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

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.


Sabbatical is over, so... I’m back!

Honey, I'm home...

Hello, good people! My social media Lenten fast was lovely and calm, but now I’m back — rested, recharged, and full of words. I hope you’ve had a lovely six weeks without me! Many props to The Kerr, who handled the socials so wonderfully! I know y’all had fun with her — thanks for all your sweet notes to us both.

Oh, SO MANY THINGS to talk about!

Blog Resurrection

I missed the bulk of the #quitfacebook kerfuffle, but I know many of you aren’t entranced with how FB is handling your info. Neither am I.

Because I would hate to lose touch with you if you are leaving, I’ve decided to resurrect my blog. 

Aside from the privacy issues, FB frustrates me to pieces because while so many of you have joined my author page, you rarely see the posts unless I pay to boost them, so I think it's time to invite you to join me in my blog and we’ll go from there. 

I have to admit, I’m rather excited to be jumping back into non-fiction. I miss blogging, but it won't exactly be regimented. Whatever is on my mind, I’m going to share. I’ve been very inspired by Nora Roberts’ blog lately. It’s fun, and relaxed, and that’s my goal. Don’t be surprised to see some rebranding happening next week, too. 

And do me a small favor? Leave a comment to let me know you’re around and reading. Writing into the void isn’t fun! 

New Books

THE SIXTH DAY is about to release (April 10).

Romantic Times gave it an extremely rare 5 Star Gold rating. It’s as crazy a thriller ride as you will take this year, guaranteed to please fans of the series, and hopefully entrance new ones as well.

During my sabbital, Catherine and I hooked up out in California and put together the 6th Brit in the FBI novel, which I am working on right now. We even have a title, though I don’t think she’s released that info yet (#socialmediasabbatical). It’s been a research-intensive month, with so many things to learn. The writing is underway, though! I had a great writing retreat in March, and am now regularly laying down words again. 

TEAR ME APART went through two edits whilst I was away.

It’s going to be in galley soon, and we’re finalizing the cover. I just received the AAs — author alterations, aka last pass pages. This is my last chance to make any changes to the book before it goes into production. We do have back cover copy to share, so look for that on the blog shortly. Suffice it to say... Girl, Interrupted grows up. 

Other Projects

Amy and I have been making books!

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! And there’s more in the works, including another anthology that is going to blow your mind. 

A WORD ON WORDS has seen many new entries these past few weeks, so you need to check them out ASAP! One of the things that I think is very cool about AWOW is the fact that my co-host (Mary Laura Philpott) and I are both writers. It makes these interviews very much peer-to-peer, adding insight to both how we work and how the authors we’re interviewing approach their craft, books, and life in general. 

I have some more news that I can’t share yet and it’s about killing me to stay quiet, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. Trust me, you will be the first to know when I can tell you.

That’s enough for now! 

Since you haven’t seen them here in a while, here are a few shots of Jameson and Jordan, aka The Minions, on our latest adventure. They are very happy to be home and back on their porch.


Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 8.13.17

Hi, chickens, happy Sunday. Did y'all have a good week? As you know, I just got back from vacation (which was glorious). After a few days catching up, I'm happily back at work on Brit #5, trying to flesh out a rip-roaring adventure for Nick and Mike. Things are swimming along, and there's a big month of writing ahead. Summer's over for the kiddies, and now it is for me, too. 

I have a favor to ask you below, but we'll get to that later. Right now, it's time for links:

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? A fabulous long read with sobering statistics.

Aziz Ansari gave up using the internet for reading books. After reading articles like the last one, this gives me hope.

Why are cats afraid of water? This was the most retweeted article on my feed this week—for good reason. Face it, you've always wondered...

[Listen] The World's Most Glamorous Librarian. BookRiot brings us the life of Belle De Costa Greene, the most glamorous and influential librarian in early 20th Century America. And she is fascinating

Branch out from your usual genres this year (and 15 titles that will help you do just that). For those of you doing book challenges, Modern Mrs. Darcy may be able to help you out.

