Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 12.10.17

Back on deadline go I. My priority at the moment is getting the revision of the new standalone done. As of this moment, you can look for this new book next September. If I get it revised in time, that is. It's title is TEAR ME APART. And oddly, it's already available for pre-order. That freaks me out a bit. I mean, it's NOT READY....

When I start feeling this kind of pressure, I take a deep breath, make myself a nice cup of tea, listen to a podcast or audiobook, pet the kitties, and then, sit back down at the computer and keep on trucking.

I tell Assistant Amy all the time, we aren't curing cancer here. What we do is try to entertain, to enlighten, even sometimes to educate, none of which is life threatening, for us, or for you. Remember that as you move through this month. Blessings abound. Kindness exists. Did you see the video of the man in California saving the baby rabbit from the fires? It shattered me for almost an hour. And the response shattered me again when the internet came alive with recriminations on how he'd condemned the bunny's family to death by interfering with nature. [Update: our hero confirmed the bunny's family followed their matriarch out of the flames...]

This season, be the man who felt so strongly about seeing another's suffering he braved the flames of a massive fire to save a wild rabbit, not the one who attacks this act of kindness. The world will thank you.   

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Crime Fiction novels make excellent travel guides. I completely agree. I've traveled Nashville and DC with Sam, and the entire world with Nicholas. 

The 11 Best Holiday Foods In Literature — From Treacle Tarts To Snow Candy. Which one do you want to make?? I pick snow candy.

Andy Weir: By the Book. In which Mr. Weir admits he hasn't read a huge book in the sci-fi canon... but, um, he's excused because he's writing fabulous books.

17 best debut novels by women in 2017. Stock your TBR and support women writers, y'all! 

Wellbeing enhanced more by travel than by objects, study finds. Intriguing. This study says that people are more content when they feel strong emotional pull toward a special place rather than a special object, like photographs or a wedding ring. Do you agree? 

Formerly conjoined twins sent home five months after surgery. So amazingly cool! That we have the technology, the doctors, the skill to accomplish this feat is such a blessing. 

And of course, the video that left me in a puddle. I have a fondness for wildlife. 

And closer to home:

Today's Sunday Reads: EVERYTHING WE KEEP by Kerry Lonsdale.  This one kept me on the edge of my seat, whipping through pages until the bitter end. As a matter of fact, I stayed up until 2 in the morning to read. Snatch this one up! And if you're a Kindle Unlimited member, lucky you—you can read it for free.

That's it from me! Be good to each other, make a small donation to your local animal shelter (in the form of money, towels, newspapers, anything) take a deep breath, and we'll talk again soon.


Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 12.3.17

The first Sunday in December, and I have all my decorations up! This has NEVER happened before. I did a massive purge of old Christmas items, broken ornaments, funky gifts, and the like, and we are only using/keeping the pieces that speak to us the most. It was quite liberating! I hope your December is starting strong too, that you're decorated (if you dig that kind of thing), and spent your weekend curled up under a blanket with visions of Hallmark movies (or a big book!) dancing in your head.

It's been all about revisions this week at Chez Ellison. Catherine and I are beavering away at Brit #5, THE SIXTH DAY, polishing to make it gleam. Revision is writing, my friends. This is when the book really comes to life, in the editing: plots are tightened, dialogue sharpened, descriptions refined. The editing is just as important as the writing – it's not something to be taken for granted. Meanwhile, I'll get back to work on my new standalone novel on Monday. More to come there! When I have news to share, you'll be the first to know.


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

How to make the best gluten-free shortbread. Navigating the holidays as a gluten-free eater can be tricky. It's not only dangerous, it's hard not to feel left out this season when there are baked goods galore that you can't eat. The best way to remedy that? Make your own! I can't wait to try this recipe for GF shortbread, and dunk it in my tea. (and for those of you who don't want to bake, Walkers does make a gluten-free shortbread, though I find it a bit grainy.)

Two for one: I'm also a big fan of King Arthur almond flour -- here is their recipe as well. I'm trying this one today!

VetDog Charlie drops puck on Islanders' Military Appreciation Night. This is just wonderful. What a fantastic program! I wish the Predators would get involved!

Choose holiday traditions that serve you. The holidays are here—and with them come hustle and bustle galore. Celebrating with family and friends is so much fun... but it can easily become exhausting. But you know what? It doesn't have to be that way. 

Louise Erdrich, Great American Novelist, is just getting started. Such an inspiring woman. Go, Louise! (and if you'd like to check out her interview with my TV show, A WORD ON WORDS, click here)

To cure affluenza, we have to be satisfied with the stuff we already own. If you don't read any other Smats article today, read this one. Sobering, thought-provoking stuff, especially for this time of year. 

And closer to home:

The Omen Days ebook is on sale for $0.99. If you're looking for something with a little edge this holiday season, try my Christmas ghost story. Here's a bit more about it: 

Zack Aukey hates Christmas—despises it, actually. December carries painful memories of his first love Autumn Cleary, who left him during the holiday season. But when Autumn mysteriously shows up in Nashville on Christmas night bearing gifts and apologies, Zack knows this is a holiday he won't soon forget. 

And then he sees the police report.


That's it from me! Y'all enjoy this first full week of December, stay warm, drink a cup of hot cocoa with c reamy cocunut milk, and we'll talk again soon.


Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 11.19.17

Chickens, welcome to Sunday. Did you have a good week? American chickens, are you ready to watch some football and chow down on some turkey and pumpkin pie?

I have to say: No matter where you are, or how you're celebrating, please know I am thankful for you, dear reader. Thank you for joining me in the books, in the newsletters, in this online world. It's a blessing to know you, and I am thankful to walk alongside you.

