DEAD ENDS: Stories from the Gothic South is on sale today!

For years, I’ve been telling people (new writers, especially) that while everything is derivative—there are only seven plots, after all—what makes their story distinctive is voice. The treatment a writer gives their novel or short story will always be unique unto them: their voice, their experiences, their vocabulary, their writing style, all will converge to make even the most tried-and-true plot trope unique.

Said more simply, if you give thirteen writers a photo and ask them to write a story, you’ll get thirteen completely different stories.

I’ve seen this happen when I teach. I like to use visual aids to help the writers in my classes, to give them a jumping-off point. A kick start. I think it’s a fun, stress-free way of starting a story. I show them a man, a woman, a setting. Something, anything, so they don’t have to conjure up a tale from total scratch.

I’ve been using this example for so long, and so often, that when I came across this photo in an article I was reading, I knew I had the perfect opportunity. 

 
The House that inspired DEAD ENDS
 

I immediately wondered: What was his story? What was this place he stood before? What was the house to him?

With this evocative photo in hand, I approached my publisher and posited an idea: Let’s create an anthology of stories based on the house in the photo. I mean, why not put my money where my mouth is, right? I handpicked a group of writers whom I thought would do a great job at showcasing (and proving) my theory—that no two writers will approach the page the same way. We had only two requirements for them: that the house appear in the story in some way, and the theme of the story was Southern Gothic.

These talented writers did exactly what I thought they’d do—they created wildly diverse stories about, in, and mentioning the house that are in turns chilling, haunting, and downright scary. From writers going mad to demons inhabiting young girls; ancient caves to ancestral feuds; gardens of stone angels to evils seen and unseen—the stories you’re about to read cover the gamut of the best themes of Southern Gothic fiction.

They clearly had so much fun with it that I had to join in.

And so, I give you DEAD ENDS. My brilliant friends and I have cooked up thirteen original, never-before-published spooky tales for you to enjoy this Halloween season. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did writing them. But be sure to lock the doors and windows first... you never know what the road ahead might bring.

 

Get the ebook: $3.99

Get the Paperback: $13.99

Get the Hardcover: $24.99

Look at this picture. Tell me what you see…

The American South is rife with stories of a haunted past—especially its houses. In this eclectic and impressive collection, thirteen novelists were asked to build their tales around the photo of a dilapidated mansion. They were given two requirements—the house must appear in the story, and it should be a Southern Gothic tale. And they delivered.

From childish demons to a mad novelist, from the Mississippi delta to the Appalachians, this collection from emerging voices and New York Timesbestselling authors explores what happens when secrets that lie beneath the dust are disturbed—and our worst nightmares begin. 

Darkness lurks behind every corner, especially dead ends.


Contributors Include:

  1. Jeff Abbott
  2. David Bell
  3. Laura Benedict
  4. Patti Callahan Henry
  5. Dana Chamblee Carpenter
  6. Paige Crutcher
  7. Helen Ellis
  8. J.T. Ellison
  9. Ariel Lawhon
  10. Lisa Morton
  11. Bryon Quertermous
  12. Amanda Stevens
  13. Dave White

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 8.27.17

Hey, peeps, happy Sunday! Hope you had a good week. Did you do anything fun?

Lots of quiet time for me, writing and storing up energy for a busy fall. I'm looking forward to traveling to across the country over the next few weeks. I do my best writing on planes, actually, because I have nowhere to go and no immediate distractions – no phone to answer, no kitchen to clean, no errands to run, no kitties to throw mice for. On top of that, I get to say hi to so many of you, for which I'm so grateful! LIE TO ME is about to be born into the world, and y'all are the ones who make it all possible. Thank you, darling readers. Truly.


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

19 Thrillers You May Have Missed This Summer. Stock your TBR lists, people! Winter is coming. You may see some familiar faces here...
 

A Discover of Witches TV Show Announcement. If you've been around the Tao for a while, you know I feel pretty strongly about Deb Harkess (I love her) and her series A Discover of Witches (I love it). So I was tickled pink when Deb announced the TV casting for reluctant witch Diana Bishop and sexy vampire geneticist Matthew. Wonderful choices—especially for Diana! I can't wait to see their performances.
 

A Woman Was Arrested for "Stealing" a Case of Water Bottles and THIS Was Her Husband’s Response. LOLOLOLOL! Priceless. 😂
 

How many of the top 100 crimes novels of the early 20th century have you read? Y'all are pretty prolific readers, so I'm curious. Leave your answer in the comments...
 

