New Planner Love

We’re eight weeks into the new year, and I have a confession. I ditched a planner that wasn’t working for me, and went in a totally new direction. Now, I feel it incumbent upon myself to turn you all on to this.  

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE HOBONICHI WEBSITE

I am completely in love. I feel like I've FINALLY found the right planner. 

I'd started the year in a Quo Vadis Journal 21 with a day to a page. It was huge. Thick. Heavy. So big, I couldn't comfortably carry it with me. Not that I really do carry it, but it just felt so bulky. I figured it was the day to a page—I’ve always done weekly, until I started keeping a “log book” in October of last year and realized I liked having a day to a page. So maybe it was the paper? I use fountain pens—a Lamy Safari, in this instance—but I wasn’t enjoying writing in it. I bought a bunch of new inks, loaded them up, and while I liked them better for the Safari, the planner was still making me go meh

Photo courtesy of the Hobonichi website

Enter a midnight, full moon, couldn’t sleep read of Tools and Toys, and a review of the Hobonichi Techo. I keep seeing people rave about this unique planner. How it has a cult following, it's filled with Tomoe River Paper, which is brilliant it was for fountain pens, how thin the paper is. I had one big issue holding me back. The Techo is A6 size. (Japanese A6 though, which is bigger that our A6) I’m an A5 girl all the way. Or so I thought.

It was late. It wasn't too expensive. I decided to check it out. What the heck, right?

From the moment it arrived, in its Japanese overnight air pouch, holding a green box, I was in capital L love. The size was perfect. Not too small as I’d feared. The paper inside was incredibly thin. So thin, I was certain there’d be huge bleed through. Nope. I used my new fountain pen, a Pilot Knight, and the nib slid along the page in a way I’ve never seen before. I’ve always been partial to Clairfontaine paper—no more. Tomoe River is where it’s at for me. The gorgeous Clairfontaine feels almost too slick, too smooth in comparison. And it’s grid, which I also have always steered away from. Guess what? Grid + fountain pen = perfection.

The paper sold me, but the planner has more little secrets. Quarterly planning, monthly planning, spots for monthly goal setting, in addition to the day to a page—all in half the thickness of my Journal 21. Sold. 

Knowing I will be making a permanent change to the Techo planners from here on out, I finished out my new little lover with a splurge—a handmade leather case from One Star Leather.  Keegan customized the cover to my exact specs, and it is stunning. 

Three weeks later, I can’t wait to pick up the planner and write in it every day. I carry it around the house. I put it in my purses—it fits in them all. I grabbed a Pilot Metropolitan on sale at the Pen Chalet for good measure, since my Pilot Knight internal plastic broke the first time I changed the cartridge. (It’s off being repaired.) I was surprised at how awesome the Metropolitan is to write with. Exactly the right weight, posted and un, and it has the finger rest the Knight is missing. Who knew? Combined with the new Techo, I am now an unstoppable planning machine. 

Since my early work days, twenty years ago, with my Coach planner (they stopped making the insertswaaah), I haven’t had anything I’ve loved so much. Man, it is the little things, isn’t it?

I can’t recommend the Hobonichi Techo planner enough. And get Keegan to hook you up, he’s an incredible leather artist. 

Comment

JT Ellison

Omniscient Narrator. Bestselling Author. Book Fanatic. Zen Golfer. Amateur Oenophile. Travel Junkie. Classical Lover. Comma Sutra. J.T. Ellison is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels, multiple short stories and has been published in over twenty countries. Her novel THE COLD ROOM won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original of 2010 and WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE was a RITA® Nominee for Best Romantic Suspense of 2012. She lives in Nashville with her husband and the ghost of a poorly trained cat. Visit JTEllison.com for more insight into her wicked imagination, or follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick.

2.26.15 - 7 Minutes With... Courtney C. Stevens

The Lies About Truth

Courtney C. Stevens blazed onto the scene last year with her stellar debut FAKING NORMAL, a young adult novel about the pain and secrets two teens are holding on to. The book completely captured my attention; I read it quickly, closed the cover, and knew I’d just experienced something special. I’m lucky enough to know Court in real life – she’s part of the Nashville literati, influencing so many of the young adult authors around town, and is possibly one of the nicest, sweetest people you will ever meet. I'm thrilled to have her on the Tao today. Meet Court, everyone!

