Martin and I found this antique musical Santa snow globe at an old curiosity shoppe.

Christmas Snow Globe 2015

At the time it was a splurge for us—thirty dollars—but how could we resist? Turns out the shop owner had just polished its brass base that very morning before putting it in the shop window. "I knew it would go quickly," he said, chuckling. The shop is gone now. Still, I'm sure he'd be happy to know it's given us many years of joy. Every time I hear its version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," I have to smile.

—Josie

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

 

 

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.

Another reason to read TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES, My red carpet red hot read

Red-carpet-woman
The stars. The scandals. The sex.
 
You'll find it all in my red hot red carpet read, True Hollywood Lies.
And that's not all…

Every day between now and February 26, 2012 — the evening of the event — I'll be giving away digital copies of True Hollywood Lies, gifted from Amazon.com
All you  have to do is read the excerpt, then email back to me at MailFromJosie@gmail.com with the correct answer to the question posed.
 
Daily winners will be announced by noon the following day, on my Twitter feed and my Facebook Fan and personal pages!
Even if you don't win that day's prize,all correct entries will be held over for the grand prize drawing of a $25 Amazon gift card.
 
Contest Deadline: Midnight PT, February 26, 2012.

eBook winners will be announced daily.

Grand prize winner will be announced by noon Mon February 27, 2012.
BONUS POINTS for putting up a review on

Amazon.com (1 bonus point)
BN.com (1 bonus point)
GoodReads.com (1 bonus point)

 
I'll see you on the red carpet!
 –Josie

  TrueHollywood LiesDiversion Books/ ISBN# 13: 9780984515196
Order online today!

Purchase from Amazon

Purchase from Barnes & Noble

Purchase from Sony Link

"…The tone is confessional, the writing laced with venomous humor…"
–The Wall Street Journal

"Brown captures the humor of working for a megalomaniac…[A] well-paced, entertaining story." –Publishers Weekly

"A fine piece of literary work." –New York Post, Page Six

Okay, here are my answers to 2011’s stupidest employee interview questions. A great reminder as to why I prefer to freelance.

5-yearsThis was just too heehaw funny to pass up:

Glassdoor.com, a human resources/job search site, just posted what it calls "the top 25 oddball interview questions of 2011."

Let's face it. In this case, "oddball" is a euphemism for, um…stupid.

Since I won't be applying to any of these places, I figure it's okay to share with you how I would have responded–

Had I shown up drunk or if they'd first injected me with a truth serum.

Hmmm. Not a bad idea.

But not legal to do to applicants, so they'll never know the truth.

I'm guessing they wouldn't want to know it, anyway. Diplomacy and witty repartee before honesty, right?

Writing fiction means my answered are somewhat skewed to the macabre, so I'm sure I wouldn't get hired, anyway.

I'm okay with that–

As long as you guys keep buying my books.

Just saying.

— Josie

1. “How many people are using Facebook in San Francisco at 2:30pm on a Friday?” – view answers. Asked at Google. More Google interview questions.

Me: "Too many. There are just too many lazy people in SF, with too much time on their hands. You're based here, so you know that, first hand. Obviously, they are waaaay overpaid….Um, how much were you offering again?

2. “Just entertain me for five minutes, I’m not going to talk.” – view answers. Asked at Acosta. More Acosta interview questions.

Me: This is where I pull out True Hollywood Lies and read out loud the most erotic scene in it. What can I say? I give great read. And those scenes are…HOT!

3. “If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?” – view answers. Asked at Hewlett-Packard. More Hewlett-Packard interview questions.

Me: "As the whole world knows, Germans keep meticulous records. I would hack into the national academic database and pull up all Physical Education records on 12-grade height measurements, which I would then compare to the same records from countries all over the world. By the way,  I have some swampland in Monterrey that you can pick up at a steal…"

4. “What do you think of garden gnomes?” – view answers. Asked at Trader Joe’s. More Trader Joe’s interview questions.

Me: "Some of my best friends are garden gnomes. By the way, I love your Hawaiian shirt. So do my BFF garden gnomes."

5. “Is your college GPA reflective of your potential?” – view answers. Asked at the Advisory Board. More Advisory Board interview questions.

Me: "Moreso than my bust size — so please quit staring at my chest."

6. “Would Mahatma Gandhi have made a good software engineer?” – view answers. Asked at Deloitte. More Deloitte interview questions.

Me: "Honestly, no. I don't know if you've read up on the Mahatma, but he wasn't a hermitic nerd, and his online gaming scores were abominable. But if his resume hits your desk, you may want to consider him for a Community Manager position. He'll up your Facebook friends considerably."

