Monday, April 7, 2014

Let's get international!

Well, this is exciting.  I was invited to participate in an international blog hop!  I was tagged by the amazing Maggie Marr.  Check out her blog, too!!

I've done these blog hops before-- they're always a ton of fun, but this one seems different.  International!!  I feel like I should be sipping a cappuccino on the Left Bank as I write it.  But alas, still plain old me.  So, on to the questions!  Ahem, the international questions!  (Sounds way more chi-chi when you put it that way.)

What am I working on?

I just finished a New Adult novel called THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB.  It will be published on May 6th, and it's up for pre-order right now!

It's the story of Jo Waldman, a young singer-songwriter who inadvertently creates an anti-love movement that sweeps Manhattan.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My books are funny, smart, and have a ton of heart.  But the truth is, I like to think that those are the hallmarks of my genre, women's fiction, too.  It's what I write, but it's also what I read.

Why do I write what I do?

I've always loved stories that were fun and relatable, the sorts of books that really make you feel something.  The best writing advice I ever got was: write the book you want to read.

How does my writing process work?

I wish I had some great answer here, about how I sit down on the Left Bank with a cappuccino and the words just flow, but I don't.  (Man, I have seriously got to get myself to Paris!)

I've always been one of those writers who write in the spaces between, whenever there's time.  And I still do that now.  I just write wherever and whenever there's time.  Sometimes I outline, sometimes I just free write.  The only thing that's constant is this: that I always sit down and do it.

Tag, you're it!  That's how these things work.  I'm tagging some totally fabulous authors who you should check out when they do their posts on April 14th:

I recently met the wonderful Casey Doran at the Polis Books launch party.  I read the first chapter of his debut crime novel, Jericho's Razor, and I was hooked.  You will be, too.

I also met the fabulous Dave White at the Polis Books launch party.  (It was a really, really good party.)  Dave's the author of the awesome Jackson Donne PI novels.  Laura Lippman called the first one a "remarkable debut novel," and when you read it, you'll agree!

The amazing Jason Pinter, author extraordinaire, and now founder of Polis Books, will also get in on the game.  Jason's done it all-- he's written bestselling novels, he's edited them, and now he's got his own publishing house.  Want to hear all about his latest venture?  It's pretty amazing.

And then, last, but definitely not least, comes the marvelous Laura Spinella.  I loved her last book, PERFECT TIMING, so much that I blurbed it!  But you need to read her romantic stories for yourself.  One warning: set aside time for them.  They are total page-turners that you won't be able to put down.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Who doesn't love a little romance on Valentine's Day?  I'm a sucker for chocolate, hearts and all things St. Valentine.  But by far, my favorite thing for Valentine's Day is a great read.  Today I've got three for you: THE GIN LOVERS by Jamie BrennerTHE WIDOW'S GUIDE TO SEX AND DATING by Carole Radziwill, and a sneak peek of my latest, THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB.

THE GIN LOVERS by Jamie Brenner

Oh, how I loved THE GIN LOVERS by Jamie Brenner.  And I knew that I would from the killer first sentence—“It’s the party of the year, and it’s a funeral.”  The writing is amazing, the story, sexy and fast-paced, and it's filled with drama and smart period details.

THE GIN LOVERS tells the story of Manhattan socialite Charlotte Delacorte.  Living in the height of Prohibition and the rise of the jazz age, she wouldn’t know it, with her controlling husband and high society expectations.  When her wild sister in law comes to live with her after the death of her mother in law, Charlotte is introduced to the world of jazz clubs, speakeasies and a sexy, mysterious stranger.

The beauty of THE GIN LOVERS is that you can read it in any way you want.  It's available to read two different ways; you can either enjoy it piece by piece in six parts as the e-book serial or devour it whole as a paperback.  So far everyone I've recommended this book to has absolutely LOVED it, and I know that you will, too!


You may know Carole Radziwill from the Real Housewives of New York City, or you may know her from her moving memoir, WHAT REMAINS, but now you have a whole new way to love all things Carole: her debut novel!

I couldn't get enough of THE WIDOW'S GUIDE TO SEX AND DATING.  I devoured it in two days.  Impossibly sexy, and incredibly stylish, this is the perfect read for Valentine's Day.

