Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 1.29.17

 

Hello, dear readers. How's your Sunday? I hope you're getting some well-deserved R&R, or at least reading a good book or two.

This week? Not such a good writing week, y'all. I'm not really sure why, other than feeling very distracted, and all those little things added up to a lack of deep work. I'm still coming off last week's EMMY high, I suppose, and had a few things to take care of in the house. A few technical business issues to address, too (You'll notice a new system for getting this blog through email toward the end of today's Smatterings, for example.)

Que sera, sera, some weeks are just like this. I did get back in the groove Friday, thank heavens. The upcoming week will be calmer, more settled, and I'm looking forward to taking a deep breath and kicking it back into high gear.

Now that I've got that off my chest...
 

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Despite the changes happening in our country as of late, I think we book people can agree on a few things: we love our books, and we're passionate about supporting the people who dedicate their lives to their craft. Which is why you may be particularly interested in this piece from Book Riot on why the NEA and NEH should not be defunded

I was so sad to hear we lost an icon in Mary Tyler Moore. The New York Times did a particularly poignant piece on her groundbreaking career, a new kind of strong, capable, funny, and complex female character she made normal on the social landscape. She was a pioneer who will most certainly be missed.

Interested in winning a copy of Taylor #7, WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE, and 40 other paranormal romances? I bet you are.

Trying to find something to write about, but feeling uninspired? These 11 writing prompts from famous authors might get the wheels moving again.

A quiz for serious book nerds only: can you identify the author by just reading one paragraph?

Last but not least, Chapter 16 gathered the details of all the lovely awards and honors for Tennessee book folks last week. And there were quite a few. Nashville represents!

 

And closer to home:

If you've been locked in a closet or hibernating this past week, you may have missed that yours truly won an EMMY last week!!!!! 🎉😭 I'm still speechless about it, but I managed to say a few things about it on the Tao.*

Speaking of the Tao, did you know that you can get it delivered straight into your inbox? It's true! If you never want to miss a blog post from me, sign up to receive them via email, now in beautiful mobile form!

A few years ago, I co-wrote two novellas with my friends Erica Spindler and Alex Kava. They're three-part stories, each one featuring our landmark characters (i.e. mine have Taylor in them—BLOOD SUGAR BABY and WHITEOUT). I'm so pleased to announce that for the first time these novellas are available in PRINT! Click each cover to learn more (and don't worry, Kindle lovers: they're still available via ebook, too). 

 

That's it from me, chickens! Enjoy your week, watch some football (who are you pulling for, Patriots or Falcons? Or are you only watching for the commercials?) and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

*PS: We had a wee snafu sending the blog by email on Thursday. Apologies! The email gremlins have been summarily punished and vow not to screw things up again. 

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

I rarely find myself at a loss for words. I am a writer, for heaven’s sake, words are my business. 

But since Saturday, I’ve been utterly speechless. 

I’m sure you’ve seen the posts on my social media feeds that A WORD ON WORDS won an EMMY Saturday night. Yes, a real EMMY, the gorgeous golden statue kind. It’s heavy. I choked up. Everyone involved was thrilled and excited and we all went for tacos afterward. Because #blacktietacos needs to be a thing. 

Truth is, I’m having trouble putting in to words the scope of this honor. My brilliant cohost, Mary Laura Philpott, had no such issue: 

ML's post said it all. My producer, Linda Wei, was eloquent in her acceptance. Our station’s president and CEO, the indomitable Beth Curley, who has more of these than we can count, made my night complete with tales of her past. Matt Emigh and Will Pedigo were more excited for us than themselves. Randy and Amy giggled and took pictures and otherwise made the table merry.

It was, in a word, perfect.

And I nearly missed it, because I almost said no when they asked me to host the show. I had a thousand reasons why—deadlines and commitments at the forefront, but in truth, it was because I was scared. Of the camera. Of the idea of being on television. Of putting myself out there in such a permanent way.

And if I had let my fear get the better of me, if I had stupidly declined, I wouldn’t have had this incredible experience Saturday night.

I think the reason I’m having trouble talking about it is because it’s made me sit back and reevaluate how I approach the world. How I want to interact with the people around me, and the issues we’re all facing.