7. “If you could be #1 employee but have all your coworkers dislike you or you could be #15 employee and have all your coworkers like you, which would you choose?” – view answers. Asked at ADP. More ADP interview questions.

 Me: "Number 1. Because I'm into WINNING. And tiger blood flows through my veins."

8. “How would you cure world hunger?” – view answers. Asked at Amazon.com. More Amazon.com interview questions.

Me: "I'd win the Miss Universe Pageant. Then I'd travel the world, advocating for world peas. And carrots. And mashed potatoes, because they go well together. But no meat. We don't want any more fatties, so I'd be pushing a vegan agenda."

9. “Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?” – view answers. Asked at Pinkberry. More Pinkberry interview questions.

Me: "Teeth."

10. “Does life fascinate you?” – view answers. Asked at Ernst & Young. More Ernst & Young interview questions.

Me: "Yes. Which is why I'm getting the hell out of here, before you hire me and I shoot my brains out."

11. “Given 20 ‘destructible’ light bulbs (which breaks at certain height), and a building with 100 floors, how do you determine the height that the light bulb breaks?” – view answers. Asked at QUALCOMM. More QUALCOMM interview questions.

Me: "Dude! Seriously? Duh. They break the moment they hit the ground. I've got a question for you, too: Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?"

12. “Please spell ‘diverticulitis’.” – view answers. Asked at EMSI Engineering. More EMSI Engineering interview questions.

Me: "If I do, can I use the $25,000 scholarship prize money to pay off my college bills?….Oh! You're not National Geographic, are you?"

13. “Name 5 uses of a stapler without staple pins.” – view answers. Asked at EvaluServe. More EvaluServe interview questions

Me: "Knock out a mugger. Knock out a rapist. Threaten a bank teller. Knock out a pawing first date. Knock out a pawing first boss. Don't worry, I know my way out."

14. “How much money did residents of Dallas/Ft. Worth spend on gasoline in 2008?” – view answers Asked at American Airlines. More American Airlines interview questions.

Me. "Too much. Too many gas guzzling cars, too many people who work in the oil industry to care about global warming, and not enough public awareness of its environmental impact. What fuels do your planes use again?… Yep, I know the way out. Scotty, beam me up."

15. “How would you get an elephant into a refrigerator?” – view answers. Asked at Horizon Group Properties. More Horizon Group Properties interview questions.

Me: "Same as I would a man: kill it, then chop it into steaks. On the way out, I'll leave you a copy of The Housewife Assassin's Handbook. It's got detailed instructions–regarding the man, not the elephant. My heroine, Donna, loves animals–"

16. “You have a bouquet of flowers. All but two are roses, all but two are daisies, and all but two are tulips. How many flowers do you have?” – view answers. Asked at Epic Systems. More Epic Systems interview questions.

Me: "Three. What say I set you up with the HR interviewer at Qualcomm? He likes trick questions, too. I think you two are a match made in heaven."

17. “How many planes are currently flying over Kansas?” – view answers. Asked at Best Buy. More Best Buy interview questions.

Me: "Too many. But there are probably a few terrorists out there with heat-seeking missle launchers to remedy that….Yes, I know. I have an active imagination. And I know my way out, too. By the way, Egghead has better prices on netbooks than you guys."

18. “How many different ways can you get water from a lake at the foot of a mountain, up to the top of the mountain?” – view answers. Asked at Disney Parks & Resorts. More Disney Parks & Resorts interview questions.

 Me: "Listen, Goofy: I'm not trying for a gig in your Imagineering Department. I just want to be Cinderella in the Main Street Electrical Parade. Here, watch me wave and smile–"

19. “What is 37 times 37?” – view answers .Asked at Jane Street Capital. More Jane Street Capital interview questions.

"I'm guessing it's what I'd be making in salary, for one week's work here. So instead, why don't I answer 'What is 100 x 100', which is more in line to what I'd accept?"

20. “If you could be a superhero, what power would you possess?” – view answers. Asked at Rain and Hail Insurance. More Rain and Hail Insurance interview questions.

Me: "The power to be so wealthy that I wouldn't have to go on interviews where people like you ask such stupid questions. Or the power to create world peas. And carrots. With mashed potatoes."

21. “If you were a Microsoft Office program, which one would you be?” – view answersAsked at Summit Racing Equipment. More Summit Racing Equipment interview questions.