Megan Abbott on Genres. On the last season of A Word on Words, I talked to the brilliant Megan Abbott about the literary vs. genre divide. And her insight is pretty spectacular and totally spot-on. This week Poets & Writers picked up the interview, which turned out to be quite timely.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter's New Ride Promises to Be Scarier Than the Dark Arts. This is important. Obviously.

And closer to home: LIE TO ME is almost here!

Y'all, I have to tell you – I am so excited to share LIE TO ME with my chickens! You can start devouring Ethan and Sutton’s story on September 5!

If you'll indulge me, let's talk about this book a little bit.

I had a specific goal in mind when I wrote this story – stretch myself beyond my limits. Thankfully, some very important people agreed. Lee Child called LIE TO ME “wonderful... a one-more-chapter, don't-eat-dinner, stay-up-late sensation." Lisa Scottoline said LIE TO ME has “more twists and turns than the backroads of Tennessee.” And in their starred review, Publishers Weekly said LIE TO ME was “exceptional” and “may be [my] best work to date.”

This book is a big one, y’all. It would mean the world to me if you supported LIE TO ME the way you have with my past work.

How can you help, you ask?

I’ll be honest – a pre-order means EVERYTHING for this book. Pre-orders are vital to a book’s early success. It tells bookstores to order more copies, it helps with placement on the front tables and bestseller lists, it gets libraries excited to stock the title – everything a book needs to be a success. And it’s all in your very capable hands.

Plus, you have options! You can order it in your preferred format – trade paperback, hardcover, digital, or audio – right now. No waiting six months to a year for the more cost-effective paperback. Cool, right? (FYI, the trade paperback is only 10 bucks. Just sayin’.)

So if you would, pick up a copy, rate it on Goodreads, leave a review at your favorite retailer, copy and paste the image above on your social feeds, tell a friend about it: every little thing helps, and I am so grateful for any support you can give.

Thank you, thank you for coming on this journey with me. I’m thrilled to share my writing world with you!

That's it from me. Y'all have a great week, go get a popsicle, finish the book you're reading, and we'll talk again soon!


What I'm Into (February 2017)

Here’s the roundup of what’s turning my crank this month:

Cobalt Blue Betty teapot

My ten-year-old teapot finally bit the dust, and I’ve been wanting a Brown Betty forever. This glazed blue is a prettier version of the classic. The first one I ordered came with a broken handle (but pot itself intact) so I was thrilled when they drop shipped another. I’ve found it to be the best teapot ever. Nice and big inside, lots of room for water to move through the leaves, and it stays hot under the cosy for at least an extra two hours. Highly recommended.

UGG slippers

My old LL Bean moccasins are on their last legs, and I’ve had my eye on a pair of UGG Dakotas. But they’re pricey, so I was holding off. Then, lo and behold, I had an issue with a different pair of shoes from Zappos and they kindly gave me a big credit for my trouble. Boom — into the cart went the Dakotas. Cozy warm, wonderfully made, I am in heaven trotting around the house in these beauties. 

No/No Bird Feeders

Wanting to entertain the kittens, I decided to get some bird feeders I could perch close to the porch for their viewing pleasure. I’ve always had wooden feeders, but they rot and make the feed gross. Imagine my delight at finding the No/No brand—No Wood, No Plastic. I bought three different ones — the big red cardinal feeder, a small round ball, and the bronze wild bird feeder. And then I filled them with safflower seeds instead of black-oil sunflower, to discourage squirrel takeovers. We are happily overrun with chickadees and cardinals now, and I even spotted a tufted titmouse couple yesterday. The squirrels are NOT interested, either. Wonder who is getting more pleasure out of these feeders, me, or the cats?


Friday morning yoga

I committed to reinvigorating my yoga practice this year, and have stuck to that promise by going to an actual class. It’s wonderful, kind and nurturing, exactly what I needed to get back on the wagon. 


