Monday, May 4, 2015

Book 3 in the Huntress/FBI Thrillers: COLD MOON out now!

Cold Moon, book 3 in the Huntress/FBI series, is now available worldwide (ebook out now, print and audio coming July 7).



Anyone who's read the first two books in this series knows that I'm very passionate about it. More than passionate.

I'm writing these books because I've had enough.

Last summer I was at Harrogate, the international crime writing festival, and prominently displayed in the book tent was a new crime fiction release that featured a crucified woman on the cover. 

A crucified woman. On the cover.






It’s not like I’ve never come across a crucified woman in a crime novel before. In fact, I’ve had to stop reading three or four novels in the past two years when variations of this scene came up. But on the cover, now? The selling image of the novel?

2014 was also the year of the highly praised TV miniseries True Detective, which featured two complex male detectives and a female cast made up entirely of hookers, dead hookers, little dead girls, a mentally challenged incest victim, and the female lead: a wife who cheats on her husband with his partner because she’s too weak to just freaking leave him. Oh right, there was a female love interest who was a doctor – but she had, I believe, one line in the entire show. Maybe two.

Defenders of the show argue, “But the detectives weren’t sympathetic, either.” No, they weren’t, always – but unlike the entire female cast, they were actual, developed characters, not fuck toys for the male characters or – well, corpses.

Then there’s Game of Thrones – a great series that became unwatchable for me a while ago because of the overwhelming frequency of rapes. Defenders of that show say: “But in that world, in those warring countries, there would be a lot of rape. It’s reality.” Yeah, but if you’re arguing realism – the boys and male hostages would be being raped along with the women – just look at the US statistics of male-on-male rape in our own military. But on Game of Thrones, somehow it’s just the women. Over and over and over again.



And difficult as it is to confront the videogame images dissected in Anita Sarkeesian’s sobering series, “Tropes vs.Women”  I think we can’t afford not to watch and learn. We’re going to have to wake up to the messages teenage boys are growing up with.

Those are just some high-profile examples. Believe me, I could go on all day and not scratch the surface.

So what do we do? How do we counteract the brutalization of women in crime fiction and media?

I suppose as an author you can avoid the issue by writing cozies, or another genre entirely. But I don’t read cozies, and I wouldn’t know how to write one. I used to teach in the L.A. County prison system. I want to explore the roots of crime, not soft-pedal it. For better or worse, my core theme as a writer is “What can good people do about the evil in the world?”

So my choice is to confront the issue head on.

The fact is, one reason crime novels and film and TV so often depict women as victims is because it’s reality. Since the beginning of time, women haven’t been the predators – we’re the prey. Personally, I’m not going to pretend otherwise.

But after all those years (centuries, millennia) of women being victims of the most heinous crimes out there… wouldn’t you think that someone would finally say – “Enough”? 

And maybe even strike back?

Well, that’s a story, isn’t it?

So my Huntress Moon series is about just that.

The books are intense psychological suspense, and take the reader on an interstate manhunt with a haunted FBI agent on the track of what he thinks may be that most rare of killers – a female serial.

Now, I’ve been studying serial killers for years. Years ago, when I was a screenwriter writing crime thrillers, I tracked down the FBI’s textbook on sexual homicide before it was ever available to the public. I attend Citizens Police Academies and other law enforcement and forensics workshops whenever I get the chance. If I know there’s a behavioral profiler at a writing convention, I stalk that person so I can pick his or her brain about serial killers. And I attend Lee Lofland’s fantastic Writers Police Academy (a yearly three-day conference that’s a law enforcement and forensics immersion course).

And here’s what’s really interesting. Arguably there’s never been any such thing as a female serial killer in real life. The women that the media holds up as serial killers actually operate from a completely different psychology from the men who commit what the FBI calls “sexual homicide”. 

Even Aileen Wuornos, infamous in the media as “America’s First Female Serial Killer” wasn’t a serial killer in the sense that male killers like Bundy, Gacy and Kemper were serial killers. The profilers I’ve interviewed call Wuornos a spree killer with a vigilante motivation. (I write about her case, and the psychology of other real life mass killers, in Huntress Moon.)

