Sunday Smatterings

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Happy Sunday! And happy Mother’s Day to mothers of all kinds out there, especially my gorgeous mama. I hope your weekend has been lovely. I’m still keeping kindergartener’s hours, trying to recover from this jet lag. The lingering on of this nasty cold on top of it is making things rougher than normal, I suspect. So I took it relatively easy this week, and ended up getting quite a bit done.

I’m working on my secret project, which is going quite well, thanks for asking. I am trying to get it finished by the end of the month. It is fun, and different, and I really can’t wait to share with you.

And I started my 24th novel. I called it novel the 23rd on Facebook, but I need to count the secret project as #23 instead. (Oooh, snap. There’s a small hint…🐉) The fact that I’ve written 22 novels in 12 years kind of blows my mind. It has been a long, winding road with major ups and major downs. But consistent. Consistency is the key to a career. There was (another) controversial article about Danielle Steel this week, who’s written 172 novels over the course of her career. (Her first was published in 1973). It’s said she works 20 hours a day, and she puts out 6-7 books a year. Nora Roberts has written over 225 since 1979, and has been very open about her process. Catherine Coulter has written at least 87 since 1978 (six of those were cowritten by yours truly, but trust me, she wrote them) and I know she sits down at the computer every day at 7 a.m. and writes until 11. In almost the same timeframe as my 22 books, Allison Brennan has written 40, not including shorts and novellas. She writes every day, 6-8 hours a day, and gets a book done in 12 weeks. (Guess who’s feeling a little slackerish now?)

And for the record, don’t bother giving me the quality vs quantity, speed versus depth argument, cause I ain’t buying. You want to have a blockbuster career, you create as much and as fast as you can.

I could go on and on, citing hundreds of authors whose output is incredible. But let me get to the point. What do all of these authors have in common?

Discipline. Rock hard, core strength, no excuses, blood, sweat, and tears discipline.

They don’t indulge writer’s block, they kick its ass. They do the work. Every day. They don't wait for the muse to present herself, seductive and dripping with a cornucopia of brilliant ideas. They take their bow and arrows and hunt her down, screaming, from the forest of their minds.

These writers inspire me. I won’t hit their marks, not by a long shot, because 2 books a year is about my limit. But they help me set my goals. 22 novels done between 2006-2019. By 2030, I hope to have another 20 under my belt. By 2040, another 10. That would give me a 34-year career and a total of 52 books. I can live with that.

It may be a strange way to goal-set, but hey, why not, right?

And with that, it’s time for the latest links!


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

A Space Fit For A Comma Queen. “But really, why even mention the sofa or the slightly raddled wing chair or the loving-hands-at-home sanded dining table. It’s books, to paraphrase the novelist Anthony Powell, that furnish this apartment.” And what a lovely apartment it is.

Chinese Bookstore’s Chandeliers Look Like Sheets of Paper Flying Through the Air. This is so cool!

'Game of Thrones' forgot how to write a real twist. “By ignoring the villains’ perspectives, Season 8 is flatter and less interesting than the world of Thrones’ earlier seasons had suggested.”

So I feel like a mean girl criticizing the show, because I can’t imagine how hard it is for the writers, producers, and staff to be lambasted the way they have been these past few weeks. That said, I decided to draw attention to this issue because A - it’s a real problem and B - it’s a good teachable moment.

Your villain MUST have something to do. And you need to let the story tell the story. One of the fun things about these big adaptations is the “Behind the Episode” interstitial that the producers and writers do at the end. The big problem with GOT now, though, is David Benioff and DB Weiss are forced into explaining to the viewer what just happened, and are telling us what we missed in the context of the show. It is a disservice to the story, the actors, the script, and the viewer. It’s like reading a book that doesn’t have an ending, and in the author’s note, the author explains what happened to the main characters. Big, big no-no. Lazy writing will always come back to bite you. The reader/viewer cannot read your mind. You have to lay it out, and you have to let your antagonist and protagonist do their thing.

If you’re a fan of the show, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments…

How Does a Person Lose Track of Their Diary? A cool way to tell an interesting story.

How To Get The Perfect Instagram Photo, According To 8 Bookstagrammers. I am NOT a photographer, and happily Assistant Leigh has a great eye and has really helped make my Instagram pleasing to the eye. But I have room for improvement, and these are great tips.

I'm Ana Humphrey, [teenage] Exoplanet Researcher, and This Is How I Work. If this is our future, we’re all going to be just fine. An incredible story, and incredible young lady!

Modern Library Launches Series of Classics Penned by Women. Super cool!

It was such an honor to sit down with my lovely friend Deanna Raybourn to discuss her amazing books and creative life in this week’s episode of A WORD ON WORDS. If you haven’t read Deanna, you should. If you have, tell me your favorite book or series of hers.

Free audiobooks for your summer reading. Modern Mrs. Darcy is a great resource and her Summer Reading Guide is coming soon!

Donations Help Rebuild Libraries in Paradise, Calif. This is wonderful!


What I’m Reading:

THE OTHER WOMAN by Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva is one of the finest writers of my generation. That's a big statement, I know. But he's a big writer. He tackles topical, frightening subjects, never shies away from the pain and horror and joys of life, and does it all at a hurtling pace. THE OTHER WOMAN is different from his earlier books, structurally and thematically, and I'm always fascinated to see an author with a remarkable track record try something new. Plus, Gabriel Allon is one of my favorite heroes, ever. A wonderful book, a wonderful series. Highly recommended.

What are you reading?


That’s all for now. I’m taking my newly-styled self to the gym to get healthy, and you should, too. Take a walk, drink a big glass of water, take a minute to do some square breathing, and I’ll see you next week!

peace and hugs,
J.T.