Sunday Smatterings: The Kerr Edition!

Sunday Smatterings: The Kerr Edition!

Hello, good people, don't spit out your coffee. It's The Kerr, JT's assistant. I'm filling in while JT's on her annual social media sabbatical for Lent. It's a time for her to rest and recharge, and focus on her writing (which we can't argue with, can we?). Trust me: she misses you guys terribly. 😩

But worry not! She'll be back on April 1, when I'll slither back into my dark den to watch TV and eat snickerdoodle ice cream. But until then, you're stuck with me. But I think we'll have fun.

My Smatterings is different from JT's, so please indulge me. We're going to talk about the fun things I've discovered lately.

Let's get started!


What I'm Eating:

Sweet Potato Chili. If you are a chili purist, avert your eyes. I know it's sacrilege to add anything other than beans, or nothing but meat if you're a Texan. But I'm not the biggest bean fan, and I love the way sweet plays with smoky here. Sue me.

From chop to chomp takes only one hour. I use ground beef instead of turkey, and add loads of avocado to mine. It's warm and filling, even more so on rainy winter nights.

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What I'm Playing:

Off Camera with Sam Jones. Fact: I consume too much TV. I know TV isn't bad, per se, but I'm more productive when I limit my intake. So like a school kid, I don't watch TV on weeknights. Instead, as I make dinner or vacuum the floors (the most tedious chore), I pop in my headphones and listen to podcasts. 

Off Camera features artists who talk about their craft and career journeys. It's a fascinating look inside Hollywood, and story after story is filled with tenacity.I love learning how a 21-year-old Jenna Fisher packed up her hatchback, lived in a sketchy apartment, and waited eight years for her big break as Pam on The Office. What!? This is my jam.


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Thank you, Jenna Fisher, for sticking it out to give us Jim & Pam. Because no one else could've played Pam Beesley.

Thank you, Jenna Fisher, for sticking it out to give us Jim & Pam. Because no one else could've played Pam Beesley.

What I'm Reading:

I WAS ANASTASIA by Ariel Lawhon. Oh my heavens, can Ariel Lawhon tell a story.

I am obsessed with the Romanovs, so cue my glee when I got my hands on this book. I Was Anastasia tells the last days of the Romanov dynasty from fifteen-year-old Anastasia's perspective. And a twist: superimposed is the story of Anna Anderson, who claimed for decades she was the lost Grand Duchess who escaped the bunker where her family was killed. From the first page, Anna asks readers to render their own verdicts: Is she Anastasia Romanov? 

It's compulsively readable, and I love the way Ariel writes--her cadence is hypnotic. Perfection!

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What I'm Watching:

The Great British Baking Show. I needed a break from heavy shows (except you, This Is Usβ€”I can't quit you). And The Great British Baking Show injected so much lightness into my day. English gardens, pastel KitchenAid mixers, delightful people whose greatest problems are over-baked cakes. Truth be told, I would watch for Mary Berry's blazers alone.

I. Love. It.


Dog of the Week:


Do you like anything I've talked about today? Any suggestions of things I should try? Tell me in the comments!

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 2.4.18

As I'm sure you've already heard, I've been felled by the flu. It's becoming an annual tradition, too, which is really getting to be old. They say stress influences the severity of your illnesses, and with two back-to-back deadlines, it's not surprising that I came down with a bug. But this – I'm telling you, folks, if you can get out of the flu this year, beg, borrow, and steal to do it. I had a fever for 5 days and could barely drag myself upright, much less care for myself. Had to cancel three events, too, much to my chagrin. That rarely happens.

World's greatest husband deserves a medal – he has it too, but sans fever. We've been nesting in our germ-filled house all week. But things are improving. They have to – because I'm heading to Catherine's this week to plot book 6 in the Brit in the FBI series. Yes, I will wear a mask on the plane. 

