Daily Tao ☯ 6.12.17

I was watching a movie over the weekend that I’d never seen before—Love is a Many Splendored Thing—and one of the lines is about the precious stone jade, and how the Chinese people feel when you wear jade, part of their souls/personalities attach to it. When you gift someone a piece of jade you’ve worn, it’s like giving them a part of you.

A beautiful concept, and I of course couldn’t help but wonder at my choice of names for the thrillercat—Jade—and how she forever marked me. 

I love thinking about how we touch those around us, how we live on in memory. How a smell or a sound can evoke a fully corporeal person—or former pet—to us. Love always ends tragically, right?

For all its many faults, the plot of the movie was fascinating to me. Set in the 1950s, it’s the story of an “Eurasian” female doctor who falls in love with a married but separated American war correspondent. Their romance is illicit, and she is shunned by her family, looked down upon by her boss's meddlesome wife and the other doctors she works with, loses her job, the works. 

Have we changed so much since then? In many ways, yes. In many ways, no. There are always going to be people who disapprove of non-homogenous choices.  

But I have a question: when did the tragic endings of romances move into the need for a happily ever after? It makes sense that the movies made during the war eras explored the tragic loss of true love. But nowadays, the happily ever after—HEA—seems to be a must for a romance novel or movie. To the point that we've lost the concept of loss.

Maybe that’s why the wonderful film La-La-Land was such a success. The tragic nature allows us to mourn our own lost loves. Better to have loved and lost...

Opinions please, because I’m genuinely curious—are you cool with the tragic ending, or is HEA your thing?

Oh, good writing day today, too— cruising right along with 1800....

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 6.11.17

Hi, y'all, welcome to Sunday.

It's been a relatively quiet week at chez Ellison. I've been nursing this rebound cold, been provided chicken soup and bone broth by dear friends who want to see me well. The Preds have left me breathless (and hoarse) during their Stanley Cup run. We started the main guest bathroom renovation this week, and I was shocked by how quiet the demolition was. Seriously, they were like little mice, and suddenly, the bath was taken back to studs. I got to see my friend Heather Gudenkauf and talk to her about her new book. Busy, but fun. And amid all the chaos, I was doing my job, plugging along, working on the new Brit in the FBI—this is going to be such a fun ride. I think you'll enjoy it.

Here for links, are you? Here you go.

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Writing Through Rejection. Yes. Yes. Yes. If you want to be any kind of artist—writer, painter, dancer, chef, whatever—you must be okay with rejection. Not everyone is going to be on board with your vision. That's all right. You are not for everyone, you are not Nutella. (and check out the quote from Suzanne Brockman, it's brilliant)

Blake Lively to Star in Thriller The Husband’s Secret from Big Little Lies Author. Fans of Liane Moriarty, rejoice! CBS Films is adapting this juicy novel. Haven't read the book yet? You should. Check it out here, it's a great summer read.

Making a Marriage Magically Tidy. If you've never read Helen Ellis, you're going to want to fix that right now. Helen wrote one of my all-time favorite novels, EATING THE CHESHIRE CAT, along with the deliciously dark and hilarious short story collection, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE. If you're a struggling slob, or have ever lived with one, please read this wonderful piece. You'll have tears rolling down your face by the time you're done.

How to Quit Diet Coke. The struggle is real. Modern Mrs. Darcy tells us how to ditch the habit.

‘Not a Sound’: A thriller worth staying up all night to finish. Maureen Corrigan, book reviewer for NPR's Fresh Air, gives Heather Gudenkauf's newest two thumbs up! I must say, I agree: NOT A SOUND is fantastic, a brilliant summer read.

BookExpo 2017: J.T. Ellison Changes It Up. While I was in New York last week, I got to talk to Publishers Weekly about LIE TO ME, and why I'm writing standalone novels now. So much fun!

[video] This is what marriage is. I don't know that I've ever laughed harder. Though it applies to more than just marriage when it comes to me... 

And closer to home:

Read the first 3 chapters of LIE TO ME! The June newsletter went out this week, and tucked inside was an offer to read the first three chapters of LIE TO ME—for free! Read it, and let me know what you think. (Aren't signed up for the newsletter? Whatcha waiting for? You get a free ebook, and stay in the know. Join the list today!)

Deal alert: 14 (Taylor Jackson #2) is on sale for .99 through tomorrow! Get it now!

Win a Mega Bundle of Contemporary Mysteries & Thrillers + MORE! There's still time to enter this contest (where you could win NO ONE KNOWS and an eReader). Don't miss out! Entry only takes two seconds. Good luck!

That's it from me. Y'all have a good week, GO PREDS, and we'll chat again soon.


