Daily Tao ☯ 6.2.17

look at this banner! 😱

When is a banner more than a banner?

BEA 2017 —BookExpo— is in the books. I’m back in the plane, heading south. What an incredible, awesome couple of days. The surprise banner, brilliant marketing meetings, the view at the cocktail party, the signing, getting a few moments to commune with friends… just a perfect event. 

You probably saw a bunch of pictures and videos about the banner. I will admit to having all the feels about this. I probably should be so much more laid back and cool and blasé about the whole thing, but I can’t. I couldn’t. It was one of the coolest things that’s happened in my professional writing career. The surprise of it, too, not knowing that’s what I was walking into… wow! 

The thing is, it was so much more than a huge book cover on vinyl and a kick ass catch phrase. For me, standing beneath it, it was … I don’t know, acceptance? Acknowledgement? Faith in my work? Faith in me? I surely felt special, there’s no question about it. I’ve been around this industry for a long time now, and I know a lot of people, and they were all so proud to see it. Which felt really, really great. It was surreal as hell, actually — did you see your banner? was the catchphrase of the con.

My banner.

It was at once exhilarating and terrifying. Exhilarating because of the message it sends — this is the book you should paying attention to. Terrifying because — this is the book you should be paying attention to. I’ve never had so much scrutiny on my work; I pray and pray it holds up to the bright light of exposure. That I can hold myself together, to make you guys proud. I’m feeling pressure, yes, but I’ve spent a decade laying the groundwork for this. If I can’t handle a little exposure now, I’m in the wrong business.

Right?

So, with that, I want to take a second to thank everyone involved in making this huge surprise happen. MIRA Books has been my home for many years, and I think they were just as tickled as me by the attention this book brought. You know why?

Because this isn’t just about me. I wrote the book, yes, but I can’t begin to help you understand the unbelievable amount of work that is going into getting this book into your hands. The meetings, the planning, the dreaming that my team has done with this book is nothing short of breathtaking. Staggering, as my marketing manager said today, and he's exactly right. Their efforts for this IS staggering. They are working themselves so hard to make this happen for LIE TO ME. And the cool thing? They really do this for all their books. The heart and soul of MIRA is always beating for all the authors. Yes, I had the banner. But I was only one of many, many, many authors that are getting promoted and exposed to new readers because of their incredible work.

So to Nicole, Margaret, Loriana, Lisa, Heather, Marjean, Brent, Amy (1 and 2), Randy (1 and 2), Emer, Mariana, Craig, Susan, Dianne, Olivia, Stef, Shara, Lynette, Mary Beth, Margot, Monika, Reka, Scott, Sean and everyone else I’m too flummoxed to hit, and those who are toiling and I don’t even know about it… 

Thank you for believing in me. No lie. xox

Brilliant, peaceful weekend, everyone!

Daily Tao ☯ 5.31.17

I write to you from my favorite place—an airplane seat. And actually my favorite of all seats, the A seat in the exit row with no seat in front of me. I’m on Southwest, for those of you who are like, what? There are seats like that? Oh yes, padawan. Oh, yes.

So here I am, legs stretched out, laptop in lap, the LIE TO ME soundtrack playing on my headphones… it’s perfect. (Many thanks to the lovely barely 5 feet tall lady in front of me who was going to take it, then saw me looming behind her and said, “You probably need that.” Bless you, madam!)

So, warning… true confessions ahead. 

I never like to admit any sort of weakness, it’s an Italian thing, I think, but today I realized I am utterly frazzled. It’s was almost 10:30 am, I’d been putting out fires all morning, the phone was ringing, I was having massive outfits for New York packing regret. I stalked into the kitchen and said to Randy — now you see why I can’t get anything done around here. He just smiled and calmly continued his own work while I swanned in and out. I had a grumpy call with a contractor, then huffed back upstairs, unpacked my bag and repacked it with all new clothes, stomped around, fretted and realized… Wow. You are a wreck, sister. And I asked myself what was really wrong.

