Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 4.29.18

Welcome to Sunday, gentle readers. Time to grab some tea, kick up your feet, and lazily read my favorite reads of the week.

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

15 of the best Shakespeare tattoos. Which one is your favorite? I'm partial to #2, myself.

How to Make a Fruitfly Orgasm. Most interesting headline of the week, for sure...

This Joan Didion essay will change the way you think about keeping a journal. "Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether..."

"Ask Benedict to say the word 'penguin.' " Oh my, this is priceless. I love a man who can laugh at himself!

Time management Monday: Just Don’t Do It. Fabulous advice. This is how I prune my To Do lists.

The best method for cooking asparagus is 2000 years old. If it ain't broke...

Advice to writers: You can't write what you wouldn't read. Brilliant advice from Queen Nora.

And closer to home:

The LIE TO ME ebook is only $2.99 until tomorrow! Dirt cheap, y'all—less than a latte, and maybe provides a little more adrenaline.

10 of you can win a copy of THE SIXTH DAY from Shelf Awareness! Throw your hat in the ring on this one. 

That's it from me. Y'all give a treat to the neighborhood cat, send a just-because card to a friend, and we'll talk again soon.



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Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 9.10.17

Hello, lovelies. How are you? While it's been a wild ride this week, I have to admit I've been following Irma reports quite closely. Many friends and loved ones in the storm's path, so while I'm still on tour today, my heart is with you, beloved Florida. Y'all stay strong and safe. ❤️

LIE TO ME touring has made me quite the road warrior—it's been so much fun seeing so many of you in person, and saying hi to new faces. Today I'm in the Bay Area, teaching at the Book Passage Mystery Conference. I prefer to think of it as corrupting the young writers of America, but YMMV...

I'm off to Seattle tonight, signing tomorrow at the wonderful Seattle Mystery Bookshop, then off to my Colorado stomping grounds, where I'll be talking with the brilliant Chris Goff at Tattered Cover – Aspen Grove on Tuesday night. Then a little break. Whew!

Without further ado...

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

The Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the United States. It's the most wonderful time of the year! 🍂 Even more fun: Sutton and Ethan Montclair's Franklin, TN, is on the list. 

The Greatest Goths in Literary History. I've always been a little punk rock and enjoyed the darker side of things—heck, I'm even putting out a Southern Gothic collection later this month! Here's to the darker writers who came before us.

White Shoes After Labor Day: Can You Do It? What say you, dear reader? Can you do it? Full disclosure, I have never owned a pair of white shoes (see punk rocker, above), so I'm doubly fascinated.

Book Review: The Perfect Pencil. Y'all know how much I love a good pencil. That is why the nerd in me wants to read this book.

Ian McEwan's Enchanted Garden. Excuse me while I pick up my jaw from the floor. 😮 WANT!!!!! (The house ain't bad, either...)

Sidekicks People Like Better Than the Main Character. Do you agree?

A Book to Watch Out For: I WAS ANASTASIA by Ariel Lawhon. Historical fiction fans, and history fans in general, don't walk—run—to get a copy of this book. I WAS ANASTASIA comes out next March, but those of you with NetGalley access can request it now. I got my hands on an advanced copy, and it's INCREDIBLE.

[video] New A Word on Words episode: Chemical Reaction with Weike Wang. This week's episode of AWOW finds my cohost Mary Laura Philpott chatting with CHEMISTRY author Weike Wang about her debut book, a coming-of-age novel about a young (unnamed) female scientist who must recalibrate her life when her academic career goes off track. Interesting!

And closer to home:

It's here: LIE TO ME is out! If you've been living under a rock (or missed the banner at the top of the page), you may not know that my newest standalone novel, LIE TO ME, came out this week. And oh, has it been a week. I've been overwhelmed by the flood of well wishes and love from all of you. LIE TO ME is stocked in stores across the land in all formats.  Even The Washington Post ran a review that said I've crafted a "compelling story" (let the angels rejoice!). It's been quite a ride—thank you for making all of this happen. ❤️

A few pieces that have run during LIE TO ME release week:

  • Pushing Boundaries. If you're looking for ways to level up your writing, I give you 6 ways to do just that.
  •'s Books We Love. This sampling of HarperCollins new releases popular in independent bookstores is perfect for your audiophiles.
  • Instagram Tour of Franklin, TN. The settings in my novels are, to me, characters unto themselves. I love the verisimilitude of writing a place I know so well. LIE TO ME is set in the beautiful, idyllic town of Franklin, twenty miles south of Nashville. If you'd like to see if the settings in LIE TO ME match your imagination, take a peek at my Instagram.

That's it from me! Y'all be good, be safe, read a good book, take a walk in the cooler evenings, and we'll talk again soon.


It's here: LIE TO ME is out today!

I say this all the time, but thank heavens for my book journals. There is nothing better than leafing through my old notebooks to find the impetus for my stories.

