One Year Later

JT Ellison

It’s hard to imagine that we’ve been blogging here at Murderati for a year. Thank you to all our readers!

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, and I look at September, the beginning of the school year, as the beginning of my year. Now I have an anniversary in April to celebrate. Fitting, really, the rebirth of the season, new life, new hope. I looked back over my blog entries — 49 essays, 45 wine recommendations, and am struck by the amount of work. I’m very grateful for this forum. It has changed me, as a writer, a reader, a group member, a technorati, a leader and a follower. And any exercise that changes you for the better, as I believe Murderati has done for me, if well worth the hard work, don’t you think?

We’ve all had change in the past year. My life has altered so dramatically, I sometimes need a good pinching to remind myself that it’s real.

Allow me a moment to indulge in where I stood as an author this time last year. I had an agent and a book under my belt that hadn’t sold. I’d just written my first couple of short stories. The mere thought of writing a weekly essay on writing scared me to death. How could I expect anyone to take me seriously when I’d never been published, and was surrounded by all these great writers who had?  I knew virtually no one in the industry outside of a few generous souls who were encouraging me behind the scenes. I’d never even been to a conference when I agreed to come on board. I feel like Murderati took a huge chance on me, and I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity.

I got my book deal 6 weeks after Murderati’s inception. Would I have gotten the deal if I weren’t with the blog???? I don’t know. Murderati didn’t hurt, I’ll tell you that.

It’s funny, really, when I look back over the past year. It hearkens back to my junior high days of glasses and braces, being much too tall for every boy, finding validation on the basketball court, the volleyball court and in class, but never feeling like I fit. Square peg, round hole. Then we moved, I lost the braces, got contacts, and enjoyed high school. I wasn’t the most popular girl, kind of drifted between all the groups, the jocks (I was a track hound — state discus) the brains (G&T classes) the druggies (LOVED Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd), the punks (desperately wanted to die the hair pink but didn’t have the guts, and Anarchy, Baby!) and the geeks (because really, aren’t we all?) I didn’t have a ton of trauma. It was fine.

But I never totally lost that square peg/round hole feeling. Even when I was happy in my other career, I knew something wasn’t right. When I found myself through my books, I finally understood where I was supposed to be in the grand scheme of life. Square pegs finds finely crafted square hole — or as hubby likes to put it — blind squirrel finds nut, News at 11. It is a bit of a "duh" feeling. I’ve never been so happy as I have this past year.

Murderati has given me a gift bigger than any I’ve ever received. As a few of you may have noticed, I tend to do a bit of introspection through this blog. This weekly analysis session is like lying on the psychiatrist’s couch for me. I get to examine my motivations, delve into the why behind my writing, and more importantly, adhere to a writing schedule. I’ve learned new levels of discipline. Days where the fiction isn’t flowing, I can write four or five blog entries and get myself back in the game. I have a new level of comfort with my own writing, and with the explanations therein. I thank you for allowing me to come into your life each week.

While I wish my blog mates past and present a big Happy Birthday, I leave you, the reader, with this thought. Follow your dreams. You just don’t know where they might lead.

xo,  JT

Wine of the Week: As I wrote this post, my absolute favorite Rachmaninoff, the Piano concerto #2, came on. So to honor the karma, let’s do something different.

And some location specific wine to go with it: Francis Ford Coppola Rosso The wine is divine, and the website a work of art.

10 thoughts on “One Year Later

  1. Christa Miller

    Great post, JT. Congratulations on one year! I didn’t realize you were so new to publishing, so congratulations on that, too. Looking forward to your future postings!

  2. billie

    Congrats on the one year mark, JT. It does sound like it’s been a huge year for you!

    Funny you post this today – for some reason last night I was clicking around online and ended up at Killer Year – oh, it was because I noticed the mentor thing and wondered about it, so went looking.

    I’m so incredibly impressed with Murderati AND Killer Year, the mentoring, and the brilliance of all you guys and gals joining forces. It is not only great marketing but just plain fun for the reader. 🙂

    Here’s to many more posts!

  3. Louise Ure

    You’ve come a long way, baby. Seems like you’re a seasoned pro already.

    And I absolutely love the summary of “blind squirrel finds nut.” That’s how my best writing days feel.

  4. pari

    I remember a college professor at the U of Michigan who taught American Studies. He was lecturing about creative genius. Every example he cited involved the artist’s ultimate descent into insanity.

    We’re all slightly mad, all a bit askew, all squares wondering why we don’t fit into those sensually round holes.

    When we realize the basic frame we’ve been operating needs adjustment, we’re much better off. The best writers figure it out, they come to a personal/emotional home with their writing.

    J.T., it’s been such a delight to watch your journey. Can’t wait to see what comes up next.

    ON A TOTALLY DIFFERENT SUBJECT:Has anyone tried Sofia Coppola’s champagne in a can? One of my friends said after tasting it, “Well, they’ve finally succeeded in making champagne taste like beer.”

  5. Mike MacLean

    Congrats JT, and thanks for a great post. Reading your insights, it’s easy to forget that you are not a seasoned professional…yet. There is not a doubt in my mind you will be one.

  6. JT Ellison

    Wow, you guys. You are much too kind. If I have any element of professsionalism about me, it’s because of the stellar examples I see day in and day out — at this blog and throughout the crime fiction community. We work with some of the classiest writers and readers out there, don’t you think?

  7. Alex Sokoloff

    It’s true, JT presents as such a pro it’s hard to remember her great book isn’t even out yet!

    Happy Birthday to all the original ‘Rati and thanks for inviting me in.

    JT is right about following your dreams… a year ago when I was just feeling out this whole pubishing thing, I found Murderati and it instantly became my favorite blog. I blogged on my own, secretly thinking that it was an audition for Murderati. I never TOLD anyone that, but that’s what I was thinking.

    And, well, here I am.

    Desire and intention are very powerful things.

  8. J.B. Thompson

    Happy birthday, gang!

    I continue to be amazed by JT’s energy and have the good fortune to be near enough to her to be caught in her incredible force field – hang around long enough and you can’t help but be touched by it and affected for the better.

    Here’s to much more wit and wisdom from the Murderati crew – I enjoy you all!

  9. Rob Gregory Browne

    Yes, JT, you would have gotten the deal no matter what, because a) you’re talented and b the timing was right.

    I remember when you told me the news about your deal and how excited I was for you. It was almost like reliving my own good news…


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