Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas comes early!!!

There are just no words for this. Except for the fact that this song will now be stuck in my head for another three weeks....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

GCC Author interview: Wendy Nelson Tokunaga

And the touring continues!!!

Today, we've got the fabulous Wendy Nelson Tokunaga here to chat. You may remember her from about a year ago when she came by to chat about her debut novel, MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT. Well, now she's back! And we get to her all about her latest novel, LOVE IN TRANSLATION.




So, without further ado, let's hear from Wendy!

Tell us about Love in Translation in 25 words or less.

An American woman finds herself unexpectedly in Japan to search for a long lost relative who could reveal the identity of the father she never knew.

When did you first begin writing?

I didn’t start writing fiction until my early 40s when I started a job as a technical writer. Many of my colleagues were writing fiction on the side and I joined in. One thing led to another and then I decided to take a creative writing course at a community college—that was when I first started writing short stories. I got a few published and that led to me starting to write novels, but it took a long time to get one published.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Japan and Japanese culture have been a big impact on my writing because they have been important in my life. I lived in Japan for a while and ended up marrying a Japanese man. In college I studied the Japanese language.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on my third novel, which ironically has very little to do about Japan.

What is your favorite part of writing? Least favorite?

My favorite is the revision process: reworking rough material until it’s just right. My least favorite part is writing that rough material!

What tips would you offer to aspiring writers?

Spend time on learning your craft and practicing writing. Don’t be in such a hurry to publish. Find good readers and consultants who can give you honest, constructive feedback on your manuscript and who can help you know when it’s ready to be sent out.

Do a quick character study on yourself:

Favorite white wine: Chardonnay

Favorite red wine: Pinot Noir

Pet Peeve: People who write “loose” when they mean “lose”

Favorite beauty item: flat iron

Favorite places to buy clothes: Anthropologie and H&M

Top Bookstores: Books Inc. (San Francisco Bay Area), Book Passage (Corte Madera, CA)

Dream job: Real estate agent with her own show on HGTV

Favorite cities: Paris, San Francisco, New York, Laguna Beach

Favorite TV shows: Mad Men, 30 Rock, Modern Family

Most hated food: Any kind of beans (except jelly)

Favorite sushi: chirashi



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More winners!!!

Big congrats go out to Llehn-- you've won a copy of Melissa Senate's THE SECRET OF JOY! Just shoot me an email (brenda[at]brendajanowitz[dot]com) with your contact info, and we'll get a signed copy of the book out to you!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Big congrats go out to Lisa-- you've won a copy of Jessica Brody's LOVE UNDER COVER! Just shoot me an email (brenda[at]brendajanowitz[dot]com) with your contact info, and we'll get a signed copy of the book out to you!


Not a winner? That's okay! There's still time to enter and win Melissa Senate's THE SECRET OF JOY. So, what are you waiting for? Enter now!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

GCC Author interview and book giveaway: Melissa Senate

Today we've got the lovely and talented Melissa Senate here to chat! You may know her from any one of her previous seven novels (yes! seven!), including her debut, SEE JANE DATE, which was turned into a TV movie (go Melissa!), but today, you're going to hear all about her latest novel, THE SECRET OF JOY.


And, it gets even better: Melissa will be giving away a signed copy of THE SECRET OF JOY! Deets on how to enter are at the bottom of the post.

THE SECRET OF JOY asks the question: what would you do if you discovered you had a half-sister you never knew existed? The book's been getting amazing buzz so far....


"The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate opened my heart, made me laugh, cry, and smile all at the same time. A don't-miss read!" –New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips

"A wonderfully heartfelt story about hope, possibilities and the yearning for real connections. Senate's latest will take you on a much needed vacation, while sneaking vital life lessons in when you're not looking." –Caprice Crane


Kinda makes you want to run out and buy it right this very second, doesn't it?! But before you run out to the store, let's have a little chat with Melissa first!


Tell us about your most recent novel in 25 words or less.


A 28-year-old New Yorker discovers she has a half-sister she never knew existed. Off she goes to a small Maine town to find her.


Where do you find inspiration for your work?


I use my own life—but flip everything so that just the nugget of the idea is autobiographical. A serial dater working in publishing in NYC—check. A woman who gets pregnant two months into a new relationship—check. Planning a wedding that isn’t what you expected—check. Half-sibling you’ve never met contacting you out of the blue—check!