The edit of TEAR ME APART goes to my editor tomorrow. It's been an interesting experience. The book is better for the slow approach I've had to take, reworking just 25–50 pages a day, fever dreams that wake me with solutions to unknown plot holes, every word parsed because I had to read them four or five times to get it to make sense. I hope you like this one. It's different. Not as in your face as LIE TO ME. Of course, not writing the same book twice is a goal for me. 

Anywho, let's get on to the links!


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

[video] Exactly the Same, Totally Different. A WORD ON WORDS is back! This week, my co-host Mary Laura Philpott talks with author Stephanie Powell Watts about her new book, NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE US.
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Meet the NFL quarterback with his own book club. He even has a podcast where he talks to authors! I can't get over it.
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Paramount is developing a TV version of Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam booksMore Margaret Atwood TV for us! (PS Margaret Atwood and I were on TV together once...)
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Garbage collectors open a public library with discarded books. I don't know who would throw away a book, but this seems like a pretty good thing to do. Bravo!
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Harry Potter Book Night is coming to the US for the first time. Hooray for us Potterheads! I will admit to watching a few HP movies this week. Comfort food.
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Mapping Ursula Le Guin's Pop Culture Influence. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Wonder Woman... her fingerprints are everywhere.
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The Cat Cafe Trend Is Poised to Pounce on Middle Tennessee in 2018. Have you heard of cat cafΓ©s?! I'm so excited! Cats and tea – what could be better?
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CrimeReads.com. A new site for us Mystery, Thriller, and Crime geeks coming soon!
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Sunday Reads: This week's Sunday Reads is actually Sunday Watch, since I couldn't, for the life of me, focus enough to read a book. Instead, I indulged with a massive binge watch of Scandal, and trust me when I say, it was fun.


And closer to home:

Be watching the Bargains page tomorrow: I may have something new up there for you...


That's it from me! Wash your hands, eat some chicken soup, make some for a friend, and we'll talk again next week.

xo,

J.T.

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 1.28.18

Hey there, chickens, how's it going? All goes here. I am deep into a revision of September's standalone. It's a different kind of story for me, and I am working hard to make it right. This is the stage when the manuscript has left Scrivener and is in Word, and it's hella-hard for me to see the forest for the trees. It's due in a short week, and I'm a wee bit worried about that deadline.

Not so worried that I didn't take advantage of the 60ΒΊ Friday afternoon to sneak out to the golf course and get in nine holes – shhh... don't tell my editor. Honestly, I've been staring at the screen for weeks, and a bit of fresh air was really helpful.

Also ran out Thursday evening to have a drink with fellow authors Kate Moretti, Emily Carpenter, Kimberley Belle before their Parnassus signing. We were joined by David Bell, too – That's a cabal of suspense writers, all under one roof. It was a fun night with some excellent writers you should be reading!

Murder on the Menu and Murder in Magic City next weekend... hope to see some of you in Birmingham and Wetumpka! The divine Laura Benedict will be visiting this week and we're driving down together. For a writer recluse, I seem to be seeing an awful lot of humanity... 


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:


Apple Has Big Plans for E-Books, Audiobooks. Big news, audiophiles and ebook lovers! Apple's site is always so gorgeous, I'm anxious to see what they curate now.
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My Drunk Boyfriend - SNL. For you viewing pleasure – Gosh, this makes me laugh. I want to see the Drunk Girlfriend video, too.
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13 Books Downton Abbey Fans Will Love in 2018. There are some goodies in here – including Ariel Lawhon's I WAS ANASTASIA!! 
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Ursula K. Le Guin, the immensely popular author who brought literary depth and a tough-minded feminist sensibility to science fiction and fantasy, is dead at 88. I was so sorry to hear this. She was literally majestic. The Earthsea books are some of my favorites.
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10 Things to Throw Away Before 2018. So I'm a little late on this, but it's still applicable in late January. We do all of this, en mass, a few times a year. It does help!


And closer to home:

Sunday Reads: LIE WITH ME by Sabine Durant. Add this one to your TBR, folks!

