Book It Party Room: Kate Policani’s The Lustre

I am pleased to applaud and cheer loudly for the release of The Lustre, from blogger friend and author, Kate Policani. A short fiction piece that mixes it up with elements from Christian, Science Fiction, and Fantasy genres, introduces the Akataromai, an entrancing race of beings hidden within human society. Originating on Earth, they conceal themselves among the human population. They look just like us. But, mature Akataromai can live for centuries and feed upon negative Human emotions.

Policani tells the story of Angelina Quorra, an Akataromai, who is unique among her people. Like all Akataromai, Angelina is a human-looking girl who absorbs emotional pain. She might never die. However, she has a unique talent, called The Lustre, which enables her to also absorb physical pain. Anyone who feeds her achieves overwhelming pleasure. Angelina’s talent brings her great fame and great trouble. Her story is told by the men who adore her.

Review Notes:

The Lustre was a quick, thought-provoking read. I appreciated Policani’s concise, captivating story-telling. Further the characters are well-developed. I kept drooling over Luciano and enjoyed stepping into Angelina’s world for a spell. Also, the opportunity to view the story from multiple viewpoints reminded me of my all-time, favorite authors, Mary Higgins Clark. This writing style enables me to establish a deeper connection with the characters and the conflicts that play out. While not in agreement with his choices, I felt I was inside Jaques Trace’s rage and despair as he ascended to tragic levels of greed and envy. Lessons woven within Policani’s fantastical tale are real, timely, catalysts for reflection and discussion. The Lustre reminded me of how easy it is to covet others’ blessings, to succumb to greed, and to allow envy to cloud judgement. All of these human follies distract us from living, destroy even the strongest of relationships and break many hearts.

Author Bio:

Kate Policani is a homemaker and compulsive writer from Seattle. She has a wild imagination and an addiction to reading and writing. Her hobby is exploring and analyzing all kinds of stories. She uses them like a literary chemistry set to examine a variety ideas and concepts and to fuel her own writing. The Science Fiction and Fantasy genres are her favorites because the exciting flights of fancy make a thrilling plot. Every day is filled with the stories of those around us, especially in this information age. It is her passion to find what stories inspire her and others, and why they inspire. There are more than 80 stories waiting on her hard drive, incubating and developing for future reading! What will she come up with next?

Buy your copy of The Lustre at Barnes & Noble or on Kindle or Smashwords. Also, available on CreatespaceRed coverSlate coverBlack and Cream cover.

Thursday at 10:43: The Liebster Award

On Tuesday morning I shuffled into my home office with my venti coffee in hand. I stood at my desktop, scrolling through my list of unread e-mails. There, in the midst of the boring pitches to click-and-read I spied an e-mail from blogging friend and mentor, Linda Cassidy Lewis.

Upon opening the e-mail, I felt myself smile. She had awarded my blog the Liebster Award. Linda says Liebster is German for dearest, beloved or favorite.

Thank you so much Linda. I am truly honored to receive this award from her. She is a new author I discovered upon introducing my blog at WordPress. Her book, Brevity of Roses, as well as her blog, Out of My Mind, inspired me to take a stab at NaNoWriMo in November.

Like other blog awards, the Liebster Award rules say to pass it along to five favorite blogs. But, here’s the catch. They need to have less than 200 followers. Like Linda, most of the blogs I read don’t publicly track the number of followers they have. So, just like following her lead in living to write, I’m adapting her rules to better fit my situation.

I am going to pass the Liebster Award to two I have mentioned previously and to three I have not.  Two previous mentions that I have an addiction to are:

Tickling My Fancy because I can’t resist reading MB’s movie and book reviews, her fictional pieces, or her posts about transitioning from Southeastern Michigan to Sacramento. Besides, we’ve been friends since childhood; and long-time friends stick together.

The Laughing Mom because she always makes me giggle. Today, she challenged visitors to come up with a birthday rap. I’m still working on mine. That’s why she writes what she does so incredibly well. Check her out. BTW, someone should sign this lady to a writing deal; pronto!

