Category Archives: JT Ellison

3.27.16 - Sunday Smatterings

By JT Ellison

Hello, Chickens!

Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday, and if you’re celebrating Easter that it’s a happy and blessed day. Are you enjoying the advent of spring? I, for one, am so happy to see budding trees and brilliantly green grass again. Just pumps the life back into you after a long winter.

Also, before we talk links, I have to tell you something:

Thank you so much for all the kind words, reviews, and well wishes for NO ONE KNOWS!

It’s truly daunting to send a book out into the world—because after I write it, it’s no longer mine. It’s yours (as it should be!). It amazes me to see how the words I pour onto the page affect readers in a unique way; nobody reads the same book, really. So I appreciate the feedback; I want to make sure I’m doing my job as the storyteller.

If you took time to purchase, review (either way! I like to learn from the negative ones, too), Facebook, tweet, or sent anything surrounding the book, I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

Speaking of which: Thunderclap supporters, listen up!

I have a special thank-you gift for you: the original ending to NO ONE KNOWS. If you’d like to read it, email Amy (amy@jtellison.com). She’ll send it out in the next couple of weeks, when you’ve had a chance to read the book. I’ll be curious to see what you think!

I’m winding down the my campaign blitz for this book. TONIGHT I’ll be on Second Sunday Crime with Libby Hellmann at 6 pm CST, chatting about the book. Listen in! It’ll be a fun time!

Also, I do have to share one bit of news: Bookbub named NO ONE KNOWS as one of 10 New Thrillers to Read This Spring, which always makes me so excited!

Alright, would you like some links? Here you go.

Here’s what happened on the Internets this week:

There’s a lot that goes into titling a book: more than you’d think. Here’s an insider scoop on how authors and publishers (finally) land on a book title.

These are 10 foods from literature you can actually make.

And here are 5 tips to lead a happy life.

This is a library. In the shape of a book!

Creativity is not an accident: it’s earned. And speaking of creativity: is solitude a key element to its success?

Whole Foods has committed to replace its chickens, bred to gain weight rapidly, with slower-growing breeds by 2024.

These bookshelves look like Pantone color swatches. I want them. I want them.

These 12 dogs are mesmerized by books, and it is one of the cutest things ever.

These are the best umbrellas for bookworms.

And closer to home:

On the Tao this week, I shared some of the nonfiction pieces I wrote for the release of NO ONE KNOWS. I wrote 1/4 of a novel just about the book itself!

Are you on Instagram? I’ve been picking up my Instagram game lately, and I really like it as a social medium (pretty pictures! shiny!). If you’re on Instagram, you can follow me here. I post both pictures and words (because… I don’t know if you know this, but I love words).

That’s it from me! Thank you again for all your support, enjoy your Easter, and hopefully some springlike weather, and we’ll chat again soon.

Xoxo,
J.T.

Via: JT Ellison

    

3.24.16 - In Which I Talk NO ONE KNOWS with Lots of Fine People

By JT Ellison

Every author knows that with the birth of a book comes marketing. After all, we have to tell you the book exists so you can read it!

But y’all. I wrote a lot of things for NO ONE KNOWS. Like, a lot.

Like 20,000 words worth. Like 1/4 of a novel’s worth.

And I wrote about all kinds of things! How I wrote a new kind of book. How happy I am we Nashville writers have a “room of our own,” so to speak. What my superpower of choice would be and what my favorite TV shows are. The crazy dream that featured both my husband and Harlan Coben that gave me the idea to write NO ONE KNOWS.

I’ve included snippets from some of the pieces that have run. You can follow the links to read the pieces in their entirety. I hope you enjoy them!

________

From SIBA’s Lady Banks newsletter: “The Southern Bookstore”

A few nights ago, I attended a signing at the wonderful Parnassus Books in Nashville. The signing author was Ariel Lawhon, who was launching her brilliant story chronicling the doomed flight of the Hindenburg, Flight of Dreams. As Ariel and I hugged and kissed hello, bookseller extraordinaire Bill Long-Innes smiled benevolently and asked, “Do you guys have a writer tribe? It seems like Nashville authors really make an effort to support one another. I wonder if any other cities have such a tight knit group?”

Ariel and I nodded, because we do have a tribe here in Nashville.

From my Reddit AMA:

If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?

