Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 11.19.17

Chickens, welcome to Sunday. Did you have a good week? American chickens, are you ready to watch some football and chow down on some turkey and pumpkin pie?

I have to say: No matter where you are, or how you're celebrating, please know I am thankful for you, dear reader. Thank you for joining me in the books, in the newsletters, in this online world. It's a blessing to know you, and I am thankful to walk alongside you.

It's been a quiet week. The moment I sent Catherine a draft of the new book, I got sick. As in I lost all the dealine weight there was a norovirus flatteneing Nashville sick. It happens every time I finish a book. Crazy, right?

I took advantage of the enforced down time to binge-watch Stranger Things (fun, and not too scary, thank heavens) and sign tip in sheets (how your books get presigned by authors -- publishers send the front page of the book and we sign, then when they make the book, those page gets inserted. Cool, right?) Special limited edition signed copies of THE SIXTH DAY will be available around release.

And while Catherine is editing away, I've turned to my next project, which is a new standalone novel! It's with my editor right now and revisions start next week. I don't have a release date yet, but I'll announce it as soon as I know.

Without further ado, here are your links.

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

The Busiest Reading Day of the Year Is the Wednesday Before Thanksgiving, According to Barnes & Noble Data. Gear up, buttercups: it's time to get your nerd on! Apparently we all snag a few minutes of book time between chopping veggies and rolling out pie dough. It definitely has nothing to do with realizing our Reading Challenge on Goodreads is 15 books behind schedule, oh no it doesn't....

Here's The Pitch Publishers Rejected When J.K. Rowling Was Trying To Get "Harry Potter" Published. Moral of the story? Never. Give. Up.

How Reese Witherspoon Is Changing Hollywood for Women.  She's a dynamo, that Reese Witherspoon. And she's doing some astounding things for women and telling their stories. And she's not afraid to say hey, I'm successful, and I work hard to achieve my goals. I LOVE THAT!

The Important Emotional Labor of Librarians Most People Never Think About. Librarians are some of the best people on the planet—period. And this article explains one of the many reasons why. One of the things I'm thankful for this year: librarians. 

16 Literary Subscription Boxes To Gift This Year, Based On Their Myers-Briggs Type. This is genius. Tuck this in the back of your mind for a great bookish holiday gift.

And closer to home:

DEAD ENDS is only $0.99! This is the sale you've been waiting for: 13 deliciously creepy stories for less than $1! if you need something short and sweet to read on your way to Thanksgiving celebrations, this is the book for you.

Tom Perrotta is a veteran writer. You may recognize his name from the opening sequence of HBO's The Leftovers, the movie Election (starring Reese Witherspoon!) or Little Children. Mr. Perrotta just released a new novel, Mrs. Fletcher, a wry take on a woman trying to cope with an empty nest and figure out what the rest of her life will look like. Check out our chat!

That's it from me! Y'all travel safe, hug your loved ones, don't spill the cranberry sauce and we'll talk again soon. Have a great Thanksgiving!


DEAD ENDS ebook on sale for $0.99!

Just in time for your Thanksgiving plane or car ride: the DEAD ENDS ebook is only $0.99!

These are perfectly binge-able nuggets of suspense from some of the best writers around (Jeff Abbott, Helen Ellis, Laura Benedict, Patti Callahan Henry, David Bell, to name a few). If you haven't picked up your copy, now's the time—the price doesn't get better than this!


Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 11.12.17

Hello, gentle readers, welcome to Sunday. Did you have a good week?

I did—because I got to type these two words:

The End!

Yes, you read that right. Novel the Twentieth is drafted! Even after twenty novels, typing those two words never gets old. I remember when I was on my fifth, and a writer I admired was on Facebook relishing the fact that she'd just finished her twentieth, and I was blown away. I told myself no matter what, I would meet that goal for myself. And now I have. So this one's a biggie for me. 

So with THE SIXTH DAY is in the books (no pun intended), Catherine and I have some editing to do, but I always exhale when we get the draft done. The pieces are on the table, all we have to do is tighten and polish and make the story the best it can be. I'm glad the first draft is out of the way before we get into the holiday season. Lots to do this time of year—I think we'll be able to enjoy ourselves a bit more. And who knows what kinds of plot twists the holiday punch will help us dream up...

And without further ado, onto the links!

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Lulu the Dog Did Not Want to Join the C.I.A. Fabulous - I have a training school dropout in my new standalone book, which I get to start working on November 16. Her name is Katerina. Kat, for short.

'Frankenstein' Author Mary Shelley Was Goth Before It Was Cool. A few things I didn't know about this amazing lady (PS I have a mad crush on her husband). Also, goth.

How I Decluttered 500 Things in a Month.  All it takes for me to realize I'm on deadline is one look at my house. The clutter. Oh, the clutter—it is everywhere and it is driving me nuts. I'm getting ready to tackle this myself later this month. I can't wait!

Airport Yarnbombing. On her way back from Bouchercon, my bestie (and brilliant author) Laura Benedict snapped these photos in the Philly airport. So cute! So cozy!

How the 25 greatest stories ever told would be ruined by technology. Fantastic and clever. You really must read this. In our modern age, we take technology for granted. See how it might affect your favorite.

Dawson High School crowns football kicker Claire Jeffress as homecoming queen. As it should be. Go, sister!

7 Reasons Fall Is the Absolute Best Season for Reading. Wine by the fire, anyone?

Tom Hanks: “God gave all of us burdens, and some of us typewriters”. America's treasure has written some fantastic stories, and I can't wait to get my hands on them. This was my Book of the Month pick.

