New Season, New Contest, and a New Series!

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EXTRACURRICULAR – BOOK 1 RELEASE DATE: JUNE 28, 2019. PRE-ORDER NOW!

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Happy Almost Summer to You!

Now that San Francisco's monsoon rains have finally let up, Martin and I have been taking long walks every day. It's great to see flowers in bloom again!

The tulip trees were first, then the daffodils, followed by ice plant and calla lilies. Birds of Paradise seem to hang in there pretty much all year long, as do roses—always a pleasure to see.

Only one thing makes me happier than Spring—and that's BOOKS!
My next series, EXTRACURRICULAR, takes place over two generations and three episodic books.

It's a story about love, lust, and parents behaving badly when it comes to cheating on college entrance exams.

It may sound like a plot ripped from the headlines. Ironically, this was a story I began writing eight years ago…

So yeah, it's been on my mind for quite some time.

If you loved Totlandia or Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, this is definitely the series for you!
The first novel in this series of three books launches on 
Friday, June 28, 2019—
Just in time for the July 4th Weekend.

And of course, to celebrate the heat AND a sizzling new book to read, 
I'm having a launch contest for Extracurricular – Book 1.

You can read about it below. I do hope you'll enter.
In fact, you'll have 6 chances to win.
Enjoy your summer—AND Extracurricular!
—Josie

Prizes

THE PRIZES

5 Contestants Will Win:

:A $10 Gift Card from the bookstore of your choice;

: An autographed copy of my novel, The Baby Planner (trade paperback); and

: A digital eBook of any one of my books (currently published, or a future title).

A 6th Contestant will be drawn as the Grand Prize Winner, and will Receive:

: A $50 Gift Card from the bookstore of your choice;

: A signed trade paperback copy of The Baby Planner;

A signed trade paperback copy of Extracurricular Book 1;

: An signed hardcover copy of The Housewife Assassin's Handbook;

: A digital eBook of one of my books—your choice! (currently published, or a future title);

: A jute tote bag sporting the Housewife Assassin logo—great for the beach or the store! And

: A stoneware ruffled pie dish from Crate + Barrel.

Talk about a fun bunch of prizes!

The contest ends Midnight Pacific Time on Midnight, Sunday, August 4, 2019

Talk about a fun bunch of prizes!

AND YOU CAN EARN BONUS POINTS!

Enter the Contest

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

 

 

A Sneak Peek AT THE GREAT GATSBY

  

F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my all-time favorite authors. His words are prose as poetry, and from that standpoint, The Great Gatsby is considered is best work (albeit I'm partial to the book he was still writing upon his death, The Last Tycoon.

If the film is as good as the trailer, Baz Luhrmann, the director of the cinematic musical Moulin Rouge (talk about a fully encompassing cinematic experience, despite the tongue-in-cheek pop music mashup) may very well consider this his masterwork.

The movie stars Leonardo Di Caprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and the usually funny Isla Fisher in a very serious role. Oscar nods all around.

Depicting the roaring twenties the way Fitzgerald wrote about it (or, I should say fantasized about it) does the author proud.

 

— Josie

 

  HAH Hanging Man V2

The Housewife Asassin's Handbook

Buy it today on
AmazonKindleButton   

"You've got a book that won't be putdown – so go pick it up now!"  — Cat's Thoughts
"As a housewife myself, this book was a fantastic escape that had me dreaming "if only" the whole way through. The book doesn't take itself too seriously, which makes for the perfect combination of mystery and humor…" –Curled Up with a Good Book and a Cup of Tea

 

Hooray for Hollywood….

TrueHollywood Lies
I love the Southland.

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

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

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

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

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

 

— Josie

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

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

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

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

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

In this workshop, participants will learn:
 

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

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

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

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 #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…

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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…

 

You can’t just write a book. You have to promote it, too Here’s why.

Books
I had a great conversation with freelance editor John Rakstraw, which was broadcasted on is Blog Talk Radio show. (Click the icon below. The interview starts about 6 minutes into it.)