So what’s that about? Why do men do it and women don’t? Women rarely kill, compared to men — but when it happens, what does make a woman kill?

Within the context of my Huntress series I can explore those psychological and sociological questions, and invite my readers to ask – Why? I can realistically bring light on crimes that I consider pretty much the essence of evil – and turn the tables on the perpetrators.

I do not depict rape or torture on the page. I can assure you, no one gets crucified. I think real life crime is horrific enough without rubbing a reader’s face in it or adding absurd embellishments (my personal literary pet peeve is the serial killer with an artistic streak or poetic bent).

In this series I can pose questions about human evil, as it actually presents in real life, without exploiting it. And I’ve created a female character who breaks the mold – but in a way that makes psychological sense for the overwhelming majority of people who read the books.

Whoever she is, whatever she is, the Huntress is like no killer Agent Roarke – or the reader – has ever seen before. And you may find yourself as conflicted about her as Roarke is.

Because as one of the profilers says in the book: “I’ve always wondered why we don’t see more women acting out this way. God knows enough of them have reason.”


So I’d like to know: do the authors among you grapple with the issue of how to counteract the brutalization of women in crime fiction?  And what about readers? Do you ever feel that violence against women in crime fiction, TV and film has gone over the top?

     -- Alex


http://AlexandraSokoloff.com

________________________________________________________________________
   

Books 1, 2 and 3 of the Huntress/FBI Thrillers, Huntress MoonBlood Moon, and Cold Moon are available now from Thomas & Mercer.

I very strongly recommend that you read the series in order, starting with Huntress Moon.   
                                                                                                     

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

£1 Sale!!! HUNTRESS MOON and BLOOD MOON discounted at Amazon.uk for April!

Amazon.uk has dropped the price of HUNTRESS MOON and BLOOD MOON to just  £1 each for the entire month of April, leading up to the release of Book 3, COLD MOON. Fantastic deal!



Buy on Amazon UK    £1.00                                                                  Buy on Amazon UK    £1.00




















Buy on Amazon US:  $3.99                                                                    Buy on Amazon US: $3.99



Pre-order on Amazon UK



Pre-order on Amazon US



The Huntress/FBI Thrillers


Special Agent Matthew Roarke thought he knew what evil was. He was wrong.

FBI Special Agent Roarke is closing in on a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can’t believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who was present at each scene of a years-long string of “accidents” and murders, and who may well be that most rare of killers… a female serial.

His hunt for her will take him across three states, and force him to question everything he knows about evil and justice.

                                                             -------

Book 1 of Thriller Award-winning author Alexandra Sokoloff’s Huntress/FBI Thrillers, Huntress Moon, became a #1 Amazon mystery/thriller bestseller and was nominated for a Thriller Award for Best E Book Original Novel. The series has now been picked up by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer imprint. The highly anticipated Book 3, Cold Moon, will release on May 5.

Told in continuous, serial format like True Detective and The Killing, and utilizing the intricate psychological/forensic procedure of Criminal Minds, the Huntress series sets a cast of complex FBI investigators in pursuit of an unforgettable female suspect who has been called “a female Dexter.” The story combines nail-biting suspense and a twisting mystery plot with deadly erotic tension, and has garnered hundreds of rave reviews from readers who find themselves sympathizing with its haunted male lead and unexpectedly empathizing with its highly unusual killer.


For thousands of years women have been the victims. Isn’t it time someone turned the tables?


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BLOG TOUR

I’m blog hopping over the next month or two, and I'll be posting the places I've visited here:

- Talking about serial killers on Grab This Book 

- Talking about Cold Moon with Sandy Vaile 

- Video on my writing journey
    
            -  And I’ll be chatting live online on May -------  in the Writerspace chat rooms, at 9 pm ET.  Drop by and talk about anything you want – and maybe win books and audiobooks! 



