Category Archives: JT Ellison

4.17.16 – Sunday Smatterings

By JT Ellison

Hi, lovelies!

How are you this fine Sunday? I’ve sequestered myself on a writing retreat, praying the Muse will fill me with words to jumpstart my latest projects (that’s right—plural—hence the prayers). I hope this break from routine sparks some much-needed creative flow over here!

*Sidenote: I’m going to be at SOKY Book Fest this weekend!

If you’re near the Bowling Green area, you should see me at the signing hall on Saturday. I’d love to say hi!!! If you’d like to visit, here’s what you need to know.

ANYWAY.

Here’s what happened on the Internets this week:

This is the perfect gift for book nerds, AND I JUST LOVE IT.

Eye-opening: this is what it’s like to have dyslexia.

Here’s what to read based on your favorite Harry Potter character.

And speaking of Harry Potter: here are 13 shows to binge watch with the Gryffindor (i.e. ME) in your life.

Want an autographed 1st edition of NO ONE KNOWS? Get one from VJ Books!

Random: I started a Q&A page! If you’d like to ask me a question, hop on over.

Some time management help: here’s how to prepare for “the busy time.”

Happy birthday to the adorable children’s book, MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS, which turned 75 last week!

Do you like pretty, minimalistic book covers? Here you go. And speaking of book covers, when a book gets published in other countries, the cover can vary—a lot.

Fascinating article: That Emoji Does Not Mean What You Think It Means.

And if you need a good giggle, watch this.

For the badass in you: here are 21 products that say “Don’t f*** with me” so you don’t have to.

And closer to home:

The Wine Vixen is BACK! Amy and I have been so focused on birthing new books into the world that we haven’t been drinking much wine lately (irony, right?). Here’s a delicious $9 Riesling from Washington State that Amy really enjoyed.

You love your indie bookstore, right? I love mine, too. And on the Tao this week, I talked about why we need to keep them around.

Speaking of love and books, I wrote a review on one of my favorite books for Off the Shelf: Deborah Harkness’ A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. Y’all. It’s just so good. You should’ve seen the first draft of this review; I was quite literally gushing and had to be reined in. And—AND—I got to interview Deb for A WORD ON WORDS; she’s just as delightful as I’d dreamed.

And if you want to follow my travel antics this week, follow me on Instagram.

Also, fun news: NO ONE KNOWS hit the #1 audiobook spot on iTunes last week!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s beating THE ART OF WAR. I mean, that’s pretty cool. Thank you for making it #1, you lovely people!

That’s it from me! Have a wonderful week, come see me at SOKY, and we’ll talk again soon!

Xoxo,
J.T.

Via: JT Ellison

    

4.14.16 – On Writer Tribes and Indie Bookstore Love

By JT Ellison

This was originally published in SIBA‘s Lady Banks newsletter. I thought you guys might enjoy it, too.

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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.

Our literary community, dubbed the Nashville Literati, is tight. There are cliques within it—young adult writers in the SCBWI, crime fiction in Sisters in Crime, romance writers in MCWR, literary authors big with Salon 615 and Humanities Tennessee and The Porch Writers’ Collective.

But when it comes to supporting another author, we cross genres like a boss.

We lunch together. We attend each other’s signings. We hang out in East Nashville at East Side Storytellin’. We pull together all our writing buddies when a writer friend comes to town. We even go on writing retreats together.

And now one constant we all have in common is our indie store, Parnassus.

I think the store’s staff has made it such a welcoming, open place for writers of all genres, of all stripes, that we can’t help but want to gather there.

When our beloved former indie, Davis-Kidd, closed its doors in 2010 (and Parnassus didn’t yet exist), it suddenly became much harder to get everyone together. We have the annual Southern Festival of Books, which is always well-represented with local authors. We did lunches and cocktails, drove out to other counties to attend signings.

But not having an indie store that represented and celebrated all the writers in town was hard. A town without an indie store is a sad one indeed.

Davis-Kidd had a long history in this town. As a matter of fact, it was one of the reasons I was okay with moving here. When my then boyfriend (now husband) brought me to Nashville in 1993 to meet his parents, he drove me around, and our last stop was Davis-Kidd. “See?” he said. “This is the best bookstore in town. You’ll have plenty to read if we ever move here.”

(I’m not sure if I was more entranced by the idea of books—books!—or the fact that my boyfriend had just hinted strongly he wanted a long future with me.)

Davis-Kidd was everything you could ask for in a bookstore: great staff, great events, a huge, diverse collection of titles. I attended my very first author signing there (John Connolly! My writing hero!). At that signing, I met a woman who became my other mother, who mentored me through years of writing, getting an agent, getting a deal. I did one of my first signings at David-Kidd. I hit my first bestseller list while I was launching my fourth book there. I attended Sisters in Crime meetings there. I wept with everyone else when it closed.

