An Interview with Kate Policani: Author of “Don’t Judge a Book by its Magic”

Even though Kate Policani wasn’t born in Seattle, Washington, she’s a native at heart. She should have been born here, but some bizarre mistake started her out in the Midwest. That error was rectified, though, and she’s spent more than twenty years in the rainy, gloomy, chilly land where she belongs, loving every minute of it. The long dark days and unwelcoming weather make for the perfect environment to stay inside and write.
A mom of three and therefore a coffee addict, she writes her books over a hot mocha in the rainy season (Fall-Winter-Spring) and an iced mocha during the six weeks of summer. That is, she writes when she isn’t shuttling her progeny to school or youth group or playdates. In a pinch, she writes while she waits to pick the kids up from school, and sometimes even in the middle of the night when the ideas wake her.
Kate has found her footing with her writing and is no longer interested in just writing a few books. The list of ideas is long, so she’ll be cranking out the Sci-fi and Fantasy (and maybe some others) for the long haul.


Today, I am pleased to sit down and talk with Kate Policani, the vibrant and talented author of “Don’t Judge a Book by its Magic.” Please welcome her to Readful Things Blog:) You can find Kate’s blog at: http://katepolicani.com/

The book trailer: http://youtu.be/Ih7yjpv-_bQ
  Tell us all a bit about your background and how you got started writing.

I have always written as an outlet, ever since I could write. I escape the stress of life and calm myself by exploring story. I also drew, painted, sewed, and other forms of expression. As my family grew, I had less and less time for the messier arts, but writing still happened. Before 2009, I never considered publishing anything. I was busy with kids and life, but I still wrote. One afternoon my dear aunt pointed out to me that I should finish something and think about publishing. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me. I chose and finished my first book, The Disenchanted Pet, right away.

It was with that aunt that I co-wrote the Amputeddy series. This series is very special to me because she has since passed away due to cancer. The Amputeddy books have been my only children’s books so far.

Did you spend much time considering what age group you would write for before you began your book?

I just write. It’s very organic for me. I write what I enjoy. Right now, I prefer writing about the time of a person’s life after High School, so most of my writing focuses on that era. Usually this determines the age group of my readers. My aim is to appeal to all sorts of people, so I try to make my work fun and entertaining for anyone who wants to read, but contain some depth too.

Can you see yourself writing any other genres/styles in the future?

Absolutely. I love to experiment with my writing. I have just finished a YA Science Fiction Novelette, which is with my Beta readers right now. If something that interests me fits better in other genres or age groups, I will write it. I guess I have the indie mentality where I feel free to write what I like.

 What has been the most difficult part of the writing/publishing experience thus far?

The hardest thing has definitely been promotion. There are so many books out there and it is hard to pull oneself out of the sea so readers can see the book. A lot of tactics don’t work at all. So much time can be wasted promoting in the wrong way or on the wrong platform. It’s easy to spend way too much money promoting in ways that don’t get sales. I’m a positive thinker and persistent too so I keep at it. I really want to make my writing career into something and I’m really excited about doing it my own way.

What message do you hope that your books convey if any?

I want my books to counteract the misinformation in society while reinforcing the truth (as I see it) and good things. I write a lot about problems that I struggle with and ideals that challenge me. I like to shake myself up. If I can get myself worked up over my own story, I figure I can pass that feeling on to my readers.

If you could claim any literary work in the world as your own, what would it be and why?

I would really only want to claim my own. Writing is an expression of the individual and I really wouldn’t want to be anyone but me. I also really love to read and appreciate others’ talents. I see reading someone’s book as a privileged peek inside their head. If you gave me and another writer a synopsis of the same story and told us to write the book, we’d both come up with a very different result. That is one of the beauties of literature.

There have been a lot of books about teens/kids with magical powers, how did you make your characters stand out from the crowd?

I put a lot of Seattle into this book. I really love this city and I think that Seattle flavor helps the book gain a different perspective. I also used a lot of actual science (possibly terribly misinterpreted) that I learned through my husband’s adoration of physics. The main difference between Colleen’s experience in The Convergence and other books is that her new experiences challenge her belief in her world and her morality. She has to reconcile her new abilities with her beliefs about them.

Can you tell us a bit about what else you are working on?

