Daily Tao ☯ 6.19.17

You know it’s been a long day when you sit down after a reheated pizza dinner and look at property to buy in other countries. 

Though I am half Italian, I have an ongoing love affair with Scotland. It’s in my blood too — I’m a Wallace on my mom’s side, and my husband is a highlander — Clan McBean. My friend Brandee likes to feed my addiction, and is a terrible influence, regularly sending me stunning island and cottage real estate listings. I lost a good hour tonight running numbers on a property on the Isle of Skye (a favorite Scotch, Talisker, is made just down the road — talk about heaven!) 

I am feeling a strange desire to run away from home for a while. There’s so much going on that I can’t give anything my proper attention. The Kerr is going on vacation for a couple of weeks at the end of the month, and I might just take a small internet sabbatical at the same time myself. Would you forgive me if I disappeared for two weeks? 

It might save me a LOT of money — two weeks of sabbatical versus a downpayment on a small Scottish village….

The last pass of LIE TO ME is finished and into production. I won’t see it again until it’s between the covers. I might have vapors, but it’s done. 

Hope your day was lovely — sweet dreams!

Daily Tao ☯ 6.15.17

I have a friend who signs off his emails “As you were, busy but happy…”

I love that, because that’s pretty much my life, busy but happy.

Though the busy overwhelmed today.

My page proofs are in for LIE TO ME, so it’s all stop on the new book to get them into shape. I missed most of the day working on them, though, because I had a luncheon commitment, at which I was the emcee. (I was a nervous wreck but managed to get through without either falling down or fainting, or even putting my foot too far down my throat. We call this a success.)

The air conditioning went out upstairs, and we’ve so far entertained two repairmen in two days. And the renovations chug along… the new bathroom floor is in and it’s divine, we have a new mantel, and I have SHELVES in my master bathroom — OMG, y’all, my linen closet is literally 10 inches deep and is out in the hall, so a place to have towels in my bathroom is mega-exciting! Plus, a new rug sample arrived — so far, the minions have given it the cold shoulder, though I think that’s just because of the scent, and not the look or feel. I hope.

Plus, two other smaller projects in the works needed attention, and… and… and…

I did stop and take a few nice, deep breaths this afternoon. I’ll do some yoga later on tonight, to ease myself out of the day, and all will be well in the world. 

So a short one from me today as I work on my juggling skills! Hope you had a good day, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Sweet dreams!


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.

Sunday Smatterings

Happy Sunday, and SURPRISE! It's me, The Kerr! 

While J.T. is frolicking in snowy Colorado, I thought I'd join the rest of us whose faces melted off this week (why is it so hot in May!?) and talk about fun things I saw online. 

Guys, I'm not ready for another Tennessee summer. To be honest, I never am. Never been to the South? Everything they say about the humidity is true. Oh, the humidity!

This is how I plan to combat the heat June–October (because let's be honest, the temps stay sky high until Halloween).

oh, the humidity!

All right, all right, you came here for links. And links you shall get.

Many things captured my interest last week, so instead of my usual format, I'm piggybacking on J.T.'s instead. Because she is a smart lady.

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Summer Reading Guide. The forecast for good books this summer? Bright and sunny. (Place a ✔︎ by your Corny Joke of the Day)

Meet Mr. Frank, Nashville's 91-Year-Old Substitute Teacher. A WWII veteran subbing in public schools? I'd call that inspiring. You should read why he does it.

Shipt. You're an introvert's dream. And I love you.

Amazon Prime Now. I love you, too. Even though you introduced me to an unhealthy obsession with these maple pecans, and I can't find them anywhere else.

RIP, Chris Cornell. Thanks for producing most of my high school soundtrack.

The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir. I'm a sucker for a good memoir, and this one didn't disappoint. I read this book in fifteen hours—only breaking for sleep and work. It's that riveting.

Um. American Idol is coming back. But it won't be on Fox...

2017 Netflix Premiere Schedule. Because summer TV shows are important. 

And closer to home:

Bargains! There are still a couple of contests up on the Bargains page (including a 200-copy galley giveaway for LIE TO ME). Check 'em out!

Grab a Three-Chapter Excerpt of LIE TO ME! What!? Yes. You're going to hate me because you'll want to read more. But trust me, friends—this book is worth the wait. 

Folks, that's all I have for you. Stay cool, drink lots of water (and make sure your pets do, too), eat an ice cream sandwich, and we'll chat again soon!

Amy/The Kerr

Sunday Smatterings

Morning, gentle readers, welcome to Sunday! Did you have a good week? I'm a bit under the weather (more on that here) and have lost my voice. Which is going to be fun., considering all the talking upcoming this week. Regardless, I'm looking forward to a fun-filled week in NYC with Catherine as we start Brit #5, hang out with publishers, eat delicious food, and cause all kinds of tomfoolery.

