Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 10.8.17

I woke up Monday morning to the devastating news out of Las Vegas, and, like everyone, stayed glued to the television and internet for most of the day, searching for answers. The problem is, there are no answers to explain these kinds of violent attacks. Evil resides in this world. I spend a lot of time in my own world trying to suss out the motivations of evil people, to see the world through their eyes, to comprehend. It's a double slap in the face when it comes to life. I am so grateful for the heroes, so sad for the victims and their families and friends, and so happy to see some rational discussions about the flaws in the system finally taking place.

So this week I come to you from a place of sorrow, but hope. I'm sending peace and love out to you today, and I hope that it's a small balm on your soul. ❤️


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:
 

Spend more time alone. Because deep thinking aids in human flourishing.
 

Cover Reveal! SMALL TOWN TROUBLE. My bestie, Laura Benedict, is such a talented writer. Not only is she a killer suspense and Southern Gothic novelist—she's a heck of cozy mystery writer, too. This is the cover of her new cozy, and it's purrrrfect. I just pre-ordered mine!
 

Harry Potter wand-lore detailed in new book. In your weekly Harry Potter news, I bring you this.  A great gift for the serious Potterheads in your life.
 

Today, I'm brave – Curt Smith. I truly believe being authentic is the only way to live this life. I love this story so much. I sometimes lose my brave, and this made me find it again.
 

TANGLED MERCY, an Amazon Kindle bestseller. My talented author friends are doing all kinds of fun things this week. So many congrats to Joy Jordan-Lake, whose new novel A TANGLED MERCY is a literary fiction bestseller. The novel is available everywhere on November 1, but those of you with Kindles can get it right now for $4.99. And if you're a Prime member, it's a Kindle First! Such a beautiful read, y'all. Very healing, and very timely.
 

How exceptionally productive people end the word day. Y'all know I love productivity. This article is full of helpful tips for maximizing time and peace of mind.


Our home library. Dearest Anne Bogel, if you're reading this, would you mind coming over and designing a home library for me? Yours is ridiculously gorgeous. Thank you.
 

The shorter you sleep, the shorter your life. Excellent piece—I'm a big fan of plentiful sleep. Keeps my creative juices flowing. People ask me when I sleep—the reason I can do as much as I do is because I sleep SO MUCH! 


And closer to home:
 

Just in time for Halloween: DEAD ENDS. If you need some spooky binge-reading, pick up our new Two Tales Press anthology, DEAD ENDS! It's on sale for only $3.99 through 10/31, so grab yours before this offer disappears like the Snickers bars out of a trick-or-treat bag.

 

And I had to share this interview: I had a blast talking all things LIE TO ME with Vicki St. Clair, out of KKNW in Seattle. So much fun.

 

 
 

Speaking of LIE TO ME–there are signed copies at various Barnes and Noble stores across the country, specifically Seattle, Denver, and Nashville. Go forth and find them!

 

 
 

And one last fun thing, LIE TO ME has been chosen as an Amazon Kindle Select 25 for this week. Woot!!!


That's it from me. Bring your neighbors some pumpkin muffins, linger a bit on that last sip of tea in the morning, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 10.1.17

Hey, peeps, what's shakin'? Did you have a good week? We're on the final homestretch of 2017—how did we get all the way to October? Wasn't it just May? It's crazy what a summer of travel will do to your brain... luckily, this writer gets to slow down for a while really soon. 🙌

I may be a writer, but at heart, I am a reader first. That's how I fell in love with words, after all. And nothing makes me more giddy than J.T. the Reader hanging with an author she admires. This week, I saw Leigh Bardugo at Parnassus talking about her new book (YA fantasy FTW!), and I remembered just how awesome it is to be a reader, to fly to a new world on the wings of another writer's words. Books really are magic, you know? If you've never read Leigh Bardugo, I suggest you start with her Grisha series. It's the Ottoman Empire in a fantasy world, and it's astoundingly brilliant. You should check it out.

Anyway. Enough of that. Some links for your consideration:


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:
 

Spotify Can Curate a Throwback Soundtrack Based on the Year You Were Born. If you're hankering for a trip down memory lane, you're welcome.
 

The One Thing You Should Never Say to an Agent. Hubris is real. That's all I have to say.
 

Murder by the Book is proud to announce Book Lovers Care, a collectible book auction benefiting natural disaster relief. It's been a hard season for so many in the South. I hope you'll join me in donating whatever you can. We book people need to stick together.
 

Hans Christian Andersen Was a Terrible Houseguest, According to Charles Dickens. We all have our strengths. Being a fairytale guest was apparently not Hans Christian Andersen's...
 

Crime by the Book's September 2017 Recommended New Releases. Stock your TBR piles, friends! 
 

Macro Resistance and Micro Resistance. Another one for the aspiring writers among us. Mr. Pressfield knows all about resistance and its many forms.
 

The Jane Austen £10 note has entered circulation. This is the real reason we should all take a trip to Britain right now...


And closer to home...

