Writing Journal, 1-29-15

By noreply@blogger.com (Alexandra Sokoloff)

Well, Thomas & Mercer has relaunched the first two books of the Huntress series this week, and I woke up to the very happy circumstance of Huntress Moon and Blood Moon being at the top of the crime fiction charts in several categories. It’s a thrill to have this many new readers being introduced to the books all at once, and I deeply thank those of you who are already following the series for patiently (or not so patiently, I know!) allowing other readers to catch up before the launch of Cold Moon. It’s been hard for me, too, but the wait is almost over, and it’s the best thing to have happened for the series in the long run.
Meanwhile, for the last three months I’ve been crazily editing, re-editing, and doing production work to get the three books ready for the launch, along with seizing a window (or what I thought was a window at the time…) to finish the expanded and revised Story Structure workbook.
And I’ve been feeling like I’ve completely lost touch with what I was planning to do with Book 4 of the series and my new series. In fact, that anxiety has built to a state that I suspect is what most people talk about when they say “writer’s block.”
Which is a bit of a crazy thing to say, given all the nonstop writing I’ve been doing for months. But it’s not that first draft, new book writing. I feel like I’ve been away from those two books so long I’ve lost all momentum. I’ve even thought I should just start all over with some new idea.
But this week I’ve had the truly interesting experience of being able to go back over some of my old journals of a really bad time of my life, when I was actually starting to work on the second draft of Huntress Moon. And with that documentary proof staring me right in the face, I’ve been absolutely shocked to realize that I was not in any way concentrating on writing that book from start to finish. It was a completely chaotic process that encompassed MANY stops and starts. I wrote a whole paranormal book on contract in between the first draft and second draft of Huntress Moon. I also finished a second writing workbook – Writing Love, the romance-centric version of Screenwriting Tricks for Authors. And I turned in two other book proposals, AND I got four books of my backlist back from my publisher and turned them into e books, meaning scanning, formatting, covers, etc.
In other words, my actual state of being and writing was exactly as chaotic and with as many sidelines and distractions as it is right now.
I was floored. Here I had been thinking for the last half year that I had lost my ability to write books because I wasn’t writing the new project from start to finish with no detours. Now I find that that’s not how I actually write books at all. In fact, I might actually need those big gaps between drafts to let my books simmer on the back burner.
That discovery is a huge relief (although it also makes me think I might need therapy…). And the weird thing is – I had completely forgotten that that was my process. Writing a book is so encompassing, and hypnotic – almost like living in a dream for the entire time that you’re writing. Afterward you don’t really remember how it happened. But in this case, I’m so very grateful that I have those sporadically-kept journals to remind me that writing is messy, and filled with anxiety and distractions, and seems endless, and makes me kind of crazy. I really needed to see that where I am is completely normal, in all its insanity, and I CAN do it this way, because this is the way I do it.
So, authors – do you keep writing journals? Have you ever had a similar experience, of getting hope and comfort from going back over those to see what your writing process actually is compared to what you THINK it is?
And readers – do you keep journals? There are very few therapies or recovery programs that don’t advocate journaling as a tool for discovery and healing. Is that your experience?

Via: Alexandra Sokoloff


1.29.15 - 7 Minutes With... Alex Kava

By JT Ellison

Breaking Creed.jpg

How many good things can I say about Alex Kava? I was a fan of her books long before we became friends. When I signed my first deal at Mira, I was wildly full of myself because I was at the same house as Alex Kava! We had the same editor! I knew this boded well for my future as a thriller writer, because Alex does it right, every time. Her Maggie O’Dell FBI books are insanely good, deep, intense thrillers
with just the right amount of scary reality to them. I kept telling my editors I wanted
them to emulate her – in covers, in promotion, everything.

We met at Thrillerfest in Phoenix, hit it off, and stayed in touch. In 2008, she kindly invited me (ME!) to a conference called Mayhem in the Midlands. It was incredibly generous – she hosted several authors I greatly admired, including Erica Spindler, Jeff Abbott and Shane Gericke, among others. Alex and her manager Deb Carlin arranged books signings, dinners, panels. They ferried us about, fed us, watered us, introduced us to all their people. Forever friendships bloomed over steaks and spilled wine. It was one of the best weekends of my career, nay, my life.

