Kait Nolan's Blog, page 9

August 6, 2014

It’s been a ZOO at work today, so just popping in for a quick check-in.  I’m still slogging through the last of Act 2 (I swear to GOD, it’s a freaking tar pit), but I’m tying things together and getting closer and closer to the midpoint with every word.  Two scenes to go!  Been reading a lot in snatches–will post about what on Friday.  And I’m working on outlining another Wishful novella.  When I get this WIP out the door, I might try juggling dual projects again with the Mirus novel I have planned.  This has never gone well in the past, but I might manage it eventually.  Or maybe I can try this lunatic plan for writing a novel in a weekend.  Theoretically, if I plan it well enough, I could probably knock out something novella length in a few weekends.  Maybe.


 


Filed under: Work In Progress Tagged: Kait Nolan, Progress Reports, ROW80, Wishful, Writing

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on August 06, 2014 13:32 • 6 views

August 5, 2014

This one is for Mhairi Simpson, to whom I had to explain this phrase over the weekend.


In the South, there is a particular phenomena referred to as a Come to Jesus Talk.  As in:


If you don’t clean your room, we’re gonna be having a come to Jesus talk, young man.


To my mind, the origins of this particular phrase have to do with the…shall we say missionary nature of much of religion in the Bible Belt.  For certain segments of the population, it is considered a religious duty to spread the faith.  Which sometimes means that complete strangers may accost you in Walmart to ask if you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your one and only savior.  (True story, this happened to me twice.  Same old dude.  Which is a double whammy because you aren’t ever rude to old people in the South.  I’ve learned to watch for him and make a quick turn down another aisle to avoid him now because evidently he doesn’t trust the state of my salvation to the Episcopal Church.)  The notion being that if you haven’t, it’s their duty to have a  Serious Discussion with you about the importance of coming to Jesus–because the state of your eternal salvation is OBVIOUSLY a total stranger’s business…and your own personal religious beliefs (should they be different) are totally irrelevant to the discussion. (That’s a whole other kettle of fish).


In much older times, I suspect there was a level of threat that went along with this–which I always kind of imagine as being press-ganged into religion, and it’s this latter interpretation that gives rise to the adjectival use of the term.   Used as an adjective, Come to Jesus has connotations that you better be right with the Lord because if you don’t do whatever it is that’s in question, the fate of your eternal salvation is gonna be of immediate relevance.  Think of it as a combination intervention/threat that you better shape up about whatever it is that’s the subject of the Come to Jesus Talk.  So it’s a form of getting called on the carpet or held accountable for something.  With, usually, a healthy dose of dressing down and guilt tripping.


*There may be other interpretations of this phrase.  This is mine after a lifetime of observations made while growing up in the buckle of the Bible Belt.


Filed under: Something Southern Tagged: Kait Nolan, Something Southern

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on August 05, 2014 05:18 • 17 views

August 4, 2014

I am a romance lover.  This is a love affair that goes back twenty years and will burn until the day I die. I love stories of love, of hope, and triumph.  So do millions of other readers.  And yet we have, since the inception of the genre, been insulted for our reading choices, been made to feel that we are less–less intelligent, less refined, less worthy (never mind the fact that Romance makes up something like 50% of ALL books sold).


I kind of hate getting into discussions about books.  It’s this totally dangerous proposition.  If I happen to come across someone else who loves romance (or YA), then it CAN lead to fabulous and enthusiastic discussion.  Or it can lead to a great and utter ragefest because someone whips out completely erroneous and unsupported “facts” about “bodice rippers”,  which, in case you didn’t know, is an obscenely outdated pejorative term meant to convey disdain toward the entire genre.   Very little makes me stabbity more quickly.   Because NEVER does anyone who has ever actually READ romance make these statements.  (Include also the generalization that “Romances have no plot”, “Anyone can write one”, and “They aren’t real books.”).


