It's Indie Bookstore Day! Here's Why I Love Mine.

Copy of writer tribes indie bookstore.png

Happy Indie Bookstore Day! I hope you celebrate by visiting your local bookseller and finding your next great read. 

I originally posted this in 2016, but it still holds up. I'm so proud and pleased that Parnassus is an even bigger part of Nashville's literary community today.

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A few nights ago, I attended a signing at the wonderful Parnassus Books in Nashville.

The signing author was Ariel Lawhon, who was launching her brilliant story chronicling the doomed flight of the Hindenburg, FLIGHT OF DREAMS. As Ariel and I hugged and kissed hello, bookseller extraordinaire Bill Long-Innes smiled benevolently and asked, “Do you guys have a writer tribe? It seems like Nashville authors really make an effort to support one another. I wonder if any other cities have such a tight knit group?”

Ariel and I nodded.

Because we do have a tribe here in Nashville.

Our literary community, dubbed the Nashville Literati, is tight. There are cliques within it—young adult writers in the SCBWI, crime fiction in Sisters in Crime, romance writers in MCWR, literary authors big with Salon 615 and Humanities Tennessee and The Porch Writers’ Collective.

But when it comes to supporting another author, we cross genres like a boss.

We lunch together. We attend each other’s signings. We hang out in East Nashville at East Side Storytellin’. We pull together all our writing buddies when a writer friend comes to town. We even go on writing retreats together.

And now one constant we all have in common is our indie store, Parnassus.

I think the store’s staff has made it such a welcoming, open place for writers of all genres, of all stripes, that we can’t help but want to gather there.  

When our beloved former indie, Davis-Kidd, closed its doors in 2010 (and Parnassus didn’t yet exist), it suddenly became much harder to get everyone together. We have the annual Southern Festival of Books, which is always well-represented with local authors. We did lunches and cocktails, drove out to other counties to attend signings.

But not having an indie store that represented and celebrated all the writers in town was hard. A town without an indie store is a sad one indeed.

Davis-Kidd had a long history in this town. As a matter of fact, it was one of the reasons I was okay with moving here. When my then boyfriend (now husband) brought me to Nashville in 1993 to meet his parents, he drove me around, and our last stop was Davis-Kidd. “See?” he said. “This is the best bookstore in town. You’ll have plenty to read if we ever move here.”

(I’m not sure if I was more entranced by the idea of books—books!—or the fact that my boyfriend had just hinted strongly he wanted a long future with me.) 

Davis-Kidd was everything you could ask for in a bookstore: great staff, great events, a huge, diverse collection of titles. I attended my very first author signing there (John Connolly! My writing hero!). At that signing, I met a woman who became my other mother, who mentored me through years of writing, getting an agent, getting a deal. I did one of my first signings at David-Kidd. I hit my first bestseller list while I was launching my fourth book there. I attended Sisters in Crime meetings there. I wept with everyone else when it closed.

To have an indie in our midst again is incredible.

It’s been very fun to watch Parnassus take hold in our community, to see stories being made there. The Nashville Literati grows stronger day-by-day, with new writers coming up to join the established ones. And Parnassus is our hub. Several writers are booksellers there (And one co-owns it. You might have heard of her . . . her name is Ann.). This lends a verisimilitude unmatched anywhere else.

Yes, Nashville has a writer tribe, just as strong as Chicago, New York, and L.A.

And thanks to our favorite indie, we have a place to call our own, too.

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Sunday Smatterings (The Kerr Edition)

Sunday Smatterings (The Kerr Edition) 8.6.17

Hi, peeps! It's me, The Kerr, filling in for J.T. while she makes her way home from vacation. She'll be back tomorrow—let's all be nice and welcome her back to the real world gently, okay?

Not that you wouldn't. You guys are pretty nice.

Did you have a good week? I did: my little sis came to town! It's been fun doing all the touristy Nashville things like walking down Broadway, playing in Dragon Park, finding new treasures at Parnassus Books, and eating hot chicken (forget what you've heard: if you visit and wanna try of our city's dish of the moment, Pepperfire is the place to go).

ANYWAY. You came for some links. Here's what happened in my world this week.


