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?

 

Take My Advice by Tristi Pinkston

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What if the answers to life aren’t always black and white?

Jill Reed thinks she knows it all, and as the advice columnist for her high school newspaper, she gets to share her wisdom on a weekly basis. She handles questions about everything from dating to choosing the right nail polish, and with the exception of a few bullies, everyone respects her opinion.

But when life throws her some curves she can’t handle, she realizes she knows a whole less than she thought she did, and she’ll need to ask others for their advice so she can make it through.

File Size: 485 KB
Print Length: 129 pages
Publisher: Trifecta Books (November 24, 2015)
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
ISBN-10: 0996624627
ISBN-13: 978-0996624626

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Tristi Pinkston is the author of over forty-five books in various genres and under multiple pen names. She’s the owner of Trifecta Books, has worked as a freelance editor for over ten years, and presents at writing conferences up and down the Wasatch Front. Her novel Secret Sisters was awarded with a Silver Quill by the League of Utah Writers. When she’s not editing or writing (well, let’s face it—she’s always editing or writing), Tristi enjoys watching good movies and taking really long naps. She lives with her patient husband, four highly intelligent children, and one cute little dog in the Rocky Mountains. You can learn more about her at www.tristipinkston.com.

Colonial Comics Edited by Jason Rodriguez

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Colonial Comics is a graphic novel collection of true stories about the colonial period in New England.These illustrated stories focus on tales you cannot find in history books. Includes stories about free thinkers, Pequots, Jewish settlers, female business owners and dedicated school teachers, whales and livestock, slavery and frontiers, and many other aspects of colonial life.

Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 4 and up
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing (October 28, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1938486307
ISBN-13: 978-1938486302

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Cover Reveal: Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer

 

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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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Free EBook: The Place of Voices by Lauren Lynch

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Anna is devastated by a fire that leaves her orphaned. Brendan struggles with a life limited by crippling illness. Tzutz Nik faces an arranged marriage to the prince of a ruthless dynasty. A mysterious invitation gives them each an opportunity to escape their struggles for a while and view their lives from new perspectives.

Deep in a remote jungle, amid long-forgotten ancient ruins, three unlikely time travelers collide. In the shadows, a relentless evil presence lurks, threatening to lead them astray. Will they triumph over their adversary or be trapped in his web of lies? Sometimes it takes a journey through time to learn the true meaning of sacrifice.

File Size: 1747 KB
Print Length: 260 pages
Publication Date: June 27, 2014
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00LCN212O

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Interview with J. L. Clark, Author of The Avalon Relics: Lilith Links

J.L. ClarkDr. Jennifer Yen Clark, or J.L. Clark, began her writing career in the fourth grade, when her teacher took the detective story she wrote and turned it into a short printed book as a gift to her. The encouragement of her teacher, as well as her love for reading and telling stories, kept her writing about the worlds that existed in her imagination. In her young adult years, J.L. began writing short stories, poetry, and fan-fiction starring strong and intelligent girls and women. J.L. was recently inspired to write The Avalon Relics after being introduced to several young adult series that depicted weak heroines and unhealthy relationships. Recalling her own young adult reading experience and the dearth of relatable heroines, she set out to create a series of books that would not only engage and entertain, but offer a refreshing and empowering take on fictional heroines.

J.L. Clark resides in Houston, Texas with her family. She splits her time between academia and private practice, specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Health Medical School, and a clinical assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Outside of work, she is continually contributing to her body of work, posting short stories and fan-fiction on social media outlets for enjoyment.

Her latest book is the YA fantasy, The Avalon Relics: Lilith Links.

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Where did you grow up?

I moved a lot as a child.  I was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and lived there with my family and extended relatives until I was just shy of eight.  I then immigrated to the United States with my parents, and lived briefly in Chicago, Richardson, and finally, Plano, Texas.

When did you begin writing? 

