Interview with John Calicchia, Author of Mirror World

John Calicchia

John Calicchia writes stories of fantasy, action and adventure. In the fall of 2015 his book Mirror World was released! It’s a story of two powerful young sisters and their epic battle against evil. But, this book has something in it most do not: hidden secrets. It’s a teen and young adult fiction book with a self-help book hidden inside. You see… after publishing in psychology books and journals for decades Dr. C. felt his writing was not helping the young people he loves to work with. So, he took famous psychology studies and put it in the characters and plots in Mirror World to help with real life issues. As you become part of the story you can learn about psychology or you can just enjoy the tale!

John Calicchia Ph.D. is a professor of psychology who also works with children and young adults as a licensed psychologist. He lives near Boston with his lovely wife and two amazing daughters. You can usually find him in the pool swimming with his two big dogs.

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Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Rhode Island, the Ocean State.

When did you begin writing?

I wrote my first story in sixth grade, and the class loved it and laughed so hard, I was asked to be the first one to read my stories for the rest of the year – motivation for an aspiring writer?

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Usually mornings are best, but when I am in the flow it can go on all day long. The rest of the time I’m writing this story in my head endlessly.

What is this book about?

What would you do if you saw the future apocalypse of the world in a mirror? Would you try to save the world and those you love, or die trying?
Welcome to my life, this is the vision of the future I’ve been cursed to see.
– Cailyssa Larkin

Cailyssa hates mirrors because someone evil is staring back at her from the other side.  One day, she gazes into a mirror and sees a dark future that only she can change. With the future of her own world hanging in the balance, Cailyssa bravely enters the portal to the Mirror World. Here, the Dark Lord controls all the mirrors and bends reflections so all creatures see evil within themselves. With her sister Terry, her mysterious best friend Daemon, and a host of weird and wonderful creatures, Cailyssa embarks on an epic quest to overcome the evil forces trying to destroy her world. She can only defeat the Dark Lord by finding her true self and discovering the family secret that has led her to Mirror World.

What inspired you to write it?

I was always disappointed in science fiction and fantasy books because of a lack of strong female lead characters. Before Katniss Everdean and Tris Prior, few books or movies ever featured a strong female in the lead role.  I love the fact that my book is told from the first-person perspective and has two exceptionally strong female lead characters, who of course also have their vulnerabilities. I also have two wonderful daughters that are exceptionally inspiring as I watch them continue on their way to developing into strong, young, and capable women.Mirror World

Who is your favorite character from the book?

It depends on what day you ask me, but for today it’s Terry. She’s Cailyssa’s sister and a ton of crazy fun, with wings like an angel and 12 inch razor-sharp blades that come out of her knuckles she takes on any evil foe! But like all superheroes,  she has hidden weaknesses.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Both.  I was able to dictate the whole book using Dragon Naturally Speaking so the first draft went remarkably quickly.  The revision process and the multiple levels of editing took a long time!

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Use as many beta readers as possible, and get ARC’s out earlier.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Follow me and you can also get a free copy of the users guide to help you understand the psychology behind the book by joining my website www.johncalicchia.com

twitter: @jacalicchia

youtube: https://youtu.be/8ezO9nWm9UY

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Time will tell.  I’m hoping it’s the current book tour!

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write what you love and you will love what you write ( and some other people will too)

What is up next for you?

The Users Guide for Mirror World is almost finished.  It has the secrets to where the psychology  studies are hidden in the book. You can get more information at my website or my blog.

There will be two more books in the Mirror World series. The next book Angelus starts literally in Hell with a dark angel being tortured for failing to destroy Cailyssa Larkin. Cailyssa has returned from Mirror World and is trying to finish her senior year in high school, when she discovers the war of the Angels she became involved in has followed her home. The Angels in this book are not what you think of in pictures or the Bible.  Angels have been living among us and walking the earth for thousands of years – you probably even know a couple – hopefully they’re not the evil ones.

Here’s a biblical quote that starts off the book:

His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And Lucifer stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.

After the Mirror World Series I have plans for a psychological thriller PSYOPS which is a dystopian world in which the government and the military control dreams through neuroscience and psychology.

I better get writing!!!!!

Is there anything you would like to add?

