Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 4.22.18

Happy Sunday, gentle readers. I hope you're getting lots of rest for the week ahead.

Slow down, make a fresh pot of tea, and get your read on. I have some links for you:

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken. This look so easy and delicious, especially for busy writers. If you try it, let me know how it is! I do love pesto...

Feline Good with Our Favorite Literary Cats. The New York Public Library cataloged some of the best cats in literature. I can totally get on board with this.

11 Ridiculously Overdue Library Books (that were finally returned). We've all been there—but perhaps not quite at this level...

35,000 Certified Gluten-Free Products. This database is a dream for those of us who are celiacs or gluten-sensitive. Win!

This Librarian Posted About A Library "Mystery" On Twitter & The Story Has The Best Ending. I just love this.

Judy Blume's Advice for Aspiring Writers. I adore Judy Blume (ahem, see here), so I was delighted to see bite-sized pieces of her advice distilled into this list.

The Best Breathing Technique for Anxiety. Just in case you need some instant zen. 

And closer to home:

It's official: The AP loves THE SIXTH DAY! Catherine and I were tickled pink when we heard the news. Have you gotten your copy yet?

And check out the latest episode of A WORD ON WORDS – where I chat with former US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins! Witty and charming, just like his verse, Mr. Collins and I talked about his newest collection, THE RAIN IN PORTUGAL

That's it from me. Y'all have a great week, pat a kitty or two, and we'll talk again soon.


Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 4.15.18

Hello, chickens, welcome to Sunday. How are you?

It's been quite the week at Chez Ellison. I don't know if a little bird told you, but THE SIXTH DAY released on Tuesday, and our world has been abuzz ever since. It's equal parts fun and frightening, watching your book baby leave the nest. Catherine and I dreamed up the plot over tea and bacon in a Manhattan hotel suite, pored over research and pounded out the story on our keyboards, but it doesn't belong to us anymore. It's yours, that's how this goes.

But, oh, I do hope you love it.

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

10 Easy Ways to Support Your Local Library. It's National Library Week here in the US, and I have to give a shout to these incredible people. To any librarian who has recommended my books, and to the many who have recommended gems to me, thank you. I know you do so much more than we realize—you are the champions of so many. And I humbly present this list that we can all, myself included, use as a to-do list.

4 Foolproof Ways to Fit Decluttering into Your Schedule. Minimize the overwhelm as much as you can. And get a Roomba. (mine is a lifesaver...)

There is nothing wrong with your house. A fascinating look into our obsession with updating our spaces and the world HGTV hath wrought.

10 Surprising Facts about Ernest Hemingway. I am obsessed with Hemingway (see here and here) so any click-bait with him name on it will snag me hook, line, and sinker.

How to Prune Your Book Collection, According to Professional Book People. Right now some of you are clutching your pearls, but hear me out: sometimes it's good to let papery friends go (and find a new home!) and let new ones in. Just a thought...

9 Stoic Practices That Will Help You Thrive in the Madness of Modernity. Because we all need help with our zen every now and then.

Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken. This looks sooo easy and delicious, especially for busy writers...

11 Books Elon Musk thinks everyone should read. Book recs from one of the great disrupters of our time! How many have your read?

And closer to home:

Co-Authors With Cred. I leaped for joy on Tuesday for many reasons, but this was one of them: Audible featured me along with some crazy talented co-writers you know and love (Kyle Mills, Mark Sullivan, Mark Greaney...). Surreal! If you're not reading their books, don't miss out—go get them now.

That's it from me! Y'all grab a copy of THE SIXTH DAY for yourself and a friend, send one to your mom, buy one for your mailman, and we'll talk again soon.


P.S. You only have to leave your name to comment! The adding your email address and URL is optional.

Sunday Smatterings - Easter Edition

Sunday Smatterings 4.1.18

Happy Easter and Blessed Passover to all who celebrate!