To have an indie in our midst again is incredible.

It’s been very fun to watch Parnassus take hold in our community, to see stories being made there. The Nashville Literati grows stronger day-by-day, with new writers coming up to join the established ones. And Parnassus is our hub. Several writers are booksellers there (And one co-owns it. You might have heard of her . . . her name is Ann.). This lends a verisimilitude unmatched anywhere else.

Yes, Nashville has a writer tribe, just as strong as Chicago, New York, and L.A.

And thanks to our favorite indie, we have a place to call our own, too.

Via: JT Ellison

    

4.10.16 – Sunday Smatterings

By JT Ellison

Hi, chickens!

I hope you had a fabulous week! Things are starting to get back to normal around here, post-NO ONE KNOWS. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I’m able to get back to the page, to begin writing in earnest again. Writing is my happy place.

I’ve started laying the foundation for the next Taylor/Sam book (yep, they’re TOGETHER in this one!). It’s called ALL FALL DOWN, and you should see it in stores sometime next summer. Wanna see how I start a book?

I know. I’m a sadist. But don’t pretend you hate it.

Anyway…

Here’s what happened on the Internets this week:

This is the coolest story. On Pen Pals, Brussels, and Hope: to Brussels and Back Again. The author, Roy Burkhead, is a good friend here in Nashville and the editor of 2nd & Church Magazine. You’re going to love this.

GONE GIRL author Gillian Flynn is working on an HBO show for her novel, SHARP OBJECTS, and it’s bound to be ridiculously good. SHARP OBJECTS is my favorite of her books.

Y’all know how much I love my adopted hometown of Nashville. This article does a pretty good job of chronicling why it’s so great—and how much it’s changed lately.

I know you enjoy good books as much as I do. Here’s a whole slew of them: nominees for 2016’s ITW Thriller Awards!!!

From Anne Shirley to Samwise Gamgee, these are the best travel companions in literature.

Wine and cheese: it’s the perfect pairing after you’ve outgrown PB&J (or, for some of us, a great pairing in addition to PB&J). I’m always a sucker for a good pairing, and this article breaks it down for us.

In super crazy news, just in time for Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary, a new copy of the First Folio was found. In a house. During an estate inventory. Can you even imagine??? This is why you always check your books before you take them to Goodwill.

The secret of life from Steve Jobs in 46 seconds. Need I say more?

The age-old question: how many grapes are in a bottle of wine?

And closer to home:

In the middle of all the NO ONE KNOWS promo hullabaloo, I got word that my first little book, the one I hid in a drawer for ten years, FIELD OF GRAVES, was chosen as a SIBA Spring Okra Pick. Y’all. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. It will be in your hands June 14. Taylor’s back!

I wrote a blog from the heart this week: How Loss Shapes Us & Makes Us Stronger. I hope it helps you find some solace, to move past whatever is weighing you down.

I got to talk to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Geraldine Brooks, for A WORD ON WORDS, and she was so delightful! Why a war correspondent chose to write about an ancient king was quite fascinating.

That’s it from me! I hope you have the loveliest spring week, and I’ll talk to you soon!

Xoxo,
JT

Via: JT Ellison

    

4.7.16 – All is Lost, All is Lost

By JT Ellison

Several years ago, during a very trying time in my life, I was watching a documentary on the Buddha. Ostensibly, I was doing research on a novel I was planning to write. But something happened to me that day. I heard the following quote:

“There is no knowledge won without sacrifice, and this is one of the hard truths of human existence: in order to gain anything, you must first lose everything.”

It stuck with me.

I was having an “all is lost” moment, and I felt such peace when I realized:

Okay, I have to do this, I have to hit bottom in order to find a way to rise any further.

This idea compelled me to find a way to drag myself back to the page, and I ended up reading THE ARTIST’S WAY, which I’ve discussed here before. Slowly but surely, I pushed myself back into a seated, then standing, position and started writing again.

I found my lost voice.

It was soon after this that I found yoga, in the form of a lovely writer friend who offered to teach me privately in her home.

To say the experience was revelatory is an understatement.

My body did things I wasn’t aware it could do. My guru was kind and gentle and calm and funny, and I was hooked. Absolutely hooked. I felt like I’d connected with myself, with the universe, with the bloody earth, in a way I never had before. I could actually feel my feet touching the floor for the first time. The third session, as I lay weeping on her floor in savasana (a rather common thing, I’ve learned), I felt lighter than I had in years.

That particular session, my guru told me something wildly profound — the universe will give you what you’re seeking. Not only that, the universe wants to give you what you’re seeking.

