world of power and prestige, no one has more the club’s founder, Bettina
Connaught Cross. And as every mom in Pacific
Heights knows, you simply
cannot cross her
.

Bettina adheres
to strict membership rules: Moms only. No single parents or working mothers
allowed. Membership is an arduous commitment. And there’s no room in the club
for scandal, bad behavior, or imperfection…from tots or their moms.

Not everyone
is PHM&TC
material, which is why this year the admissions process for the Pacific Heights
Moms & Tots Club is more rigorous than ever, pitting prospective members
against each other to prove their mettle.

But four of
the six candidates vying for the remaining four slots have secrets that would
knock them out of the running. Jade is a former stripper and porn actress, who
has been absent for most of her son’s life. Jillian’s husband cleaned out their
joint accounts and left her for his pregnant assistant. Ally never even had a
husband—just a sperm donor—and she has a high-ranking corporate job. And Lorna
fears that her son may have special needs… just the excuse her sister-in-law,
Bettina, needs to deny her entry to the club.

Can these
hopeful moms keep up appearances long enough to outlast the competition? Or
will their chances—and their private lives—go up in flames?

Totlandia is a five-book series that follows our heroines starting in “The
Onesies,” their inaugural year in the club. Upcoming books—to be released in
four episodes each year—will follow subsequent years: the Twosies, Threesies,
Foursies, and Fivesies.

Olivia Luccardi has been added to the cast of NBC’s Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Secret Lives ahb This just in, from The Hollywood Reporter! Another new castmember has been added to the NBC drama, based on my novel, Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives. (I know my son will ask me to set him up with her…Hey, I'm just the writer of the original material. He'll have to go to someone with "producer" in their title…)

Click here to order the book, on Amazon…

–Josie

 

Olivia Luccardi has joined the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced project starring James Tupper and Martin Henderson.

Olivia Luccardi Headshot - P 2012
Olivia Luccardi

NBC's The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives is welcoming a newcomer to the mix.

The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced drama pilot has added newcomer Olivia Luccardi to the main cast, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.

Based on the Josie Brown book, the project is described as a thriller/dramatic soap about the lingering aftermath of a murder. Luccardi will play India Deaver, the angry and uncommunicative daughter of Danielle (Perrey Reeves) and Richard Deaver (James Tupper). Martin Hendersonand Jesse L. Martin will co-star.

Husbands and Wives marked Luccardi's first pilot audition ever.

From Warner Bros. Television, Bruckheimer will executive produce alongside Sascha Penn, Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed. Penn will write the pilot.

Luccardi, repped by One Entertainment, will guest star in a season two episode of HBO's Girls when it returns Jan. 13. Her previous credits consist of two short films.

E-mail: Philiana.Ng@thr.com
Twitter: @insidethetube

 

Lauren Allen joins the cast of the NBC TV show based on my novel, SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES

Love it! Another actress has been cast in Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives. I loved Lauren Allen in Awake, so I'm sure she'll be great in the show.

Check it out below, from Deadline Hollywood…

— Josie


Laura Allen Joins NBC’s ‘Husbands And Wives’

Laura Allen has been cast as one of the leads in NBC’s pilot The Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives. The thriller/dramatic soap is from Jerry Bruckheimer TV and writer Sascha Penn and revolves around the lives of several couples. Allen, repped by Gersh and Impression Entertainment, will play Alison Dunn, a grounded and levelheaded mother and wife who happens to be hiding the darkest secret of all. It’s a return to NBC for Allen, who was cast in a supporting role then bumped up to female lead on the network’s Awake.

Nellie Andreeva

Time to play “Revenge”…

 

Revenge
Which character best exemplifies your ability to survive in the Hamptons, and why?

All comments, emailed to me at MailFromJosie@gmail.com prior to midnight PT on Wednesday March  29, 2012, will be entered in my contest for a copy of my book, THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK.

Okay, here are your choices…and good luck!

— Josie

 

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Author,
The Housewife Asassin's Handbook

Buy it today on…
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1. Fake Emily (real Amanda)
I never forget a slight. Especially one that put me in detention.