When Claire Byrne's older, very famous husband dies in a freak accident (struck down by a falling Giacometti!), she finds herself in a role she'd never imagined before: widow.  Untethered from her secure Manhattan life, Claire must reinvent herself and embark on a new life.  One where her own writing ambitions aren't overshadowed by her famous husband's career, one where she can carve out her own place in Manhattan, and one where she may even find something that's always eluded her: true love.

Funny and oozing with charm, THE WIDOW'S GUIDE TO SEX AND DATING is a must read.  It comes out this Tuesday, February 11, just in time for V-Day!


And while we're on the subject of Valentine's Day, I'm finishing up edits on my latest novel, THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB.  It's the story of a woman who, after a few too many lonely vodka tonics on Valentine's Day, inadvertently starts an anti-love movement.

Some of you may remember this as my "trunk novel," the one that got away.  The novel I wrote, but never published.  Well, now the fabulous peeps at Polis Books have decided to correct that grievous wrong, and THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB will be making its e-book debut on your e-readers in just  a few months.  But since it's Valentine's Day, I thought I'd offer a little treat.  A sneak peek at THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB.  Enjoy!

Chapter 12: Owner of a Lonely Heart

Valentine’s Day.  February fourteenth.  A day of love and romance and frills and doilies.  A day filled with chocolate in heart shaped boxes and all things pink and red.

Valentine’s Day is the day on which lovers freely express their passion for each other by sending flowers, candies, and insipid love notes.  Lots of love notes.  According to the Greeting Card Association, approximately one billion valentines are sent every year, making it the biggest card giving holiday besides Christmas.

Dozens of red roses are sent on this day and hundreds of couples get engaged.  Radio stations play love songs and bakeries bake heart shaped cookies.  February fourteenth is a day dedicated entirely to the pursuit of love.

It’s also the day that five of Al Capone’s men gunned down seven members of Bugs Moran’s gang with Tommy guns in a garage on Chicago’s North Side in 1929.  But people usually don’t send cards for that.

It being Valentine’s Day and me being alone, I do what any respectable single woman who’s utterly alone would do—I open a bottle of Stoli and order in some fried food from my local Italian place.

“That’ll be $32.15,” the hostess says after she’s tallied up my dinner delivery order. 

“But I get the same thing every time,” I say, pouring my first vodka tonic of the evening.  I pour way too much vodka into the glass, making it stronger than I intend it to be, but I’m not exactly drinking it for the taste this evening.  “Isn’t it $18 and change?”

“Oh,” she says, “Yeah, normally it is, but there’s an extra charge on all of the menu items for Valentine’s Day.”

“What?”  I say, since I must have misheard her.  There’s no way in hell that this girl just told me that even though I was ordering in for one, she was charging me extra because it’s Valentine’s Day.  In fact, since I’m ordering for one and it’s Valentine’s Day, shouldn’t I actually get a discount instead of a price increase?  The whole situation really brings out my Irish.  Being a Jewish girl from Long Island, I don’t really have much Irish in me, but it brings it out nonetheless.

“Oh,” she says, “I was just saying that there’s an extra charge on all of the menu items for Valentine’s Day.”

“But, I ordered for one,” I say, pacing around my kitchen with my glass as I speak, “Clearly I’m alone and it’s Valentine’s Day.”

“Yeah,” she says, “I know, it’s just that there’s an extra charge on all of the menu items for Valentine’s Day.”

“I heard you,” I say.  I take a big gulp of vodka.

“Okay, so, then it should be there in about 20 minutes,” she says, trying to get me off the phone.

“I ordered for one.” 

Dead silence on the line. 

“I’d like to speak to a manager,” I say, polishing off my first glass in just one large gulp. 

“Um, okay,” she says, “hold on.”

“Hi there,” the manager’s cheery voice announces, as I’m pouring vodka tonic number two.  To call this one a vodka tonic would be a bit of a misnomer.  Glass number two is more like a vodka with a splash of tonic.  “I’m Greg.  I’m the manager here.”