How do you fight writer’s block?


Best cure I’ve found is to sleep on it, to let whatever is stuck work itself out deep in my subconscious. I often wake up at the crack of dawn with the answer. Another good trick is to take a long walk alone, no iPOD. Just you, the wind and your thoughts.


What is your favorite part of writing? Least favorite?


My favorite part is when I understand my characters so well that the writing feels effortless (even though it never is). My least favorite is the dreaded first draft, which always makes me doubt myself!


What tips would you offer to aspiring writers?


Believe in yourself! Trust your gut—it knows more than you may think it does.


Thanks so much for stopping by, Melissa! And now for the book giveaway! If you want to be entered to win a signed copy of THE SECRET OF JOY, just leave a comment below! The winner will be announced on December 1st.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

GCC author intervew and book giveaway: Jessica Brody!

The Girlfriend Cyber Circuit continues!

Today we've got the fabulous
Jessica Brody here to chat. Not only is she the author of THE FIDELITY FILES, but she's also the brainchild of the awesome book giveaway site, Free Book Friday.

And she is spreading the wealth! Since Jessica loves free books as much as I do, she's offered to give away a signed copy of her latest release,
LOVE UNDER COVER, to one lucky winner! Deets on how to enter are at the bottom of this post.



About LOVE UNDER COVER:

In her job, she’s an expert on men…

In her own relationship, she doesn’t have a clue.

Boyfriend behaving badly? Suspect your husband of straying? Jennifer Hunter can supply the ultimate test. She runs a company which specializes in conducting fidelity inspections for those who suspect their loved ones are capable of infidelity.

An expert on men, Jennifer can usually tell if they're single, married or lying... Unfortunately, her new boyfriend, Jamie, is one of the few men that she's never been able to 'read.' Has she finally found the perfect man or is he too good to be true?




Sounds amazing, right? Well, it gets better: It's
currently in development as a TV series by the executive producer of Crash!

The buzz on the book is amazing.....

"With a complicated, sympathetic protagonist, worthy stakes and a clever twist on the standard chick lit narrative, Brody will pull readers in from the first page."

– Publisher’s Weekly

"Those who enjoyed Brody's debut will be eager to catch up with Jennifer, but newcomers will be intrigued, too...an honest, witty portrayal of modern love."

- Booklist


If you ask me, praise like that couldn't be given to a nicer girl! Don't believe me? Let's start our chat with Jessica!


Tell us about your most recent novel in 25 words or less.

LOVE UNDER COVER is the compelling story of a woman who runs a “fidelity inspection” agency, hired by suspicious spouses to test the faithfulness of their loved ones.

When did you first begin writing?

In the second grade we were assigned to write a one-paragraph book report on the book of our choice. I turned in four pages. I remember my teacher showing it to every other teacher in the school saying, “We have a little writer on our hands.” I wouldn’t realize until 20 years and three corporate jobs later that she was right. I truly believe we’d all be a lot of happier if we could choose our careers at age 7. Although we might have an excess number of princesses, ninjas and astronauts on our hands.


What are you working on right now?


I’ve got some really fun stuff in the works. I’ve been revising a manuscript which is going to be the first book in a new young adult series about time travel. I’m really excited about it! Also I just wrapped up my second young adult novel, MY LIFE UNDECIDED, which will be out in Spring of 2011 and I’ve just sold my third YA novel to my publisher so I’ll be starting that in the next few months. I like to keep very busy. Idleness is my worst enemy!


What is your favorite part of writing? Least favorite?

My favorite part? Definitely the first 50 pages. They fly by. They’re brilliant and fresh and exciting and full of promise. I feel like I could do anything. I feel like I write an entire novel in two weeks.


My least favorite part? Everything that comes after that.



What tips would you offer to aspiring writers?

Take criticism. Believe in your work and stand behind it, but don’t be afraid to make changes. Use rejections to evolve yourself as a writer, not just to line your waste basket. When someone rejects your work and offers a reason, don’t just blow it off and claim that they “didn’t get it” or that they clearly didn’t read it closely enough, dissect it and try to figure out if what they’re saying makes sense and if it will inevitably help your work. There’s a fine balance between staying true to your art and being open for suggestions, try to stay somewhere in the middle. If they “didn’t get it,” chances are, readers won’t get it either. And you won’t be there to explain it to them in the middle of Barnes and Noble.


