Jo Janoski\’s Blog

Writings, Observations, Poetry, Stories

Bridges to Burn January 23, 2006

Filed under: My Books,My Published Works — jojanoski @ 4:19 pm

It’s finally finished!Bridges to Burn

Third Installment in Jo Janoski’s Trilogy of Pittsburgh Stories

Available now at Print Book or E-Book

Description: Folks in Irma Daltrey’s neighborhood are acting more and more suspiciously every day. Her next door neighbor invites a mysterious friend to visit, and across the street a strange trio has moved in, toting cameras. Are they spying on the neighborhood or just engaging in gainful employment? Her life is in chaos beneath a mysterious veil of terrorism. All the while, Irma is left wondering if she is looking for love in all the wrong places. Preview available at


Tea and Chocolates Sample Chapter August 18, 2005

Filed under: My Books,My Published Works — jojanoski @ 4:07 pm

A sample chapter from my first book, “Tea and Chocolates :

“Tea and Chocolates”
by Jo Janoski

Chapter 14

Stopping only briefly to glance at her watch, Emily hurried down the street. Seven o�clock � it�s a good thing Tom cancelled.
When he called from the drug store phone, his voice and demeanor were strained, but he would not say why. Emily presumed that he didn�t want to talk in a public place where others could listen.
It was just as well. A plumbing problem at the girls� house now took center stage. A quick inspection was in order before calling for help.
A wet snow sheeted down, making the evening cold and sloppy. By the time she arrived, Emily�s glasses had become covered with water from melted snowflakes slamming against the lenses in the driving snow. A dry hanky from her pocket came to good use to dry them before she knocked on the back door of the house. It was wearisome coming by the back way, but necessary to keep her identity unknown to the residents, a practice to which she still strictly adhered.
�Emily, I�m glad you are here. We have a visitor in the front room,� Rachel said as she pulled the old door open with a jerk. �I�m not sure whether I should let her stay or not.�
�Who is she?�
�I don�t know her name. She seems to be in a state of confusion.�
�Hmm, let me take a look at her,� Emily answered, leaning against the service door. It pushed open a crack to reveal a woman slumped forward in a chair. Dressed in dark clothes, a hood obscured her face. The door squeaked, and the sad figure then turned to look toward the noise; her face became visible. Emily jumped back to let the door swing shut. Gracie! Her heart drumming, Emily leaned against the wall for support. What is Gracie doing here?
�What�s wrong?� Rachel queried.
Emily turned her head away. �I think I know her,� she mumbled. �I don�t want her to see me here. Go in and see what you can find out.�
Emily was glad when Rachel left the room. Hands trembling, it was almost impossible to pick up the kettle and put it on for tea. Gracie here! She must not find out about Emily�s involvement in the women�s home. She would go straight to her Mother and tell.
Laying out the china teapot, Emily collapsed in a chair at the table.
Thoughts swirled in her mind of Gracie�s meanness a few weeks ago when she told Emily to stay away from Tom. A sick anger filled her heart. She felt like screaming! A bitter person like Gracie didn�t belong in this place.
Rachel returned, biting her lip, wearing a worried expression.
�She�s pregnant! The man responsible told her to get rid of the baby, and she seems confused as to what to do. I couldn�t get anything else out of her; it looks like she hasn�t slept or eaten in a while. She seems a little feverish too.�
Almost tipping over her tea, Emily grabbed the red and white china cup just in time to save it from destruction. Gracie unmarried and pregnant! She was in trouble. This would bring disgrace upon her family. A moment ago Emily was consumed with hatefulness only to realize now that Gracie had problems far greater than she could have imagined.
�Give her the room in the rear on the second floor. It is bright and cheerful. I will start making some poached eggs and toast. Maybe she can get that down. Here, take her a cup of tea to start.�
Emily dashed about the kitchen to fulfill her plans. The activity seemed to come on like magic, no small task considering Emily was not an easy hand in the kitchen.
Later, after Gracie was fed and settled in her room, Emily considered what to do about a doctor for her. Many would frown about helping an unmarried, pregnant woman, and Emily wasn�t sure who would help Gracie, perhaps the new doctor in town.
Feeling thankful for her family�s status, she knocked on his door that evening. Recognizing her immediately, the man who answered seemed impressed by her presence and fumbled about, straightening his tie as he spoke.
�Well, Miss McNamara, what a surprise!�
�Dr. Bauer, I was wondering if I could have a word with you,� Emily stated in a dignified fashion.
Opening the door wider, he motioned her in, offering her a seat by the fireplace. It was a simple wooden rocker, but perfectly suitable considering the rustic appearance of the room. Indeed, there were no upholstered pieces at all, only a couple of wooden chairs and an old desk. Having just arrived in the area, he apparently had not furnished the room yet. Smoothing her skirt as she directed her gaze at him, Emily considered how best to explain her problem.
He was a new doctor in the neighborhood. To be truthful, there were two other practitioners in the area already. He seemed like a good man, though, who, no doubt, would soon win over patients for his practice.
Towering at six-foot tall, well above Emily, his startling blue eyes seemed capable of reading one�s life story in just a single glance. They were eyes of honesty.
�Well, I was hoping you could help a friend of mine.�
�And she is sick?�
�Yes, she has a fever and she is pregnant,� she barely whispered the last word. �She is pregnant, and not married.�
�And you are afraid I will not treat her?� he asked, his voice husky.
�Well, the more established doctors would frown on it.�
�Miss, I am a doctor, not a priest. I have vowed to help the sick, not judge them.�
�I didn�t mean to offend!�
�No offense taken,� he cut her off with a smile.
�She appears to have been wandering for a while, without rest or food. We gave her a bed and something to eat, but I am still worried.�
�You must take me to her then.�
�Doctor, there is one other thing.� Emily blushed. �She doesn�t know I am helping her, and I need to keep it a secret. She must never know I helped her, not ever.�
�How unusual!� he paused, and then added, �� but none of my business. Shall we go?�

