Audible Daily Deal: TEAR ME APART

Exciting news! TEAR ME APART is today’s Audible Daily Deal! Get the audiobook for just $4.95. This is incredible savings! The audiobook was narrated by Eva Kaminsky, Rebekkah Ross, Jacques Roy, Caitlin Davies, Amy McFadden, and Pete Simonelli, and it is simply amazing.

Don’t have an Audible account yet? This could be the perfect time to start. Select TEAR ME APART as your free audiobook to sign up and you’ll get 2 free Audible Originals for your trial. After the trial ends, you’ll get 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals per month. Audible is $14.95/mo after 30 days. Cancel online anytime and keep all your audiobooks. And let me tell you, I’ve added a full 20 books a year to my reading by listening to audiobooks. it’s a wonderful experience, especially for your favorite novels.

About the book:

The follow-up to her critically acclaimed Lie to Me, J.T. Ellison’s TEAR ME APART is the powerful story of a mother willing to do anything to protect her daughter even as their carefully constructed world unravels around them.

One moment will change their lives forever…

Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she’s suffering from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her only hope. But when her parents are tested, a frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.

Who knows the answers?

The race to save Mindy’s life means unraveling years of lies. Was she accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone is going to deadly extremes to protect the family’s deepest secrets.

With vivid movement through time, TEAR ME APART examines the impact layer after layer of lies and betrayal has on two families, the secrets they guard, and the desperate fight to hide the darkness within.

Sunday Smatterings

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Happy Sunday! It’s the first cool weekend of the fall here in Nashville, and I for one am thrilled. I can’t do a lot of walking yet, but I can sit on the porch and enjoy the sounds and smells that are so specific to this season--the crackle of leaves, the scent of the fire, the rustling of the breeze through the thinned out trees. It’s perfection.

Oh, before I forget: Today is the last day of the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, and I am appearing on a panel at 1pm with my friend and fellow author Jeremy Finley. If you find yourself downtown today, we’re at the NPL auditorium, and would love to see you!

So that paragraph in and of itself tells you how I’m doing. I’m getting back on my feet, slowly but surely. I am down to one crutch already, and the swelling is going down. Stitches out later this week, and then it’s all healing, all the time. I admit, I’m getting a little claustrophobic not being able to move freely, but I keep reminding myself that this too shall pass. I had that feeling last surgery, and I’m so far ahead of where I was at the same point last time that I’m sure I’ll have full motion soon.

The enforced downtime made for good writing this week. I’m trying to get a draft of this book done by the beginning of December so I’m not frantically writing through the holidays. I’ve had some trouble nailing down my main character, she simply refused to reveal herself to me. I finally realized I’d named her wrong. When her real name came to me this week, boom went the dynamite, and the story is flowing again.

I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do believe in the power of a story to drag its feet until you dread to open the damn thing because you know you’re going to circle around what you’ve written, feeling like something is wrong but not being able to nail it down, until you give up and go binge-watch Succession. I have done this enough to recognize the signs, and I know not to force it. Whatever’s wrong with the story will eventually let itself be known. 

My rule of thumb: if it’s been a couple of weeks and I haven’t moved forward, I start looking at where I went off the tracks. I don’t panic. I don’t flip out. I don’t tell myself I’ll never write again. I give it some slack, read a fabulous book, get some inspiration, and tackle it again, starting at the beginning. Often times, there’s something in my original concept that’s off, and if I let it go and accept where the story has gone instead, things resolve themselves. Sometimes it’s a tense issue, or a POV. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a name. Regardless, you have to respect that this is art, and sometimes, art doesn’t want to behave. Like a child, you can indulge to a point until you are forced to lay down the law.

With that, I’m off to the festival. If you’re in town, I hope to see you there. On to the links!


Fall 2019 YA Books: 90+ October–December New Releases. There goes my TBR... There are SO many great new books out this year…

Trick-or-Treat: 18 Examples of Bookish Halloween Decor. Cool ideas! I’m a little behind on my Halloween decorating.

Caroline Vs. Natalie And My Personal Essay Identity Crisis. Shannon Keating gives us lots to think laying bare your soul for the world to see healthy?