Thanks so much for stopping by, Jessica! It's always so nice to have you!


To enter to win a copy of LOVE UNDER COVER, just leave a comment below. Winners will be announced on On November 26th!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Big congrats go out to novelwhore! She's won a signed copy of Carol Hoenig's WITHOUT GRACE.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Congrats to Mia J! She's won a signed copy of Marilyn Brant's ACCORDING TO JANE!


Not a winner this time around? There's still time to enter to win Carol Hoenig's WITHOUT GRACE! Click here for deets!



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Author Interview and Book Giveaway: Carol Hoenig


Today we've got the fabulous Carol Hoenig here to chat. Carol does it all-- she writes books, she gives guidance to other authors, and she even blogs for the Huffington Post!


We'll be chatting with Carol about her novel, WITHOUT GRACE, and Carol's been generous enough to offer to give away a signed copy of her book! Deets on how to enter are below.




1. Tell us about your most recent novel in 25 words or less.

“Without Grace” is a heartening portrait of small-town life and a tender, triumphant coming of age tale.

2. When did you first begin writing?

I’ve written for as long as I can recall, but it took me years before I felt comfortable calling myself a writer.

3. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Mostly about the topics that interest me and sometimes make me angry. It’s usually my curiosity that inspires me to write.

4. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a memoir with the working title of “Getting Back Home.” It’s about my journey of buying back the house that my ex and I sold due to our divorce agreement in 2002 and, after serendipity stepped in, how I managed to get it back. There’s also a spiritual journey thread that runs through the memoir, but one that may surprise readers.

5. What are you reading right now?

“The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal” by Sean Dixon. I just love this book! It’s intelligent and humorous.

6. How do you fight writer’s block?

Instead of having writer’s block, I actually find it difficult to make time to write everything that inspires me. I do a lot of blogging, most notably on The Huffington Post and Red Room and never seem to be at a loss for words. So, I split my time between my business, which is being a fulltime freelance writer and publishing consultant, with writing blogs and working on my memoir.

7. If your book were to become a movie, who would you cast?

Ah, I used to have different characters in mind, but now they’ve all gotten too old.

8. What is your favorite part of writing? Least favorite?

My favorite part of writing is the creative process. I love the rewriting, which leads me to the least favorite part: Writing that first draft. I equate it trying to get to know strangers, some you like, others not so much, but you have to accept them for who they are and be honest in the writing. Once I’ve fleshed out the characters in the first draft then I feel the story will develop. I love being surprised, as much as the reader, when it comes to seeing what my characters will do, which lets me know that they more than puppets to be manipulated.

9. What tips would you offer to aspiring writers?

Keep writing and don’t be too quick to try to find a publisher. Make your manuscript the best it can be and begin building your fan base very early on by being active on the many social media outlets that are available. Create a Web site. And most of all, have fun!

10. How do you usually begin your stories, with a character or with a plot?

Character, for sure.

11. Do a quick character study on yourself.

Hmm…I have three adult children, two of whom I adopted from South Korea when they were infants. I own my own business and am grateful everyday that I don’t have to report to anyone but myself.

Thanks so much, Brenda, for inviting me to do this interview. It’s been a lot of fun!


Thanks so much for stopping by, Carol! And thanks for giving away copies of your latest book!

To enter to win a signed copy of WITHOUT GRACE, just leave a comment at the bottom of this post.


The lucky winners will be announced on October 21st.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Big congrats go out to Marjorie: She's won a signed copy of Sheila Curran's EVERYONE SHE LOVED!


Not a winner this week? That's okay! Tomorrow we'll be giving away a signed copy of Carol Hoenig's WITHOUT GRACE. So, check back tomorrow on deets on how to enter!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Author Interview and Book Giveaway: Marilyn Brant

Today we've got a fellow GCC'er here to chat-- Marilyn Brant. She's here today to tell us all about her debut novel: According to Jane. And, to make things even better, she's going to be giving away a signed copy! Deets on how to enter are below.


How much do you love this cover?! So, without further ado, let's dig in!!!

1. Tell us about your most recent novel in 25 words or less.



According to Jane is the story of a modern woman who gets dating advice from the spirit of Jane Austen.