Hardest question ever. You have to decide between wanting ultimate knowledge or ultimate power. I think I’d like to be able to control time. It’s the one resource I don’t seem to ever have enough of.

From Parnassus Books’ Musing blog:

And I’m fascinated by choices. I’d like to think I have a pretty steady moral compass, so when someone does something unethical, or criminal, I’m always aghast. And then I want to sit them down and find out why. What drove you to that decision? Was it easier to cheat? Weren’t you worried about how it would look? You weren’t afraid of going to jail? The idea that our society is split in two — law-abiders and criminals — makes novels like mine come to life. I love Nashville as the palette for this kind of story, too. The juxtapositions in this town are fabulous.

From Criminal Element:

Way back in 2010, I had a dream. My husband and I were attending a wedding weekend at the Opryland Hotel. He was with the guys, I was with the girls, and, as such, hopelessly bored—because when I’m not with him, I’m always unsettled. So, I went to find him.

I texted him and said, “Come meet me for a drink.” He didn’t reply, but a waiter came into the bar with a gin and tonic. Knowing it was from him, I smiled and sent another text. He still didn’t reply. When I finished the drink, I got directions to where the boys were meeting. I was worried.

As I stepped outside, Harlan Coben was there.

From Southern Writers Magazine’s Suite T blog:

This week sees the release of my very first standalone novel.

When a writer changes gears and moves into new territory, it’s scary, both for the author and for the readers. Will the story hold up? Will it make sense? Will I, the author, get drummed out on my ear when people start to read it? Will the twists work?

All kinds of terrible scenarios come to mind, made worse by this book’s (very) long journey to publication.

Southern Writers WHAT LIES BEHIND giveaway

And speaking of Southern Writers…

In honor of NO ONE KNOWS, I’m giving away a signed copy of WHAT LIES BEHIND. (so you’ll have something to read after you finish NO ONE KNOWS!)

Click here to enter!

Via: JT Ellison

    

3.22.16 - NO ONE KNOWS is on sale today!

By JT Ellison

Five years to make. ZERO more days to wait!!!

After five years, five titles, and eighteen drafts, I couldn’t be more thrilled that NO ONE KNOWS finally gets into your hands today. I hope y’all enjoy it!

Here’s where you can get it:

Buy the Print Book

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

BOOKS-A-MILLION

INDIEBOUND

SIMON & SCHUSTER

Download the eBook

KINDLE

NOOK

iBOOKS

KOBO

GOOGLE PLAY

Listen to the Audiobook

AUDIBLE

BRILLIANCE

Via: JT Ellison

    

3.20.16 - Sunday Smatterings

By JT Ellison

Hi, y’all!

Both J.T. and Amy here, super stoked and wondering how we finally got to our first big 2016 moment: it’s release week for a little book you may have heard us mention once or twice.

Still stumped? Well…

NO ONE KNOWS comes out this week!!!!!!!

We know, we know: we’re a little beside ourselves. We’ll be talking about the book quite a lot this week, so apologies for our excitement: between signings and interviews and chats and giveaways, we’ve been planning all kinds of fun for this week, and we want you guys to know about all the action. Rest assured, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled program soon.

But we’re SO glad to share this week (ahem, five years in the making) with you!!!

And don’t forget: the pre-order contest to win an iPad Mini is still going strong until Monday at 11:59 pm CST. So if you plan to buy the book, go ahead and do it, and send an email to Amy with your proof of purchase to put your hat in the ring.

Alright, alright, you came here for links, and links are what you’ll get. So. Without further ado…

Here’s what happened on the Internets this week:

Disney announced they’re making a new Indiana Jones movie, slated for a 2019 release, and the Internet had all kinds of feelings about it.

Nashvillians! Have you heard about the newest endeavor of our lovely indie store, Parnassus Books? They just opened a bookmobile called Pegasus (Peggy for short), and it is the cutest thing ever! Wanna find out where Peggy is every day? Follow her Twitter feed!

Fans of The Walking Dead will be excited (or horrified) to hear that Universal Studios is bringing TWD experience to life!

The days of finding a mass market paperback edition of To Kill a Mockingbird (the cheap format used by schools nationwide) are numbered.

It’s so satisfying to meet people who love what they do every day. The owner of an Athens, GA, bookstore is one of those people. This is such a great interview! Her enthusiasm is so infectious that we’re determined to find our way to this bookstore someday.

