Sunday Smatterings

Smatterings - Summer.jpg

Hi there, chickens! How was your 4th of July? Or your Canada Day? Ours was wonderful, though ridiculously hot. I felt like I was standing inside a wet washcloth the whole night. But the fireworks were great, as was the company. 

It's been an excellent writing week as well. So many words, so many fun scenes written. Plus my hydrangea put out its first bloom, and my garden is about to give over about a hundred Romas, and my basil is knee-high, so it's nearing time to start making fresh marinara sauce. Here's the recipe, it's dead simple and delicious. Any suggestions for the best way to freeze sauce, I'm open. I normally use plastic, but want to can some, too...

On to the latest news and bookish goodness!

Here's what happened on the Internets this week: 

8 Literary Gardens to Escape to This Summer. Yes, please. There is nothing better than a beautiful garden.

Bill Clinton and James Patterson on Crime Fiction. Super cool interview from Abby at Crime By The Book with two guys you might have heard of... As a co-writer, I found their process fascinating.

How a Bottle Makes Its Way Onto a Wine List. Fascinating process! I'm always excited when the wine lists change at my favorite restaurants, always interesting in how they choose their wines. This gave a lot of insight into the other end of the process. 

Library tourism. What a wonderful idea! If you're ever in Nashville, be sure to stop by the downtown library. It's breathtaking and the Civil Rights Room is a must-see.

Contemplating suicide, Marine turns to yoga. A wonderful story. I've read about Justin before, and if I'm ever not in the mood to get on my mat, I try to remember just how much it helps. 

Jonathan Franzen Is Fine With All of It. There is some very fine writing advice in this piece from both interviewer and interviewee. Keep your head down and do your work. You alone control your words.

Responding to Messages Immediately Is Hurting You in the Long Run. "Your cell phone number doesn't guarantee immediate access to you. Remember that." I am the worst about responding quickly–mostly because if I'm in front of my computer and an email or text comes in that I can deal with right away, I like to do it. But it's not necessary... and that's something I keep reminding myself, especially on the weekend.

Introvert or Extrovert? Here's How to Boost Your Productivity. I love this. I'm adapting a few of these practices to my work day, and it's working really well. Mostly, slowing down. I'm an anxious introvert, always worried I've said the wrong thing, and I'm finding if I just take a breath, I can forge ahead and not worry so much.

In a slightly related vein, if you're on Twitter, may I suggest you follow @tinycarebot? It's always perfectly timed with lovely self-care tidbits, and as we all know, self-care is vital to a happy, healthy life.

And closer to home:

$3.99 LIE TO ME ebook sale.jpg

If you’ve been waiting for a price reduction to grab LIE TO ME, now’s your chance! My latest standalone is on sale for $3.99.

And...Goodreads has another giveaway for Advanced Reader Copies of TEAR ME APART! While you're over there, be sure to add the book to your Want To Read shelf.

And one last thing... the July newsletter is going out next week with something very special inside. If you're not on the list and want to be, click here to join the fun!

That's all for now! Talk a long walk around a lake, pick some flowers, give your best friend a call, and I'll see you next week!


Sunday Smatterings

Smatterings - July 1, 2018

Hi there, chickens! It's hard to believe July is here. Where is this summer going? (She says, with a mild panic in her tone...)

I had a wonderful retreat last week, but it's always good to be home, getting back in the groove. It's been a busy week of writing, writing, writing, and reading, reading, reading. Have I mentioned lately that I love my job? I just wish there were 28 hours in the day. As a matter of fact, I've set my alarm for an hour earlier than normal to try and take advantage of the extra quiet time in the morning. Not a 5 am riser, but I'm working on getting up earlier. It's hard when you're a natural night owl.


Oh, and a super fun event this week, my friend Jeremy Finley launched his debut novel at Parnassus, and I was there to give him a boost. It was a lot of fun, and if you haven't grabbed THE DARKEST TIME OF NIGHT yet, do. It's worth it.

Also, we've started planning for our next season of A WORD ON WORDS! I'm telling you, this show, these people, has changed me in so many ways, all for the better. The fear I used to feel about being on camera is kaput now, and I'm in love with the interview process. Plus, my producer Linda, my cohost Mary Laura, and the folks at NPT, and our guests are just too much fun.

So, that's it from my neck of the woods. Let's see what's happening in the real world. Here's the latest news and bookish goodness!

Here's what happened on the Internets this week: 

'A Discovery of Witches' TV series trailer breathes life into the Deborah Harkness trilogy. This is one of my all-time favorite series and now I need to go reread the books - happy sigh. Deb Harkness is incredible! You need to read A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES if you haven't already, and come see her on tour. She'll be in Nashville in September!


Amy Adams Goes Dark: 'Sharp Objects' and a Female Antihero for a Troubled Time. More fabulous insights into my favorite book from Gillian Flynn. I can't wait to watch this show, July 8 can't come soon enough.


Jerry Seinfeld’s Closed Door. Cal Newport draws out a good lesson from Seinfeld about convenience versus value. This was very much a you have permission to retreat to your writer cave and get your work done kind of post.


Is Megan Abbott Hollywood's next big novelist? I hope so! I loved her 2016 novel YOU WILL KNOW ME and I'm looking forward to the release of GIVE ME YOUR HAND July 17. She was also a recent guest on A WORD ON WORDS, and I loved our conversation. It's no surprise she's rocking it right now. 


How to Practice Meditation Anytime, Anywhere. "The biggest takeaway for me is that life is busy, so you have to take your meditation opportunities where you find them, and Mindfulness lets us do exactly that." All the this, people. Especially in light of our current climate, a mental escape is good for the soul.