2. Fake Amanda (real Emily)
I'm loyal, no matter how many lies you tell me.

3. Victoria Grayson
I'll save myself, no matter how many lies it takes.

4. Charlotte Grayson
When the shite flies, I look for a crutch: drinks, drugs, what ev….But I'm cute and young, so I'll recover!

5. Nolan Ross
I'm snarky, but I'm also smart and loyal, so everyone cuts me some slack.

6. Daniel Grayson
I'm clueless, but I'm also rich and cute, so everyone cuts me some slack.

7. Conrad Grayson
I'm a douche, but I'm also rich and hold all the purse strings, so everyone cuts me some slack.

8. Jack Porter
I'm in love with some little girl I haven't seen since before puberty, but I'm the only guy in this show with cojones, so everyone cuts me some slack.

9. Satoshi Takeda
I'm the only one in this show with money, brains, and real tae kwon do skills. So I must be on the wrong show…

It’s that time of month. (Unless you’re on TV.)

  Tampons with eyes

We've crossed the bridge into the 21st century–unless you're an actress in a tampon commercial.

On American TV, we're still squeamish when talking about menstruation.

That is, a woman's period.

Her "little visitor."

Being "on the rag," as it were.

As Adweek points out, it's ironic that a product created in the 1930s — and on television, FINALLY, in 1973 — is still cloaked in AdLandia shorthand.

Forget code words. White short shorts or short skirts was — is — GirlSpeak for "it's okay to use tampons instead of pads, without worrying about bleedthrough."

To paraphrase, Betty Friedan: it's the feminine hygiene mystique.

The FCC has what is calls  "the seven dirty words" which are forbidden to say on TV. I'm too much of a lady to say them here, but you can guess what they are:

Has anyone noticed that dick and penis isn't on the list?

Which is possibly why, yes: those words flow trippingly through the boob tube.

At least, on basic cable, which is known for its potty mouth (DEADWOOD!!! I MISS YOU!!!!

Some of these words have already slipped into major broadcast network viewing as well.

So why not vagina? Why do television hostesses fudge it by saying "va-jay-jay? They should follow Lissa Rankin's advice and say it loud, say it proud.

Lubricant ads show couples in bed. Condom ads have now broken the television barrier, too. Turn on a football game and you'll overdose on Viagra and Cialis ads. (Puh-leeeez: get that couple out of their his-and-hers outdoor clawfoot tubs!)

The 1st Amendment makes strange bedfellows. A disparate group has coallesced around the goal of ending television censorship . It includes the Pacifica Foundation on the left, and the Cato Institute (a Libertarian think tank) on the right.

In fact, on July 13, 2010 in New York, FCC regulations regarding "fleeting" use of expletives were ruled unconstitutionally vague by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals,  which ruled that they violated the First Amendment in light of their possible effects regarding free speech.

Maybe we're finally crossing that bridge into the 21 century.

So that we get our celebrity fix for the day, click onto the video below. At the time (1985) , it was considered groundbreaking because she actually said the "P" word.

Several times, in fact!

Recognize the actress in this Tampax ad? When it comes to their careers, everyone's starts somewhere —

Period.

*Picture: The eyes have it! Tampons–that don't leak–are a girl's best friend.

Ewwww yuck is a fact of life,

— Josie

 

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 THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK 
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NaNoWriMo Tip #25: Do you really need a literary agent? Maybe. Here’s when.

Ari Gold

Now that National Novel Writing Month is almost over and your novel seems so real to you (50,000 words will do that, right?) you must also be thinking about how your book will find readers.

Traditionally, you'd be tossed onto a publishing editor's slush pile and pray to be discovered. 

With the shrinking of publishing house staffs, that slush pile is now the domain of the literary agent.

But many an author will ask: are agents still necessary in a day and age of independent book publishing? 

I've been published both ways, and my thought is this:

Yes.

Many of the authors I know feel this way, too. Like me, they have their feet in both worlds: they still sell to “New York” (where most of the major publishing houses have their offices) but they also independently publish their solely-owned backlists, or novels that have never found homes, or a variety of experimental projects.

Frankly, it’s the best of both worlds.

Why? Because to publishing houses, you are only as good as the sales of your last book. I’ve known previously best-selling authors who have been kicked to the curb by their publishing houses, just because their sales numbers fell short of what they had done two years before.