Do you have trouble forcing yourself out of bed in the morning? We know: leaving a warm, cozy bed can be the hardest part of the day. But here are some tips on how to wake up—and get up—easier.

Remember Karen Hall’s Dark Debts? Everyone in the book world thought this book was the start of Hall’s great literary career—but she never wrote another book, only obsessing about Dark Debts‘ flaws. But Hall just rewrote the book for its 20th anniversary, and the New York Times did a fascinating profile about it.

Here’s what your favorite Harry Potter book says about you.

Can drinking wine before bed really help you lose weight!?

These are 27 things every book lover knows to be true.

And closer to home:

J.T. blogged about wanting to quit. It’s a particularly poignant week for this post, really, considering NO ONE KNOWS took 5 years, 5 titles, and 18 drafts before it became the book you’ll get your hands on Tuesday. Never give up, folks.

And if you’d like to say hi to J.T. this week, in person or virtually, head over to the Events page. You can see where she’ll be (and, of course, we’ll blast it all over Facebook and Twitter, so you’re in the know).

Alright, peeps, that’s it from us. J.T. is going to end her Lenten fast a bit early (you know, book launch and such), so you’ll be hearing from her for the majority of the time from this week on. I (Amy) must say, it’s been SO fun to chat and laugh with you guys over the break. J.T.’s right: she really does have the best readers. Thanks for welcoming me so warmly into the fold!

And we’ll leave you with this:

Descartes reading of good books conversation minds

Xoxo,
J.T. and Amy

Via: JT Ellison

    

3.17.16 - On Wanting to Quit

By JT Ellison

“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Not too long ago, I saw a writer quit.

I’ve seen this happen before. And every time, I’m struck to the core, completely aghast.

You can’t help putting yourself in the author’s shoes, wondering what’s driving the decision. Money is always a huge component — if you’re not making money, it’s very hard to justify the time and effort you’re spending, but I don’t know a lot of authors who would stop writing if they weren’t getting paid. It’s part of our souls, something we’re compelled to do.

But for a writer to actually quit — there’s more to it than the living.

Is it fear of success? Of failure? Actual desperation and depression, a cry for help?

I don’t think you can ever fully know the reason a writer — an artist — decides to walk away from their art. It’s a heartbreaking decision, no matter how you cut it, both for the artist and for the fans.

I think the first time I saw a writer publicly quit was my debut year, when an author I followed religiously started to unravel. Here I was, on top of the world, unable to connect with this author’s struggles. I couldn’t imagine wanting to walk away, couldn’t imagine what had happened to spoil this glorious job.

A decade later, I see the struggle that author was having all too clearly.

I’ve been though my own turmoils. I’ve lost faith in myself, I’ve lost faith in the industry. I too thought about quitting. I got myself stuck in the middle of a huge creative quagmire, when nothing was working and everything I touched seemed to blacken, curl up, and die. It wasn’t a fun time.

That’s when I read Julie Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY and realized how ungracious I was being toward my gift. At the end of the 12 weeks, I’d found my voice again, and had the energy and faith to start over again.

So when I saw my writer friend quit, I reached out immediately. This is part of what I said:

No one, and I mean no one, is a successful author because of either conference attendance OR swag. The only thing that brings success is writing, more and more and more, getting better with each story finished and never giving up. Cultivate readers, not other writers. Treat your writing like the job it is. Invest in yourself: your brain energy, your reading, your awesomeness. Most importantly, get a book called THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron. Do the work, religiously. I guarantee you’ll feel differently about your career after. I did. And remember, we all go through this.

Let me emphasize one point: We all go through this. We do. We lose the forest for the trees and the words turn to muck and we can’t see a path, any path, that allows us to feel like a success.

And that’s okay.

You’re allowed to have fallow times. You’re allowed to walk away for a bit. The seesaw balancing act authors have to do now, coupling the business with the art, takes its toll. Hang up your laptop for a while. Walk away from your story.

Use the time wisely. Walk. Meditate. Journal. Read. Develop a yoga practice. Volunteer. Adopt a pet. Do The Artist’s Way. But figure out what it is that’s really holding you back.

Be honest with yourself. Honesty is the only path out. Figure out if your expectations of your career are realistic, or if you’re just sitting back waiting for lightning to strike.

