Sunday Smatterings

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Hello, lovely readers, happy Sunday! How's the weather in your neck of the woods?

I traveled to Florida this week to see family. My mom turned 80, my brothers and daddy and I threw her a lovely small party, and a good time was had by all. I have to be honest, I haven't gotten a ton of work done, but family is a very important part of my life, and I was excited to spend time with all of us under one roof. Something that doesn't happen often. And... the weather's been pretty fabulous. With all things green and sunny, I can't wait for spring to come back to Nashville. We're this close, I think; surely Punxsutawney Phil missed the mark this year—the South is seeing green things returning three weeks early.

A girl can dream...

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

This week I found an app I would've loved as a kid. For only $4.99/month, Epic! gives subscribers unlimited access to 20,000 children's ebooks. Kids can read the books as many times as they want, whenever they want. Can you imagine having The. Whole. Library. at your fingertips when you were a kid? Bliss.

And when you feed the mind of a child, you feed her creativity. Kids are less inclined to have inhibitions (a lesson we can re-learn), so they can create some of the most fantastic art. Here is what a few children's book authors and artists created when they were young.

Have you found yourself scrolling through social feeds lately, only to click away with a sigh and a heavy heart? It's a strange time we're living in. We writers don't have a typical means of dealing with hard times in the zeitgeist. Most of us consider words our means of change, though I'd wager most of us want to help our fellow humans in a more tangible way. Leave it to the wise Kris Rusch to tell us how to write in the most difficult times, when it feels like your world is on fire. (Spoiler alert: your work isn't trivial, and there are things you can do to help.)

This is a nerdy publishing industry post, but! If you're in the business, here's what I and a few other publishing peeps think you should do to reach your readers this year.


And closer to home:

Y'all know I am a minimalist. I strive to live simply, to cut out the clutter in my home and my work. But I noticed a habit of mine was clouding my brain and stealing my attention, so I've decided to change it. It takes zero time to do, but adds hours to my day. I think you might find it handy, too.

The Wine Vixen ponders a very important question—stemless wine glasses: yea or nay?

Don't forget: there's still time to enter the Harlequin Secret Valentine giveaway on Goodreads! I'm offering a paperback copy of FIELD OF GRAVES, along with my favorite romance novel of all time...which will only be revealed to the winners. Go put your hat in the ring! 💕


That's it from me! This week, show somebody you love them, send some homemade Valentines, sip hot chocolate in front of a fire, and we'll talk again soon.


P.S. I LOVE YOU!!!!!

maybe you just need one person.

12.18.16 - Sunday Smatterings

Hello, chickens! How was your week? Are you making lists and checking them twice? Holiday prep is winding down at Chez Ellison. The last of my Christmas cards and gifts went out this week. The decorations have gone up. Neither of the cats has eaten said decorations yet. Things are getting a bit calmer, and I'm ready to settle into a quieter week. I don't think I've ever been done with Christmas this early before. It feels VERY nice. 


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Do you ever wish you had Hermione's Time Turner so that you could go back and revisit the Christmases of your childhood? I do. Sometimes I miss the magic of Christmas, because I get caught up in the checklists, to-do lists, the calendar of social events, trying to make the holidays happen. My wonderful A WORD ON WORDS cohost, Mary Laura Philpott, gave voice to that ennui this week in the New York Times, in a piece called "Wishing Away the Wishlist." Give it a read, especially if you need to catch your breath trying to make all the things happen.

This is what the holidays are all about: a couple paid off $30,000 layaway charges at a Walmart in Memphis. Pay it forward, y'all.

This time of year, Iceland stays dark for a good portion of the day. So what do Icelanders do to pass the time? Read, of course! This is where they find their books.

Looking for wine to pair with the holiday meal? Vivino's compiled a list for almost anything you're serving. Mmm!

We talk a lot about Parnassus Books here, but there's another wholly independent bookstore in Nashville, and it only features Tennessee writers and artists. Get thee to East Side Story for a fun afternoon with proprietor Chuck Beard. You'll love it, and what a great place to buy Christmas gifts for your Nashville-loving friends!

And closer to home:

Y'all. 'Tis the season for gift giving... but sometimes, you need to give one to yourself, too! Case and point: THE FIRST DECADE ebook is on sale for only $3.99. Includes THE OMEN DAYS, a romantic Christmas ghost story* perfect for this time of year!