_________

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

“Let’s Be Still” by The Head and the Heart

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

Mostly emails. My time is very blocked and scheduled, but what I want to be working on is (a) finishing Pass Pages for my upcoming book and (b) drafting the final 5k of the project I’m turning in on April 1st.

What’s your latest book about?

It is a young adult, contemporary realistic, aftermath story. THE LIES ABOUT TRUTH is the story of five friends, three boys/two girls, four alive/one dead, and three huge lies they tell each other. If you want to know more, check out the trailer.

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

I wrote all of THE LIES ABOUT TRUTH in a covered shelter at Percy Warner Park near my home in Nashville. I use Scrivener and a Mac, although I’m quite fond of my pen and notebook. This summer, I’ll be writing on the John Muir Trail in California with a pencil and Moleskine.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I loved ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. Still do. I’m always checking for affordable flights into PEI and treasure the trip I made there for the 100 year celebration of Anne.

What book are you reading now?

I’m splitting time between ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE (Doer) in print and BIG LITTLE LIES (Moriarty) on audio.

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

I’m not sure who said it, but I love: “If the muse is late, start without her.” We want writing to be this dreamy process, but quite honestly, I don’t receive scrolls from fairy writing godmothers or download plot map from Shakespeare. I write it wrong, and then try my very best, to re-write it right.

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

I try three things: 1- Keep writing. 2- Exercise 3- Take a shower

What would you like to be remembered for?

Loving people for who they are rather than who they might be someday. 

_________

Courtney C. Stevens grew up in Kentucky and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an adjunct professor and a former youth minister. She is also the author of FAKING NORMAL, as well as the e-novella THE BLUE-HAIRED BOY. You can visit her online at courtneycstevens.com or follow her on Twitter/Instagram - @quartland

And here's a little more about her new book THE LIES ABOUT TRUTH:

Sadie Kingston is living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she’s unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him—even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events come to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future, or if she’ll always be trapped in the past.  

And if you want to meet Courtney, you can catch her here:

March 11th
Lexington, KY
Joseph Beth Booksellers

March 31st
Cincinnati, OH
Joseph Beth Booksellers

April 18th
Bowling Green, KY
Southern Kentucky Book Fest

April 21st
Young Adult Georgia Author Celebration

May 16th
Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center
South Caroline Book Festival

1 Comment

JT Ellison

Omniscient Narrator. Bestselling Author. Book Fanatic. Zen Golfer. Amateur Oenophile. Travel Junkie. Classical Lover. Comma Sutra. J.T. Ellison is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels, multiple short stories and has been published in over twenty countries. Her novel THE COLD ROOM won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original of 2010 and WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE was a RITA® Nominee for Best Romantic Suspense of 2012. She lives in Nashville with her husband and the ghost of a poorly trained cat. Visit JTEllison.com for more insight into her wicked imagination, or follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick.

2.19.15 - 7 Minutes With... Roy Burkhead

We have a slight departure in today’s interview to bring you my buddy Roy Burkhead, the editor in chief of the impressive 2ND & CHURCH magazine, whose readership stretches from Nashville to Paris. Roy is one of the most dynamic, dedicated writers I’ve ever known, always looking for ways to help promote other people, share stories with readers, and find ways to reach out and shape our younger readers. He co-started “The Writer’s Loft” at Middle Tennessee State University, a creative writing program, prior to launching 2ND & CHURCH (so named because he was hit by a car at that corner) and has turned 2ND & CHURCH                                    into a stellar southern journal, focused on Tennessee writers.

Roy’s attitude and dedication to the written word have given him quite a reputation among the Nashville literati. He’s a great guy, and as you’ll see in his interview below, is working on a new novel which sounds divine. Please join me in welcoming Roy to the Tao! 

_________

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

ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT: PART 2 OF 4 by Stephen King. (I don’t have a lot of storage space on my phone, and I transitioned about a month ago from Christmas music to audio books.)

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

Today finds me in a transitional period.  A couple weeks ago, I published the seventh issue of 2ND & CHURCH, a literary journal out of Nashville that celebrates writers, poets, and readers. It was our Theatre issue, featuring Denice Hicks, the artistic director of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. (J.T. was our first In Depth / cover story interview!)  We have two more issues out later this year, but I’m taking a few months off now to return to my first novel, MR. TOMORROW.