Daily Tao ☯ 6.9.17

Excellent writing day today. The girls and I hung out on the porch, they: melting into little kitten-sized puddles in the sun, me: typing away. As of this moment, I’ve crossed the 10K line on the book—which means technically, I’m over 1/10th of the way done!—and the story is starting to shape up. I’m going to write some more before I shut down for the night, but I wanted to get this blog done first. A palette cleanser, so to speak.

Preds were outplayed and lost big last night, which was a shame, but they’re back in Nashville Sunday, and I’m sure we’ll whoop some Penguin butt. And then it’s back to Pittsburgh. Our boys need to dig deep to beat them in their own house in Game 7, but it’s not over until the fat penguin sings. 

Quick alert: June newsletter is in your inboxes. If you didn’t get it, check your spam, and if you’re using Gmail, your promotions tab. If you find it there, a favor — drag it to your inbox so Gmail knows it’s a legit email you’ve requested! Same for Outlook users, as it might be stripped out of your focused inbox.

Why is this a good newsletter, you ask? Because it has an excerpt of LIE TO ME, so you definitely want to get it opened!

Oh, the remodel is going great — demo was quick, quiet, and the big push starts again Monday! Still trying to find a rug that's cut pile, not loop, but of all the problems to have...

So it’s a quiet weekend ahead for us. It’s going to be beautiful weather, but since the mister and I are still battling this funk, I foresee a lot of reading and writing, and maybe even some decluttering, if I get the energy. At least the laundry folded and me unpacked — I sort of came back from New York and collapsed. 

Have a lovely weekend, chickens!

Daily Tao ☯ 6.7.17

Riding my wave today. Two versions of synopsis for THE BLOOD CABAL done and sent to California, actual words on the page, edits on a short story, and tonight, I’m in conversation with my friend Heather Gudenkauf for her new novel NOT A SOUND. It’s a great book—the main character is profoundly deaf after an accident, and the claustrophobia of her situation, to be suddenly plunged into silence, and be in danger, was fascinating to me. If you remember, at one point in the Taylor series, she too is made silent by an accident, mute, and the challenges of writing the character without a voice, or hearing, is extreme. I’m looking forward to hearing what Heather has to say. We’ll be at the Vanderbilt Barnes and Noble at 7 pm if you want to come say hi.

Tomorrow begins demolition on my guest bathroom. It is the one original room left in the house, with an icky vinyl floor, ancient wood vanity, and one-piece shell tub and shower (beige… yuck.). When we’re finished, it will be elegant marble floor and walls, and a new vanity and pretty mirror, painted a lovely shade of seagrass, which is a very subtle gray green. Nothing crazy, just a nice update. I can’t wait. 

Don’t worry, I won’t be chipping nails on this. I’ll be on the porch writing whilst the guys deal with the heavy lifting. I can’t wait to see it finished, though. We’re overrun with boxes right now, the dining room looks like it’s decorated in cardboard, and my Feng Shui is way messed up.

Do you believe in Feng Shui? Do you do anything special in your house to help with flow or chi? I don’t do as much as I would like, but we’re working on it.

Sweet dreams!

Daily Tao ☯ 6.6.17

A metaphor has been brewing in me today. 

Our careers are an ocean. You ride each wave as far as it will take you. Some fizzle out in the breakers, some smash into the beach. Either way, they wax and wane, build and smooth. The trick is to ride the wave in as far as you can, and when it hits the sand, you pick yourself up and paddle back out to catch another. Every part of your career is simply another set of waves. (Yes, I surfed some...)

It’s been a free flow kind of day, back and forth from phone to laptop, talking with friends and professionals, creatives all. I realized I feel like I’m riding a wave that is just starting to build. I can literally feel the momentum of the water gathering beneath me. Part of it, of course, is building this new book; it’s a natural feeling as the words start to layer in, the ideas begin to manifest. But it’s also juggling the many components of the creative life, from the writing, to the friends in the trenches with you, to how you’re perceived publicly. The To Do lists, the blogs, the daily word counts, the calls, the planning—all the things we do to make a book happen. 

There are two things we have under our control — the quality of our work, and the interactions we have with the people who make our books and read our books. The rest is timing and luck and arranging a team of people around you to do the best for you as they possibly can.

Thanks for being a part of my team. 

Oh, and GO PREDS! Yes, we’ve been at the games, and yes, it’s been incredible. Our Cinderella story, twenty years in the making. No one’s really an overnight success, you know?

Sweet dreams!


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 jtellison.com/subscribe, or follow her online at Facebook.com/JTEllison14 or on Twitter @thrillerchick.