7.28.15 - The Kind of News I Like To Share

By JT Ellison

Some super fun news to share with y’all today — as announced in Publishers Marketplace.

July 27, 2015 – THE FINAL CUT and THE LOST KEY by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison

Television rights:

Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison’s NYT bestselling A Brit In The FBI series, including THE FINAL CUT and THE LOST KEY, to Amber Television producing with Endemol Shine International distributing, by Erica Spellman Silverman on behalf of Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group.

Talk about fun! More news as we have it.

Now you REALLY want to pre-order THE END GAME, don’t you???

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Kobo

Via: JT Ellison


7.27.15 - THE END GAME Is Coming... excerpt & Giveaway!

By JT Ellison

If you can believe it, there is another book soon to be born. THE END GAME, the third Brit in the FBI novel, releases September 15, and the reviews have been fantastic so far.

To whet your whistle, read on for a short excerpt. You’re going to want to pre-order this puppy, trust me!

And when you’re done, tell me your favorite British expression in the comments to be entered to win an advanced reader copy of THE END GAME!

“In nonstop action covering less than a week, Caine and Drummond are challenged as never before, taking both their personal and professional relationships to new levels. This third in the series is an adrenaline-fueled caper that’s hard to put down. Another hit for the team of Coulter and Ellison.” – Booklist – Starred Review

“Suspense lovers can rejoice at the third fantastic installment of the A Brit in the FBI series. This talented duo continues to produce books that are incredibly complex, filled with layered characters and heart-stopping in their suspense. Nicholas Drummond and Mike Caine’s growing partnership helps anchor the flat-out intensity of the action set-pieces. It will be a long wait for the next installment!” – RT 4.5 Stars Top Pick!

“The third in the series featuring the brilliant Brit adds scary technology to physical action to produce a tip-top thriller.” – Kirkus


The End Game — by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

United States-Mexico Border
Three Months Ago

Zahir Damari watched the coyote turn to face the ragged band of Hondurans on the sloping Texas side of the Rio Grande. As the last Honduran climbed up the bank, pulled up by his father, Zahir saw hope now dawning on the dirty faces, saw the relief in their tired eyes at surviving the nightmare trip. They’d made it; they were in America.

The coyote, Miguel Gonzales, eyed them with contempt–nothing new in that, he’d treated this group with unveiled scorn since the beginning of their trek eight days before. Gonzales stuck out his hand to the leader of the group, an older man, a father of two younger sons. He waggled his fingers.

“Pagenme porque ustede son unos miserables.”

He wanted the other half of the money owed. No, the thieving scum wanted more. Gonzales had upped the payoff. He saw the Hondurans’ shock, their fear, saw them talking among themselves, voices rising.

Gonzales pulled a pistol, aimed it at the group, and held out his hand again.

Zahir smiled at Miguel Gonzales, a brutal man with stained teeth and black eyes that reflected Hell. He walked up to him, his hand outstretched with bills, and as the coyote grabbed them, Zahir stepped in quickly and gently slipped his stiletto into Gonzales’s filthy shirt. Gonzales didn’t make a sound because Zahir’s knife was always true. It slid under the breastbone, directly into the coyote’s heart. Gonzales simply looked up into Zahir’s face, dropped the pistol, fell on his side, and died in the mess of dry shrubs.

The Hondurans were frozen in place, too terrified and shocked to move. Zahir leaned down, pulled out his stiletto, cleaned it on Miguel’s’ filthy jeans. He calmly went through Miguel’s pockets, pulled out a big wad of bills, handed them to the young woman closest to him, and smiled.

Buena suerte“–good luck–and he gave them a salute and walked away, toward El Paso, only three miles to the north.

The day was brutally hot, but he didn’t mind since he’d been raised in the worst desert heat imaginable. In his shirt pocket was a small notebook filled with information and strategy from Hezbollah’s top enforcer, Hasan Hadawi, called the Hammer, about a brilliant young scientist named Matthew Spenser, and how Zahir could use him to help cut off two heads of the hydra. It made Zahir’s heart speed up to think about the actual doing of it, the awesome pleasure that would course through him when he’d succeeded.

Zahir knew most of the intel and strategy was from Hadawi’s Iranian master, Colonel Vahid Rahbar, openly committed to the obliteration of anyone who wasn’t a Shia, which would leave a small world population indeed, Zahir thought.

