Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Out in paperback today: THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB!

I'm so pleased to announce that my fourth novel, THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB, is out in paperback today!

It's available from all of your favorite retailers:

Amazon * Barnes and Noble * Indiebound

It's the story of a woman who inadvertently becomes the symbol for all things anti-love in Manhattan. Still not sold? 

Read the first chapter of the book here:

by Brenda Janowitz

Chapter One: Money for Nothing

“Jo, you’re fired,” he says. Just like that.
And I’m utterly shocked. I know, no one ever expects to be fired, but I really didn’t see this coming. My mouth is wide open as I stare back at him.
            “Fired?” is all I can choke out. The room begins to spin. That may be because I was out until sunrise last night drinking vodka tonics at an underground club in Williamsburg, but I’m pretty sure that it’s the news that’s doing it to me, not the hangover.
            “Yes. I’m sorry, Jo, but it’s not working out here,” he says. His skin is gleaming when he says it. His skin always gleams. He’s a dermatologist, so it has to gleam in order for him to stay in business. My skin doesn’t ever gleam. At the very most, it shines and turns red when I get hot or embarrassed. I feel it beginning to shine and my hand immediately flies to my cheek, which, of course, only makes it get hotter.
We are in his office when he tells me and he is sitting at his desk, his head framed by his many diplomas and awards that are hung on the wall behind him. They are, as they are always, shining brightly as if they’d been dusted and cleaned that very morning. I look at the picture he keeps framed at the edge of his desk—a photograph of his family taken at a New Year’s Eve party, framed in a sterling-silver picture frame that his wife lovingly picked out for their thirtieth wedding anniversary—and then look back up at him.
            “You can’t fire me,” I say, which I wholeheartedly believe. I really didn’t think that he ever would or could fire me.
            “I can,” he says, “and I am.” He begins to toy with one of the pens sitting on his desk.
            “I’m your best employee!” I plead.
            “You wore a ‘Save CBGBs’ T-shirt to work,” he says.
            “CBGBs was a New York institution,” I say. He gives me a blank stare. I shrug in response. Is it my fault that this man has no sense of culture? Of history? “What does it matter what I wear under my assistant’s coat anyway?”
            “You know the dress code—scrubs or business casual,” he says.
            “Jeans and a concert tee is business casual!”
            “People can see the prints on your T-shirts right through the fabric,” he says. “And sometimes you wear ones with dirty words on them,” he continues, whispering the ”dirty words” part as if his grandmother is somehow listening from up above and would be appalled by this particular bit of information.
            “Like what?” I ask. Watching him squirm is kind of fun.
            “You know which one,” he says. And then, in barely a whisper, “Free Pussy Riot.”
            “That’s a band,” I say, “not a dirty word.” You’d think a doctor would have no problem saying the word “pussy” out loud.
“Jo, it’s not just the T-shirts. You’ve called in the wrong prescriptions for my patients more times than I’d like to admit.”
            “Some of those drugs have very complicated names,” I say in my own defense. And for the record, they do.
            “That doesn’t mean you can give a patient a more pronounceable drug without consulting me first.”
            “Then maybe you and your colleagues should start prescribing more pronounceable drugs,” I argue. He furrows his brow in response. “But I’m your favorite employee!” I plead.
            “You balanced the company checkbook wrong the last three out of four quarters.”
“You know that I’m not an accountant.” When he hired me for the job two years ago, I knew that there would be some accounting involved. What I hadn’t realized at the time was that I would have to be quite so specific with the numbers. Which is a challenge for me, seeing as I’m really more of a right-brain kind of person.
“But you know how to balance your own checkbook, don’t you?” he says.
For the record, I don’t.
“Of course I know how to balance my own checkbook,” I say and laugh, as if to say, “Doesn’t everybody?”
“A business checkbook is much, much different than a personal checkbook,” I explain.
For the record, it’s not.
“I’m your most loyal employee,” I say. My last resort. I find myself alternating between staring into his solid gold, monogrammed Tiffany belt buckle and his shellacked black hair, because I can’t meet his eyes.
            “This is difficult for me, too, you know,” he says, even though I know that it’s not.
“Do you realize how embarrassing this is going to be for me?” I say. Manipulative, I know, but it’s not exactly like I have anything left in my arsenal.
“I thought you don’t get embarrassed,” he replies, looking into my eyes, challenging me.
“I don’t,” I say, frowning like a little girl who hasn’t gotten the piece of candy that she wanted.      
            “Don’t take this personally, Pumpkin.”

