Sunday Smatterings

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Hey, chickens, what's shaking? Are you snowed in like I (happily) am? We didn't get much snow in Nashville—most of us are stuck at home because of icy roads—but we got enough of the white stuff to turn everything into a winter wonderland for a bit. And even though they're cooped up inside, my girls enjoy how easy it is to spot cardinals in the snow. It's their version of Kitty TV!

Just because we're iced in doesn't mean we haven't been productive. Guess what? I celebrated the Snowpocalypse by turning in Novel the 20th—aka my new standalone, TEAR ME APART! 🎉 I think that's reason alone to break my dry January, don't you? My brilliant editor has it now, and there's more work to come, of course, but I always breathe a huge sigh of relief when the first draft is out of my hands. It's someone else's problem for now. 😜

And without further ado, here are your links for the week:


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:


The man who read the world: David Bowie's son launches an online book club in his honor. I just love this. Can't believe he's been gone for two years.


Why time management is ruining our lives. A fascinating but important long read. We need margin to breathe sometimes.


You Need To See This Ice Hotel's "Game Of Thrones" Rooms. GoT nerds, you've got to check this out for the Hall of Faces alone!


Authors reveal their dream retreats. I'm always curious how other people go through the creative process and where they fill their wells. There's a reason we go on a creative retreat to Colorado every spring.


11 Literary Holidays You Need To Add To Your Calendar If You're A Book-Lover. Now we have almost a dozen more excuses to celebrate stories. Cue my excitement!


Why surprise Golden Globe nominee 'The Sinner' is a must watch. This was my favorite stream of 2017. The Sinner is superbly written and acted—I highly recommend it!


Woman Locked in Bookstore Overnight. She even had her own bed to read in. Best. Night. Ever.


And closer to home:


Sunday Reads: SMALL TOWN TROUBLE by Laura Benedict (Familiar Legacy Series #5). My BFF has a great new book out this week. SMALL TOWN TROUBLE is a sweet murder mystery featuring Trouble the cat, who, I might add, completely steals the book from his human counterparts. A great read and a great author. Have a go!


That's it from me! Y'all enjoy your week, stay warm, check up on a neighbor or two, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

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 9.17.17

Hey, y'all. How's tricks? Yours truly is back in Nashville for the first time in a long while. I loved, loved, loved meeting so many of you out on the road. But this introvert is overjoyed to be back with her hubby, her cats, and pots of tea within arm's reach. It's the little things, you know.

Fun news: If you didn't get to see me on tour, join me for my LiveSigning this Thursday night at 7:00 pm CT! Details are below. Bonus – you don't even have to leave your couch to attend. 🎉🎉🎉

Now it's back to work for me, conjuring new adventures for Nicholas and Mike. Things are going to be quiet on this front while I whip our new book into shape. But don't worry, I'm not disappearing for long. I'll see many of you at Bouchercon mid-October! 

And without further ado...


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

11 Literary Destinations Every Book-Lover Should Visit in the Fall. Autumn is just around the corner, and it's the best time of year to be a book geek! Here's where you should go on a literary road trip.
 

What I've Been Reading Lately: The New and the Notable. Great book finder Anne Bogel dishes on the five books she's been loving lately. Stock those TBR piles, y'all!
 

The Crazy Story Behind the First Book Published in the (Future) United States. An escape from England, an indentured servant with a mysterious past, and an untimely death while crossing the Atlantic—it sounds like a juicy plot, doesn't it?
 

The not-so-easy Weasley quiz. They aren't kidding. How many did you get? My score was deemed "Weason-able." #WeasleyIsOurKing
 

THE ABANDONED HEART by Laura Benedict is out in paperback! My bestie writes Southern Gothic fiction, and it is superb. Check out the last of her Bliss House trilogy, now at a killer bargain price.
 

Best Books of the Month: September Edition. Speaking of good books, check out these favorites from suspense authors Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke (word on the street is there's a giveaway attached to this post...).
 

U.S. Postal Service unveils series of stamps honoring children's book "The Snowy Day." Just in time for the holidays! 
 

16 New Thriller Books Coming Out This Fall. So many book roundups hit the feeds this time of year, and for good reason: fall is a treasure trove for us book lovers. BookBub gives us even more books for our TBR piles.
 

A Big Ol' Interview about LIE TO ME with Book Reporter. This was a fun one—lots of great questions!


And closer to home:

 
 

Did I not visit your city for the LIE TO ME tour? Worry not, chicken: at my LiveSigning (with special guest, historical novelist and my dear friend Ariel Lawhon!), you can get a signed book AND ask me questions – all from your own couch!

Click here to get your signed copy. ➤ https://livesigning.com/jt

 
 
 

Pre-Order DEAD ENDS: Stories from the Gothic South, edited by ME! Look at this lineup. Look at it. Y'all, this anthology is packed with creepy goodness from emerging voices and NYT bestsellers, and will arrive just in time for Halloween reading. 

It's. So. Good. Order your copy today! It's in hardcover, paperback, and ebook.

 
 
 

John Grisham tried to write a book without lawyers in it. And he (almost) succeeded.

His latest, CAMINO ISLAND, is a fascinating look into the world of stolen rare books, and he takes us along for the ride.

I have been sitting on this interview for months, desperate to tell you about it, and I'm so excited to finally share it with you! Mr. Grisham was a gracious, insightful, and disarmingly funny guest. I was thrilled to sit down with him for this week’s episode of A WORD ON WORDS. #keepreading


That's it from me! Enjoy some lovely autumn weather, bake some brownies for the neighbors, buy a pumpkin or two, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.


P.S. I'm thinking of you, my Texas and Florida chickens. 

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.

Daily Tao ☯ 5.24.17

Great news, y’all — commenting on the blog is fixed! From here on out, to comment, you click on the word “Comment”, which opens a nice, clean box. You write me a love letter, click “Post Comment”, and the following box will appear. All you have to do is put in your name, and click “Comment as Guest” and voilà!  

 

*Ignore the Log In to Comment. It shouldn’t be there, but at least now there’s the guest option. Still working on eliminating any more confusion with the service, but this is a good start.*

So. With that fixed, which took up a lot of time today, I was able to turn to the manuscript, edit what I did yesterday, and eek out another almost 1000. I'm over 6k now... I also did a big print interview (which you’ll see next month, fingers crossed) and did some last minute travel arrangements for BEA. 

A good day, all in all. And tomorrow, it’s manuscript only. And kitties. Who really do love to distract mom the moment she gets going with her words…

Oh, did y’all see the great news from my BFF, Laura Benedict? She sold her new novel, and it’s going to be incredible — I’ve read the book and it’s fantastic. Many congrats to Laura today!

Sweet dreams!