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Faithful August 3, 2005

Filed under: My Books,My Published Works — jojanoski @ 4:50 pm

As you know, I have two books published, and a third on the way. I thought I would take an opportunity today to post an excerpt from my second book, Faithful. Here is a summary of Faithful, and following that, an excerpt. The book is available for purchase at the following link (or at your favorite bookseller):

Faithful by Jo Janoski


Belle Simpson’s husband left her with barely a word of explanation. Determined to get him back, she enters the mysterious world of gang violence and grand larceny, following the trail to his heart. George McDougle, a private investigator, keeps her in his sights on the pretense of helping her, but is he really? A beautiful waitress, street thugs, and a gold bracelet all come together to spin this colorful story of love.

Excerpt from Chapter 9:

Belle didn’t know what she wanted. Wandering back to the coffee shop the next day, she hoped to find out more about Bill. Opening the door, she peered in. No sign of George. Making her way to a table, she settled and looked around. Not too many people, a perfect setting for some quiet investigating. Sandy, the waitress, came to take her order.

“What will you have?”

“Just coffee.” Belle folded the menu and laid it down. “Say, don’t I know you from somewhere? What’s your name?”

Belle loathed the idea of making conversation with the girl, but she needed information about Bill, and the waitress might have it.

“No, I don’t think so. I’ve seen you in here is all. My name is Sandy,” the girl said, pointing to her name badge.

“Sure I do. Aren’t you a friend of that tall fellow, Bill? I saw you two standing in front of a building on Second Avenue last week!”

“Well, yeah,” Sandy stammered. “Bill’s a friend of mine, but nobody special. Although he keeps trying….”

“You mean you two are not an ‘item,’ as they say?” Belle felt her heart skipping beats.

“No. Actually, I go with a guy, Joey. He’s well built, works out a lot. Maybe you’ve seen him around.”

“Oh. I assumed you went with Bill.”

“No. Well, I’ll bring your coffee.”

As Sandy walked away, Belle barely contained her joy. Sandy and Bill were not involved with one another! The older woman’s heart swelled with renewed hope to salvage her marriage…to be in Bill’s arms once more, to be happy again. But if there was no affair, why was her husband avoiding her? Could it be a one-sided affair, where Bill was in love with Sandy, but she didn’t love him back?

All the same, hope emerged to win Bill’s love again. Where was he staying? What kind of relationship did he and Sandy have? Time to confront him again, and this time she’d be strong and reach out to the part of him who loved her once.

Sandy arrived with the coffee. Placing it on the table, she suddenly startled spilling a few drops, at the sound of car tires screeching outside.

A battered black Chevy pulled up in front of the coffee shop. A blast of loud rock and roll orchestrated all four doors opening at once. Four rowdies jumped out, slamming the doors behind them. One fellow inside revved the engine as the other men entered the shop. A disheveled bunch, wearing dark clothes and darker expressions, all eyes in the diner locked on them.

Belle sat up, observing them both in interest and alarm. Were they going to rob the coffee shop? The gang leader, a scoundrel with eyes like steaming coals, scanned the restaurant.

His piercing glare stopped to rest on Sandy. When the waitress spied the boy looking at her, she cursed under her breath. Racing across the room, she grabbed the fellow’s arm and shoved him toward the door. Belle continued her vigil. Did Sandy know these thugs? By now, the waitress had pushed them all outside, and Belle surveyed an intense conversation, punctuated with hand gestures, visible through the window. She wished she could hear them, but the altercation remained a mere pantomime from inside the shop. One fellow bent over to pick something up when a glint of metal shined from under his waistband. Belle knocked her coffee over in horror. It was a gun. Scooping up her check, she raced toward the cash register. No one was at the machine and she waited, still straining to listen.

Only the tone of the conversation reached her ears. Now and then one man’s voice rose in a crescendo and fell back again. Abruptly, Sandy opened the shop door to come inside. Belle heard her say, “Maxim’s, Friday, 2:00 a.m.” as she entered.

Maxim’s. A store like Bill’s, in the West End of the city. Now why would that crew want to be there, and in the middle of the night? How did Sandy fit in? Did Bill have something to do with this? It looked like she’d have to try to drive that darn car, the Roadmaster, to Maxim’s on Friday night to see about it for herself, if she was ever going to find out about Bill. She paid her tab and went home to plan.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Jo Janoski