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Huntress series relaunches - win a Kindle Voyage!

Thomas & Mercer is so excited about the re-releases of the first two books in the Huntress/FBI Thrillers series (HUNTRESS MOON and BLOOD MOON) that they’re giving me enough prizes for three whole months of giveaways leading up to the highly anticipated release of Book 3, COLD MOON. Prizes include three Kindle Voyages!

 If you've already subscribed to the mailing list on this website, you’re automatically entered in each month’s giveaway.

But just so you know - being subscribed to my Screenwriting Tricks blog is NOT the same as being subscribed to my personal mailing list. I keep the two lists separate so that you all only get the e mails you want from me.

You can sign up for my thriller mailing list and enter the contest on my Contest Page.

Giveaway #1:  Enter January 1 through January 31

      First Prize: 1 New Kindle Voyage 

      Second Prize: Books 1-3 of the Huntress/FBI Thrillers in trade paperback, signed by me 

      Third prize: An audiobook edition of HUNTRESS MOON (50 winners - 1 audiobook each)















Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Huntress Moon audiobook on sale: $1.99



The audiobook of Huntress Moon is on sale right now on Amazon for just $1.99 - an incredible discount from the regular price of $24.95.








FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is just closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can't believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of "accidents" and murder, and who may well be that most rare of killers: a female serial.  

Roarke's hunt for her takes him across three states... while in a small coastal town, a young father and his five-year old son, both wounded from a recent divorce, encounter a lost and compelling young woman on the beach and strike up an unlikely friendship without realizing how deadly she may be.

As Roarke uncovers the shocking truth of her background, he realizes she is on a mission of her own, and must race to capture her before more blood is shed.  






Audiobooks of Blood Moon and Cold Moon will be coming in February and May from Thomas & Mercer, as part of the big launch of the series, but this is one I worked on myself through Amazon's ACX program - that's Audiobook Creation Exchange.  

The Romantic Times Booklovers convention is one of the biggest conventions I go to all year, and I was surprised this year at how many panels and workshops there were with titles like "Audio is the New Black." I met up with lots of author friends who have been doing a brisk business in audiobooks through the ACX program, and I thought I'd better blog a little about it here, because this is another potential income stream that authors need to be aware of these days, and ACX is a terrific production and distribution resource. Even if you know exactly zero about audiobook production (that would be me!), the ACX site has streamlined the process into a step-by-step system that anyone can follow to produce a quality audiobook. 

ACX has thousands of professional and highly experienced actor-producers already signed up for the program. When you start an audio book, you choose a five-minute segment of your book for actors to audition with and upload that to the ACX site, and specify the qualities of voice that you're looking for (comic, brooding, spooky, etc.) You choose whether you'll pay the narrator a flat fee yourself, or do a royalty share deal. Then the project gets posted to ACX's entire stable of actor-producers, and immediately auditions start coming in. You can also browse for actors yourself by searching vocal and tonal qualities and listening to samples.  I was having flashbacks to my directing days as I listened to over three dozen auditions. (I know, yike - but you don't have to listen to the whole audition to know if a narrator is in the running). 

I actually found my terrific narrator, RC Bray, myself, by searching auditions on the site. I was blown away by Bob's vocal range (just wait till you hear his reading of Epps!), and the way he's able to convey theme and suspense in his reading. Bob loved Huntress and signed up to do the book immediately, and he's such a professional that we had no problem working together by e mail. I could ask him to do something in a slightly different way and he'd instantly get it.  I'm thrilled with the book and I hope you audiobook listeners will be, too.

I've really enjoyed working on the audio version of Huntress, though I have to warn it's a lot of work. But ACX's team was incredibly supportive and helpful - any time I hit a snag or didn't understand a step in the process, I could contact the support team and get talked through it. I know other authors opt to make audio deals with great companies like Audible rather than taking on production themselves, but I love that I'm now going to make the lion's share of profit from this book. I think maybe a mix of self-produced and company-produced books might be the way to go, just as a hybrid mix of indie published and traditionally published books can be the most profitable (and manageable!) route for authors these days.

