Blog Tour – Mayra Calvani’s “The Luthier’s Apprentice”

Hey there, regular readers. Doing something different today in the form of providing a blog tour stop to help out fellow indie author Mayra Calvani, whose new book The Luthier’s Apprentice is out now.

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Here’s everything you need to know, including where to pick up a copy…

The Luthier’s Apprentice (Violinist Detective Series, Book 1)

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…

When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice.  But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma’s family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him.  And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier’s apprentice…

Genre: YA Fantasy/Mystery

Sound good? Then click the link and grab your print or e-book copy now!

The Luthier’s Apprentice (Violinist Detective Series Book 1)

And now, a little about Ms. Calvani herself:

Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The WriterWriter’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.






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Black Magic Women – 99 Cents!

Just a quick reminder today that the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women is on sale for 99 cents for three days, now through Thursday! Read it and get ready for the release of Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect. The print edition should become available at any time on Amazon, and the Kindle edition is locked for release on September 27, and is now available for pre-order.

Pasts Imperfect – On Sale Next Week!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00009]All the gruntwork is done, now it’s time to unleash the literary kraken: the print edition of Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect will be available next week!

I unfortunately cannot specify a date, because the CreateSpace/Amazon system has to do its thing once I pull the trigger, so it can take up to 24 hours for the book to appear once I give final approval. I expect the print edition will be available as of Wednesday, but that’s approximate.

And remember, if you’re a Kindle owner (or have downloaded the Kindle app to your phone, tablet, or laptop), you can pre-order the Kindle edition right now! Order it today, get it automatically on September 27.

If you need to catch up to be ready for book three, make sure to grab the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women next week when it goes on sale for 99 cents — Tuesday through Thursday only!

Creator Interview: Dean Calusdian

StockingDeadCoverHey, everyone, it’s time for another author interview, but this time around I present to you Dean Calusdian, who recently released his first graphic novel, The Stocking Dead.

Dean, tell everyone a little about yourself.

I’m a freelance artist, playwright, a stage director and filmmaker. I like to try a little bit of everything. My artwork has been on such divergent things from record album covers to olive oil bottles.

The Stocking Dead. What’s it about?

It’s “Night of The Living Dead” meets “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.” On Christmas Eve a zombie plague spreads throughout Christmasville turning the residents into flesh eating fiends, and small band of elves fight to survive.

What was the inspiration for this project?

After years of doing haunted houses, and being known for creepy art, I had tried something new by creating a large walk-through Christmas display. After two years, and the occasional observation that my Christmas display was still more creepy than cute, I decided to try something new. So purely for the fun of it, I started The Stocking Dead. I had no real intention of ever publishing it, it was more of an exercise to just spend several hours drawing every day.

I know you’ve been working on The Stocking Dead for quite a while now. How long did it take you to complete it?

Over three years. At least a year to write and pencil it, another year for inking and a year to color.

Did you do all the art by hand or did you have some digital help?

The pencils and inks were done traditionally on 11x 17 bristol paper, then those were scanned and the coloring was all done in Photoshop.

You’ve employed a rather tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign that’s so far included fake billboards and Stocking Dead pogs. What’s the thinking behind that?

I don’t know if my funky marketing campaign will actually yield sales, but it’s a lot more entertaining for me, than to keep posting “Buy my book! PLEASE!” I’m actually having a great deal of fun creating a campaign that is its own ridiculous (and mostly fictitious) adventure.

I have a really hard time with self-promotion, so inventing “Stocking Dead Central” and their terrible marketing and public relations divisions was much easier for me.

For the print edition, why did you choose to have a large quantity of hard copies printed rather than use a print-on-demand approach?

Unlike a novel that’s completely prose, the on-demand printing costs of a 116 page fully illustrated color graphic novel are super high. It was about an average of $16 a copy, and that’s before any type of mark up. Although I’ll be living with boxes upon boxes of graphic novels, ordering a huge amount of offset print editions was the only way to make it affordable for the consumer. We currently have a cover price of $11.99.

How can people get their hands on a print edition?

Currently you can order it from Amazon, or direct from us at The Kindle version is also currently available (right here: The Stocking Dead). The coolest of comic stores will be carrying it. We’ll also be selling it, along with some of my other artwork at SuperMegaFest in Framingham MA, and RI Comic-Con.

Is this a one-time project, or do you have another graphic novel in your future?

Right now this is a one shot deal, if it’s successful maybe in another three years we’ll do our follow up book…World War X-Mas.

Secret Origins – 99 Cents!

AF CoverHey, kids! Been thinking about jumping on the Action Figures bandwagon but haven’t gotten around to it? Well, now is a great time to fix that, because for three days (today through Thursday) the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins is on sale for 99 cents! Click on the preceding link to read chapters one and two for free, then click on the following link to jump over to and buy Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins!

If you like it, you’ll want to hit Amazon next week when Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women goes on sale for 99 cents, and then you’ll be ready for the release of Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect later this month! You can pre-order AF3 for the Kindle now at Amazon, and it will be delivered automatically on September 27 (print edition release date is still TBA).

Want A Free Signed Copy Of Book Three?

Thought that might get your attention.

Here’s the deal: the big push leading up to the release of Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect begins this week, starting with tomorrow’s three-day $1.99 sale on the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins. Next week Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women will go on-sale, and then book three hits Kindle on September 27 (and you can pre-order that right now).

I’ve decided to further goose the offerings with a special giveaway offer. Now, read the following bit closely, because there are conditions…Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00009]

This contest is open to people who:

  • Read Secret Origins and/or Black Magic Women;
  • Liked the book(s); and
  • Has not yet left a review on or Goodreads

Here’s all you have to do: leave a review, and e-mail the link to your review to (or use the contact form on this site to send the link). The prize is a signed copy of book three!

I’m not going to give away just one signed copy, however; I plan to give away one signed copy for every ten reviews I receive. Winners will be chosen at random from the entries received. I’d love to have at least 100 entries so I can roll my ridiculous d100 to pick winners, because I’m a dork like that.

I suppose some of you have some questions. I’ll answer them here.

What if I’ve already left a review?

Then share this blog post via your favorite social media outlet and help spread the word. Share it, get a screencap of your share, and e-mail that to me as a JPEG. I’ll consider that one entry, as if it were a review, for calculating the number of books I give away.

Why is it only open to people who liked the books?

Well, I don’t understand why someone who didn’t like them would want the next book, but frankly, part of the goal here is to encourage people to leave positive reviews — honestly positive reviews. I’ve sold a lot of copies, but only a tiny percentage of buyers have bothered to leave a review, and reviews are important to independent authors, hence this little incentive. If you didn’t like the books, please don’t bother to enter the contest.

What if I’m not comfortable writing reviews?

Got you covered. Go read this post, which provides some handy hints for writing reviews, then go give it a try. The quality of the review does NOT affect your chances of winning a copy. A star rating and a sincere sentence or two is good enough for me.

Playwright Interview – Scott Kegler

Something a little different today! Instead of a fellow independent author, I present to you an interview with an independent playwright, my friend Scott Kegler, who recently realized a career dream and had his play WHACKED! published by JAC Publishing & Promotions. WHACKED! is also available on

A bit of background: Scott and I met in 2007, when I was on the writing staff for the Connecticut Renaissance Faire and Scott was portraying the Green Knight in that year’s production (you can check out a key scene featuring the Green Knight here). We didn’t really connect as friends until a few years later, when we were both performing in the New England Pirate Faire, and we bonded over our respective statuses as happily married men (which I say without any irony or sarcasm. We both have awesome wives).

Okay, Scott, introduce yourself to the readers, and tell them what else have you done outside of writing this particular play.

I began writing when I was in high school and found that my stories were best told through dialogue. I wrote screenplays and by the time I was through college had almost a hundred different shorts, with only a couple of full length scripts.

I have had the advantage of being able to have performed on the stage and directing for the stage. These opportunities have really helped me have a larger understanding of theater, and how to pace a script.

What are your professional influences? 

My writing style is definitely fast paced and almost always plays within the absurd. I think a lot of this comes from my childhood, and what I watched. While my friends were usually watching Saturday morning cartoons, I was filling my mind with rerun episodes of Whose Line is it Anyway?, MST3K, and Blackadder.

I do enjoy however the styles of comedies from the 30’s and 40’s, where you see these very straight laced protagonists thrown into settings filled with insane, broad characters.

Now, onto WHACKED! What inspired you – or perhaps I should say, what possessed you to write a sex farce?

Poster by Amanda Marie.

Poster by Amanda Marie.

Ha. Well, I was actually in rehearsals for the Scottish Play. Yes, Macbeth. I was backstage with one of my cast members sitting on a couch, and we were talking about comedies. We were talking about the classic sex farce and how they are usually all over the place, and the sex is just a general theme. I commented how it would be interesting to focus on one sex act, and more importantly a socially taboo one. When I made the claim that an entire play about masturbation could be interesting. My friend stated it couldn’t be done. So, I opened my laptop and started while waiting for my cue. The first draft was done in 6 days.

You’ve mentioned that there are some elements in the show that were inspired by real-life people or events. What were those real-life inspirations (feel free to change any names to protect the not-so-innocent)? 

In general, I always have some actor’s voice in mind when I write anything. But with WHACKED, I had one character in particular that was if at the very least a parody of my father. The character David in the play is a combination of both my father, and how I see my own voice in a few decades. The biggest influence for the show being my father’s ability to speak primarily in factoids. I can’t argue with the results.

Most of the show is pretty grounded in reality, but there are bits in the show that are completely over-the-top (Jesus Bill comes to mind). In retrospect, do you wish you’d pulled those wilder moments back a little? Or made the rest of the show crazier? Or are you happy with the balance?

A lot of my comedies depend on the absurd and often the fantastic. So, it was fun to tease the idea of the show going for a “fantastic” ending, only to end up being just another ludicrous turn. Jesus Bill was never an intended part of the show when I set out. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, but I remember just snapping at one point and saying, “The hell with it. Jesus appears in the door way.” Since I am a recovering Catholic, I couldn’t resist bringing Him into this show.

What made you decide to submit this particular play for publication? Did you ever worry it was too risqué or weird to be accepted for publication? 

I think it was the response. I have written a lot of the years, but this show just seemed rocket propelled. At the first table read I had at a local pub, the actors were practically demanding I get this produced. The rest happened pretty quickly.

Chances are some people reading this are familiar with the process of submitting a novel for publication, but what is the process for submitting a play?

The process is similar once the show is a proven commodity. The biggest difference is that almost any publisher/agent would like to see that the show/script has been performed in front of a paying audience.

If you have a script with which you are looking to move forward. I would recommend getting some actors together for a table read, and then getting a location for a stage reading. See what sort of response you get and then pursue a production. Once you have been able to that, you should be able to write your query letters and proceed.

What’s up next for you, writing-wise?

I am putting the queries together for two shows that were produced earlier this year. A full length show and a one act, which are about ready for that next step. I am working with a group on a web series currently as well, which I have gotten through about 3 episodes. I would like to find the time to finish two new works that are written, but needing some edits and reading, but there is this thing I have been involved with since the beginning of July. New baby or something? The wife says he is mine, and she is usually on the up and up. I figure I should raise him either way. You know…for appearances.


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