If this is your path, you will find a way back to the page. Remember that everything happens for a reason. You may need to change genres. You may need to change agents. You may need to take more time off.

But be gentle with yourself.

This is a big decision. And thankfully, it doesn’t have to be final.

In case you’re wondering, both writers I mentioned in this piece are still writing and publishing. They didn’t need to quit.

Like me, they simply needed a break.

Via: JT Ellison

    

3.13.16 - Sunday Smatterings

By JT Ellison

Hi, everyone!

Amy here, visiting my flood-drenched family in West TN. Hope your weeks are filled with a little more sunshine than we’ve seen out here!

And P.S. thanks so much for all the birthday wishes. You guys are the best.

And without further ado…

Here’s what happened on the Internets this week:

If you don’t listen to Story Corps, you’re missing out. Every week, Story Corps shares an interview between two people about anything and everything. Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates observation applies here: you never know what you’re gonna get. One thing’s for certain: I’m probably going to cry every week. This week’s episode (featuring Officer Clemmons from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood) was no exception.

It was sad when George Martin died, but even worse when the Internet freaked out because they thought George R.R. Martin, author of the Game of Thrones books, died before finishing the series.

In case you need a dose of sunshine, here are some hidden beaches for bookworms. Perfect for zero-interruption reading!

Could it be? According to this study, drinking wine could help prevent Alzheimer’s.

BREAKING NEWS: Mr. Darcy’s shirt is coming to America!

From Lifehacker, to get inspired, sometimes you need to give up.

My favorite new podcast is called Curious Nashville, a delightful offering from our local public radio station, WPLN. I’m excited for the show’s premise: WPLN reporters invite listeners to submit questions they have about the city of Nashville—anything and everything. Folks vote for their favorite questions they want answered, and WPLN’s intrepid reporters try to find out the answers. The first show was an exploration of a mysterious epitaph in the City Cemetery, and it’s a wild ride whose answer lies a thousand miles away. I’m proud of the station’s quest to report not only the news making headlines, but also for allowing listeners to reach beyond the newsmakers, and to open their eyes to the questions that lie all around us.

Heads up, winos: New Zealand is about to start making Prosecco!

Are you a book hoarder?? Um… me too. Here are 16 reasons for us to be proud of that. And! If you have lots of hoarded books, you could use them to decorate like these fine folks.

And closer to home:

On The Wine Vixen this week, I featured the first rosé on our site: a delightful Cava that would go perfectly with any celebration you’ve got this spring.

And don’t forget: there’s still time to pre-order J.T.’s standalone NO ONE KNOWS and enter to win an iPad Mini! Odds of winning this iPad >>>>>>> odds of winning the lottery. To enter, just email me proof your purchased NO ONE KNOWS.

That’s it from me! I leave you with this quote to inspire your week.

choices show what we truly are

–Amy

Via: JT Ellison

    

3.10.16 - 7 Minutes With... T.M. Causey (+ giveaway!)

By JT Ellison

I’ve been blessed to know Toni McGee (T.M.) Causey for nearly a decade now. One of the first awesome entrants in 2007’s Killer Year (and one of the few women in the group), Toni and I bonded immediately, spending hours coordinating PR for the group, worrying ourselves silly about the whole “debut year” phenomenon, and celebrating one another when the first of our books made it to shelves. Her Bobbie Faye series is some of the funniest, most dynamic writing out there. It takes a lot of talent to write funny (a LOT) and Toni nails it, every time.

When she told me she was writing something different, something dark, I begged to be allowed to read it as soon as she was finished. The book, THE SAINTS OF THE LOST AND FOUND, is out now, and I am telling you, this story will rock you to the core. Brilliant written and conceived, it is utterly unique, which is saying something these days.

Dark book, light woman. Toni manages to capture what’s inside of all of us—the good, and the bad, and everything in between. You’re going to love SAINTS, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Toni’s writing is… special. Read it. You’ll see immediately what I mean. I’m so honored to have her on the blog today! Welcome, Toni!

_________

Set your music to Shuffle and hit Play. What’s the first song that comes up?
“Take Me To Church” by Hozier (I have extremely eclectic music tastes.)

Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?
I’m currently doing research for my next very dark suspense/thriller, which will have a historical bent. It’s also very personal to me: it involved some of my ancestors and brutal crimes committed against them (and by them), and it’s a story I’ve been wanting to write for more than ten years. And though I’ve done a ton of research, I’m now getting into the nitty-gritty details of the specifics so that I can recreate that world and the tensions, the betrayals, the double-crosses, the spying, the bold moves and desperate retreats for the reader to live.

What’s your latest book about?
THE SAINTS OF THE LOST AND FOUND is a deeply emotional story about a brother and sister whose con-artist parents exploit their unique abilities. Avery sees the losses of those around her, and her brother Latham is haunted by spirits of the dead. After years of running from the ghosts of her past, Avery is pulled back to her little Louisiana hometown, when a phone call from her father reveals her beloved brother is dying. To make matters worse, a little girl has gone missing, and the abduction is tied to a killer Avery failed to help the FBI catch. With no time to spare, Avery realizes her curse might well be the only thing she can trust. Is it too much to hope that she might save her brother and find the missing girl before she becomes the killer’s next victim?

Where do you write, and what tools do you use?
Generally, I write at my desk, because as soon as I wander away, I’m more likely to procrastinate. We’re in the middle of remodeling what will be our home in the French Quarter, so in about three months, this may change. We’ll have a beautiful sun porch/living area with a deck there, and I suspect I will be bringing my laptop there for much of the writing of the next story. The view will be peaceful, and I think I’m going to need all of the peaceful I can get in order to face some of the difficult and brutal losses that are inherent to the new story.

What was your favorite book as a child?
You know, I had no real favorite. I loved so many books… I devoured Nancy Drew, of course, and so many of the childhood favorites, and I read things like Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes at a very young age. Locked-door mysteries fascinated me, and then I think I may have been a young teen when I got hold of my first thriller (Ludlum’s THE GEMINI CONTENDERS), and I was absolutely determined to be a writer one day. Just the idea of getting to mentally live all those lives, in all those places… it was like immortality, and even at eleven, I knew (having lost my first grandparent the year before) that none of us live forever.

What’s your secret talent?
Hmm. Well, I would have said, “troubleshooting,” because that’s what I’ve done from the time I was a child, onward, and it’s been a big part of what I do for our construction company. I try not to look for the compromise (where both people are giving up something), but for the out-of-the-box solution, the win-win, where everyone is so happy with what they’re getting that the concept of losing something to gain is negligible. But I suspect people who know me wouldn’t find that a secret, since I tend to apply this liberally in life.

Maybe my secret talent is that I’m almost always able to see the humor in a situation, even when I’m annoyed or disappointed in what’s going on. Seeing the humor in the chaos of the world gives me a sense of peace, because if you can be amused and laugh in the situation, you almost always can deal with it in a productive and peaceful manner.

What book are you reading now?
THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE by Joshilyn Jackson

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I mentioned in an earlier question that by the time I was eleven, that notion had solidified for me, but I lost track of it later on. I didn’t think ordinary people like myself could actually be a writer. For some reason, I was under the impression that someone had to come alone and sort of point out, “Hey, you there: you’re a writer, hop to it,” and give me permission.

Luckily for me, after I had been in college for a couple of years, I saw my former high school English teacher/school librarian, and she did exactly that. She said, “Why aren’t you writing for publication?” When I looked gobsmacked, as if I wouldn’t have a clue how to go about trying to accomplish that insane of a goal, she gave me an assignment. (Yes, an actual assignment.) And because she knew me so well, she knew I wouldn’t be able to resist trying to excel at it, because there is a “TYPE AAA” denotation next to my name somewhere), I went out and did exactly what she’d told me to do. I sold that first piece to my local paper, and they turned it into a full page feature article, (with my own photos, for which I was also paid). I made a whopping $150 (for both the article and the photos), and I don’t think there had been that much whooping for joy even at an LSU home game win. You’d think I’d won the lottery or something. And in a way, I had, because it clicked for me: I can do this. I can actually do this.

And I knew I was completely and forever hooked.

Who is your writing idol? Have you met him/her? If so, did you completely nerd out or keep your cool?
I once saw Robert Crais at a bookstore event in NYC, and I was too damned bashful to go up and introduce myself. I would probably be struck completely stupid if I happened to meet up with James Lee Burke. If I could write 1/10th as well as he does, I’d die happy.

