Kid Lit: Are Children’s Books Depressing Our Offspring?

Alice-in-wonderland An interesting conundrum is posed below, in this article from London's TimesOnline:

Are children's books too depressing these days?

That question was broached to both a current and former UK children's laureate, and their answers come from complete opposite points of view as to how the stories of contemporary authors may affect our children's outlooks on life.

My two cents? I think it depends on the child, the children's ages, the story, and how their parents helps the children comprehend and process the story's message after it is read to or by them.

In hindsight, I wish I'd read my kids Dickens as opposed to Berenstain Bears. No offense to the latter, but certainly the stories are richer, and the dialogue can bring one to tears. In any event, they were riveted by the Goosebumps series all on their own, and my younger child loves all the Harry Potters, so dark isn't necessary the new black, just classic and timeless.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this,

—Josie

Dilf Logo Small








From

August 25, 2009

Anne Fine deplores 'gritty realism' of modern children's books

Once upon a time, in the spiffing
1950s, characters in children’s books enjoyed wonderful adventures after which
they all lived happily ever after. By contrast, reality weighs heavily on
today’s young readers, a former children’s laureate has warned.

Anne Fine said that cosy tales in which
children’s characters looked forward to future adventures had been replaced by
gritty stories that offered no hope for their weary protagonists.Contemporary
literature is dauntingly bleak, with depressing endings that do little to
inspire.

“In the Fifties, when a strong child
was dealing with difficult circumstances, there was always a rescue at the end
of the book and it was always a middle-class rescue,” she said.

“The child would win a scholarship to
Roedean or something, and go on to do very well. That was felt to be
unrealistic and so there was a move away from that. Books for children became
much more concerned with realism, or what we see as realism.

“But where is the hope? How do we offer
them hope within that? It may be that realism has gone too far in literature
for children. I am not sure that we are opening doors for children who read
these books, or helping them to develop their aspirations.”

The bestselling writer made her
comments at Compelling Novels, Vulnerable Children, an event organised by the
umbrella group Children in Scotland for the Edinburgh Book Festival.

She told The Times that she did not
wish to see a return to the standards of Enid Blyton, but that she was worried
about the effect that gloomy books can have on children. “I can’t see how we
roll back from this without returning to the sort of fiction that is no longer
credible — books with a Blyton-ish view of things.”

Her concerns were not shared by Anthony
Browne, the current Children’s Laureate, who believes that a lot of children’s
literature remains upbeat. “There are both types of endings, happier and
unhappier. I prefer open endings. I don’t think we are living in an age of
depressing, dark endings. If you look at Jacqueline Wilson, she does deal in
gritty realism, but her books don’t lack aspiration.”

He recently changed the ending to his
forthcoming book — Me and You, a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in
which Goldilocks comes from an impoverished background — so that the ending was
less miserable. “My original version had Goldilocks being chased out of the
bears’ house and her ending up on bleak, dark streets. I decided to give it a
more ambiguous ending, so now she is running toward something that may or may
not be her mother.”

Amanda Craig, who reviews children’s
books for The Times, said that Fine’s example of an aspirational ending, in
which a girl is given a place at a good school, appeared some years ago in
Dustbin Baby, an otherwise gritty book by Jacqueline Wilson.

She added that Fine was also capable of
producing “utterly bleak” books such as Road of Bones, about a boy growing up
in totalitarian Russia. The title of the book, which was shortlisted for a
Carnegie Medal in 2007, refers to the bones of political dissidents who dared
to oppose Stalin.

Fine was accompanied on the panel at
the book festival talk by Melvin Burgess, whose children’s books have dealt
with child abuse in a care home and teenage heroin abuse. Burgess argued that
young people had a right to know about the seamier side of life. “I think
well-informed young people are better able to deal with things they may come
across,” he said. “I have had letters talking about the humanity of my books,
even when the situations the characters are in are very dark and difficult.
Just the fact that they are still making jokes and falling in love. Perhaps the
light of hope comes from the reader and not the story.”

This Week’s Trailer Smash: COUPLES RETREAT

Vince-vaughn-couples-retrea Okay, so I've been waiting for a Vince Vaughn movie that rivals WEDDING CRASHERS in both jokes, cast, and great Vince Vaughnability.

