Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Hello, MB4 fans and friends!

Today we are book bombing Maria DeVivo's wonderful YA fantasy, THE COAL ELF

This means that if you've been waiting to spread the word or buy a copy for yourself, now's the time to do so! We want to push this book all the way to the top of the charts, with your help!

I love the article Maria shared with us below - and I could relate to every single point she made.

Please read further to enjoy a blurb from THE COAL ELF as well as discover more about my fellow Twilight Times author, Maria. Be sure to slide all the way down to the bottom and click on the link to listen to the music written for this book!

Best wishes to all,

Aaron Lazar 

Author Problems

copyright Maria DeVivo, 2013

We've all got problems. No denying - it’s just a plain, straight-up, hardcore fact. I often hear my students lament, “Oh, you wouldn’t understand, that’s a teenage problem.” Or the women in my neighborhood will say “We got (insert your master-planned community name here) problems. Baby cutting teeth and won’t sleep at night? That’s a Mommy Problem. Just spent five hundred dollars to repair the air conditioner when the water heater decides to conk out? That’s a Home Owner’s Problem. It got me thinking about how we as the human race identify with each other. There are so many pockets of common ground, so many ways in which we as a people relate, empathize, and coexist. I thought about all the various “categories” with which I identify myself, and how my identity is shaped through family, friends, colleagues, and yes, community… the writing community.

So, here’s a little “list” that I’ve devised (and if you know me, you know my obsession with lists) that’s specifically directed at my writing community called “Author Problems”! Enjoy.

(In no particular order)

1. Characters who won’t shut up in your head.

2. Condensing a 250+ page novel into the dreaded 1-2 page synopsis.

3. Choosing that perfect name for your character! It's probably more difficult than naming your own flesh and blood child!

4. The QUERY letter. ‘Nuff said.

5. Chapter titles or no chapter titles? – that is the question.

6. Eat something, or continue writing? Go to the bathroom, or continue writing? Go to sleep, or continue writing?

7. Point of View and Tense. 1st or 3rd? Past or present?

8. The word “that.”

9. Time, and the fact that there isn’t enough of it.

10. Separating your real life from your writing life.

11. So many ideas! So many ideas! Which one to write about first?

12. Using music to "set the mood" means something totally different when you're a writer!

13. The gnawing ache in your belly to use adverbs and pretty dialog tags.

14. Playing god with your characters. Sometimes I want to shake them by the shoulders and scream, "don't you know I can kill you in the next sentence?

15. Error messages, corrupted data, blue screens of death. While this is awful for anybody, for an author it could me the death of an entire world! "As if a million voices suddenly cried out in pain and were suddenly silenced..."

16. Dealing with a bad review. I've only gotten a few, but let me tell ya... they absolutely suck. Esp. when they are so vague you can't tell if the person even read the book.

17. Pacing. Having so many ideas, so many pieces to the puzzle, and making them fit in a way that is fluid and appropriate to the story.

18. Having to work. Do you know how much writing I could accomplish if I didn't have to work a day job??? Sheesh...

Ember Skye is a fed up teenage Coal Elf with a big ashy chip on her shoulder. Having been torn away from a carefree life and forced into a world of dirt and darkness has started to get the best of her. And being the only girl-elf working as a coal miner at the North Pole doesn’t help much either!

Then there’s Sturd: a power-hungry, twisted elf with a checkered past and a serious grudge against Ember. Slowly but surely, his maniacal tendencies are revealed, leaving Ember with the sacred “Naughty List” literally in her lap.

When a mysterious illness threatens to decimate elves both Above and Underground, Ember is thrust into a journey that will see her confront the literal and figurative demons of her past and lead her to the head of the North Pole himself.

Yes! Santa is real. But this isn’t your childhood Christmas tale!

"...A story with plenty of twists and turns, the reader is drawn into a world of dust and darkness with tension so strong it can be felt throughout. You will hold your breath at the challenges Ember must face and be pulled along as the plot thickens." ~ Anne K. Edwards, author of The Last to Fall
“The teenage protagonist of Maria DeVivo's debut novel, The Coal Elf, published by Twilight Times Books, November 2012, got screwed by "the Boss" of the North Pole. Imagine having your wonderful life and future destroyed when, instead of receiving the job assignment to make toys or bake cookies for a living, you were thrust into a gloomy, underground life of mining coal for the children on the naughty list. Ember Skye stole my heart from the first page as DeVivo describes her life as a Coal Elf and sets up the conflict and her epic battle with the antagonist, Sturd, a despicable, nasty elf who embodies evil.

Throw this conflict, these and a handful of other memorable characters into an incredibly creative North Pole setting, and you have a story that I could not put down. What I particularly enjoyed was DeVivo's portrayal and extension of Christmas with her creation of a detailed fantasy world where we learn how the North Pole might actually work. This awesome setting is expertly woven into the story so that I was transported into this amazing world as I read.

Do yourself a favor and read The Coal Elf--I highly recommend it. This is one of those books that should be made into a movie (Tim Burton are you listening?). Great characters, engaging plot, believable dialog, wonderful setting and, above all, writing that compelled me to keep turning the pages (that's what we all really want as readers, right?).” ~Daniel Springer, author of the award-winning The Wilco Project

Connect with DeVivo:

Author Bio
Maria DeVivo is a New York native who has had a lifelong love affair with "the pen." A graduate of St. John's University, she has a passion for all things mystical and mythological. She has taught 7th grade Language Arts since 2000, and in 2010, designed the curriculum for an academic elective course entitled Folklore, where she was able to share her passion and knowledge on concentrated topics such as folktales and mythology with her students.
Having grown up in a large Irish/Italian family (where Maria is the oldest child, and of course, the wisest) the mystery and wonder surrounding the holidays were a main staple of her upbringing. At the age of seven, when her mother finally admitted "the truth" to her, she has become somewhat of a "Santa-phile", an obsession that has rooted its way into every fiber of her being.  Maria is one of those people who cries when Santa makes His grand appearance at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Coupled with an obsession for all things dark and demented, her debut novel, The Coal Elf, was born.

Maria now lives in Florida with her husband, Joe, and daughter, Morgan. When not teaching or writing or running around after her daughter, she enjoys drinking iced coffee, watching horror movies, and playing video games.



Kim Smith said...

Welcome to Mb4 -! I love the premise of this book and it is now on my to-be-read list. I would love to have you on Writer Groupie Radio Show in the coming year!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Maria, I know you're teaching school all day, but when you get home and can relax, WELCOME to MB4!!!

Mayra Calvani said...

Great post! My favorite is: "Eat something, or continue writing? Go to the bathroom, or continue writing? Go to sleep, or continue writing?"



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