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?
I have two bits, actually. One is that you really do have to employ “rigorous self-discipline” (courtesy of Lee Child), and one is that you really must refill the creative well (that’s from me).

I will never have the ability to do a book-a-year. Partly because I am also pursuing a professional photography career (and will have a very funky gallery on the ground floor of our place in the Quarter), but partly because I just don’t process story as quickly as it would need to be, if I were to pursue a one-book-a-year gig. People who do that… who write one or more books a year like J.T. and Allison Brennan and C.J. Lyons? Well, I am in complete awe and am more than a little intimidated. Still, I hope my output increases, especially once we’re settled in the new place and I’m not slammed with construction decisions and supervising sub-contractors every day. It’s been a joy, but I’m ready for it to be done, to move in, and get busy with the next book.

What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?
There are two answers to this, depending on the issues involved. If it’s just that I understand the story, know where we need to be going, but can’t find the interesting / creative way to get there that will ramp up the tension and surprise the reader, I may write the bad version of a placeholder scene and mark it as such so I can come back to it later. I have found (often) that when I get the bad version out of my head and mark it as such so that I don’t cling to it just because it’s “done,” then my subconscious, which would be unsatisfied with that bad version, will come along with the what ifs for the scene to help make it better. What if I combine this scene with the other scene before it, or after it? What if I move the location? What if so-and-so shows up and triples the conflict? What if I layer this with ….

The second answer, which turns out to be powerful for me, is to turn to the photography for a little while. I love finding ways to tell a story, and have gotten into compositing lately with a joy that I cannot describe. (In fact, the cover is one of my shots—I wanted to find a visual way to express the story, without spoilers, and this started out as just a photography practice sort of thing while I was finishing up SAINTS. I was overjoyed that the publisher loved it and wanted to use it for the cover.) Oftentimes, mid-photo-production, I’ll realize I have a solution to the writing issue, and apparently, I had been working on it all along, subconsciously. I wish I could speed up both of those processes, but right now, it is working for me, and I’ll probably always switch back and forth throughout the next books.

Are you creatively satisfied?
I love what I do, and thoroughly love where I am in life right now, creatively, so in that way, I’d say that I am satisfied… and yet… not. I honestly feel that elation at completion, that feeling of satisfaction when I think the story (or the image) is finally “right” or “there” or hits what I meant for it to hit, but inevitably, every achievement teaches me something new, and brings my work to a new level, which then shows me how much more I have to learn. I want to keep growing, improving, finding innovative ways to tell a story, to wow the reader (or the viewer of the photos), and I imagine I’ll still be feeling this way after the next book and the next and so on. I think if I stayed absolutely creatively satisfied, I’d stagnate, so I’m always looking for that new level, that new goal, that new epiphany, the wow, I can do this moment.

What would you like to be remembered for?
Kindness. Laughter. Joy. Loyalty. Love. Encouragement.

Alright, now for the really important questions:

Beach or mountains? Mountains. The idea of willingly going somewhere where there is more sun and we get to add in the constant grittiness of sand in every freaking crack and crevice of everything I own, plus heat, plus other people scarily clad in things that should never have even seen the light of day (much less dealing with beach wear, because really, that’s just masochistic), and I’ll take the mountains every. single. time.

Coffee or tea? Sparkling water with strawberry-kiwi flavoring, if I have it handy. (Never drank coffee. Tea is okay, but I’d rather the water.)

Skydive or bungee jump? Are you kidding me? With my ability to create havoc and have an accident? I’d much rather be flying the plane than jumping out of perfectly functional machine. The only way I’d skydive is if there simply were no other choice. Of course, flying the plane would probably mean a bunch of other people were in dire danger when I crashed the sucker.

Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate. What is this vanilla of which you speak?

Winter or summer? Spring / Fall. Hey, I live in the Deep South. We don’t really have that thing you people call “winter.” We have a sort of cold snap every so often, then it bounces back up to the high 70s – low 80s, then another cold snap (just enough to wear everyone out and get everyone sick), and then it’s the tiniest sliver of spring (March, if we’re lucky). After that, just when we’re deluded into thinking that we might actually enjoy the weather for more than a week, it’s suddenly Early Summer; Summer For Reals, Y’all; Dear God, It’s Still Summer; Kill-Me-Now-Summer-Is-Never-Going-To-End, and Late HOLY GEEZUMS I MAY NOT MAKE IT TO FALL Summer, then HA HA HA HA HA YOU JUST THOUGHT YOU WERE GETTING A FALL IT’S STILL SUMMER SUCKERS!, and then a tiny sliver of winter. And y’all wonder why southerners are crazy.