Well, I think I've found it. COUPLES RETREAT allows Vinny to grow up out of the manboy he usually portrays, into a hubby and dad — with some of the same issues that a married manboy is due to have.

Sublimely, Jon Favreau, Kristen Bell and Jason Bateman round out the cast.

Damn! You mean we have to wait until October 9, 2009 to see?

Enjoy,

—Josie

Dilf Logo Small

Blake Snyder, RIP: SAVE THE CAT Saved So Many Plots from Oblivion

Save-the-cat  For the past four months, I've been searching for my copy of Blake Snyder's SAVE THE CAT. Its 15-point "beat sheet" is THE Bible for many screenwriters — and a good many novelists as well (you can count me among the latter).

Well, I found it today — ironically, right after I'd read about Blake's passing.

I had the good fortune to take one of Blake's workshops, at the Romance Writers' Association's national convention in San Francisco last year. It made a wonderful case as to why some of the key plotting elements used in film scripts work so well in novels, too.

Since that time, I've sold a book or two in which I applied his process. Now I can't live without it.

How do you measure the worth of a being? I've never believed it's by how much money you've made, but by how many people you've touched with your personal insights. Whereas a lot of Blake's fans — whom I count myself one — talk about how his teachings have helped their careers, there wasn't a person who met Blake who didn't feel as if he was their new best friend: a guy willing to teach you everything he knew, and root for you every step of the journey.

In other words, Blake was priceless.

The search is over. SAVE THE CAT will be on my desk for a long time to come. Blake, on the other hand, lives on in the hearts, minds, imaginations and plots of the thousands who learned from him.

I am so proud to be one of these lucky few,

Shake Your Booty in Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream and Cake Contest to Win $10,000

BaskinRobbinsDanceContest Remember that old saying "We all sing for ice cream"? Well, now, if you dance, too, you'll have a shot at $10,000 in cash, and $1,000 worth of Baskin
Robbins Ice Cream Cake. All you have to do is grab your video camera
and your kids, and dance for your chance to win in the Baskin Robbins
Ice Cream & Cake Dance Contest!

Entering is easy as cake (and ice cream):

1.Go to the Baskin Robbins Video Contest Page
to download the free Ice Cream and Cake song for your video. (Catchy as all get-out! Trust me on this…)

2.Watch the demo
video to see how the dance is done.

3. Next, grab your camera (and the
kids!) and shake your beautiful booty.

4. Uplink your video, and get your friends and family to vote for you, because that will play a part in
determining the winner.

Put on your dancin' shoes,

—Josie
Dilf Logo Small  

Room Service by Richard Gere? Okay, Yeah, I’m In

RichardGere  Turns out Richard Gere and his lovely wife, Carrie Lowell, have turned their 18th Century farmhouse in the upstate New York town of Bedford into a B&B and yoga loft.You can read about it in the this link. which takes you to the article about it in W Magazine.

If he's doing room service delivery, I am so totally in. Particularly if he throws in breakfast in bed.

Oh yeah, and, um, a yoga pose: say, the utthita supta padangusthasana?

Talk about an über-DILF!

—Josie

Dilf Logo Small  

Suicidal Moms: No One Who Knew Them Can RIP

Momsandsons  Yet another mom has taken her own life—and that of the person most precious to her: her child.

In this case, it was a 51-year-old divorced woman, Judith Elizabeth Williams from Walnut Creek, California. She owned a business that was failing, like so many others in this economy. Her financial situation may have been the tipping point, but it wasn't the only factor that robbed this mom of her ability to see the senselessness of her act, which took place at dusk, on the highest point in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mount Diablo.

Apparently she'd been depressed for years. Perhaps she had never sought the treatment she needed. I guess we'll never know.

He 15-year-old son, Adam, had accompanied her up the mountain. She'd already done away with the family pets, although he may have not known that yet.

Even if he had, would a teen have recognized that act as a symptom of suicidal depression?

Even if he had, would he have known who he could go to?

Would he have known to seek help for her, or would he have been too embarrassed about his mom's issues? As we all know, teens are very sensitive of what others think of them, and of their families. 

I cry when I hear of these sorts of incidents. I feel sorry ––no, angry ––that a child's life has been snuffed out for no other reason than selfishness on his parent's part. She may have not seen her place here on this Earth, but obviously he did, and by all accounts (including the article enclosed here, from the San Francisco Chronicle) Adam lived his life to the fullest.