Three blogs I love, but haven’t promoted, yet, are

Mama’s Empty Nest because her words are powerful and she inspires me. Also, she gave all of us moms a “pep” talk the other night about losing our minds, parenting and surviving those “not-about-me-decades.”

Anna C. Shade Jewelry and Metalwork because Anna is a tremendous creative force who is achieving much-deserved success making and selling her art. Plus, she’s my cousin and a member of my Big Beautiful Family.

The Big Sheep Blog because the posts are timely and humorous.

Words Are Mighty

Words are mighty. They wield the power to love, hate, free, imprison, heal, poison, mend, hurt, help, hinder, reward, punish, agree, protest, include, exclude, dominate, share, unite, divide, build, break, motivate, defeat, encourage, inhibit, celebrate, silence, bully, defend, protect, attack, empower, debilitate, propel, stop, add, subtract, multiply, delete, mediate, instigate, calm, infuriate, judge, forgive, push, pull, tarnish, shine, triumph, diminish, overpower, undermine, prevail, conquer, inform, conceal, protect, endanger, preserve, change, comfort, scare, create, destroy, promote, inflict, investigate, manipulate, expose, control, educate, deceive, console, terrorize, enrich, connect, polarize, captivate, rescue, dictate, and overthrow,

A boy who has Leukemia and who attends the same school as Issa is asking for words — not money — to help him fight and to help him stay strong.

Cards wanted for boy with leukemia

Another shared love for everybody.

My story

More continue to protest the greed, corruption and manipulation.

OWS

I consider myself fortunate to have a mind open to messages old and new. The blogs I visit (Mama’s Empty Nest), stories I read (The Book Thief), songs I hear (Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train), and films I watch (Tree of Life) all leave their impressions. Some are fleeting. Others linger.

NaNoWriMo: The Week After

Well, it’s been almost one week. I have ignored my characters’ pleas to change their scenery or edit their dialogue. In fact, I haven’t even peaked at their story.

I figure it’s the winter holiday season; and I do have two school-aged children chattering non-stop about Santa, Rudolph, and our temporary live-in elf from the North Pole, Neptune. Retracing my steps through Jakarta, Melbourne, and Capri will have to wait for those frigid January days when I am looking for a warm-up.

Looking back on my first 50k experience, the circle of writers I came to know — some strangers and some long-time friends — was the most valuable takeaway. MB, my childhood friend, was really the catalyst for my participation. I truly appreciated having a pal rooting for me to come away with full pages each day. Three new acquaintances I made a long the way include thesweetkitten, talin401, and limebirdbeth. The first posts about Brussels, Belgium. I was drooling over the photos and the delicacies detailed there. The later two are about writing, which I now follow for insight and inspiration.

This first 50k, was indeed, an enriching experience.

NaNoWriMo: In the End

At 11:10 pm, November 30, my word count surpassed 7ok. Clearly, I had made the 50k mark in my first annual NaNoWriMo challenge. But, I told myself my form needed polish. The story read like a 5k without that explosive sprint to the finish line.

So, there I sat listening to Foo Fighters’ Everlong. Do I risk it? If I edit, I could get tripped up or sidelined. I might not make it before the buzzer goes of to call the race. As I considered my options, I kept hearing Jillian Michael‘s voice from her cardio kickboxing DVD.

“Don’t cheat me!” she shouted.

Did I ever mention I hate alarms? They interrupt all the important stuff like sleep, dreams and sex. I think it’s better to let nature tell me when it’s time to wake up, go to bed, walk the dog, or write.

Besides, I just wasn’t content with my story. I kept rehashing the plot in my head. Was it exciting? If I was snuggled on my couch reading late at night, would I fall asleep or stay riveted to the action on my pages? Did the characters have enough to make an audience scream sequel?

As I reconciled the plot, it was midnight. For some reason I didn’t care that the race was officially over. I wanted my characters to feel closure to their story; or have plane tickets to the next destination in the series of adventures I am plotting for them.