Lots of links this week, so without further ado...

Here's what happened on the internets this week:

9 Real Life Places That Inspired Classic NovelsSummer's almost here! Time for a literary road trip, yes?

[VIDEO] Shades of Writing. Great advice (and a superb new video series) from one seriously smart author, V.E. Schwab. V's the one who saved my latest manuscript by suggesting a tense change was in order. If I listen to her, shouldn't you?

Why Lady Gaga Is Our Mental Health Hero. An incredible artist who uses her platform to share her struggle, help others feel accepted, and spread kindness. What's not to love about Lady Gaga? This is too important a subject to be silent on.

How Jane Austen Continues to Inspire Romance Authors. Lady Jane is Queen of Everything forever and ever, amen. She inspires thriller writers, too. Just saying...

What I've Learned After 5 Years and 20 Books: 25 Lessons. Chuck Wendig may have a salty tongue (very salty, so be warned), but the lessons in this essay are good ones. I've preached many of these things on the Tao, especially #3 and #4. 

Three Powerful Questions that Lift the Weight of “Too Much” and Anchor Us in PeaceBecause learning to say no is so vital. Its a word I despise using, but the more I do, the easier my life is. 

And Closer to Home:

A WORD ON WORDS with Adam Haslett. A fascinating discussion of writing the interior life, writing about hard things, and Adam's unconventional journey to the craft. Adam Haslett is a down-to-earth genius. Seriously.

Author Assistant 101: The Best Tool I Use To Collaborate With My AuthorAmy's latest in her series for Author Assistants—or anyone looking to organize and communicate with others more effectively. This week she talks about the godsend of a program we use more than any other.

Daily Writing Tao 5.4.17. I missed writing my little daily vignettes, and according to a very nonscientific Facebook poll, you guys did too. So to keep me accountable as I get started on Novel #20, off we go again! Think of these as a logbook, a way to get my day and lingering thought beasties onto the page. I started up again on Thursday and haven't looked back. Weekends off, natch, to accommodate this blog (and really, who wants to hear that I took a nap on the porch?)

Bonus Section: Contests!

Book Giveaway For Lie to Me. You have 200 chances to win an ARC of my new book, LIE TO MEWith odds like that, how could you not enter?

Enter to Win 50+ Crime Fiction & Thrillers PLUS a New Kindle Fire! Including ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS!

Enter to Win 50 Paranormal, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy Romances, 1 of 4 $25 Bookstore Gift Cards, PLUS a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet! Including WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE!

That's it from me! Y'all be good this week, go pick some flowers for your neighbor, take a long walk with a friend or the dog, and we'll talk again soon.



The Divine Inspiration of the Perfect Podcast

The Divine Inspiration of the Perfect Podcast

I am late to the podcast game. 

I am a visual learner, which means when I’m in the car going places, I’m don't normally use that time constructively. I make phone calls (hands-free, of course) and listen to music. I’ve tried audiobooks, but unless they are seriously engaging (Rosamund Pike reading PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, for example) I have a difficult time with them. 

But I wanted to use my car time more productively, so I subscribed to Elizabeth Gilbert’s MAGIC LESSONS podcast. I hadn’t read Big Magic yet, but I liked the idea of getting bits of inspiration as I drove around town.

And boy, did that work. I was hooked. I caught myself creating trips out just to listen. (I know, I could have listened at home, but I LOVE to drive, so…) When I finished, I told everyone I know to listen, and listen now, and I looked for something new to capture my attention.

I came across a podcast called WRITING EXCUSES. It has an adorable pitch— “15 Minutes Long, Because You’re in a Hurry, and We’re Not That Smart!”

OK. Totally in.

I scrolled for something that looked up my alley, for something I’d connect with. The proprietors of said podcast (Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells) all write in the fantasy, sci-fi world, so I worried for a moment that I was going to feel lost in space somewhere, but I love Sanderson, and what the heck, it’s fifteen minutes. (Though of course it has 12 SEASONS)

I picked an episode called “Elemental Thriller.”

Holy shit, people.

You know what’s totally awesome? Having people who don’t write your genre exclusively dissect your genre. I learned SO MUCH. A lot I already knew instinctively, I just hadn’t heard it phrased that way. But the most important thing was, I listened for five minutes and suddenly realized the essence of what was troubling me with my WIP—and fixed it that night. This particular episode was the key to allowing me to finish LIE TO ME.

I was hooked—again. I never expected something presented in a such a silly way to have such a remarkable effect on my writing. I of course went back to the beginning of Season 9 and have been systematically working my way in. I’m halfway through Season 11 now, and I am 100% convinced my writing is stronger, tighter, and more impactful because of all I’ve learned. The way they talk about story, about themes and elemental genres, just makes sense. 

Highly recommend you listen, and try some of the writing prompts! It will help you think about your story in a different way, guaranteed. And hey, we all need to learn, right?