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Archive for May, 2010

Confession of a Worldbuilding Junkie

Today I have a special guest. Please welcome Kait Nolan. :) Her paranormal romance Forsaken by Shadow is out in ebook now!

Forsaken by Shadow

FORSAKEN BY SHADOW by Kait NolanBanished from their world with his memory wiped, Cade Shepherd doesn’t remember his life as Gage Dempsey, nor the woman he nearly died for. But when Embry Hollister’s father is kidnapped by military scientists, the only one she can turn to is the love from her past. Will Gage remember the Shadow Walker skills he learned from her father? If they survive, will Embry be able to walk away again?

Sample the first three chapters free!

Buy: Scribd, Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the iBookstore

Confession: I am a world-building junkie and have been longer than I’ve been writing paranormal romance.

In my prior genre, romantic suspense, I spent a lot of time (LOT of time) researching police procedure, forensics, FBI policy and the like. Writing predominantly about serial murder, I was really concerned with “getting it right” because God forbid I write something and have a professional stumble across it and not take me seriously. I bought tons of books. Two full shelves in my office are devoted to textbooks on forensics, pathology, homicide, serial killers, and psychological profiling. How many people do you know who’d buy a copy of Practical Homicide Investigation as their own birthday present? I wrote people to ask questions, lurked in forums trying to get answers. And while all that was totally fascinating to me (uber-geek here), it really bogged down the writing and held me back. All of that was a kind of world-building, and it was my absolute junkie nature that was allowing it to take over and let the story fall to the wayside.

Moving back into the paranormal (surprise! That’s what I was writing when I started way back in the day) was an attempt to free myself of the obsession. Yes, in any kind of paranormal or fantasy story world building is essential, but the primary difference is that I make the rules. Instead of having to obsess over whether current day FBI would actually get involved in a serial murder in our post-9/11 society (probably not), I can do anything I want as long as I stay within the bounds of the rules I create for my world. The possibilities are limitless, and I admit, totally play into my God complex. Didn’t you know a lot of writers have a God complex?

Of course, being me, I couldn’t give up my obsession with the FBI, so I did the next most logical thing: I created my own. Except rather than going all X-files and making a division that investigated the paranormal in our own world, I created a group that deal with the laws governing the paranormal world. The Investigation and Enforcement Division are responsible for — as the name implies — the enforcement of paranormal laws and investigation of crimes in the Mirus (my term for the broader paranormal) world. They’re under the command of the Council of Races (imagine a paranormal United Nations as the ruling body of the Mirus). Also under the Council’s command are the Shadow Walkers, the Special Ops Force of the paranormal world, who are able to manipulate and travel by shadow. All these groups have methods and procedures, of course, but since I make the rules myself, I don’t get bogged down in whether or not it’s “right”.

The prevailing question of the series is what happens if their greatest law — keeping their existence a secret from the humans — were broken on a large scale? What happens if a whole faction of the Mirus world actively seek to start the apocalypse? Not the traditional Christian idea of apocalypse with angels and demons and the 4 horsemen, mind you, but rather a literal apocalypse — a lifting of the veil between the human and paranormal world. As much as I enjoy writing a good serial murder, I have to admit that this kind of world, this kind of setup gives me a lot more room to play.

Now that I’ve got you curious about my world (I hope), this is the part where I plug my book. Your sneak peek into the Mirus world comes in the form of my debut paranormal romance novella, Forsaken By Shadow. It starts when IED Agent Embry Hollister finds out that her father has been captured by human military scientists — and the Council has no intention of mounting a rescue mission. She’ll do anything, break any rule to free him. Ultimately the only person she can turn to for help is her father’s protégé and her old flame, Gage Dempsey, who was banished from their world a decade before with his memory wiped. He’s built a whole new life for himself as Ultimate Fighting Champion Cade Shepherd and doesn’t even remember Embry exists. All Embry has to do is find him, restore his memory, convince him to take on this suicide mission, help him regain his abilities as a Shadow Walker, and if they survive in the end, walk away again to protect him from the world that wants him dead. She can do that…right?