2. When did you first begin writing?



I wrote songs and poems and little stories in elementary school, but sixth grade was when the notion of writing professionally first occurred to me. But, aside from being on the newspaper and yearbook staff in high school, I didn’t take writing seriously until I was about 30.


3. Where do you find inspiration for your work?



From conversations I overhear, things my friends tell me, funny stuff that happened in my family, incidents I’ve observed out in public, stories I’ve read in books or seen on TV and those endless “what if?” questions writers always ask themselves.


4. What are you working on right now? 



A few final revisions on my 2nd novel, which is a modern fairytale about three suburban woman who shake up their lives and their marriages.


5. What are you reading right now? 



Some entertaining Austen-inspired fiction: Laurie Viera Rigler’s newest novel Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict and Beth Pattillo’s Jane Austen Ruined My Life.


6. What tips would you offer to aspiring writers?



I’d say the best advice I could offer is to really understand WHY you write. This is a personal thing, of course, and it’s rare that two writers in a room would share the exact same reason, but what’s YOUR draw? Crafting characters? Plotting something dramatic/suspenseful/funny/heartwarming? The possibility of fame, fortune and lengthy book tours? What brings you back to your notebook or your computer screen, even without a contract nudging you? Cherish that…and remember it.


Thanks so much for stopping by, Marilyn!


To enter to win a copy of According to Jane, just leave a comment below. Winners will be announced on October 13th!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Guest blog and book giveaway: Sheila Curran

I'm so thrilled today because we've got a guest blog from the fabulous Sheila Curran. And to make things even more wonderful, she'll be giving away a copy of her breakout novel, EVERYONE SHE LOVED. Deets on how to enter are at the bottom of this post.

Take it away, Sheila!




HEY, 99% OF CONTROL FREAKS ARE A CREDIT TO OUR PSYCHOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION

With all the attention on the lab technician who killed poor Annie Le at Yale being a control freak, I have to point out the rest us us are quite harmless. For one thing, without us, THE CONTAINER STORE would be out of business. We keep planes in the air by listening for ‘off’ sounds, provide continuous entertainment for otherwise bored medical personnel, and lower the carbon footprint by only leaving our house when it’s absolutely necessary. (I myself do this only after three or four trips to check that the stove is off, the iron unplugged and the weather channel hasn’t issued a sudden tornado warning for our area.)

In fact, the chronic worrier who is not also a teensy bit of a control freak is:

a) delusional

b) a saint

c) heavily medicated or

d) a figment of her husband’s imagination.

In EVERYONE SHE LOVED, Penelope Cameron makes no bones about her latest anxiety. Nor does she shy away from pressuring her loving husband and best girfriends to relieve her worry through an outlandish and old-fashioned covenant. It’s politically incorrect, a throw-back to the eighteenth century and yet, so intuitively right. As she sees things, the lives of her two daughters hang in the balance and it’s within the powers of her inner circle to protect them. End of story.

Note to self: Death is inevitable. Wicked Stepmothers, not so much.

For the full story of how I got the idea for this novel, you can go to my website and click on Backstory. But the briefer version is this: in some states, if a parent hasn’t named a guardian in an official will, their children can be taken into foster care if the parents die. I was telling my friend Julianna about how difficult it is to make the choice of who, among my siblings and friends, would be the best replacements for my husband and I.

Suddenly, my Inner Cassandra did a double take. “OMG!. You know what would be worse? What if I was the only one that died and John fell in love with someone who was just awful?”

I thought for a minute more and said, “I know. What if he couldn’t remarry unless my sisters and best friends approved?”

I knew, deep down, that whatever happened, as long as my friends and family approved of the new wife, then she’d be good for my kids.

I began to imagine a character like me, except she’s really rich, has had even more reasons in her life to become a bit of a control freak than I, and she is so charming in her ridiculous catastrophizing that her husband and friends finally say, “Enough, already! You’re not going anywhere, but if it makes you feel better, we’ll sign the damn thing.”

So begins the premise for my novel, the plot of which is set into action by my character’s legal codicil. It’s about motherhood, wifehood, childhood, and most of all, the sisterhood of great friends.