“Hi, Greg,” I say as I sit at the kitchen counter and swirl the glass to mix my drink, “I understand that it’s Valentine’s Day and that means that you have to gauge the eyes out of all the lovesick puppies that come into your restaurant tonight.  I would do the exact same thing, Greg.  The same thing.  I mean, fuck them, okay?  Fuck ‘em, Greg.  But, I am home—alone—ordering for one.  How dare you charge me extra for my goddamned Caesar salad and chicken parm.  Tonight of all nights.  I mean, what the fuck, Greg?  What the fuck?”

“You are absolutely right, miss,” manager Greg says to me as I down the second glass of vodka, “I’m so sorry.”

My Caesar salad and chicken parm arrive hot on my doorstep twenty minutes later, and the delivery guy presents me with the bill.  I glance at the bill, ready to pay, but then I notice something.  It’s not a bill for the usual amount—it’s a bill for the jacked up Valentine’s Day price.

“I’m not paying this,” I say, handing back the bill to the delivery guy.

“Um,” he says, shifting his weight from foot to foot.  “Whaddya mean?”

“I mean you can tell Manager Greg to go fuck himself,” I say.

“Um, wait?  What?”

I hand the delivery guy a tip.  “This is for you.  You can tell Manager Greg I’m not paying for this.  If he has a problem with that, he can come up here himself.”  I grab the bag of food just before I slam the door.

I barely even taste the chicken parm.  Minutes later, I realize that I must have eaten—the take-out container’s empty—but it’s like I didn’t even have a bite.  Anger coursing through my veins, my face getting hotter by the second, barely processing a thought.  Just seeing red.  Blinding red.  I look down at the take-out container and realize I’m still hungry.

But I don’t want to eat.  I want to rage.

Put it into a song, I tell myself, Get it out with your music.

But the words don’t come.  There’s no structure, no rhyme or reason—I just want to scream at the top of my lungs for a while.  To blow off the steam.

A tear comes to my eye as I think about everything that’s happened to me in the past few months.  All the things that I’ve lost, all the things that were totally out of my control.  The job, the guy, the freelance gig, the wedding. 

The guy.  My eyes burn as I force the tears back, refuse to let them out.

I look at my computer across the room, its black cursor against the pale white screen flashing in the dark.  Talking to me.  Beckoning to me.  Write.  Get it all out.

So I do.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Here's to new beginnings!

I always get so motivated at the start of a new year.  New beginnings, a chance to start over, a chance to do new things.

And this year, I'm doing something I've never done before.  My fourth novel will be published this winter, but it won't be on the bookshelves at your local bookstore.  No, this time I'm doing something a bit different.

This novel will only be published as an e-book.

No pretty paperback to display on my bookshelf.  No book parties at my local indie and at Barnes and Noble where my friends can come hear me read and then buy my book.  No actual, physical books anywhere to be found.

No, this one will be ordered solely by a click of the mouse.

When the fabulous Jason Pinter contacted me about his new independent publishing house, Polis Books, I jumped at the chance to work with him.  Only, I was halfway into my two-book deal with St. Martin's.  I didn't know what I would do-- I was working on book two for St. Martin's, and that was taking all of my free time.  But, then it hit me:  I had a book proposal that I was completely in love with, but never sold due to changes in the publishing landscape.  I asked Jason if he wanted to take a peek.

The rest, as they say, his history.  Polis Books will be publishing THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB this winter.  I don't have an exact pub date yet, but isn't that the fun of e-publishing?  Immediacy.  The second Jason and I decide that the book's ready to go out in the world, a few clicks, and you will be able to find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, or anywhere you buy your e-books.

Jason's already designed a gorgeous cover for the book, so we're just about ready to launch.

Now, you may recognize this book as my "drawer" novel, the one book I wrote but never saw the light of day.  Well, light: here it comes!!  (You can still read the first chapter if you'd like by clicking here!)  I'm so very excited about trying something new.  It's fun, a bit scary, and totally liberating to just go for it.

What new things will YOU be doing this new year?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

What are you up to this Monday, January 6th?

Well, if you're in Manhattan, I'd love to see you when I read at Lady Jane's Salon at 7pm!  It's an awesome reading series and I was thrilled to be asked.

I'll be reading from my upcoming novel for the first time, so come hear all about THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB!

Hope to see you there!!

