Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 5.20.18

Hi there, chickens, welcome to Sunday Smatterings. Lots of bookish items this week, so buckle up, buttercups, let's get reading.


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

The 2018 Summer Reading Guide is here! Some superb titles brought to you by Modern Mrs. Darcy!
 

Sweetbitter Author Stephanie Danler on Bringing Her Book to TV. "When you’re a novelist, you’re really playing God and you’re in total control of the action and the characters. I quickly realized that with screenwriting all you’re doing, really, is creating a document that’s a map for the director and the actors to hopefully find something sort of magical in the moment. It’s not a finished piece of work. It’s not the final say. It’s so fluid." Fascinating.
 

The Silenced Woman and the Psychological Thriller - How to Write A Feminist Thriller From a Male Perspective. Superb, thought-provoking piece by Araminta Hall. I’ve long said we need to rethink victimizing our heroines. This dovetails nicely.
 

Dangers of Not Trusting The Creative Voice. Great advice — though I still think it’s perfectly fine to edit your novel once it’s done.
 

17 Secrets of Audiobook Narrators. Pertinent to think about, now that we at Two Tales have published our first audiobook...
 

Today's New Moon In Taurus Is The Perfect Excuse To Treat Yourself. Change is afoot, peeps. Take advantage!
 

Time Mangement Monday: 3 Reasons You're Procrastinating. Any of these apply to you, chickens?
 

Pick up a cat like a pro. Practical advice. 🐈


And closer to home:

In case you were under a rock this week, I revealed the cover of my new standalone novel, TEAR ME APART! Confession: This book is unlike any other I have ever written. It’s a very serious family drama, a dark suspense with a Girl, Interrupted vibe, albeit if the girls from the film were grown up. It's about a mother's love, and secrets, and darkness. The tagline, Everyone Has A Dark Side, could not be more perfect. I got chills when I saw it on the cover.

Here's where you can order yours:

Barnes & Noble
Indiebound
Books-A-Million
Indigo
Amazon


That's it from me. Y'all have a wonderful week, snag some strawberries at the farmer's market, sit on a porch for a spell, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 11.5.2017

Morning, gentle readers, and happy Sunday. How was your week? We're still recovering from the World Series at Chez Ellison. We're a baseball house, and Dodgers in particular—DH has been a lifelong fan. I found it so amusing when people started using the diminutive DH to refer to their "darling husband" online—for a long while, I wondered why people were calling their partner the designated hitter.) But what a thrilling series it was. Congrats to you Astros fans—y'all should be proud, and I am so happy to see Houston back in the hearts and minds of the country. 

Nearing the end of the first draft of Brit #5 (it has a new name, which I announced in this month's newsletter: THE SIXTH DAY!). This is the craziest part of writing: all the threads come together at a clip, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I pound away at the keyboard... and cooking dinner has becomes the best form of procrastination. Plus, with the new chill in the air, the recipes that don't work for summer (I'm looking at you, chili!) come back into the rotation. This isn't DH's first deadline rodeo, so he's been surprised when I want to make dinner. Such is being married to a writer; we are mercurial beasts!

And without further ado...


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:


This is how a word gets into the dictionary. Admit it, you've always wanted to know. Personally, I spent an awful lot of time with my Webster's growing up...
 

Anti-frantic. A great message as we head into the busy holiday season. I don't get twerped out about the holidays. Decorating takes an hour, I know all my recipes by heart, I do my cards early and my shopping mostly online from fun indie retailers. Let's all take a breath, shall we?
 

Actors and actresses who write, from Tom Hanks to Molly Ringwald. I think we're sometimes led down the path that artists are one trick ponies, but if you think about the way actors need to interpret the writer, it's not surprising many of them take up the pen.
 

How I read 100 books in a year (and you can too). With all the distractions floating around, it's hard to get through one book, let alone 100. If you're eyeing a book challenge in 2018, you may find this article useful. I'm behind on my count right now, but I'm gaining steam going into the winter months!
 

These Golden Snitch-Topped Butterbeer Donuts Are What Potterhead Dreams Are Made Of. Holy sugar rush, Batman. 😍
 

The new decluttering trend is called Swedish Death Cleaning and we tried it. Sounds scary, but perhaps a great way to clear the clutter once and for all. It's a bit morbid, though, so be warned.
 

Let Me Count The Ways. ATTENTION WRITING DATA GEEKS: Scrivener 3.0 will give you MORE than you can possible handle. (What's Scrivener, you ask? Only the best writing software ever. And add in some Scapple for brainstorming, too!)


And closer to home:

A WORD ON WORDS Season 3 is here! Click Play to watch the latest episode.

I recently sat down with the author of THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (yep, like the Oscar-winning movie), Matthew Quick. His newest book, THE REASON YOU'RE ALIVE, is one of the best I've read this year—so nuanced, so poignant. And Mr. Quick himself is delightful: I could have talked to him all day.

I like to ask each author I interview a few of the same questions, just to get different perspectives. One question I ask is if the writer is creatively satisfied. Mr. Quick had one of my favorite answers to that question, which you get to see in this video.


That's it from me! Y'all be good, rake someone's leaves, light a cinnamon candle and watch a good movie or two, and we'll talk again soon. Speaking of movies—what's your favorite for the season ahead?

xo,
J.T.

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!