One of the topics we touched on was the fact that promoting the book you've written is very important to its success. Why? because there are 180,000 books published each year. How can readers find your book (on the shelf, or online) if they haven't heard of it first?

I truly believe that to stay in the game, authors have to become strong self-promoters. I also believe that, other than editing, the strongest component a publishing house can offer its authors is promotion. Otherwise, why would an author settle for 8-15% of a book's gross profit, when indie publishing (which takes care of online distribution anyway) allows them to hold onto 70% of it?

Listen to internet radio with John Rakestraw Talks on Blog Talk Radio

 

Hope you enjoy what I had to say on it,

 

— 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

Amazon.com

BarnesAndNoble.com

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…


Check out this video of me discussing my book, The Baby Planner.

Baby Planner 600w I can talk non-stop about my book The Baby Planner. I so enjoyed writing about my heroine, Katie Johnson. We all excel in at least one way, but we also have our weak spots. Katie's leaves her vulnerable in the one area she thinks she will always be blessed: family. 

Little does she know….

But hey, I don't want to give it way. Listen to what I have to say about it here,

— Josie

Read an excerpt…

 


 

i 

 

THE BABY PLANNER

Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books / In stores April 5, 2011

ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY:

From Amazon / Amazon Kindle

From Barnes & Noble / Barnes & Noble Nook

From Books a Million

From Books Inc.

From Borders

From Your Local Independent Bookstore

From Powell's

Signed copies from Liberty Bay Books

 

And the GoodReads contest winners are…

Comfortable readI want to thank all 1,048 of you who entered GoodRead's giveaway of five copies of The Baby Planner!

The winners are:

 - Sonia Bond

 - Renee Lippert

 - Susan Fulginiti

 - Nina Renner

 - Alicia Schultz

I hope you love it, and will chat it up to your friends.

For those of you who have not yet read it, I'm proud of the fact that it got some super reviews. Feel free toread an excerpt of it here…

Also feel free to read a excerpt of my just released digital eBook, The Housewife Assassin's Handbook. That contest will be announced soon, on my website.

By the way, I'll be announcing the winner of my contest for a $100 gift card by noon tomorrow, by which time I hope to have reached the winner.

It's a great summer to curl up with a good book (preferably, mine),

–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

Amazon.com

BarnesAndNoble.com

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…


Books: must live with them, can’t live without them.

Lots o books 1 Emptying the nest is a bitch. Especially if it's filled with books.

First there is the emotional upheaval that comes with the decision to leave a house which holds so many family memories.

Then there's the physical exhaustion from sorting, packing, hauling, and perhaps dumping stuff you've acculumlated since that day you moved into your once pristine abode.

Add to that the boxing of the things that you simply cannot live without.

In my case, that includes books. And more books. And even more books.

Am I kidding myself when I insist that there are very few things in my life which I consider keepers?

My husband Martin and kids are a given. As to the physical and inanimate,there our family photos; an antique desk; two antique brass lamps, which an aunt brought over from Japan where her husband was stationed there; a few knotty pine pieces (my Georgia roots are showing); a 1930s Coca-Cola sign (again, my Georgia roots are deep and strong); a framed poster of Sausalito, painted by Neil Betts; an original Mid-Century Eames rocker; a few wrought iron pieces–

Oh yeah: and those boxes and boxes of books. 

Twelve years ago we moved in with 44 boxes of them, so I'd say have done a fairly good job of gutting my book collection, along with my psyche. Talk about a book lover's Sophie's Choice! (Don't worry, that was one of the keepers.)

Believe it oro not, I find it harder for my to give away books than to pack them up, yet again.

Boxes of books Before we bought this house, we'd moved five times in ten year, all the while renting. The moves were hellacious, and much more difficult because our kids were young and had their own issues over what to keep or toss. 