A science fiction novelette called Horarium is with my beta readers and will be an editing certification project for my good friend Nadia Riell. I will release it at the beginning of the summer. I’m debating whether or not I will make it free, or if I will put it on Kindle Select right away and see how that goes.

I am currently writing the second book for The Convergence series, Sorcery Loves Company. I hope to finish the story by the end of the summer.

A second book in the ShaZha World is also in the works, to be finished after Sorcery Loves Company. I have probably a hundred other ideas on my hard drive and 5 in the hopper for future development. I’m good with the ideas, it’s finishing them that is my big challenge.

Where can we find you (links etc)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kate.policani

My Examiner column: http://www.examiner.com/writing-179-in-seattle/katherine-policani

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5250693.Kate_Policani

Library Thing: http://www.librarything.com/profile/katepolicani

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/katherine-policani/a/4a1/23

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KatePolicani

Any final thoughts?

I would love to invite everyone to my other website, http://discoverauthors.wordpress.com . It is a great place to find all kinds of books direct from the authors. We feature a free book listing and giveaways too. The site is a free collaborative book tour for authors, where we all share our books in a quick and easy format. I’m always looking for more great authors to feature.

Here are some Places where you can find Kate’s work:

Buy on Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/3910971

Buy for Kindle

Buy on Smashwords

Buy at Barnes & Noble

Buy on Kobo

You can see my review of Kate’s book HERE

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To My WordPress Community

A beautiful poem of appreciation!

helenvalentina

In this warm community
Embraced by fellow scribes
It’s like I find immunity
From harsher real life tribes

Your friendship and your words
Awake a dream within
Your writings are like birds
About to take to wing

I thank you for your time
I thank you for your heart
The beauty of your rhymes
The dreams that you impart

(c) Helen Valentina 2013, All Rights Reserved

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Adopted Reality: A Memoir by Laura Dennis

In a September 11 memoir unlike any you’ve read, this thrilling, psychological adventure follows the ups and downs of bipolar, and examines relationships biological and adopted.

Laura had always been Miss Perfect—but she just couldn’t do it anymore.

They say not to make more than one big change in your life at a time, but with a break up, a job change, a move across the country, and the separation of her adoptive parents, when Laura gets the opportunity to reunite with her birth mom—she is not passing it up!

Then a beloved uncle dies in the Twin Towers and the tension that has been building explodes. While everyone proudly believes she’s fulfilling her dream to dance, Laura insanely thinks she’s a spy for the Illuminati who unwittingly perpetrated 9/11.
Will she learn to exist between the highs and lows, ultimately discovering her own Adopted Reality?

 

ebook, 2nd, 205 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Entourage Publishing
ASIN
B0089BISC4
edition language
English
original title
Adopted Reality
Laura Dennis was born in New Jersey and raised in Maryland, but she learned how to be a (sane) person in California, where she lost her mind and found it again in 2001. A professionally trained dancer, Laura gave up aches and pains and bloody feet in 2004 to become a stylish, sales director for a biotech startup. Then with two children under the age of three, in 2010 she and her husband sought to simplify their lifestyle and escaped to his hometown, Belgrade. While the children learned Serbian in their cozy preschool, Laura recovered from sleep deprivation and wrote Adopted Reality.
You may go visit Laura at laura-dennis.com
My Thoughts on Laura’s Book:
I have never read a book quite like this one before. To be completely honest, when I began reading this book (my fault for never reading the descriptions) I was a bit lost. I kind of felt like I fell into the middle of a Dan Brown novel and I had to check to make sure that A.) I was reading the right book, and B.) it actually said “memoir” on the cover. I was and it did.

Once I got my legs underneath me, this book was heartfelt, honest and an amazing read. If you have been adopted, have bi-polar disorder, or even if you haven’t and you just want a realistic perspective on either of those situations, you should pick up a copy of this book. Laura writes from a place that most of us endeavor to reach , but many of us never do. She is open, throws caution to the wind and tells her riveting tale in a way that holds the attention of the reader like a vice grip. The portions of the book dedicated to the events of September 11th have never (to my knowledge) been dealt with the way Laura has in this memoir. To imagine the guilt, struggle and feelings of hopelessness and eventual recovery and acceptance she has been through breaks your heart, but also gives you a totally new perspective on life in general and the differences among us.