What’s your latest book about?

MR. TOMORROW takes place in London, England, and Middle Tennessee during three days in December, and it involves three childhood friends. Patricia and Jacob grew up together in rural Tennessee, and Vinod moved from India for two years to live with Jacob’s family as a foreign exchange student. Pat and Jacob are on individual physical and psychological journeys.  Jacob works in the London offices of a Nashville-based company, and he returns home to auction off the family farm after the death of this last surviving parent, his mom. His journey will find him questioning the decisions that he’s made in life, those decisions that have made him the man he has become. The story follows Patricia’s journey as her company downsizes forty percent of the office in a single morning. Internally, she continues her decades-long struggle with her bipolar disorder. Vinod is the story’s moral compass. The story finds him working in London with Jacob. While still friends and active in one another’s lives, Vinod does not always agree with Jacob’s decisions and behaviors, and he’s never shy with opinions.  The paths of all three characters converge at the story’s climax, where life altering decisions await.

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

I have a writing space at home, and that’s where most of my writing happens.  But time management issues and life require me to write wherever I may find myself at any given moment! For first drafts, I prefer to write at home using my old Smith Corona manual typewriter. It’s one of the old World War II models that I found at a second-hand store in Nashville over two decades ago.  It’s still great!  Once I take off my writer’s cap and put on the editor’s hat, I switch to my computer.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I read a lot of books like THE HARDY BOYS,  THE TOWER TREASURE, and WHILE THE CLOCK TICKED! But I’m sure those were given to me.  The first novel that I remember going after and loving was THE HOBBIT.

What book are you reading now?

I have dozens of unread books, each waiting its turn. Some are books I should have read long ago, but never did. Novels like TOBACCO ROAD. The one I have open now is FACTORY MAN by Beth Macy. It’s about John Bassett III of The Bassett Furniture Company.  The book’s subtitle is HOW ONE FURNITURE MAKER BATTLED OFFSHORING, STAYED LOCAL - AND HELPED SAVE AN AMERICAN TOWN . I’m just getting started, but it’s a great read so far.  I think Tom Hanks is turning it into a mini-series.

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

“It takes as long as it takes.”

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

I’m wordy enough to never have had this problem. I’ve been a professional writer since 1992. My problem has always been how to find the time to allow the right kind of words—the fiction—to flow. I’ve always had a day job, writing all sorts of strange word combinations for different…”industries.” The mortgage has to be paid, and the kids have gotta eat. By the time you commute to the office, write for “The Man” all day, commute home, deal with home maintenance and household chores, help the kids (at least a little bit) with homework…well, energy is finite. I’ve been forced to make some choices to force time and energy to appear for my fiction. I am jealous—and a little angry—that so much of my fresh writing energy over the years has gone to subjects like accounting software, healthcare demographics, and ovens versus to my love of storytelling and fiction.

What would you like to be remembered for?

I don’t care if I’m remembered or not. History is so long, and so few humans are ever actually remembered. As long as I am able to trick my kids into thinking I’m cool, I’m happy. Everything else is just noise.

_________

A Kentucky native and longtime Nashvillian, Roy’s journalism and prose have appeared in local and regional newspapers, journals, and anthologies. After earning a MFA in Writing (fiction genre), he founded a creative writing program at MTSU. He’s the founder and editor of 2ND & CHURCH, a literary journal that celebrates writers, poets, and readers. Last year, he was the short story judge for the Alabama Writers’ Conclave, and he                                                     edited former astronaut Rhea Seddon’s memoir                                                       GO FOR ORBIT, out in 2015. He volunteers at local                                                 literary events and teaches English at WKU. He’s wrapping                                     up work this year on his first novel, MR. TOMORROW.

Comment

JT Ellison

Omniscient Narrator. Bestselling Author. Book Fanatic. Zen Golfer. Amateur Oenophile. Travel Junkie. Classical Lover. Comma Sutra. J.T. Ellison is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels, multiple short stories and has been published in over twenty countries. Her novel THE COLD ROOM won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original of 2010 and WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE was a RITA® Nominee for Best Romantic Suspense of 2012. She lives in Nashville with her husband and the ghost of a poorly trained cat. Visit JTEllison.com for more insight into her wicked imagination, or follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick.