Had I gained this wisdom when my world was falling apart, there was no way I would have been able to understand or appreciate it. On the other side of the empty crevasse, it was more than inspiration. It was the path back.

I watched a stunningly beautiful short video this week about a dog named Denali, and the impact he had on his master-human person-best friend’s life. The video is from Denali’s point of view. It is about loss, the kind of soul-wrenching loss reserved for losing best friends, whether human or animal. It is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

We are all marked by loss. We are made by loss.

It is how we handle loss that allows us a path forward when we get mired. It is how we bear loss that proves to us we’re capable of anything.

We will not be broken. We will not be torn asunder. We will breathe through this pain, hug those we love, and fight our way back to the page and share our feelings with another. In that, we will conquer loss.

If you can find your peace, wherever it might be — meditation, yoga, a book, a song, sex, pizza—if you find your peace, you will find your voice. Find your voice, you will find your heart. Find your heart, you will be able to share it. Share it, and you’ve done your job on this earth — to love, and be loved. To care and be cared for. To breathe. To create.

My guru lost her best friend today. I know she is in pain, is beyond devastated. I dedicate this piece to her, and to her Sunnie, in the hope that this loss gives her another path to her incredible voice.

As she once told me, when I was holding on by a thread, “Don’t try to steer the river.”

Wise words for us all.

Via: JT Ellison

    

4.3.16 – Sunday Smatterings

By JT Ellison

Happy Sunday, chickens!

How were your weeks? Did you get April Fools’d that much??

It’s been an interesting week in Nashville. Just wanted to do a PSA: I gave my fur babies some Advantage Multi (by Bayer) for fleas/ticks, and a few hours later noticed the kitties just seemed…off: dilated pupils, drooling, ataxia, lethargy, etc. I called their vet, then poison control, and we ended up at the emergency overnight vet. As it turns out, bad reactions to this product are common. SO common, in fact, that Bayer Veterinary has a quick-dial option on their answering machine to report this very problem. Thankfully, Jameson and Jordan are ok, but I’m livid. Why is this product still available!?!?? It’s beyond me. So be vigilant, pet parents.

Anyway. PSA = over. Without further ado…

Here’s what happened on the Internets this week:

It’s always such a pleasure to talk to ITW about my latest book, and James Ziskin was no different. Here’s our interview, where we talk Nashville, switching narrative POV, and TV.

Fellow winos, here’s something Amy and I will be sipping on this spring: Grüner Veltliner! They say it’s like sipping spring in a glass (grüner, after all, is German for “green”).

This I love: author Beverly Cleary is turning 100 years old, and she’s just as sassy as ever.

What does it take to launch something new into the world—and get people to hear about it? You’d be surprised. Creatives, you should tune into this one.

JK Rowling published some of her rejection letters on Twitter, and it’s a great reminder to budding creatives to never give up.

An intriguing editorial in The Washington Post: eBooks are not the answer to a literacy crisis.

This TED talk by Brené Brown was a huge inspiration for me this week, and I hope it is for you, too! WATCH: “The Price of Invulnerability”

Also inspiring: Why Your Critics Are The Ones Who Count

QUIZ: can you name the most commonly used words in English?

These are the top 10 bookstores in the world, and they’re breathtaking.

What’s really going on when someone seems “too sensitive“? The answer may surprise you.

And closer to home:

My A WORD ON WORDS interview with author Geraldine Brooks aired this week. In honor of her retelling of King David’s story in her book The Secret Chord, we discussed how to live like a king (minus the murder). She’s delightful!

And on the Tao, I did a roundup on all the things (well, at least all the things at that moment) that’ll been said/written about NO ONE KNOWS. As crazy as it seems, there’s more to come! Like the fact that two days ago, my lovely friend and brilliant author Ariel Lawhon and I got word that both of our books were selected as Book of the Month Club picks for April!!!!

Book of the Month Club pick

We are just a teensy bit excited.

Alright, y’all, that’s it from me! Enjoy yourselves, stay out of trouble, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Xoxo,
J.T.

Via: JT Ellison

    

3.31.16 – NO ONE KNOWS Roundup

By JT Ellison

Whew!

For me, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind—but in the best kind of way. My beloved five-year project NO ONE KNOWS is finally out into the world, and I’m so tickled/thankful/relieved that you guys are enjoying it.

You just never know what’ll happen when you switch gears, ya know?

At any rate, for your entertainment, I’ve gathered up the articles, interviews, endorsements, and some of my favorite reviews of the book. After collecting all of this in one place, I can see how I actually wrote 1/4 of a novel in nonfiction about this book (20,000 words, folks).

Enjoy!