Constant Comment tea

Do you remember this one? I wanted a quick cuppa the other day and opened my drawer to see these beauties sitting there. The moment I ripped open the package, I was transported back to childhood. So fun. (And yes, I’ve been a life-long tea drinker…) 

Vintner’s Daughter Botanical Face Serum

I am allergic to everything, so I am very careful what I put on my face. Since I’ve switched to completely natural makeups and shampoo, I’ve seen a big difference, and this awesome serum is the keystone to it all. Great story, great product, great results. What more can I say?


Late night dancing to The Clash

Especially my all time favorite, "Rock the Casbah." No explanation necessary.



What are you into this month?

1.10.17 - Wintering with Kittens

I love my cats. This will come as no surprise. But since the weather has turned cold, they are driving me crazy.

The littlest one in particular, as she possesses more energy than her big sister (or any other cat in the nation, I assume). They are both hunters, without a doubt. Give me a red dot laser pen, and I can keep them entertained for at least ten minutes. The house is strewn with fake mice — they prefer the real rabbit fur ones we get online, but in a pinch, anything that can be thrown will do. I already have 1500 steps on my Fitbit simply through this morning’s play. 

They love to be engaged, love to chase things up and down the stairs. Jameson in particular is a kamikaze pilot. She slides across the wood floor, smashing into cabinets and doors, losing nails as she pivots and twists on the throw rugs. Jordan is only slightly more sedate—when you get her going, she is like a snow fox, jumping high and pouncing with all four feet. She can jump six feet straight up to my shoulder from a seated position, gliding through the air like a flying squirrel, in a second flat. We call her Air Jordan for a reason.

When we built the porch last year, they found a safe haven. It’s fully screened with heavy duty pet screening, and they chatter with the birds, watch the squirrels, spy on our neighbors, their minds completely engaged. In the summer, spring, and fall, they spend 90% of their time out there, completely entranced with the wild.

Days like today, cold, dreary, highs in the 20s, the possibility of snow, I have to keep the porch door shut, and I begin to understand parental lamentations about school snow days. I am having a hard time focusing on my fiction, and so have been handling the non-fiction and easy chores, because Jameson will not leave me alone. She wants to chase mice, roll in plastic bags, be brushed, jump over my head, run up the stairs, hang off her perch like a monkey in the trees. Jordan was diverted by the laser, chasing it in circles until she got dizzy, then sauntered off for a nap. But not James. The cat is actually bored.

I didn’t know cats could get bored. I’ve never had kittens with so much energy, so much joie de vivre. They delight in our attentions, whether being carried around like babies or leaping waist-high to catch a furry mouse. Anything, anything, to keep the laptop off my lap. Long, mournful meows are the trademark — they cry and cry (or squeak, in Jordan’s case, the one who never mastered her words) like they’re hurt until they see me coming to check on them, then they dart away, with grins on their fanged mouths, thrilled that the chase is on. 

I think they were taught this by the cardinals, who tease and scold outside the porch windows. I read once that cats don’t normally vocalize to other cats unless in the grips of a berserker fury fighting each other. They’ve learned their calls and trills to talk to their humans. Mine seem to have taken this to an extreme, because they are mouthy as all get out.

This in comparison to my parents beautiful Siamese, Jamocha. At 15, she is going into renal failure. She is quiet and reserved anyway, a shy cat all her life, but especially so now. We spent the Christmas holiday coaxing and petting, doing anything we could to get food into her mouth. My brother’s cat, Miraj, is also elderly and ill, and somewhat quiet, but we managed to get both of them eating and enjoying their lives again. Quality of life in little old lady cats is a joy to behold, trust me.

What a blessing, these beasts. Whether young or old, we will do anything for them, anything to make them happy, content, satisfied. Who is really the pet, do you think?

And I just realized… there is silence. My beasties are asleep. Collapsed, really. Charging their batteries for the next go round. The wee demons have granted me an hour’s writing time. I better be off to it.

Tell me about your fur babies!