Sunday Smatterings

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Hello from Edinburgh! Well, I will just be arriving home as you read this, so hello from jet-lagged Nashville where I am still sound asleep, but you get the idea.

I’m writing from my lovely hotel room with its stunning view of Edinburgh Castle. It’s been an amazing couple of weeks over here. From the stark beauty of the Highlands to the Speyside whisky distilleries being visited by Ludacris to Balmoral where we saw the Queen and Prince Charles on a walkabout to Edinburgh proper, we’ve been experiencing  a great deal of what the home country has to offer. I say home country because husband and I are both Scots by blood. I’m Scots and Italian, he’s full blown UK. We did a DNA test once and he’s more British than 76% of the Brits who were born here... think about that! That’s what happens when your people fight on the losing side of a war and are transported to the US.

I always feels so very blessed to be able to travel overseas as much as we do. We’re both just fascinated with how other cultures work, the people, the food, the atmosphere. This is my 6th time in Scotland, and it won’t be my last.

We met several lovely people on this trip, including a trio of gentlemen from Japan who were real whisky lovers and artists, two couples from Canada who were having a superb time, a perpetually dissatisfied Australian in a desperate search for a decent cup of coffee, a Cuban American family celebrating their youngest’s birthday, an Irishman who ran our hotel in the Highlands who was a brilliant chef and made me gluten-free fish and chips every night and introduced us to new whisky. Our world gets so small when we travel. It was such fun.

Edinburgh is a favorite spot, and we have a few nooks we love to visit every time we’re here—and a few new ones we’ve found this trip, including a ridiculously delicious authentic Italian restaurant. And a steakhouse on the Royal Mile that until recently didn’t even have signage. And the bar across from the hotel where we’ve been taking a wee dram at night. Even hanging in the hotel has been fun, with staff that are attentive and kind.

Last night, sitting quietly by the fire in the pub across the way, we were talking about something rather serious, making a decision, and I felt a hand on my back. I turned expecting to see the bartender, asking if I wanting another, but there was no one around. The hand on my back was a gentle caress, one like a mother might give to a child. It felt very loving, and was the perfect allegory for this country, where I feel so at home. Whether it was a gentle admonition to get off my phone and stop fretting, or an affirmation of my decision, I suppose I’ll never know.

Scotland is haunted, no one questions that. Every step I take, I feel like I’m following in the footsteps of someone else, that at any moment the veil could lift and I’ll be walking alongside a forebear. No wonder I love Outlander so much.

Edinburgh, too, is an old town and has seen its share of death and destruction, but there is so much joy here, too. The city is young and vibrant; students and young families abound. They’re filming A Fast and Furious on the Royal Mile, we stumbled into the set the other night walking. Even though tourist season has passed, a cultural cornucopia of people throng the streets. It’s wonderful to see, and I’m already thinking about when I can come back.

I did get some work done, but now that I’m back, it’s hit the books time. Don’t be surprised to find some of these experiences in a book down the road…

With that, I’ll leave you to the links. Slainte!


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Fabulous news: Publishers Weekly gave GOOD GIRLS LIE a starred review! “A high-tension thriller...Alternating points of view raise the suspense, blurring the lines between true and false...Ellison keeps readers guessing throughout.” I could not be more thrilled. It’s coming for you on December 30. Preorder your copy today!

At age 101, this woman released her first collection of poems. “At a time we normally think of as winding down, Sarah’s imagination is unfolding.”

Related: 6 Women Writers Who Published Their First Book After They Turned 70. It’s never too late!

A Family’s Journey from Mob Murder to NFL Fame. This story is wild!

Cleo Le-Tan Knows Where All the Bookstores Are in New York. This looks like a cute guide!

We Asked 20 Authors For Their #1 Favorite Book Of Fall 2019. Great list!

How to Write While Not Writing. “When I’m not writing, I’m often having experiences that fill my creative engine with the fuel necessary to power the work itself. Without the not writing, my creative engine runs dry.”

When the Public Feared That Library Books Could Spread Deadly Diseases. Can you even imagine?

As we prepare for the mass market release of NO ONE KNOWS, enjoy this look back: Sometimes, Dreams Do Come True—Literally. The story idea started with a dream.

8 Best Independent Bookstores in the United States. How many of these have you visited?

Save Space On Your Shelves For These Amazing Space Bookends. Super cool!

The Wine of the Week at The Wine Vixen!


What I’m Reading:

THE NANNY by Gilly Macmillan

Gilly Macmillan is an outstanding writer, but THE NANNY is a step above. Complex, intriguing, scary, devastating, and so lyrically written I got out my "I'm not worthy" kneepads. You are going to go ape for this one.

What are you reading?


That’s it from me. Pour yourself a wee dram, read a good ghost story, do some research on your ancestors, and I’ll see you next week.

peace and hugs,
J.T.