- Alex

Monday, December 22, 2014

Win a Kindle!

To celebrate the January rerelease of Huntress Moon and Blood Moon,  I'm giving away a Kindle! Enter on my Contest page.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Chat with me tonight, 9 pm ET

I'll be doing a live chat on Writerspace tonight, December 7, at 9 pm ET (6 pm PST, 2 am UK). Come talk about the Huntress books, writing, Scotland, indie publishing, Craig Robertson, and whatever else you want to know.

Drop in to win a Kindle! - everyone who stops by tonight will be entered in my monthly contest to win a Kindle and free books! If you can't make it, you can still enter on my Contest Page.

Link to chat room.

Hope to see you tonight!

- Alex

Monday, November 24, 2014

Huntress Moon audiobook on sale: $3.95


The audiobook of Huntress Moon is on sale this month for just $3.95 - an incredible discount from the regular price of $24.95.

On Audible

If you already own the Kindle edition, you can add audio for just $3.47.






FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is just closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can't believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of "accidents" and murder, and who may well be that most rare of killers: a female serial.  

Roarke's hunt for her takes him across three states... while in a small coastal town, a young father and his five-year old son, both wounded from a recent divorce, encounter a lost and compelling young woman on the beach and strike up an unlikely friendship without realizing how deadly she may be.

As Roarke uncovers the shocking truth of her background, he realizes she is on a mission of her own, and must race to capture her before more blood is shed.  





Audiobooks of Blood Moon and Cold Moon will be coming in January from Thomas & Mercer, as part of the big launch of the series, but this is one I worked on myself through Amazon's ACX program - that's Audiobook Creation Exchange.  

The Romantic Times Booklovers convention is one of the biggest conventions I go to all year, and I was surprised this year at how many panels and workshops there were with titles like "Audio is the New Black." I met up with lots of author friends who have been doing a brisk business in audiobooks through the ACX program, and I thought I'd better blog a little about it here, because this is another potential income stream that authors need to be aware of these days, and ACX is a terrific production and distribution resource. Even if you know exactly zero about audiobook production (that would be me!), the ACX site has streamlined the process into a step-by-step system that anyone can follow to produce a quality audiobook. 

ACX has thousands of professional and highly experienced actor-producers already signed up for the program. When you start an audio book, you choose a five-minute segment of your book for actors to audition with and upload that to the ACX site, and specify the qualities of voice that you're looking for (comic, brooding, spooky, etc.) You choose whether you'll pay the narrator a flat fee yourself, or do a royalty share deal. Then the project gets posted to ACX's entire stable of actor-producers, and immediately auditions start coming in. You can also browse for actors yourself by searching vocal and tonal qualities and listening to samples.  I was having flashbacks to my directing days as I listened to over three dozen auditions. (I know, yike - but you don't have to listen to the whole audition to know if a narrator is in the running). 

I actually found my terrific narrator, RC Bray, myself, by searching auditions on the site. I was blown away by Bob's vocal range (just wait till you hear his reading of Epps!), and the way he's able to convey theme and suspense in his reading. Bob loved Huntress and signed up to do the book immediately, and he's such a professional that we had no problem working together by e mail. I could ask him to do something in a slightly different way and he'd instantly get it.  I'm thrilled with the book and I hope you audiobook listeners will be, too.

I've really enjoyed working on the audio version of Huntress, though I have to warn it's a lot of work. But ACX's team was incredibly supportive and helpful - any time I hit a snag or didn't understand a step in the process, I could contact the support team and get talked through it. I know other authors opt to make audio deals with great companies like Audible rather than taking on production themselves, but I love that I'm now going to make the lion's share of profit from this book. I think maybe a mix of self-produced and company-produced books might be the way to go, just as a hybrid mix of indie published and traditionally published books can be the most profitable (and manageable!) route for authors these days.

- Alex