Monday, January 6, 2013, 7pm- 9pm
the upstairs bar at Madame X
94 W. Houston, bet. Thompson and LaGuardia Place
New York City, New York

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Come and see about me

Put it down in pen: I'll be reading and signing books at Barnes and Noble in Carle Place on Thursday, October 3rd at 7pm!

I'd love to see you there!
Brenda Janowitz Author Photo
One of the most exciting things about writing a book is walking into your local bookstore and seeing your work, out there in the wild, for all the world to see!

I'm so excited to be reading at my local Barnes and Noble next week.  Come hear me read from RECIPE FOR A HAPPY LIFE, and talk about writing and my inspiration for the novel. Here's the info:

Thursday, October 3rd at 7pm
Barnes and Noble
Country Glen Center
91 Old Country Road, Carle Place, New York

And if your book club is reading RECIPE, email me. I'd love to come to your book club meeting, or call in. 

See you soon!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Author Interview: Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Today, we've got a real treat!!  The talented Lorriane Zago Rosenthal is here to chat with us.  I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of her latest, NEW MONEY, and I loved it!  Here's what I said about it:

"Who doesn't dream of waking up one day to find out you're the sole heir to a billionaire's fortune? (That's not just me, right?!)  In Lorraine Zago Rosenthal's New Money, Savannah Morgan goes from a modest Southern upbringing to Manhattan high society in a New York minute. This delightful coming-of-age story will touch you, make you laugh, and keep you turning the pages long into the night."

Lorraine has already published a widely acclaimed YA novel, OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE.  And NEW MONEY is already poised to be just as successful as OWFL-- in fact, the television rights to the story have already been sold!

So, let's talk to Lorraine!

What was your inspiration to write your first novel, OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE?

I’m a character-driven writer, and the characters were what came to me first. Ari Mitchell (the main character in Other Words for Love) and her family were in my mind for quite a while before I fully understood Ari’s story and began to write it. When that story crystallized, I just wanted to tell it and to share it with readers. Ari was my inspiration all along. I was also inspired by the concept of “limerence,” which pertains to the intense emotional highs and lows a person can experience when involved in a romantic relationship. Limerence plays a crucial role in the story.

OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE is a YA novel. Your second book, NEW MONEY, is adult fiction. Was it difficult to transition from writing YA to adult?

It wasn’t! I think this is because when I wrote OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE, I wasn’t strictly targeting a teen audience. I believed that both YA and adult readers could relate to the story—and based on the feedback I have received from readers of many ages, this is true. The adult characters in that book—including the main character’s mother and twenty-three-year-old sister—play a major role in the novel and have their own back-stories. Some aspects of OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE are specific to the teen years, and others aren’t.

Because OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE is a mature YA novel, I didn’t find writing adult fiction to be particularly different; however, the major difference between the two novels is that OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE unfolds slowly and is quite introspective, while NEW MONEY is more of a commercial work that is rather fast-moving and—although it has serious aspects—is more lighthearted than OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE. So the biggest transition was writing in a different style—but I really enjoyed it. I think it’s important for an author to be versatile and to constantly challenge herself.

The main character in NEW MONEY—Savannah Morgan—is twenty-four years old, so she fits into the age range of the “New Adult” genre. Can this novel be classified as NA?

Not exactly! I see NEW MONEY as Women’s Fiction with a New Adult protagonist. The NA genre seems to be primarily focused on sex and romance, and NEW MONEY isn’t. Savannah is in that NA age range—and there definitely is romance in the novel—but this is only part of the story. Savannah also deals with the typical issues of being a twenty-something: finding a job/career, adjusting to the workplace, being away from home/family, dealing with evolving friendships, and figuring out who she wants to become.

What has been your biggest overall satisfaction as a writer?

The most satisfying aspect of being a writer is hearing from readers who truly understand my characters and their stories. It’s so rewarding when people pick up on subtle nuances and grasp their meanings.

Additionally, OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE was bought by foreign publishers (in Brazil and Russia), so it’s also rewarding that the book will be translated and sold in other countries. 

Are you currently working on another novel?

NEW MONEY is the first book in a two-part series, and I recently completed the second book. The next step will be finalizing it for publication in 2014!