Monday, June 29, 2009

Tonight's the night!

If you're on Long Island, come by to see me tonight! I'll be reading at the Summer Gazebo Reading Series. Grab a lawn chair and meet me there!

The fun begins at 7 p.m. in the park at Schoolhouse Green—bring your picnic basket and lawn chairs! Schoolhouse Green is on Foxhurst Road in Oceanside, just east of Long Beach Road

Hope to see you all there!

Friday, June 26, 2009

GCC Author interview: Sheila Curran

Today we've got a wonderful interview, and I'm not just saying that because this is a lovely member of the fabulous GCC. No, it's because the amazing Sheila Curran is here, and her latest novel, EVERYONE SHE LOVED came out on Monday, and has already broken the Amazon 100!

Gorgeous cover, isn't it?! EVERYONE SHE LOVED is a wise and triumphant novel about powerful bonds among four women who’ve come of age together only to discover that – when it comes to the essentials – life’s little instruction book will always need revising.

So, without further ado, let's hear from Sheila:

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

Old money in the New South, romantic confusion, legal entanglements, and the unbreakable bonds among four women – and a man. Penelope Cameron May’s last wishes set off a riveting story of secrets, suspicion, motherhood, wifehood and sisterhood.

When did you first begin writing?

I was 26. I didn’t publish my first piece until 41 and my first book until 49.

What are you reading right now?

I just finished Maria Doria Russell’s Dreamers of the Day, which I loved. That woman can write. If you’ve not read THE SPARROW, CHILDREN of GOD, or THREAD of GRACE, do not delay!

How do you fight writer’s block?

I force myself into a routine of staring at an empty screen for two hours each morning. Usually I get bored enough to come up with something. The beginning of each book is always the hardest. And I think it’s John Mcphee who said writer’s block is simply another way of saying you’ve not finished your research.

What is your favorite part of writing?

When I finally realize what’s going to happen and I get into the flow. Least favorite? When I can’t figure out what’s going to happen and I sit there thinking I’ll never, ever in a million years, write another word.

What tips would you offer to aspiring writers?

Write at least one bad page a day or sit in front of your computer for at least one hour a day, trying to write.

SUCH great advice. I really agree with all of that wholeheartedly!

Thanks so much for coming by, Sheila! I don't know about the rest of you, but this sounds like exactly what my beach bag needs! So, what are you waiting for? Run out and grab your copy today!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's all a matter of how you look at it.

As a writer, I just think that this AARP ad is so unbelievably cool....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Guest blog and book giveaway: Dan Begley

We've got such a treat today! I'm introducing you to a brand new author on the chick lit scene. Smart and funny, just like all of the chick lit authors you've come to know and love, but this author is a bit different: he's a man!

Yes, today we've got award winning writer and professor Dan Begley here to chat. His debut novel, MS. TAKEN IDENTITY, comes out today, and it's a fabulous read. I was asked to blurb this book, and I really loved it. It's a clever and funny story about learning who you really are and what's important in life.

And what's even more exciting is that Dan will be giving away not just one, but TWO signed copies of the book! Deets on how to enter are at the bottom of this post.

So, without further ado, I give you our guest blogger for today, Dan Begley:

Man! I Feel Like a Woman

When I was a boy, I wanted to be a pro football quarterback. As a teen, my obsession was basketball and the Boston Celtics. In college (when I realized I’d stopped growing and wouldn’t be 6’9”), my interests turned to hockey. So naturally, now that I’m getting a novel published, my chosen genre is…chick lit.


Actually, chick lit and I go back a long way. I read my first chick lit novel when I was in college. I was taking an English Lit survey class, and we were reading Dickens and Joyce and Orwell, among others. Then the professor, a rather staid gentleman, assigned the chick lit novel, unabashedly praising it as one of the best books ever written. Of course, he didn’t use the term “chick lit”; he called it by another name.

Pride and Prejudice.

Yes, that one.