See 23 of the world’s most enchanting libraries. Beautiful!

How Your Phone Is Ruining Your Relationships. “Society changes as technology changes.” We’ll never recover, I fear.

All about the inaugural MMD Book Club Retreat. How much fun is this? Modern Mrs. Darcy always comes up with the cool stuff.

Literary Wedding Ideas for People Who Don't Really Understand Books. These ideas sure are something. I can’t believe people have actually done a Handmaid’s Tale theme!

True Life: I Inherited a Private Library. Great story. Can you imagine???

Study finds that learning to read enhances the brain in more ways than one. More proof that reading is good for you!

Reese Witherspoon's Book Club Is Keeping Hello Sunshine on Top. Interesting behind-the-scenes article.


THE SECRETS WE KEPT by Lara Prescott

The hype surrounding this book is so well-deserved. I'm a fan of anything lady spy, especially CIA, so I pounced the moment it came out, and it was so worth it. Elegantly written and realized, Prescott has done a fascinating moment in history justice. I had no idea about the backstory of Dr. Zhivago's long road to publication. Prescott presents all sides of the story, from Russian gulags to the swans of a D.C. summer, from the keen eye of multiple fascinating narrators. This is a get smart kind of book. (see what I did there?) I loved it!

What are you reading?

That’s it from me. Enjoy a cool afternoon in front of the fireplace, find a new show to binge-watch (I highly recommend Succession), try a book in a genre you don’t normally read, and I’ll see you next week.

PS: Since Succession season 2 is over tonight…what do you recommend I watch next?

THE LOST KEY is on sale for $1.99!

THE LOST KEY, the second book in the Brit In The FBI series, is on sale for $1.99! Get your copy while it lasts.

About the book:

"A thriller packed with nonstop action, real-life name-dropping and enough cutting-edge science to make you wonder how much of it could be true." – Kirkus Reviews

Freshly minted FBI agent Nicholas Drummond is barely out of his Quantico training when he and his partner, Mike Caine, are called to investigate a stabbing on Wall Street.  

Their investigation, however, yields more questions than answers. It quickly becomes clear that the victim, John Pearce, was more than the naval historian and antiquities dealer he appeared to be. What Drummond doesn’t know is that buying and selling rare books was Pearce’s cover, and that he had devoted his life to discovering the whereabouts of a missing World War I U-boat concealing a stash of gold bullion, and an unexpected surprise that only raises more questions. When Drummond and Caine find both of Pearce’s adult children have disappeared, the case assumes a new sense of urgency. The FBI agents know their best lead lies in the victim’s cryptic final words—“The key is in the lock.” But what key? What lock?

The search for Adam and Sophia Pearce takes them on an international manhunt, which threatens to run them afoul of an eccentric billionaire industrialist with his own plans not only for the lost gold, but the creation of a weapon unlike anything the world has ever seen.

Download the eBook


Sunday Smatterings

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Hello, October! My favorite month. I’m ready for some cooler temps, cozying up to the fireplace, and all the attendant fall regalia.

I’ve been thinking about something. (I know, I know, the most dangerous sentence in the language, topping “Hold my beer” by just a few ticks...) But I’m at that stage in the new book, where I’m looking at some of the connections that need to come into play down the road, looking at some character motivations, and I realized something was missing. This is nothing new, at this stage of the book, 1/3 of the way in, it finally becomes a story unto itself and I have to come to grips with, yes, this is the story you’re telling, get on with it. 

I was thinking about motivation. What motivates a character to do something? What drives them? In my previous few books, I had a scenario that was very distinct (a missing husband, writers in a bad marriage, Olympic skiing, a private boarding school) and I have one in this as well, but I still feel like there’s a layer I need to dig into that isn’t on my radar yet.

I asked the Literati this week what they are fascinated by, what they would like to do as a hobby, what skill they don’t have that they’d like to. I was surprised by how many people mentioned forensics. That’s utterly fascinating. What’s your answer?