Back then I had the dilemma of moving a baby grand piano, too. It had been mine since I was thirteen, and my mother had allowed me to take it from her home when I "settled down," i.e., got married. Based on my pride over it, you'd think I played like Leonard Bernstein. In truth, it was more like Chico Marx, only with all ten fingers. But my meager repertoire of three memorized sonatas did not merit moving that poor piano yet again–

Besides, I needed room for my books. 

So many books, so few boxes. How did we end up with so many biographies about Lincoln? Martin collects books on religion, nutrition, Trollope, and dead presidents. I pride myself on my sets of hardcover novels from John Le Carre, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Martin Cruise Smith.

And there are no bad E.L. Doctorows.

But since we're downsizing, what is allowed to stay couldnt be a longer list than what should go.

This includes a stray Louis L'Amore or two, not to mention a . Son will take the Michael Crightons. Daughter grabs all the Christopher Buckleys. If I need a fix of either, I know where to find them.

Who knew I had a copy of Cherry Ames, Senior Nurse? El Stranger by Camus is in French. Since I don't read in that language, bon soire to it, and ooh la la to that lucky someone who comes across it, next month at my local library's book sale.

Some books got a reprieve because I like the cover as well as the story, (a trade paperback version of Kay Boyle's Year Before Last) or becuase the title intrigues me (Coming of Age in the Milky Way). 

Then there are my humongous research collections. Books on Hollywood filled five boxes, whereas those about my hometown of Atlanta during the turn of the last century fit in just one. And like stoic SS officers, tomes about Nazi Germany lined up dutifully in two of the boxes.  

These tomes are near and dear to me because I'll be writing novels based on all these topics. Besides some of these books are out of print, so it's not like I can buy them in digital form, even if I wanted to…

Okay, the truth now: would I want to?

"Just think how easy our move would be, without all these heavy boxes," Martin wheezed as he and Son lug box after box into two storage closets that, I pray, will be overlooked by the prospective buyers traipsing through our home. 

He didn't hear me gasp. If he had, he'd have called me silly and pointed out that eBooks allow for highlighting an bookmarking and searching — all of which make them comparable to paper books.

And an eReader is so much lighter: by, say, 28 boxes, even more.

But my books are me.

Eventually we'll be storing all our books in a cloud. Okay, I'll admit it: as a writer, that freaks me out. I love running my eyes over my shelves of books until a title, or great spine art, that stops me cold.  I leaf through it, read the opening line, get sucked into the story by an intriguing first paragraph, by an alluring first page…

Am I the only one who thinks books are eye candy?

Forget those twinkling glass chips in the fireplace, or all those tall vases overflowing with roses. To my mind, nothing warms up a home more than a library of books…

But try telling that to your realtor.

Books make a home. Without them, I'm just passing through.

— Josie

Baby Planner Low ResTHE BABY PLANNER – A Novel by Josie Brown

In Bookstores Now!

Chosen as one of the "Top 5 Must-Read Spring 2011 Paperbacks" by SheKnows.com

(Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books) 
ISBN#: 9781439197127 – Trade Paperback
ISBN# 9781439197134 – BN Nook Edition 
ASIN: B0043RSK8U – Kindle Edition

"Brown (Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives) takes baby mania to its illogical, hysterical extreme in this bubbly romp. Thirty-seven-year-old Katie's biological clock is ticking like a time bomb, and she turns her baby obsession into a wildly successful consultant gig planning nurseries for pregnant women too rich, clueless, bedridden, or busy to do the task themselves.

Even grieving widower Seth, who works with Katie's child-shy husband, Alex, on a demanding new business venture, needs Katie's services to help him manage his perplexing new role as a single dad. But what begins as a light foray into Bugaboo country turns into something bigger than a satire of status-obsessed Bay Area yummy mummies as Brown takes a dark look at the fears of parenthood and family, with Katie's heartbreaking longing for a child unveiling a disturbing reality about her marriage and family. Still, the message from the somber realities is one full of hope: love makes a family, commitment keeps it together."
–Publishers Weekly

 

 

 

 

 

Seattle Parents! Join Us for THE BABY PLANNER Novel Party!