It's been a quiet week. The moment I sent Catherine a draft of the new book, I got sick. As in I lost all the dealine weight there was a norovirus flatteneing Nashville sick. It happens every time I finish a book. Crazy, right?

I took advantage of the enforced down time to binge-watch Stranger Things (fun, and not too scary, thank heavens) and sign tip in sheets (how your books get presigned by authors -- publishers send the front page of the book and we sign, then when they make the book, those page gets inserted. Cool, right?) Special limited edition signed copies of THE SIXTH DAY will be available around release.

And while Catherine is editing away, I've turned to my next project, which is a new standalone novel! It's with my editor right now and revisions start next week. I don't have a release date yet, but I'll announce it as soon as I know.

Without further ado, here are your links.

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

The Busiest Reading Day of the Year Is the Wednesday Before Thanksgiving, According to Barnes & Noble Data. Gear up, buttercups: it's time to get your nerd on! Apparently we all snag a few minutes of book time between chopping veggies and rolling out pie dough. It definitely has nothing to do with realizing our Reading Challenge on Goodreads is 15 books behind schedule, oh no it doesn't....

Here's The Pitch Publishers Rejected When J.K. Rowling Was Trying To Get "Harry Potter" Published. Moral of the story? Never. Give. Up.

How Reese Witherspoon Is Changing Hollywood for Women.  She's a dynamo, that Reese Witherspoon. And she's doing some astounding things for women and telling their stories. And she's not afraid to say hey, I'm successful, and I work hard to achieve my goals. I LOVE THAT!

The Important Emotional Labor of Librarians Most People Never Think About. Librarians are some of the best people on the planet—period. And this article explains one of the many reasons why. One of the things I'm thankful for this year: librarians. 

16 Literary Subscription Boxes To Gift This Year, Based On Their Myers-Briggs Type. This is genius. Tuck this in the back of your mind for a great bookish holiday gift.

And closer to home:

DEAD ENDS is only $0.99! This is the sale you've been waiting for: 13 deliciously creepy stories for less than $1! if you need something short and sweet to read on your way to Thanksgiving celebrations, this is the book for you.

Tom Perrotta is a veteran writer. You may recognize his name from the opening sequence of HBO's The Leftovers, the movie Election (starring Reese Witherspoon!) or Little Children. Mr. Perrotta just released a new novel, Mrs. Fletcher, a wry take on a woman trying to cope with an empty nest and figure out what the rest of her life will look like. Check out our chat!

That's it from me! Y'all travel safe, hug your loved ones, don't spill the cranberry sauce and we'll talk again soon. Have a great Thanksgiving!


DEAD ENDS ebook on sale for $0.99!

Just in time for your Thanksgiving plane or car ride: the DEAD ENDS ebook is only $0.99!

These are perfectly binge-able nuggets of suspense from some of the best writers around (Jeff Abbott, Helen Ellis, Laura Benedict, Patti Callahan Henry, David Bell, to name a few). If you haven't picked up your copy, now's the time—the price doesn't get better than this!


Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 11.12.17

Hello, gentle readers, welcome to Sunday. Did you have a good week?

I did—because I got to type these two words:

The End!

Yes, you read that right. Novel the Twentieth is drafted! Even after twenty novels, typing those two words never gets old. I remember when I was on my fifth, and a writer I admired was on Facebook relishing the fact that she'd just finished her twentieth, and I was blown away. I told myself no matter what, I would meet that goal for myself. And now I have. So this one's a biggie for me. 

So with THE SIXTH DAY is in the books (no pun intended), Catherine and I have some editing to do, but I always exhale when we get the draft done. The pieces are on the table, all we have to do is tighten and polish and make the story the best it can be. I'm glad the first draft is out of the way before we get into the holiday season. Lots to do this time of year—I think we'll be able to enjoy ourselves a bit more. And who knows what kinds of plot twists the holiday punch will help us dream up...

And without further ado, onto the links!

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Lulu the Dog Did Not Want to Join the C.I.A. Fabulous - I have a training school dropout in my new standalone book, which I get to start working on November 16. Her name is Katerina. Kat, for short.

'Frankenstein' Author Mary Shelley Was Goth Before It Was Cool. A few things I didn't know about this amazing lady (PS I have a mad crush on her husband). Also, goth.

How I Decluttered 500 Things in a Month.  All it takes for me to realize I'm on deadline is one look at my house. The clutter. Oh, the clutter—it is everywhere and it is driving me nuts. I'm getting ready to tackle this myself later this month. I can't wait!

Airport Yarnbombing. On her way back from Bouchercon, my bestie (and brilliant author) Laura Benedict snapped these photos in the Philly airport. So cute! So cozy!

How the 25 greatest stories ever told would be ruined by technology. Fantastic and clever. You really must read this. In our modern age, we take technology for granted. See how it might affect your favorite.

Dawson High School crowns football kicker Claire Jeffress as homecoming queen. As it should be. Go, sister!

7 Reasons Fall Is the Absolute Best Season for Reading. Wine by the fire, anyone?

Tom Hanks: “God gave all of us burdens, and some of us typewriters”. America's treasure has written some fantastic stories, and I can't wait to get my hands on them. This was my Book of the Month pick.

And closer to home:

Just in time for your Thanksgiving plane or car ride: DEAD ENDS will be $0.99 starting this Tuesday, November 14! These are perfectly binge-able nuggets of suspense from some of the best writers around (Jeff Abbott, Helen Ellis, Laura Benedict, Patti Callahan Henry, David Bell, to name a few). If you haven't picked up your copy, now's the time—the price doesn't get better than this!

That's it from me. Y'all be good, toast some marshmallows and put 'em in cocoa, pat a fluffy kitty or puppy, and we'll talk again soon.