            “You can’t call me Pumpkin when you’re firing me, Daddy.”

Sunday, March 8, 2015

How a grilled cheese saved my life

We're always trying to save our kids, but sometimes our kids are the ones who save us.
I'm over on the New York Times Motherlode today talking about the fire that made me too scared to cook and how my son helped me to learn again. One grilled cheese at a time. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Novel Writing: 10 Questions You Need to Ask Your Characters via WritersDigest.com | WritersDigest.com

When I first started writing, Writer's Digest was my bible. I gobbled every issue up. I couldn't get enough. The tips were always so insightful. The articles were so encouraging. I think I learned as much from the pages of Writer's Digest as I did in my writing classes.

So, it's a huge thrill for me today because I've got an essay up on WritersDigest.com. If you're writing a novel, or if you think you've got a novel inside of you (somewhere in there!), I hope you'll take a peek.

Novel Writing: 10 Questions You Need to Ask Your CharactersWritersDigest.com | WritersDigest.com

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I'm the Kindle Daily Deal today!!

Well, my Sunday morning just got a little more exciting.  I'm so, so happy to report my HUGE news: Amazon has selected my first two novels, SCOT ON THE ROCKS and JACK WITH A TWIST, as their Kindle daily deal today! Both books are on sale for 99 cents-- TODAY ONLY!

If you haven't read them, today is a great day to buy. For 99 cents, you can't go wrong! And if you've already read them, today is a great day to give a book as a gift to a friend.
JACK new 1 22 pink-1You can buy your copies here:

I'd love your help in spreading the word today. Anyone who forwards this post to 5 friends gets a free digital copy of my short story, HOLLYWOOD PUNCH. (Just don't forget to cc me on the email!)

As always, thank you for reading! I first published SCOT back in 2007, and I'm just as grateful now for the love and support you've all shown me as I was then.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mother's Day treat! A sneak peek of RUIN ME by Jamie Brenner!

Happy Mother's Day!  I'm so thrilled today because we've got one of my favorite authors here, the fabulous Jamie Brenner.  She's giving us a sneak peek of her latest novel, RUIN ME.  I'm a huge fan of Jamie's work-- I talked about her fabulous novel, THE GIN LOVERS, this past February, and now with RUIN ME, she's got another smart, sexy page turner on her hands.

I know that the second you read this excerpt, you are going to hop online and order your copy of RUIN ME-- I'm about 1/3 of the way through and it's beyond fabulous-- but, before you do that, let's hear from Jamie first!


by Jamie Brenner

Hallmark doesn’t make a Mother’s Day card that reads, “Thanks for being so controlling! In my rebellion, I fell in love in love with someone completely inappropriate – but totally hot.”

I’m thinking maybe they should – because a lot of us have been there.

In a perfect world, mothers are wise creatures who guide us by love and example. And in this perfect world, daughters only emulate their and make them proud. But in reality, we often have to distance ourselves from our mothers to define ourselves, even if just temporarily. Who hasn’t pushed back against a curfew, a dress code, disapproval over a boyfriend? Ideally, these are temporary hiccups. But in some cases, mothers and daughters are so opposite, the divide defines their entire relationship.

In RUIN ME, my heroine needs to step out of the long shadow of her famous mother. Anna Sterling is a powerful art dealer who expects her daughter to follow in her footsteps, and Lulu, a senior at NYU, has her own ideas about art – and life. When Lulu finds her passion and ideas embodied in a mysterious, bad-boy street artist known as GoST, things get dicey. (See above-mentioned Hallmark card).