LIE TO ME is no different. It began, quite literally, in a Parisian café, in a humble travel-worn Moleskine, under the influence of champagne, as the story of a woman whose mother has deserted her. I was charmed by the neighborhood we were staying in, and affected by the roaming we did throughout the city. I took notes on every person I saw, scripted their conversations, imagined their lives. And then I went home, to Tennessee, and started to write.

The story quickly morphed into something very different, at once challenging and frightening. So much so, I sometimes wondered why I was writing it. You’ll understand when you read the opening line. I tried very hard to open the story a different way, but sometimes, characters insist on telling their tale their way, and the writer must simply sit back and allow them to take center stage, under a lone spotlight. This is LIE TO ME in a nutshell. The characters took over, and I was along for the ride.

But fear is a part of writing. Fear creates resistance, which keeps us from the page. It’s a truth well known among writers that the books you’re the most scared to write are the ones that will push you to the next level, that teach you how to be a better writer, that reach new readers. LIE TO ME was such a book. The fear, the resistance, were sky high, and so I knew I was on to something, and continued pushing until the story revealed itself. I even went back to Paris to write more, because sometimes you must honor your Muse when she gives you gifts. You’ll understand after you read it why this was so necessary to the process.

LIE TO ME is, at heart, a story of the ultimate betrayal. Of a marriage gone awry after the loss of a child. Two young, successful writers, Sutton and Ethan Montclair, the toast of the literary community, the perfect couple, lose their son to SIDS, and the aftermath of his death creates an untenable world for them. Unable to cope, Sutton leaves in the night, and Ethan finds a note on the counter that clearly states: Don’t look for me.

But is this the truth, or only one part of the story?

Sutton has seemingly left without her lifelines: her phone, her computer, her wallet. Has she left on her own? Or is her disappearance the result of something more sinister? Knowing he will be fingered for hurting his wife, Ethan delays calling the police, and when he finally does, his world falls apart.

And that’s as much as I can say about the story without revealing too much. A problem inherent to the domestic noir genre.

What is domestic noir? I define it thusly: a story of dark suspense in which the reader is misled along the way to the conclusion. The narrators are ordinary people to whom extraordinary events happen, and are oftentimes unreliable, which means the narrative’s mystery is even more obscured than normal. Twists happen in the story, turns in the narrative that set the reader off on a new path. The ending is often explosive and always surprising. It is not a new genre, though it has seen a resurgence of late.

By its very title, the reader will recognize LIE TO ME sits squarely in the domestic noir genre. It is a story of ordinary, if talented, people, who are overwhelmed by an extraordinary event. Even though this event happened in the past, their futures remain uncertain. Their pain is relatable, their actions understandable.

And yet… there is something else at play.

My goals with these types of stories is to take you to the very last line, to give as satisfying an ending as possible, with a few unexpected twists thrown in along the way. If I’ve done my job correctly, LIE TO ME will leave you breathless and turning the pages late into the night.

You’ll let me know, won’t you? And if you don’t like it, please, lie to me.

Get your copy right now!






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, or follow her online at or on Twitter @thrillerchick.

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 9.2.17

Hey, y'all, welcome to Sunday. You doing okay? I've been thinking especially about you, Texas peeps. Nashville knows the devastation that floods can bring. Please know you're in our hearts.

I write to you from Decatur, Georgia, near Atlanta, the first stop on my LIE TO ME tour. It's a banner day – I'm on a panel with the stellar Tess Gerritsen. This is a full-circle moment for me. When I was a publishing newbie, a mere three weeks after I got my deal, I committed one of my biggest faux pas with the gracious Ms. Gerritsen... so I'm looking forward to sharing a stage and keeping my excitement buttoned up to a professional level this time. 😜

Without further ado, I give you today's links.

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Learning From the Feynman Technique. I'm a big fan of this when building a book. But what do I know?

Louise Penny: By the Book.  Lovely, classy—this is how it's done.

A Debut Novelist’s Descent Into Darkness. Gabriel Tallent's debut novel, MY ABSOLUTE DARLING, seems like a masterpiece wrought out of thin air. But Tallent, a waiter who just quit his job, has been working on this novel for much longer than anyone would realize...  

BookBub's 19 Thrillers to Read Before Summer's End.  Lots of goodies in here, and a few familiar faces... 😉

Developing Your Creative Habit. Actionable steps included... the most important part of creativity, in fact.

Seven Habits That Are Killing Your Creative Growth. Preach!

Goodreads' 21 Big Books of Fall.  For our ever-expanding TBR lists!

Rules For My Son.  A wonderful read. I love this!

“Wearing a uniform is also a way of asserting your status as a protagonist. ” On the virtues of finding a uniform—this appeals to me in so many ways...

And closer to home:

Before you dive into LIE TO ME's marriage from hell, I present to you... my own love story—and why I think it works. A certain book we all know about releases on Tuesday (ahem). And you're going to see a lot of promotion around it. But here's a piece that falls close to my heart: the story of my own marriage. 

That's it from me! It's a big week coming up, so you may see me around the Internets more than usual. Nashville, Minneapolis, San Francisco—come see me this week, I'll be in your neck of the woods and I'd love to say hi. Y'all be good!


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:


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.