He deserved to live it on his terms, not hers.

That said, I also feel pity and sadness that yet another mother did not have the support she needed to see beyond her emotional pain. To get the medical help she needed.

And the mother in me feels shame. Women, she was one of us. She didn't have our attitude, our faith in ourselves, or our ability to project ourselves beyond our fears.

But she was still one of us.

I wish her peace.

—Josie

Mom kills son atop Mt. Diablo, then shoots self

Thursday, July 23, 2009

(07-22) 16:33 PDT WALNUT CREEK

First, Judith Elizabeth Williams took her two cats to the shelter. Then
she brought the family dog to the veterinarian, had it euthanized, and
wrote a suicide note.

Then, investigators say, the 51-year-old Walnut Creek woman got in
the car with her 16-year-old son, Adam Findley Williams, and drove up
Mount Diablo. Near the top of the 3,849-foot peak, at a lookout with
panoramic views of the Bay Area, she shot the teenager to death with a
.357 handgun and turned the gun on herself, authorities said Wednesday.

Judith Williams was having custody disagreements with her
ex-husband, who had remarried, and was having money problems, said
Contra Costa County sheriff's Capt. Dan Terry. Those "were the primary
motivating" reasons behind the murder-suicide Friday, he said.

However, Adam Williams' father, Jim Williams, said custody of their
son wasn't an issue. Although his ex-wife had financial difficulties,
he said, she also suffered from mental problems.

"His mom was such an angry person – she took offense to things very
easily," Jim Williams said. He said he hadn't sought custody of Adam
after his 1996 divorce because "I didn't want to provoke her."

Nevertheless, Judith Williams had never made any threats to harm her
son, who was a student at Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek, her
ex-husband said.

"She loved him and wouldn't do him any harm," Jim Williams said. "When this happened, we were absolutely shocked."

Judith Williams clearly planned the murder-suicide, authorities
said. She had disposed of the family pets in the two days before she
died, and left behind a long suicide note in her Blackwood Drive home.

It "implied this was what she was doing and that she was taking her son with her," Terry said.

State Parks police officers found the bodies about 10 p.m. Friday at
a lookout point on Summit Road, which leads to the top of Mount Diablo.
Authorities withheld news of the deaths while they investigated the
circumstances.

Adam Williams' body was found near the edge of the viewing area. His
mother was found a few feet away on a park bench. Their car was in the
parking lot.

Investigators determined that Judith Williams shot her son in the
chest and head before shooting herself in the head, Terry said.

The gun was registered to Judith Williams, authorities said. The
weapon appeared new, but it was not immediately clear when she had
obtained it, Terry said.

Adam Williams would have been a junior in the fall at Las Lomas
High, where he was a member of the track and cross country teams.

"All he ever wanted was for people to accept him and love him and
try to help people as much as he possibly could," his father said. "It
sounds trite, but he was just a great, great kid. He took a lot of
personal pride in his capabilities."

He was "absolutely fearless" and loved to try new things, including tackling a "ropes course" in Lake Tahoe, his father said.

Judith Williams filed for divorce from Jim Williams in 1996, and
issues were litigated until at least 2001, according to Contra Costa
County Superior Court records.

She filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 1999, and her debts were discharged, federal court records show.

E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/07/23/BAIT18TB26.DTL

© 2009 Hearst Communications Inc.

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…

Adam Lambert on the Cover of ROLLING STONE

AdamLamberRollingStone Is that a snake in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?

I was right the first time–about a lot of things about Adam Lambert…who 'fesses all in his cover article with ROLLING STONE magazine–including, yes, his fact that he's never been in the closet.

I guess it was the rest of us who tried to keep him in there (at least, until the votes were counted).

Click here for the video.

Hey, it's all about the music, remember?

—Josie

Tome of the Mommy, #1: It’s official. SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES will be a book.

Kissing It's being published by Simon & Schuster. I'm thrilled, as you can imagine. Let's start with the fact that I'm enchanted with my editor, Megan McKeever. The excitement she and her team have for this project is an author's dream.

And just think: this time next year, it will be on a bookstore shelf near you.