Set in a North Florida beach town where Old Money meets the New South, Everyone She Loved is an unconventional mystery built on romantic confusion, financial intrigue, and the unbreakable bonds among women who’ve come of age together only to discover that life’s little instruction book will always need revising.

What they find, as their properous lives are threatened from within and without, is that no woman is island, nor is her fate ever separate from that of everyone she loves.

Sheila Curran lives in Tallahassee, Florida with her husband and two children. Her two novels, Diana Lively is Falling Down and Everyone She Loved employ a narrative structure built on suspense, secrets and intricate plot twists that Jodi Picoult called ‘warm, inventive, funny and original’ and kept Joshilyn Jackson ‘up way past … bedtime, unable to stop turning the pages.”


Thanks so much for stopping by, Sheila! And thanks for giving away a copy of your latest book!


To enter to win a signed copy of EVERYONE SHE LOVED, just leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

The lucky winners will be announced on October 6th.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

GCC Author Interview: Hank Phillippi Ryan

Today we've got a member of the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit here to chat. Hank Phillippi Ryan's here to discuss her third Charlie McNally mytery, AIR TIME. Sue Grafton called it: “Sassy, fast-paced and appealing. First-class entertainment.”

Sounds fabulous already! Here's what it's about:

Smart and savvy Boston TV reporter Charlotte McNally is back. In AIR TIME she’s taking on the fashion industry, where she learns “When purses are fake – the danger is real.” AIR TIME is the third of the back-to-back-to back Charlie mysteries—the first PRIME TIME won the Agatha Award for best first novel. FACE TIME is a BookSense notable book.


Without further ado, let’s hear from Hank:


1. How did you come up with the idea for this book?


Imagine the research I had to do into the world of designer purses! It was tough, but someone had to dive in….


Actually, Charlie’s investigation into the world of counterfeit couture came straight from been there-done that. In my day job as a TV reporter, my producer (not Franklin!) and I have done several in-depth investigations into the world of knock-offs—not only purses and scarves, but blue jeans and watches and DVDs and videos.


We went undercover and with a hidden camera—like Charlie does—into various back-alley stores where counterfeit merchandise was being sold, and also into some suburban purse parties where women—certainly knowing they were fake and thinking was fine—were scooping up piles of counterfeit Burberrys and Chanels.


You should know— law enforcement tells us, it’s not illegal to buy the purses—unless you’re buying large amounts that are obviously for resale. The illegality is in the copying and manufacture and sale of what’s clearly a trademarked and proprietary item. (As the elegant fashion exec Zuzu Mazny-Latos tells Charlie in AIR TIME—it’s like taking Gone with the Wind—and putting your name on the cover.)


Anyway—lots of AIR TIME is based on research and reality—besides the undercover work, and the research, I’ve done many interviews with the federal agencies in charge of battling counterfeiting, the attorneys who help big companies protest their products, and even the private investigators the designers hire to scout out counterfeits.


2. Are you more driven by plot or by character?


Ah, it’s both. I start with one little germ of a plot twist–and then figure out how Charlie is going to figure it out! So I know what I know–and she knows what she knows. And then she has to solve the mystery–based on what I let her know.


3. What’s your writing process/writing environment like?


I’ve been a television reporter since 19, um, 75. I’m still on the air at Boston’s NBC affiliate, and still at work as an investigative reporter. (And I’m always hoping my best story ever is just around the corner.) So I come to work at Channel 7 every morning—tracking down clues, doing research, hoping for justice and looking for a great story that will change people’s lives. (Hmm..sounds a lot like mystery writing!)


Then at night we go back home—and when I’m in writing mode, I write til about ten pm, in a wonderful study that’s lined with bookshelves. I admit—I have a cluttered desk, and no real filing system, except for “piles.” But I know where everything is. I like it to be quiet.. At the TV station, it’s chaotic and loud, with three TV’s blasting all the time—and I can work fine there! But at home, with the books—quiet.


Because my schedule is so tight, I keep track of my words. If I know I have to write 90,000 words by the deadline, I literally divide that number by the number of days I have—and then set that as a goal. I try to write maybe—two pages a day. And on weekends, more. If I can do that, I’m thrilled.


I push my way through a first draft. I say to myself—just get the story down. Just do it. And you can fix it later.


Then I cook dinner, and my husband and I have a very late dinner together! You can imagine how patient he is!


