Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 1.28.18

Hey there, chickens, how's it going? All goes here. I am deep into a revision of September's standalone. It's a different kind of story for me, and I am working hard to make it right. This is the stage when the manuscript has left Scrivener and is in Word, and it's hella-hard for me to see the forest for the trees. It's due in a short week, and I'm a wee bit worried about that deadline.

Not so worried that I didn't take advantage of the 60º Friday afternoon to sneak out to the golf course and get in nine holes – shhh... don't tell my editor. Honestly, I've been staring at the screen for weeks, and a bit of fresh air was really helpful.

Also ran out Thursday evening to have a drink with fellow authors Kate Moretti, Emily Carpenter, Kimberley Belle before their Parnassus signing. We were joined by David Bell, too – That's a cabal of suspense writers, all under one roof. It was a fun night with some excellent writers you should be reading!

Murder on the Menu and Murder in Magic City next weekend... hope to see some of you in Birmingham and Wetumpka! The divine Laura Benedict will be visiting this week and we're driving down together. For a writer recluse, I seem to be seeing an awful lot of humanity... 

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Apple Has Big Plans for E-Books, Audiobooks. Big news, audiophiles and ebook lovers! Apple's site is always so gorgeous, I'm anxious to see what they curate now.

My Drunk Boyfriend - SNL. For you viewing pleasure – Gosh, this makes me laugh. I want to see the Drunk Girlfriend video, too.

13 Books Downton Abbey Fans Will Love in 2018. There are some goodies in here – including Ariel Lawhon's I WAS ANASTASIA!! 

Ursula K. Le Guin, the immensely popular author who brought literary depth and a tough-minded feminist sensibility to science fiction and fantasy, is dead at 88. I was so sorry to hear this. She was literally majestic. The Earthsea books are some of my favorites.

10 Things to Throw Away Before 2018. So I'm a little late on this, but it's still applicable in late January. We do all of this, en mass, a few times a year. It does help!

And closer to home:

Sunday Reads: LIE WITH ME by Sabine Durant. Add this one to your TBR, folks!


I present to you the cover of the next Nicholas Drummond book, THE SIXTH DAY!

Spiffy, don't you think? Here's a bit more about it:

When several major political figures die mysteriously, officials declare the deaths are from natural causes. Then the German Vice-Chancellor dies on the steps of 10 Downing Street, and a drone is spotted hovering over the scene. The truth becomes clear—these high-profile deaths are well-constructed assassinations, and the Covert Eyes team is tasked to investigate.

With the help of Dr. Isabella Marin, a young expert in the enigmatic Voynich Manuscript and cryptophasia (twin language), Nicholas and Michaela home in on Roman Ardelean, a wealthy cybersecurity genius and a descendant of fifteenth century Romanian Vlad the Impaler—often romanticized as Dracula. Ardelean believes the Voynich Manuscript will unlock the secret to curing his severely ill twin brother’s blood disorder and is willing to murder anyone who gets in his way, including Nicholas and Michaela.

Along with MI5, the Covert Eyes team must race against the clock to find Ardelean before he unleashes a devastating attack on London intended to destroy those he believes betrayed him.


THE SIXTH DAY releases April 10. If you'd like to pre-order, here's where you can find it. Also, Barnes & Noble has exclusive signed copies for pre-order... trust me, those took a while. Let's just say I streamed all of season 1 of Stranger Things whilst signing them...




That's it from me! Y'all enjoy the first week of February, stay safe on the roads, check up on an elderly neighbor or two, and we'll talk again soon.


Daily Tao ☯ 5.4.17

I rather miss my little daily updates, and a quick poll showed y’all did too. So to keep me accountable as I get started on a big new project (Novel #20!), off we go again!

I finished the revision of my newest standalone today. Right now, it’s called THE LOST ONE, though that might change. (And yes, I am wearing my battered Harvard T-shirt for the second time — don’t mess with a streak!) I happily only added a net 2000 words, so it comes in at 113,600. Probably 450 pages, all told. This book won't be out until next year, so it's not available or anything. But I wanted one in the hole, so to speak.  

