November 18, 2020 | Issue #16
Five Facts From Our Friend, JT Ellison
The one thing you’ve learned you can’t live without in quarantine:
Oddly enough, peace and quiet. Over the summer, we did some housesitting and realized how incredibly noisy our house and neighborhood were. Knowing this pandemic might last longer than anticipated, we took the drastic step of moving. And realized again how important peace and quiet are…amidst the boxes and chaos, we treasure the quiet moments.

Your perfect day:
Wake, well rested. Snuggle with the kittens. Have a cup of fragrant, hot tea. Sit down at my desk, open manuscript, write for a few hours. Lunch--preferably involving queso and BFFs, yoga, walk, or workout. Read a book, watch a movie, have a glass of wine by a fire. Go to bed at a decent hour. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Your favorite independent bookstore:
I love so many. Obviously Parnassus Books is my home store, but I also adore Page 158 Books, FoxTale Book Shoppe, Murder by the Book, Tattered Cover… I could go on and on.

The last book you raved about:
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. A fresh new magical system based in Arthurian legend, it’s the story of brilliant young woman who has inherited two magical lines from her ancestors and is faced with more challenges than she can imagine. It’s a timely, complicated look at our history, and the assumptions we make about people’s familial connections, too. 

Your next book in ten words or less:
What if Rebecca hadn’t really died?
Five Facts From Our Friend,
Hank Phillippi Ryan
The one thing you’ve learned you can’t live without in quarantine:
Our garden and our backyard. Because time is so bizarre, and it’s difficult to keep track, it’s reassuring to know that our garden will show us that things keep moving ahead. During the beginning of the pandemic, our gorgeous tulips bloomed like mad, and we gathered them with joy. Then the peonies, which filled our home in Boston with their fragrance. I had this brilliant idea to plant tomatoes, which we did, and we became enchanted with the bounty. City girl me, right? I loved it! Plus we have wild ducks that come to our backyard each spring, and they gave us so much laughter.

Your perfect day:
The sky is that Boston blue, and it’s just sweater weather. I wake up whenever I want, and have coffee and cinnamon toast with my husband, and read three newspapers. We take a walk in the garden and see what’s new. I sit down at my desk, and open my manuscript, and I realize that what I wrote the day before wasn’t as terrible as I feared, and then I have a good idea! And I keep going, and I'm typing so fast I have hundreds of spelling errors. That’s wonderful! And I work for the rest of the day, I make dinner, and chat with my husband over a glass of wine, and watch something wonderful on TV, then catch up on reading with a cup of chamomile tea and a chocolate chip cookie.

Your favorite independent bookstore?
Oh, impossible! Brookline BookSmith has hosted me for ten book launches, with much hilarity and standing room only. The wonderful Poisoned Pen, mecca for mysteries, and the terrific Page 158 Books, FoxTale, love them. Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore in Delray Beach, what a fabulous place. It is absolutely impossible to name them all!

What book are you raving about?
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou. A brilliant nonfiction--and almost a true crime!--about Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos scandal. For fiction? Elly Griffiths’ The Stranger Diaries. Original and gothic and riveting.

Your next book in 10 words or less:
Fame. Fortune. Your beautiful daughter. Can you keep one secret?
Bookseller of the Week
This week’s featured bookseller is Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN. Co-owned by novelist Ann Patchett and her business partner, Karen Hayes, the store is named for Mt. Parnassus in Greek mythology. As such, Parnassus aims to be Nashville’s home of literature, learning, and music by providing a refuge for Nashvillians of all ages who share in the love of the written word. This week they are offering a 10% discount on books by our guests JT Ellison & Hank Phillippi Ryan, as well as those by the five F&F host authors, with the code friendsfiction10. Also, for anyone who pre-orders Kristin Harmel's THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS from Parnassus between now and this Saturday Nov 21st, Kristin will send you an F&F drink koozie. Parnassus has a special page set up on their site to accept your pre-orders.
Up Close and Personal with Patti Callahan Henry