As I celebrate Mother’s Day, I think about my own bumps in the road – the ones that are behind me, and the ones that are ahead now that I’m on the other side of the fence. Judging from my teenage daughter, I expect I’ll have fodder for at least another book or two on this subject. Maybe more.


by Jamie Brenner

Chapter 1

There’s a thing that happens at these art gallery parties filled with the beautiful people. Everyone orbits the room pretending not to look at the one person they all want to notice them. They pretend that her glance isn’t the ultimate prize.

I’ve been playing this game my entire life.

The owner of New York’s most prestigious art gallery, she is a pale-skinned, willowy brunette, wears dark-red matte lipstick, and is dressed in all white. There are several ropes of pearls around her neck and a cigarette in her hand—even now, when no one smokes in public anymore. She’s like a living photo from the past, Coco Chanel or Dovima. She is timeless but perfectly of this moment. Elegant, powerful, elusive.

She’s my mother.

“You should stand closer to him so you get in some of the photos,” she says to me so quickly and quietly no one else would have heard.

I immediately cross the room. I’m a junior at NYU, an art major, and girlfriend of one of the hottest up-and-coming painters in New York. But around my mother, I’m still the six-year-old who ignored her warning never to use the scissors without her permission, only to cut my own bangs and ruin my hair for a year.

Hoping to satisfy her, I stand closer to my boyfriend, Brandt. It’s not even his night, but he looks like the star. And in three months, he will be: It will be his paintings on the walls, his sound bites the journalists and bloggers want. But for now, New York magazine just wants a photo of us together for their party section.

“I’m going to get some fresh air,” I whisper to him, uncomfortable with the attention. It’s late, close to midnight by now. He looks at me, his blue eyes shiny, his cheeks flushed from excitement and wine. He is talking to the showing artist, Dustin McBride, whom my mother just poached from Vito Schnabel’s gallery.

A few months ago, Dustin wouldn’t have given Brandt the time of day. But now Brandt is part of the club. Not just an “emerging” artist but one about to have his first one-man show with Anna Sterling.

“I’ll go with you,” Brandt says, but I know he doesn’t mean it. He’s high from all the attention, buzzing with it. Hovering close by is Inez Elliot, my mother’s trusted gallery director and probably the coolest girl I know. She has pale coco skin and bleached blond hair offset by dark eyebrows—Rita Ora on steroids. I smile at her; she looks away.

Other women are circling—the art groupies, the hipster writer from The Times, and even the new “it” girl model with her heart-shaped lips, pink-edged blond hair, and stud in her nostril. Brandt drinks it all in. He was made for this.

“I’ll be right back,” I tell him.

Outside, I gasp with relief when I feel the humid June air. The streets of SoHo feel like they are running on different oxygen than the freezing gallery. For the first time in hours, my goose bumps disappear.

This wasn’t how my summer was supposed to go, I thought while crossing Greene Street. I’d wanted to be spending this week packing for a trip to Spain with my roommate, Niffer. We’d spent months planning our trip and even knew where we would eat dinner our first night—Els Pescadors, for tapas. It’s where Niffer met her boyfriend, Claudio, last summer. He still works there.

Now Niffer is going without me, thanks to my mother.

I inhale the summer air greedily and walk slowly down West Houston Street in my impractical shoes and sheath dress. The initial elation of escaping the party turns sour as I start to perspire. I’m exhausted.

I always imagined working at the gallery alongside my mother. Dreamed of it, actually. I knew it was my future. But now that she wants me to start this summer, it feels all too soon.

But, I can’t say no to my mother—I never have. And now I’m paying the price for it. Keeping up with her breakneck work ethic is going consume the next two months of my life, as it has consumed all of hers. She only took time off from the gallery twice in twenty-five years: when I was born, and then six months later, when my father killed himself.

My phone vibrates in my dangly, beaded vintage clutch. A part of me dares to hope that it’s Brandt, saying that he wants to get some air, too. “Let’s get pizza,” or more likely, “Let’s fuck.”

I pull the phone out. It’s my mother. “Where are you? Richard wants a quote from you.”