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Recognition

SIBA 2016 Winter Okra Pick

Written Interviews & Features

InD’Tale Magazine

Southern Writers Magazine

Chapter 16

SIBA’s Lady Banks newsletter

Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)

CAFTAR: What I’m Reading, Page 69 Test, and My Book, the Movie

Working Mother

Parnassus Books’ Musing Blog

BookReporter

When I met with TN Ledger journalist Zack Barnes, I had no idea he was going to do three articles about me: three. But he did. And I’m so honored to be young journalist’s first cover story. Here are articles one, two, and three.

BookBub has been giving the book all sorts of love, naming it one of Ten New Thrillers to Read this Spring and one of 16 Books Compared to ‘Gone Girl’

Fresh Fiction included NO ONE KNOWS in their quarterly mystery box

A nice feature on 2nd & Church online

XOXO After Dark featured the first chapter of the book

On Criminal Element, I talked about the dream that inspired NO ONE KNOWS. It may have included my husband, Opryland Hotel, and Harlan Coben.

For Southern Writers Magazine’s Suite T blog, I wrote about my fears and journey to writing a standalone novel.

I also had a delightful conversation with Lori’s Reading Corner!

*We still have a couple more things in the works… I’ll let you know as they pop up!

Audio Interviews

It’s been a while since I’ve been on Suspense Magazine Radio, but it was such a blast!

It’s always lovely to talk to my friend, Libby Hellemann. On Second Sunday Crime, we chatted about NO ONE KNOWS, writing, and the best wine out there.

I loved the premise of the Creative Push Podcast. Host Youngman Brown was a delight to talk to. Creatives, this is a podcast for you.

Reviews

Some of my favorites were:

Dream by Day Book Reviews (she knows how to style a photo—so elegant!)

Two Fangs About It

Book Splot Reviews

Project Fandom

All About Romance

Judith D. Collins Must Reads

Murfreesboro Daily Journal

And here are the trade reviews you’ve seen:

“Riveting . . . a skillfully plotted story that’s equal parts mystery, psychological thriller, and cautionary tale. Ellison’s twists are fresh . . . and the novel’s action-packed conclusion will shock.”
Publishers Weekly

“The unreliable female narrator is all the rage, and Aubrey Hamilton is up there with the slipperiest of them all.”
Kirkus Reviews

“The reader becomes enthralled with Aubrey and her life while also desperate to learn answers. The payoff succeeds in surprising.”
Booklist

Endorsements

“You think GONE GIRL couldn’t be topped, try Ellison’s web of betrayal, lies and deceit. And wonder –”
Catherine Coulter, #1 New York Times bestselling author of NEMESIS

“Enthralling! Ellison’s twisty, turny thriller is my kind of novel; interesting characters, complex plotting, and an ending you’ll never see coming. Suspense at its finest!”
Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of FIND HER

“J.T. Ellison’s stand-alone thriller is a slow burn suspense that heats up, page-by-page, until the shocking end. NO ONE KNOWS is unputdownable, a gripping story that begs to be read in one sitting.”
Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author of NO GOOD DEED

“Clever and compelling, JT Ellison’s NO ONE KNOWS is a page-turner full of unexpected twists and surprises. Pour a glass of wine, settle down in your favorite chair, and get ready for an entertaining roller coaster of a read. JT Ellison is a fast-rising star.”
Jeff Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of THE FIRST ORDER

“Reader beware: In NO ONE KNOWS J.T. Ellison has created a masterful game of cat-and-mouse—with Ellison being the cat and us readers her prey. My favorite kind of story—I loved it.”
Erica Spindler, New York Times bestselling author of THE FIRST WIFE and THE FINAL SEVEN

“NO ONE KNOWS grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go. A compelling thriller about loss, betrayal, and buried secrets, it’s a book you’ll devour, trying to guess what’s going on and what will happen next. The twists are genuinely—and satisfyingly—shocking. J.T. Ellison has written another winner.”
Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author of PHANTOM INSTINCT

“J.T. Ellison has created one hell of a brain-bender. NO ONE KNOWS is a masterfully written shell game in which a grief-stricken woman is forced to reckon with her past until everything she believes about love, hope, and trust is tested. Ellison’s storytelling powers are on sharp display in this literary thriller, proving that no one is who they claim to be and everyone has secrets worth protecting. Compelling, perceptive, unsettling and with an ending so on point I wish I could read it again for the first time. I inhaled this novel.”
Ariel Lawhon, author of FLIGHT OF DREAMS

“Like a nerve-shredding trip through a carnival house of mirrors, NO ONE KNOWS left me breathless. Ellison’s deft, seamless prose makes her devilish twists look effortless, and her sleight-of-hand with the facts of Aubrey Hamilton’s troubled life keeps the tension wire-high. NO ONE KNOWS is razor-sharp, shocking, and delicious.”
Laura Benedict, author of CHARLOTTE’S STORY

Via: JT Ellison

    

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