Daily Tao ☯ 7.17.17

And… we’re back! Did you have a fabulous couple of weeks? We did. Amy had a blast on her travels, I got a ton of writing done, and now we’re back to regularly scheduled programming, albeit it with a bit of fantastic news to kick off the week:

LIE TO ME received a Starred Publisher’s Weekly review today!

★ Publishers Weekly

Successful authors Ethan and Sutton Montclair, the married couple at the heart of this exceptional domestic thriller from bestseller Ellison (No One Knows), lead a relatively quiet life in Franklin, Tenn., where they each work on their respective books. Then Ethan wakes up one morning to discover a note from Sutton telling him that she needs some time away and doesn’t want him looking for her. Distraught, Ethan contacts Sutton’s mother and her friends, yet all of them claim not to know where she is. When Ethan finally decides to get the police involved in searching for Sutton, he falls under suspicion. Witnesses claim that Ethan physically abused Sutton and was even responsible for the death of their infant son. Might Ethan, emotionally devastated as he appears, be a psychopathic killer? Ellison keeps the suspense high with chapters from the point of view of someone very evil. The person responsible for Sutton’s disappearance remains a mystery right up to the surprising finale. This standalone may be Ellison’s best work to date.

I cried. Of course I cried. A — it’s an incredible review. B — sometimes, you don’t believe what the people around you are saying, and you need affirmation from an anonymous stranger. Isn’t that how art works?

The hardest part for me is always when the book is no longer mine, and it’s gone out into the world to belong to others. You hope and pray it stands up straight, showers daily, puts on fresh underwear in case there’s an accident, comports itself with compassion and grace, doesn’t get drunk and fall down and skin its knee, but you never know what’s going to happen.

So I was incredibly excited when I saw the review. And then I opened my laptop and wrote, because the only way to deal with good news is to remember the way the good news came about, which is hard work. But all day, I kept looking at that star with a secret smile. I put myself out there with this one. It's the book of my heart, and to have this recognition means everything to me. 

Later, we celebrated as we do, with GF pizza and excellent champagne, and the last episodes of House of Cards and The Handmaid’s Tale. All in all, it was a perfect day. 

So all is right in my world at the moment. 

Now, I have a favor. There’s an incredible book about to make its debut in the world tomorrow. It’s called BLAME, and it’s by a good friend of mine, Jeff Abbott. I would have been sharing this news with you regardless, but I’m banging the drum a bit harder than usual because the Abbotts lost their house to a terrible fire last week, and the only thing I can do to help is spread the word. Supporting an artist in his time of need is the most worthy cause. You can get BLAME everywhere fine books are sold. Jeff's signing at Book People tomorrow night, so you can even get one personalized and shipped. Click here for more info!

Here’s what I had to say about it -- I give it 5 Stars!

“BLAME is a masterful suspense novel, full of dread, lies, and deceptions. Abbott is one of our finest writers, and BLAME takes his talents to new levels. Sinister and twisting, this is hands-down the best book you’ll read — and re-read — this year. Absolutely top-notch.”

Have a fabulous evening, chickens! It's good to be back.

12.7.15 - PW calls NO ONE KNOWS "...Riveting..."

It's a tricky thing, this writing business. 

I'm so grateful for this life, the chance to stretch my creative muscles and give you heart-pounding stories that keep you up at night. 

But there are parts of this job that make my heart pound and keep me up at night: namely, sending my book out into the world.

Oh sure, we authors know that a by-product of creating something is that people will see it. Heck, that's part of this whole "getting paid to write" gig. But it's one thing to create something in solitude and yoga pants, and quite another to send it out into the world. And no matter how many times my characters shock me as I type, no matter how many times I hit Send on a finished manuscript, no matter how many revisions I go through, I still have this voice in the back of my brain niggling at me: 

What if they don't like it?

Hey, I can't feed the kitties if y'all don't like what you read. Mama's gotta bring home the catnip. 

But not only that, there's artistic integrity at stake. I have so much fun creating characters like Taylor, Sam, and now Aubrey. But I want you guys to have fun, too, to experience new places and characters, to be thrilled and excited by the books, and maybe to think a little bit. Art exists to move us, to challenge us, and I want my work to mean something to someone else, too.

As such, I'm completely overjoyed when I receive positive words on a story from someone who's not my editor (c'mon, these book babies belong to both of us, so they're just as biased as I am...).

Publishers Weekly has just printed some thoughts on NO ONE KNOWS, and I'm so pleased to share them with you:

"This riveting Nashville-set standalone . . . is a skillfully plotted story that's equal parts mystery, psychological thriller, and cautionary tale . . . Ellison's  twists are fresh, and the novel's action-packed conclusion will shock . . .  Artful and evocative prose complements the fully fleshed and realistically flawed characters."

Thank you, PW. I'm grateful for your kind words. 

If this sounds like something you can get on board with, you can pre-order NO ONE KNOWS (coming 3/22/2016) from the fine folks below. 

And thanks for helping me do what I do. The kitties especially appreciate it.

thank you kitties

Rocking PW Review for EDGE OF BLACK

And so it begins.... Thanks, PW! You rock!

Edge of Black J.T. Ellison. Mira, $14.95 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1372-4

A biological attack on the Washington, D.C., subway system propels Ellison’s suspenseful second Samantha Owens novel (after A Deeper Darkness). Former medical examiner Sam has moved from Nashville, Tenn., to the nation’s capital, where she’s a guest lecturer at George Washington University. When a female student mysteriously passes out in class, Sam takes her to the ER only to discover that the student is just one of the victims of a biological agent released into the Metro. Only three people actually die as a result of this possible terrorist attack. Sam winds up working diligently with Det. Darren Fletcher, a member of the task force investigating the crime, to find the culprit, who Sam’s boyfriend, former Army Ranger Xander Whitfield, believes may have a peculiarly personal motive for the attack. The action builds to a breathtaking conclusion as Sam, Fletch, and Xander seek the connections among the three victims, from the inner circles of D.C. to the wilds of Colorado. Agent: Scott Miller, Trident Media Group. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 09/10/2012

EDGE OF BLACK is available for pre-order from your favorite bookseller.

Thanks, PW!

September 20, 2011 Ellison's seventh Taylor Jackson thriller (after So Close the Hand of Death) reduces the body count from previous installments but maintains the tension as the Nashville homicide officer, mute after being traumatized by a serial killer who nearly did her in, seeks shelter in a Scottish manor house. The Manderley-like estate is the home of Taylor's detective inspector colleague and would-be romantic interest, James Highsmythe, who was widowed when his pregnant wife, Evanelle, drove off a bridge. A family friend of James's tries to help Taylor regain her lost voice. Back in the States, Taylor's fiancé, Dr. John Baldwin, and her best friend, Dr. Samantha Loughley, work through their own recovery and cases while worrying about Taylor long distance. Are the phantoms haunting Taylor the result of her PTSD, her guilt, or something more menacing? The growing suspense will keep readers glued. The Cold Room, the fourth in the series, won the 2011 ITW Thriller Award for best paperback original. (Oct.)

Reviewed in Publishers Weekly 8.1.11