Zahir knew Spenser and his small group were hiding near Lake Tahoe. Spenser, according to the Hammer, had gone off the rails years before when his family had been killed in London’s terrorist subway bombing in 2005. Now he led a small group called Celebrants of Earth, or COE, their goal to eliminate oil imports from the Middle East, but no murder, no casualties. The idiot ideologues, Zahir thought. Until recently, the group had operated in Britain and Europe, blowing up small to mid-sized oil refineries, small crap. But now they were here, in America, their message to the media after each bombing always the same:

No more oil from terrorist countries or you will pay the price.

Both the Colonel and the Hammer believed Spenser was an unsophisticated anti-Muslim zealot, and ripe for manipulation. Over the Hammer’s favorite gin and countless French Gauloises, he’d told Zahir to become Matthew Spenser’s best friend, his mentor, a man he would come to trust implicitly, a man he would follow. “You will gently mold and manipulate this fool’s penny-ante goals until they become your glorious ones”–that is, until Spenser became a murderer, Zahir thought, and knew it would be a challenge, but one he would win. Zahir knew he wasn’t as smart as Spenser in science, but he was years beyond Spenser in strategy, planning, execution, and sheer balls. But unlike the bare-fisted Hammer, Zahir was never guilty of underestimating an opponent, or reducing him to faults and weaknesses and strengths. He knew when to use a hammer, when to use a simple lie.

It was over the Hammer’s fourth gin that he’d told Zahir with a snicker that Spenser might have a possible weakness–a woman named Vanessa, a beauty, late twenties, red hair, milk-white skin, and blue eyes, and the Hammer showed him a photo of her. She hardly fit the image of a wacko bomber, but the Hammer assured him she’d been building bombs with an Irish IRA git named Ian McGuire and his faction. Both groups hated what they saw as radical Islam’s encroachment into their world, and according to the Hammer, this common cause united them.

With another snicker, he told Zahir the woman and Spenser were probably lovers and his grin split his mouth wide enough to see the gold filling in his back molar. He suggested Zahir seduce Vanessa away from Spenser, but Zahir couldn’t figure out what that would gain him, certainly not Spenser’s trust and friendship. He would see.

But it was Iranian colonel Vahid Rahbar who’d told him his most important goal: to steal Spenser’s amazing invention, a bomb that looked like a gold fifty-cent piece, no larger, and, according to their sources, would be undetectable. Nearly perfected, they’d heard, and the minute it was perfected, he wanted it. The colonel had rubbed his hands together. “You, my friend, will light the fuse that will begin the war, then we will explode their cities, kill millions, and none of them will even know how it was done. Our casualties–it is nothing compared to what we will gain. When it is all over, we will rule the world.” Unspoken was Shia will arise from the ashes and control the earth’s destiny.

Zahir didn’t really care if Shia ran the world or if Buddha took over. His specialty would always be in demand.

He whistled as he got into another stolen car, lifted from a side street in Reno. He would steal another car in a place named Incline Village, drive into the Sierras, and find Spenser.

He wondered which head of the hydra he’d manipulate Spenser into killing–the president or the vice president.

The game was about to begin.


Chapter 4 – Pawn to G6
Bayway Refinery
Elizabeth, New Jersey

They arrived on scene along with most of the first responders. Mike speeded through the gates of the refinery, onto the long road leading to the huge converters, closer and closer to the fire. When the road ran out, blocked by a large chunk of metal, she pulled to a stop and flew out of the car, running toward the flames, Nicholas beside her, both dodging the debris still raining down. Nicholas grabbed her arm, jerked her back to him. He pulled off his leather jacket, ripped off his shirt sleeve, and wrapped it around her face. “Tie it tight.”

He ripped off the other sleeve and covered his own nose and mouth. Still, the choking black smoke seeped in, making them wheeze and cough. And then they were off. It was like running through a battlefield toward a wall of flames, he thought, as he shrugged his jacket back on. It wasn’t much protection, but some. Mike was wearing her motorcycle jacket, heavier than his, and that was good.

They sucked in their breaths and kept running. he heard Mike scream, “Over here, Nicholas!”

