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 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 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!

Monday, July 20, 2009

So what did Lauren Lipton wear?!

So, what did Lauren Lipton end up wearing to her big NYC book signing after all? I know we all voted on it last month, and now Lauren's blogging about it. So head over there and check it out!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

United breaks guitars

So, the first thing my husband wants you to know is that he is responsible for 48% of the blog posts you see here. Now, I'm not sure about the math, but my hubby does send me quite a few crazy news stories, to be sure. And, yes, I usually blog about them.

Oh, about 48% of the time.

He recently sent me this awesome story, courtesy of the fine folks over at Seems musician Dave Carroll was traveling on United Airlines, and was horrified to find the baggage handlers tossing guitars around, as he watched, helpless, from the plane. When he arrived at his destination, his guitar was-- wait for it-- broken! Carroll tried to go through various channels over at United in order to get his guitar fixed. But a year later, there was still no resolution.

So, Carroll did what he does best. He wrote a song about it. I just love this, because so often when things like this happen, you're unable to do a thing about it. You try and try to find a solution, but in the end, all you can really do is vent.

But not so if you're a singer-songwriter! If you're like Dave Carroll, you can write a song about it, create a hilarious music video, and then get over 2.5 million hits on You Tube. Nice.

He's posted the entire backstory on his website here. And here's the music video, which I know you're going to love. Enjoy:

Ain't revenge sweet?!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How to Marry a Millionaire

For those of you who love the trash-tastic reality offerings on VH1 as much as I do, Christmas comes early this year!

Everyone's favorite manipulator is back! And better than ever. Yes, bikini-clad Megan from Rock of Love and I Love Money has got her own show, and it'll be out on August 2.

It's called Megan Wants a Millionaire. Straight, to the point-- you've gotta love the title! We get to watch Megan on her quest to marry for money. What could be better?!

There's a preview clip for the show here, which really needs to be seen to be believed. The highlight for me is the fact that one of the millionaires vying for Megan's attention is Sex Toy Dave, who some of you may know from the Millionaire Matchmaker.

So, who do you think should be the next VH1 crazy to get his or her own reality show?!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mr. Penn goes to Washington

I've been reading about this for a while, but now NY Mag has a whole article on it: Kal Penn has officially forsaken acting, for the time being, and has taken a position in the Obama administration.

He'll be working as Associate Director in the Office of Public Liason, and he's going by his real name instead of his stage name: Kalpen Modi. He says that it's what his real friends call him anyway (um, no one ever told me that I could call him that....), and he never legally changed his name to Kal Penn, it's just a stage name. So, Kalpen it is.

This gig in DC is open ended, and it begs the question: Will he be back for another Harold and Kumar movie?! Yes, I know that government is important, but we're talking about Harold and Kumar here! I'm sure that Obama would agree that laughter is important, too, especially in these trying economic times!

Clearly, the only one who can save the new Harold and Kumar movie (A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, currently in production) is NPH. Neil Patrick Harris, take it away!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Author interview and book giveaway: Saralee Rosenberg

I'm so delighted today because the lovely Saralee Rosenberg has come to chat! Now, you may recognize her name since we've spoken together so many times in the past. And if you were lucky enough to attend any of these events, you know how unbelievably hilarious Saralee is! (She really missed her calling as a stand-up comic, methinks....)

Today, Saralee's here to answer some of our questions and also give away not one, but TWO signed copies of her latest release: DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD. Doesn't the title alone just make you want to pick it up and read it? And, um, maybe leave a copy for your annoying next door neighbor? Ahem. But don't tell them that I told you to do that.

Without further ado, let's hear from Saralee:

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

This is a story of two next door neighbors on Long Island who live to make each other miserable until one day a seventy-year old secret seals their fate forever. Readers have reported chronic laughter and tears. See your doctor if symptoms persist.

When did you first begin writing?

I'm told that I was writing short stories as young as seven or eight-years old, and that I used to have to pay my older sister a quarter to read them. Turns out that she liked them so much, she'd end up giving me the money back, but I have very little recollection of any of this. Still, I do remember having a class clown mentality. Little did I know that some of my earliest material would be the notes I sent to my kids' teachers. They would always tell me that they couldn't wait for me to write to them to explain some mishap or issue because whatever I said would guarantee the laugh of the day (yay- gold star for me!). That inspired me to give comedy writing a try, and my first audience were the members of my local ORT chapter (supporting Jewish causes). They would all tell me how much they enjoyed my monthly columns and would try to guess who I was writing about (never expecting it might be them), and yet I was "fired". Seems I ruffled a few feathers with one column about the neighborhood, but it was the best thing that could have happened. I decided if I was going to be publicly shamed, I might as well get paid for the gig and that's when I started writing novels.