The Flim-Flam Hustle Myth

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about what I call the hustle-myth.
Hustle ladies, hustle! It’s exhausting right? We talk so much here at Friends and Fiction about how we are staying motivated, how we are doing morning sprints and keeping each other accountable, about our books and our families and our writing. So it might appear that we are all day-long all week-long hustle. We posted all the photos of our planning summit with all the exciting things we have coming up.
But that might just give you the wrong idea.
I don’t want to give the impression that we never stop and that we have to keep on keeping up to prove something about our worth as writers and as women.
Enough of that flim-flam.
Yes, let’s get our work done with purpose and intent, but you know what research shows us? That what truly makes us happy is having purpose and meaning in our lives. Doesn’t that take off some of the pressure? What makes us happy isn’t DOING MORE but doing what matters.
I’ve been wondering about this and about how to hustle without burnout. How to get the job done and get the words on the page, and let’s be honest, the laundry folded and the dishes done and the bills paid, without falling into a stupor at day’s end. What good are we then?
That means that sometimes I have to step away from the computer with its never ending demands and take a walk at the river, call a friend and laugh, cook a long luxurious meal or just curl up and read for pleasure.
I definitely don’t have the answers but I am definitely asking the questions.
I don’t remember where I first heard it, but I love the phrase – “You can do anything you desire, but you can’t do everything.”
           So let’s all find a little place of peace this week: a little slice of something quiet, something meaningful, something that feeds your soul and offers you purpose and meaning, and take a break from fulfilling everyone else’s expectations.
xo pch
Debut Spotlight
The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson has been getting raves by a bunch of friends of F&F. It’s a debut novel from William Morrow and it doesn’t come out until February 9, 2021. We hear it is mind-blowingly good, though. With blurbs from Caroline Leavitt (“extraordinarily moving”) and Jodi Picoult (“beautifully crafted”), and having been named one of the most greatly anticipated books of 2021 by Marie Claire and PopSugar, how could it be bad? Put this one on your radar!
Latest News From "The Fab Five"

KRISTIN HARMEL is excited to reveal the cover of THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS on Friends & Fiction tonight! Want to take part in Kristin's cover reveal (for a chance to win prizes)? Just sign up HERE by noon ET today (Wed 11/18). And speaking of exciting news, Kristin's THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES has made it to the final round of the Goodreads Choice Awards in the Best Historical Fiction category! VOTE HERE by Nov. 30. Wouldn't it be amazing to bring home an F&F win?

KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY is spending every free moment editing her 2022 manuscript that she can’t wait to tell you all about--and signing big stacks of books so that anyone can order signed and/or personalized holiday gifts from two of her local stores, Beaufort Linen Company and Dee Gee’s Gifts and Books!

This week, PATTI CALLAHAN HENRY will begin recording her podcast interviews for a peek behind the scenes of Surviving Savannah. Stay tuned! 

MARY KAY ANDREWS just wound up two weeks of writing and plotting at Ebbtide. She returned home in Atlanta to a glorious sight—a box of THE NEWCOMER ARCs hot off the presses—and got right backdown to business planning a very small Thanksgiving dinner and plotting total global domination!

The next gift up for grabs in MARY ALICE MONROE's the SUMMER OF LOST AND FOUND Book Pre-Order Giveaway is a gorgeous sea turtle face mask. These gifts will help support the Sea Turtle Care Center at the SC Aquarium. Claim your gift HERE.
We're Now a Podcast!

We're so excited that Friends & Fiction is officially available as a podcast!

Never fear! Our weekly web show on Facebook Live is not going anywhere! But we have been working hard to produce our episodes in audio-only format. So, the episodes we've recorded will be up on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and all other major podcasting platforms.

Not in front of the computer? Pop in your ear buds and listen in. Have a road trip planned? Take Friends & Fiction along for the ride!
News from the F&F Official Book Club
Join us for The Friends & Fiction Official Book Club's Virtual Potluck Friendsgiving on Thursday, Nov. 19th at 7pm ET. We will be discussing our favorite cookbooks and sharing recipes. It will be a night of fun, fellowship and surprises. Click here for more information.

Our December book is A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe. Mark your calendars for Monday December 21st at 7pm ET for a live book discussion with Mary Alice Monroe

We had a great time discussing Feels Like Falling with Kristy Woodson Harvey on Monday 11/16. If you missed it click HERE for the replay.