BabyPlannerEviteTighter(2)Seattle always has sunshine when I come to town. Seattle readers — and expectant moms, for whom my latest novel will surely resonate — I hope you'll join me at my parents party for THE BABY PLANNER. Lots of raffle prizes, samples, and coupons.  Here are the details:


Date: Thurs, June 2, 2011, 11am

Location: Planet Happy Toys / 2914 NE 55th Street, Seattle, 98105
Tel #: 206.729.0154
RSVP to: BabyPlannerSeattle@gmail.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=206163599396291

Planet Happy Toys is throwing the ultimate parent party.  Hosted by ItsaBelly-Seattle baby planner Windy Gossett to celebrate the launch of author Josie Brown’s latest novel entitled (appropriately enough) The Baby Planner (Simon & Schuster).

Brown will read from the book. Afterward Gossett will discuss tips on buying safe and non toxic baby products.

LOCAL SPONSOR: ItsaBelly, National Baby Planning & Maternity Concierge Services

THERE WILL ALSO BE GIVEAWAYS FROM:
Sprout Organic Baby Food
Kiwi Magazine, for Growing Families the Natural and Organic Way
EcoStoreUSA, maker of Eco-Safe Cleansing Products
Spiffies, maker of Infant Dental and Teething Wipes
– Organic Mother's Milk Tea, from www.TraditionalMedicinals.com
ArtBellies.com, Making Your Work in Progress a Work of Art
– Gift bag from PrinceLionheart.com
Maclaren Beginning Skin Care, safe non toxic!
– And a special Itsabelly gift basket, which includes:

"Itsabelly's Guide to Going Green with Baby" book

The Mommy Hook

Thinkbaby Bottles

– Wysi Wipes

NoseFrida Snot Sucker

ATTENDEES WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE ENTERED INTO CONTESTS FOR:
– A set of Wonder Bumpers, the #1 doctor-recommended crib-safe bedding from http://www.GoMamaGoDesigns.com
– A gift from The Happiest Baby on the Block
– A gift from Beth Duris, Shaklee Distributor
–  A copy of The First 8 Days of Being a Mom
A $100 gift card to their favorite bookstore, courtesy Josie Brown. The drawing will be done on 6/22/11.

AND YOU'LL RECEIVE COUPONS FROM:
Minted Custom Invitations  - The Eco Breast Pump  - Beaba USA Bloomin’ Belly Soaps

RSVP strongly Advised! We look forward to seeing you there!

— Josie

"Brown (Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives) takes baby mania to its illogical, hysterical extreme in this bubbly romp…But what begins as a light foray into Bugaboo country turns into something bigger than a satire of status-obsessed Bay Area yummy mummies as Brown takes a dark look at the fears of parenthood and family, with Katie's heartbreaking longing for a child unveiling a disturbing reality about her marriage and family. Still, the message from the somber realities is one full of hope: love makes a family, commitment keeps it together." –Publishers Weekly

 

Hollywood, here I come–with THE BABY PLANNER tour!

27355-Baby-Planner-160x600 I'm ready for my close-up, and so is THE BABY PLANNER!

I'd like to invite you to attend one of my free events, taking place while I'm in the Southern California. Here's the deets:


Posies & Ponies
7449 Girard Avenue, La Jolla, CA 92037
858.551.0434
(just south of the intersection of Pearl)

Hosted by baby planner
Heather Atkinson
Baby Bump & Beyond 

RSVP here via email
or RSVP on Facebook

***** 

Los Angeles, CA
Sat May 21, 1pm

Children's Wonderland
11726 Barrington Court  90049 
310.440.9970

Hosted by baby planner
Denise Xagorarakis
OCBabyPlanner.com

RSVP via email
or RSVP on Facebook

*****

Granola Babies
2346 Newport Blvd., B-1, 92627
800.560.9534

Hosted by baby planner 
Denise Xagoraraki
OCBabyPlanner.com
 

RSVP via eMail 
or RSVP on Facebook

*******

The tour's national sponsors include:

I look forward to meeting you there!