Anyway, last week, a WOMAN AUTHOR, Joanna Robinson, wrote an article entitled “Does the New Outlander Series Have What It Takes to Be More than Just a Bodice-Ripper?”  (Linked with DoNotLink, so they won’t get credit for your clicks), which was full of ill-informed, lazy opinions that proved that a) Ms. Robinson is not a reader of romance, b) She has not read Outlander, c) She’s a completely lazy journalist, and d) She apparently doesn’t grasp that the intended audience of her publication is actually the very women she’s insulting in her opinion piece.


Now, I’m not here to rebut her article.  @LadyRaven15 and Megan Frampton have already done so quite well, thanks ladies.  But what I did want to talk about is the fact that Robinson whipped out the old chestnut “Bodice Ripper” (in the title, no less) AND felt compelled to add in the gybe “in order to become a true hit, Outlander, a steamy, time-traveling romp through Scotland, is going to have to find a way to appeal to more than just your dear old mum. In other words, it can’t just be Fifty Shades of Plaid.”


Oh no she didn’t!

Except, yeah, she did.  And, now that I think about it, she’s not the first one I’ve seen do this.


50 Shades of Gray is obscenely popular.  Whether you love the books or hate them, they’re out there and the terms and all the pejorative connotations that go along with them are a part of the popular consciousness.  While that very popularity has done some great things in opening doors to books that might not have stood a chance before (why HELLO, new adult as a genre!), I sometimes wonder if it’s done more harm than good for the romance genre as a whole.  Because ye old Bodice Ripper insult was bad enough being based on the stupid 80s era book covers.  But all the 50 Shades connotations–because the books have been so controversial–manage to pull romance down to an even lower rung of the ladder of respect (if that’s possible) by imbuing an additional layer of depredation–romance has become “Mommy porn”–a term which I’d like to see stricken from the consciousness of the world because it’s insulting on too many levels to count.  And I just can’t think about that right now because it’s bad for my blood pressure.


What do you think?  Has 50 Shades of [insert whatever] has become this generation’s go-to lazy insult for the romance genre?  Discuss.
Filed under: Musings Tagged: 50 Shades of Gray, Bodice Ripper, Kait Nolan, Romance, Thoughts

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on August 04, 2014 05:37 • 9 views

July 31, 2014

A distinctly awesome solution to a very un-awesome problem.  Somebody has created a tiny device that will allow you to check your drink for roofies.  It’s awful that there’s a NEED for such a device, but fabulous that someone has created it.


 


In case you missed it…the X-wing from Episode 7.



 


Love this!  Possibly NSFW but fantastic message.



Filed under: Awesome Things Tagged: Awesome Things, Kait Nolan

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on July 31, 2014 05:53 • 11 views

July 30, 2014

Well, I just had my very first irate email from a reader about a choice I made in one of my books where, apparently, I “got it all wrong.”   This is always kind of a personal fear of mine as a writer–I often get virtually crippled by this desire to get everything “right” (though, normally, this is related to procedural stuff rather than location).   But I guess there’s a component of it with location, too.  If I choose to set a book somewhere, I try to choose somewhere I’ve either been before or that’s easily researchable.  In this particular case, this was a more or less throwaway location that fit the parameters I asked about when I polled on Twitter.   And this reader interpreted the shero’s behavior in that location as completely unbelievable and more reflective of the location than the shero herself.  Newsflash y’all: If a character behaves weird in the first couple of chapters, chances are we’ll explain why later on in the book.  Anyway, polite response sent off and I’m moving on with my day.


The writing is going pretty well.  I’ve just spent the last week making some more changes to the first half of Act 2 to fix some pacing issues.  Act 2 seems to always been my kryptonite.  It’s the area I inevitably have to rework in later drafts.  With this book, I seem to be (hopefully) getting all that reworking done in the first draft.  I should be hitting my midpoint sometime next week, and after that, I really hope to be building some of that flying toward the end momentum.  Gonna need to pick up the pace if I’m to finish by the end of this round!


