Princesses are found everywhere. This one appeared magically on the internet
and was instantly snagged. She has great fun humor and style!
Josie Brown was the kid who never wanted school to end, because she loved her school's library too much. When she grew up she started out in advertising, segued over to magazine feature writing, then, when her children were teens, made the decision it was time to follow her dream and write novels. One of her novels, SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES, will soon be a dramatic series on NBC, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.
How did you get from your day job to writing romance? I was a journalist who wrote feature articles: personality and celebrity interviews, articles on relationships, fashion, health, and home design. My agent approached me about a non-fiction book my husband and I had written.
When I asked him if he'd consider reading a novel I was working on, he said yes. I wrote the first 50 pages and book proposal as quickly as I could. It went out as a partial, and got offers from three publishing houses. That's when I knew I could do what I'd always hoped for: transition from journalism and non-fiction, to writing fiction. Since I've always written for a living, and freelance, I know the vagaries of the writer's life.
What are your three favorite books of all time? Really, I have four: Gone with the Wind (I read it thirteen times before I was sixteen), The Night Manager (John LeCarre wrote the ultimate love story as a spy novel), Custom of the Country (Edith Wharton's anti-heroine keeps you on the edge of your seat with her antics) and Pride and Prejudice.
Music--with or without? What kind? I can't write with music. I worked in radio, and music was on all the time. When I got out of that business, I didn't turn on a radio for the next three years. Most definitely, I focus better without it.
Morning, afternoon, or evening person? A night person, for sure! I can write until four in the morning. I love peace and quiet, and no distractions, people or Internet!
First or third POV? I let the story tell me which is the best POV. My first book was first person. After that, I presumed all my novels would follow in that manner. Wrong. When you have to show several characters' competing agendas, or you want to get into the head of a different character to show how the actions of another affects him or her, you have to write that book in third person. Don't be afraid to break the mold! My best reviews came because I chose the right POV.
How's tricks? Do you juggle multiple projects? I wrote/am writing four books and one novella this year. Last year, I only wrote one book, so I'm playing catch up.
I write one book at a time, and a lot myself enough time to work Monday through Friday, and write minimally 2,000 words a day. Sometimes, I don't make it. Sometimes, I have to push the pedal to the metal and write 5,000 words in a day. Ironically, my husband (who is my first reader) says the more I write in a day, the better I write. Thank goodness he's great at catching typos!
Revisions: Love 'em or hate 'em? I love them! A good editor can only make your writing better, and you want your readers to have the best experience possible.
How did you come up with that title? I'm great at titles. Only once have I been asked to change a title (Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives was originally The DILF. Frankly, if it had stayed The DILF, I doubt it would have attracted the attention of Jerry Bruckheimer, and may not be on its way to television today. I figured this out because a show hitting the airwaves this fall, Men with Kids, was originally called The DILFs but the title was changed prior to hitting the airwaves.)
What's your favorite dessert? All of them: cakes, pies, fruit! I'm a sugar girl!
Do you write at home or someplace else? Mostly at home, albeit once a week I write with a friend, in a coffeeshop, for a change of venue.
What's harder: beginning, middle, or the end? I begin with a premise. Usually my opening chapters set the tone. I know where I'm going before I write the first word, because I plot: first a full summary, than a chapter-by-chapter outline, with major catalysts in key points of the plot. If I don't do this ahead of time, I'll flounder for weeks before I write a book, and that is unproductive if writing is a living, and not a hobby.
Best advice anybody every gave you? Write what comes naturally. Don't try to write vampires if they aren't your "thing." Don't follow the pack. That's just a bunch of people chasing their tails, and eventually the herd comes back to exactly where you're standing, so have you manuscript ready to go!
Excerpt from THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S GUIDE TO GRACIOUS KILLING:
Donna and Jack are in the kind of hot mess that can cause an international incident:
A nuclear arms summit, hosted by a politically-connected American billionaire industrialist, provides the perfect opportunity for a rogue operative to assassinate of the newly-elected Russian president on US soil. Acme operative Donna Stone's mission:
Seek and exterminate the shooter, before all hell--and World War III--break loose.
Also on Donna's to-do list: file for divorce.