The Baby Planner
[Simon & Schuster/Gallery, in bookstores April 5, 2011]


"Brown (Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives) takes baby mania to its illogical, hysterical extreme in this bubbly romp…. But what begins as a light foray into Bugaboo country turns into something bigger than a satire of status-obsessed Bay Area yummy mummies as Brown takes a dark look at the fears of parenthood and family, with Katie's heartbreaking longing for a child unveiling a disturbing reality about her marriage and family. Still, the message from the somber realities is one full of hope: love makes a family, commitment keeps it together."

–Publishers Weekly







 

The best gift you can give on Mother’s Day: a donation to your local library. Here’s why…

MomDadReading-withChild Today, millions of children — and adults — will be honoroing their mothers in a variety of ways. Some moms will get a soggy French toast breakfast in bed and chow down on it with glee, because it's the thought that counts, not the lack of any golden brown crispness on two slices of yolk-drenched Wonder Bread. Other mothers will be treated to an overpriced brunch at a local restaurant, where they'll wave at the other moms who grace the tables around them who are also surrounded by their adoring broods.

And all mothers will be oohing and aahing over the gifts they'll receive, even if it's yet another bottle of perfume, or trio of scented soaps, or bouquet of roses.

I am a mother of two. Like other moms, I've given no clue as to what I might want on This Day To Pay Me Tribute. Call me humbled. Call me selfless–

Call me a sap! That's only fair, because I'm calling you one, too.

Why? Because all week we've had the perfect opportunity to hint around (make that, command with dire motherly overtones) as to what we really want from our kids. And as is the case with almost everything we ask of them, it's more for their benefit than for our own, even if they don't realize it at first:

We should ask them to donate to their local library.

From the moment we first held our infant children in our arms, we've only wanted the best for them. We wanted them to succeed and prosper; to be happy and healthy.

We encouraged them to be anything in life they wanted, be that teachers or bankers; firemen or gymnasts; ballplayers or doctors. Even president.

Our own lives have shown us that knowledge is power. Generations of mothers before us instilled this into us– 

Even those who never had local, free public libraries.

Great societies, like ancient Egypt and Assyria (now Iraq) were built on grand libraries. Even today, with the social turmoil upending the dictatorial regimes that now rule in that part of the world, the citizens who are fighting for their freedom are also standing guard over their libraries.

So, why aren't we doing the same?

Ours are being threatened by the worst economy since the Great Depression. Just a couple of years ago it took an act of Pennsylvania's state legislature to keep the great city of Philadelphia's library system from closing its doors. Scan Google and your find article upon article about closings in communities all over the country; no, make that all over the world.

The digital leap in eBooks may be forcing a move away from paper books, but it won't quell the desire to access knowledge, in any form it may take. I have no doubt that the savvy librarians I've met throughout the country can tell you that there are many readers who don't have a couple of hundred dollars to spend on an eReader or iTablet. 

History shows us that a great divide in the haves and have-nots only leads to anarchy. 

Once again, it's time that the "haves" come to the rescue.

In 1889, millionaire steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie built the first of 1,689 free public libraries in the United States. He left it to the local communities — usually women's groups — to fund the books that would go inside these grand buildings.

For five generations of Americans, in cities large and small, these libraries were the pride of their communities. 

Where is our pride now?

Please don't point to "budget cutbacks" and "austerity plans." 

Libraries are the essence of freedom. They are home to free speech and to knowledge.

They are where a free society learns to read.

Just recently I read a post from a book blogger, Courtney Webb, bemoaning the reduced hours at her local library. What jumped out at me from her plea was the name of her library system: Cobb County Public Library System.

While I now live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I spent my teen years in Cobb County. A couple of its branches — Kennesaw, and Gritters — were second homes to me. They fed my love of books, and my desire to write. 

When my own mother was alive, one of her fondest memories of my childhood was how, as a first grader, I'd follow behind her while she mowed the lawn, reading to her. Of course over the din of the mower she couldn't hear whether I was getting every word right, but I was certainly making an effort.