Filed under: Writing Tagged: Kait Nolan, Progress Reports, ROW80, Writing

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on July 30, 2014 08:01 • 7 views

July 29, 2014

First off, in case you missed it yesterday, I am doing a GIVEAWAY of a free copy of Tawne Fenske’s Fiancee For Hire!  So much awesome hilarity.  Just go comment on yesterday’s post for a chance to win!


Now, since I’m working my way toward the release of the first full novel in my Southern contemporary romance Wishful series (which you’ve technically already had a chance to peek at through Be Careful, It’s My Heart and Once Upon A Coffee), I thought I’d start a new blog feature where I talk about Southern stuff.  I am, myself, very very Deep South.  It’s something I take for granted and don’t think about until I’m chatting with folks from other parts of the country or world and say something to which they’re like “Huh???”  Since this series is going to very much…well, wallow in that, I want to start educating about it.  This is likely to bounce all over the place from colloquialisms to food to other cultural stuff, and I feel it’s important to kick things off with a lesson on the correct use of “y’all.”


1.  Spelling.  The word is a contraction of “you” and “all”, ergo the correct spelling is “y’all”, never “ya’ll”.

I see this improperly spelled all over the place, and it drives me bananas.


2. Usage.


That’s it.  Short.  Sweet.  Straightforward.  And completely gender neutral.


Don’t forget to stop by yesterday’s post to comment for a chance to win a free copy of Tawne Fenske’s Fiancee For Hire!


Filed under: Something Southern Tagged: Kait Nolan, Something Southern

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on July 29, 2014 07:35 • 1 view

July 28, 2014

I love Tawna Fenske.  Seriously, the woman is always saying something to make me laugh, which is a trait I adore in…well anybody.  That she manages to do it in fiction, while keeping up a healthy dose of sexy and sentimental is just icing on the cake.  I just finished reading her latest, Fiancee For Hirewhich is the second in the Front And Center series (I did not know this and will be rectifying having missed the first one ASAP).


Former Marine MacArthur Patton has made a small fortune on top-secret government contracts and black-ops missions, but his new assignment involves something more dangerous—marriage.


Well, fake marriage anyway.


To keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists, Mac has to secure a fiancée. A sweet, demure, compliant fiancée to serve as his arm candy for a few weeks while he completes the covert arms deal in Mexico. His sister claims to know just the woman, and sends her best friend to play the role.


“Sweet” and “demure” aren’t in Kelli Landers’s repertoire. A badass veterinarian who neuters big dogs and bigger men on a regular basis, she can’twait to bring Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Detached to his knees. Her longtime crush on the commitment-phobe makes her plan to seduce him even sweeter.


Love wasn’t part of the plan, but the deeper Mac and Kelli fall into their ruse, the more danger they attract, until more than just their hearts are on the line…


 


This book was delightful and hilarious and has earned two thumbs and all my toes (because that’s what I’ve got left to point) up!  Full Squeecanon Salute!   I’m still in the middle of Laini Taylor’s Dreams of Gods and Monsters and she’s not done breaking my heart–this was the perfect antidote.  I’m a sucker for the fake engagement/marriage trope, and this might just be my favorite one yet (which is saying something).  As a copy was gifted to me to read, I am turning around and returning the favor!  Just leave a comment telling me YOUR favorite fake engagement/marriage trope romance novel, and sometime tomorrow I will randomly pick a winner to receive an ebook copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo (I assume Kobo allows gifting).