We are pretty low key for Easter this weekend. No travel, no family commitments. Since the cats don't appreciate hidden eggs unless they're full of treats, we're going to have a lovely brunch somewhere around town, and, once stuffed, go see a movie. If the weather is nice enough, maybe a round of golf or a nice long walk to spend some time in nature, pondering the mysteries of life. Isn't that what Easter is about -- the mystery of life? Methinks yes. 

And Easter on April Fool's Day is weird. Just sayin'.

With that in mind... onward!

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Crime by the Book's FAQ. Fun insights from one of my fave bloggers, who is doing an A+ job of reviewing crime fiction. Plus, she is my style guru... I long to hang out in New York coffeeshops looking so cool...

Gratitude comes from noticing your life, not thinking about it. When I say "gratitude attitude," this is what I mean.

This is why we're all reading "up lit." It's nice to see I'm not the only one whose tastes are changing. I've been moving away from violence in my reading -- and in my writing, as well.

"Fear is good quality control." – Colson Whitehead on the writer's life. A fascinating look into Colson Whitehead's reddit AMA. 

12 ways to decompress after high stress. Self-care is necessary, especially after your hair has been on fire. I am a firm believer in self-care. Anything to give your poor mind and body a break will make you happier and more productive.

On social media, and its discontents. Cal Newport is a really interesting dude, and his thoughtfulness on the vagaries of the internet fascinate me. He's displayed great plasticity on his theories, too -- well explained here.

I WAS ANASTASIA by Ariel Lawhon. My dear friend, historical novelist Ariel Lawhon, released a magnificent book this week about Anastasia Romanov and the woman who claimed to be her, Anna Anderson. This is a wonderful read, and I highly recommend it.

Do you like candles? I met the owner of the EKKO Candle company this week whilst waiting for my tea to steep at a local coffeehouse. She kindly gifted me with a Tuscan Cedarwood that I've been burning all week. If you're looking for hand-crafted soy-based candles, these are delightful! 

And closer to home:

I'm resurrecting the blog! And no, this is not an April Fool's joke. With all the fuss about privacy on the socials, I think it's time to offer a safe space for conversation that will hopefully be fun, inviting, and chatty! Plus, I won't be sharing your information with the top bidder. Also, no rules. I'm posting when the spirit strikes me, so be sure to sign up for updates, or subscribe in your RSS reader, and please, don't forget to let me know your here with a brief comment. Ask a question, get an answer... guaranteed! 

Amy and I have been making books! In case you haven't heard, we have a spiffy new German version of NO ONE KNOWS for sale, and we’re busy putting together some print versions of my most recent short stories.

And (drumroll... 🥁) We're about to release our first Two Tales audiobook: an incredible vocal performance of the DEAD ENDS anthology! Stat tuned for news on that soon...

Surprise: a Blog-Only Contest Exclusive!

Leave a comment here on the blog between now and Wednesday, April 4 at 6pm CST, and I'll choose two readers at random to win a brand-new signed hardcover of THE SIXTH DAY! Trust me when I say this book is mind-blowingly crazy. 

Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 3.25.18

Hey, peeps! What's shakin'? It's me, The Kerr, on our last Sunday together before J.T. returns from sabbatical. 

She's itching to say hi, but I have the keys for one more week. Mwahahaha. 😈

But to pay homage to her return, I'm going to do my Smatterings today in her style: lots of links for you to pore through and learn from.


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

This is the biggest mistake you cake make when you order pizza to go. I had no idea this was even an option. Bananas.

How a rare book appraiser passes judgment in 30 seconds or less. Do you guys remember Pawn Stars, the History Channel's version of Antiques Roadshow with bikers? My favorite segment was whenver the woman from Bauman's Rare Books showed up. Her keen eye could turn a dime novel into a $10,000 jackpot in seconds. If you want to know how she did it, read this!

4 Tips for Picking the Best Grocery Store Flowers. If you, like me, aren't the best gardener in the world, we may need to tuck these tips into our back pocket.

A Peek at Famous Readers' Borrowing Records from a Private NY Library. This is a tad bit nosy...but I couldn't resist.