What's the story? It is a chronicle of the bitter divorce of a "perfect
couple," and its impact on the gated community in which they live, is
seen through the eyes of a neighbor–Lyssa, a stay-at-home mom–who
doesn't realize the parallels between their marriage and her own. In
the process, she befriends the husband, Harry, a former Master of the
Universe turned stay-at-home dad–even as the neighborhood's mean mommies
vying to make him the next notch on their bedposts turn on her.

Just another fun day in suburbia, right?

6a00d83452b0d869e201156fbf8b42970c-800wi You know, writing a book is a lot like birthing a baby. The moment you
realize it's actually going to happen, you fall into a euphoric trance.

Sheer bliss.

And nothing can take that away from you…

Except the worry that perhaps something bad will befall it while it's
incubating. For an author, that can be anything from the "I'm not
worthy!" to "Will it find an audience?" to "What do I have to say
that is compelling enough to hold someone's attention for 300+ pages?" 

When this happens, those deep breathing exercises we learn in Lamaze classes certainly come in handy.

Well, I'm happy to report that I'm feeling no qualms whatsoever. (Liar, Liar, pants on fire..)

No,
seriously, I mean that. I've been through the birthing experience, four
times: two that were the human kind (Austin and Anna), and another two
that were the novel kind (and Impossibly Tongue-Tied and True Hollywood Lies).

During that first trimester, reality sets in. There is
so much preparation before the blessed event: outlining a compelling
plot; creating characters that are real–to you, and hopefully future
readers; making sure the dialogue coming out of their mouths is
something someone would actually say–and that others would respond to.

Is it any wonder you feel nauseous?

By the middle trimester, you're in your groove: pages are flowing, you're heavy with chapter, edits are coming back, but nothing that you feel throws the plot baby out with the bath water. (Some analogy, huh?) In fact, you fall into a complacent routine where everything seems hunky-dory…

But by it's delivery date – in The DILF's case, June 2010 – you are more than ready to share you bundle of joy with the rest of the world.

Will this book be The Second Coming? I would never presume as much. (Besides, in the book universe, Harry Potter has already claimed that title.) Wise parents know that the most they can hope for their offspring is a long and fruitful life.

And of course, you envision a success future. (Those of us who had reserved our children's places in their preschools even before they were born know what I mean).

So that my new baby lives a long and healthy life, I'm going to go on the theory that it takes a village to birth a book. I'll include you on how it's going: all the birthing pains, all those little kicks of joy, all the hopes and schemes and dreams I have for it, to make it a book you'll want to read.

Along the way, I'll ask your opinion, let you in on some secrets (plot-wise, and about the writer's process), and invite you to the celebration of this blessed birth. And great news! When time comes for my new baby's shower, the gifts will be for you

So stay tuned!

—Josie

www.josiebrown.com


OMG! They Got It Right! Back to Our Future…

SheerbarelyJakereese Such a riot! This 1930s film short asked clothing designers of the day to predict what we'd look like in the future.

Believe it or not, they got a lot right. For women, they predicts barely there skirts, and sheer tops.

For guys: no ties, a scruffy look, and attachable phones – not to mention candy on the arm.

It's a new millennium. Thank gawd there are no more fashion police.

It's a new world after all,

—Josie

www.josiebrown.com

Daniel Craig: Lick It Good!

Craig-pop Yes, he's yummy, and looks good enough to lick.

Whoa, wait: Do I really want to objectify some man, just because he's got icy blue eyes, a fabulous smile, a cute ass, and great pecs?

Hell yeah.

Not to mention he looks great on a Popsicle Stick.

(Okay, so it's a Del Monte pop. There, I got in the product placement.)

Flavor of the month,

—Josie

www.josiebrown.com

—Josie

Rediscovered Marilyn Monroe Photos: Before the Fuzzy End of the Lollipop

Marilyn475  From the archives of Life Magazine comes a series of photos taken when Marilyn Monroe was just twenty-four, and had only appeared on in one: THE ASPHALT JUNGLE.

This is my favorite of the bunch. It looks like she's holding a script. Perhaps ALL ABOUT EVE?

Today, June 1st, is her birth date.

To see others from this photo shoot, click here…

Before life sucked on the the fuzzy end of the lollipop,

—Josie