Forsaken By Shadow is available for $1 at Scribd, Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the iBookstore.

Kait’s writing blog Shadow and Fang
Kait’s cooking blog Pots and Plots
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Hello, Month of May!

May is one of my favorite months. Not only is it beautiful and warm, but everything’s so green and lively! (April is hit-or-miss where I am, alas…!) Also May is when I try to organize my stuff, toss out things I no longer need, etc. Hero Material and I bought bunch of shelves and closet storage boxes. And I found the coolest thing called DropBox. It allows you to back up all your project files, etc. on their server. It also automatically syncs your files so no matter which computer you’re working on, you have the latest version of your work.

Perfect, huh? :)

Since my last update, I’ve been pretty busy. I found a project that I had totally forgotten about on my hard drive. I know, you guys are thinking, “How can you forget about your own project? Aren’t your stories like your babies or something?”

Alas, no. I don’t really consider my projects babies. If I did, I couldn’t be a writer since trying to sell babies for profit is a crime, and I do try to be a good law-abiding citizen. *grin*

Actually, I worked on the project all the way up to my wedding. But around that time we had lots of drama, including the bride getting ready to call off the wedding (not the groom’s fault), and so on…and in all the excitement the project kinda slipped my mind until I was going through my project folders last month to decide what to back up on DropBox.

Anyway, I revised it and sent it off to Agent, who told me she liked it. Yay me.

The mentor program with Kate is going very well. She’s been super encouraging, and I’ve learned so much from her already. I don’t know how she does everything though because she has insane deadlines this year. I’m in awe.

I may also have found a good crit partner whose interests match mine. She likes to read the kind of stuff I like to read and so on. And speaking of reading, if you haven’t done so, check out Larissa Ione‘s awesome Demonica series. She made my autobuy list with solid writing, hot heroes and strong heroines.

The rest of the month is going to be spent on reading and doing MayNoWriMo. I have some simple goals for the challenge and for the rest of the year. I plan to do a book giveaway in June, so stay tuned!

Final One Degree

YUNA'S SEVEN MINUTE DRAMA by Yuna KimI’m a big fan of figure skating, and Yuna Kim is one of my favorite skaters right now. On my trip back from Thailand, I happened to have a layover in Seoul, so I went to the airport bookstore to pick up a copy of her memoir, Yuna’s Seven Minute Drama.

Most of the book is about her figure skating career, leading up to the Olympics, where she won the gold medal with two stunning performances. (The book was published in January, so it doesn’t actually talk about her Olympic experience.) But she also had a few thoughts on motivation, and out of those, “the final one degree” really stuck with me.

Yuna said that no matter what you’re trying to do, you eventually reach a point where you feel like, “Hey, this is enough”. It’s normally because you’ve been working very hard on something for a while, and you feel sick and tired of it and lose all motivation and enthusiasm. But this is when you really have to push forward.

The situation, she wrote, is like boiling water. If you’re trying to boil water, you have to make sure the temperature reaches 100 degrees Celsius. No matter how long and hard you’ve been working on it, if you stop before your water hits 100 degrees, it will never boil. You can have very hot water, of course. Maybe even 99-degree hot water, which is pretty damn hot. But it’s not boiling, and you won’t achieve your objective, not because you’re lazy or untalented, but merely because you stopped one degree short.

Writing is much the same. If you’re working on writing the 1st draft, but stop before you type “the end”, you don’t have a finished first draft. If you’re revising but stop before your story is completely polished from the first page to the last, you don’t have a revised project ready to send out to the world, even if you’ve spent months on revision.

It’s easy to lose focus and enthusiasm for a project after spending so much time and energy on it. But don’t stop when you’re at ninety-nine degrees. Go for that final degree. Recognize that it’s going to be the hardest and most grueling degree you’ll have to work on, but get through it. And celebrate your accomplishment when your own water is finally boiling.