Thursday, January 22, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Left Coast Crime Awards Nominees

This is such an amazing list--I want to make sure you see it. It's full of terrific authors--and, I'm so pleased to say, some wonderful pals. We all win when there are book like this out there!

The awards will be presented at Left Coast Crime in Hawaii this March! Sigh. And my very own blog sister Rhys Bowen is one of the guests of honor. Sigh. What's Hawaiian for I wish I could be there to cheer everyone on but I'll be working in snowy snowy Boston?

But just so you know--here are the honored books and their very happy and deserving authors. The amazing Janet Rudolph of Mystery Readers Journal is behind all of this...check out her sites for more of the latest!

Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery Award (historicals)
Nox Dormienda, A Long Night for Sleeping by Kelli Stanley (Five Star)
Touchstone by Laurie King (Bantam)
Tell Me Pretty Maiden by Rhys Bowen (St. Martin Press)
A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen (Berkeley Prime Crime)
A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander (Harper Collins)

Hawaii Five-O (private eye and police)
Angel Falls by Baron Birtcher (Iota)
Fractured by Karin Slaughter (Delacorte Press)
The Black Path by Asa Larsson (Delta)
The Angel of Knowlton Park by Kate Flora (Five Star)
Mahu Fire by Neil S. Plakcy (Alyson Books)
Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet (Midnight Ink)

Lefty (humor)
Thugs and Kisses by Sue Ann Jaffarian ( Midnight Ink)
Six Geese a Slaying by Donna Andrews (St. Martins)
Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar and Grill by N.M.Kelby (Shaye Areheart Books/Random House Group)
Greasing the Pinata by Tim Maleeny (Poisoned Pen Press)
Getting Old is to Die For by Rita Lakin (Dell/Bantam)
It Happened One Knife by Jeffrey Cohen (Berkeley Prime Crime)

Janet Rudolph, Editor,
Mystery Readers Journal

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

BREAKING NEWS! Girlfriend Visiting

Here's a blog with a soundtrack! When we asked BRENDA JANOWITZ: Name three songs that would be perfect for the soundtrack of your book.

She said:
Well, that would have to be the playlist for Brooke’s bachlorette party (there are four, but they are awesome 80’s hits, so I hope you’ll forgive me!): “You’re The One That I Want,” “Come on Eileen,” “I Want Your Sex,” and Brooke’s all time favorite 80’s song, “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off.”

Oh, thanks Brenda. Now I can't get Come On Eileen out of my head. Ah. Maybe reading a bit about JACK WITH A TWIST will help...

Planning a wedding can be a trying experience…

A little prewedding anxiety is normal for every bride, and Manhattan attorney Brooke Miller isn’t worried. She’s got the loving support of the world’s greatest guy, so planning her nuptials should be a piece of cake.

But that was yesterday.

Today, Brooke’s landed her first big case and has just discovered that the opposing attorney is none other than her fiancé, Jack. But that’s okay. These two professionals aren’t going to let a little courtroom sparring get their legal briefs in a bunch.… Right? Wrong! Now Jack’s pulling every dirty trick in the law books, and Brooke’s starting to suspect that maybe he isn’t the man she thought he was. Warring with her fiancé at work and at home, Brooke realizes that she’ll have to choose between the case of her life, or actually having a life.

Hmm. Sounds great--very Tracy and Hepburn! But I'm still humming! Let's just chat...

HANK: You and I get into an elevator on the first floor. We're both going to 22! Oh, I say, you're the famous author. What's your new book about? You say:

BRENDA: OMG, you think I’m famous?! I love you!!! [start hugging and squeezing you in mad, crazy manner….]

But then once I get over that, I’d probably tell you that JACK WITH A TWIST (Engaging your adversary and other things they don’t teach you in law school) is the story of Manhattan attorney Brooke Miller, who plans the wedding of her dreams, all while litigating the biggest case of her career…. which just so happens to be against her perfect fiancé. Hilarity ensues. Really. Marian Keyes called it “a funny, sweet romance” and Carole Matthews said it was “[a]nother fun-filled page-turner from Brenda.” Ironically, I wrote JACK before even getting engaged myself!

HANK: Do you remember the moment you had the idea for the book? How and when did that happen?

BRENDA: I’ve always been a writer. In fact, that’s the reason why I became a lawyer in the first place—trying to find a career where I could write full time. But I’ve always had a real love for fiction, and I’d find myself practicing law and thinking about these fictional stories that I wanted to write. When I was invited to my ex-boyfriend’s wedding, my life slowly but surely began to resemble some of my favorite chick lit novels, and I said to myself, ‘I’ve just gotta start writing this stuff down…

When I finished SCOT ON THE ROCKS, I just knew that Brooke’s story had to continue! Since both she and Jack are lawyers, I thought it would be so much fun to pit them against each other in the courtroom… all while planning their fairy-tale wedding. Thus the idea for JACK WITH A TWIST was born!

HANK: Your main character--is she you?

BRENDA: Brooke has some of the aspects of my personality, but she isn’t me. She is version 2.0 of me, a more fun version.

Like I tell my students in my Mediabistro classes, real life is just real life. Fiction should have a structure to it. In fiction, you can mine from your real life for your novel, but you then fictionalize it to give it structure and make it more interesting.

HANK: So--movie time. Tell us who you envision playing your main character? The love interest? A bad guy? And you can be in the movie too--what part would you play? And why?

BRENDA: Well, clearly I’d want to be Brooke now that I’ve heard that I’m famous and everything. Man, fame really went to my head quickly, didn’t it?!

But, seriously, I’d love Drew Barrymore for Brooke, and Fran Drescher as her mom. For Jack, I could see a lot of my Hollywood crushes playing the part: Adam Sandler, Jack Black, or Paul Rudd would be perfect. (Yes, I like me a funny guy.)

HANK: What's the very best line of the very best review you've gotten? So far, of course.

BRENDA: Marian Keyes offered to give me a blurb for JACK WITH A TWIST. When Marian Keyes emailed me to tell me that she loved it, I pretty much fell over in my chair. As far as I’m concerned, Marian Keyes is a goddess—she inspired me to follow my dream to write a book—and to hear that she actually enjoyed something that I wrote was such a major thrill!


Brenda attended Cornell University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Human Service Studies, with a Concentration in Race and Discrimination. After graduating from Cornell, she attended Hofstra Law School, where she was a member of the Law Review and won the Law Review Writing Competition.
Upon graduation from Hofstra, she went to work for the law firm Kaye Scholer, LLP, where she was an associate in the Intellectual Property group, handling cases in the areas of trademark, anti-trust, internet, and false advertising.
Brenda later left Kaye Scholer to pursue a federal clerkship with the Honorable Marilyn Dolan Go, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York.

Since her clerkship, Brenda has worked as a career counselor at two New York City law schools, where she published a number of articles on career related issues in publications such as the National Law Journal and the New York Law Journal. She currently lives in New York with her husband.

Brenda is the author of JACK WITH A TWIST (Engaging your adversary and other things they don’t teach you in law school) and SCOT ON THE ROCKS (How I survived my ex-boyfriend's wedding with my dignity ever so slightly intact), as well as the short story BASED ON A TRUE STORY. You can learn more about Brenda at and check out her blog at

HANK: Okay--now I'm not humming! I'm headed for the bookstore! Hope to see you there.