What are you working on right now?

I am so excited about the novel I'm working on right now. I have always loved exploring the mother-daughter relationship as I did my four novels, A LITTLE HELP FROM ABOVE (a dead mother), CLAIRE VOYANT (a stand-in mother), FATE AND MS. FORTUNE (a depressed mother) and DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD (two very different mothers). But this story takes this mother-daughter bond to a whole new level of riviting interaction. Here is the story: Seventeen years after a deadbeat mom runs away to become a rockstar/drummer, a hit record makes her rich and gives her hope of reconnecting with her daughter, who is expecting her first baby. It's called BEAT IT! I am so in love with Grace (her mother named her after Grace Slick) and her take on life and love that I have a feeling I'm going to need a literary leash. She is taking me in way different directions than I envisioned. Go Grace!!!!

How do you fight writer’s block?

I'm one of the lucky ones who has never understood the concept of writer's block. I rarely experience it, maybe because I feed my muse M&Ms and chocolate chip cookies. She/he never leaves my side. Ideas generally pour out and the challenge is what to do with all them- figure out which ones are really good and insert here. But not all of this is luck.

I've developed some pretty nifty tricks to keep the ideas flowing, one of which is to do an astrological natal chart for my main characters. Basically I make up a birthdate, do their charts, and find out what they struggle with, what they enjoy, how they think, what worries them- then I turn on the "what if" part of my brain and voila, more ideas. What I love about this technique is that it helps me create three-dimensional characters who seem and speak real. The best compliment I get is when readers tell me how much they could relate. That's when I know I did my job!

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

To enter to win a signed copy of DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD, 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 22nd.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Big congrats go out to Quilting Reader and Sphinx63 -- these lucky ladies have won copies of Dan Begley's MS. TAKEN IDENTITY!

Not a winner this time around? That's okay! Next week, we'll be giving away TWO signed copies of Saralee Rosenberg's DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD. So, don't forget to check back here for a chance to win more books!

Friday, July 3, 2009

GCC Author interview: Samantha Wilde

You didn't think I'd leave you for the long holiday weekend without some wonderful internet entertainment, now did you?

Today, I've got a great GCC interview all lined up for you: it's Samantha Wilde, who's here to chat about her debut novel, THIS LITTLE MOMMY STAYED HOME. Called "the mother of motherhood novels," it's guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

So, let's go and meet Sam!

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

Joy McGuire, a seemingly normal person with a seemingly normal marriage, has a baby, after which point, nothing is normal again. Not her breasts or her belly or her heart or her marriage. It’s a hilarious, rueful, laugh-out-loud post partum tale about the grueling work of the first nine months of the first baby when change is an urgent necessity that you wish you could run away from.

When did you first begin writing?

I’ve written as long as I can remember. My first book (age 5), I wrote, illustrated and bound. It’s called Forest Dreams, not too bad for a first title.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

In chocolate. And by being interested in humanity, in people, and in their stories. I love to look at strangers and imagine the whole world they live in that I know nothing about.

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY. Very funny. I adore funny books. And funny religious books are especially hard to come by. As a minister, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them.

Do a quick character study on yourself....

Now, I am a mother. I’m all mothered up and mothered in. My two are one and almost three. I spend my days with them. I’m fascinated by the world of mothering socially, academically, personally. Most of all, I love my children. I’m a book addict, a huge consumer of all things chocolate, a yoga teacher, a minister, have a tiny veggie garden, spend lots of time outside, prefer the country to the city, and walking to running. I will only run if something chases me.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Samantha! Now, on to the Fourth of July barbecues and fireworks! I hope that everyone has a great weekend! See you all next week.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Button, Button

Those of you who read JACK WITH A TWIST know that I'm sort of obsessed with the short story Button, Button by Richard Matheson.

Okay, so maybe you didn't know that I was obsessed, but maybe you recall the story from the book. It comes towards the end, where Brooke is confused about everything, and her dad tells her about it: a couple gets a visit from a man with a box that has a giant red button on top. He tells them that if they push the button, they'll get one million dollars, but someone, somewhere in the world, will die-- someone they don't know....

There was a Twilight Zone episode based on the story, and there's been talk of a horror movie being made out of the short story, and the trailer's finally out! The movie's called The Box, and it looks completely terrifying. And awesome.

Check out the short story and then check out the trailer here on EW's site!