He changed course, dodging flying rubble, banging his hip against a concrete pylon, there to ensure the security of this place, only it hadn’t done any good. The bombers had gotten in despite all the safety precautions.

Nicholas saw a man pinned under a piece of the wreckage. His skin was deathly white and blood seeped from his legs, black in the night.

Nicholas moved behind the man, nodded to Mike. “One, two, three,” she yelled, and Nicholas pulled up the stinging hot metal burning his hands, heaving with all his strength while Mike tugged the man clear. He dropped the metal back to the ground with a crash barely heard in the hellish chaos around them.

“Bloody hell.” He shook his hands, rubbed them together, wincing at the blisters that had popped up. he hadn’t thought to get gloves from the car’s boot, lame brain that he was.

“There’s another man over there!”

Nicholas saw a large chunk of metal sticking out of the man’s neck and the odd angle of his head. “He’s dead. Keep moving.”

Mike swallowed, nodded. They wound their way closer to the center of the blast site. The heat was incredible, the flames shooting madly into the night, singeing their arms and hair, but they kept moving, picking through the rubble, looking for survivors.

‘here’s one,” Nicholas shouted, and they dragged the man free, picked him up by arms and legs, and ran him back to where firemen had set up a protected space for the arriving EMTs to tend to the wounded.

They lost count of the men they’d carried back to the staging area. Finally a firefighter stepped in their way, hands up.

“Hey. Stop, both of you. I don’t know who you are, but you don’t have the right equipment. Get back away from here, now. I don’t want the two of you hurt as well.”

Mike shouldered her way past him. “These men are going to die if we don’t get back in there. Help us or get out of the way.”

The firefighter opened his mouth to yell at her when Nicholas grabbed his arm, saw his name on his jacket. J. JONES. “Don’t bother, mate. She’s unstoppable. Come on, we could use your help. We’ll tell your supervisor you were escorting us. Move it, now.”

Without waiting to see what the man did, Nicholas ran after Mike into the flame-lit night.

Twenty minutes after the bomb went off, the scene looked like a Hieronymus Bosch nightmare scape. The air was still ripe with the scent of carnage, men stumbling from the converters, others slumped silent on the ground, bloody, groaning, so many others more seriously hurt and bleeding in the staging area. in that instant, this hell shot Nicholas back to a place more than three years before, in another part of the world, and the terrible mistakes made, and he felt a ferocious hit of pain and guilt.

The firefighter who’d tried to stop them, Jones, was at his elbow, pointing and shouting. Nicholas whirled round. He thought they’d cleared everyone in this quadrant. He couldn’t see any more bodies in the hellish light.

“What is it? I don’t see anyone.”

Jones yanked on his shoulder, pulled him backward, shouting, “No, look, over there. Bomb, bomb!” and Nicholas saw a black backpack on the ground, with wires sticking out of the top. His heart froze.

Mike was a good twenty feet in front of him. He sprinted to her, caught her, grabbed her hand, and dragged her as fast as he could away from the backpack into the darkness, yelling, “Secondary device, run, Mike, run!”

They ran toward Jones, who was still screaming at everyone to fall back, fall back.

The backpack exploded, and the world around them shattered.


Fun, huh? If you enjoyed this little preview, go ahead and pre-order your copy of THE END GAME from one of these fine retailers. I can’t wait to share the rest with you on September 15!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Kobo

Via: JT Ellison


Arrow as Muse

By Allison Brennan Historical romance author Lavinia Kent and I wrote a series of weekly articles on the television series ARROW for USA Today’s “Happily Ever After” blog. (You can read them through the USA Today archive.) We started in the middle of

Via: Allison Brennan


7.26.15 - Sunday Linkage

By JT Ellison

It’s high time we resurrect the “Best Links of the Week” – a gathering of the most interesting stories and essays I came across during the week. Sometimes there will be many, sometimes few, but always, these posts will appear on Sundays!

Business Musings: The Branding Surprise” Kris Rusch always has excellent business and career blogs, but this one about branding is stellar. I’m in the midst of it myself, so it was very timely!

Peyton Manning launches Chattanooga Heroes Fund to honor shooting victims | WKRN News 2

The Web We Have to Save – A great philosophical essay by Hossein Derakhshan about what the Internet has become. All bloggers, especially those who came up in the 00s, should read this awesome piece.