Filed under: Books Tagged: Books, Tawna Fenske

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on July 28, 2014 08:45 • 8 views

July 25, 2014

So first thing this morning, one of my FB acquaintences, Junk Yard Green (who often shares some of the coolest upcycling/recycling/build stuff projects on the internet), posed this question (which I’m shamelessly sharing in full here because I think it’s germane to the discussion and it’s not as easy to share stuff from FB as it is to share Twitter statuses):


So Nick Fury was changed from a white guy after 30 years into a brother. Now Captain America is being given the ebony treatment. All they need to do is make Black Widow more visually fitting to her name, have War Machine instead of IronMan and throw in the new female Thor for a token blonde white chick, replace the Hulk with Madea and get Tyler Perry to direct and we’re all ready for


‘ Avengers 4: Shit Just Got Real ‘


How does the African American and Female community feel about Marvel using illegid ( Advancing the Times ) as an excuse for obvious marketing tactics to sell comic books by changing known characters races and sexes instead of using already existing characters and giving them their own titles or creating all new ones more fitting and relatable to the races and sexes aimed for the project chosen?


I know how pissed off I was when they turned Terry in Spawn from a black guy to a white guy because I already knew him as an african american man. Why? No reason. Just did.


Speak up. Share your thoughts.


I thought it was a great question.  There’s been a lot of talk on both sides of the issue of “the new female Thor”, and I felt compelled to weigh in on this.


I think you’re absolutely right. It IS a marketing ploy. I would MUCH prefer seeing entirely new characters created, rather than the same old material recycled with a new face/race/gender. And I happen to have a thing about being seriously annoyed when stuff like that is changed for things like book to movie/tv adaptations anyway even when it isn’t such a blatant effort at doing the least amount possible to appease the masses. In the case of the new female goddess of thunder (because dude, THOR IS HIS NAME, NOT HIS TITLE–the semantics of this have been driving me bananas)…why is it that a MAN must LOSE his right/power/whatever in order for a woman to gain power? That seems to presuppose that power, like energy, adheres to the first law of thermodynamics. That there’s only a finite amount to go around and a woman can’t have power on her own without a man giving it up (or losing it). Not cool, IMO.


And then I stepped away from the discussion.  But that idea has kind of stuck with me since this morning, this idea that a woman cannot have her own power without somehow getting it from a man.  I mean, really, it underlies much of what the world understands to be feminism, the sexual revolution.  All these alleged “freedoms” and powers women are supposed to be fighting for are inherently male.  And I say this as a woman who naturally is very forthright (e.g. tactless) and decisive (e.g. bossy).  In our epically male dominated society, power is defined as a masculine thing.  The kinds of female power that actually are mentioned are tied, again, to sexuality and men.  The seductress.  The virgin.  And…not much else.  So of COURSE by that yardstick, we can’t have some new female super hero who is, on her own merits, an admirable powerhouse.  One of the other male super hero cannon has to do something stupid or shameful and LOSE power, leaving it lying around waiting for some woman to just pick it up and take on the mantle (and apparently the name–can we just all agree that’s STUPID?  For the love of all that’s holy, stop calling her the female Thor!).


I’m not sure exactly what point I’m trying to circle around to (as I’m in my post lunch brain slump where I really ought to be napping), except to say that I really feel like this “rebooting” that Marvel is trying to do of all these various franchises by changing gender or race is just seriously lazy writing and offensive to those groups that they are allegedly trying to include.  They can’t be bothered to put in the work to develop new, original kick ass characters.  That’s too much work.  Instead they have to try to co-opt the story and fanbase of existing ones.


Not cool, Marvel.  Not cool.


Filed under: Musings Tagged: Just Stuff, Kait Nolan, Marvel, Power, Thor, Thoughts

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on July 25, 2014 11:37 • 9 views

July 24, 2014

Meet Kacy Catanzaro, the first woman to EVER complete the American Ninja Warriors finals course.  Look out boys!



 


Fastest way to cool down a canned or bottled beverage!  Forget the freezer.



 


Super smart kid!  This concept is brilliant.