Is it fair to blame the author? I don’t think so, considering all the marketing factors that are out of their control. Most don’t get any say-so on their covers. And the publishing industry isn’t as progressive as other industries in creating brands for their authors – let alone developing brand awareness with key target audiences. Rather, they have relied on a narrow retail channel (big chain bookstores for most books; and independent bookstores for a smaller, select group of books).

And sadly, they have been slow to build awareness to their own brands: their name, and the various imprints within their houses.

In the larger marketplace of the Internet, branding and name awareness is key. Knowing your audience and reaching it will make or break a brand.

Every author is a brand. You are the biggest cheerleader for your brand and your manuscript.

But no writer is an island. It takes a village to sell a book: you (to write it) an agent (to sell it) and an editor, or producer, or whoever to buy it, and (prayerfully) market it properly—

So that you sell lots of copies to readers.

Which brings up the question of the day: what is the role of the agent in this brave new world?

Here’s how I see it:

First and foremost, your agent will be making your deals with publishing houses. 
Doing so is an agent's bread and butter. They work on commission. The more sales they make – and the more costly the acquisition – the happier they and their clients will be. It is also the best way for them to grow their own reputations.

Agents know what editors are looking for.
Agents know what genres are aging out, and which genres are getting hot (again). For example, if you write westerns, you’re probably hitting the reader zeitgeist just about…

NOW.

Well, guess what? Even if you were bought today, your book wouldn’t be hitting the bookshelves for another eighteen months —  just when you’re genre is, hopefully, due to be hot again.

Your agent will have great insights on what will make your manuscript even stronger.
The best agents read what you write, and give copious notes on how to make it stronger. Why? Because you don't need a yes man. You need a partner in selling your book to an editor.  

Your agent will be making your deals with other media platforms.
The explosion of television networks is a great opportunity for authors. Even if your agent hasn’t sold you to a publisher, s/he may be able to get you in the hands of a producer who is actively seeking to adapt books for film or TV. In fact, most literary agents are smart enough to network and co-venture with talent agents who work in the fields of movies and television.

Here's a perfect example: my wonderful literary agent, Holly Root, thought my novels would translate well in other media. There were several talent agencies — and agents within those agencies — she could have paired me with. She felt the best match was CAA. She was right. My agent there was diligent in sending my novels out to producers whom he felt would see their potential. A year and two months after my novel, Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, hit bookshelves, it was optioned by movie and television producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who promptly pitched it to ABC television as a dramatic series. It will be hitting the airwaves next year. That is pretty quick turnaround. Some novels take years to get that kind of notice from Hollywood. 

A great agent is a great sales person. S/he will always be looking for opportunities to sell your book. And your next. And your next. 

As technology forces the world of publishing to change, the role of the agent will change as well, too. The services they provide their clients will have to get broader. My guess is that these services will include all other things that help expand brands in other industries: name awareness (promotion) and  product positioning. 

So how do you get an agent? That will be tomorrow’s post…

(c) 2011 Josie Brown. All rights reserved.

Picture: You may not want ENTOURAGE'S Ari Gold as your agent, but your literary agent might co-agent with someone like Ari who can help you sell  your manuscript into television or the movies. It's the way we live now.

_________________________________________

READ YESTERDAY'S TIP HERE…

__________________________________________

I've got a question for you: Have you already tried to get an agent? How did that go?

— Josie

 

I’ll say it, if no one else will: THE OFFICE deserves the Emmy for Best Comedy.

The-office

Tina Fey's 30 Rock has been queen of the TV hill for quite some time. Maybe it's me, but I just don't get it. The show's over-the-top farce leaves me cold. Sure, the acting is great, but the laugh lines seem forced.

The Office, on the other hand, is chockful of characters everyone has encountered in real life: the office Nazi (Dwight); the superior prude (Angela); the idiot (Kevin); the airhead (Kelly)…

And then there's Michael Scott, a.k.a. Steve Carrell: an inappropriate boss who thinks his office coworkers are his family, because he truly doesn't have a life outside the office.