2.12.15 - 7 Minutes With... Erica Spindler

When I was a (very) novice writer, I read several books by a woman named Erica Spindler. One of my favorites was COPYCAT, possibly one of the best thrillers I’ve read in the past decade. Little did I know Erica and I were destined to meet, and to become such good friends. I was simply in awe of her talent, her fearlessness, and her ability to draw me into a tale.

All these years later, I feel exactly the same way, though now I have the distinct honor and privilege to call Erica friend.

At RWA in Orlando, I believe it was, Nora Roberts gave a keynote where she said you need to find the four or five people in your writing world you trust with your life, create a tribe, and stick with them. Her words struck me – and it wasn’t long after when I knew Erica was one of my tribemates. Was it the weekend in Omaha, where so many of my permanent friendships were born? Was it a joint love of wine, of New Orleans, of the twists in our brains? I don’t know, but I can say I don’t know many women with hearts so pure, so generous, so kind. Not only is she an incredible writer who constantly amazes me with her imagination, dedication and talent, she’s a lovely woman, a confidant extraordinaire, someone I want to emulate, in writing, and in life.

Her new novel THE FIRST WIFE is out this week. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Rush out and grab your copy, then settle in with some Starbucks and get to know my buddy Erica a little better. 


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

Phillip Phillips, "Gone, Gone, Gone"

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

RANDOM ACTS, an e-novella.  It’s a prequel to Light Keepers, a series I’m launching later this year, and will be included in SWEET DREAMS a boxed set author Brenda Novak is putting together to benefit Diabetes Research.  Oh, and promotion for THE FIRST WIFE!

What’s your latest book about?

Bailey Browne is both a realist and a romantic.  She always dreamed of finding Prince Charming, a knight in shining armor to whisk her away from her ordinary life.  On a Caribbean vacation, she meets him. Bailey falls head-over-heels in love; impossibly, he feels the same for her.  He proposes; they marry in a romantic whirlwind. Only as Bailey begins her new life on his Louisiana horse farm, surrounded by his secretive family and whispers of his dark past and the disappearance of his first wife, does Bailey realize she knows nothing about this man other than she’s has given herself to him, heart and soul.

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

I do most of my writing in the coffeehouse; I find being surrounded by activity less distracting than the silent demands of home.  My tools of choice are a MacBook Pro, spiral notebooks—for notes, brainstorming and giving my muse a break from the keyboard—mechanical pencils and a giant dry erase board in my home office.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I had a favorite series: the Trixie Beldon mystery series. As far as I’m concerned, Trix was not only ahead of her time, she still rocks.

What book are you reading now?

Fiction: BREAKING CREED by Alex Kava. It’s book one in a new series from her and I’m enthralled. Non-fiction: HEAVEN by Randy Alcorn.  It’s an in-depth look at what Scripture says about heaven. (Forget the puffy clouds and harps!)

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

Sorry, but I can’t limit myself to just one because different folks benefit from different advice.  Here are my top three: 1- Believe in yourself. 2- Write what you love to read, not what you think is selling. 3- Write everyday.

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

I hate when the words aren’t flowing! I find changing my environment helps the most. Write outside or go to the coffeehouse. Take a break for a non-writing activity—I like walking, but I have friends who garden, bake or read. Calling a trusted friend to brainstorm works, too.  Anything that takes my critical left brain out of the equation and gives my muse a chance to recharge.

What would you like to be remembered for?

This is totally non-writing related, but the first thing that popped into my head was being kind. What better legacy than to be remembered as someone who was kind to others and a positive force in the world?

Erica Spindler is the New York Times and International Chart bestselling author of thirty novels and two eNovellas. Published in twenty-five countries, she has been called the “The master of addictive suspense” and “Queen of the romantic thriller.” 

A Romance Writers of America Honor Roll member, Erica received a Kiss of Death Award for her novels FORBIDDEN FRUIT and SEE JANE DIE, won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence for her novel BONE COLD and is a four-time RITA® Award finalist. In 1999, Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel SHOCKING PINK a Listen-Up Award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998. Her newest novel, THE FIRST WIFE, is available in stores everywhere.