Ina Garten Shares Her Favorite 30-Minute Weeknight Dinner. When Queen Ina speaks, I listen. And of course she picks another winner, simple and delicious.

10 Fictional Homes We Want to Live In. Somebody give me a truckload of cash, and I bet I could make these houses un-fiction...

16 books that are better together. Because your TBR isn't buckling or anything, I have to show you this list Modern Mrs. Darcy pulled together. 1 novel is paired with 1 nonfiction title, and each enhances the other. My inner nerd is all over this. 🤓 (what you should especially read from this list: Ariel Lawhon's I WAS ANASTASIA, which got a rave review from USA TODAY this week!)

And closer to home:

Keep your eyes peeled later this week for some fun Two Tales Press news! My lips are sealed... 🤐

That's all I have for you today! I have to say a huge THANK YOU for letting me hang with you guys these past few weeks—it was a BLAST! I've loved getting to know you and learn what you're reading and doing. I'm sure we'll see each other around the internetz. 

The Kerr

Sunday Smatterings: The Kerr Edition!

Sunday Smatterings 3.4.18

Hey, folks! The Kerr here, reporting for duty while J.T. is on sabbatical. She's been in Florida this week. I'M NOT JEALOUS OR ANYTHING.


Let's talk about fun stuff on the Internet!

What I'm Eating

This toasted sesame ginger seasoning is magical. I am serious, you guys.

I tried it at my friend Laura's house. Laura lives in Florida, which means she knows how to make good fish—I think it's a state law. Laura rubbed this seasoning on some ahi tuna, seared each side for two minutes, and voilà. I am telling you, it was one of the most amazing things I've ever eaten. So simple. So delicious.

Since Laura is a saint, she sent the seasoning home with me. This week I sautéed some broccoli and garlic, and sprinkled this stuff on top. 

Game. Changer.

What I'm Playing

I listened to Jon Acuff's new podcast, Creative Slide. If you don't know Jon, you should fix that. He's a hilarious guy who's written a slew of nonfiction about how to grow as an artist and business person.

(PS: I think Jon's goal is to be the Stephen Pressfield of the next generation. He too loves The War of Art—one of J.T.'s favorite books!)

Jon's first guest is prolific screenwriter Brian Koppelman, the co-creator of Showtime's Billions (which is fantastic) and some movies I know you've seen: Rounders, Runaway Jury, Ocean's Thirteen, among others. Jon and Brian have an easy rapport, which made their conversation, despite poor sound quality, a good listen. They talked hard work, insecurity, and the reason creatives should help other creatives. I even listened to Brian's interview with Jon three years ago on Brian's own podcastthat's how much I enjoyed listening to them talk. 

What I'm Reading

I just started Barbara Brown Taylor's Learning to Walk in the Dark. I've heard some of my favorite writers talk about how lyrical Taylor's writing is—and they're right, she doesn't disappoint. Very poignant stuff so far.

What I'm Watching

The Brit streak continues! I just started Death Comes to Pemberly on Netflix. Have you read the book? I didn't, but I'm making up for it. The show stars Matthew Rhys as Darcy, which is basically why I'm watching it. I like Jane Austen as much as the next girl, but I love The Americans even more. (The Book Nerd police are probably going to revoke my card now. 😬 Don't hold it against me, Anne Bogel.)

Matthew Goode is also in Death Comes to Pemberly. He's a dashing young lad who's been in basically every British show in the past decade, but has also starred alongside Mr. Rhys in a highly underrated program called The Wine Show. Which is exactly what it sounds like—utterly delightful.

And I don't care if he's married to Keri Russell—I love Matthew Rhys.

I'm *ahem* going to get off my soapbox now. 


Dog of the Week

Somebody is thrilled it’s Friday. 🤗

A post shared by J.T. Ellison/The Kerr til 4/1 (@thrillerchick) on

Eaten anything good? Watched anything great? Let's chat about it below in the comments!