Maybe you’ve read it. Or seen the movie with Keira Knightley (my wife could watch it daily). Or the miniseries with Colin Firth. Or read Helen Fielding’s modern take: Bridget Jones’s Diary. The connection between chick lit and Austen is inescapable. Google the two: 130,000 results.

It seems that Ms. Austen tapped into something both universal and timeless in her delightful novel: romance, fashion, and Love, and the silly things it makes us say and do and feel. In a nutshell, that’s what P and P is about. And, as far as I can tell, that’s what chick lit is about.

Now, I’ve only written one book in the genre, so I’m no expert. There are many other far more talented and insightful (and attractive) practitioners—I won’t name names, but you know these good ladies’ names—and they would be far more qualified to tell you what it is and isn’t.

As for me, I just wanted to write a story about a guy who starts off with his own pride and prejudice about the genre, about the people who read it, and about life itself. He’s not a bad guy; he just has a blind spot. Okay, blind spots. And huge ones.

But in the end, he just wants what every single woman in every single chick lit novel wants: To love, and be loved.

Come to think of it, that’s what we all want, isn’t it? I know I do. And thanks to my wife Robin, I have it.

I’m not sure how women who enjoy chick lit (or women in general) will take to my novel. They may think that it’s making fun of them. If you stop reading after page forty, I can see how you’d think that. But if you hang in there, I think you’ll find that the book is saying something else, entirely.

After all, that’s my name on the cover of a chick lit novel.

And I couldn’t be more proud.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Dan! That post totally makes me want to read your book again!

To enter to win a copy of MS. TAKEN IDENTITY, 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 July 6th.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!  I think you all know how I feel about my dad.  If you didn't get a chance to check out my New York Post piece about my dad, just click here! 

And have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We love all of our Gossip Girl hotties equally here

With all of our talk here about Chase Crawford and the casting of Footloose, we've been totally disregarding our other Gossip Girl hotties.

I know. Shame on me.

Variety is reporting that Ed Westwick has been cast in Wuthering Heights. Now, if you watch Gossip Girl, you know that casting Chuck in the Heathcliff role is just so, so delicious. I'm counting on him to be speaking in his native English accent (how much do we love men with accents?! Some people write entire books about it....) and doing what he does best: brooding.

Could there be any more perfect casting?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

So, the crowd was really split on what Lauren Lipton should wear to her NYC Barnes and Noble reading tonight! I vote for the sexy black vintage number, for what it's worth, Lauren!

If you're in the NY Metro area, I hope you'll go cheer Lauren on at her NYC reading!

Now, onto our contest winners! Big congrats go out to Jemscout425 and Sue -- these lucky ladies have won copies of Lauren Lipton's MATING RITUALS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN WASP!

Not a winner this time around? That's okay! Next week, we'll be giving away TWO signed copies of Dan Begley's MS. TAKEN IDENTITY. So, don't forget to check back here for a chance to win more books!

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's all right, cause I'm saved by the bell

I now officially love Mark-Paul Gosselaar.  Er, I mean Zack Morris.  

You see, Jimmy Fallon's been trying to organize a Saved by the Bell reunion, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar came onto the show to promote his latest venture, Raising the Bar on TNT, and also to pledge his commitment to a Saved By the Bell reunion.  But, the best part?  He does the entire thing totally in character as Zack Morris.

That's right.  He comes on as Zack Morris.  And then doesn't break character.  Not even once.

I love it when people don't take themselves too seriously.  Now, Gosselaar could have come on the show and just spoken about his latest TV show.  He's an established actor with a new show and some serious acting under his belt (he had a great run on NYPD Blue, if you recall).  But he instead chose to have some fun with the role that got his whole career started.  The result is absolutely hilarious and shows us fans what a good sport he is.  (And how he still looks exactly the same twenty years later!)

Here's the clip on Jimmy Fallon:

Friday, June 12, 2009

New Jersey's where it's at!

And I don't just mean the new season of Real Housewives of New Jersey!

