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literary vixens 1‘Literary Vixens’ Jacqueline Tobacco (left) and Melissa Bartolone flank author Suzanne Palmieri during her reading at Red Bank’s Lambs and Wolves salon earlier this month. (Photos by Alexis Orlacchio. Click to enlarge)


literary vixens 2Author Suzanne Palmieri believes in magic.

Not the “pull a rabbit out of a hat” kind of magic. The kind, she told an audience on a recent Friday night in Red Bank, that happened when she learned, while trying to budget her daughter’s college tuition. that an Italian company had bought the foreign rights to her book, ‘The Witch of Little Italy.’ The kind that happens when a fan, who happens to live five minutes away, turns into a close friend.

“I’ve made a lot of friends like that,” she said. “I didn’t know when I wrote the book that it would tap into something bigger.”

Hoping to create that kind of magic for other writers of edgy, sexy fiction is Literary Vixens, a publishing concern that began when friends Jacqueline Tobacco of Middletown and Melissa Bartolone of Red Bank reunited through social media over their love of books.

With Lauren DeVito, Literary Vixens promote, as their tagline says, “smart books for passionate readers.” What started out as a book blog is transforming into a publishing agency, and the ladies hope to hand pick a few marketable authors to work with.

“We knew we wanted [the name] to be a combination of smart and daring,” said Tobacco. “‘Vixen’ means we’re a little bit more edgy in our reading, a little bit more sophisticated.”

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River Road Books in Fair Haven has more pre-orders for ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ than it has seen for any book since Pottermania. (Click to enlarge)


The naughtiest read to hit book circles in recent years debuts in stores Tuesday, and at least one Rumson grandmother is dying to know what her friends think of it.

Not to find out if it’s safe to read herself, mind you. The woman, a self-described “relatively conservative person in dress, manner and otherwise,” who insisted her name not appear here, has already devoured the racy ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ and is eager to read the next two entries in the trilogy, both of which are also scheduled for mass-market publication in coming weeks.

“I’m going to have to renew my blood pressure medication,” she tells redbankgreen.

In the meantime, she’s anxious to know how opinion divides among her friends as some of them dig into the novel, a sexually explicit tale of domination and submission.

“I have a group of friends who were horrified that I was reading it,” she said.

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