How Was Your Weekend?

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Happy Monday, my dears! It's going to be a very busy week ahead, so I'm glad I took some time off this weekend. I watched the royal wedding, which was incredibly uplifting and joyous, then played a little golf, read some short stories, organized my pantry. I received THE MINIMALIST KITCHEN for my birthday and I am excited to see how my adventure in kitchen minimalism goes. I don't know about you, but mine ends up being the repository for everything from food to mail to kittens who like to perch on the cool marble. Now if I could just minimize the laundry...

I hope your weekend was lovely. Did you do anything fun? Did you tune in to the wedding?

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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

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.

xo,
J.T.

 

Sunday Smatterings

Hi, chickens! How's it going? Are you ready for April showers to give way to May flowers? 

This week, I'm getting ready to meet up with the brilliant Catherine Coulter to plot Nicholas & Mike's 5th (5th!!?!?) Brit adventure! Hanging out with CC is always a blast. We eat good things, we shop, we watch Harry Potter. Oh yeah, and we write. 😜 I couldn't ask for a better creative mind to partner with, let along hang out with. I always look forward to these weeks!

Anyway, without further ado...

 

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

What are your mornings like? Are you running around, chasing kids who've transformed into banshees overnight, taking out the dog with a bursting bladder while burning the toast and praying, for the love of everything holy, that by some miracle you actually chose to put your keys in your purse instead of flinging them who knows where when you got home last night? Sounds like your morning routine may need a minimalist makeover. Here are 6 minimalist routines that will help you calm the morning chaos.

In the same vein: this woman has worn the same outfit every day for a year. Capsule wardrobe, uniform, whatever you want to call it: she's brilliant.

Book-to-TV lovers, this one's for you [spoiler police says to proceed with caution]: 4 things about HBO's BIG LITTLE LIES that need to be addressed.

If this isn't click bait, I don't know what is: this 75-year-old Harvard study found one secret to living a fulfilling life. Curiosity abounds...

I'm in the middle of remodeling/redecorating my house, and I'm on the hunt for a new way to arrange my bookshelves. There are tons of beautiful bookshelving ideas in this article from British Vogue (those classy Brits!).

Important: you can now purchase your very own Hobbit hole! (jury is out on whether second breakfast is included)

How good are you with synonyms? After this quiz, you might realize you're not as good as you think. (it's a tricky one!)

 

And closer to home:

This week on the Tao, I wrote about why it's important to finish what you start (I honed in on writers, but it's applicable to almost any task or career, really).

Also on the Tao: my intrepid A WORD ON WORDS co-host Mary Laura Philpott takes the reins and chats with literary wonder Yaa Gyasi about her brilliant debut novel, Homegoing.

Oh. And LIE TO ME got its first review, and it's glowing, and don't worry about me, I just have something in my eye... (spoiler alert: it's a detailed review, so steer clear if you want to be COMPLETELY surprised, but if you're hungry for a few details, by all means, go read!)

 

That's it from me! Welcome May with open arms, stop and smell a rose or two, and we'll talk again soon.


xo,
J.T.

On Lent, and Doing Good Things for Ourselves and Others

It’s that time of year, when I give up social media for Lent. For the next six weeks, I will be turning inward, and stepping back from all things online.

I’ll still have blogs here, and since I have a release in two weeks (!) I will certainly pop up to say “Hey, buy mah book,” but otherwise, I will be silent.

Lent is just that for me, a time to reflect, to go silent. To look away from the world. It is incredibly difficult for me, which is why this is my Lenten abstinence of choice. I’ve given up Starbucks in the past, smoking, wine, chocolate, but none of those things (outside of smoking — that was a good one, it stuck) truly feel like a sacrifice.

Social media, on the other hand, does. I don’t like not having ready contact with people. I don’t like missing out on photos and news. I certainly don’t like not chatting with folks about books.

Which is why this is the right thing for me to give up. It really does affect me, puts me in a different mind space, where I can contemplate life and creativity and my spiritual nature. I was raised Episcopal, which is why I celebrate Lent in the first place, but over the years I’ve brought a number of tenets from various religions into my daily life, especially Buddhism. I’ve always felt everyone is right, and every religion and belief structure has something worth exploring.

So the weeks stretch ahead of me, unformed, open. There will be a lot of yoga, and meditation. And writing. Of course, there will be writing.

Whether you celebrate or not, may I offer this blessing for your next six weeks? That you have moments of quiet gratitude. That you are showered with kindness from strangers, and in turn have some to spare for others. We have all been put through the wringer over the past six months, and I can only hope that things calm down, that everyone feels less threatened and upset, and we can all work together to keep making our lives, and the lives of others, wonderful.

Blessed be!

Sunday Smatterings

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Hello, lovely readers, happy Sunday! How's the weather in your neck of the woods?

I traveled to Florida this week to see family. My mom turned 80, my brothers and daddy and I threw her a lovely small party, and a good time was had by all. I have to be honest, I haven't gotten a ton of work done, but family is a very important part of my life, and I was excited to spend time with all of us under one roof. Something that doesn't happen often. And... the weather's been pretty fabulous. With all things green and sunny, I can't wait for spring to come back to Nashville. We're this close, I think; surely Punxsutawney Phil missed the mark this year—the South is seeing green things returning three weeks early.

A girl can dream...
 

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

This week I found an app I would've loved as a kid. For only $4.99/month, Epic! gives subscribers unlimited access to 20,000 children's ebooks. Kids can read the books as many times as they want, whenever they want. Can you imagine having The. Whole. Library. at your fingertips when you were a kid? Bliss.

And when you feed the mind of a child, you feed her creativity. Kids are less inclined to have inhibitions (a lesson we can re-learn), so they can create some of the most fantastic art. Here is what a few children's book authors and artists created when they were young.

Have you found yourself scrolling through social feeds lately, only to click away with a sigh and a heavy heart? It's a strange time we're living in. We writers don't have a typical means of dealing with hard times in the zeitgeist. Most of us consider words our means of change, though I'd wager most of us want to help our fellow humans in a more tangible way. Leave it to the wise Kris Rusch to tell us how to write in the most difficult times, when it feels like your world is on fire. (Spoiler alert: your work isn't trivial, and there are things you can do to help.)

This is a nerdy publishing industry post, but! If you're in the business, here's what I and a few other publishing peeps think you should do to reach your readers this year.

 

And closer to home:

Y'all know I am a minimalist. I strive to live simply, to cut out the clutter in my home and my work. But I noticed a habit of mine was clouding my brain and stealing my attention, so I've decided to change it. It takes zero time to do, but adds hours to my day. I think you might find it handy, too.

The Wine Vixen ponders a very important question—stemless wine glasses: yea or nay?

Don't forget: there's still time to enter the Harlequin Secret Valentine giveaway on Goodreads! I'm offering a paperback copy of FIELD OF GRAVES, along with my favorite romance novel of all time...which will only be revealed to the winners. Go put your hat in the ring! 💕

 

That's it from me! This week, show somebody you love them, send some homemade Valentines, sip hot chocolate in front of a fire, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

P.S. I LOVE YOU!!!!!

maybe you just need one person.