Filed under: Awesome Things Tagged: Awesome Things, Kait Nolan

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on July 24, 2014 05:08 • 6 views

July 21, 2014

Being a writer is so often a strange thing.  On the one hand, it is a very solitary profession.  Unless you are collaborating with someone expressly to write a project, the ultimate act of writing is to be alone with your thoughts and the voices in your head.  


It doesn’t stay that way, or shouldn’t.  You need to have those words, your vision, filtered through the eyes of others to make sure that the vision is true, that it is not somehow warped and out of shape like the reflection in a fun house mirror.  Having someone come after you to check for structure and clarity and DUDE, DID THAT ACTUALLY MAKE SENSE is an invaluable step (or many steps) in the process.


If you are lucky, as I have been so SO lucky, you manage to find a critique partner or editor (in my case, I have both in the same fabulous person) who has the patience to wade through all of your newbie mistakes and crap drafts to find the good parts that will keep you from giving up when the draft comes back flayed alive and bleeding pink (she IS the Pink Hammer, after all).  And a smart writer takes that gift and learns from it.  Her skin grows thicker, and she stretches boundaries and improves (hopefully), to the point that she internalizes that editorial voice, stops making all the same mistakes over again (or at least catches them through the internal voice and fixes them before sending off to get the real thing).  Until eventually, one fine day, a draft comes back with barely a page of pink, and you think, No, there must be some mistake.  Where’s the rest of it?  And she says, “No really, it was good.”  And you’re simultaneously pleased and convinced it was a total fluke.


It’s a glorious thing, this kind of partnership.  It makes you feel less alone, like someone really, truly gets you (which is a gift beyond measure).  But the goal is, eventually, to become less dependent.  To truly internalize the lessons and eventually become master of your craft yourself so that you don’t need those repeated touchstones (though you should always, ALWAYS get at least a second set of eyes on your work).  The writer become true writer, not just the toddler coming back to hug Mom’s knees before going back out to explore the wide worlds of imagination.


That, my friends, is scary.  As everything about becoming a grown up is sometimes scary.  Quite apart from the worry that you didn’t learn your lessons well enough, there is, I think, a reluctance to go back to that state of being alone.  Because once you’ve known the glorious synergy and flow of brainstorming with someone who knows your worlds almost as well as you, who loves them almost as much as you, the idea of retreating into the (relative) silence of your own head again isn’t particularly appealing.  And it can be downright intimidating.  


I feel like summer always makes me think about these things, judging where I am in the process of this whole apprentice–>journeyman–>master sequence because my touchstones disappear.  That whole kids being out of school and having a life that does not center around me (and it shouldn’t) or taking vacations and unplugging (what IS this thing you call “vacation”?).  It’s lonely and scary and triggers pretty much every single one of my self-doubts–of which writers have an inventive plethora.  OMG.  They haven’t answered my email in a WEEK.  NOBODY LOVES ME ANYMORE.  


:SLAP:


Do yourself a favor, grab a big ass bar of dairy free chocolate and get over yourself.


For me, this is all just one more reason to hate summer (the others being the heat, mosquitoes the size of crop dusters, and POLLEN).  But it’s forced me out of my comfort zone.  I’ve reached out to some new folks to get feedback (that was fabulous) prior to my recent release.  I’ve gotten my butt out of my chair (I know, shocking) to do something other than write with some of my free time (going back to finish my black belt in taekwondo).  I’ve deepened friendships with some other writers (always a great thing) and had some magnificent mutual flails over great reads.


I survived.  I missed them like hell, but I survived.  The world didn’t end.  My creativity and inspiration didn’t stop.  I still made words.  Lots of them.  And I was forced to make some decisions without that oft relied upon feedback–decisions that reinforced the intuition of my gut.  And that’s a different kind of gift.  As far as I’m concerned, I’m one step closer to being master of my own fate, which has really been my goal all along.


Hooray for self sufficiency.


Filed under: Writing Tagged: Kait Nolan, Personal, Writing

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on July 21, 2014 13:12 • 23 views