And closer to home:

Just in time for your Thanksgiving plane or car ride: DEAD ENDS will be $0.99 starting this Tuesday, November 14! These are perfectly binge-able nuggets of suspense from some of the best writers around (Jeff Abbott, Helen Ellis, Laura Benedict, Patti Callahan Henry, David Bell, to name a few). If you haven't picked up your copy, now's the time—the price doesn't get better than this!

That's it from me. Y'all be good, toast some marshmallows and put 'em in cocoa, pat a fluffy kitty or puppy, and we'll talk again soon.


Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 11.5.2017

Morning, gentle readers, and happy Sunday. How was your week? We're still recovering from the World Series at Chez Ellison. We're a baseball house, and Dodgers in particular—DH has been a lifelong fan. I found it so amusing when people started using the diminutive DH to refer to their "darling husband" online—for a long while, I wondered why people were calling their partner the designated hitter.) But what a thrilling series it was. Congrats to you Astros fans—y'all should be proud, and I am so happy to see Houston back in the hearts and minds of the country. 

Nearing the end of the first draft of Brit #5 (it has a new name, which I announced in this month's newsletter: THE SIXTH DAY!). This is the craziest part of writing: all the threads come together at a clip, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I pound away at the keyboard... and cooking dinner has becomes the best form of procrastination. Plus, with the new chill in the air, the recipes that don't work for summer (I'm looking at you, chili!) come back into the rotation. This isn't DH's first deadline rodeo, so he's been surprised when I want to make dinner. Such is being married to a writer; we are mercurial beasts!

And without further ado...

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

This is how a word gets into the dictionary. Admit it, you've always wanted to know. Personally, I spent an awful lot of time with my Webster's growing up...

Anti-frantic. A great message as we head into the busy holiday season. I don't get twerped out about the holidays. Decorating takes an hour, I know all my recipes by heart, I do my cards early and my shopping mostly online from fun indie retailers. Let's all take a breath, shall we?

Actors and actresses who write, from Tom Hanks to Molly Ringwald. I think we're sometimes led down the path that artists are one trick ponies, but if you think about the way actors need to interpret the writer, it's not surprising many of them take up the pen.

How I read 100 books in a year (and you can too). With all the distractions floating around, it's hard to get through one book, let alone 100. If you're eyeing a book challenge in 2018, you may find this article useful. I'm behind on my count right now, but I'm gaining steam going into the winter months!

These Golden Snitch-Topped Butterbeer Donuts Are What Potterhead Dreams Are Made Of. Holy sugar rush, Batman. 😍

The new decluttering trend is called Swedish Death Cleaning and we tried it. Sounds scary, but perhaps a great way to clear the clutter once and for all. It's a bit morbid, though, so be warned.

Let Me Count The Ways. ATTENTION WRITING DATA GEEKS: Scrivener 3.0 will give you MORE than you can possible handle. (What's Scrivener, you ask? Only the best writing software ever. And add in some Scapple for brainstorming, too!)

And closer to home:

A WORD ON WORDS Season 3 is here! Click Play to watch the latest episode.

I recently sat down with the author of THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (yep, like the Oscar-winning movie), Matthew Quick. His newest book, THE REASON YOU'RE ALIVE, is one of the best I've read this year—so nuanced, so poignant. And Mr. Quick himself is delightful: I could have talked to him all day.

I like to ask each author I interview a few of the same questions, just to get different perspectives. One question I ask is if the writer is creatively satisfied. Mr. Quick had one of my favorite answers to that question, which you get to see in this video.

That's it from me! Y'all be good, rake someone's leaves, light a cinnamon candle and watch a good movie or two, and we'll talk again soon. Speaking of movies—what's your favorite for the season ahead?


Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 10.29.17

Hello, dear readers, welcome to Sunday. How was your week? We turned on our heater for the first time a few days ago. The season is starting to show its colors here, on the trees and in the weather. Lots of clouds and cooler temperatures—it makes for great porch weather. I don't mind one bit.

I am this close to finishing the first draft of Nicholas #5. True to the writer cliché, I had a middle-of-the-night epiphany a few nights ago, which was great because I hadn't figured out how to tie a few threads together quite yet. But boom, I have a problem, and my Muse delivers! Such are the pitfalls of being a pantser, but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's fun getting surprised by the ending... even if I get a few gray hairs along the way. And the cats sit begging for play time. And the laundry isn't folded. And I have to have DH bring home food. Am I whining yet? OK, maybe a little. Deadlines are hard!

Without further ado, here are your links:

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Only an avid reader can name all 22 books with just 3 clues. How many did you get? I happened to get all 22. BECAUSE I AM A NERD.

'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia. Very interesting read. Watch how much time you spend with technology. (I'm preaching to the choir on this.)

Ernest Hemingway's first work of fiction which he wrote aged 10 found in freezer bag. Crazy!! Included for all other Hemingway buffs. Can you imagine if the lost manuscript were to appear as well? You know someone has to have it, stashed away in an attic.

Maison Bergdorf. Um, can you say writer's retreat? This place is gorgeous! Sign me up... 😍

What I learned about minimalism in Poland. A very good lesson here. I found the concepts quite profound and powerful. When you have had nothing for so long, it's easy to overdue.

11 literary-inspired accessories to gift your loved ones. Because 'tis almost the season. 🎄🕎

15 Fantastic J. R. R. Tolkien-isms to Live By. We all need a little Tolkien now and then.

And closer to home:


LIE TO ME is new at Target! I'm thrilled my book baby is at one of the greatest stores in all the land. Stop by and get a copy for yourself. (and a friend!) This book is great for bookclubs, too. I assure many glasses of wine and disagreements -- especially about that ending! 

You can also find LIE TO ME at airports across the country. Because what's better than sinking into a story as you jet into the air? Thanks, Hudson! 

That's it from me! Enjoy the trick-or-treaters, eat some Halloween candy for me, watch out for ghosts and goblins, and we'll talk again soon.