I sent the book to a couple of alpha readers, who are going to help me address an issue I’m concerned about (yes, even 19 books in, I still need advice from trusted friends), tidied up my office, then prepared a new Clairefontaine notebook. This one has a blue cover, and I always bring out my Brother P-Touch to print out the book title and series title. 

This label reads: Brit in the FBI #5 — THE BLOOD CABAL. Cool title, right? Catherine and I are meeting up in NYC next week to get started.

Also took delivery of my new chair, which I’ve been coveting in a certain catalog for about six years. It is very pretty, and a lovely reward for writing two standalone novels in 9 months. We must celebrate all the things, right?

A little meditating and hip work to help clear out the old thoughts and welcome the new, then cracked the cover on the big fat research book! Hello, Voynich Manuscript, you sexy (heavy) beast.

Anything you want to know about, ask in the comments, and I'll get the questions queued to answer as they come. Also, check out the cool organizational system Amy and I use to keep track of our world in this morning's big blog!




Hello, book people! I come to you today to help you celebrate the Ides of March with a fun new book—THE DEVIL’S TRIANGLE, book #4 in the Brit in the FBI series I cowrite with the divine Catherine Coulter.

I swear, if we’d known the book was going to drop today, we would have put a quick tie-in to Caesar, because we have nods to practically every other historic event over the course of time, but what are you going to do? I will admit, I took to calling it Nick and Mike’s Excellent Adventure as we were writing it. There’s a LOT of history packed in.

All that to say, I am so excited to share this book with you. Catherine and I have cooked up something extra special this time. 

Remember Kitsune, everyone’s favorite thief extraordinaire from THE FINAL CUT? She’s back, and in big trouble. Hired to steal the staff of Moses from the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, her clients have turned on her, and she’s forced to ask for help from the new Covert Eyes team. Of course, things go awry, and Nicholas Drummond and Mike Caine are drawn into a much larger conspiracy. Can the villains truly control the weather? Can Covert Eyes stop the Kohath twins from destroying Washington, D.C. with a mega-storm? Is the Ark of the Covenant about to be rediscovered? And will the secrets of the Bermuda Triangle be revealed?

I did a lot of in-person, overseas research for this book. Venice, in particular. I can’t tell you how fun it was sitting in the Piazza San Marco, sipping prosecco, eating potato chips, and deciding from which balcony Nicholas would nearly fall, and where the shots were coming from. Total blast.   

There’s another special place in this book—Castel Rigone, a personal favorite of mine. You see, Catherine had a dream about this book, and when she told me about it, it became the entire basis for this book. I knew I would have to find the perfect place to execute said dream. Suffice it to say, there’s a motorcycle chase… underground.

I hope you love the personal touches that made it into the story. Our fourth James Bond-esque romp was an absolute blast to write. With a Booklist Starred Review and a Romantic Times Top Pick!, I think you’ll say it’s a blast to read, too. Let me know what you think!

Download the eBook


Listen to the Audiobook



About the book:

He who controls the weather, will control the world. He who controls time, will never be around.
—Thomas Frey

FBI Special Agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine are the government’s Covert Eyes—leading a top-notch handpicked team of agents to tackle crimes and criminals both international and deadly. But their first case threatens their fledgling team when the Fox calls from Venice asking for help.

Kitsune has stolen an incredible artifact from the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, and now the client wants her dead. She has a warning for Nick and Mike: she’s overheard talk that a devastating Gobi Desert sandstorm that’s killed thousands in Beijing isn’t a natural phenomenon, rather is produced by man. The Covert Eyes team heads to Venice, Italy, to find out the truth.

From New York to Venice and from Rome to the Bermuda Triangle, Nicholas and Mike and their team are in a race against time, and nature herself, to stop an obsessed family from devastating Washington, D.C.



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.


8.22.16 - Get ready for THE END GAME paperback's arrival 9.6.16 with a giveaway!

THE END GAME paperback's arrival is just around the corner, which means we need to celebrate!

Three lucky winners will each receive one copy of the book, and one grand prize winner will receive a $35 gift card to Tattered Cover bookstore. 

Enter using the Rafflecopter form above. This contest is open to entrants ages 18+ living in the U.S. and Canada. Good luck!

Want to pre-order the book (it's a fab price, y'all)? Click here.