Sunday Smatterings

Smatterings - December 16.png

Hello, my friends! Are you braced for the next two weeks of holiday joy? I’ve mailed all but two out of town gifts, and then I’m done. Which is good, because I have this silly thing… oh yeah, the deadline!

Which brings me to exciting news: we have a title for the book! Pretty much the moment I publicly admitted we were struggling, we landed upon one (thanks to my brilliant editor) that we could all agree on. So the September 2019 standalone is…

>>>>>>>>>> GOOD GIRLS LIE <<<<<<<<<<

I’m very excited about this book. The setting is one I’ve always wanted to dive into, an elite private boarding school for girls in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. You may recall that I, too, attended an all girl’s college in Virginia (Randolph-Macon Woman’s College) and I’m having a blast recalling, then deconstructing and embellishing, certain events. As soon as I have some official copy to share, I will.

Happily, I’ve gotten out of the dreaded first 25,000 words, and the book is rollicking along. (The first 100 pages is always like pulling fossils from rocks for me.) I’m going to do my best not to lose touch with it over the holiday. Which means sneaking off into corners every day for at least an hour to write, or edit, or otherwise touch the story. It’s a great trick for you writers out there — if you touch your manuscript every day, you’ll have an easier job of getting to the finish line.

My new office is done, too! Except for redoing the pictures on the wall, which is going to take a little shuffling, all the shelves are in, the desk is here, the rugs are in place, the chair is perched… I’m telling you, it’s starting to feel like a very creative spot. I caught myself the other day just standing in the door soaking up the ambiance. THAT is a good thing.

I have 5,000 words left to make my annual goal, and I’m in the midst of 3 books, trying to hit that elusive 100 before year’s end. I’ve started compiling the data for my annual review, and it’s always so much fun to look back and see what I planned, and what I actually accomplished. Fingers crossed!

Now, let’s take a look at the latest links!


Here's what happened on the Internets this week: 

16 Libraries That Look Like Hogwarts IRL. Now I’ve been in the Bodelian at Oxford, which is the actual library they used to shoot the movies, but these aren’t so bad…

Elizabeth Khuri Chandler Tells the Origin Story of Goodreads. I found this fascinating, and proof of the strength of word of mouth.

This Strategy Makes Procrastination Impossible. “When I look back at all the times I’ve procrastinated, it was always related to getting overwhelmed. When you haven’t even started something, the end result seems a million miles away.”

Holiday gift ideas: Books by Tennessee authors. How wonderful to see TEAR ME APART on this list! Thanks so much to Serenity of Humanities Tennessee!

Help The Book Report Network Expand. Great organization! I’ve been a fan for a long time, and Carol and team are a fantastic resource for news, interviews, reviews, and everything else you might need. The newsletters are great, too!

The Christmas Book Flood: Iceland’s Literature-Loving Holiday Tradition. Love, love, love. 

These Novels Prove That Women Make Fascinating Fictional Killers, Too. I’ve spent a career looking at evil in all its guises, female and male, and female villain is my bag, totally.

25 Literary Tea Gifts and Accessories for the Bookish Tea Lovers in Your Life. Because we all need more tea and tea gifts, yes?


What I’m Reading:

It’s very fitting that this author’s middle name is Sly, because that’s the perfect description of SORORITY. A series of conjoined vignettes, it tells the story of a sorority from the inside out, the good, the bad, and the ugly – and wow is there a lot of ugly. The writing though – it is perfect, sparse, descriptive, incredible. I haven’t been this excited about a debut author’s possibilities since SWEETBITTER. I’ll be watching for Crane’s work in the years ahead. 


That’s it for now. Sneak a holiday card into a stranger’s mailbox, make a snow angel if you have any snow to work with, light a stick of nag champa and blissfully chill out, and I’ll see you next week!

peace and hugs,
J.T.