I started writing in the fourth grade, after a wonderful teacher of mine began encouraging me to express my imagination through words.  After I had gifted her a short mystery story to show my appreciation, she came back with a printed copy for me to keep, and read it to the class.  

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

I have a full time job as a doctor, so I do pretty much write at night, or on the weekends when I have downtime.  Sometimes if the story is begging to be told, I will sneak in some sentences between patients!

What is this book about? 

This book follows the life of Sophia Bennett, a young woman who discovers on her eighteenth birthday that there is a hidden world inhabited by half-fairy, half-human beings called faeids.  She is quickly drawn into an ancient battle between good and evil through a series of shocking events, and ends up joining forces with a group of faeids trying to save their realm from the Dark Ones.  Along the way, Sophia discovers that everything she thought she knew about her life was wrong, and must come to terms with who she really is. 

What inspired you to write it?Lilith Links 2 

I love to read, and when the surge in YA books began several years ago, I read them just like everyone else.  Although the stories were very entertaining, it bothered me that there were so many lead female characters that were one-dimensional, flat, and helpless.  For those that started out the story with a perfect life, they make poor decisions that jeopardize themselves.  For those who start out struggling, they found their happy ending only after getting involved with someone.  Very few of these characters were realistic, like the teenagers that I see every day at work, and rarely did any of them grow without the help of someone else.  I really wanted to write a story that resonated with my readers, with characters that were fundamentally flawed but real, and take them on a journey that would allow them to come into their own and become empowered and confident.  I especially wanted to make sure that I had strong female leads who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, but at the same time fall on their face and have to pick themselves back up.  Strength comes from being able to recognize what you’ve done wrong and learning from it, and I want my readers to know that it’s okay to make a mistake without being a bad person. 

Who is your favorite character from the book? 

I would have to say Sophia, because she is the girl I would have loved to have been when I was a teenager.  She might not start out as the person she wants to be, but she overcomes challenges and learns from her mistakes as she grows into her own. 

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

I self-published these two books, but I am now working with an agent to get them into the hands of traditional publishers.  It’s definitely been quite a learning experience, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  If nothing else, I can say that I scratched off a bucket list item and have books to show for it!

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

I think the only thing I would consider changing is to possibly split Lailan Crown into two books.  It is already quite long as is, but I feel like I left out so much rich backstory behind the characters that you meet along the way.  Maybe one day in the future, I’ll rework it and give my readers a peek into their lives.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book? 

The first two books in The Avalon Relics series, Lilith Links and Lailan Crown, are available in print or eBook on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (online store only).  You can also get the eBooks from Google Play. 

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

We will be working on that soon!  If you want to know about it first, make sure you connect with me via a social media outlet!

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

I have to say that investing in my agent has been the best decision in promoting my book.  It is a tough situation to be a self-published author, and having someone who knows the ropes and can make the connections really helps.  Having an agent who genuinely believes in you and your work gives you a powerful ally who will advocate for you.

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

I get asked a lot about how to start writing your own book.  I find that it’s really helpful to start with a character.  Imagine what you want that character to be like: their appearance, their personality, and their quirks.  Once you have that character in mind, think about where they came from, what their family is like, who are their friends, and what is going on in their lives.  Once you start thinking about those things, a story may unfold in front of your eyes and take you to down the path to your book!

What is up next for you?

I have a lot going on!  I am about to start work on book three, entitled Amulet of Morgana, which will pick up where Lailan Crown left off.  I am so excited for my readers to see the final product, which I promise will be just as exciting, if not more, than the last two books.  I also am collaborating with a local gaming company here in Houston to author a series of origin storybooks for their newest tabletop game, Fairytale Games: Battle Royale.  I will be providing all the backstories for their characters, as well as providing the dialogue and storyboarding for the mobile RPG they will be developing from the same game.  As a sneak peek, I am also toying with a dystopian science fiction YA series idea that has been banging around in my head recently.  So much to do, so little time, and I can’t wait for all of you to be part of it!

 

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