I used to be a pretty good cook, and diligent about exercise. My husband and I gave dinner parties and went to movies and went on vacation. Sigh. That’s all pretty much over. I have a full time job as reporter, a full time job as a mystery author, and a full time job as a wife (with two step-children and two step-grandchildren!) That doesn’t leave much time for much else.


4. What’s your favorite part of writing?


Revision, no question. I love that. You have this whole first draft, and you get to go back and see what you really have. I often have wonderful revelations when I read over the first draft—there are themes and rhythms and even clues that I didn’t realize were there! It’s always so rewarding.


And after 30 years in TV, I know how valuable editing is—so I look at it as a real treat. To get to polish, and tweak, and rearrange, and make it all shine—oh, it’s great fun.


The other favorite part—when readers love the books. I can’t tell you how often I’m out on a story, for instance, and a stranger will come up to me , and pull the book out of a purse or briefcase, and ask me to sign it. I can barely resist bursting into tears. It somehow completes the writing, you know? when someone reads it.


5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about writing?


There’s a plaque on my bulletin board with the question: “What would you attempt to do if you know you could not fail?” That gives me a lot of courage.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A whole new approach to the author bio....

I just have no words for this. I'd just try to write something funny, and there's no way you can out-funny David Cross. So take a peek at his author bio for his new book, I DRINK FOR A REASON.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Big congrats go out to Kristen-- you've won a copy of Joanne Rendell's CROSSING WASHINGTON SQUARE! Just shoot me an email (brenda[at]brendajanowitz[dot]com) with your contact info, and we'll get a signed copy of the book out to you!


Not a winner this time around? That's okay! Next week, we'll be giving away a signed copy of Sheila Curran's EVERYONE SHE LOVED. So, don't forget to check back here for a chance to win more books!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

What could you do in 7 minutes a day?

Galleycat's found a seminar which claims you can write a book in just 7 minutes a day.

Seven minutes?! It takes me that long to sit down at my computer to get ready to write.

There's always emails to check, not to mention facebook, goodreads, myspace and about a hundred other social networking sites that I just "have" to check before I start writing.

And then, there's always laundry to do, dishwashers to be unloaded, and desks to be straightened up. Because, clearly, you can't write the Great American Novel if your dishwasher is full. Can you?

By the time I've checked everything that needs checking on my computer and cleaned my entire house from top to bottom, then, inevitably, the phone rings.

So, basically, what I'm saying is that I really can't do anything in 7 minutes a day. What could you accomplish in just 7?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Ruined!

So, you may have noticed that I wasn't around much this past August. But there was a really good reason for that: I had a baby!

Having a baby has been the most wonderful experience, but there has been one unanticipated side effect that I really didn't see coming. I've heard women complain about long nights, dirty diapers, lack of time for oneself, and crying babies before, but none of that bothers me much. The real problem I've been having with motherhood is this: it's ruined me for reality tv.

Yes, since becoming a mother I can no longer enjoy my reality tv shows. Instead of laughing at the women on Real Chance of Love, all I can think is: this is someone's child. Instead of marveling at the women crying on More to Love, all I can think about is how there's a mother out there who is watching her baby cry on national television.

When will this insanity end?! Will I ever be able to enjoy my reality tv again?? Or am I destined to overthink all of VH1's wonderful low-brow reality offerings?!

Mothers, weigh in!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oh dear.

We here at Brenda's Blog have been reporting all things Snuggie for some time now, but this is out of control.

I mean, really? Really?!

And if that's not enough for you, apparently there's a whole scandal going on that I didn't even know about. Even the NY Times got in on the action.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

GCC Author interview and book giveaway: Joanne Rendell

Have you missed the Girlfriends as much as I have lately? Well, never fear, because we've got a member of the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit here today to chat! Joanne Rendell's Crossing Washington Square can be found in bookstores today (yes, today!) and we're lucky enough to have her here today in honor of the big launch! And the news only gets better from there: Joanne's been kind enough to offer to give away a signed copy of her latest novel! Deets on how to enter below.

So, let's dive in to the questions!


Tell us about your most recent novel in 25 words or less.

Sparks fly when two very different female professors meet head to heart at a prestigious university.


Where do you find inspiration for your work?