What I'm Eating

I'll tell you what I'm eating this week: everything from READY OR NOT!, the new cookbook from my favorite cooks, Michelle Tam and her husband Henry Fong. They're the brains behind the hilarious yet informative cooking blog, Nom Nom Paleo.

The recipes in this book are super fresh, with tons of aromatics (ginger! garlic!) and herbs (cilantro! basil!) and sauces (roasted garlic mayo! sriracha ranch dressing!) to keep things delicious. The best part of this cookbook is the layout: instead of the conventional starter/entree/side we expect, this cookbook is laid out according to how ready you are to cook/how much time you have. For those of us who could use a little help with time management, this is genius.

Curious? Here's a peek inside!


What I'm Playing

The title of a new podcast caught my eye: "Conversations with People Who Hate Me." 

How could you not click? Read the description, and let me know what you think. I listened to the first one, and I liked it. I'm intrigued to hear more!


What I'm Reading

Slow reading week for Amy: I'm still not done with WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR, but I learned that my copy of JUST MERCY is available at the library. I better put my serious nonfiction kick into high gear before these books both expire!


What I'm Watching

You guys. We are so close to football season, I can taste it.

To quench my thirst for pigskin, I started new season of ALL OR NOTHING on Amazon. Did you miss Season 1? All right, let's download: ALL OR NOTHING is a documentary that follows an NFL team for an entire season. And by follow, I mean follow them everywhere: practice, locker room, their own living rooms with their families. It's a fascinating look into the biggest money generator in sports and how it affects everyone from fans to families to staff.

This season of ALL OR NOTHING is bittersweet because (a) it stars the 2016 L.A. Rams, whose head coach is my main man, Jeff Fisher [aka former Titans head coach who took us to the Super Bowl in 2000 and we lost by 1 yard and I cried] but (b) I know what happens to my main man at the end of the season [he gets fired 😭].

Don't worry, that's not a spoiler—that's how the doc opens. 

Also, it's narrated by Jon Hamm, who has one of the best voices in the history of voices. I could listen to him narrate almost anything, which is why I get excited about Mercedes-Benz commercials, even though my dream car would be a brand-new Toyota Corolla. Because I have exquisite taste.*

*I drove a rental once, and I loved it. That's all. I know nothing about cars, don't listen to me.


Dog of the Week

This is Lita the Greyhound! Lita is available for adoption through Greyhound Pets of America – Nashville. And if I didn't have two greys in my life already, I would adopt her because she is so precious, I can hardly get over it. Look at that face! 😍

Her favorite hobbies are loving stuffies and loving people.

Hobbies we should all strive for, Lita.


That's all from me, folks! Bless you Southern parents who have school-age children going back to school. Our hearts go out to you and your early morning alarms and forcing your little ones to eat breakfast and saying Would you just get in the car already!? for the umpteenth time with clenched teeth. You Northern parents, y'all have fun with that in about a month.

For those of us without school-age children: I hope you also enjoy hitting Snooze on your alarm.

Warmly,
Amy

Sunday Smatterings

Well hello, chickens! Having a good weekend, I hope? There's been lots of sunshine here in Middle Tennessee this week. Our daffodils are almost bloomed out, the trees I have no name for are all budded, but there's no forsythia (they seem to have the edge when it comes to getting overly anxious and blooming too early--slow and steady, the forsythia) so I doubt it will last. Have you ever heard of Blackberry Winter? $10 it's coming...

This week I looked up and realized I was more than halfway done with my next standalone novel! 🎉 Considering it kicked my tush from one end of the house to the other for a few months, I'm heartened. There's nothing better than feeling a story quicken under your fingers, the characters coming to life on the page. It means there's hope the story has a chance of being what I want it to be. You never know though. Sometimes, books have minds of their own. 

Now on to the links!
 

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

One of my favorite reasons to travel? I get to catch up on my TBR list! But what happens when you're not feeling anything on the pile? Buzzfeed has compiled their 27 books to read while you travel. What say you, reader—do you concur? What's been your favorite travel read?

