A Chat Among Friends

A white cup on a saucer. The cup is filled with chai and has a beautiful flower and leaf design on top.
A Beautiful Chai


For a long time, I wasn’t sure what to write on this blog, but a bookseller whose opinion I respect said that readers want to know about writers’ personal lives and that you really would want to hear about who I am and what I do–that you’d want me to talk about the things friends talk about to other friends.

But I also want this to be useful. So…I’ve decided to mix it up a little. On Mondays, I’ll talk about what’s going on at http://crimereaders.com, where I review books and profile other mystery and thriller authors.

On Wednesdays, I’ll post something for writers–maybe a piece of news I’ve found, book on craft or promotion, or a site you might find useful.

On Fridays, I’ll do a “chat among friends” post, just sharing things about my life, for those who are interested: the horses, dogs, and birds, musings, adventures in publishing (or ballroom dancing), how things are going with the latest book, or anything else that might pop up.

if you’d like to receive a free e-book and a newsletter with updates, the occasional contest, tips for writers, news for readers, recipes, glimpses of Nashville life in “Jared McKean’s Nashville,” please go to any of the other pages and sign up for my email list. Here’s a link.

9 Responses

  1. Timothy Carver

    I loved your first book (so entertaining) and will be reading the others soon. It’s so cool actually being able to read your books, well I listen to them, which is also cool because in the first book you got a great narrator and it made it even better. I hope you keep him for the next one. Anyway, thanks for the great entertainment and its stationed in my own home town of Mt. Juliet, TN, just great. Tim

  2. Jaden Terrell

    Thank you, Tim. I hope they keep that narrator too. He’s from Oak Ridge, so he’s a genuine Tennessee boy. I don’t have any say in that side of things, but I feel really fortunate that Blackstone picked Nick Sullivan to be Jared’s voice.

  3. Diana

    First of all I would like to say wonderful blog!
    I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your head
    before writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out.

    I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually lost just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any recommendations or tips? Appreciate it!

    • Jaden Terrell

      It’s different for everyone. Spending 10-15 minutes getting yourself ready to write isn’t unreasonable. It helps to go into it with an idea of what you want to write about. If I don’t know before I start, I’ll spend some time writing longhand, just playing with ideas until the scene I’m working on becomes clear. Then I can write it out. It might be something like this: Jared is riding his horse when he hears Frank’s car. There’s some small talk that isn’t small talk–“Are you working?” “Skip traces, etc.” “You’re wasted on that. What happened to Josh wasn’t your fault.” Lots of subtext. Frank tells Jared they need him to come down to his office and identify the body of an Asian woman found in the dumpster. Jared says he doesn’t know any Asian women and can’t help. Frank pulls out a photo and says, “This was found in her hand,” and it’s a photo of Jared’s dad from the Vietnam war. Dad is in front of a shack, along with a smiling Vietnamese woman and two small children. A family Jared never knew existed.

      This is very free-form. I just throw in whatever comes to mind, but when I’m done, I’m ready to write the scene. If the scene is already planned but I’m still having trouble focusing, that’s another issue. Sometimes it really does take a while to get immersed in the scene–and sometimes it’s a struggle all the way through–but I just keep putting down words. You can always make it better later.

      Some writers find it helpful to have a writing ritual. Maybe they always work in the same place, or they light candles and meditate for a few minutes before they start. Some like to listen to music. Some set up a little mascot, like a Superman or baby T-Rex. By doing the same little ritual every time, you’re training your brain to think, “Whenever this thing happens, we write.”

    • Jaden Terrell

      Hi, Diana. Since I’ve gotten this question a few times, I turned my answer to you into a post. Hope you enjoy it. Here’s the link: Since the answer I gave before this still relevant, and since I think a lot of people might have a similar question, I’ve turned my answer into a post. You can find it here: http://www.jadenterrell.com/a-warm-up-for-writers/

  4. Louella

    Hey! I кnow this is somewҺat off-toρiϲ but I had to ask.

    Dоes managing a well-established website lіke yourѕ take a ⅼot of work?
    I am completely new to гunning a ƅlog however
    I do write in my diary on a daiⅼy basis. I’ԁ like too staгt a blog so I can easily
    shɑre my experience ɑnd feelings online. Please lett mе
    know if you ɦave any kind of recommendations or tips
    for new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

    • Jaden Terrell

      Hi, Louella.

      To be honest, it should take more work than it does. I have a goal for 2017 to be more consistent with posting. As for keeping everything updated and working well, the thanks for that goes to my web designer.

      The tips I could offer about writing a blog depend on what you want from it. Keeping a journal is a great place to start because it helps you explore your ideas and decide what’s important to you. If you want a small blog for family and/or friends, you can do pretty much anything you want, but if you want to build an audience and use it in a professional capacity, there’s a little more to it. The first step is to figure out what you’re going to focus on. Is it going to be philosophical discussions, funny anecdotes, musings on your life, a blog about some hobby or craft or art you’re pursuing? Or are you an author trying to build a readership? When you know what you want, you can start building an audience.

      A good way to build an audience is to do guest posts on other blogs about your topic. They’ll usually let you add a brief bio, and often you can include the URL for your own blog. Then on your blog, the day you’re featured, post an announcencement about the guest post, with a link to it. Make sure the window opens in another tab. That will keep readers from leaving your site when they click to read the guest post. Some of the readers from that other blog will probably be interested enough to find and follow your blog. Once you have a good following, you can start putting your original content on your own blog and doing fewer guest posts.

      At that point there are two things you should focus on. The first is consistency. You should post no less than once a week.Google rewards consistency, but if you let your blog languish, your rankings will fall.

      The second thing is content. Your content should be valuable to your audience, well written, and relevant to the focus of your blog. If your blog is about dog training, don’t post articles about grunge music, politics, or women’s fashion. Stick to dog training or things that are closely related and will appeal to your audience. So while most of your articles would be about dog training, you might also throw in a cute dog video or a recipe for homemade gourmet dog biscuits.

      That’s about it. I hope it helps. Best of luck with your new blog.

  5. Javierhucky

    First off I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Thanks!

    • Jaden Terrell

      Javier, this is a good question. I got a very similar one (in fact, it was identical) a while back, and since the answer I gave before is still relevant, and since I think a lot of people might have a similar question, I’ve turned my answer into a post. You can find it here: http://www.jadenterrell.com/a-warm-up-for-writers/

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