I have a few. Architecture. I’ve always wanted to design houses. Meteorology. Weather fascinates me. I would love to be a conductor, bringing out the best performance of a symphony. Golf, obviously. Astronomy.

I think a good book always hangs on something super interesting about the character. Like Michael Koryta’s IF SHE WAKES -- one of the characters in a stunt driver. A female stunt driver. Obviously that plays into the story in several elegant ways.

Another is Deborah Harkness’s Diana Bishop in A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. She is a scholar of alchemy. Unique, strange, fascinating. 

Anyway, I’m just noodling about at the moment. I have a character whose background is distinct, but I’m missing her passion. Even her name is being difficult. Whatever her passion, it’s hiding itself at the moment.

I’ll find these aspects of her soon enough, I can feel them circling, wanting to land but not finding any branches to their liking.

I mentioned last week I might try to post some writing advice today. What I realized is something you may or may not know...I have a whole section of writing advice here on the website. If you look up at the navigation, there’s a heading called For Writers. Click it, and you’ll see a series of articles I feel are important for new writers, little bits of advice from that might help you on your way.

One last thing: the newsletter will be coming out in a few days. Be sure to sign up for exclusive content you won’t find anywhere else. Now, let’s check out the links!


50 Must-Read Crime Novels for Fall and Winter 2019. Thrilled GOOD GIRLS LIE is included in this list! Such good company.

Fall In Love With This Ultimate Guide To Bookish Candles. I love a good candle.

Top 10 culinary memoirs. Adding these to my TBR...

Physical books still outsell e-books — and here's why. “Genres that do well in print include nature, cookery and children’s books, while people prefer to read crime, romantic novels and thrillers via e-reader, according to Nielsen Book International.”

The Best Writing Tips from Electric Literature Interviews. Lots of great advice!

15 Of The Best Books Like SHARP OBJECTS. I loved SHARP OBJECTS so this list perked my ears up.

THE OCTOBER BIG THRILL: New column explores the iconic impact of the King, plus interviews with Cornwell, Jance, Gerritsen, Chbosky, Khoury + 30 more. If you're not subscribed, and you like crime fiction, you really should get on this.

Snøhetta’s New Library for Temple University Is a Soaring Ode to Knowledge. Such an incredible design!


THE THIRD WIFE by Lisa Jewell

The Third Wife is my first book of Jewell's but it won't be the last. I love how she can take a story that could be banal in the hands of a lesser writer and make it suspenseful, touching, and complex all at once. I cared so much about the characters that I forgot I was reading a book and felt like I was catching up with distant friends. Super!

What are you reading?

That’s it from me. Share your fascinations in the comments, break out the cider and cinnamon, give a lost grocery store pumpkin a home for the season, and I’ll see you next week.

Sunday Smatterings

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Happy last day of Mabon Sunday, friends. 

It is a Sunday of mixed emotions for me. As some of you already know, we had to make a decision about my knee, which isn’t healing properly. Whether a screw up in surgery or a too-aggressive physical therapy or me simply not respecting my limitations (Ha! When do I ever do that?) it seems the meniscus is retorn, and it needs to be repaired again, properly this time. Surgery is again on my radar, scheduled for Thursday. 

I admit to a few moments of extreme and mixed emotion at this news. Obviously, I’m not looking forward to the pain. To starting all over, as if the past three months didn’t happen, to be back on crutches going into a huge fall of events and work. I’ve already cancelled my out of town commitments and will be cutting back dramatically on everything local, too. I’m not going to make the mistake of pushing too hard again. 

I refused to stop my life this summer just because I was having issues with walking. But now I’m going to nest, and heal properly. I have a book due, I have oodles of reading material, I have lots of shows to binge. I’m going to turn inward, set boundaries for myself that truly limit me. I might get a little stir crazy, but it has to happen.

So in better news, I had a brilliant time this week with the divine Lisa Unger. I’ve been a fan for years, her thrillers are just about perfect—deep, dark, menacing, character-driven, and intellectual—my favorite aspects in literature. It is truly a gift to have so many incredible authors to call friend., probably the most rewarding aspect of this career. And when you find the ones you can open yourself up to, it’s even more special. Lisa did the show and we did an in-conversation at Parnassus (if you missed it, there are signed copies waiting...) We toured the town a bit, had some delightful meals, and in general caused trouble whilst delving into the meaning of life. It was a blast. 