 
THE SIXTH DAY
 

I present to you the cover of the next Nicholas Drummond book, THE SIXTH DAY!

Spiffy, don't you think? Here's a bit more about it:

When several major political figures die mysteriously, officials declare the deaths are from natural causes. Then the German Vice-Chancellor dies on the steps of 10 Downing Street, and a drone is spotted hovering over the scene. The truth becomes clearβ€”these high-profile deaths are well-constructed assassinations, and the Covert Eyes team is tasked to investigate.

With the help of Dr. Isabella Marin, a young expert in the enigmatic Voynich Manuscript and cryptophasia (twin language), Nicholas and Michaela home in on Roman Ardelean, a wealthy cybersecurity genius and a descendant of fifteenth century Romanian Vlad the Impalerβ€”often romanticized as Dracula. Ardelean believes the Voynich Manuscript will unlock the secret to curing his severely ill twin brother’s blood disorder and is willing to murder anyone who gets in his way, including Nicholas and Michaela.

Along with MI5, the Covert Eyes team must race against the clock to find Ardelean before he unleashes a devastating attack on London intended to destroy those he believes betrayed him.

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THE SIXTH DAY releases April 10. If you'd like to pre-order, here's where you can find it. Also, Barnes & Noble has exclusive signed copies for pre-order... trust me, those took a while. Let's just say I streamed all of season 1 of Stranger Things whilst signing them...

Print

 

eBook


That's it from me! Y'all enjoy the first week of February, stay safe on the roads, check up on an elderly neighbor or two, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

Sunday Smatterings: Extended Edition

Sunday Smatterings 1.21.18

Hey, chickens, how's it going? We're thawing out in Nashville, thank goodness, at a balmy 60 degrees. We had snow on the ground two days agoβ€”talk about weather whiplash!! That's the South for you, though. The seasons are constantly at war, no matter what time of year it is. 

Except for summer. Then it's hot for ten thousand years until we all melt into a puddle of salty sweat.

Last week was an interesting work week. I'm waiting for edits from my editor and suddenly figured out... I've turned in two books in less than a month, and I'm starting a new novel in two weeks, and I didn't quite know what to do with myself. So I slept, a lot, then began a new secret project. (Don't you just love when I dangle that carrot? It wouldn't be fun if I didn't surprise you every now and then, would it? πŸ₯•) You and I know each other pretty well by nowβ€”I can't sit still for more than two seconds. πŸ˜‚ I guess it's not the worst trait to have.

I did sit still for some great videos, though. All thought provoking and, in some cases, life-changing. It was a week of strong women begetting stronger women for me and the nation, and I'm feeling quite full of roar right now. #girlpower

Lots to cover this week (including an EBOOK SALE πŸŽ‰), so let's get cracking!


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Anything is Pawsible for These Literary Pups. Sometimes you need a gripping read. And sometimes you just need a cute puppy that gives you a happy ending. Which literary pup is your favorite? 
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The Manual of Southern Know-How: When to Write a Thank-You Note. The wonderful author of AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE and DEAD ENDS contributor Helen Ellis dishes on thank-you note etiquette in her wry and witty way. I love her. 


Romantic Times Announced the Reviewer's Choice Award Nominees. And THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE made the list!!!!!!!! πŸŽ‰ And in such great company, too!
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Backwards books on shelves are becoming a thing. I love me some minimalism, but I wonder: is this too much?
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Don't be like me, the passport idiot. If you're a world traveler, read this article. We ran into this non-expiration expiration problem once, too. If you don't have a passport office closely, you're in trouble. Nashville's closest is Atlanta. Also an issue...
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Delightful artist drew a portrait of him and his girlfriend in 10 different cartoon styles and they're all perfect. Boyfriend of the Year material right here. 
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Best opening lines from contemporary authors. I love a good opening line, don't you? Something that clutches your attention and doesn't let go throughout the entire novel is the best way to escape. These might give you some ideas for your TBR pile...
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And here's your #girlpower:

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold is magnificent, and this essay from the New Yorker does it justice. The documentary is illuminating, sad, surprising, and inspiring. In a winter of discontent, Didion's work might just be the ticket to understanding our world's many cycles. At the very least, it's a great primer on what it takes to be a writerβ€”a desire for passionate observation.
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What all writers should learn from Wonder Woman. A ten-minute watch, and well worth your time. It explores  the concept of Bathos, which is important to your storytelling skills.


