Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ten Questions with Mayra Calvani

Award-winning author Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. She’s a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books and co-editor of Voice in the Dark ezine. She's had over 300 reviews, interviews, stories, and articles published in print and online. Mayra is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Children's Writer's Coaching Club.

1. Hi, Mayra.  Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I started writing when I was about twelve years old and since then my life has been surrounded by books.  During my teens I wrote short stories, school plays, and even tried my hand at a novel.  Later, I majored in Creative Writing in college.  So yes, writing has always been a part of my life.  I've also had the fortune of living in various countries, something that has influenced my writing.  I've done teaching in the past but now I write fulltime, except for when I do replacement teaching once in a while.  I live in Belgium with my husband, two kids and a loveable golden retriever, Amigo.

2. Describe your desk/workspace.

I have a little office all to myself, with a big desk and bookshelves all around.  I like my desk to stay tidy.  I love office supplies and make sure I always have a surplus supply of them.  I sit on a leather swivel chair.  I keep an exercise mat nearby and sometimes take breaks to do situps or stretching exercises.  My neck and shoulders tend to get very stiff when I write.

3. Do you have a favorite quote?

"Writing is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.  One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand." -- George Orwell

4. What is the best advice you've ever received?

"Leap, and the net will appear."

5. If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why?

Fun question!  I think that would have to be either Sherlock Holmes or Lestat, both fascinating characters in their own way.

6. What are your top three favorite books and why?

The Stranger, by Albert Camus; The Awakening, by Kate Chopin; and Come Closer, by Sara Gran.  I love them because they're short and very powerful.

7. What was your favorite book as a child and why?

That's a tough one.  I didn't like to read as a child.  It wasn't until I was about 11 that I discovered Agatha Christie and from that moment on I was hooked.  So I went straight into books for adults.  I didn't read any books for kids for pleasure, except for the ones that teachers assigned at school, which were incredibly boring!  It takes one special book or author to get a kid hooked on reading and that author for me was Christie.  I just loved the way I had to keep wondering who the real killer was until the end.

8. What are your current marketing strategies for Frederico, the Mouse Violinist?

Besides doing this virtual book tour, doing interviews and requesting reviews from mom and kidlit bloggers, I've also contacted music/violin magazines and catalogs.  One of my plans is to go on another VBT later this year where all hosts will be violinists and music teachers.  You have to target your niche market, right?

9. Where can people find your book, Frederico, the Mouse Violinist?

The book is available on Amazon, B&N, and Guardian Angel Publishing.

Link to the publisher:

You can also order the book from any brick and mortar bookstore.

10. Is there anything else you'd lke to share?

I'd like to invite readers to visit my website and blogs at:

Mayra, thank you for stopping by to answer some questions. 


Monday, February 21, 2011

A Review of Frederico, the Mouse Violinist

Frederico, the Mouse Violinist

Written by: Mayra Calvani

Illustrated by: K.C. Snider

Published by: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Picture book for ages 4 - 8.  Available as PDF eBook, eBook CD, paperback, and hardcover

Frederico, the Mouse Violinist is a delightful story about a mouse that has a dream of owning a violin and becoming a virtuoso.  Frederico lives in the workshop of violin maker, Antonio Stradivari.  At night, Frederico spends time with the violins and thinking about his dreams.  One day Stradivari begins work on a small mysterious object that he locks in a box at night.  Frederico is curious as to what it could be.  Will Frederico ever find out?

The illustrations, done by K.C. Snider, are simply wonderful and complete this charming story.  At the end of the book, you will find a brief biography about Antonio Stradivari.  You will also find a glossary, and a couple of fun activities.

I would recommend this book for anyone who has a budding musician in their midst, especially anyone interested in playing the violin.  This would make a wonderful addition to any music teacher's classroom.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Stylish Blogger Award

On January 9th I received The Stylish Blogger Award from Ruthi, over at Abitosunshine Love and Writing (  Thank you, Ruthi!  Then on January 30th I received the same award from Joylene, over at Joylene Nowell Butler, author (  Thank you, Joylene!

The terms of the award are to share with you five of my favorite things:

1. Spending time with family and friends
2. Listening to Christmas music in July
3. Finding great deals when grocery shopping
4. Baking
5. Chocolate

Now I pass on The Stylish Blogger Award to the following five bloggers:

1. Karen Cioffi -
2. Jenny Miller -
3. Hilary Melton-Butcher -
4. Vivian Zabel -
5. C.K. Volnek -

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Soups On!

Are you tired of the cold, blustery winter days that seem to have no end in sight? 

Are you finding youself in a cooking rut of what to fix for dinner? 

Do you want to spend less time in the kitchen and more time on **fill in the blank**?  (Keep your post comments clean, please!)

If you answered yes to any of the above, then I have the solution to your problems.

Make soup!

Check out the below links for some easy soup recipes. 

Julie Books -

The Simple Mom -

Don't forget to leave them a comment, so they know you stopped by, and tell them Susanne from PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER sent you.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Writing Contest

Children's Writer Kindergarten Story Writing Contest

Do you like writing for children?  Do you like entering contests?  If you answered yes, then click on the above link to get all the details for the Children's Writer Kindergarten contest. 

The deadline for the Kindergarten story is February 28th!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Book Spotlight - Resurrection Garden

Jake Turner, a scarred veteran of the charge up San Juan Hill, has been a lone drifter through much of the settling of the west.  Opportunity was growing out of the newly turned sod of the North Dakota prairie in 1904 when he stopped to take a part time job as a Deputy Sheriff, expecting to move on again when the dark parts of his past catch up to him.

An investigation into a murder of a man hated by everyone has threads that lead to his best friend, Isaac.  Jake is ambushed and almost killed, but is nursed back to health by Isaac.  While Jake follows the clues into a labyrinth of hatred, sordid crimes and missing money he becomes attached to an eight year old orphaned boy named Andy and falls in love with Isaac's sister, Alice.  After being alone for so long with no hope or care for what tomorrow might bring, Jake finds it difficult to accept these new emotional attachments.

Jake believes in Justice, but before he had only his own life on the line.  When Andy is kidnapped and almost killed, Jake knows the killers will do anything to stop him.  In order to protect Alice and Andy, he must break their hearts and leave them and North Dakota behind.

Jake knows he'll be back.  So do the killers.  Trap and counter trap are laid.  Jake knows there will be graves.  He just doesn't know who will be in them.

The sheriff joined me in my contemplation of the body.  It wasn't pretty.  Thor had never been handsome and the ravages of being frozen under the snow for the winter and having birds and other animals picking away at the skin as the snow thawed and exposed the body made what was left of him downright disgusting.

One thing was evident though.  He hadn't died easy.  Freezing to death is relatively painless.  Wander out in the cold, get lost, fall asleep and don't wake up.  That wasn't what happened to Thor.

"What do you think?  Shotgun, maybe?" the sheriff opined.

"At least," I answered.  The hole in his chest was big enough to put a fist through.  "But why?  He musta been dead already when he was shot."

"Yeah, first someone beat him to a bloody pulp, then gutted him and slashed his throat,  And then shot him.  Ain't that what you said, Doc."

"Looks that way to me," Doc answered.  "Can't tell you much more until he thaws out all the way."

"Somebody wanted him deader than dead," the sheriff shook his head.

"Takes some hate to do all that," Doc commented.  "Got any suspects?"

Doc and the sheriff both turned to face me.

I let out a deep sigh.  "I suppose you want me to find out what happened to him."

Frank Scully was born and raised in a small town in North Dakota and received a Bachelor's degree in History with Phi Beta Kappa Honors and a Juris Doctor degree in Law from the University of North Dakota.  He then served more than five years as a Judge Advocate General Corps Officer in the U. S. Army in the U. S., Vietnam, and Thailand.  After that he attended the prestigious Thunderbird School and received a Masters in Business Administration with honors.  In his professional career he has worked as an executive with large aerospace and defense manufacturers and also owned his own small business.

Depending on the vagaries of the universe he has been well off at times and broke, but never broken, at other times.  Blessed with an understanding wife who gave him twin sons, he has remained through it all a dreamer whose passion is writing stories that will entertain readers.

Resurrection Garden, a mystery novel, is the first of five books Frank has under contract with MuseItUp Publishing.

You can visit Frank's website at

Links where you can purchase your own copy of Resurrection Garden:

MuseItUp Publishing:  ** CLICK HERE **
Amazon:  ** CLICK HERE **


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