We’ve been fast friends every since, and business partners (along with Erica Spindler, who will be here later this month with another fun interview.) I count myself so incredibly lucky to have her in my life. And now she’s breaking out with a new series, featuring Ryder Creed, an ex-Marine turned K-9 search and rescue (another topic near and dear – my cousin is K-9 S&R) which is going to kick as much
ass as Maggie.

I’m honored to say – Here’s Alex, y’all!

Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?

Silence. I know, boring. Right? I can’t listen to music and work.

Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?

I start my book tour this week so my day was spent packing, confirming travel itinerary with my publicist, scheduling interviews, Facebook posts and answering emails. No writing was done today!

What’s your latest book about?

BREAKING CREED is the first in a new series. Ryder Creed is an ex-Marine and dog handler who takes abandoned dogs and trains them to sniff out drugs, cadavers, bombs and also to do search and rescue.

Where do you write, and what tools do you use?

I have a writing room I added to my house several years ago. One wall is floor-to-ceiling bookcases, two walls are floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over my patio. It’s a great retreat but I still prefer the screened-in porch when weather permits.

As for tools – I love my MacBook Air, but I’d rather write in longhand. I fill two to three six-by-nine spiral notebooks with pages and pages of research, bits of dialogue, pieces of chapters and lists of things I want to include.

What was your favorite book as a child?

HARRIET THE SPY by Louise Fitzhugh

What book are you reading now?

A STRING OF BEADS by Thomas Perry

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

If you want to be a better writer: read. A lot.

What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?

If I’m on deadline I make myself write whether the words are flowing or not. If it really isn’t happening, I try to get away from it for a while.

What would you like to be remembered for?

I guess it would be nice just to be remembered.

Alex Kava

Alex Kava is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Maggie O’Dell series and a new series featuring ex-Marine, Ryder Creed and his K9 dogs. Her stand-alone novel, ONE FALSE MOVE, was the 2006 One Book One Nebraska and her political thriller, WHITEWASH, was one of January Magazine’s best thrillers of the year. Published in over thirty countries, Kava’s novels have made the bestseller lists in the UK, Australia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Poland. She is also a co-author of the e-novellas SLICES OF NIGHT and STORM SEASON with Erica Spindler and J.T. Ellison. Her novel STRANDED was awarded both a Florida Book Award and the Nebraska Book Award. She is a member of the Nebraska Writers Guild and International Thriller Writers. Kava divides her time between Omaha, Nebraska and Pensacola, Florida.

Here’s a bit about BREAKING CREED, now available in bookstores everywhere!

Ryder Creed and his dogs have been making national headlines. They’ve intercepted several major drug stashes being smuggled through Atlanta’s airport. But their newfound celebrity has also garnered some unwanted attention.

When Creed and one of his dogs are called in to search a commercial fishing vessel, they discover a secret compartment. But the Colombian cartels’ latest shipment isn’t drugs. This time, its cargo is human. To make matters worse, Creed helps one of the cartel’s drug mules escape—a fourteen-year-old girl who reminds him of his younger sister who disappeared fifteen years ago.

Meanwhile, FBI agent Maggie O’Dell is investigating a series of murders—the victims tortured, killed, and dumped in the Potomac River. She suspects it’s the work of a cunning and brutal assassin, but her politically motivated boss has been putting up roadblocks.
By the time she uncovers a hit list with Creed’s name on it, it might be too late. The cartel has already sent someone to destroy Creed and everyone close to him.

But Creed and his dogs have a few surprises in store on their compound in Florida. Will it be enough to stop a ruthless cartel determined to remove the thorn in its side once and for all?

And Alex’s BREAKING CREED Book Tour includes stops in: Scottsdale, AZ; Panama City, FL; Pensacola, FL; Mandeville, LA; New Orleans, LA; Minneapolis, MN; Omaha, NE; Seward, NE; and Greenville, SC. Details can be found at alexkava.com.

Via: JT Ellison