This quote from George Bernard Shaw will make you think deeply on how you live your life, and how much of it has changed in the 21st century. (spoiler alert: it's about how we communicate)

Does your schedule feel packed to the gills, even though you still have goals you'd like to achieve? More reading, more moving, more volunteering? Here's a thought: altering your morning and evening routines can help you achieve those seemingly impossible goals. All it takes is a few minute a day. 

Merriam-Webster recently added 1,000 new words to their dictionary. These are a few fun ones.

Do you like Romantic Suspense? Join this giveaway, where you could win 50+ novels! Countless hours of steamy thrillers, y'all. Just sayin'.

 

And closer to home:

Last week, I talked about how I'm trying to untether myself from technology a bit in 2017. This week, I continued the series, and discussed how and why I'm systematically turning of my retweets.

If you love food and happen to hit the lottery someday, The Wine Vixen has found the perfect foodie road trip for you!

I'm so pleased to share that Season Two of the EMMY-Award-winning TV show I cohost, A Word on Words, is now airing! This week, brilliant novelist and bookstore owner Ann Patchett talked with my divine cohost Mary Laura Philpott about Ann's new novel, Commonwealth. Ann has done such a great thing for this city, giving us Parnassus Books as our literary hub, and it was lovely to kick off our new season with her.

P.S. Catherine and I got our finished copies of THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE in the mail this week and OH MY are they BEAUTIFUL!!! A thick, fat book with a gorgeous cover (that should've been on Maria's favorite things list, huh?). Barnes & Noble still has a few signed copies left, and it's the cheapest I've seen it yet. Go get one for you and a friend!


That's it from me. Talk a walk or two outside, be kind to restaurant servers, hug your fur babies, and I'll talk to you soon.

xo,
J.T.

Season 2 of A WORD ON WORDS Is Coming!

So excited to share that our Emmy-Award winning TV show A Word on Words is premiering Season 2 with the divine Ann Patchett this weekend!

It's a darling interview, isn't it? What a wonderful way to kick off the season.

More shows coming every weekend this month, so stay tuned. Once they’ve aired, you can see them on the A Word on Words website, as well as my own.

11.13.16 - Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 11.13.16

Another Sunday, this one much darker and colder than the last, as fall has finally settled in and (thank heavens) daylight savings is over. I'm not a fan of DST. I must be part bear -- the longer nights and earlier sunsets means I sleep better, get up earlier, and am in general a happier camper. Isn't that odd? 

I spent the week relatively unplugged, working feverishly on the revisions of my new standalone novel. Thursday night I spoke to my alumni association (RMWC, represent!), a fun night dredging up memories of the people who told me I wouldn't ever get published (HA! I say. So there!) but I've been home the remainder of the time typing and petting the cats, so I'm in turns stir crazy and ready to sleep for a week. One fun thing, we have a new title, and a new release date. Ready?

LIE TO ME will appear on shelves September 5, 2017.  

I do have to share one great mistake: 

Typo I just found: She died of a heroine overdose.


And with that, here's what happened on the Internets this week:

 

The quite divine Parnassus Books is celebrating their 5th anniversary. I can hardly believe it's been five years, and I am so honored to call them my home store. Happy Anniversary!

I know we've all done our Meyers-Briggs tests, but I particularly like this site's in-depth analysis. Which one are you? (I'm an INTJ, btw.)

You're not dreaming: turning the clock back an hour takes a toll on your mental health. Here's how.

The answer to many of life's questions is "be more like Beyoncé." Wherever you are on the Beyoncé spectrum, I think you'll agree she does social media the way we probably all should.

Two of my favorite things combined: Harry Potter yoga!!!!!

These giant flip books in the middle of the woods in New Hampshire are mesmerizing.


 

And closer to home:


On the Tao this week, Amy and I came up with 40 things to take your mind off the election (still valid), and I talked about my recent trip to visit my publisher (spoiler alert: click for book news!).

There's still time to enter to win a copy of NO ONE KNOWS, plus 30+ more thrillers + a Kindle Fire!


And Leonard Cohen passed. Hallelujah is one of my favorite songs. So I leave you with the SNL version. That's all I have this week. I love you, I stand with you, and we'll talk again soon.

xoxo,
J.T.