The way this book unfolds, revealing more information a little at a time to the reader until you truly feel that you have lived a day in the author’s life, made me stop and think about my own life. Where I thought I knew a thing or two about bi-polar before reading this, my eyes have been irreversibly opened to sides of the disorder that I never knew existed. I had not realised before reading this book that delusions were a part of bi-polar at all.

Overall, this was a fascinating, at times sad, at times funny and completely honest book that is definitely worth a read. Laura has overcome so much, and I am so happy that she has taken the time to share her innermost thoughts and feelings with us through “Adopted Reality.” She has also included links for those who are surviving their own journey through similar issues, where they can find support and further information. I congratulate the author for her bravery and desire to persevere.

Still

While I still hear your breathing

and the beating of your heart

While I still reach out for you

at noises in the dark

 

I still wait for your return

long after you’ve been gone

I still turn down the volume

when it plays that special song

 

While summer rays of blazing gold

eventually simmer down to fall

I still hold these memories

and listen for your call

 

There is a separation

between  life and death

I still feel you here with me

in whispers and in breath

 

Some days feel the pain so recent

and tears come to my eyes

the lingering unanswered

the forever question why

 

I look up to the heavens

on rainy days like this

tears from immortal memories

recalling your final kiss

 

 

Coffee and Discussion with Briana Vedsted

picture  Today, I have the immense pleasure of sitting down with Briana Vedsted and talking with her about life, the books she writes and how the journey of publishing her work has been for her so far. Briana is one of my absolute favourite bloggers. She is witty, fun and a very talented young author with a bright future ahead of her.

Without further ado, please welcome Briana:)

You can find Briana at http://whenibecameanauthor.wordpress.com/
Do you have a favourite book genre and do you write in that same genre?

My favorite genres are western and fantasy. I write books from both genre, I love to write fantasy books because every world is better with magic, but have been told my westerns are much more enjoyable.

Do you plan to write series books or will there be stand-alones as well?

I’ve written several unpublished series, as well as half a dozen stand alone books. It is easier to write a series, because I’m always getting new ideas!

Being a younger author in a tough market, have you learned any survival tips you can share? The biggest thing I’ve learned is that you’ve got have people. You need people to know you’re a writer. Surprises are great, but if no one knows who you are, no one will buy your work. You need social media sites, blog/website, as well as letting people in your area know about you. The best way to do this is to write a column for the local paper.

How have you marketed your book so far and what has the experience been like for you?

So far, I’ve been unsuccessful in marketing my books, and that’s because I just started and didn’t know that you really have to, well, advertise. I mean it! You can’t advertise too much. If you have a blog, use it! Talk about your book! Talk about yourself as an author. Have contests and giveaways, post sample chapters, anything to catch the reader’s attention.

When did you know that you were going to be an author?

Well, I’ve always love to write. But I never really though about being an author. I was going to go to school and become and elementary school teacher. Then two years ago my mother pointed out how little patience I have for helping my sister with math. She said, “Why not be a writer?” I though, hey! That could work! So I switched my major and have been trying to get published since then.

How do you deal with negative/rude reviewers?

I haven’t have very many of them yet. But even when my mom would criticize my work, I got mad. I wished I would have listened to her. Criticism stings. One day I hope I’ll be able to let it slide off my back. But for now, the negative has been evened out by the praise from my friends, Ionia Martin and Charles Yallowitz.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?

Well, that depends. In the summer, I’m out working on our 1000 acres of irrigated and dryland hayfields, and in the winter, I’m working with out 350 cow/calf pairs. But in my spare time, I enjoy making cosmetics, cooking, gardening, sledding, and redecorating my future house.

Tell us a bit about your newest book and what you are planning for the future.

My newest book is a modern day werewolf book. It will be part of a series, and I’m hoping to have it traditionally published. But if I cannot find an agent that will accept the manuscripts, I will self publish it on amazon.com

*Thank you so much Briana, for agreeing to be my guest today. I wish you much luck with your writing career and look forward to seeing your name on the front of book covers everywhere!

True by Erin McCarthy

TrueTrue by Erin McCarthy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost.

 

ebook, 238 pages

 

Expected publication: May 7th 2013 by InterMix

 

ISBN13
9781101623152

 

edition language
English

 

original title
True

This is my first foray into the world of the new adult literature, and I am stumped. While there were many things that I really liked about this book, there were other things that still have me scratching my head.