Saturday, there was a little march you might have heard of. Many, many women that I know and love and respect got out there, and the pictures made me smile. Instead of braving the crowds, I spent the day developing a new character: a super strong, super capable woman who doubts herself, but ultimately becomes the hero we all need. 

You’ll hear about her soon, I hope, but trust me when I say she kicks serious ass, and is a lady whilst doing it. I wrote 4000 words Saturday. I felt her come to life under my fingers and in my mind.

And then I put on a gorgeous dress, did my hair, and went to an awards ceremony. (Yes, this is my life. I am overly blessed, and don’t think I don’t know it.) 

It isn’t lost on me that the Emmy statuette is female. I admit to doing a bit of research Sunday, and was fascinated by its provenance. From the EMMY website:

The statuette of a winged woman holding an atom has since become the symbol of the Television Academy's goal of supporting and uplifting the arts and science of television: The wings represent the muse of art; the atom the electron of science. 

Note the words: The muse of art.

You know how much I believe in the muse. I honor mine in as many ways as I can so she and I can work together regularly, not get on each other’s nerves, and find a lot of common ground even when we don’t agree. Love, and nagging, and nurturing, that’s how we keep each other happy and focused. Supporting, and uplifting.

Interesting, when you think of it. This is very much how my female friends and I interact. 

We all get access to and respect our muse in different ways. Whether through feet and signs, or through words printed on the page, or through a visual medium like television. 

A Word on Words is, to me, the ultimate celebration of the muse. Mary Laura and I are both authors, charged with interviewing incredible authors. To give you some perspective, five of our guests are on this year’s NBCC list. That’s a pretty high caliber of talent. 

But it’s more than that. This show has been on the air in Nashville for more than forty years. John Seigenthaler was its original host, and over the years that man interviewed hundreds, HUNDREDS, of incredible authors. I was beyond honored to be one of the many authors he interviewed (in case you didn’t already know, John was my first interview, ever.

When he passed, it looked like his literary tradition might pass with him, but through the tireless efforts of Beth and Linda, the kind funding of Judy and Steve Turner, and the support of our Nashville Public Television team, the show was reborn. A phoenix from the ashes, we came back to life as what’s called an “Interstitial” which is a short snippet that airs post- or pre- a regularly scheduled show. 

I LOVE this definition I found. 

Interstitial art: any work of art whose basic nature falls between, rather than within, the familiar boundaries of accepted genres or media.

We fall between the boundaries of accepted genres, not within… 

It made me think about the four of us, the two hosts, the producer, the station lead. Women, all.

My cohost is a comedian, an artist, and a brilliant essayist. My producer was already an EMMY-award winner prior to this, known for another Nashville show, ARTS Break, and is wicked smart and very creative. The station President is a reformed English major who is a dynamic leader and tireless believer in the importance of public television. And then there’s me, the thriller author. 

I’d say all four of us fit this interstitial description well, that our talents fall between, not within, the boundaries of our chosen fields, and maybe, that allows us to transcend them a bit. It certainly felt like that on Saturday night, when I was standing on a stage in a gorgeous dress holding a gold statue.

There are so many people who make this show incredible. Matt and Will, who were up on stage with us, are our backbone. Susie and Paul and Jim and Sean, who work tirelessly behind the cameras on the shoots to make everything look so good. Amy, who helps me get to know our authors whom I haven’t read before, which helps the interviews go smoother. Ariel Lawhon, who did a lot behind the scenes to help me when we first started. Our whole NPT family, who loved John’s show and wanted to see it succeed in this format. The viewers, who have embraced us wholeheartedly, and keep asking for more. The authors we’ve had on as guests, who have been patient and kind and willing to laugh, and go on locations which have been creative, to say the least (jail, Margaret Atwood?). The city of Nashville, and all the sites where we’ve filmed, for allowing us to invade their worlds for half a day. Our booksellers and literary community, who have tirelessly worked to help us promote the show. Our sponsors, who sit quietly but powerfully in the background.

We share this celebration of the muse with all of you. 

And now, I really do have to thank the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for their acknowledgement of our efforts. It means a lot to me. 

I have no other words but these: Please, please, keep reading. It makes all the difference.