My life! Crossing Washington Square was completely inspired by own experiences. I have a PhD in English literature and my past academic life is everywhere in this book. Like one of my characters, Professor Diana Monroe, I once taught Sylvia Plath to undergraduates. Like Professor Rachel Grey, my other lead character, I sometimes struggled to ignite a discussion in a room full of tired students. I’ve also seen first hand how vicious, snobbish, and competitive academics can be with each other. Moreover, I know a lot of juicy ivory tower gossip!


Themes within the book are also inspired by discussions I had in grad school. I always loved the debate about “high culture” and “popular culture” – in other words, whether it is more important to study Shakespeare or whether popular writers like Stephen King and Nora Roberts are worthy of study too. This debate is important in the novel. Rachel is a scholar of popular women’s fiction (think Bridget Jones’ Diary), while Diana is a rigorous Plath scholar who thinks that popular fiction is an easy ride for students and worries that the study of the classics and “high” literature

might get pushed aside. Rachel thinks studying popular fiction is vital because, as she says in the book, “popular culture influences who we are, what we think, and what’s going to happen in our world and in our lives.” It was so fun bringing this debate alive in fiction.


What are you working on right now?

I’m working on final edits for my third novel which was bought by Penguin last fall. The novel tells the story of a woman who thinks she might be related to the nineteenth century writer, Mary Shelley. On her journey to seek the truth and to discover if there really is a link between her own family and the creator of Frankenstein, Clara unearths surprising facts about people much closer to home – including some shocking secrets about the ambitious scientist she is engaged to. The book is told in alternating points of view between Clara and the young Mary Shelley who is preparing to write Frankenstein.



If your book were to become a movie, who would you cast?

Crossing Washington Square loosely echoes Austen’s Sense and Sensibilty – with one professor being led by her sense, the other by her sensibility. I love the Ang Lee adaptation of Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet playing the two very different Dashwood sisters. Therefore I’d love Emma and Kate to play my professors.


What tips would you offer to aspiring writers?

Join a writer’s group – either on or off line – right away! You can learn so so much from other writers. Not just about the craft itself, but also so much useful stuff about the business. I started off writing fiction without joining a group and I made mistakes which I think I just wouldn’t have made if I had had other writer’s advising me.


Try and write a set amount of words per day. When I was in grad school, I vowed to myself that I had to write 500 words a day. I kept to this pretty religiously and now, even though I write novels instead of academic papers, I do the same. It really works!


Keep reading. Writers must be readers. By reading other people’s books, we see and learn how words can be spun and stories can be told. There is nothing more vital to a writer’s diet!


Thanks so much, Joanne! I totally agree with that advice for writers. And the new book sounds absolutely amazing. (As does book number three!!)


Want to win a signed copy of Joanne's latest? Just leave a comment below and you're entered!


The winner will be announced on September 15th.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Perez Hilton dedicates a post to SCOT ON THE ROCKS!

Okay, well, not really.... BUT, Perez is reporting a poll in which James McAvoy was voted the hottest Scot.

Now, personally, I've always been partial to Ewan McGregor, especially when I'm asked in interviews who should play Douglas if SCOT ON THE ROCKS were ever to make it to the big screen (Ewan, call me!), but James McAvoy is pretty darn hot, too. Especially in this pic.

(Note to self: must immediately go out and rent whatever movie this pic is from.....)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

But wait, there's more!

So, I told you all about musician Dave Carroll and his saga in traveling with United. Basically, the baggage handlers at United allegedly smashed Carroll's guitar, and when he couldn't get relief from United after a year of trying, he wrote a song about it.

And it became a HUGE youtube hit. Doncha just love revenge?

But wait, there's more! Check it out below:


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Big congrats go out to holdenj! You've won a copy of Allison Winn Scotch's TIME OF MY LIFE. Just shoot me an email with your address (email me at brenda[at]brendajanowitz[dot]com) and Allison will sign a book and mail it out to you!



Thanks to everyone who entered! And just remember, the book is out today, so run out and get your copy today!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How will it all end?!

So just because it's summer doesn't mean we should stop obsessing about Lost, does it?! NY Mag has this awesome article with highlights from Comic Con-- Lost's creators discuss the upcoming season, and there are promo videos that will confuse and delight you. (But mainly confuse. This is Lost we're talking about.....)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fire burning on the dance floor.....

Too bad Brooke and Jack already got married in JACK WITH A TWIST. Vanessa would totally tear this one up....