Now, I'm asking you to make one, too: Give something. GIVE ANYTHING. But keep your libraries a part of your lives. 

They build minds, and inspire ideas.

As history has shown us, libraries are what make civilizations great.

 

— Josie

Josie's latest novel is The Baby Planner [Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books]
ISBN 978-1-4391-9712-7 

 

"Brown (Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives) takes baby mania to its illogical, hysterical extreme in this bubbly romp. Thirty-seven-year-old Katie's biological clock is ticking like a time bomb, and she turns her baby obsession into a wildly successful consultant gig planning nurseries for pregnant women too rich, clueless, bedridden, or busy to do the task themselves. Even grieving widower Seth, who works with Katie's child-shy husband, Alex, on a demanding new business venture, needs Katie's services to help him manage his perplexing new role as a single dad. But what begins as yet another vanilla chick lit foray into Bugaboo country turns into something bigger than a satire of status-obsessed Bay Area yummy mummies as Brown takes a dark look at the fears of parenthood and family, with Katie's heartbreaking longing for a child unveiling a disturbing reality about her marriage and family. Still, the message from the somber realities is one full of hope: love makes a family, commitment keeps it together." –Publishers Weekly

 

 

Thanks, Publishers Weekly, for Loving THE BABY PLANNER

I'm honored to have this fabulous review in the book publishing industry's trade magazine,PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.

What a great way to start a Monday!
The Baby Planner

Josie Brown. S&S/Gallery, $15 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9712-7

 

 

Brown (Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives) takes baby mania to its illogical, hysterical extreme in this bubbly romp. Thirty-seven-year-old Katie's biological clock is ticking like a time bomb, and she turns her baby obsession into a wildly successful consultant gig planning nurseries for pregnant women too rich, clueless, bedridden, or busy to do the task themselves. Even grieving widower Seth, who works with Katie's child-shy husband, Alex, on a demanding new business venture, needs Katie's services to help him manage his perplexing new role as a single dad. But what begins as yet another vanilla chick lit foray into Bugaboo country turns into something bigger than a satire of status-obsessed Bay Area yummy mummies as Brown takes a dark look at the fears of parenthood and family, with Katie's heartbreaking longing for a child unveiling a disturbing reality about her marriage and family. Still, the message from the somber realities is one full of hope: love makes a family, commitment keeps it together. (Apr. 2011)

 

Want to read an excerpt? Click here. You can also enter my contest, for a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice.  

Enjoy and good luck!

 

I have mine, now you have a chance to have yours, too,

— Josie

Win a $100 Gift Card to Your Favorite Bookstore!

Stack of books See that smile? See that stack of books? This woman could be you!

All you have to do is read this excerpt of THE BABY PLANNER, and email the following, to BabyPlannerNovel@gmail.com

– The correct answer;

– Your name, snail mail address so I can send the gift card to you, if you're my lucky winner; and

– A "nickname" for you, that will be posted on the "Possible Winners" page;

Entries close on Midnight Pacific Time, Father's Day, June 19, 2011.

The winner will be drawn from all correct entries the next day, from my favorite bookstore (Books, Inc., 2251 Chestnut Street, San Francisco) and posted on my website. I'll also email the winner to get the name of their favorite bookstore.

Bonus Points when you do this:

Bonus Point+1: Friend me on Facebook, at 
http://www.facebook.com/Josie.Brown.Author.Page, and/or

 

Bonus Point+1: Friend me on Twitter, at
http://twitter.com/JosieBrownCA

 

Additional Bonus Points for doing this, as often as once a day:

Bonus Point+2: Send a friend to this page, and they email back with the correct answer and their pertinent info, along with this line: "(Your Name) invited me to enter your contest."

