December 2013 Newsletter

December 2013 Newsletter
Vol. XXX

Gentle Readers:

I hope you’ll forgive the tardiness of this month’s newsletter — my 30th, no less. Wow. How is that even possible? Stopping to think about it for a moment, I realize I’ve been writing full time since 2003 — so I guess this is not only my 30th newsletter, but my 10th anniversary as well. And you know what? None of this would be happening without you. So pat yourself on the back, and accept my deepest thanks for continuing on this journey with me!

*throws confetti, pops the champagne*

Thanksgiving snuck up on me, yes, but there was a bigger reason the newsletter is late. Or smaller, you might say. You see, Randy and I finally decided to pull the trigger and adopted two new furbabies. Twin silver tabby kittens, little girls named Jameson and Jordan, who are twelve weeks old as of this writing. To say we’re besotted is a study in understatement. Here’s a little blog about how we managed to secure the two sweetest, cutest kittens in all of kittendom. As I mention in the blog, it’s rather fitting it took two cats to even begin to open my heart after losing Jade. Jameson and Jordan have big paws to fill, and they’re up for the challenge.

Tomorrow, I head to California to see Catherine. We’re sitting down to chat about the book, where we are, where we’re headed. We found early on that communication is the key to making our collaboration sing, so these get togethers are great fun — brainstorming, eating, catching up, more brainstorming. Add in a lunch and a holiday party, and I think it’s going to be a brilliant week.


I have two events in January — I’m leading the fiction track at the Tennessee Mountain Writer’s January Jumpstart the 10‐12th and I’ll be in Manchester, Tennessee on January 18th from 10 a.m.‐1 p.m., signing books with a bunch of other awesome Tennessee authors. Hope to see you at one or both events! 

Get Thee to a Bookstore

So I’m still in Diana Gabaldon’s world. I’m now on Book 3 of the OUTLANDER saga, VOYAGER. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, every time I finish a book, I tell myself NOT to start the next one, and the next thing I know, bam, I’m ten chapters in, and can’t put it down. A testament to Diana’s storytelling abilities, to be sure. But that doesn’t mean I’m not priming the pump for the moment I do emerge. Here’s what I’m looking forward to reading over my Christmas break:

Elizabeth George — JUST ONE EVIL ACT
Roy Baumeister and John Tierney — WILLPOWER: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength

I’ve made a commitment to track all my reading this year, so if you’re on Goodreads, friend me, and follow along. I’m always interested in what you’re reading, too! 


The December contest is live now — enter to win a signed hardback copy of THE IMPROPER LIFE OF BEZELLIA GROVE by my dear friend Susan Gregg Gilmore, plus a $10 gift card (winner’s choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble). 

December Recipe — Bunny Jackson’s World Famous Chocolate Chess Pie

On my Facebook page, we had a vote for your favorite Thanksgiving pie: pecan or pumpkin. The votes were evenly split, but my friend and fellow author Amy Shoji mentioned that now that she’s a southern girl, she went all in for Chess Pie. Many of you didn’t know what that was, so I decided to share Taylor Jackson’s family recipe for chocolate chess pie — straight from the recipe cards of her mother, Bunny Jackson. This is a perfect holiday pie and a southern staple — easy, delicious, and divine. Enjoy!


  • 1 9 inch single crust pie
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 3 ½ tablespoons Hersey’s cocoa
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Mix together sugar, cocoa, and melted butter
  • Stir in evaporated milk, beaten eggs, and vanilla
  • Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 400°
  • Reduce heat to 350° and bake for 30 minutes
  • Serve with ice cream or fresh whipped cream

To make a straight-up chess pie, simply eliminate the cocoa. 

Happy Holidays one and all! Wishing you and yours a beautiful season of love, togetherness, and great reading! 

J.T. Ellison

New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes dark psychological thrillers starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the premier literary television show, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

For more insight into her wicked imagination, join J.T.’s email list at, or follow her online at or on Twitter @thrillerchick.