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Author Interview and Book Giveaway: Allison Winn Scotch

Today we have got a real treat! New York Times bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch is here to chat! The paperback release of her NYT bestselling novel, TIME OF MY LIFE, comes out on August 4th, and she's offering readers a chance to win a signed copy!


Now, you may know Allison from her amazing blog, Ask Allison, or perhaps you remember her from my Publisher's Weekly Soapbox column about how important it is for authors to think high concept. Or you might have even seen her on the New York Times bestseller list for her second novel, TIME OF MY LIFE. (And no, we just can't say the New York Times bestseller thing enough. If I were Allison, I'd seriously consider getting a tattoo about it....)

Yes, well. Allison is busying writing bestselling novels, hitting the NYT Bestseller list and writing an influential blog, and yet she STILL has time to visit us and answer some questions!

AND give away a signed copy of the paperback release of TIME OF MY LIFE to boot! How great is that?! So, without further ado, let's hear from Allison:


Tell us about your most recent novel in 25 words or less.

Unhappy stay-at-home mom is haunted by her “what-ifs” and is granted the chance to go back in time and change the future. (If she wants to.) (Sorry, that’s 28 words!)

What are you working on right now?

Toiling on my next book, which is still untitled, or else I’d let you know the fancy name. It sort of flips Time of My Life on its head: a very happy, very fulfilled small-time guidance counselor is granted the unwelcome ability to see into the future and discovers that what she envisions to be the perfect life is actually anything but.

What are you reading right now?

I’m about to dive into Elin Hilderbrand’s newest book, The Castaways. She made a fan out of me with Barefoot, which is one of my all-time favorites, so I always buy her books the first week they come out. I also have Julie Klam’s Please Excuse My Daughter on my nightstand. She’s a friend (and an amazing Twitter-er – go follow her!), and I just know I’m going to love it.

How do you fight writer’s block?

Oh boy, I generally find about 100000000 other things to do rather than write. My ability to procrastinate is legendary. Honestly, I can waste an entire day on the internet doing nothing at all. That said, when I’m in the thick of writing, the only way that I can get around that dreaded blank brain space is...to write. I force myself to sit down and write, period, no matter how painful it is. Often times, once I get going, I discover that I DO have something to say, I just didn’t realize it. On a more technical front, whenever I find my characters up against a wall, I throw some action at them: screw up their lives in some way. The only way to propel a plot forward is to create conflict, so if things are stagnating (both in my imagination and in the book), this is the surest way to amp things back up again.

If your book were to become a movie, who would you cast?

Well, the good news is that Time of My Life actually is being made into a movie! :) The producers have been wonderful in soliciting my opinion and keeping me in the loop, and we’ve discussed probably about seven or so lead actresses. On our short list include Keri Russell, Reese Witherspoon, Jen Garner, Anne Hathaway and a few other wonderful actresses. I think, frankly, that there are a lot of actresses who would be incredible in the role, so I’m always hesitant to play favorites. As far as the guys, I think it depends a lot on who is cast as Jillian, but my personal call for Henry might be Michael Vartan, though again, Patrick Wilson, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Affleck...there’s a long list I could choose from. And for Jackson, you just need one of those hot late-20-something/early 30-something guys: Chris Pine, Bradley Cooper, Scott Speedman, Taylor Kitsch...hmmm, I could go on all day. :)



So could we, Allison. So could we! Thanks so much for stopping by today! We shall now all mentally debate Michael Vartan v. Patrick Wilson and Bradley Cooper v. Chris Pine for the rest of the day....

To enter to win a signed copy of TIME OF MY LIFE, just leave a comment at the bottom of this post. To get another entry, blog about it! OR, to get yet another entry, email five of your friends about this contest (and cc me on the email so that I can account for your extra entry- brenda[at]brendajanowitz[dot]com).

The lucky winners will be announced on August 4th.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Big congrats go out to Alison from alisons-bookmarks.blogspot.com and trishalynn0708 -- these lucky ladies have won copies of Saralee Rosenberg's DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD!


Not a winner this time around? That's okay! Tomorrow, we'll be giving away a signed copy of the highly anticipated paperback release of Allison Winn Scotch's TIME OF MY LIFE. So, don't forget to check back here for a chance to win more books!