Cake or pie? Cake

Cats or dogs? Both. If I had to choose, I’d choose a dog because my husband is allergic to many cats.

Pens or pencils? Both. I love to draw with pencils, but write with pens.

Truth or dare? Dare. Just because I’m always curious what someone thinks is a dare.

Print or ebook? Both. There are some physical books I just have to own, and there is nothing at all like the smell of a bookstore or library. But for convenience, I love my ereader—I can take dozens of books with me on vacation, without the shoulder strain.

_________

T.M. Causey

T.M. Causey is the pen name of USA Today Bestselling Author Toni McGee Causey of the Bobbie Faye Series fame. Also a screenwriter, she began her career writing for magazines, including Redbook and Mademoiselle. She lives and writes in New Orleans, where she and her husband, Carl, are renovating a building in the French Quarter.

And here’s a bit more about Toni’s latest book, THE SAINTS OF LOST AND FOUND:

AVERY BROUSSARD has the curse of seeing lost things (and make no mistake, it is a curse). Missing belongings and beloved pets, lost relationships and opportunities—she sees it all. Long ago, that curse destroyed her chance at true love, causing her to flee her Louisiana hometown, vowing never to return. She’s kept that promise, too, until a phone call from her estranged father forces her hand. Her big brother is dying, and she may be his last remaining hope. Avery wants nothing more than to rescue her brother, but doing so pulls her into a labyrinth of lies and deceit rooted in her own lost first love and her family’s twisted history. It doesn’t help that a girl has also gone missing, and the abduction is tied to a killer Avery failed to help the FBI catch. With no time to spare, Avery realizes her curse might be the only thing she can trust. Is it too much to hope that she might save her brother and find the missing girl before she becomes the next victim?

FYI, New Orleans: Toni will be signing her THE SAINTS OF THE LOST AND FOUND at the Garden District Book Shop TONIGHT at 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm.

Giveaway!

To celebrate her book release, Toni is giving one lucky winner a $25 gift card to the online bookstore of his or her choice (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and iBooks). See below for ways to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Via: JT Ellison

    

3.6.15 - Sunday Smatterings

By JT Ellison

Happy Sunday, lovely people!

Amy here. I hope you’ve had a nice, relaxing weekend! I’ve been reading Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and eating Mexican food and donuts.

Because I spend my weekends partying hard.

Speaking of partying hard, J.T. and I have been cooking up some fun around NO ONE KNOWS’ release later this month.

In the form of an iPad Mini giveaway!

If you’d like to throw your hat in the ring, just email proof that you pre-ordered NO ONE KNOWS to me (amy@jtellison.com)! On March 22 we’ll email a randomly selected winner. Your chances of winning this iPad Mini are exceedingly greater than winning the lottery. Just sayin’.

And if you’d like to help us spread the word about NO ONE KNOWS to your friends, you can join our Thunderclap! What’s a Thunderclap, you ask? In two clicks, you can automatically send out a message to your friends on NO ONE KNOWS’ release day—2 clicks, that’s all it takes. And everybody who signs up will send a message at the same time—hence, a social media “clap of thunder”! And we’ve got some thank-you goodies for taking time out of your day to spread the word. We really appreciate you!

Now then. Here’s what happened on the Internets this week:

If you watched the runaway Netflix hit Making a Murderer, you might be interested to hear that Steven Avery’s lead prosecutors, Dean Strang and Jerry Buting, are touring the country to have conversations on the criminal justice system.

Have you ever heard an interview with someone and immediately thought, “I wanna be their best friend!” I had one of those moments when I heard this interview with Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah. She’s fascinating and hilarious, and I can’t wait to read her book!

With the hectic schedules and chock-full routines that consume our lives, sometimes you need poke in the heart to remember why you get up in the morning, why you do what you do. If you need a pick-me-up, read Calvin & Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson’s 1990 commencement speech at Kenyon College. That man knows how to distill wisdom.