I'll be in New Jersey this Sunday at the BooksNJ2009 Book Fair! If you're in the tri-state area, I'd love to see you there!

Deets are as follows:

Books NJ 2009

Sunday, June 14th
1pm - 5pm

Paramus Public Library
116 East Century Road
Paramus, NJ 07652

I'll be speaking on a fiction panel at 3:30pm, so I hope you'll be able to come by and say hi!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Enter to win a copy of JACK!

Hop on over to Drey's Library today. I'll be doing an interview and then giving away a copy of JACK WITH A TWIST to one lucky winner!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bust out those lawn chairs!

If you're on Long Island, I'd love to see you! I'll be reading at the Summer Gazebo Reading Series on Monday, June 29th. If you're around, grab a lawn chair and meet me there!

I'm so thrilled, because I'll be reading with fellow authors Ellen Meister, Saralee Rosenberg and Carol Hoenig, moderated by Book Columnist Debbi Honorof. Yes, it's the same group as our Author Tea, so if you missed us there, come see us at the Gazebo! Here are the deets:

MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2009
Summer Gazebo Readings Series
sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Oceanside
7 p.m.
In the park at Schoolhouse Green—bring your picnic basket and lawn chairs!
Schoolhouse Green is on Foxhurst Road in Oceanside, just east of Long Beach Road

Hope to see you all there!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Why can't *I* come up with an invention like this?

First, I boggled your mind with this. It was the mom and baby snuggie, and it was really disturbing for some reason.

But now, I've found this! And, um, I sort of want one.

Most importantly, should Lauren Lipton wear one to her reading?!

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Guest blog and book giveaway: Lauren Lipton

One of the wonderful things about becoming an author is the chance to meet other authors whose work you really respect. I was so thrilled when I met Lauren Lipton last year at Kristin Harmel's book party. We hit it off, and the rest, as they say, is history. Not only is Lauren a great breakfast companion and email buddy, but, oh yeah, she's also an amazing writer!

Her latest, MATING RITUALS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN WASP, is out in bookstores now! It truly is the perfect summer read-- smart, clever and funny. What else could you want in a book?! And we're giving copies away today! Not one, but TWO lucky readers will be getting a copy of Lauren's novel. Deets on how to enter to win are at the bottom of this post.

Lauren's here today to chat about the important issues plaguing women today, and more specifically, women's fiction authors: What to wear....

So without further ado, here's Lauren!

Hi, Brenda, and thanks for the opportunity to guest-blog! I was going to riff for a while here about preppy fashion—a major theme in Mating Rituals of the North American WASP. But as it happens, my random musings have crystallized into a serious question, and the question is this:

What should I wear to my reading?

I thought I'd ask you because of all the reading outfits I've seen, the retro-chic frock you wore to read from Jack With a Twist last summer is hands-down the cutest. I remember it being buttercup-colored to coordinate with your book cover.

The choice was impressive. It has stuck in my mind as I prepare for a reading of WASP later this month.

The problem is, though, that my book is pink and green, and I look hideous in pink and green. In fact, I look hideous in all preppy fashion—the grosgrain, the madras, the seersucker. This is likely because, though I am the daughter of a Rhode Island WASP, my mother ditched her conservative togs the minute I was born and she and my father struck out for Southern California, where everyone was drinking sangria while sporting dresses with airbrushed rainbows and Indian tunics with little round mirrors sewn in. This was the eclectic fashion of my formative years, and though I'm hardly wearing it now, I'm more comfortable in it—or in something black and New Yorkish—than in anything embroidered with tiny ducks.

So my question, to you and your readers, is, how important is it to look the part during a reading? If I wear a WASPy wardrobe, will it look cute, or costumey? Do I go with my slinky vintage black dress (possibly designed by Versace before he was Versace), or do I do Lilly Pulitzer (adorable, but not me)?

Please advise. And you're all invited to my reading, at Barnes & Noble, 82nd and Broadway, on June 17 to see what I chose.