 
 

DEAD ENDS is on sale now! If you've been living under a rock, you may have missed that we launched DEAD ENDS, the first multi-author anthology from my indie press Two Tales! I'm ridiculously excited to share this with y'all—there's so much talent in this book, I can hardly stand it! DEAD ENDS has arrived just in time for Halloween, perfect for reading by a fire with a mug of hot cider in hand. And it's available in hardcover, ebook, and paperback!

 

And in case you're having a hard week...

 
Just a cat, living the dream.
 

Here's a reminder that dreams really do come true. At least they do for Jameson Ellison, the silver mackerel tabby.


That's it from me! Y'all have a great week, pick up a copy of DEAD ENDS for you and a friend (hey, Halloween presents are a real thing...) and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

DEAD ENDS: Stories from the Gothic South is on sale today!

For years, I’ve been telling people (new writers, especially) that while everything is derivative—there are only seven plots, after all—what makes their story distinctive is voice. The treatment a writer gives their novel or short story will always be unique unto them: their voice, their experiences, their vocabulary, their writing style, all will converge to make even the most tried-and-true plot trope unique.

Said more simply, if you give thirteen writers a photo and ask them to write a story, you’ll get thirteen completely different stories.

I’ve seen this happen when I teach. I like to use visual aids to help the writers in my classes, to give them a jumping-off point. A kick start. I think it’s a fun, stress-free way of starting a story. I show them a man, a woman, a setting. Something, anything, so they don’t have to conjure up a tale from total scratch.

I’ve been using this example for so long, and so often, that when I came across this photo in an article I was reading, I knew I had the perfect opportunity. 

 
The House that inspired DEAD ENDS
 

I immediately wondered: What was his story? What was this place he stood before? What was the house to him?

With this evocative photo in hand, I approached my publisher and posited an idea: Let’s create an anthology of stories based on the house in the photo. I mean, why not put my money where my mouth is, right? I handpicked a group of writers whom I thought would do a great job at showcasing (and proving) my theory—that no two writers will approach the page the same way. We had only two requirements for them: that the house appear in the story in some way, and the theme of the story was Southern Gothic.

These talented writers did exactly what I thought they’d do—they created wildly diverse stories about, in, and mentioning the house that are in turns chilling, haunting, and downright scary. From writers going mad to demons inhabiting young girls; ancient caves to ancestral feuds; gardens of stone angels to evils seen and unseen—the stories you’re about to read cover the gamut of the best themes of Southern Gothic fiction.

They clearly had so much fun with it that I had to join in.

And so, I give you DEAD ENDS. My brilliant friends and I have cooked up thirteen original, never-before-published spooky tales for you to enjoy this Halloween season. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did writing them. But be sure to lock the doors and windows first... you never know what the road ahead might bring.

 

Get the ebook: $3.99

Get the Paperback: $13.99

Get the Hardcover: $24.99

Look at this picture. Tell me what you see…

The American South is rife with stories of a haunted past—especially its houses. In this eclectic and impressive collection, thirteen novelists were asked to build their tales around the photo of a dilapidated mansion. They were given two requirements—the house must appear in the story, and it should be a Southern Gothic tale. And they delivered.

From childish demons to a mad novelist, from the Mississippi delta to the Appalachians, this collection from emerging voices and New York Timesbestselling authors explores what happens when secrets that lie beneath the dust are disturbed—and our worst nightmares begin. 

Darkness lurks behind every corner, especially dead ends.


Contributors Include:

  1. Jeff Abbott
  2. David Bell
  3. Laura Benedict
  4. Patti Callahan Henry
  5. Dana Chamblee Carpenter
  6. Paige Crutcher
  7. Helen Ellis
  8. J.T. Ellison
  9. Ariel Lawhon
  10. Lisa Morton
  11. Bryon Quertermous
  12. Amanda Stevens
  13. Dave White

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 9.24.17

Morning, y'all, and welcome to Sunday. How was your week? All is peachy keen at Chez Ellison. We just started the final project for our ten-year fixer-upper. Our master bath renovation should be done this Friday, and I'm telling you, after ten years I should write a home renovation thriller. I've certainly earned a PhD in home repair by now. 😑

In between the saws and hammers, I'm pounding away at THE BLOOD CABAL. When it comes to writing books, slow and steady wins the race, and I'm doing my part to knit the story together scene by scene. It's not quick work by any means, but after doing this twenty times I know consistency will be rewarded.

This is always a helpful mantra:

giphy (21).gif

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

“Does It Spark Joy?” Is the Wrong Decluttering Question. I love this: we should be asking if our stuff fulfills a purpose (says the practical utilitarian). 
 

I WAS ANASTASIA by Ariel Lawhon Galley Giveaway. I just finished this breathtaking book. Lucky me, I got an early copy. I WAS ANASTASIA doesn't hit stores until March, but if the odds are ever in your favor you can get an early copy, too! (and trust me, you want one) 
 

14 Book-Themed DIY Projects To Add Some Literary Flavor To Your Space. For the times you need a bookish weekend project. ✂
 

How To Stay Productive When Anxiety & Depression Feel Utterly Paralyzing. When we fall into the pit of overwhelm, actionable steps help us climb out. These are great, actionable steps to keep you on goal even when your body and mind don't want to play ball.
 