I hope my book is a somewhat unique stamp. First of all I hope it’s a fun and exciting story that entertains you. But I know as a  professor that the psychology studies hidden in the plot are very helpful for people’s lives. So I really hope it’s a wonderful tale, that has a free self-help book hidden in the narrative. Please get a copy of the users guide at my website after you read it and you’ll know what I’m talking about. In the meantime, read the book and keep guessing about the psychology behind it!

Warm Regards,

John

For More Information

  • Mirror World is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

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Wrapping Up Harry Potter

Well, I did it. I finished the Harry Potter series last month. It was tough to see it end because I had spent the past several months listening to the books in my car hp1as I drove back and forth from appointments. Music just isn’t cutting it for me anymore.

I purposefully held off on reviewing each book as I read it because there isn’t much new that can be said. Even if there was, almost everyone has heard of or read this wildly popular series, so it seemed superfluous. What I will do, however, is share my thoughts on what I liked about each book and if there is anything that niggled at me.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sets the stage for all that will follow. We meet many of the important characters who will remain throughout the series or will perish in the war against Lord Voldemort. By making Harry a sympathetic character from the start, J.K. Rowling gave readers someone to care about. He lost his parents; he’s being mistreated by his relatives; once he gets to Hogwarts where he is wildly famous and his life should improve, he struggles with his lack of magical knowledge and is despised by Draco Malfoy and seen as a younger version of his arrogant father by Professor Snape.

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In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets a diary is discovered that ends up being part of the plot through to the final book of the series and is crucial in Lord Voldemort’s defeat. This indicates Rowling may have done serious pre-plotting before putting pen to paper. As the story unfolds, Ginny Weasley becomes more of a sympathetic character than Harry because she is fooled by Tom Riddle (Voldemort) and possessed, putting Harry and the others at risk. We also see a very important plot point begin to develop: the hatred of Voldemort and his followers for half-bloods and Muggles.

When it comes to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we meet another new character. As the story comes closer to the end, wehp3 hope that Harry will have just a tiny bit of happiness and not have to endure another summer with his Muggle relatives who mistreat him. There is a definite theme of salvation running through the third book: the possible saving of Harry from the Dursleys, the saving of Sirius Black from the Dementor’s kiss, the saving of BuckBeak who has been sentenced to death, and in some ways Hermoine being saved from overworking herself in an effort to be the best at everything. This book also reveals who truly betrayed James and Lily Potter, leading to their deaths.

hp4Some of these books don’t actually begin with Harry. Book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is one of them. It’s a nice change of pace and indicates how Rowling worked to keep the series fresh and engaging for readers. We haven’t said much about Quidditch yet, but that is the game Harry has a natural talent for (discovered in Book 1), so this helps to balance that his magic might not be up to par with that of other students. Rowling uses the Quidditch World Cup to introduce another important character: Cedric Diggory. Cedric will end up competing in the Triwizard  Tournament, which hasn’t been held for over 200 years. This brings students and staff from other schools to Hogwarts. This is the book were Lord Voldemort is resurrected by Harry’s blood and what truly begins the war in earnest because the current Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge does not believe Harry and Professor Dumbledore (Hogwarts Headmaster) that Voldemort has returned. Parents, students, and the wizarding community must choose who and what to believe.

How many people loved Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix but despised it at the same time? I know it brought out that reaction in me. So much hp5injustice takes place in this novel at the hands of Dolores Umbridge and the Ministry of Magic that at times it was hard not to scream or throw something against the wall. And for anyone who thought that Harry and Sirius would end up finding a nice cottage to live out their days once this whole war was over, they were dealt a crushing blow thanks to Bellatrix Lestrange. This is also the book where Dumbledore explains the prophecy to Harry that has brought him to Hogwarts and will eventually lead to his final showdown with Lord Voldemort.

In certain books, we learn more about other characters than Harry. That is true in books six and seven, where the history of Dumbledore and Tom Riddle a.k.a. Lord Voldemort unfolds. Book 6 is also one that doesn’t begin with Harry. Instead, the reader sees Professor Snape hp6in a meeting with Narcissa Malfoy, where he takes an unbreakable vow to protect and assist Draco in the mission Lord Voldemort has entrusted to him. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince also finds Harry given a mission of his own that will unfold in the final book. It is in this book that we learn how important the diary Ginny Weasley found in the third book is to Voldemort and his plan for immortality.

