Sunday Smatterings

Smatterings - August 18.png

Happy Sunday, all!

First, just an FYI…This is the last day to get A THOUSAND DOORS for only 99 cents! PW gave it a starred review (!), Bookreporter said it was worth the wait, and the reviews online have been stupendous. Added bonus? You’ll find a LOT of super talented authors to read!

Greetings from the great mountainous west! It’s my dad’s birthday week, so the family has converged to celebrate. It’s been a gorgeous, mostly lovely week, with big skies and cool evenings. And lots of Mexican food. Oh, people. I am addicted to green chili. I’ve had it all but one day. I might just turn into a bowl of green chili. We just can’t get it like this in Nashville.

I normally play a lot of golf out here, as this is my home course where I learned and played years of junior golf.  But that’s being interrupted by the bum knee, so I’ve been doing a lot of chilling. Working on the new book. Getting ready to switch my content manager in anticipation of the new Apple operating system coming in a few weeks. Debating changing my screen savers to a fall scape. Watching some Harry Potter (my default destressor) Pondering how to have a better work/life balance. You know, all those end of summer things. 

The work/life balance... I think I have it figured out. I asked a few folks how they handled their stress, and got several really great answers that had actionable steps for me to try. And it’s helping, tremendously. I’ve been forced to go against my nature—my best writing time is between 3-6pm—but getting the words done in the morning makes such a difference I’ve been willpowering my nature into another pattern. 

If I don’t write first, it’s too easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of business— and let me be clear, by business, I don’t mean social media. I mean blurbing books, editing stories, handling communications with my publishers and team, planning the newsletter, appearances, art briefs, release workflows, working on Two Tales and the Wine Vixen, and of course, prepping for A WORD ON WORDS.  It is not playing on Twitter or Facebook. I have a fantastic admin who helps plan the social media aspects so I’m free to be social when I choose to engage. 

This is a damn good problem to have, yes. But I’m getting too busy again, so it’s time to pull back. Busy makes me feel stressed, and then overwhelmed, and then I can’t get anything done well, which is not a state I enjoy.

It was funny, I had a stress dream in the midst of all this pondering. I’d set up a signing, had people flying in, had planned this huge event, and had forgotten to order the books. Just clean forgot. That’s my biggest worry, always, that I’ll forget to do something I’ve promised to do. I’m also writing a character who is a book publicist—that might be part of the why behind the dream. The ultimate publicity nightmare, right? Still...UGH!

So how do we fix the sense of being too busy? We promise to do LESS! 😊 

I hate saying no, but I’m learning how to make it my default. Most importantly, how to keep on saying no, even when things ease up.  It’s time to break out the No Gnome again. (Oh, he’s a peach... maybe one day I’ll post a picture.)

And don’t worry, none of this is at the expense of the writing. That always gets done. The book always comes first. I’ve just been playing with when to do the inevitable business tasks. For the past month I’ve been trying to do a single business day once a week, a day set aside to do all the things I need to feel on top of things. Cleaning out my email, writing non-fiction, etc. It’s working very well. I hope this change takes me into fall and the launch of Good Girls Lie!

As always, I’m open to thoughts. But I think this is working pretty well.

OK, enough. On to the links!


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Anatomy of a Suspense Novel. “If you think about it, every suspense writer is like Mary Shelley creating her own Frankenstein. I am just filling in the atlas of the book’s vital organs.”

10 Intersections Between Podcasts, Audiobooks, and Storytelling at Large. It’s really interesting to consider how podcasts and audiobooks intersect and amplify one another.

The most anticipated thrillers of fall 2019. I was blown away to be included on this list with such great company! So many amazing books coming...

50 Ways to Live On Your Own Terms. Brilliant advice. As a matter of fact, I’m refilling my tea cup and rereading right now.

Organization that gives away books for free just opened its first ‘store’ for teachers. This is wonderful! What a great way to give back.

18 Times Toni Morrison Spoke To Our Souls. What a terrible loss. But Toni is one of those writers who may leave us physically, but her lessons will live on in our hearts.

Why You Owe It to Yourself to Abandon Books You’re Not Enjoying. Always a good reminder. This plays into my too busy feeling too often.

19 Romance Novels To Fall In Love With This Summer. Another great list! I’m just so impressed with the quality and quantity of excellent work in the genre.

The Wine of the Week at The Wine Vixen is another white - what is HAPPENING???


What I’m Reading:

LOCK EVERY DOOR by Riley Sager

Riley Sager is doing a lot of good work lately, and Lock Every Door fits well into his canon. Echoes of Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby are clear, and The Bartholomew is a character unto itself. A satisfying thriller with a great twist.

What are you reading?


That’s all for now. Remember the power of your words, be them kind or mean, take a huge deep breath today and let your shoulders relax, and watch out for deer on the roads! I’ll see you next week!

peace and hugs,
J.T.