Me: "The one that wouldn't get me sued by MicroSoft. By the way, a better question to ask is to name a software program that MicroSoft hasn't been sued for copying."

22. “Pepsi or Coke?” – view answersAsked at United Health Group. More United Health Group interview questions.

Me: "Water. You guys do work in healthcare, right?…Oh, got it! You just bill for healthcare procedures."

23. “Are you exhaling warm air?” – view answers. Asked at Walker Marketing. More Walker Marketing interview questions.

Me: "No. Carbon dioxide. You're a marketing firm, so I don't hold your stupidity against you, but I'd certainly be scratching my head if you were Genentech."

24. “You’re in a row boat, which is in a large tank filled with water. You have an anchor on board, which you throw overboard (the chain is long enough so the anchor rests completely on the bottom of the tank). Does the water level in the tank rise or fall?” – view answers. Asked at Tesla Motors. More Tesla Motors interview questions.

Me: "It stays the same. Okay, let me ask you a question: When will the hovercraft be available, and how many jiggawatts will it need to power it? And is Marty McFly really your CEO? Because that's the rumor–"

25. “How do you feel about those jokers at Congress?” – view answers.Asked at Consolidated Electrical. More Consolidated Electrical interview questions.

Me: "You complete me. Hire me! Please!"

________________________________________

HAH Hanging Man V2
 Read an excerpt of
THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK 
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I’m not going to let 2012 be my “bad hair day” of years, and you shouldn’t either.

AvedonMartin and I used to think that our best years ended in odd numbers.

In hindsight, I think we'd flip that analogy to fit any year in which we weren't having a great year.

For us — and I guess a lot of you, too — 2011 was a mixed blessing. I'm not an avid baseball fan, but there is something to say about "times up to bat": the more you put it out there, the better chance you'll have of scoring a hit, as opposed to an error.

And every now and then, you also hit it out of the park.

Granted, for Team Brown, there were enough errors for 2011 to turn us around on the assumption that odd years are our best. But we also had our fair share of hits, including the launch of four books. My two were The Baby Planner and The Housewife Assassin's Handbook. Martin's books were Fit in 50 Days, and on the last day of the year, The Ultimate New Year's Resolution Diet.

Not only that, but I saw one of my titles, True Hollywood Lies, achieve the ranking of 411 in Amazon Bestsellers, as well as #9 in Amazon's category of Books/Literature & Fiction/Comic.

On the first day of every new year, Martin starts off by saying,  "It's a new year, and we're still here."

He means this, literally as well as figuratively.

It's an inside joke:

One new year's day, just after we moved to Marin County, we were walking our children into Mill Valley's Old Mill Park when the skies opened up. As the rain poured down, an elderly gentleman, standing in his garage called out, "You can stand here with me, if you want, until it blows over."

We were happy to take him up on his offer.

Standing there, we made small talk. I don't know how the subject of the man's wife came up. I guess it had to do with the fact that we'd just started another new year. With the openess  that only comes with fresh emotional wounds, he said, "Yep, just this past new year's day, as we sat down to breakfast, she said, 'Well, it's a new year, and we're still here.' Then she dropped dead of a heart attack."

What a way to start the year: losing the person you love the most, whom you've spent a lifetime.

Any other issues are miniscule. They are a run in the pantyhose of your life.

To put things in perspective: he hadn't had a bad hair day. He had a bad hair year.

Whenever we're coming off a bad year, or we're trepidacious as to what the new year will bring, we remember that man and the wife he mourned.

And we count our blessings. Here are the ones I cherish most:

– We have great health, as do our children.

– We are still as madly in love today as we were on the day we married.

– We saw many of our far-flung family this year, making new memories even as we remembered the old ones.

– Our friends are loving, appreciative and a joy to be around. If only we could see more of them, more often!

– We love what we do, which is write.

You've got to love the fact that life is just one big tease,

— Josie

*Photo: Uber-model Jean Shrimpton, by Richard Avedon. Talk about helmet hair!

 

HAH Hanging Man V2
 Read an excerpt of
THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK 
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Time to party like it’s 1961

HepburnParty1
Some day, I'll throw a party like Audrey Hepburn.

You know the kind. Other than that iconic image in Breakfast at Tiffany's,  of her walking down an empty Fifth Avenue too early on a Sunday morning, just staring into the glitziest bling shop in the world, to my mind the very best dialogue in that movie took place in that scene in which the whole world shows up to party in her tiny apartment: stews and runway models, aging lotharios, Hollywood agents, Brazilian playboys, and on-the-make Mad men wearing skinny ties. One guy even has an eye patch, and it isn't a Halloween party. Go figure.