Warmly,
Amy/The Kerr

Sunday Smatterings

Happy Sunday, my lovely chickens! How's it going? It's exciting times here in the Ellison house. This week I had the pleasure of wearing my old, battered, torn, Harvard T-shirt— the T-shirt I wear for a particular special occasion.

Wearing Mah Finishing Shirt 

Wearing Mah Finishing Shirt 

What's that, you ask? I FINISHED A NEW BOOK!!! ✨🎉🙌😎 My 19th novel. I can hardly believe it. This is the 19th time I've hauled that shirt out of the chest, and it worked again. I admit, it's tradition. This shirt is my lucky charm, seriously. If I'm not wearing it, I simply can't finish! There was much rejoicing and tears and queso post-finish. But. The very next day, I was back at it, editing my 18th novel, LIE TO ME, coming to your hot little hands September 5. 

No rest for the weary, folks. Even when you have the best job in the world.


 

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Okay, y'all, here's one of the most important things you'll read: fix the internet by writing good stuff and being nice to people. This is a wonderful, thought-provoking clarion call to get away from posts with only 140 characters, hostile trolls, and video ads that play unprovoked (WHY??) and back the days of thoughtful discourse, long blogs, and creative/independently-owned content.

Every time I read a post from Modern Mrs. Darcy (and look at her gorgeous photos), I take a deep breath and sigh. She always has a lovely thought with the pictures to match. This post is no different: 6 mini-resolutions keeping me healthy and happy and sane this spring. (ranunculus! 🌸)

Some food for thought for your money today: 7 Pieces of Financial Advice That Forever Changed My Life (the advice about the car is particularly insightful)

This is what I looked for when I hired #TheKerr: someone who knew different things from me. Together, we have a wider breadth of knowledge and skill set. Win.

If you need a good cry today, I give you 37 of the most heartbreakingly beautiful lines in literature. You're welcome. 😭

And if you need something to pick you up from the depths of sorrow from the previous post, here are a few mistitled books and pitches imagined for them (I mean, who could argue with Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Scone? I'd read that... if it were gluten-free.)

I swear to you, if you saw Jack Kerouac's house in St. Petersburg, FL, you would never believe he lived there (or maybe you would). In any case, it's up for sale—but fans are trying to turn it into a museum.
 

And closer to home:

Gardeners, I need your help! I'm doing something different in the gardening realm this year and would relish your expertise in the comments.

We debuted a new episode of A WORD ON WORDS this week! I talked to local author Robert Hicks about his poignant historical novel, THE ORPHAN MOTHER. 

Did you get the April newsletter this month? No? Sign up here, and get all whole inside scoop: fun news, exclusive contests (newsletter chickens got their own LIE TO ME ARC giveaway this month...), yummy recipes, and all kinds of tomfoolery. You even get a free ebook as a thank-you gift!


That's it from me! Y'all have a nice week, open the windows, put some flowers in a vase, and we'll talk again soon.


xo,
J.T.

On Blogging, and Blogs I Love

On Blogging, and Blogs I Love

I love to blog. I love the examination of thoughts and words. I do it for myself in many ways, knowing that the days I’m struggling with writing, that if I at least put a blog in place, I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something. My longstanding rule—When you can’t write, write about writing. It helps.

I started blogging many, many years ago, and have been relatively consistent with it. I used to blog every Friday at Murderati, then bi-monthly, then when it shut down, I kept it up on my website, albeit to a smaller audience. 

And then the socials happened, and blogging supposedly went the way of the dodo, or so we were meant to believe. Some of us kept at it—and many, many bloggers saw their audiences grow and bloom. Mine hasn’t really changed upwards or downwards, though I have seen that the more I blog, the more people who read them. 

But, oddly, the blog commenting seems to have migrated to Facebook, where I am very active on my business page. It’s no real skin off my nose, though it means I need to pay attention to make sure everyone is getting what they need. And then we started scheduling, so there’d be regular programming, which becomes it’s own issue. We’ve settled into a Sunday blog, and a Thursday blog. I vacillate on whether to do more, or less. 

Truth be told, I miss my daily snippet blogs, and might bring them back, if there’s interest…

Why do I bring all this up? My bestie, Laura Benedict, has starting blogging daily. It wasn’t something she necessarily set out to do, but when she realized the rhythm was pleasing, and helping with the work, she kept it up. 

This makes me happy on so many levels. Laura’s a true essayist. I’ve spent years saying how I wished she blogged more, because her words are just so calming and comforting. I always feel good when I finish reading, even if its a difficult topic.

Laura’s blog—Notes From The Handbasket—is everything you want from a writer’s blog. Funny, charming, engaging, vulnerable—she has a wonderful, unique voice and a wry sense of humor that takes the ordinary around her and makes it extraordinary. I highly recommend you give it a read. 

For me, there’s something very special about hearing about a writer’s day. The little accomplishments that, when taken en total, become a book, a series, a career. The blogs I gravitate to are ones of nurturing and education, that examine the world in a pleasing manner, and offer bits of enlightenment to the reader. Laura’s qualifies, on all accounts.

Here are some other blogs I love:

  1. Dani Shapiro
  2. Kristine Rusch
  3. Modern Mrs. Darcy
  4. I Heart Words
  5. Quo Vadis
  6. The Well-Appointed Desk
  7. Tools and Toys
  8. Cal Newport

What are your favorite blogs?