Is This the Biggest Book Cover Trend of The Year? "2018 is the year of the all-caps typography." Have you noticed this trend? I admit, they're good looking covers...

And closer to home:

This was my office view in Colorado earlier this week! My writing retreat was a great success. I managed to write 8500 words, played some golf, slept a ton, and got to hang out with my family. It was a very restorative week.

Also restorative: I bought this ridiculously adorable summer cardigan on sale from Madewell. Yes, it's pink! I've been gravitating toward this color lately and, for whatever reason, it's good for my soul.

That's all for now! Watch a parade, marvel over fireworks, and have a wonderful 4th of July!


Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 1.22.17

Hello, chickens! How are y'all doing? Did the sun peek through winter skies in your neck of the woods? It finally did here on Friday, and it was glorious. I'd forgotten how much I'd missed it.

It was another big writing week at Chez Ellison. I must say, it's nice to be home for large swaths of time. When my routine settles into consistency, I can settle down, too, get into work or play much easier than when I'm running to and fro every couple of weeks. Work on the new standalone is humming along. Oh, and I got to gather with a few of my writers friends, too, laughing over queso and swapping stories at lunch. Don't forget to make time with your people, the ones who get you, who make you heart happy. A happy heart is a thankful one, a kinder one, a focused one. 


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

When we bade farewell to Downton Abbey last yearMasterpiece on PBS had big shoes to fill. Downton's regal replacement, VICTORIA, premiered in the US last weekend, and I have to say, Masterpiece might have a winner. A few weeks ago I saw a screener (because of my sweet PBS hookup), and I really enjoyed it!

Judging by the wait times on your library's hold list, you can probably pinpoint which books are the most popular in your hometown. But do you wonder if the same book is flying off the shelves in Dallas, or Atlanta, or San Francisco? Wonder no more, fellow reader: these were the most popular library books around the country in 2016.

If you're looking to get a jump on your spring cleaning, maybe clearing the extra stuff that finds its way into your house, read this article from Being Minimalist: 8 Simple Strategies for When You're Struggling to Declutter. Even if you're not Marie Kondo, you can handle this.

I am the reigning Queen of the Notebook Nerds, and I can prove it: this week, Quo Vadis Planners & Notebooks invited me to talk about how I organize my life and work. I laid out all of my Type-A for y'all. Don't say I didn't warn you.

And Closer to Home:

Heads up: if you're looking forward to the next Nicholas Drummond book, mark your calendar for THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE's release on March 14! If you'd like a copy signed by Catherine and yours truly, you can pre-order one from Barnes & Noble.

This week on the Tao, I talked about what I'm into this month (spoiler alert: delicious tea and cookies ahead), and I pondered the merits of being a prolific or consistent writer.

That's it from me! Enjoy this week, take a friend to lunch or coffee, hug your kitties, and we'll talk again soon.


8.2.15 - Sunday Smatterings


Go Set a Publication Date - super cute piece by author Mardi Jo Link about the nightmare of having your release date up against a legendary book. http://www.

Some inspiration from Don Winslow ‏@donwinslow, whose book THE CARTEL is absolutely killing it, and being made into a movie with Ridley Scott directing: "Dear aspiring writers: It took me 19 books and several decades to have this terrific year with The Cartel. Keep writing. Never give up."

Some excellent, calming advice from Mind, Body, Green: 3 Zen Principles That Will Rock Your World (And Make You Happier!) 

Tools and Toys ( a blog you should be reading if you like elegant, cool things) has a great list of books that everyone should read. Some old faithfuls and some new ones, too, but all in all, a great list: Some of Our Favorite Reads

As an introvert, Everything I Am Afraid Might Happen If I Ask New Acquaintances to Get Coffee was both hysterical and hit very close to home for me. http://

A couple of links to things from the Tao this week:

7 Minutes With... my dear friend Kim Law 

And some major news on the Nicholas Drummond Brit in the FBI front - a TV deal! 7.28.15 - The Kind of News I Like To Share

Finally, as always, this week in publishing: News From the Book World

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.

Best Links of the Week


Every author will tell you, this business has ups, and downs. In this great essay on Writer Unboxed, Robin LeFevers covers The Seven Stages of Publishing Grief. If you want insight into the writer's mind, what's happening behind the scenes, read it. 

Steven Pressfield has an interesting look behind the scenes on why it takes so long to publish a novel - with handy step by step processes! 

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has the second and third parts of her series: Why Writers Disappear 

Southern Festival of Books was very fun this year. I did a panel with the indomitable Sandra Brannan, which was raucous and the most fun I've ever had on a panel. Here's a deeper look at the festival, and why it draws in so many people. 20,000 Turn Out for the Southern Festival of Books  

My writer friend River Jordan sent me this great essay from Josh Ritter's blog on the joy (and myth) of the writer's desk Lots of truth. Sometimes it is the fantasy of being a writer that gets in the way of the writing.

From the TERRIBLE MIND of Chuck Wendig, a totally cool interview with one of my favorite writers, Margaret Atwood. All I have to say is, "Up yer kilt!"

On Hilary Mantel's Booker Win for "Bring Up the Bodies" in The New Yorker - I loved the way Mantel is talked about here. She's making history, and read through to the very end, because her revelation is intense.

On the squishy feel good side, some serious truth about how the universe works: Everything You Want Is Waiting for You 

And on this week's Tao of JT: Not ANOTHER NaNoWriMo Blog...