 

Bonus Point+2: Tweet or FB up this statement:

I <3 the excerpt of @JosieBrownCA's #BabyPlannerNovel! Read it here 4 a chance 2 win $100 bookstore giftcard: http://tinyurl.com/6enlweq

 

  

NOW IT'S YOUR TURN TO READ THE EXCERPT HERE…AND GOOD LUCK!

Baby Planner 600w

"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

"The Baby Planner is as a delight.  I wondered, as I was reading it, how I every managed without a baby planner, and by the end I wondered how I ever managed without its author, Josie Brown." 
—Eileen Goudge, New York Times bestselling author of Once in a Blue Moon

"I loved this juicy-as-it-it-is-heartfelt novel about love, marriage, friendship and sharp, manicured claws. Could not put it down!"
—Melissa Senate, author of The Secret of Joy

"Poignant and funny! Josie Brown's protagonist is strong, resilient, and unflinchingly honest: she has all the skills she needs to navigate the 'mean streets' of the gated community of Paradise Heights. A great read!" 
—Wendy Wax, author Magnolia Wednesdays

“Brown proves that a story with suburban bodies can be just as suspenseful as one with dead bodies! Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives is a probing, entertaining fishbowl of married life in a well-heeled, wayward neighborhood. Loved it!”  
—Stephanie Bond, author of Body Movers series

"I loved it! Josie Brown captures the highs and lows of love, lust and marriage with heartwrenching  pathos. I'm recommending it to all my friends as the perfect beach read!"

Lisa Rinna, actress, and author of the novel, Starlit,  
and the personal growth book, Rinnavation

 

Why MacBook Air is “Meh” for Authors

MacBook Air I'm a big Apple Mac fan. Always have been–

Until now.

This past year my travel schedule heavied up. I wasn't looking forward to hitting the road with my iBook laptop. (Walking through the streets of New York and Chicago with the strap of your computer bag dragging you down is not a great fashion statement.)

At first I thought I'd splurge on an iPad. Heck, that way I could easily read my (and other authors') books on it as well. The price was a bit daunting, I'll admit. But what really turned me against it was the omission of a real keyboard. No, not that li'l picture of one under glass, which shared the screen with anything else you were viewing, but a real, separate keyboard.

"You can always buy the keyboard attachment," my techno-savvy sis-in-law told me.

"What would be the purpose?" I answered. "For me, flying is down time. It's the best time to write chapters of my next book. The airplane seat room is small enough as it is! Usually I have to bribe the person in front of me with a drink so that they don't recline the seat, snapping off the lid of my computer. The last thing I need to do is juggle a tethered keyboard and the iPad on some little stand…"

Not to mention the crick I'd get in my neck, for hunching over that faux keyboard.

The solution: No Apple.

Instead I purchased a slim ASUS Netbook. It's 10 inches and under 3 lbs, has 13 hours of battery life, a 2GB memory, a pricetag of $349–

And best of all, a REAL keyboard.

The first few days I had it, I'll admit it: I got hives thinking about being away from my seamless OSX Apple Snow Leopard operating system. Slowly but surely, though, I let go of my iBook. It felt soooo heavy, compared to the ASUS.

Yeah, okay, I miss some of the wonderful shortcuts that Apples have, which make our lives easier. But I'll gladly trade it for the convenience of tossing my ASUS into a tiny bag and taking it on the road with me.

And I certainly don't miss the sore shoulder.

Apple must have missed me, too, because now it's got its own solution to the Netbook: the MacBook Air.

I thought it might bring me home to Apple . . .

But no. Why? NO HARD DISK DRIVE.

In other words no place to save my chapters, or access my research, or archive my most important (read: security blanket) files.

Grant it, it's wafer slim, only 11 inches in length, has a 5-hour battery–and yes, a keyboard.

But NO HARD DRIVE?  Fuggedaboutit. This article, in FORTUNE, convinced me to stay away.

I'm over forty. I''ve lost enough memory as is.

I guess Thomas Wolfe was right. You can't go home again.

Have Netbook will travel,

–Josie

http://twitter.com/JosieBrownCA

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

 

Josie's latest book:

SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES

(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