Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 1.7.18

Hey, chickens! How you doing today? Thawing out, I hope? No more bomb cyclones raging in our backyards?

If you're a U.S. chicken, I don't need to tell you that it has been so cold lately. My fingers stay frozen if they aren't wrapped around a tea mug. The kitties can't go on the porch. Thankfully Nashville wasn't swept up in the bombogenesis, but my deepest sympathies to you if you were. Yeesh. Old Man Winter is sure a grumpy fellow sometimes.

This week I put in lots of edits and new words for TEAR ME APART. I'm at a point where I'm honing the story, upping the tension, making things tighter, discovering more dark and twisty corridors inside of my characters. This is the good stuff of storytelling, when I can start pulling all the threads together. It makes this writer very, very happy.

Anyway. Without further ado, I give you links.


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:
 

The simple structure to attaining your goals. Essential January reading, especially for those who want to keep their resolutions.
 

Jocko Willink on the power of discipline. We all know I'm a fan of Cal Newport's work, and I read his blog religiously. This article featuring former-Navy-Seal-turned-leadership-consultant Willink ran in December, but I thought it would be a perfect read as we ring in the new year. We're all looking for more freedom in our lives, and Willink uses a surprising tool to find his: discipline. 


How to use money to buy back your time. Creatives, take heed. Your time is so valuable. Where can YOU turn over your work to someone and buy back some creative time?
 

I WAS ANASTASIA by Ariel Lawhon - a Winter 2018 Okra Pick. I had the pleasure of reading this beauty early. Fans of historical fiction: y'all need to run to your bookstore in March when this hits shelves. Such a great story!


Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan on How They Found the Voice of "Lady Bird." 2018 is going to be a powerful year for women in entertainment, both in front of and behind the camera. Long overdue!


Triple-Acting Diabetes Drug Reverses Memory Loss in Alzheimer's Disease Mouse Models. This is huge, y'all! An accidental find, and a promising start.


How Americans of both political parties can come together to support the Iranian people. When I joined Twitter, we turned our avatars green in support of the Iranian people. It’s time for another bold statement. #freedom


And closer to home:


My 2017 Annual Review. 2017 was one of my most exciting, crazy, thought-provoking, and frustrating years ever. At the beginning of the year, I predicted I'd more create consistency and contentment through staying home more. How well did I do? You be the judge.


Sunday Reads: YEAR ONE by Nora Roberts. This apocalyptic read is quite a departure from Nora's usual fare...


Also, an important thing I must tell you before I go:

 

Saturday nights tights. #myhusbandisagenius #crazycatlady

A post shared by J.T. Ellison 📚🤓 (@thrillerchick) on

 

They make sexy tights with kittens on them. You're welcome.


That's it from me! Y'all stay warm, make a snow angel or two, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

Sunday Smatterings

Hello, chickens, Happy Sunday. How are you doing? I write to you from ALA, the conference for America's literary superheroes: librarians! I haven't been to this conference before, and I'm delighted to be here. Librarians are my people, and between panels and cocktails and talking about our favorite books, I can tell we're going to have a lot of fun together before the weekend is over.

Last week, Team JT put the final touches on LIE TO ME, and it's safely off to the printer. The next time I see those words, I'll be able to slide my fingers across them as they sit on printed pages. I can't tell you how much lighter I feel with this book officially out of my hands. The story is no longer mine—now it belongs to you, dear reader. I do hope you enjoy it.

Yesterday we shot the first episode of A WORD ON WORDS Season 3. I can't tell you who the guest was, but suffice it to say I was beyond thrilled to interview this giant in the publishing sphere. I can't wait to share this one with you later this summer!

Without further ado, here are the links you came for:


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

The Washington Post: kitten nursery saves tiny lives in a city aiming to become ‘no kill’. Talk about bringing a kitty mama to tears. Adopt, adopt, adopt.
 

The Kill Zone Blog: Empowering History? I always fall on the side of the empowered female heroine. Just sayin'.
 

Travel + Leisure: This Is the Ultimate Nanny Job Abroad — If You're Not Afraid of Ghosts. Let's  look at the trade-offs here: beautiful Scottish wilderness. Haunted house. I think I know what I'd choose...
 

theSkimm. If you don't read theSkimm, I highly suggest you begin to. Smart, to-the-point news that keeps you informed on the important things, and stuff on the lighter side, too.
 

The Guardian: Buying houses in cash and selling millions: meet self-publishing's 'hidden' authors. Because there's room for everyone at the table—even if you fashion the chair yourself.
 

Bustle: 14 Careers For Readers, Because It Is Possible to Make a Living Off Your Love of Books. Chin up, English majors. There are many opportunities to use your degree that don't end with "do you need room for cream?"
 

New York Public Library: Pencils At Dawn! 6 Writers and the Duels They Fought In. I really enjoy the New York Public Library's Twitter feed (follow them here, if you don't already). I'm always learning new, fascinating tidbits from them. This article was no exception.
 

YouTube: Game of Thrones Red Keep in Lego. Perfect for nerds of today and yesteryear (less than a month until Season 7, folks!!! Have you seen the new trailer? #WinterIsHere).


And closer to home:

5 Things I'm Into This Month (June 2017). From my zero-prep lunch to fashionable and comfy sandals, these five things are making me breathe easier.
 

Click here to read the first three chapters of LIE TO ME. Mwahahahaha. 😈


That's it from me, darlings. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, stay in the shade, put on plenty of sunscreen, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

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!