The booze is flowing, the bon mots are flying. And Audrey is magnetic.

We should all be Audrey, at least once in our lives, even if our cigarette holder only blows bubbles.

Of course hers is really lit, which is why, in such a confined space, some woman's hat catches on fire.

My last "big" party was formal– that is to say, filled with too many people not willing to let their hair down, let alone go up in flames. 

That's alright. I've made a few faus pax myself: like the time half the guests ended up in the hospital with food poisoning.

This is why I'm not the chef in our family.

But I'm still a party animal.

Here's wishing you a happy and healthy 2012,

— Josie

TrueHollywood Lies

Buy TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES in Amazon!

Right now, #9 in Books/Literature & Fiction/Comic

"…The tone is confessional, the writing laced with venomous humor…"
–The Wall Street Journal

"Brown captures the humor of working for a megalomaniac…[A] well-paced, entertaining story." –Publishers Weekly

"A fine piece of literary work." –New York Post, Page Six

"Josie Brown does an outstanding job capturing the glitz and glamour of Hollywood living yet illuminating the stark loneliness present beneath the façade.  Filled with good-natured humor and witty repartee…"
–Romance Reader's Connection

 

What drives authors crazy? Amazon rankings. Here’s why.

Reading-on-the-beach-007We should both be hitting the beach with a good book, just reading…taking it easy…

In other words LIVING — instead of locked up inside, making a living.

To get my mind out of the fantasy of sand and surf, I've been spending my breaks between writing by   gauging my ranking for TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES on Amazon.com, which thanks to my publisher Diversion Books, has hit the zeitgeist in that online bookstore.

Right now it's at #444 on the category called Amazon Bestsellers/Kindle. But when you consider that there are over 3 million books in Amazon, that ain't too shabby.

What is even more astounding is that in the subcategories, it's ranking is even lower: To wit:

-  #9 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Comic (where I'm bookended by Tina Fey and that guy who wrote "Go the F**K to Sleep")

– #14 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Humor

– #25 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Romance > Contemporary (Just behind a Nora Roberts book. How sweet is that?)

I feel honored and blessed that so many new readers are discovering it.

I've got to admit, it's a fun read: lots of sex, scandal, and celebrities gone wild. You know, the usual stuff.

If you haven't read it yet, you can read an excerpt here …

Aw hell, for $1.99, just go ahead and buy it, here!

Blatant self promotion,

: )

— Josie

TrueHollywood Lies

"…The tone is confessional, the writing laced with venomous humor…"
–The Wall Street Journal

"Brown captures the humor of working for a megalomaniac…[A] well-paced, entertaining story." –Publishers Weekly

"A fine piece of literary work." –New York Post, Page Six

"Josie Brown does an outstanding job capturing the glitz and glamour of Hollywood living yet illuminating the stark loneliness present beneath the façade.  Filled with good-natured humor and witty repartee…"
–Romance Reader's Connection

Who’da thunk it? TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES is #9 on Amazon’s Book list for “Humor”

TrueHollywood Lies
I can't help but love the fact that TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES is now #9 in Amazon, under Books > Literature & Fiction > Comic.

I'm in very good company: Tina Fey is at #1, Mindy Kaling at #3, and Ellen DeGeneres at #5.

Overall, TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES' Amazon ranking at this very moment is #451.

The novel is a very satirical look at LA and celebrity, so glad others have picked up on that. Or as the critcs have put it:

"…The tone is confessional, the writing laced with venomous humor…" -The Wall Street Journal

"A fine piece of literary work." –The New York Post, Page Six

"Brown captures the humor of working for a megalomanic . . .[A] well-paced, entertaining story." –Publishers Weekly

My goal is to get TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES somewhere in the Amazon 100. Want to help me out? If you want a quick, fun read for only $1.99, you can check it out here… 

Thanks for allowing me to share this bit of happiness,

— Josie

 

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

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

In my head, I was thinking, NOOOOOOOOOOO!

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) 2011 Josie Brown

__________________________________________

READ YESTERDAY'S TIP, HERE…

__________________________________________

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

Happy National Novel Writing Month,

— Josie

  

HA 8 - Next Up

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

 

 

 

 

 

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THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK 
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Find out why readers love it.

 

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Art from the Heart: Kelly Reemtsen’s AFFLICTED

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

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

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

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

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

A picture is worth 94,000 words,

—Josie


SLHW fauxsmall


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

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010

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


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

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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