Then in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows best friends Harry, Hermoine, and Ron risk everything to bring down Voldemort. In order to do that, they set out on their own, learn more about Dumbledore’s past, infiltrate the Ministry of Magic, are captured and held prisoner at Malfoy Manor, secretly enter Hogwarts, and witness tragedy strike Snape who had been installed by Voldemort as the Headmaster at Hogwarts. It isn’t until Snape shares his memories with Harry that he truly understands what fulfilling his destiny means.

What I enjoyed most about these books is how they blended everyday things like relationship issues, coping with tragedy, love, family and friendship while harryexploring a magical world. These books also tackled controversial topics like prejudice. I loved how with each book Rowling upped the ante, so you had intense moments throughout each book, but the series as a whole slowly built up the dramatic face off between Harry and Voldemort.

I don’t believe I am alone, however, in being a bit let down by the epilogue. I am okay with vagueness, but I felt too much time had passed. There is also the matter of Draco and Harry. While I don’t believe they would ever be friends, I wanted to see a little bit more about how their relationship evolved after the Dark Lord’s defeat.

Have you read the Harry Potter series? What were some of your favorite parts? Is there anything you didn’t care for?

 

Cover Reveal: Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer

 

SACRIFICE KEMMERER

Publisher: Kensington Teen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Ebook/Paperback

One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.

Michael Merrick is used to pressure.

He’s the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it out for his family, and he’s all that stands in the way.

His girlfriend, Hannah, gets that. She’s got a kid of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could end her life without a moment’s notice.

But there are people who have had enough of Michael’s defiance, his family’s “bad luck.” Before he knows it, Michael’s enemies have turned into the Merricks’ enemies, and they’re armed for war.

They’re not interested in surrender. But Michael isn’t the white flag type anyway. There will be blood on the ground tonight…

 

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Brigid KemmererBrigid Kemmerer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, and several stops in between, eventually settling near Annapolis, Maryland. Brigid started writing in high school, and her first real “novel” was about four vampire brothers causing a ruckus in the suburbs. Those four brothers are the same boys living in the pages of The Elemental Series, so Brigid likes to say she’s had four teenage boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years. (Though sometimes that just makes her sound nuts.)

Brigid writes anywhere she can find a place to sit down (and she’s embarrassed to say a great many pages of The Elemental Series were written while sitting on the floor in the basement of a hotel while she was attending a writers’ conference). Most writers enjoy peace and quiet while writing, but Brigid prefers pandemonium. A good thing, considering she has three boys in the house, ranging in age from an infant to a teenager.

While writing STORM, it’s ironic to note that Brigid’s personal life was plagued by water problems: her basement flooded three times, her roof leaked, her kitchen faucet broke, causing the cabinet underneath to be destroyed by water, the wall in her son’s room had to be torn down because water had crept into the wall, and her bedroom wall recently developed a minor leak. Considering SPARK, book 2 in the series, is about the brother who controls fire, Brigid is currently making sure all the smoke detectors in her house have batteries.

Brigid loves hearing from people, and she probably won’t refer to herself in the third person like this if you actually correspond with her. She has a smartphone surgically attached to her person nearby at all times, and email is the best way to reach her. Her email address is brigidmary@gmail.com.

Visit her at http://www.brigidkemmerer.com/

 

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Diego’s Dragon, Book Two: Dragons of the Dark Rift by Kevin Gerard

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Filled with adventure, Diego’s Dragon, the second book in the Dragons of the Dark Rift series will captivate young readers.

With the fifth sun promising a time of peace for all creatures, the Sol Dragones and their leaders eagerly await the new age; but Vipero wants to alter the ancient prophecy by eliminating the Sol Dragones, which would endanger Diego’s world. Guides, Diego and Rachel travel with their dragons to the Dark Rift to battle Vipero’s immense army, the fate of earth hanging in the balance.

Middle grade readers will enjoy this exciting tale of dragons, ancient prophecy, and a human guide that must learn to harness his powers to fight effectively. Whenever there is a story with an epic battle, getting to know the characters is important to understanding the desires of both sides and being able to root for one side to triumph. Kevin Gerard did a fine job of creating his characters and the world in which they live in order to make that happen. The affection between and Magnifico and Estrella was heartwarming, while the dedication of Mr. Sullivan and Magnifico to training Diego is admirable. They, along with Rachel (Estrella’s guide), make a fabulous team.

While the opening of Diego’s Dragon didn’t capture me right away, I was swiftly caught up in the story and racing to its satisfying conclusion. I’m eager to see what happens next.

Rating: :) :) :) :)

Series: Diego’s Dragon
Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Crying Cougar Press; 2 edition (April 6, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0985980249
ISBN-13: 978-0985980245

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I received a digital copy of this book from the author through, Mother Daughter Book Reviews. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

How a Historical Hero Can Inspire Young Readers by Fiona Ingram, Author of The Search for the Stone of Excalibur

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Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur. However, their long-standing enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Time is running out as the confluence of the planets draws closer. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why did Aunt Isabel send a girl with them?

Join Justin and Adam as they search not only for the second Stone of Power, but also for the Scroll of the Ancients, a mysterious document that holds important clues to the Seven Stones of Power. As their adventure unfolds, they learn many things and face dangers that make even their perils in Egypt look tame. And how annoying for them that their tag-along companion, Kim, seems to have such good ideas when they are stumped. Book extras include some historical background on King Arthur, the Dark Ages, warfare and weaponry during Arthur’s time, and details on Excalibur. A fascinating peek into the life and times of the real King Arthur, perfect for young time travelers and budding archaeologists.

For More Information

  • The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Find out the latest on the book at Facebook.

Guest post: 

How a Historical Hero Can Inspire Young Readers by Fiona Ingram

I’ve always been fascinated with the figure of King Arthur, so much so that when the idea popped into my head to use Excalibur, and thus King Arthur, in Book 2: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, I couldn’t have been more pleased. Before I began my serious research, I had always thought of King Arthur as a kind of hazy figure who was mostly legend. To my surprise, I found enough information to pinpoint Arthur as a historical figure, a Dark Ages king, a Briton who lived and fought around AD 500. Arthur’s biggest achievement in history was turning the tide of the Anglo-Saxon advance at the Battle of Badon in AD 516, keeping Britain safe for the next fifty years. Starting around AD 700, references to Arthur and his brave exploits on the battlefield began to emerge and have continued to the present day.

Even in his own time, Arthur’s name became synonymous with heroic deeds, bravery, and victory on the field of battle. The half-mythical, half-historic nature of the original Arthurian legends developed with the retelling of the tales. With Arthur’s name becoming increasingly more mythologised, it was perhaps inevitable that with the advent of the first ‘fiction’ writing (around the twelfth century) that Arthur would appear in an even more heroic light than before. Following Arthur’s death at the Battle of Camlann (AD 535), his fame spread all over Europe. The Arthurian stories journeyed with merchants and other travelers from country to country, from city to city, from monastery to monastery, and from one royal court to another. The idea of chivalry emerged. This new code emphasized that one should live and conduct oneself with honor, courtesy, and bravery.

Why, centuries later, is the figure of Arthur still so important? Arthur is important to us because he appears as the ideal of kingship during both peace and war. He stands for all that is true and good in a leader. He became a conquering hero, a champion of peace and justice, a king of kings. This is the kind of hero that will appeal to young readers, and perhaps inspire them to emulate King Arthur, to be someone who ‘does the right thing,’ and stands head and shoulders above the rest just because he knows what makes a hero. Being a hero can encompass many things; it’s about standing up for what you believe in; defending someone who is weaker or who may be being bullied at school; making sure you treat people and animals with respect, love, compassion, and that you show the qualities of a young knight of the Round Table. A young reader can easily become a hero to his family, friends, and community by following the ideals that make a good, caring and responsible person.FionaIngram-794310

Fiona Ingram was born and educated in South Africa, and has worked as a full-time journalist and editor. Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and legends, and her enjoyment of travel has resulted in the multi award winning The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—Chronicles of the Stone. Fiona has just published the second book entitled The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, a treat for young King Arthur fans. She is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

For More Information

Read my review of The Search for the Stone of Excalibur here.

Read my review of the first book in the series, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab here.

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The Adventures of Princess Janai and the Warrior Maidens of Quinu: The Cities of Tonga and Tongia by Sherel Ott

book coverAll Janai wants is to be just like everyone else. Being the Princess and having to try out for the Warrior Maidens is just part of her problems. She has the present Warrior leader unhappy with the fact that she is trying out, because that means her time is almost up and she enjoys her “status” too much to give it up without a fight. Not to mention someone just froze two of her guards into living statues with the fabled Mist Flowers of Tonga. Now she and a small group of warriors must travel to a forbidden city and obtain the antidote before the two guards are lost forever…all in 24 hours. Is she capable? Will she make it in time?

Where to Purchase:
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Princess-Janai-Warrior-Maidens-ebook/dp/B00NF0P994/

Giveaway:

1st Prize: $50 Amazon.com gift certificate and signed copy of The Adventures of Princess Janai and the Warrior Maidens of Quinu: The Cities of Tonga and Tongia
2nd Prize: $25 Amazon.com gift certificate and signed copy of The Adventures of Princess Janai and the Warrior Maidens of Quinu: The Cities of Tonga and Tongia
3rd Prize: $10 Amazon.com gift certificate and signed copy of The Adventures of Princess Janai and the Warrior Maidens of Quinu: The Cities of Tonga and Tongia

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An eclectic collector of animation movies, Sherel Ott is a writer of fantasy and romance stories. One day while watching an animated movie, she noticed that DSC_1557 Headshot2athere weren’t a lot of movies or books with girls of color in leading roles…as heroines, adventurers or with strong moral characters and wondered… Where were the influential leaders, doctors, lawyers or royalty of color? Why weren’t there any strong black female characters where a girl of color could be proud of her skin color and the type of person representing and say … “I want to be like her!” Wanting something more for her own nieces to look up to and strive to emulate, other than what girls of color were currently being portrayed as or should settle for is how her book initially took form. She wanted to show that there are black princesses, warriors, adventurers of all walks of life. That she should be and can be recognized for what she does and who her true self is, not be prejudged by what color her skin was.

As a fan of all fantasy, magical, mystical, celestial and other worldly creatures, Sherel began reading sci-fi/fantasy stories at a young age.

“I have always been a sci-fi and fantasy type of person. I always felt as a child that I belonged in those types of worlds rather than here. Reading them had always been my way of escaping from my shyness as a child.” Sherel Ott. She had started collecting fairies of all types and now has a mini collection of collectible faery ornament to decorate her Christmas tree every year.

Sherel creates her stories first by writing them out and then typing them on the computer. She feels she gets her inspiration greatest when she writes and from nature itself. She strives to present her stories in a way that anyone can relate and identify with no matter how old or young…with a little fun, a little action/adventure, yet with a hidden message. Writing since the age of 14, her first published book–Adventures of Princess Janai and the Warrior Maidens of Quinu: The Cities of Tonga and Tongia — brings a story of strong African American females. It’s an adventure series particularly geared towards girls, although boys will also find it an enjoyable read.

When Sherel is not writing, she is working as a full-time Family Nurse Practitioner and has been so for the past 17 years. She presently resides in Felton, DE.

Social Links:

Webpage: http://www.sherelott.com/

Facebook:  Sherel Ott Author

Twitter:  @SherelOttAuthor

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Okay, Harry Potter Fans, I Get It

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It seems crazy to try and write a standard review for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone because it is so well known. So, here is how my introduction to the Harry Potter series came about and my admission that it is definitely a worthy read.

For many years now, I’ve avoided the Harry Potter series. Not because I had anything against it, but because I won’t read wildly popular books/series. I’m not much of a follower. My son had read the books when they first came out, but neither daughter expressed much interest until it became a reading assignment for the Lil’ Diva.  As I was browsing the library shelves with her a few weeks ago, I discovered an audio version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. So, I figured, what the heck.

After listening to the entire book read by author and voice artist Jim Dale, it’s easy to see why the Harry Potter series took off like it did. Harry is this young orphan boy who is mistreated by the relatives he is forced to live with. He has no memories of his parents, who died when he was a baby; but he does have this nagging scar on his forehead and recollections of a green light.

When Harry finds out that he is a wizard, his entire life changes. Hogwarts is filled with people who admire the one who survived an attack by Lord Voldemort. Draco Malfoy, however, isn’t a big fan and provides some great conflict. With Hermoine Granger as the know-it-all, good girl and Ron Weasley as the dependable best friend, author J.K. Rowling creates a superb and diverse cast of characters for readers to enjoy.

I have to admit I am wholeheartedly looking forward to the next book. Once and for all: I get it!