*Yes. I said "romantic Christmas ghost story." 👻 💕

If you're stuck on a unique gift for your nerdy loved one or writer friend, check out my gift guide. Three sections, ten books, lots of programs and stocking stuffers and fun things you can still pick up!

Oh, and you need this five-minute peanut butter fudge in your life. Just sayin'.

That's all I have this week. Y'all be good, do nice things for strangers, hang your stockings by the chimney with care, and we'll talk again soon!


12.04.16 - Sunday Smatterings

Sunday Smatterings 12.04.16

Hello, darlings, welcome to December! Did you have a good week? The holiday season has definitely arrived: front doors are bedecked with wreaths, spruces peek out of living room windows, neighborhoods twinkle after dark. It's a magical time of year, for sure. I try to savor the season as much as I can, try not to get caught in the checklists and party planning and tying the perfect ribbons. Because when you get caught up in the little things, you tend to lose sight of the big ones—like spending time with the people you love. That's what holidays are made of, right?

Remember: you can do anything, but you can't do everything.

At any rate...

Here's what happened on the Internets this week:


This is the stuff Internet dreams are made of: an adorable cat video. If you're having a bad day, GO WATCH THIS.

Speaking of heartwarming things, a bookstore in Michigan helps children who are timid readers by hosting a Reading with Zoey the Therapy Dog day in their shop. Be still, my heart.

In Illinois, a repo man paid off an elderly couple's car... and gave it back to them. More of this, please, and not just during the holiday season.

November is always National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for short), and some writers adopt fun habits or locales to soldier through those 50,000 words they agreed to write. But these writers won... because they spent NaNoWriMo in a French castle.

Hey, fellow Potterheads, check out this amazing HP Christmas tree!


And closer to home:


The FIELD OF GRAVES paperback came out this week! 🎉 Grab a copy for you and a friend (because stocking stuffers, am I right?).

Big news from The Wine Vixen: the Netflix of wine has arrived. You're welcome.

My December News comes out this week! Are you signed up to get it? If not, click here (and snag your free ebook).


That it from me! Go sit by a fire, grab a book and a hot beverage, and we'll talk again soon.


9.18.15 - Introducing my newest venture - THEWINEVIXEN.COM

For many, many years, every Friday on Murderati, I gave a wine recommendation at the bottom of my blog post. Wine of the Week, it was called, and I had a great time finding new wines, seeking out excellent vintages and vineyards, learning all I could about the wine industry. When I stopped my weekly blog, I also stopped the official wine recommendations. I’ve missed it. I love good wine, and love to find great wine buys.

I have always wanted to find a way to resurrect the Wine of the Week. But I wasn’t blogging regularly, and life got in the way, as it so often does. Other than the occasional declaration of Facebook, I've been largely wine silent for far too long.

In 2012, I was on a tour in Dahlonega, Georgia, and went into a wine shop after dinner. I saw the cutest wine plaque—Tip the Wine Vixen, it said. 

Tip the Wine Vixen--ha!


The Wine Vixen. Now that had a ring to it. 

An aside. When I was growing up, CB radios were a big thing. We were out in the country, in the woods, and you needed a reliable form of communication. So my dad would take us out on the roads and let us talk to the truckers on the CB so we could learn how to call for help if we needed it. BJ and the Bandit, and all that. I know, I know. 

The deal with the CB was, you had to have a handle. I floated between Baby Yellowjacket (my dad, the Yellowjacket, is a Georgia Tech Rambling Wreck) and Little Vixen (my mom was the Vixen, because she was a total fox.) 

So I come to the title of The Wine Vixen honestly—a love of wine, and a former play on my CB handle.

Back to Dahlonega. I tried to buy the plaque but was refused. So I ran home (actually, back to the hotel), snapped up the URL, then sat on it for several years until the right moment, which is now. 

In THE END GAME, you will find an oblique reference to It was meant to be an inside joke, but the closer we got to release day, the more I realized it could be a great break through the 4th wall, a fun nod to all my loves.

My right hand, Assistant Amy, loved the idea. And since she’s such an amazing Amy, she set up the site—which is lovely, by the way—and when I saw how gorgeous it was, I knew the time had come to resurrect the wine of the week.

So welcome, friends, to The Wine Vixen. Stop by, bookmark us, and follow along with our recommendations on Twitter and Facebook. I’m red, Amy is white, and we’ll split the rosés between us. There will be a mix of old and new wines, some travelogues, recipes and pairings, and some sillies, just for fun. 

Cheers—or, as my family puts it, Ching Ching!