Best Legal Thrillers

I wrote this legal thriller. Then I wondered, what other legal thrillers are like my legal thriller? I embarked on a reading research campaign. I read—and charted by title, author, and salient features; after all, I’m a former lawyer—twenty-three legal thrillers in about two weeks (I don’t want to exaggerate). I want to share with you...

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Putting Out Fires

My father used to tell a story about his job and putting out fires. He sat at his desk, concentrating, and the phone would ring. A problem had flared up, demanding his immediate attention, diverting him from what he really needed to be doing. It drove him bonkers—when would he get his real work done?—until he realized putting out fires was his real...

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Hidden Mississippi Novels

Ok. These Mississippi novels aren’t exactly hidden. But I didn’t know them. I do now, thanks to the confluence of two things. One, I’ve been intentionally reading African American writers for almost two years now. Second, I thought to myself, Ellen, you’re hoping to publish a Mississippi novel. You need to know the canon...

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Arts Alive

Oh, man. Sometimes you just need to do something to remind yourself how much you love it. Arts Alive reminded me of that truth today. My kind, wonderful, incredibly talented friend Emma Connolly invited me to participate in Bay St. Louis’s Arts Alive as an artist in its MakerSpace. In the morning, the schedule had me talking about my book...

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A Saturday Morning

Good Saturday morning. The bluebirds are nesting. They flit (there’s no other word) from the telephone wire to the bluebird house to the graceful limb of the live oak. My uncle rues their use of the Purple Martin house, but I’m glad someone is using it. Soon we could have babies. Or maybe we have them now. All I have to do is lower the...

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The South and America

South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation If anyone doubts the premise of Imani Perry’s book South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation, all they have to do is look to the lawsuit poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. As Mississippi was the author of strategies...

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Reparations Action

This is the 7th installment in my reparations series where we’ll turn from background to action. Click to read the introduction. Continue with background facts about me and the salacious real me facts. I’ve included some warnings, plus the joy of reparative work. My last post I told you the “why” of choosing creative writing as...

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I Feel to Believe

When we took an apartment in New Orleans, I began reading the Times-Picayune newspaper. I would spy a column by Jarvis DeBerry and feel as if I’d found an Easter egg. Back then, we were in the city part-time. I didn’t know DeBerry’s publishing schedule. So each column was a surprise and delight. A collection of those columns, each so impressive,...

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Reparations: Why Creative Writing

This is the 6th installment in my reparations series. Click to read the introduction. Continue with background facts about me and the salacious real me facts. I’ve included some warnings, plus the joy of reparative work. Today, we turn to what led me to take up reparations. Fiction Leads to Fact Twice, I’ve delved into my...

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