Ellen Pompeo, TV's $20 Million Woman, Reveals Her Behind-the-Scenes Fight for "What I Deserve." I could gush for hours about this interview, for a thousand reasons! But I’ll make a single point: women have to approach their creative self worth differently.
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Shonda Rhimes' TED Talk: My Year of Saying Yes to Everything. If you click on one link this week, let it be this one. I don't care where you are in life, this is applicable to you. It will stop you in your tracks and ask you to evaluate where you are and where you want to go. Utterly captivating and necessary.


And closer to home: DISCOUNTED EBOOKS!!!

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πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ»

Bargain Shoppers: the stars have aligned and given us not one, but two killer ebook discounts. Stock up on your binge reads, chickens! The winter is long, and your easy chair is calling.
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LIE TO ME – $2.99

This USA TODAY bestseller chronicles the disintegration of a marriage as grief, jealousy, betrayal and murder destroy the facade of the perfect literary couple. 

ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS (Lt. Taylor Jackson #1) – $1.99

The novel that started it all. Revisit Taylor, Sam, and Baldwin in their first tale as they race to catch the sadistic Southern Strangler. If you're looking for a book with a badass female hero, this is for you!


That's it from me! Y'all be good this week, pop some popcorn and watch The Sinner (my current TV bingeβ€”so good), rub a kitten behind the ears, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 1.14.18.png

Hey, chickens, what's shaking? Are you snowed in like I (happily) am? We didn't get much snow in Nashvilleβ€”most of us are stuck at home because of icy roadsβ€”but we got enough of the white stuff to turn everything into a winter wonderland for a bit. And even though they're cooped up inside, my girls enjoy how easy it is to spot cardinals in the snow. It's their version of Kitty TV!

Just because we're iced in doesn't mean we haven't been productive. Guess what? I celebrated the Snowpocalypse by turning in Novel the 20thβ€”aka my new standalone, TEAR ME APART! πŸŽ‰ I think that's reason alone to break my dry January, don't you? My brilliant editor has it now, and there's more work to come, of course, but I always breathe a huge sigh of relief when the first draft is out of my hands. It's someone else's problem for now. 😜

And without further ado, here are your links for the week:


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:


The man who read the world: David Bowie's son launches an online book club in his honor. I just love this. Can't believe he's been gone for two years.


Why time management is ruining our lives. A fascinating but important long read. We need margin to breathe sometimes.


You Need To See This Ice Hotel's "Game Of Thrones" Rooms. GoT nerds, you've got to check this out for the Hall of Faces alone!


Authors reveal their dream retreats. I'm always curious how other people go through the creative process and where they fill their wells. There's a reason we go on a creative retreat to Colorado every spring.


11 Literary Holidays You Need To Add To Your Calendar If You're A Book-Lover. Now we have almost a dozen more excuses to celebrate stories. Cue my excitement!


Why surprise Golden Globe nominee 'The Sinner' is a must watch. This was my favorite stream of 2017. The Sinner is superbly written and actedβ€”I highly recommend it!


Woman Locked in Bookstore Overnight. She even had her own bed to read in. Best. Night. Ever.


And closer to home:


Sunday Reads: SMALL TOWN TROUBLE by Laura Benedict (Familiar Legacy Series #5). My BFF has a great new book out this week. SMALL TOWN TROUBLE is a sweet murder mystery featuring Trouble the cat, who, I might add, completely steals the book from his human counterparts. A great read and a great author. Have a go!


That's it from me! Y'all enjoy your week, stay warm, check up on a neighbor or two, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.