On the Homefront, we’ve been doing some lovely autumn Mabon decluttering. It’s felt so great getting everything organized (using The Home Edit as a guide). With all the corners cleaned, boxes broken down and taken to recycling, unused shampoos and toiletries packed for the shelter, the creative energy is swirling, and that has made for a great writing week. My creative energy is very much tied to my environment. When everything is clean and tidy, I work so much better.

We might have an abbreviated Smats next week, depending on how much energy I have over the weekend, or I might resurrect some writing advice. We shall see.

And oh yeah, this happened… 😜

NO ONE KNOWS came out in mass market paperback! Go grab a copy—it has the original ending, and this packaging is gorgeous.

With the same page-turning suspense as The Husband’s Secret, New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison’s No One Knows is a “riveting…skillfully plotted” (Publishers Weekly) thriller that questions if the narrator’s husband really has returned from the dead—or if she’s merely losing her mind.

Aubrey Hamilton has been mourning her missing husband for five years, despite being the prime suspect in his murder. When he is officially declared dead, there are still more questions than answers: Why didn’t Josh show up at his friend’s bachelor party? Was he murdered, or did he run away? And is the new, mysterious man in Aubrey’s life as familiar as he appears, or have years of loneliness and confusion finally driven her mad?

No One Knows is an evocative mystery that explores the complex darkness within all of us, perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Liane Moriarty, and Paula Hawkins.

Now, without further ado… let’s take a look at the links.

The Latest On The Internet:

Baking Shows Are Secretly Reality TV for Frustrated Writers. "Writing, like baking, is beholden to the vicissitudes of everyday life." It’s a creation thing, isn’t it? Create a story with words, create a cake with flour and sugar — how different is it, really?

I Spent the Night at a Library in Wales, and You Can Too. I want to go… I visited Wales as a teenager and it was one of the most fun places I have ever been.

Most Haunted Places in North America. Who's up for a road trip? These are seriously spooky spots.

Rachel Cusk Said She Was Done With Autobiography. These Essays Suggest Otherwise. “The ego, of course, does not die so easily, nor is it possible for modern writers to avoid speaking and writing about their private lives.” Read that quote again. I am so interested in this phenomenon, this moment in the artistic wheel where our egos drive us to the socials, and we interact directly with the readers. It’s a necessity. Isn’t it? Or is it?????

Spooooooky: 25 of the Best YA Ghost Books. ‘Tis the season! What’s your favorite on this list?

How Beatrix Potter Pioneered the Art of Merchandising. Such an interesting history.

Books are Heavy. "If a weighted blanket is supposed to help you sleep and provide comfort, then a similar case can be made for the weight of a paper volume on your lap. Even a slim book can still pack an emotional wallop." #Truth.

A Midcentury Modern homeless shelter rises in an abandoned Hollywood library. A repurposed library is still a safe place for those who need it. And that’s the best news.

The Wine of the Week at The Wine Vixen starts with a duel—also, going forward, I’ll probably be posting far more on the Wine Vixen Instagram rather than the blog. Part of the fall self-care ritual is backing away from commitments that take too much time away from my writing.

What I’m Reading:


I wanted to wait to read this book until I was in Scotland proper, since it takes place at a renovated smart home in the Highlands. I started reading on the plane over, and by the time I reached the Highlands myself a few days later... I was so damn freaked out I had to put it down and read nonfiction for the remainder of my stay. This is a stellar book, hand's down my favorite of her yet. Moody, atmospheric, and chilling, it's a tour de force from Ware, who has become one of my all-time favorites. What are you reading?

That’s it from me. Clean out a drawer, a closet, a cabinet, put up some fall decorations, send me some good healing energy, and I’ll see you next week.

peace and hugs,

PS: I heard you about the comments. We have a new system in place and you should be able to comment without problem once again. Thanks for letting me know there was an issue!