I certainly can’t say that I haven’t seen stories that followed the same format before. The plot of boy from the wrong side of the tracks falls in love with girl from upper-middle-class family has been done in the past. I did find some depth in this story that surprised me and although the idea of the plot wasn’t the most amazingly original thing I have ever seen, the story wasn’t a repeat either.

Hmm. How to do this without spoilers?

Some of the things I enjoyed about the novel:

The author manages to give us characters that it is easy to get to know. She shows us the ugly parts of them as well as the beautiful. They are insecure, flawed and not the annoyingly perfect type that make you roll your eyes.

The main character does have values and she holds herself to a high standard when it comes to her own body, yet she does not come off as a stuck up prude that judges everyone.

I thought Tyler’s character was very well written. He was dimensional, interesting and an odd type of hero that you both want to hug and smack at the same time. The personality the author gave him was displayed well through his dialogue and he was the perfect counterpart to the main character, Rory.

The story of Tyler’s family was sad, yet realistic and well written. The author used many different elements to create a contrast between the family dynamics of Tyler’s family and the family of Rory, and the contrast was sharp. It was my favourite part of this book.

Here’s what I liked a bit less:

Rory is concerned with not giving away her body to the wrong person and having casual sex just because. Great, I like it. Still, she gets herself wasted enough within the first chapter of the book that she puts herself into a situation where the unthinkable almost happens. I don’t get how she can be so moralistic in some ways and yet a carefree party girl in others.

The relationship between Rory and Tyler is built on conflict and him feeling as though he will never be good enough for her. He is poor, comes from abuse and has a family to support. Rory is going to be a professional and comes from a good, solid family. The end of the book does not reflect this at all, which was a bit strange since that is what the entirety of the book is based on. Did everyone just decide life would be roses and then it was? Nobody really knows, because the book ends, and that is exactly what happens, it just ends. Poof! Over with. I felt let down. How did they work it out? Did they survive and thrive or fall apart? You get to guess.

Rory’s two best friends are nothing like her. There are virtually no shared interests among them, and yet even after they have done something awful to her which should have been embarrassing, she forgives them and simply moves on without much mention.

Tyler is accused late in the story of doing something that he didn’t actually do and must serve a sentence for it, but earlier in the book he actually did pretty much what he was accused of. Therefore, I had a difficult time trying to evoke much sympathy for his plight.

The last thing that really bothered me about this book was the amount of swearing. I understand this is not YA, and that it is meant for a slightly older audience, but the amount of F-bombs dropped in this book was distracting to me. After a while it just felt like filler and every time I saw one I would laugh. Even during passages that weren’t meant to be funny. I’m not sure if this is included simply to make the book feel like it is for an older audience than the YA crowd, but after while it lost the edge it originally had and made the characters sound dimwitted and appear to have very small vocabularies.

Overall, I feel a mix of emotions about this book. The writing is good, the characters are incredibly well written, but there are just some things in it that I can’t get around. I would certainly read another book by this author, and I would recommend this book to those that know what to expect with an NA novel. I guess I wasn’t totally prepared.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher, Intermix Books (Penguin)


The Age of Ice by J.M. Sidorova

An epic debut novel about a lovelorn eighteenth-century Russian noble, cursed with longevity and an immunity to cold, whose quest for the truth behind his condition spans two thrilling centuries and a stunning array of historical events. St. Petersburg, Russia, 1740. The Empress Anna Ioanovna has issued her latest eccentric order: construct a palace out of ice blocks. Inside its walls her slaves build a wedding chamber, a canopy bed on a dais, heavy drapes cascading to the floor—all made of ice. Sealed inside are two jesters, one a disgraced nobleman, the other a humpback, a performer by birthright. On the Empress’s command—for her entertainment—these two are to be married, the relationship consummated inside this frozen prison. In the morning guards enter to find them half-dead. Nine months later, two boys are born.

Surrounded by servants and animals, Prince Alexander Velitsyn and his twin brother Andrei have an idyllic childhood on the family’s large country estate. But as they approach manhood stark differences coalesce. Andrei is daring and ambitious; Alexander is tentative and adrift. One frigid winter night on the road between St. Petersburg and Moscow, as he flees his army post, Alexander comes to a horrifying revelation: his body is immune from cold.