I might’ve eaten this Madras Chicken Salad for, um, four lunches this week. And maybe a couple of dinners. It doesn’t matter if you eat Paleo or not, this chicken salad is the bomb.

You may know comedian Aziz Ansari from his stint on NBC’s Parks & Recreation as Tom Haverford, the silly millennial with a passion for starting ill-fated businesses. But Ansari’s passion in real life is food (he and I can agree on that). I follow Aziz’s Twitter feed to see where he eats as he travels—it’s an easy way to get food suggestions when I visit the same cities. But in the end, Aziz’s favorite dish in the world is his mom’s chicken korma, which looks so good and so easy to make that I’m going to try my hand at it this week! (PS if you’ve never tried your hand at Indian food, it’s actually pretty simple to make—the hardest part is gathering the spices, but now that we have the Internet, spices are just a click away!)

And closer to home:

Get to know the woman I’m proud to call my boss. This article in a local weekly paper came out this week, and I glowed because so many people got to say lovely things about J.T. She blushed. She teared up. It was wonderful.

On The Wine Vixen, I discussed a red blend that paired delightfully well with chocolate cake. I know. These are the pressing matters I need to keep you informed of.

That’s it from me! Be good, enter to win an iPad Mini, and I’ll talk to you soon!

–Amy

Via: JT Ellison

    

3.3.16 - On Finishing and Beginning

By JT Ellison

I finished my 17th novel this week.

I’m a bit starry eyed at that number — I’m only 2 away from starting #20 (20!), which, at some point early in my career, was the litmus test number. At 20 novels, I’ll feel like I’ve actually arrived.

At 20 novels, I’ll feel, at last, like I’ve accomplished something real. (We’ll see about that, won’t we?)

When my first came out, back in 2007, I was at a cocktail party in New York at my editor’s house, and a true professional, Kat Martin, told me that you couldn’t count yourself as a real writer until you had four novels under your belt. Some authors would have taken that the wrong way; I took it as confirmation of what I already knew. Everyone can write one good book. To do it again and again and again takes a strange combination of humility and ego and fearlessness and hubris, all tied together with yarn weaved from the hair of your Muse.

It’s not easy. It’s not. But dear Lord in heaven, it is fun to try.

When I finished, late Sunday afternoon, I had all the usual emotions: happiness, relief, a strong desire for a LOT of wine, which was quickly followed by that bizarre, hollowed-out moment when your realize the story no longer belongs to you. It’s gone, into the ether. Yes, there will be revisions; yes, there will be rereads. I don’t know if it’s the same for every author, but when I type The End, my mind immediately turns to the next story. It’s so immediate, in fact, that I have to force myself to take a day, breathe, live a little, before I open the new manuscript and lose myself again.

So in the spirit of taking a day off, yesterday I printed out said book (600 pages later), put said book, the book’s notebook, and all the supporting research material into it’s own lovely zipper folder, then cleaned my office, sorted some tax material, had a multi-hour staff meeting with Assistant Amy wherein we planned world domination for NO ONE KNOWS (coming March 22!), read half of Lisa Gardner’s FIND HER, and waited. Because I knew what was going to happen.

And sure enough, around 9 pm, a line appeared in my head. And the next book began to percolate.

Now, to be fair, I already know what this book is about. It’s the second of the duology started with WHAT LIES BEHIND. It picks up right where WLB leaves off, as a matter of fact; the prologue of the new book is the epilogue of the last, just so we’re all on the same page. It’s the continuation of the story, in which Samantha Owens has been targeted by a killer nicknamed Beauty.

I already know several things about this book. Technically, the Scrivener file shows 3200 words already written. It’s actually rather nice to have a bit of a head start—and yes, I agree, it’s cheating a little bit. But the words and notes in the file are almost a year old (I wrote the original opening line March 13, 2015, according to the Book Journal), so who knows it they’ll stand the test of time?

What’s funny is my line from last night is similar to the opening line I wrote down a year ago. That’s a long time for a line to live in a writer’s head. I’ve had the opening scene tucked in the back of my mind all this time. I hope I can do it justice.

Stephen King says a truly worthwhile idea doesn’t need to be written down.

He’s right.

So today, with the file open, the Book Journal updated, I sally forth into a brand new world, returning to my girls, Taylor Jackson and Samantha Owens. Gosh, it’s good to be home!

Hello, #18!

Via: JT Ellison

    

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