Resistance, Housekeeping, Writing, & Me by Laura Benedict
A fabulous essay for all writers who are here (ahem) instead of writing now. And can we give props for the Oxford comma in the title?

Brilliance from Steven Pressfield about the revision process, its importance, and its difficulties, using GO SET A WATCHMAN as the prime example. This is really valuable info – Atticus Finch 2.0

The Puzzle of Life” I loved this quote — “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and devote yourself to it wholeheartedly.” Amen to that!

Debbie Haupt’s Reading Frenzy has an interview with moi on What Lies Behind

This week on the Tao, we had a 7 Minutes With… interview with @SeanChercover

As always, News from the Book World

And I’ve just found out WHAT LIES BEHIND is $2.99 on Kindle. What a deal!

Via: JT Ellison


7.23.15 - 7 Minutes With... Sean Chercover

By JT Ellison

Sean is one of my all-time favorites, and not only because he used to let me sneak off and smoke with him. Killer Year brought us together, he won a slew of awards for his work, and here we are, nearly a decade later, celebrating his new thriller, THE DEVIL’S GAME. Awesome cover, don’t you think? Sean is rushing up the charts his new series, which isn’t a surprise. He’s an amazing crime fiction writer, and has really spread his wings with The Game Trilogy. The books are thick with prophecy and miracles and mysteries, and sharp, evocative writing. You’re going to LOVE them. Welcome, Sean!

 I was lucky enough to chat with SEAN in New York last week at Thrillerfest!

I was lucky enough to chat with SEAN in New York last week at Thrillerfest!


Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?

“She’s Gone,” by Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers.

Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?

Right now, this interview. Then I’ll dive back in on the final book of the Game Trilogy.

What’s your latest book about?

Intrigue, adventure, romance . . . also deceit, betrayal, and villainy (all the good things in life). In my previous thriller, THE TRINITY GAME, [my protagonist] Daniel Byrne was searching for a miracle, but found much more than he was looking for. Perhaps the real miracle he found was the healing of his relationship with his uncle and childhood guardian, the Reverend Tim Trinity, televangelist-grifter-turned-maybe-prophet. In THE DEVIL’S GAME, Daniel is no longer searching for a miracle—now he’s searching for the truth.

And the truth is, Trinity was not the only person strangely afflicted with an apparent gift of prophecy. While the world only knows about Trinity, what’s come to be known as the Trinity Phenomenon has actually manifested in thousands of people, and it’s spreading like a contagion. Whatever the cause, it’s clear that the universe is trying to tell us something. So Daniel hooks up with some shady rich dudes and goes running off to try and solve the thing. And then everybody starts shooting at each other.

Where do you write, and what tools do you use?

I rent an office in the same building as my apartment, which makes for an easy commute. Tools? I write my first drafts in a notebook, using Blackwing 602 pencils, then move to my MacBook Air. And I write at a standing desk, which is a life saver.

What was your favorite book as a child?


What’s your secret talent?

I can move my consciousness back and forth between parallel universes.

What book are you reading now?

WAYS TO DIE IN GLASGOW, by Jay Stringer. Loving it.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I knew for sure by the 3rd grade. But I kept it a secret for a long time.

Who is your writing idol? Have you met him/her? If so, did you completely nerd out or keep your cool?

Oh, gawd. I’ve nerded out more times than I can count. Which is odd, because I don’t really think of artists I admire as “idols.” I used to work in television, where I met a ton of famous actors and musicians, and I never nerded out over them (Well, once. I totally nerded out when I met Bob Dylan, but I think I can be forgiven that). So I thought I was immune to the syndrome. But for some reason, when I first joined the crime fiction community, I acted like a tongue-tied teenybopper when I met authors I admire. Thankfully, they were very gracious, and I’m long over that phase. Still, I reserve the right to nerd out if I ever meet Beverly Cleary.

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

Just write the book that you want to read.

What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?

Hate myself. Then write anyway.

Are you creatively satisfied?

No. But there’s joy to be had in the journey, and moments of great elation along the way. As Peter Tosh said, “Peace is the diploma you get in the cemetery.”

What would you like to be remembered for?

I don’t presume that I’ll be remembered, except by the people who share my life. I hope that the people I love will find my presence in their lives preferable to my absence.