J. M. Sidorova’s boldly original and genre-bending novel takes readers from the grisly fields of the Napoleonic Wars to the blazing heat of Afghanistan, from the outer reaches of Siberia to the cacophonous streets of nineteenth-century Paris. The adventures of its protagonist, Prince Alexander Velitsyn—on a life-long quest for the truth behind his strange physiology—will span three continents and two centuries, and will bring him into contact with an incredible range of real historical figures, from Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, to the licentious Russian Empress Elizaveta, and to English explorer Joseph Billings.

Romantic, thrilling, and rigorously historical, The Age of Ice is one of the most inventive debut novels of the year.–Description from Goodreads.

Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: July 23rd 2013 by Scribner
ISBN
1451692714 (ISBN13: 9781451692716)
My Thoughts:
Assessing this book for review is somewhat like trying to tell the entire world history is less than 300 words. It isn’t possible. Reading this novel is a journey through a world of history and amazing wonders and is a truly beautiful read. If you are into books that slowly and carefully unfold with excellent character development, “the Age of Ice” has you covered.

This is not an action filled book where things happen a mile a minute. The writing seems somewhat reserved and you never feel particularly close to the main character, but you never really have the desire to give up on him either. There is always a shield up between him and the reader, although I can’t help, based on the story, but feel that this was intentional.

The main character suffers from a “cold” condition, where any time he is riled up, either positively or negatively, he experiences a full body cold that allows him to hold snow without it melting and makes his desire for a normal relationship more than impossible. The idea that the author wrote his character somewhat impersonally matches that theme perfectly. I found that I, as the reader, spent my time trying to get inside his head and feel closer to him but continually came up short, which made me feel frustrated, just as the character did as he searched for someone to be close to. Well played, J.M. Sidorova.

This book spans a long period of time, and while I found the complicated tale interesting and well written, there were times when I felt my mind wander a bit while reading. The writing itself is solid. The author has an amazing grasp on how to use the proper language to evoke emotion, and the dialogue is excellent, although written in the same second hand delivery that makes it feel much less personal.

While I did have moments of wandering mind, there were many sections of this novel where I completely forgot myself and became so bound in the story that I could do nothing else but read, hoping the eventual result would be a happy one for the character that I had been with for the duration.

The ending of the book was a bit odd for me, and the reason why I have decided to go with four stars rather than five. I don’t want to include a spoiler, so I will proceed cautiously. This book, as I mentioned above, spans a longer time period than most. When it catches up to the more recent history of the world, the character makes a decision about how he will carry on, and I just didn’t feel that it quite worked with the rest of the book. It may have just been a personal expectation, but I felt the end struggled a bit to match the previous parts of this incredible Russian literature. I do give the author a lot of credit for dealing with important issues of environmental impact.

If you are going to read this book (and I recommend that you do) take some time away from life. Find a quiet place, and devote your mind to the story. It will consume you, amaze you and remind you that there are authors out there who use common words to create uncommon magic.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the Publisher, Scribner.

Blogger of the Week

Passing Under

One of my favourite things about blogging has been seeing the variety of personalities and interests that everyone has. I love it when I stumble across a blogger that has varied interests and likes to share them with the rest of us. Have you guys met tyroper yet? You must. He is dedicated to his writing–beautiful prose. He is also heavily interested in music and has helped me find bands I didn’t even know existed. You can go pay him a visit here http://firstnovelblog.wordpress.com/

and learn about his writing journey or just enjoy his wisdom and many talents. See you guys there:)

Shadows Over Sheradan by Scott Barker

Show some love peeps

Legends of Windemere

I met an other fantasy author at the convention named Scott Barker.  He’s a great guy and we got to talk shop.  His book is titled Shadows Over Sheradan.  Like me, his book emerged from a Dungeons & Dragons game in a world of his own design.  It is a brilliant combination of fantasy and science-fiction.  Here is his website to give it a look:

www.shadowsoversheradan.com

I’d give a full explanation of the book or write the description written on the cover, but there’s a more interesting way to do this.  I give you one of Scott Barker’s book trailers:

Please reblog, retweet, and share.  Share Scott that WordPress love that’s magic to an author’s heart.

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