Throw in a couple killer play dates and a few naughty neighbors, you've got a whole lot of fun.
Chapter 1: Breaking Bad Hostessing Habits
Every woman wants to be the perfect hostess, and frets over her inadequacies when it comes to the gracious art of entertaining. Pshaw! A little forethought and a few hours of planning makes it easy as cherry pie!
There is, however, one ironclad rule that every hostess must follow: make all your guests wish they’d never have to leave.
Especially in a coffin. With a bullet lodged in their heads.
“You’re quite a saucy minx!” Prince Harry’s ale-slurred come-on can barely be heard over the techno-vibe emanating from a starship-worthy console of the Ivy Lounge rooftop’s head-bobbing deejay. “What say you give me a peek as to where that tattoo ends?”
His head is cocked downward, as if it might give him the ex-ray vision he’ll need in order to see the rattle on the faux-tatt’ed snake drawn from my belly, which ends somewhere in the nether regions that lay under my thong bikini.
“You’re a cheeky sod. I do have a face, you know.” I snap my fingers in front of his nose in order to draw his eyes northward.
I’ve succeeded, sort of. But come on, already: the diplomacy born and bred into the Prince of Wales can’t beat two millennia of innate urges and four pints of Guinness.
His eyes linger below my neck, albeit above my abdomen.
When, finally, our eyes meet, I lean in and whisper, “You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”
I’m lying, even if he doesn’t know it—yet.
His outright laugh is accompanied with a shake of his head, and a tug at the waistline of his briefs. “Nothing under these trollies, I’m afraid. Sorry to disappoint.”
I finger his briefs longingly, then sigh. “I’m sure you’ll make it up to me somehow.”
His smile is his vow not to disappoint.
God save the queen…
It’s no secret the prince has been stateside with his Royal Air Force unit, learning the latest tricks and treats of the AH-64D Apache helicopter: his vehicle of choice for his upcoming tour of duty in Afghanistan. Tomorrow the soldiers complete their training and head home. To celebrate, the soldiers are here, in San Diego, which is just a couple of hours west of their training base, the Naval Air Facility at El Centro.
Seems some chatter, intercepted by MI-6, has led the Cousins to deduce that the prince is the latest target of “the Leprechaun,” a notorious assassin affiliated with the Irish terrorist cell known as 32CSM. If the Leprechaun succeeds in picking off the spare to the throne, then once again the always thin strand of peace between Ireland and Great Britain will be ripped to shreds.
If it happens on our side of the pond, the U.S. will have mud on its face, not to mention the bluest of blood on its hands.
So yep, I have to stop the Leprechaun before he gets lucky.
My employer, the freelance black ops agency known in the field as Acme Corporation, paid big bucks to the club owners so that I could be up close and personal with the prince. My goal is not to shag, let alone snag, Harry the Hottie. It’s to save his adorable hide from a possible assassination attempt.
The prince leans in, close enough to ask in a seductive albeit ale-sodden growl, “Want me to sign your bikini?”
I look down between my breasts. “Oops, forgot my pen. But you seem to be carrying one, in your pants pocket. Or maybe you’re just happy to see me.”
He’s laughing so hard his last gulp of Guinness goes down the wrong way.
“Prince Charming has a one-track mind.” Jack Craig’s snarl comes in loud and clear through the tiny microphone in my ear. As the team leader for this Acme Industries mission, he is close by, but far enough away that no potential assassin can spot him.
Trust me, there is an assassin lurking nearby.
Jack is also my main squeeze, which is why he’s growling about my having to play the coquette while under deep cover (in this bikini, I’m talking figuratively if not literally) as one of the nightclub’s VIP bottle girls, and more specifically, the world’s most eligible prince ’s pick-up du jour.
Needless to say, the club’s real bottle girls are pea green with envy. They can’t figure out how this newbie became Cinderella of this Century.
If I told them that my aim and my 1st degree black belt status had something to do with it, would they believe me? Probably not. All they see is that I’m just this side of Cougarville, which means Harry is less discriminating than they had hoped.
For once I’m glad Jack is not here with us, in the cordoned-off VIP section. One involuntary muscle flex and prince’s all too obvious brawny goon squad—three of his Royal Air Force mates—would be on top of him, like suds on ale.