Erica lives just outside of New Orleans with her husband and two sons.

And here's a little bit more about Erica's new book, THE FIRST WIFE:

As a child, Bailey Browne dreamed of a knight in shining armor swooping in to rescue her and her mother. As she grew older, those dreams transformed, becoming ones of a mysterious stranger who swept her off her feet and whisked her away from her ordinary existence. Then, suddenly, there he was. Despite the ten year difference in their ages, her working class upbringing and his of privilege, Logan Abbott and Bailey fall deeply in love. Marriage quickly follows.

But when Logan brings her home to his horse farm in Louisiana, a magnificent estate on ninety wooded acres, her dreams of happily-ever-after begin to unravel. A tragic family history she knew nothing about, plus whisperings about the disappearance of his first wife, True, and rumors about the women from the area who have gone missing—and when another woman disappears, all signs point to her husband's involvement.

At first Bailey ignores the whispers—even as they grow louder and circumstantial evidence against Logan mounts. But finally, Bailey must make a choice: believe what everyone says is true—or bet her life on the man she loves, but is realizing she hardly knows.

And if you want to say hi to Erica while she's out promoting THE FIRST WIFE, you can catch her on her book tour--details below!

 

LOUISIANA

February 10th 

6:30 PM 

B&N Metairie

3721 Veterans Memorial Blvd.

Metairie, LA 70002

Store: 504-455-4929

 

February 11th 

7:00 PM

Jefferson Parish Library (with Alex Kava)

4747 Napoleon Ave, Metairie, LA

Contact: Chris Smith

 

February 14th 

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

B&N Mandeville

3414 Hwy 190

Ste. 10

Mandeville, LA 70471

Store: 985-626-8884

 

HOUSTON, TX

February 22nd 

2:00 – 4:00 PM

Katy Budget Books

2450 Fry Rd.

Houston, TX 77084

Store: 281-578-7770

 

February 23rd 

6:30 PM

Murder by the Book

2342 Bissonnet St.

Houston, TX 77005

Store: 713-524-8597

 

NASHVILLE, TN

March 1st 

2:00 PM

Erica Spindler w/ J.T. Ellison

Parnassus Books

3900 Hillsboro Pike

Nashville, TN 37215

Store: 615-953-2243

 

NEW ORLEANS, LA

March 4th 

7:00 PM

Fleur de Lit., Reading Between the Wines

Pearl Wine Co.

3700 Orleans Ave.

New Orleans, LA

 

TUCSON, AZ

March 14

10:00 – 11:00 (with Catherine Coulter & Brenda Novak)

Tucson Festival of Books

University of Arizona

Koffler Room 218 – book signing to follow

 

 March 15

10:00 – 11:00 (with Iris Johansen & Brenda Novak)

Tucson Festival of Books

University of Arizona

Koffler Room 218 – book signing to follow

2 Comments

JT Ellison

Omniscient Narrator. Bestselling Author. Book Fanatic. Zen Golfer. Amateur Oenophile. Travel Junkie. Classical Lover. Comma Sutra. J.T. Ellison is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels, multiple short stories and has been published in over twenty countries. Her novel THE COLD ROOM won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original of 2010 and WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE was a RITA® Nominee for Best Romantic Suspense of 2012. She lives in Nashville with her husband and the ghost of a poorly trained cat. Visit JTEllison.com for more insight into her wicked imagination, or follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick.

2.6.15 - 7 Minutes With... Alethea Kontis

It’s fitting we follow Alex Kava last week with Alethea Kontis, since Alex introduced us. At the time, Alethea lived in Nashville and worked at Ingram. She was an important person to meet, because she was the buyer for our publisher. Big, big deal. And how the universe works – I had no idea Alethea worked for Ingram, but we were already friends on Facebook, outside of the construct of publishing. Still, I was totally blown away when she came to a signing of mine, at the now, sadly, defunct Sherlock’s books in Lebanon, TN.

That afternoon goes down in history as possibly the most fun signing ever. Mostly because I had to sit at a table for three hours, and Lee sat with me for 2.75 of them. We talked. We clicked. We merged. We talked of dreams, and where we wanted our careers to go. She went home and made a painting that is on her business cards. I’d like to think I had something to do with it.