Being Busy Is Killing Our Ability to Think Creatively. I'm trying my best to heed these words. Focus takes practice now, which is alarming to me. I've had a lot happening this year, so this is especially salient right now.
 

8 Books to Read If You Loved Broadchurch. After the finale, you may be jonesing for more Hardy and Miller. These may do the trick.
 

20 Literary "Would You Rather"s. Hee! 
 

A WORD ON WORDS with Elizabeth Strout. Did you know Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of OLIVE KITTERIDGE and MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON, did stand-up comedy? My cohost Mary Laura Philpott uncovers all kinds of gems in this episode of A WORD ON WORDS (psst, this kicks off a whole slew of Season 3 episodes! Stay tuned over the next few weeks for some killer all-star guests 🙌). #keepreading


And closer to home:

LIE TO ME is here NEXT WEEK.

Needless to say, I can't wait for you to get your hands on it!

Some lovely people have been featuring the book, bloggers you may want to put on your radar if you want some tip-top resources to your TBR pile. Many thanks to:

Haven't pre-ordered your copy yet? No worries.
Find your preferred format and favorite retailer here, and claim yours in a couple of clicks.


As you know, I have been stocking my indie press, Two Tales, with my own short stories exclusively. But no more! 

On September 28, we are releasing the first Two Tales Press Anthology — DEAD ENDS: Stories from the Gothic South — featuring 13 original stories by 13 incredible authors. It's a themed anthology, too! DEAD ENDS is now available for pre-order in ebook, paperback, and hardcover. I hope you love it—there's some amazing stuff in here for you. Here's the lineup of incredible authors:

  1. Jeff Abbott
  2. Helen Ellis
  3. Patti Callahan Henry
  4. Amanda Stevens
  5. Paige Crutcher
  6. Dana Chamblee Carpenter
  7. Laura Benedict
  8. Bryon Quertermous
  9. Dave White
  10. Lisa Morton
  11. David Bell
  12. J.T. Ellison
  13. Ariel Lawhon

Enjoy, y'all.


That's it from me! Y'all have a great week, enjoy the last vestiges of summer before we plunge into Pumpkin Spice mode, and I'll talk to you again soon.

xo,
J.T.

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 6.11.17

Hi, y'all, welcome to Sunday.

It's been a relatively quiet week at chez Ellison. I've been nursing this rebound cold, been provided chicken soup and bone broth by dear friends who want to see me well. The Preds have left me breathless (and hoarse) during their Stanley Cup run. We started the main guest bathroom renovation this week, and I was shocked by how quiet the demolition was. Seriously, they were like little mice, and suddenly, the bath was taken back to studs. I got to see my friend Heather Gudenkauf and talk to her about her new book. Busy, but fun. And amid all the chaos, I was doing my job, plugging along, working on the new Brit in the FBI—this is going to be such a fun ride. I think you'll enjoy it.

Here for links, are you? Here you go.


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:
 

Writing Through Rejection. Yes. Yes. Yes. If you want to be any kind of artist—writer, painter, dancer, chef, whatever—you must be okay with rejection. Not everyone is going to be on board with your vision. That's all right. You are not for everyone, you are not Nutella. (and check out the quote from Suzanne Brockman, it's brilliant)
 

Blake Lively to Star in Thriller The Husband’s Secret from Big Little Lies Author. Fans of Liane Moriarty, rejoice! CBS Films is adapting this juicy novel. Haven't read the book yet? You should. Check it out here, it's a great summer read.
 

Making a Marriage Magically Tidy. If you've never read Helen Ellis, you're going to want to fix that right now. Helen wrote one of my all-time favorite novels, EATING THE CHESHIRE CAT, along with the deliciously dark and hilarious short story collection, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE. If you're a struggling slob, or have ever lived with one, please read this wonderful piece. You'll have tears rolling down your face by the time you're done.
 

How to Quit Diet Coke. The struggle is real. Modern Mrs. Darcy tells us how to ditch the habit.
 

‘Not a Sound’: A thriller worth staying up all night to finish. Maureen Corrigan, book reviewer for NPR's Fresh Air, gives Heather Gudenkauf's newest two thumbs up! I must say, I agree: NOT A SOUND is fantastic, a brilliant summer read.
 

BookExpo 2017: J.T. Ellison Changes It Up. While I was in New York last week, I got to talk to Publishers Weekly about LIE TO ME, and why I'm writing standalone novels now. So much fun!

[video] This is what marriage is. I don't know that I've ever laughed harder. Though it applies to more than just marriage when it comes to me... 


And closer to home:
 

Read the first 3 chapters of LIE TO ME! The June newsletter went out this week, and tucked inside was an offer to read the first three chapters of LIE TO ME—for free! Read it, and let me know what you think. (Aren't signed up for the newsletter? Whatcha waiting for? You get a free ebook, and stay in the know. Join the list today!)
 

Deal alert: 14 (Taylor Jackson #2) is on sale for .99 through tomorrow! Get it now!

Win a Mega Bundle of Contemporary Mysteries & Thrillers + MORE! There's still time to enter this contest (where you could win NO ONE KNOWS and an eReader). Don't miss out! Entry only takes two seconds. Good luck!


That's it from me. Y'all have a good week, GO PREDS, and we'll chat again soon.

xo,
J.T.

Sunday Smatterings

Hello, chickens, happy Mother's Day! Hope y'all had a good week.

As you may have heard, Catherine and I headed to New York to start writing Brit #5 (it's called THE BLOOD CABAL—how cool is that?). We ate lots of great food, had the best visit with our fabulous publisher, Gallery Books, complete with champagne and cupcakes (honestly, book people are the best). We had a grand ol' time getting into Nicholas and Mike's next adventure, and I can't wait to dive headfirst into fleshing this beauty out. I also managed lunches with my Mira folk, too. LIE TO ME World domination plans continue.

And thanks for all of your well wishes—I'm feeling a bit better after being under the weather all week, though I still sound like Lauren Bacall. Oh well, there are worse things...


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:


People Are Adding “And Then The Murders Began” To Famous Book Openings, And It’s Impossible Not To Laugh. This is sheer brilliance.
 

When You're Obsessive. A short ode from The Passive Guy.
 

Digital Detox: Is It Right for You? Y'all know about my annual social media fast around Lent. Sometimes a detox resets your perspective and revamps the way you work. For me, this is nothing short of magical.
 

Smartphones Are the New Cigarettes. Because we all suffer from second-hand tech. We really do.
 

Two Million Stars on the Move. Space is pretty freaking cool.
 

Quiz! Can You Guess the Classic Book by These Extremely Vague Descriptions? Because we all need a Buzzfeed quiz to make us question our intelligence.
 

12 Unforgettable Forests in Literature. Because who doesn't want to escape into the woods sometimes?
 

Libraries We Wouldn't Mind Getting Locked Into. For those who would rather escape into a place with air-conditioning and a bathroom.
 

Some of the Most Amusing—and Mortifying—Messages People Have Sent to the WRONG Number. 😂😂😂


And closer to home:


A WORD ON WORDS With Helen Ellis. I'm not sure if I've ever laughed more in an interview! Helen Ellis is a powerhouse, y'all, and it's time she become a household name. In our delightful chat, Helen and I talk about living as a Southerner in "the Ultimate North," whether the New York or South is a more sinister place, when it's okay not to be nice, and why Maybelline lipstick may be the world's most frightening fashion accessory. 
 

What I'm Into (May 2017). These are 5 things I'm seriously grooving on this month.
 

Daily Tao ☯ 5.8.17. Don't forget—I'm blogging (nearly) every day! Follow my New York adventures with Catherine, starting with May 8. 


***Bonus Section: BIG NEWS!***

Bargains! There's a new page on JTEllison.com called Bargains (an original name, I know!), where all sorts of fun goodies will live: free and discounted books, contests of all stripes, etc. We'll let you know when new things pop up on the Bargains page, but check back sometimes to see the loot you can get on a discount.


That's it from me! Happy Mother's Day to all, especially you who are furbaby mommies like me, enjoy some spring sunshine, take an extra long walk or two, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

A WORD ON WORDS with Helen Ellis

I think housewives are powerful and slightly deranged. But so am I.
 

Years ago I read a debut novel by a woman named Helen Ellis. Her book was EATING THE CHESHIRE CATand I loved it.

Then I heard nothing of Helen Ellis for sixteen years.

Until she resurfaced with a brilliant book of short stories last year called AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE (which you must read). And as you can see by my enthusiasm-runneth-over energy, I could not wait to interview Helen, to get a peek into her dark, humorous mind.

Helen Ellis is a powerhouse, y'all, and it's time she become a household name.

In our delightful chat, Helen and I talk about living as a Southerner in "the Ultimate North," whether the New York or South is a more sinister place, when it's okay not to be nice, and why Maybelline lipstick may be the world's most frightening fashion accessory.