So, I centered my attention on making a strong finish despite the time. If the story had just finished playing out on a big screen some-where, would I leave wanting to discuss it with my girlfriends; or would I march myself to the ticket booth to demand a refund?

In the end, I was satisfied enough to consider this very rough draft of my first novel finished. It has been left on my desktop to ferment.

Like my love for wine, it will call to me this Friday. It will tease me. I will be tested to ignore its pleas for a reread.

Thankfully, I have a new, temporary family member to care for. Santa sent Neptune, one of his elves  to keep watchful eyes on Issa and Riff through December 24. There are rules Neptune must follow to in order for his magic to work. His magic enables him to fly to the North Pole each night and to speak elf to Santa while discussing Issa and Riff. This added responsibility to my domestic law enforcement duties keeps my writing addiction in check.

Plus, there’s that Sunday night football contest between the Detroit Lions and the New Orleans’ Saints. I love football and continue to think the Lions can turn in a victory; even without Ndamukong Suh.

Related previous posts …

NaNoWriMo: Weeks 3 and 4 – Gory Scene Stealer

NaNoWriMo: Week 2 – Where It All Started

NaNoWriMo: Week 1- Setting the Stage

My First 50k

 

NaNoWriMo: Week 2 – Where It All Started

It all started in eighth grade, actually. That’s when I really knew I wanted to write. My English teacher was the first to point it out.

She read an essay I wrote — to the entire class — about a short story the class had read together. To this day, I still remember writing it. I had arrived early at my grandma’s home for a family reunion. Since my cousins had not yet arrived and I had this to write, I sat down and wrote.

Toward its completion, there was one word I wanted to use. It would give the essay that extra you-know-what. But, being brought up in a Catholic household, using the word was frowned upon. Plus, this essay was for my eighth grade English class. Would the teacher send me to the principal’s office or send a note home to my mom? The word in limbo was Hell.

In the end, I said the Hell with it. It went in. My teacher didn’t call my mom or issue me a detention. She read my essay along with two others to the class. I believe the difference was my choice of words. I took a risk.

To me, the success stories in the creative world are all about taking risk. Those creative forces — writers, filmmakers, actors, photographers, artists, designers, stylists, painters, chefs, etc. — who inspire me all push the envelop to evolve, develop their talent, and achieve their goals.

At the start of my freshman year at Western Michigan University, I took another risk, which was to write for the student newspaper, the Western Herald. Originally, I planned to stay away from the newspaper’s office in the basement of the bird cage until sophomore year. The rational, safe side of my brain said to get a grip, focus on studying, and adjust to “college” life.

My intuition said, go for it! Why wait? So, I went for that initial orientation and picked up my first story assignments from the entertainment editor and then progressed to writing news and feature stories. The risk taken afforded me the opportunity to meet and work with some of the finest, creative forces spinning our planet today.

Plus, I…

received freelance writing opportunities at a community newspaper in my hometown;

attended campus and sometimes city events (sports, cultural, concerts, etc.) for free;

watched — with active engagement — my more esteemed peers cover a student-lead, campus-wide protest and sit-in;

learned not to mix fruit-based alcoholic drinks with grain-fed brew;

went trick-or-treating at the then-university president’s home;

covered the 1992 elections;

influenced slumlords renting to students living off-campus to take complaints about horrific living conditions seriously; and

admitted to the guilty pleasure of wanting to know what was happening around me before anyone else.

Here’s a shortlist of links to some of my j-school peers…

http://blog.mlive.com/knapescorner/index.html

http://www.twaingirl.com/

http://fountainsportfolio.blogspot.com/

http://redwolf5150.livejournal.com/

http://www.cheerswineconsultants.com/Cheers%21_Wine_Consultants/Home.html

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kalamazoo-Gazette/114253861922693

http://www.thecenterformichigan.net/about-the-center/

http://colleaguesinternational.org/

My inspiration for this post all started from viewing a photo a former Herald colleague shared on Facebook. See the vintage Mac below? We all used to write our news copy on dinosaurs such as this.

