Sneak Peek: A WORD ON WORDS with Alan Furst

photo credit: NPT

photo credit: NPT

I had the great honor of interviewing Alan Furst for A WORD ON WORDS, and I can’t wait for you to see this one. I posed a question about our fascination with World War II, and Alan’s answer blew my mind and clarified everything about the genre. I’ll never look at it the same way again (and yes, it sparked an interest in the time period for me as well, which you may see in an upcoming book…)

Win-win interview, right?

Loved his book, loved meeting him. Great guy and lots of fun for y’all. 

What I'm Into (February 2017)

Here’s the roundup of what’s turning my crank this month:
 

Cobalt Blue Betty teapot

My ten-year-old teapot finally bit the dust, and I’ve been wanting a Brown Betty forever. This glazed blue is a prettier version of the classic. The first one I ordered came with a broken handle (but pot itself intact) so I was thrilled when they drop shipped another. I’ve found it to be the best teapot ever. Nice and big inside, lots of room for water to move through the leaves, and it stays hot under the cosy for at least an extra two hours. Highly recommended.
 

UGG slippers

My old LL Bean moccasins are on their last legs, and I’ve had my eye on a pair of UGG Dakotas. But they’re pricey, so I was holding off. Then, lo and behold, I had an issue with a different pair of shoes from Zappos and they kindly gave me a big credit for my trouble. Boom — into the cart went the Dakotas. Cozy warm, wonderfully made, I am in heaven trotting around the house in these beauties. 
 

No/No Bird Feeders

Wanting to entertain the kittens, I decided to get some bird feeders I could perch close to the porch for their viewing pleasure. I’ve always had wooden feeders, but they rot and make the feed gross. Imagine my delight at finding the No/No brand—No Wood, No Plastic. I bought three different ones — the big red cardinal feeder, a small round ball, and the bronze wild bird feeder. And then I filled them with safflower seeds instead of black-oil sunflower, to discourage squirrel takeovers. We are happily overrun with chickadees and cardinals now, and I even spotted a tufted titmouse couple yesterday. The squirrels are NOT interested, either. Wonder who is getting more pleasure out of these feeders, me, or the cats?
 

yoga

Friday morning yoga

I committed to reinvigorating my yoga practice this year, and have stuck to that promise by going to an actual class. It’s wonderful, kind and nurturing, exactly what I needed to get back on the wagon. 
 


 

Constant Comment tea

Do you remember this one? I wanted a quick cuppa the other day and opened my drawer to see these beauties sitting there. The moment I ripped open the package, I was transported back to childhood. So fun. (And yes, I’ve been a life-long tea drinker…) 
 

Vintner’s Daughter Botanical Face Serum

I am allergic to everything, so I am very careful what I put on my face. Since I’ve switched to completely natural makeups and shampoo, I’ve seen a big difference, and this awesome serum is the keystone to it all. Great story, great product, great results. What more can I say?

 

Late night dancing to The Clash

Especially my all time favorite, "Rock the Casbah." No explanation necessary.

 

 


What are you into this month?

Sunday Smatterings

Well hello, chickens! Having a good weekend, I hope? There's been lots of sunshine here in Middle Tennessee this week. Our daffodils are almost bloomed out, the trees I have no name for are all budded, but there's no forsythia (they seem to have the edge when it comes to getting overly anxious and blooming too early--slow and steady, the forsythia) so I doubt it will last. Have you ever heard of Blackberry Winter? $10 it's coming...

This week I looked up and realized I was more than halfway done with my next standalone novel! 🎉 Considering it kicked my tush from one end of the house to the other for a few months, I'm heartened. There's nothing better than feeling a story quicken under your fingers, the characters coming to life on the page. It means there's hope the story has a chance of being what I want it to be. You never know though. Sometimes, books have minds of their own. 

Now on to the links!
 

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

One of my favorite reasons to travel? I get to catch up on my TBR list! But what happens when you're not feeling anything on the pile? Buzzfeed has compiled their 27 books to read while you travel. What say you, reader—do you concur? What's been your favorite travel read?

This quote from George Bernard Shaw will make you think deeply on how you live your life, and how much of it has changed in the 21st century. (spoiler alert: it's about how we communicate)

Does your schedule feel packed to the gills, even though you still have goals you'd like to achieve? More reading, more moving, more volunteering? Here's a thought: altering your morning and evening routines can help you achieve those seemingly impossible goals. All it takes is a few minute a day. 