I do these checkins every so often, whether I’m happy or sad, settled or frachetty. Sometimes I look at the calendar and have that “Ah” realization. But others times… especially the days when I’m feeling this level of out of control, I have to take stock and see what’s really going on. Hormones are a great crutch, but they aren’t the sole issue.

I looked back at the past few weeks, at my normal schedule, and realized it’s been shot to hell. Writing? Not nearly enough. Yoga? Nope. Walking? Some. Listening to music? Not really.  Golf? No. Reading? More there, happily. But everything I am accomplishing is being sandwiched between minor freakouts.  

I hate the term busy, but right now, it’s the only word I can use. I’m transitioning from one novel to another, have a big (surprise) project going on in the background, and am several months into remodeling a couple of rooms in my house. Lots of incredible things are happening with LIE TO ME. I’ve been on the road almost all month. The Predators are in the Stanley Cup. And the world is a really, really weird place.  

My deep work time has been encroached upon. I’m out of my habit. 

And I had that Ah moment. There it is. The OCD control freak doesn’t have control, and has let her discipline slide. And that triggers major anxiety. And anxiety triggers chaos. So it was clearly time for a little chemical help. Ativan on board, I was able to really take a look around (ahem, limited view, aka plane) and figure out exactly what was wrong.

Writing is a muscle. You must exercise it regularly or it atrophies. But you can go too far. I’ve been keeping that muscle flexed all the time. Which isn’t good for the muscle either, is it? 

I’m sort of ridiculous. I always think I’m a superhuman who can just move seamlessly from project to project without any sort of glitch, like opening the door ahead and closing the one behind me. As if my brain would allow for that sort of finality on a project. LOL.

One of these days, I’m going to build a month into the schedule to allow me to take a couple of weeks off between projects. I’m maybe not being fair to my muse trying to wring words out of her when she’s been working so hard for months, and dealing with life.

I think that’s why I normally get sick when I finish a book. It’s my body saying OK, now it’s time to chill for a few. But this time, when I got sick, I had to power through for a week of meetings in New York. I haven’t had that break, and I needed it. 

So. After BEA, I will be doing a massive reset on the schedule, the habit, and all that attendant jazz. Because I absolutely adore this life. I adore that I’m sitting on a plane, flying to a book conference, where I get to schmooze with a bunch of wicked smart people about books and stories, then fly home to write them. I am so, so lucky. And as crazy as it gets sometimes, it's the perfect life for me.

But the words are what matters. The words are what connects me to you. Without them, our contract goes away. And I will never let that happen.

Sweet dreams!

  

Daily Tao ☯ 5.30.17

Goodness. You’d think the holiday would have let me catch up, and it did, sort of, but I maybe got my dates mixed up and didn’t realize I was heading to NYC… tomorrow… Amy was very amused when she reminded me I needed to check in for my flight, and I said, oh, no, that’s not until tomorrow. Derp. Lesson learned—always trust the Kerr.

So off to New York again, this time for BEA. I love BEA—Book Expo is the business meeting to end all business meetings for publishing. The energy, the excitement, the galleys! It’s a wonderful couple of days surrounded by my publishing team. Lots of meetings, lots of laughs. Anecdote: I saw my very first book (ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS) in person for the very first time at BEA, ten minutes before my first ever signing. I was still torn up when the line started.

LIE TO ME will be front and center, and I can't wait to see the reception it gets.I will Facebook Live a couple of times, so you can enjoy it with me!

I’m hoping to work some, too. Definitely will be writing on the plane tomorrow, and I have a relatively quiet afternoon Thursday. So work, and work, and write, and write. Not a bad few days ahead. 

The book is starting to shape up in my mind, too. So many little details that are floating around my head. This is what it's like at the beginning. Disparate thoughts, a jumble of ideas, and you have to write around and through them knowing they'll fit in somewhere eventually. Fun!

Sweet dreams!

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J.T. Ellison

New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes dark psychological thrillers starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the premier literary television show, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

For more insight into her wicked imagination, join J.T.’s email list at jtellison.com/subscribe, or follow her online at Facebook.com/JTEllison14 or on Twitter @thrillerchick.