NaNoWriMo: Week 1 – Setting the Stage

This first week of NaNoWriMo has been all about setting the stage for my characters as well as for myself. Since this is my first 50k, I have put five contingencies in place to ensure a strong finish. What tips do you NaNoWriMo veterans have for us newbies?

1. Working Outline translates to flexible. Previously, I was just going to write until I reached 50k. But, I scraped that plan. Today, I stopped typing to think about the story coming to life on my pages. Are the characters engaging enough? Am I spending too much time on certain scenes?

2. Playlist of tunes to keep me in the moment with my characters. Fellow blogger and NaNoWriMo, MB, shared her playlist this weekend. Tonight, my list included:

3. Running Goal of making one mile in five minutes on my elliptical. This is a 50k, right? So, while I attempt this first with my writing, I might as well train for that Freeze Your Fanny 5k on January 29 at Stony Creek Metro Park.

4. Escape Plan to the living and the real. One can only revel for so long in the fantastical storytelling world. Now, I know why there is a suggested daily quota.

5. Interventions to divert focus from writing to my husband, children, dog, friends, house, neighborhood, etc. Today’s successful diversions were taking my daughter to the salon for a haircut, voting, a trip to the Rochester Cider Mill for a blueberry, maple-glazed doughnut, cooking dinner, helping with homework, and blogging.

Related Posts…

My First 50k

My First 50K

2011 has been a year of first-times. I started this blog, ran my first 5k in May, took my kids to Cedar Point, published a newsletter for a non-profit I advocate for, turned 40, attended a Foo Fighters concert (better late than never), and…

began writing my first novel on November 1. My motivation for this first is two-fold. First, a long-time friend and fellow writer, MB, blogged about her experience participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge last year. Her blog, Tickling My Fancy, briefed aspiring authors — like me — about writing the challenge’s minimum 1,600 words a day in addition to managing a full plate of professional and personal responsibilities. At month end, the result was a 50,000-word novel. I thought … if she can do this, I can do this.

Second, these story bits in my head need escape to a wider audience. For years my wild imagination has mixed kagillion fantastical scenes with snipits from my past and present into what I think are humorous, romantic, thrillers. Some scenes I have journaled, but none had ever been weaved into anything substantial.

So far, I am at 13,133 words.  I admit to developing an outline for my story prior to Halloween. Also, I wrote about four days worth of words prior to November 1. Call me a cheater if you will. But, the words have been written and I’m not taking them back. Besides, I just gave myself some wiggle room. There will be days ahead when I will not meet the daily 1,600-word quota.

In homage to those inspiring me to write this first 50k, I want to encourage followers and browsers to check out MB’s Vigor. This is her first release of self-published fictional writing. I have known her to be a brilliant storyteller for decades. I believe you will agree. Also, I should mention additional two self-published authors — Richard Fancy and Linda Cassidy Lewis — who inspired me to risk putting my stories into words on a page.

Richard Fancy, father to another long-time friend, has written a multi-part mystery series featuring Frank Healy, who dreams of becoming a car stylist. Red Crush, the first in the series is set in Detroit, the global machine of the auto industry in the 1960s. It is a timely read considering the return of intense labor and racial conversations taking place in our country and around the globe.

I discovered Linda Cassidy Lewis soon after transferring my blog to WordPress at the start of 2011. Her book, Brevity of Roses, captivated me from the moment I turned on my Kindle. I couldn’t turn away until I finished the story at 3:00 am the next day. Her blog, Out of My Mind, helps aspiring authors stay the course on becoming published. It is an empathetic read full of tips, real-life experiences, and inspiration.

Finally, I believe it is important for those participating in the NaNoWriMo to help each other along. After all, 50k is no small feat. Fellow participant, Pat Bean, makes me smile with her daily NaNoWriMo posts; and makes me feel as though I’m in good company.

Related Posts…

Chincoteague Island and NaNoWriMo Update 

Write Tunes and 7036 Words to Boot  

NaNoWriMo day 4, so far so good