Alright, now for the really important questions:

Beach or mountains? Beach!

Coffee or tea? Coffee (although I drink a lot of green tea).

Skydive or bungee jump? Skydive (but only if the plane is going down).

Chocolate or vanilla? Are you crazy? Chocolate. Dark, bitter chocolate.

Winter or summer? Summer.

Cake or pie? I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth, but I like a good piece of pie.

Cats or dogs? I have both, love both. But if you put a gun to my head, I’ll take dogs (sorry, Fiona).

Pens or pencils? Pencils.

Truth or dare? Truth with friends, dare with acquaintances.

Print or ebook? Both. Audiobook too, when my eyes are required elsewhere.


Sean Chercover

Sean Chercover is the author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller THE TRINITY GAME, and the newly released thriller THE DEVIL’S GAME. He’s won a bunch of awards and stuff, and he lives in Toronto with his wife and son and dog and cat. To learn more, please visit www.chercover.com.

Via: JT Ellison


I’m Back!

By Allison Brennan Yes, it’s been six months since I’ve blogged. There have been a lot of reasons … and I’ve thought about shutting down the blog completely. But then I realized, I have a whole bunch of material I can post from

Via: Allison Brennan


Anatomy of a PhD – the research proposal, part 1

By PD Martin


Now onto part two of my anatomy of a PhD series…also in retrospect! This one’s about the research proposal, but could equally be called ‘drowning in language’, ‘time for yet another research topic/focus change’ or more simply ‘OMG’.

So, casting my mind back to November…the excitement. I was giddy with it. I got in! Three years to write a novel (a novella really, at around only 60,000 words) and a 20,000 word exegesis. Piece of cake! For a start, pre-kids I was on a book-a-year schedule, and those books ranged from 80,000 words to 125,000 words. My fear of the word count is not that it’s a lot of work…it’s writing a ‘novel’ in only 60,000 words. How am I going to contain it? But that’s for another blog.

My official start date was 1 February, and I have to confess, I did wonder exactly what I’d be doing in the first six months. I mean, I had six months to submit my research proposal and associated documents as part of the first key milestone, the Core Component of the Structured Program. The largest part of that is the research proposal, but I’d already written a slightly shorter version for my application so I’d have six months to expand and refine, right?

I launched into my research on method acting, thinking about how it could be applied to character development in novels. Lucky for me (you’ll find out why it was lucky in a second) I wasn’t really putting in my full four days that first six weeks before I had my school induction, faculty induction and first in-person meeting with my supervisor. In retrospect I probably should have contacted my supervisor sooner, but because the university year didn’t officially start until March (and as far as I was concerned I had plenty to go on with) I kept ploughing through. Constantin Stanislavski, Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler were my key focal points.

Then the first meeting came along and my whole research topic was thrown into doubt. I can boil the hour-long conversation down to this:

Method acting for authors…great concept but is there any academic research on it?

Um, not really, no. But isn’t it good to be groundbreaking in research?

Well, ideally you’re looking for a gap that CAN be informed by previous research. What literary theory would you draw on?

Um, none. Can I interview authors to investigate the crossover between character development and method acting?

Possibly, sure. But then you’re going to need ethics approval – a potentially lengthy and mine-field ridden path. And how would it all relate to theory?


The suggestion: How about tying it to the creative component of your PhD, the fact you’re moving into a different style of writing, one with perhaps more ‘literary’ leanings than the popular crime fiction of your Sophie Anderson series?

Mmm… ‘literary’ crime fiction. I could do that. Not actually my normal cup of tea (I sway to the more popular end as a writer and reader) but I AM moving in a different direction and I want to take my writing to another level, a deeper level. And I’m definitely moving to character-driven work (which is how the whole method acting thing came up), not police procedurals or forensic crime. But what about character and method acting? Was I really ready to let it go? And it was March…I had three months until I had to present my research proposal at the school’s postgrad conference. The first OMG came in right about here.

So, step 1: put down Stanislavski and co and check out ACADEMIC studies that may cover method acting and storytelling.

Step 2: Start investigating literary crime and “the literary” in general.

Deep breaths. The piece of cake was suddenly a hell of a lot bigger. Like, huge. Lucky for me I love cake, huh?

Via: P.D. Martin


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