“From me?” Richard is the art critic for The New York Times.

“Yes, Lulu.”

“I’m outside. I just needed some fresh air. I’ll be back in a minute.”

I dutifully turn to head back to the gallery. And that’s when, out of the corner of my eye, I see something.

I look up. Sure enough, on the side of a building, ten stories above the street, a man dangles from a harness. One arm is perfectly still, the other is waving in sharp, methodical sweeping motions. He is holding a stencil in one hand, spray-painting with the other.

I watch, rooted in place, mesmerized as swaths of paint start to form an image. It’s a dark-haired woman. The spray can leaves a trail of colors to form a blue shirt with capped sleeves and a long yellow skirt. The woman’s body appears to wilt, her arm falling to her side. I take in the image from top to bottom. It’s Snow White. She’s beautiful, vulnerable, falling into the legendary sleep that will only be broken by her prince.

He moves quickly, now painting near Snow White’s limp hand. His body blocks my view. Finally, he pushes back on his feet, moving away from the painting. It is now complete, with a poisoned apple dropping from her limp hand.

But it’s not just any apple—it’s the tech company logo.

I gasp. It’s the most exciting piece of art I’ve seen all night, and it’s on the side of a building.

Suddenly, the can of spray paint falls from his hand. It seems to happen in slow motion, tumbling over and over, until it hits the sidewalk with a tinny crash.

The noise attracts other people, and a small crowd gathers at the base of the building. People are pointing. And then, nearby, the wail of a police siren.

But he is not finished yet. With quick, efficient circular motions of his arm, he claims the painting, tagging the piece with the name GoST. And I realize I am witnessing the artist whose brilliant, politically-edged stencil paintings have been popping up all over walls and billboards in SoHo and the Village. A thrill runs through me.

And just like that, he is gone.

Copyright © 2014 by Jamie Brenner

About the author:

Jamie Brenner is the author of THE GIN LOVERS, chosen by Fresh Fiction as one of their Top 13 Books to Read in 2013. Jamie also writes erotic fiction under the name Logan Belle. Her debut novel, BLUE ANGEL, was the first in an erotic trilogy published by Kensington, followed by the erotic romances NOW OR NEVER, THE LIBRARIAN and MISS CHATTERLEY. Her novels have been translated into a dozen languages. She lives in Manhattan, blogs for Romance at Random and Heroes & Heartbreakers, and is busy raising two daughters who aren't allowed to read her books. To read more or contact her, visit jamiebrenner.com or follow her @jamieLbrenner

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


It's here!  It's finally here!!

My fourth novel, THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB, is out today!  This novel is the product of years and years of work.  I really hope you'll check it out.  It's available on all your favorite e-readers:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/mofug2l
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/mdxg7zm
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/mo72n9b
iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/moavbt3

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pre-order my fourth novel, THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB, and get a free copy of SCOT ON THE ROCKS, my first novel!

Because who doesn't love getting free books?!

I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that Polis Books will be publishing my fourth novel on May 6th (just two weeks away!): THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB.  
And to celebrate, we're giving away free copies of my first novel, SCOT ON THE ROCKS to everyone who pre-orders a copy of LONELY HEARTS. 
How do you get your free copy of SCOT?  Just email the receipt of your LONELY HEARTS pre-order purchase to brendajanowitz[at]gmail[dot]com and we'll send you an e-book of SCOT!
THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB is the story of Jo Waldman, a young singer/songwriter whose personal and professional life have hit rock bottom... until a blog post she writes goes viral, making her the poster girl for an "anti-love" movement that sweeps Manhattan.
Jason Pinter says: "Romantics--and those who've come thisclose to giving up on love--will gobble this up."
And give a listen to THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB playlist, a compilation of songs that inspired the novel.  Free on Spotify!
The book is available for pre-order at all of your favorite retailers:
I hope you'll check it out!  And help me spread the word-- mentions on Facebook and Twitter, and even emails to friends, are invaluable and will earn you my undying love and affection. (You don't need to send me a receipt for that, you'll just know that I will love you forever and ever.) 


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.