21 Books Goodreads Users Are Damn Excited To Read This Fall. Once upon a Saturday, Buzzfeed put out this list (which includes LIE TO ME! 🎉) and I nearly fell on the floor. The end. Also, there are tons of good books for your TBR pile. 
 

Government Almost Killed the Cocktail. So glad to see a good cocktail come back. Sláinte! 
 

All About Gothic and DEAD ENDS, Too. My bestie, Laura Benedict, is a master of the Southern Gothic genre, and she breaks down its origins here, and talks a bit about the upcoming DEAD ENDS! (P.S. Laura's story in DEAD ENDS, "Stone Angels," is deliciously creepy and worth the price of admission alone)
 

Idris Elba Reads a Bedtime Story. This is rather awesome. 


And closer to home:

Want to see the spooky photo that inspired DEAD ENDS? When I saw this picture, I had to ask my friends to write a story about it. You know what I learned? If you give 13 writers a photo and ask them to write a story, you’ll get 13 completely different (and awesome) stories.
 

Miss the LIE TO ME LiveSigning? Don't worry—we recorded it for you! You can watch it at the link, or on my Facebook page. And if you'd like a signed book, there are still a few available. 


That's it from me! Happy official fall, blessed solstice, go enter Ariel's galley giveaway, chug a pumpkin spice latte or two, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 9.17.17

Hey, y'all. How's tricks? Yours truly is back in Nashville for the first time in a long while. I loved, loved, loved meeting so many of you out on the road. But this introvert is overjoyed to be back with her hubby, her cats, and pots of tea within arm's reach. It's the little things, you know.

Fun news: If you didn't get to see me on tour, join me for my LiveSigning this Thursday night at 7:00 pm CT! Details are below. Bonus – you don't even have to leave your couch to attend. 🎉🎉🎉

Now it's back to work for me, conjuring new adventures for Nicholas and Mike. Things are going to be quiet on this front while I whip our new book into shape. But don't worry, I'm not disappearing for long. I'll see many of you at Bouchercon mid-October! 

And without further ado...


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

11 Literary Destinations Every Book-Lover Should Visit in the Fall. Autumn is just around the corner, and it's the best time of year to be a book geek! Here's where you should go on a literary road trip.
 

What I've Been Reading Lately: The New and the Notable. Great book finder Anne Bogel dishes on the five books she's been loving lately. Stock those TBR piles, y'all!
 

The Crazy Story Behind the First Book Published in the (Future) United States. An escape from England, an indentured servant with a mysterious past, and an untimely death while crossing the Atlantic—it sounds like a juicy plot, doesn't it?
 

The not-so-easy Weasley quiz. They aren't kidding. How many did you get? My score was deemed "Weason-able." #WeasleyIsOurKing
 

THE ABANDONED HEART by Laura Benedict is out in paperback! My bestie writes Southern Gothic fiction, and it is superb. Check out the last of her Bliss House trilogy, now at a killer bargain price.
 

Best Books of the Month: September Edition. Speaking of good books, check out these favorites from suspense authors Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke (word on the street is there's a giveaway attached to this post...).
 

U.S. Postal Service unveils series of stamps honoring children's book "The Snowy Day." Just in time for the holidays! 
 

16 New Thriller Books Coming Out This Fall. So many book roundups hit the feeds this time of year, and for good reason: fall is a treasure trove for us book lovers. BookBub gives us even more books for our TBR piles.
 

A Big Ol' Interview about LIE TO ME with Book Reporter. This was a fun one—lots of great questions!


And closer to home:

 
 

Did I not visit your city for the LIE TO ME tour? Worry not, chicken: at my LiveSigning (with special guest, historical novelist and my dear friend Ariel Lawhon!), you can get a signed book AND ask me questions – all from your own couch!

Click here to get your signed copy. ➤ https://livesigning.com/jt

 
 
 

Pre-Order DEAD ENDS: Stories from the Gothic South, edited by ME! Look at this lineup. Look at it. Y'all, this anthology is packed with creepy goodness from emerging voices and NYT bestsellers, and will arrive just in time for Halloween reading. 

It's. So. Good. Order your copy today! It's in hardcover, paperback, and ebook.

 
 
 

John Grisham tried to write a book without lawyers in it. And he (almost) succeeded.

His latest, CAMINO ISLAND, is a fascinating look into the world of stolen rare books, and he takes us along for the ride.

I have been sitting on this interview for months, desperate to tell you about it, and I'm so excited to finally share it with you! Mr. Grisham was a gracious, insightful, and disarmingly funny guest. I was thrilled to sit down with him for this week’s episode of A WORD ON WORDS. #keepreading


That's it from me! Enjoy some lovely autumn weather, bake some brownies for the neighbors, buy a pumpkin or two, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.


P.S. I'm thinking of you, my Texas and Florida chickens.