Merriam-Webster recently added 1,000 new words to their dictionary. These are a few fun ones.

Do you like Romantic Suspense? Join this giveaway, where you could win 50+ novels! Countless hours of steamy thrillers, y'all. Just sayin'.

 

And closer to home:

Last week, I talked about how I'm trying to untether myself from technology a bit in 2017. This week, I continued the series, and discussed how and why I'm systematically turning of my retweets.

If you love food and happen to hit the lottery someday, The Wine Vixen has found the perfect foodie road trip for you!

I'm so pleased to share that Season Two of the EMMY-Award-winning TV show I cohost, A Word on Words, is now airing! This week, brilliant novelist and bookstore owner Ann Patchett talked with my divine cohost Mary Laura Philpott about Ann's new novel, Commonwealth. Ann has done such a great thing for this city, giving us Parnassus Books as our literary hub, and it was lovely to kick off our new season with her.

P.S. Catherine and I got our finished copies of THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE in the mail this week and OH MY are they BEAUTIFUL!!! A thick, fat book with a gorgeous cover (that should've been on Maria's favorite things list, huh?). Barnes & Noble still has a few signed copies left, and it's the cheapest I've seen it yet. Go get one for you and a friend!


That's it from me. Talk a walk or two outside, be kind to restaurant servers, hug your fur babies, and I'll talk to you soon.

xo,
J.T.

Season 2 of A WORD ON WORDS Is Coming!

So excited to share that our Emmy-Award winning TV show A Word on Words is premiering Season 2 with the divine Ann Patchett this weekend!

It's a darling interview, isn't it? What a wonderful way to kick off the season.

More shows coming every weekend this month, so stay tuned. Once they’ve aired, you can see them on the A Word on Words website, as well as my own.

Sea Changes, Part Two

Sea Changes, Part Two

To read Part One, click here.

Since I’m reworking many of my habits this year, I thought I’d continue on the theme of Sea Changes. 

Now that I’ve decided to start leaving my iPad downstairs, I’ve made another change, this time in how I consume my social media.

I’ve been systematically turning off straight retweets in my Twitter feed.

It didn’t feel like a major idea, but once I started, it’s become a rather big deal. 

How does this work? Whenever I see an organic retweet, meaning the person I follow has simply clicked the retweet button, I go to that person’s page and turn off retweets. If the retweet comes with a message from my friend, then I see it, but if it’s just a regular click-to-spread thought, I don’t. 

Simple. And mind-blowing. 

It’s been a really interesting exercise, and one which has given me great pleasure, because I’m seeing posts from my friends again! I purposefully keep my follow count low on Twitter so I can actually connect with people there, and this has been one of the best things I’ve done in ages.

I’ve also noticed that people have a tendency to retweet things they may believe but would NEVER say themselves. Interesting, right? I know I’m guilty of doing that, too. But from here on out, if I’m retweeting, I’ll be commenting as well, so my followers know why I want them to pay attention to the post. Intentionality. I think it will help my interactions tremendously, because Twitter stopped having a lot happy feels for me a while ago.

And on Facebook, I’ve been doing some housekeeping as well. On my personal page, if I see a post from someone I don’t know (vestiges of my 5000 friend days — I moved everyone I didn’t know over to the fan page years ago, but there are still some I missed), I hide it. Especially if it’s something incendiary. I am a believer in democracy. I took an oath to protect and defend this country, one that I still take seriously. And I have faith in our people to make their own decisions. Some of the posts I’ve seen lately have been obscene, and hateful, and even though I’m not thrilled with the way of the world right now, I respect the process of democracy.

Now, if someone I know and like says something I don’t, no big deal. I firmly believe in free speech, and seeing my friend’s different opinions isn’t an issue for me. I might make a mental note to tease them a bit the next time I see them, or even comment, but in general, I read and try to understand where they’re coming from. I learn from my friends with whom I don’t agree 100% of the time. This is a good thing. I like a good clean debate, well-reasoned arguments, and being exposed to new ideas. I actually don’t know many people who don’t.

But strangers clogging up my feed with hate get unfollowed. Simple as that. And I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it, either. 

Now if I could just teach Facebook to give me the most recent posts ALL THE TIME…