Posts Tagged ‘Maria DeVivo’

Tampa Comic Con 2015 and Lots of Pictures

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015




Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 TTB Authors


The rain, and the flooding that came with it, did not damper the spirits of over 55,000 folks who purchased tickets to attend Tampa Bay Comic Con. The place was packed, especially Saturday and Sunday, an exuberant celebration of the fantasy genre in all of its manifestations, comic books, video games, books, movies, TV shows, art and illustration.

But it is truly the people that make the con. Tampa Bay’s best and brightest showed up. I loved watching the awesome costumes that filled the exhibit hall. The convention center looked like some intergalactic hub teeming with the inhabitants of a million worlds, coming together to celebrate the human imagination. Characters were everywhere, some familiar, some truly original.

I honestly believe there’s a connection between creative energy, imagination and intelligence. Fantasy lovers include some of the smartest people I know. You could feel the excitement and creativity vibrating in the air, applied brainpower fueling the imagination, and the future, cloaked in the guise of pure fun.

The author panels are always my favorite part of the con and this year they were awesome. I sat on four panels, along with my fellow authors Scott Eder, Maria DeVivo and Tracy Akers. We had a fantastic time talking about the fundamentals of writing fantasy, what girls want in their fantasy, world settings and villains. The best part? We got to meet so many talented folks!
I love the diversity of the crowd that attended the panels. People of all ages and different backgrounds came together to share a passion for fantasy. I particularly enjoyed talking to writers and aspiring writers about their projects and dreams. Writing is a challenging craft, but when a whole lot of us get together to figure it out, we are an unstoppable force.

We did a panel called “So…do you want to be a writer?” It was standing room only. The energy of the crowd was incredible. I swear, from my seat on the podium, I could see the ideas zipping through the room like glowing fireflies. My only regret is that we ran out of time before we could answer everyone’s questions. But hey, we’re always around, available through email, FB, and Twitter, to share our journeys with our fellow writers.

And to all my new writer friends, to those of you who dream of sharing your stories with the world, don’t forget: Keep writing and may the joy of the craft always sustain you.



The official TTB Tampa Comic Con 2015 picture


Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 TTB Authors having fun

The fun behind the scene picture

Panels Tampa Bay Con 2015

Authors Scott Eder, Tracy Akers, Dora Machado and Maria DeVivo participate in one of several panels

Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 Panel 1

We had so much fun talking about writing and meeting lots of interesting and talented folks

Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 well attended panelsThe panels were always well attended

Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 well attended panels 2

More panels. Interesting things happen when writers and fantasy lovers get together

Display Table at Tampa Bay Con 2015

My novels on display at the Twilight Times Books table in the exhibit hall


Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 Batman and the Joker

Fun at Comic Con: The Joker and Batman

Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 Small and big monsters

Big scary monsters vs.  little cute monsters

Tampa Bay Comic Con Games of thrones

One of my favorite costumes of the weekend: Game of Thrones down to the attitude

Tampa Bay Con 2015

Another Favorite: Carmen San Diego and Waldo, found

Comic Con Three Authors

The Writing Process

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

My dear friend, the talented Maria De Vivo, author of The Coal Elf, passed me the baton for the Writing Process Blog Tour. In turn, I passed the baton to three writers who I think you might enjoy meeting. This means all of us get to answer four questions about our work. Here are my answers:

What are you working on?

Oh, my! And I thought these would be easy questions. I have several projects going. I’m about halfway into a contemporary urban fantasy novel with a Latin twist. I’m also in the research stage of three different projects, one of them a fantasy/time travel adventure. And of course, I’m also in the process of writing the companion novel to The Curse Giver, a fantasy epic adventure with a hint of romance tentatively entitled The Soul Chaser.

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

I think I bring a different perspective to the fantasy genre. I grew up in Latin America and I’ve seen and experienced the advantages and disadvantages of living in a developing nation. My stories are usually nuanced by issues of poverty, inequality, corruption and injustice. I like a complex plot with flawed, multidimensional characters engaged in passionate and meaningful relationships at many different levels. I write characters that are a product of changing environments and yet have to evolve with the circumstances.

I don’t mind a little length if it allows me the chance to ramp up the journey’s intensity and explore the richness of diverse and innovative worlds. My style is a little different too. I like to tell an epic story with lyrical flare. Finally, I bring some gritty realism to my fantasy worlds, a taste of the world we live in.

Why do you write what you write?

I straddle many worlds in real life, so fantasy is a perfect fit for me. I love the freedom of creating my own worlds. In many ways, fantasy is a reinterpretation of the human experience, as current and enduring as the world we live in. To me, fantasy is the most interactive of all the genres, the most flexible. I get to play and experiment with concepts, settings and ideas in all kinds of different frameworks. Who wouldn’t love that? I write fantasy because it’s fun.

What is your writing process?

It usually begins with an idea that gives birth to a character. Then that character takes over. I’m quite obsessive when I’m writing. I write all the time, wherever I am. The bulk of my writing takes place late at night. I write best during those uninterrupted times and I write for as long as I can. Sleep deprivation is usually a challenge. I can typically churn out a draft in three or four months. After that, I go into a compulsive editing phase, where I might be writing something new while editing the draft. It’s a grueling process and yet I love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

There you have it. My writing process in a nutshell. I’m passing the baton to:

Jerry Hatchett

My friend Jerry Hatchett writes thrillers you can’t put down. He’s the author of several Amazon bestsellers, includingSeven Unholy DaysThe Pawnbroker and the upcomingUnallocated Space.

Linda Au

My friend Linda Au is a novelist, a humor writer and the funniest woman I know. She’s the author of several humor books, including Head in the Sand and the award nominated Fork in the Road.

Eleanor Khuns

My friend Eleanor Khuns is a writer of historical mysteries, winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel competition and author of A Simple Murder, Death of a Dyer and Craddle to Grave.

Dora Machado's Books (640x237)

There’s No Place Like Home

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

The holidays are upon us and my guest blogger today is the talented author of The Coal Elf, Maria DeVivo.

The Coal Elf is about Ember Skye, a 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. She wants to go home and yet she can’t.

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.

The Coal Elf is an original, dark and evocative tale with a different take on Christmas. Scroll to the bottom for a peek at this unique story and help us drive it up to the top of Amazon’s charts by buying The Coal Elf at a special holiday price of only $2.99!

And now find out why There’s No Place Like Home during the holidays.



There’s No Place Like Home


Maria DeVivo

Maria De Vivo

What’s the old saying?  “Home is where the heart is.”  It must be true because one of the prevalent themes in story-telling is the concept of Home – Having one, being a part of one, rejecting one, leaving one, desperately trying to find your way back to one.

Humans have an innate honing device that draws us to a nostalgic place of comfort and love. Some of the most influential stories of our time use HOME as a central theme.  After having experienced the wonder and glory of Oz, Dorothy said there was no place like it.  Her journey brought her to the realization that her black and white world of farm animals and twisters was really where she belonged.  Thrust onto an island while the war-torn world around them has no idea of their whereabouts, the children in The Lord of the Flies are in constant pursuit of returning home while in the process, create a home. And more recently, Katniss Everdeen initially strives to win The Hunger Games to go where?  Back Home.

In The Coal Elf, Ember Skye deals with this notion of Home from the moment she is called to her Life Job.  When she is sent to the Mines, her memories of her life Aboveground grip her so tightly that she is almost blinded by nostalgia.  The entire novel follows her path of dealing with those memories, confronting certain realities, and altering her own perceptions as to where she belongs, where she fits in, where she’s meant to be.

So what is HOME?  What defines it?  For me, it’s an unseen structure made up of memories.    Spring birds singing in the morning as I waited for the school bus.  Running outside on a cool summer night to flag down the ice cream truck.  Standing on tree stumps in my backyard as dead leaves fell from the autumn trees.  The smell of my father’s work boots in the hallway.  Cuddling with my sister on Christmas Eve.  Coming home from school and being so angry with my mother for cleaning up my room.  My uncle’s voice booming as he and my mother sang Kenny Rogers’s songs.  My concept of Home expands far beyond the actual dwelling itself, and now I’m making a Home for my daughter, hopefully helping to build those memories of love and comfort she will seek refuge in her future.


About Maria DeVivo

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.

Connect with DeVivo:




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!

coal elf pic for vid



“…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.

Don’t forget! The Coal Elf is now available at a special holiday price of only $2.99!