June Newsletter

June 2013
Vol. XXIV

Gentle Readers:

I’m a bit behind schedule this month — I’ve managed to catch my first cold in ages, and everything has gone by the wayside whilst I lie on the couch and moan softly between noseblowings and coughing fits. OK, it’s not that bad. My couch time has been consumed with reading some fabulous books and having tea delivered by my DH. Between that and the Nyquil, things aren’t so awful around here. The best news is despite the plague, Sam #3 — WHEN SHADOWS FALL — is going well. I’m on schedule to finish by the first week of August, and that’s a good thing, because it’s nearly time to start work on the next installment of my new series with Catherine Coulter.

There comes a time in every book when the story takes over and the writer is just along for the ride, and boy, is this book taking me on the back trails. The funny thing is, I outlined this story extensively, and I don’t think I’ve seen the outline, or its contents, in about three weeks. The story is running the show, and I haven’t even gotten to the second page of the outline. Whoops! I think you’ll like this one though. It’s a bit of an enigma, and Sam is up to her ears in bodies after receiving a plea from a dead man to investigate his murder. My new editor and I just finished polishing the jacket copy, and right now SHADOWS is slated for a March 1, 2014 release. So I better get hopping!

Also, a quick apology — when I updated the website, I messed up the coding on my Contact page. I was wondering why I hadn’t heard from anyone for a while. It’s all fixed now, so if you sent me a message from April 27 on, I didn’t receive it. Consider it a love letter to the universe, and send me another!
 
Tours

I’m so excited to be heading to Huntsville, Alabama on the 8th to give a keynote address at the Heart of Dixie Luncheon. My speech is buffed and polished, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there. For more info, check out the Events page. July takes me to New York for Craftfest and Thrillerfest. I’ll be teaching a class on co-writing with my divine co-writer, Catherine, and we’re doing a panel on the same. I hope to see you at one or both of these events!

Get Thee to a Bookstore

I was lucky enough to get a little time away before I got sick (think the two are related? Probably. The cold is punishment for playing in the sun and sand) so I read a bunch of books this month. Here are my top picks:

Allison Brennan — STALKED Brennan always knocks it out of the park. And STOLEN, Lucy Kincaid #6, comes out 6.4.13!
Jeff Abbott — THE LAST MINUTE — awesome, awesome, awesome!
Hugh Howey — WOOL — Loved this allegory of Plato’s Cave
Marie Brennan — A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS — Reads like Austen — with Dragons!
Daniel Palmer — STOLEN — A creeptastic thriller, I couldn’t put it down.

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! 

Contest

Every month there’s a new contest on my site. The June contest is live now — enter to win a signed copy of EDGE OF BLACK.
 
June Recipe — Avgolemono

A special treat for those suffering from the summer cold — Avgolemono — Greek Lemon Chicken Soup. I got this recipe from my friend Betsy Koch, and it has saved me this week. There’s nothing better than chicken soup when you’re feeling puny, and the lemon helps clear the sinuses.

This is a lemony version of Avgolemono. If that makes you nervous, cut back the lemon whisked in with the eggs to 1/4 cup and add more to taste. (Note: the lemon flavor gets more concentrated as the soup thickens. Use caution in using more than 1/2 cup (the juice of two lemons).

In the event the soup is too lemony or thick for your tastes, you can thin it with another cup or two of chicken stock. If you prefer a thicker soup, reduce the amount of stock by a cup or two; you do so, you’ll also need to reduce the amount of lemon juice.
 
Fresh parsley and/or dill are more than garnish with this soup. Don’t skip it.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces, seasoned generously with salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • ½ half medium onion, diced small
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced small
  • 2 large carrots, diced small
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup starchy rice such as Arborio or orzo pasta (long grain brown rice works too)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons), juice divided
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • Fresh parsley or dill

Directions

  • Cut chicken breasts into large pieces (2 to 3 inch pieces, about same thickness) and season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the diced onion, celery and carrots. Sauté for about two minutes. If the vegetables and bottom of the pot are completely dry, drizzle in about a tablespoon more of olive oil and add the chicken pieces. Lightly brown on both sides, stirring vegetables to avoid over browning. Add chicken stock, rice, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes until chicken and rice are cooked. 
  • Remove 1 1/2 cups broth and set aside in a separate small bowl. Set aside to cool slightly. Remove chicken with tongs and shred with a fork. Set aside separately. (2 large chicken breasts make about 3 cups shredded chicken).
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs with 1/2 cup lemon juice (use about 1/4 cup lemon juice for a more subdued lemon accent). Whisk in about 1/4 cup of the set aside chicken broth into the egg mixture to temper the eggs — so they do not curdle. Repeat again, incrementally and slowly adding more broth as you whisk. After you’ve incorporated all the set aside broth into the egg mixture, slowly add it to the large pot of soup, whisking quickly to incorporate.
  • Return the shredded chicken to the pot — heat throughout. Note: the heat should be on low and the soup should not boil again. Add the black pepper and adjust the salt. Serve hot and top with fresh parsley or dill. Avgolemono will thicken as it sits.

I hope your June is wonderful — full of great books and sunny days. See you in July!

xoxo,

JT

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J.T. Ellison

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen critically acclaimed thrillers and is the co-author of the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages. She is also the co-host of A Word on Words, Nashville's premier literary TV series, which airs on Nashville Public Television. She lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville. Visit JTEllison.com, and follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick or at Facebook.com/JTEllison14.