Big thanks to Lauren for stopping by! And now, on to the fun part: the free books! We'll be giving away not one, but TWO copies of Lauren's book.

Since Lauren is in dire need of our help, the contest rules are a bit different this week. You'll have to vote on what Lauren should wear! Leave a c
omment below with a recommendation on what Lauren should wear and you're entered to win one of TWO copies of MATING RITUALS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN WASP!

Want extra entries? That can be arranged.... Blog about this contest for another entry. Or you can send an email to five friends about this giveaway (don't forget to cc me, brenda[at]brendajanowitz[dot]com!) for TWO additional entries! You must put "Brenda's Blog" somewhere in the email subject heading for your entry to count.

The lucky winners will be announced on June 17th, just in time for Lauren's fabulous Barnes and Noble reading!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Big congrats go out to Gabi 317-- she's won a signed copy of Ellen Meister's THE SMART ONE!

Not a winner this time around? That's okay! Tomorrow, we'll be giving away TWO copies of Lauren Lipton's MATING RITUALS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN WASP. So, don't forget to check back here for a chance to win more books!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

GCC Author interview: Judi Fennell

Today we've got a member of the GCC here to chat. It's Judi Fennell, whose debut novel, IN OVER HER HEAD, comes out this week! Publisher's Weekly called this story of a woman and a sexy merman "[a] playful debut... sincere wit." AND it's got a nautical theme, so it's perfect for summer!

Let's, uh, dive in, shall we? (Pun intended.)

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

In Over Her Head is the adventure of a woman who's afraid of the ocean and a Merman.

When did you first begin writing?

I was always telling stories - even before I could write, my imaginary friend Casper the Friendly Ghost made me go in the street on my bicycle when I was 2 1/2. I worked that story to keep myself from getting in trouble. I have my writing from kindergarten and all through school, including Mr. Magickal, the protagonist, defeats the zebra-striped alligator.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I love all things fairy tale, especially Disney. I was working on a twist to fairy tales and wanted to do one on The Little Mermaid. To make it my own, I made the guy the mer. Voila, Reel was born.

What are you working on right now?

I'm editing the next two books in the series, Wild Blue Under which comes out in November, and Catch of a Lifetime for February 2010, as well as working on a proposal for the next books in the series.

What are you reading right now?

Linda Wisdom's series about 13 witches. They're a hoot.

How do you fight writer’s block?

I can't afford to have writer's block, but if I do, I find picking up another book helps unlock the creativity. There's something freeing about seeing that another person has pushed through it and made it work.

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

I'd love Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson or Sandra Bullock, but if not them, Zac Efron and Anne Hathaway could do a great job.

What is your favorite part of writing?

I love when the story flows out of my fingers and it just takes off without me having to work for it. Least favorite? When it's not working and you have to push through it to get it to work.

What tips would you offer to aspiring writers?

Keep writing and put your work out there for people to critique. Enter contests. Join a critique group. Get feedback and be open to criticism and look at your work from their point of view. Work on craft. Divorce yourself from the emotion attached to it once it's written and be willing to look at the feedback with an eye to make it better. And don't stop writing. Don't give up. The one way to ensure you won't get published is to give up.

How do you usually begin your stories—with a character or with a plot?

Usually I get a line, whether it's dialogue or the opening line, or a situation. Every story begins differently for me, and I write each one differently. One can be written linear, another with a bunch of scenes that I tie together, yet another with the beginning and the end then filling in the middle. Different characters = different story = different manner in writing it.

Do a quick character study on yourself:

A quick character study? Ha. Okay, here ya go: I'm half Irish and half Italian. I'll be your best friend, but don't tick me off. Favorite color is purple, favorite gem is a tie between amethyst and diamonds, love animals, hate spiders. Terrified of what's in the ocean (seeing JAWS at a young age was a mistake).

Thanks so much for stopping by, Judi! We just know your books will make a huge splash! (Sorry, I just can't stop with the puns.....)