At MI-6’s behest, we’ve kept that a secret from Harry, for now anyway. Which, I’m sure, is why he feels so cocksure. This mission wouldn’t have been so hard if the prince weren’t so insistent about partying “like an ordinary surfer bloke,” is how he so preciously puts it.
Thus far the natives have been awed as much by his title as his regular dude personality.
Just as the deejay ratchets up the hip hop club mix, six drunken sorority sisters stroll our way. One of the girls, a Kate Middleton lookalike, pierces me with a jealous glare.
I stare back and smile, as if to say Take the hint. Get lost.
Her eyes shift from me to one of Harry’s RAF buds. She waves coyly at him, and he’s smitten. Smirking back, he nods her over. She squeals and grabs the hand of one of her girlfriends.
In no time at all, she and her besties have jumped the red velvet rope. They toss themselves onto the prince’s entourage, who don’t seem to be fighting them off too hard.
In fact, they’re snapping their fingers at me with drink orders for their new arm charms.
“Not good.” Jack’s warning in my ear is just loud enough for me to here.
“Tell me something I don’t know,” I mutter back.
“How about this?” Jack is now shouting into my earpiece. “You’ve lost Prince Harry.”
The prince seems captivated by a petite, busty blond beauty. Even in heels, she barely reaches his chest. She had pulled him out onto the dance floor for a throbbing sex-drenched hip grinder, Andree Belle’s Go Go Gadget Heart.
The strobe lights and smoke machine make it hard to follow them in the crowd. Then I see them, against one wall. The buxom little tart has draped her arms around his shoulders and hugs him close, as if she’ll never let him go.
Apparently too close. I shove my way through the crowd until I’m close enough to I hear Harry’s woozy cry: “Blimey, you’re no bird! You’ve got a wanker!”
Before I can pull him away, the prince is pricked on the neck with something his partner has pulled from her cleavage. Harry’s groan is loud—
Then the smell of smoke, and the lights go out—
But not before the last strobe catches the triumphant look on his partner’s face.
“Oh my God, Jack! The woman with Harry—she’s—not a she! She’s—”
“I know, I saw it, too! The Leprechaun!”
Proof it pays to hit the M.A.C. counter before a night on the town.
And to hang out where the lights are always low.
Everyone is screaming and shoving their way to the exits, leaving me room to follow the Leprechaun, who was shoving Harry in the opposite direction, up against a wall.
“It’s too dark to see where they went. Does anything show up on the club’s security cams?”
“I’m looking now. In the meantime, check the wall for a hidden pocket door. The schematic of this club shows a few of them on every level. I’m sure the Leprechaun had his exit scoped out in advance.”
While he scans the feeds from the security cameras, I skim the walls with my hands. Finally I find it: a tiny catch, waist high.
I pull it open it just in time to see the Leprechaun heaving Harry down a long corridor.
He may not be used to running in heels, but I am. If only I wasn’t running in a bikini, too.
“Too many wobbly bits,” I mutter under my breath.
It is inappropriate for Jack to be laughing now, but he can’t help it. “Just two. And they’re a sight to behold. Prince Charming will be upset he slept through it.”
The thought of Harry in the French-manicured hands of an assassin who can start the United Kingdom and Ireland down another bloody path of un-neighborly relations has me picking up my pace. Unlike the Leprechaun, I’m smart enough to ditch my high heels—
But I’m still not fast enough to reach them before the Leprechaun rolls him into the backseat of a dark BMW and screeches off.
I can hear Jack slapping the wall with his fist. “Aw, damn! We lost them!”
“Nope, I slipped a GPS tracker in the prince’s trollies.”
“You did what?...In his—what?”
“Oh, don’t worry, I didn’t peek. I’ll meet you around the corner.”
What’s a little white lie between fake husband and wife?
Before he can say another word, I snap off my earpiece and run down the block.
(c) 2012 Josie Brown. All rights reserved. This excerpt may not be resold or redistributed without prior written permission from Josie Brown or Signal Press Books (info@signaleditorial.
Find Josie's books at: Signal Press / 978-0-9740214-4-7 / Digital eBook