Alethea & JT

We came out of the afternoon as fast friends, and have seen each other through so much since then. The cool thing is, Alethea is an absolutely amazing writer. Fiction, non-fiction, essays – you name it, she does it. My favorite of hers is the Woodcutter Sisters – which she told me about that fateful afternoon, her plans she had to write a series of fractured fairy tales featuring the seven daughters of a seventh daughter named after the days of the week. The books are ingenious, full of excitement and wonder and if you haven’t read them, you’re in for a treat. And did I mention she’s a princess? Yeah. She really is.

I bring you my darling Alethea. Take it away, Princess.


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

"Laura Palmer" by Bastille

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

77 emails, rebuilding my new house that still doesn't have a kitchen sink, and revising TRIXTER, the upcoming Woodcutter novella.

What’s your latest book about?

DEAREST, which came out February 3rd, is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's THE WILD SWANS, with a little THE GOOSE GIRL, A WEAVE OF WORDS, TRISTAN AND ISOLDE and SWAN LAKE thrown in for good measure.

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

I write wherever I can, with whatever I can, and on whatever I can...which sometimes means scribbling on the back of a Starbucks receipt with an eyeliner pencil while at a stoplight. Ideally, I'd like to be at home in a chaise lounge with my Mac Powerbook and a giant cup of tea that never gets cold...but that doesn't always happen.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I started reading when I was three years old, so this is an incredibly tough question to answer. I suspect it's a toss-up between ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, THE GOOP TALES by Gelett Burgess, and Ogden Nash's CUSTARD AND COMPANY. And then of course THE COLLECTED TALES OF GRIMM AND ANDERSEN...but my grandmother didn't give me that book until I was eight.

What book are you reading now?

Sarah Addison Allen's FIRST FROST.

What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

Writing is like having hours and hours of homework every single night...only you really love school.

I told a starry-eyed girl this at a book signing when she asked me, "What's it like to be a writer?" Upon hearing my answer, she made a face like she'd just sucked a lemon. And I felt like a HUGE nerd. Not that it made what I'd told her any less true...

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

Every time I sit down at the computer, I give myself permission to write crap. I tell myself that it's fine if it stinks, just as long as I'm moving the story forward. The act of just putting words on paper gets the creative juices flowing. And the next day, it doesn't usually seem so crap after all. But I still have to give myself permission, every single time.

What would you like to be remembered for?

Bringing happiness to the world. Inspiring people to see magic in their lives. And reminding people that fairy tales existed, long before Disney.

 

New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a fairy godmother, and a geek. She’s known for screwing up the alphabet, scolding vampire hunters, and ranting about fairy tales on YouTube.

Her YA fairy tale novel, ENCHANTED, won the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award in 2012, was nominated for the Audie Award in 2013, and was selected for World Book Night in 2014. Both Enchanted and its sequel, HERO, were nominated for the Andre Norton Award.

Alethea's second book in the Woodcutters Series, HERO, is now available in paperback. And here's a little more about her newest book, DEAREST, which just hit store shelves in hardcover!

Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in ENCHANTED and HERO. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday’s palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he’s her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday’s unique magic somehow break the spell?

Comment

JT Ellison

Omniscient Narrator. Bestselling Author. Book Fanatic. Zen Golfer. Amateur Oenophile. Travel Junkie. Classical Lover. Comma Sutra. J.T. Ellison is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels, multiple short stories and has been published in over twenty countries. Her novel THE COLD ROOM won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original of 2010 and WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE was a RITA® Nominee for Best Romantic Suspense of 2012. She lives in Nashville with her husband and the ghost of a poorly trained cat. Visit JTEllison.com for more insight into her wicked imagination, or follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick.

1.29.15 - 7 Minutes With... Alex Kava

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 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.

2 Comments

JT Ellison

Omniscient Narrator. Bestselling Author. Book Fanatic. Zen Golfer. Amateur Oenophile. Travel Junkie. Classical Lover. Comma Sutra. J.T. Ellison is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels, multiple short stories and has been published in over twenty countries. Her novel THE COLD ROOM won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original of 2010 and WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE was a RITA® Nominee for Best Romantic Suspense of 2012. She lives in Nashville with her husband and the ghost of a poorly trained cat. Visit JTEllison.com for more insight into her wicked imagination, or follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick.