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.

For More Information

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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From the Family Bookshelf – January 2016

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Hard to believe a new year is upon us. I hope you all enjoyed the holidays. Instead of the usual From the Family Bookshelf column where I talk about what we’ve read, I’m going to share the books we received for Christmas.

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t get Daddy any books for a present. I bought him some neat toys instead; things that would remind him of his childhood.

I received one book this year: The Christmas Star by Ace Collins. I’ve wanted it for a while now. Christianbook.com had a special offer, so I bought it for myself and had Daddy stick it under the tree.

The Lil’ Diva was happy to receive the entire Harry Potter series, as well as, The Shadowhunter’s Codex. This book is a tie-in to The Mortal Instruments series.

The Lil’ Princess received the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, Old School.

Did you receive any books for Christmas? If so, happy reading!

10 Things You Need to Know About Virtual Book Tours by Dorothy Thompson, Founder of Pump Up Your Book


10 Things You Need to Know About Virtual Book Tours
By Dorothy Thompson, CEO & Founder of
 Pump Up Your Book

By now, most authors know what virtual book tours are or at least have heard of them.  They’re that wonderful marketing tool that should be a must have in every new book’s campaign.  With each new book I write, I’m making a game plan before the book is even published, and a virtual book tour is the first promotional venue on that list.

While most of us know what they are, there are still a few authors who might have heard of them but have no idea what they involve.  I give you my top 10 things you need to know about virtual book tours so you know what to expect.

  1. Virtual book tours are the BEST way to get the MOST online exposure for your book. Not only are you presenting your book–and yourself–to thousands of people, all of your interviews, guest posts and reviews are archived, which means months down the road you’re still selling your book because of that one tour.
  2. Virtual book tours ARE a lot of work. Not only are you searching for the perfect blogs to host you, you are acting as the middle man between you and the blogger unless you are using a paid service, such as Pump Up Your Book, who will do all that work for you.  Even if you do sign up with Pump Up Your Book, there is still work to do–filling out interviews and writing guest posts (unless you choose an all review tour).  Even though it requires a little bit of your time to fill out interviews and write guest posts, it’s well worth it.
  3. You will learn more about your book than you ever did. I had an author tell me that through the interviews and guest posts she had to complete she learned so much about her book, which caught her off guard.  Now, when she is interviewed on radio shows and makes television appearances she is better prepared.
  4. Virtual book tours will build up your author platform.  No matter if you’re a fiction author or a nonfiction author, virtual book tours will build up your author platform using your key search words.
  5. Your reviews are guaranteed. Offline publicists, while they mean well, do it all wrong.  They query a book blogger, make arrangements to send the book, then that’s where it stops.  The review is not a guaranteed thing.  The reviewer can post the review anytime they see fit.  With virtual book tours, your review is guaranteed on a certain date unless the reviewer jumps ship, which rarely happens.  I had an author tell me she signed up with an offline publicist who sent out tons of books, but only one or two reviewers actually came through for them.  That was money lost for the author.  Books don’t come cheap these days, so scheduling a date the reviewer can agree upon guarantees that review will happen.
  6. Many reviewers now take eBooks, which save you money. Thank goodness someone was smart enough to invent a device that automatically loads a book in a few seconds (no waiting to go to the book store anymore, my friend) and makes it fun to read.  When Amazon lowered their price of the Kindle, sales soared and book lovers started talking about getting one.  It opened up a wonderful way to get these books to the book reviewers quickly and less expensively.  Have you noticed how much books are and how much it takes to ship them?  Not saying all reviewers will take eBooks, but as time goes on, most will have an e-reader and might prefer an eBook.
  7. More website hits, more blog hits, more Twitter hits and more Facebook Fan Page hits. All authors should have a website or blog and accounts at Twitter and Facebook.  No matter if you think they’re all a waste of time.  A virtual book tour will definitely give you more hits at all places–as long as your links are in your bio.
  8. Going on a virtual book tour raises your Alexa rankings. What is Alexa?  Alexa measures how well you are doing in the search engines.  When you go on a virtual book tour, your website and blog links are included in every bio (or should be!) whether it be an interview or guest post.  Those are incoming links that Alexa uses to measure your ranking.  The more your website or blog link shows up on other sites, the more valuable your site is to them, and thus, your rankings soar.
  9. You will learn how to sell your book through media exposure. Not all authors take advantage of their interviews and guest posts by gearing them toward their audience, thus luring them to their book and/or website/blog.  I’ve had many authors on tour. The ones who really take the time to make their interviews and guest posts effective selling tools are the ones who profit the most.  The key thing here is to make your audience curious.  One liners, in the case of interviews, may not cut it.  Of course, there are only so many ways you can answer “What’s your book about?” but take your time and get your audience’s curiosity piqued so that they make their way over to your website or your book’s buying link.
  10. Virtual book tours teach you how to connect well with others. There is no better way to learn how to network.  All these wonderful book bloggers who agree to host you are your new friends in your extended network, and they will be there for you the next time you have a book to promote (unless they completely panned it of course).  You’ll also learn how to use the social networks effectively as you study how to get people over to your tour stops with persuasive wording.  Remember to talk to your audience, not at them.

There you have it.  Ten things you need to know about virtual book tours in a nutshell.  If you have a tour coordinator as opposed to setting one up yourself, she will walk you through it so that your tour will be a fun experience for all.  Your book will thank you for it.

Dorothy Thompson is CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book, an award-winning public relations company specializing in online book publicity.  You can visit her website at www.PumpUpYourBook.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pumpupyourbook and Facebook at www.facebook.com/pumpupyourbook.

Writing Goal Planning

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My last post set forth my writing goals, but I know they need to be broken down into smaller chunks to make them more manageable. So here it goes.

Main Goal: Complete Amelia’s Mission by December 31, 2016.

Hard to believe I am giving myself a whole year for this, but spring will be very busy and summer is dedicated to the kids. I love this story and won’t give up on it. Most of my research is done, so writing should go smoothly when I have the time to dedicate to it.

Smaller Goal: Write one chapter a month. Doable since twice a month I need to bring something new to my critique group.

Smaller Goal: Time block one Saturday afternoon to writing. 

Main Goal: Continue to attend critique group twice a month.

We meet at the library the first Monday of the month and at my office the third Monday, so at least I am sure to get one in on a monthly basis. At these meetings I am getting feedback on: A Shepherd’s Journey (Christian fiction), Montezuma’s Revenge (romantic suspense novella), and Searching for Popularity (tween/teen fiction).

Smaller Goal: Time block on my calendar so I don’t put other work in its place.

Main Goal: Edit The Sisterhood.

This was the first full-length novel I finished. It’s women’s fiction, and I feel it has a lot of promise. It just needs a ton of editing. I doubt I would get all the way through it, but even if I got through a quarter of it, that would be progress.

Smaller Goal: Time block one evening a week to edits.

Smaller Goal: Have first half of book edited by May 31, 2016. Honestly not sure right now if this is realistic. Just have to see what the spring brings for real estate and other work.

Have you set any writing goals for yourself this year? How about other goals? Do you break them down so they are more manageable?

Writing Goals for 2016

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Hard to believe it’s that time of year again. Before I get into the goals I am setting for 2016, I would like to review what I’ve accomplished in 2015.

Because this was going to be my first full year of working outside the home, I kept my goals simple and few: daily Bible reading, complete editing projects, complete Amelia’s Mission by May 31st, and reconsider my blogging duties. So, how did I make out?

Daily Bible reading.

This has gone from being a chapter a day to a verse a day, but at least I am still reading. In addition, I’m working books like The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren into my reading schedule.

Complete editing projects.

I had two large editing projects this year. Both of them worked out well and I was glad to see they both made it to the publishers on time.

Complete Amelia’s Mission by May 31st.

As I mentioned in July when I last updated my goals, this seemed realistic when I set it in January. Then my real estate business took off and writing was pushed aside. I ended 2015 with fourteen closings and five rentals. I currently have three listings and numerous potential sales coming up.

So, where does that leave poor Amelia?

With thirteen chapters completed, I haven’t touched the manuscript since July. Not that I haven’t been doing some writing, it’s just on other projects and not as much as I would like. I have, however, regularly attended our critique group meetings, so that means I always need to have something to bring with me.

GOALS FOR 2016

I need to remain realistic in setting my goals for 2016. I’m thinking the amount of time dedicated to writing will be the same or less than it was this year. In addition, I want to make sure to keep some balance between my personal and professional lives. Kids are only little so long. My girls are already in middle school and high school.

Complete Amelia’s Mission by December 31, 2016. 

Hard to believe I am giving myself a whole year for this, but spring will be very busy and summer is dedicated to the kids. I love this story and won’t give up on it. Most of my research is done, so writing should go smoothly when I have the time to dedicate to it.

Continue to attend critique group twice a month.

We meet at the library the first Monday of the month and at my office the third Monday, so at least I am sure to get one in on a monthly basis. At these meetings I am getting feedback on: A Shepherd’s Journey (Christian fiction), Montezuma’s Revenge (romantic suspense novella), and Searching for Popularity (tween/teen fiction). 

Edit The Sisterhood.

This was the first full-length novel I finished. It’s women’s fiction, and I feel it has a lot of promise. It just needs a ton of editing. I doubt I would get all the way through it, but even if I got through a quarter of it, that would be progress.

 

What is not under my control?

My publisher has two of my picture books under contract. They’ve had them for a while, but are awaiting available illustrators to work on them. My hope is Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving will be out next fall, but we’ll have to see. I don’t think Amos Faces His Bully will be out until 2017 or later.

That’s it for me. Have you set your writing goals for 2016 yet? Feel free to share them.

 

Seasonal Titles from 4RV Publishing

Josephs Cradle cover 300 dpi

Joseph and his wife, Mary, expect a baby. With all that is happening, including the government requiring a census, Joseph feels a little overwhelmed and a bit left out of the preparations for the baby. Is there something he can do?

Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: 4RV Children’s Corner (October 23, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1940310342
ISBN-13: 978-1940310343

Purchase here!

 

Strangers in the Stable by Jim Laughter promo
The narrator wonders, “Hundreds of tents are pitched in that field nearby. Why would anyone go camping on a winter day such as this?” So begins a night she and her stable mates would never forget. The words created by Jim Laughter and the illustrations that bring his words to life will be a book readers will not easily forget.

Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC (September 12, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0983274032

Purchase here!

The First Miracle by LA Willis

A blind cat witnesses the first miracle.

Reading level: Ages 6-12
Paperback: 28 pages
Published: Nov. 12, 2009
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982588607
ISBN-13: 978-0982588604

Purchase here!

Front cover Tumbleweed Christmas

Christmas is the time for miracles, but sometimes, a child must make her own miracle, and one for her siblings.

Reading level: 4 – 8
Paperback: 24 pages
Published: September 1, 2011
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1-9832740-49

Purchase here!

cover wrap.indd

Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who only has one request for Santa, Robert is confused about what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC (December 7, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0985266147
ISBN-13: 978-0985266141

Purchase here!

Blogging at Christian Children’s Authors

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Today is my Friday to post over at the Christian Children’s Authors blog. I’m talking about a controversial Christmas commercial that is creating a stir on social media. You can find my post at http://christianchildrensauthors.com/2015/12/18/new-christmas-advertisement-creates-social-media-stir/