At first his character was written to be crass. Then the writers got wise and infused his obnoxious behavior with an underlying pathos. We know that guy: he tries so hard to win us over that we are repelled by him.

In any regard, we feel his pain.

We'll miss in him the (many, I hope) coming seasons.

Many of regulars are also its writers:  B. J. Novak was cast as temp Ryan HowardPaul Lieberstein is human resources director Toby Flenderson; Mindy Kaling is the shopaholic airhead  Kelly Kapoor. The infuse every character with emotional layers that go beyond the typical archtypes. 

And that is why I think The Office should get its Emmy this year.

Ah, if only I were queen of the TV universe…but no, Tina Fey has that throne and sceptor.

–Josie

HAH Hanging Man V2

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

Signal Press – Digital eBook 

ORDER NOW,  from

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Also in in the Apple iBookstore!

Enter The Housewife Assassin's Handbook Contest to win free movie tickets to AMC theaters, or another theater near you! 

I'm giving away $50 in Fandango Bucks
to some lucky winner who likes thriller movies as much as romantic suspense!

CLICK HERE TO READ THE CONTEST RULES…


The official MAD MAN recap video! Enjoy!

Mad-men Amuse bouche. That's what' the French call an appetizer that teases the palate.

Well, I've got the boob tube equivalent of one, right here: A recap of last season's MAD MEN it should quickly bring you up to speed before Sunday's first episode of the new season.

I think my characters in SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES would have easily fit into Betty and Don Draper's world, had they lived some forty years ago. Which begs the question: are men and women more duplicitous now, or less? Feel free to leave your comments below.

I'm guessing that nothing has changed in the past few decades. You'll have to read my book to find out.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE RECAP VIDEO…

Hey, don't say I never gave you anything,

—Josie

http://twitter.com/JosieBrownCA

http://www.facebook.com/Josie.Brown.Author.Page


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

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

In bookstores June 1, 2010. Order it TODAY!

"Hollywood's got nothing on the cast of characters living in the bedroom community of Paradise Heights, who have the secrets, sex, money and scandal of an OK! Magazine cover story. Josie Brown is a skilled observer whose clever dialogue and feisty style make for truly entertaining reading." –Jackie Collins, Hollywood Wives

The Joy of Glee

Glee-cast I'm very happy that the television show, Glee, is leading the number of Emmy nods this year.

Yes, it's silly. And campy. And totally implausible.

But it's also well-acted and the singing is fabulous.

I know. Written like a true musical theatre geek, right? I readily and GLEEfully cop to that. I've loved musical theatre since. I was, like eight. My fabulous elementary school library (Leslie J. Steel School, Decatur, GA) had a series of books that included, by year, every Broadway musical that premiered, with words and lyrics. It took me a whole summer, but I went through them, memorizing lyrics and plots.

I was far away from Broadway, but I felt I was in the thick of it.

I fell in love with my husband, Martin, because he wooed me with show tunes. (Yes, he still does!)

Our kids not only grew up watching Disney musicals on DVD, but could sing along to BRIGADOON and MUSIC MAN and of course PETER PAN. Seriously, my son thought that Gene Kelly was his uncle. I didn't have the heart to tell him when his idol passed.

My own attempt at the Great White Way is my musical of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I wrote the book, with lyrics and musical by the incomparable Rita Abrams. With the help of our esteemed theatrical agent, hopefully we'll eventually get there. In the meantime, click onto the link, and you can hear a song and get samples of others.

I'm of the mindset that any show on TV that makes people want to sing, dance, or smile at others who live to do so deserves an Emmy or two.

My guess is that GLEE — with its stellar cast led by Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele — will get a heckuva lot more than that.

—Josie

http://twitter.com/JosieBrownCA




Secret-Lives400w
 
Josie's
Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

In bookstores June 1, 2010. Order it
TODAY
!

"Hollywood's got nothing on the cast of characters living in
the
bedroom community of Paradise Heights, who have the secrets, sex, money
and scandal of an OK! Magazine cover story. Josie Brown is a skilled
observer whose clever dialogue and feisty style make for truly
entertaining reading."

Jackie
Collins
, bestselling author of Hollywood Wives and Poor Little Bitch Girl

Order your copy from: