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1 counselor dynamite starr 2Starr Burgess’ journey to become an author began as a school counselor in 2008, when she had the opportunity to work with students in Pflugerville, Texas. She learned that a lot of students had difficulty in the areas of conflict/resolution, problem solving, and boundaries. As a result, she began writing stories that were fun but instilled and reinforced positive character traits. Since children love super heroes, Burgess decided to create the first superhero of schools, Counselor Dynamite.

“Counselor Dynamite represents counselors everywhere, whether their workplace is in schools, private practices, agencies, or non-for-profits,” states Burgess. “Counselor Dynamite is more than just a character, the name is a reminder of how important our responsibilities and services are to our students, children, adults, families, and colleagues. Counselors wear many hats in the operation of schools, many hats that people don’t see but experience as the fruit of their labor.”

Burgess describes herself as a somewhat disciplined writer who prefers the spontaneity of being in the moment. Her favorite place to write is in her living room by the window. For her, the greatest challenge wasn’t to write the book but how to market it, something that many writers can relate to. Since the release of her book, she’s been actively promoting it via conferences, readings and signings in book stores, schools, social media, and an online book promotion company.  “It’s going very well,” says Burgess, who really enjoys meeting people and hearing about their ministries and journeys.

1 counselor dynamite“I can’t express the joy and gratitude that I feel each and every day that I wake up and begin a new day, my quest to serve others,” states Burgess, who now has her own ministry. “We as counselors advocate hope, encouragement, and change each and every day.” Burgess never envisioned that writing children’s books, lessons plans and activities, and a counseling product line would be her next endeavor, but it is certainly one this author is committed to. Her mission in every book is to re-energize the importance of the counselor’s role in schools everywhere.

Currently, the author is working on a book focusing on bullying that will be available in the fall, along with a supplemental guide which contains lessons plans and activities for children. She also has plans for more Counselor Dynamite books in the near future.

You can find out more about this author and the Counselor Dynamite series at www.counselordynamite.com.

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1 counselor dynamite starr 2Hello, my name is Starr Burgess and my journey to becoming an author began as a school counselor in 2008 where I had the privilege of serving students and colleagues in the Pflugerville, TX and Round Rock, TX School Districts and now currently in my own practice.

I can’t express the joy and gratitude that I feel each and every day that I wake up and began a new day in my ministry, my quest to serve others. We as counselors advocate hope, encouragement, and change each and every day. It’s the way we walk, talk, smile, and assist. The motto I fell in love with and keep in my heart every day is: “No One Cares How Much You Know Unless They Know How Much You Care,” how fitting and inspiring for our profession!

Never did I envision that writing children’s books, lesson plans and activities, and a counseling product line would be my next endeavor but I am completely committed, capable, and thankful for the opportunity to serve you, my fellow counselors. I have been working on writing books for several years and finally created the main character, Counselor Dynamite, whom I lovingly refer to as the pioneer super hero of schools.

Counselor Dynamite represents counselors everywhere, whether your workplace is in schools, private practices, agencies, or non-for-profits. Counselor Dynamite is more than just a character, the name is a reminder of how important our responsibilities and services are to our students, children, adults, families, and colleagues. Counselors wear many hats in the operation of schools, many hats that people don’t see but experience as the fruit of their labor.

My mission in every book is to re-energize the importance of the counselor’s role in schools everywhere. You are Counselor Dynamite!

Website: www.counselordynamite.com

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1 counselor dynamite

It’s Christmas time and Counselor Dynamite is the newest superhero to hit the scene.

Counselor Dynamite’s mission: To serve and protect children and support staff members in schools everywhere.

It’s the day before Christmas break. Teachers and staff are either running low on patience or are just plain tired. The students as you might have guessed are full of unbridled energy, but one thing is for sure everyone is ready to start Christmas break. Counselor Dynamite notices that something is amiss and quickly jumps into action knowing that if something isn’t done soon, students, teachers and staff will never be the same once chaos is unleashed. Will her helpers and faith be enough? Starr Burgess’s endearing story is brought to life by Victor Guiza’s vivid, colorful, and crisp illustrations.

Counselor Dynamite will capture the laughter and spirit of the holiday season with mischievous behavior and humor so contagious you will want to read it again. Counselors everywhere will be inspired to reinvent their own special quick, happy dance marking the end of each adventurous day.

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Apple iTunes Store

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Amber Leaf, Minnesota, 1942.

In spite of the hardships of war, young Jo Bremley lives in considerable happiness with her husband and 7-year old daughter. Then one night, influenced by his best friend, Jo’s husband announces that he has decided to join the war. Before he gets a chance to, however, he’s the victim of a snowstorm accident. Now a young widow, Jo tries to make ends meet as best as she can by doing laundry for an establishment called O.M. Harrington.

During the year following her husband’s death, Jo runs into several difficulties which put her job in danger. Her husband’s best friend, whom she’s always blamed for her husband’s death, sets up a successful law practice; her daughter has a couple of unfortunate incidents with Big Ole, the owner of O.M. Harrington; and Jo doesn’t think she’ll be able to get her daughter the Christmas gift she deserves. Eventually, through a series of twists, the characters learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness, all in time to celebrate the holiday season.

Though Tracks in the Snow is a slow read, and got me a little frustrated at times, I ultimately enjoyed it. I appreciate the way the author took her time in developing her characters and the question of how she was going to put all the loose ends together at the end kept me reading. At times I found Jo too perfect and goodie-goodie, but in the end she wins me over. I especially like Big Ole and his gradual change from a grumpy old man to a caring person. He has a nice character arc. The story is a snapshot of a family in Minnesota during World War II. The author did a good job portraying this situation.

The ending of Tracks in the Snow is heartwarming, without being preachy. In sum, although the pace of the book is slow, the characterization and the writing are good. If you’re looking for a page-turner, this isn’t the book for you, but if you like to take your time when reading a story and getting to know the characters, and you appreciate realistic fiction, you’ll enjoy Tracks in the Snow.

For more info, visit the author’s website or Amazon.

Originally published in Blogcritics

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Déjà Vu
By Mayra Calvani

Standing on the sidewalk of the Boulevard del Valle, Amanda looked towards the sea. The splash of the waves against the rocks below resonated in the air. She could taste the salty tang sharply on her tongue, feel the cool breeze tousling her hair. She hugged her arms to stop the goose bumps.
Tonight Old San Juan vibrated with a magical quality. Twinkling multi-colored lights and shimmering garlands adorned shop windows and balconies. Christmas trees glowed from inside the flats that lined the street.
Amanda admired the sea a little longer; it was late and she had to go home. She and her husband were giving a party. They always did on Christmas Eve. She was stalling and she knew it, though she didn’t know exactly why.
Abruptly someone bumped into her. She turned to see a little boy running down the street. She froze for a second before realizing what had happened—he had stolen her handbag.
“Hey!” she said, running after him. “Come back here!”
A sensation of unreality grabbed her. She saw the little boy running in slow motion, his dark curls floating behind him as if there were no gravity. An intense feeling of déjà vu shook her to the core. She had to catch up with him. She had to stop him!
“Stop!” she shouted, breathless.
Everything happened in a matter of seconds. The boy glanced behind his shoulder just as he tried to cross the street. A fast approaching car was coming in his direction. Amanda reached for the boy’s shirt and pulled him harshly to the sidewalk and away from the street. The boy struggled against her, but she held on, a wave of relief flooding through her.
“Stop that. The policeman will see us,” Amanda said, her eyes on the strolling officer across the street. Oddly, he looked bored, as if he had not noticed anything unusual.
The boy relaxed under her grip and for the first time she had a chance to look into his face. He had shoulder-length curly hair and large brown eyes surrounded by thick lashes. Under the streetlight his chestnut curls glowed. He couldn’t have been older than eight. In spite of his arrogant attitude, he reminded her of a cherub.
“What do you think you were doing? Trying to get yourself killed? That car almost ran into you!” she said.
“Are you going to have me arrested?” he said, lifting his chin.
Amanda glanced at the officer, who was now far away. She sighed. “Are you going to give me back my bag?”
Looking oddly calm, he gave her the bag.
“Thank you,” Amanda said drily.
“Can you let me go now?”
Amanda realized she was still holding on to him. Confusion and fear filled her being. She didn’t want to let go.
“I’m not going away,” the boy said enigmatically.
Their eyes locked momentarily.
“Oh… all right…” She let go. “What’s your name?”
“Alfonsito.”
“Why did you try to steal my bag?”
His small, thin shoulders lifted in a shrug. “Why do poor kids steal rich people’s bags?”
She decided to ignore his wisecrack. “You should go home. It’s late. Your parents must be worried.”
“Nah, they never worry.”
They began to walk side by side.
“Let me bring you home.”
“I don’t want to go home. There’s always too much fighting in there.”
“It’s Christmas Eve. I bet your mom is preparing a nice meal.”
“I don’t want to go home,” he said coldly, stopping her in her tracks.
Amanda looked at him. She was not ready to say goodbye. “Well, do you want to come to my house? We can have something to eat together.”
“Do you live in a mansion?”
“You could say that.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“I have a dog,” Amanda said.
His expression brightened. “What’s his name?”
“Noah. Well?”
Alfonsito seemed thoughtful as he stuffed his hands inside his pockets and resumed his walk. “I’d like to meet Noah.”

***

At Amanda’s home the party was at full swing. Guests in sophisticated attire were gathered around the pool with drinks and cigarettes in their hands. Some couples danced. Others ate by a long buffet table. Aguinaldos poured out of hidden speakers.
Amanda led Alfonsito to the back of the garden and towards the back door of the kitchen.
“Do you know all these people?” he asked.
“Yes and no.” She halted momentarily to look at the guests. “My husband is an important man. These are mostly his co-workers.” Her voice had turned sad, bitter. “ I’ve always been sort of a hermit.”
“What’s that?”
“I like being alone.”
“Oh.”
“My husband is a very important man.”
“So you said.”
They looked to the kitchen as a large blond dog stormed out the door and dashed into their direction.
“Noah!” Amanda said, smiling for the first time that night. “Come here, boy! Let me introduce you to someone.”
She bent over to stroke him and scratch him behind the ears. Alfonsito laughed as he joined in the petting. Noah whimpered as if he couldn’t have enough of Amanda’s affection.
“Let’s go inside,” Amanda said.
She led him to a table at the far end of the kitchen, while the servants continued their duties on the other side of the room. After bringing an assortment of food and pastries to the table, Amanda sat across from Alfonsito. Noah lay at her feet, his tail still swaging from contentment.
“Go ahead, eat,” she said.
“Aren’t you going to eat?”
“I’ll just have a drink,” she said, lifting a glass of wine as if in toast.
Watching her drinking, his expression turned sad. “Do you have any kids?” he asked.
She shook her head. “I’ve always wanted kids, but I can’t have any.”
“Oh…” He began to eat. “Hmm… I had forgotten what this tasted like.”
“Guineitos en escabeche is one of my favorites, too. Doesn’t your mom make it?”
“Not lately.”
After Alfonsito finished eating, Amanda said, “I probably should bring you back now. It’s late. Your mom must be worried.”
Amanda leaned over to stroke Noah, who had started whimpering again as if sensing her parting.

***

Amanda and Alfonsito stood by the door of the small house which was his home.
Alfonsito looked somber. Amanda was about to knock when he stopped her and said, “Don’t. Let’s just go in.”
Inside the small living room there was no Christmas tree; no lights or garlands or poinsettias.
A woman sat alone in the dark, her back to them. She had something in her hands.
Alfonsito took Amanda’s hand and together they approached the woman until they stood over her shoulder.
“Don’t cry, Mami,” he whispered.
“What’s that in her hands?” Amanda asked.
Then she saw it. It was a photo of Alfonsito.
Amanda turned to him, the floor shifting under her feet, the room swirling around her. She opened her mouth, but no words came out.
“I died one year ago,” he said.
Amanda took a step back. “No…”
She moved away from the crying woman and away from Alfonsito. His big eyes shimmered with emotion as he extended a hand towards Amanda.
“Come. I’ll show you,” he said.
“You can’t be dead. You’re here, with me, talking to me. You just played with my dog, ate at my kitchen. You can’t be…”
“Come.”

***

In the late hour the Old San Juan cemetery was cold and windy and Amanda could hear the waves crashing against the rocks below.
“Where are you taking me?” she said.
Now it was his turn to hold on to her. “You have to know, Amanda. You have to let go.”
She shook her head, tears flowing down her cheeks. “You’re going to show me your grave, is that it?”
His small hand pressed tighter around hers, his nails digging into her.
“There,” he said, pushing her in front of a tombstone.
She read her name engraved on the stone and covered her face with her hands, while all her life, all the memories rushed through her mind until that last very moment. “No! No! No!”
“Think about it. Why is it that no one can see or hear us—no one except Noah? How do you think we moved from here to your house without a car?”
“No!”
“You have to let go,” he said.
“No!” She fell to her knees, wallowing in the knowledge, guilt and pain.
“You’ll be here forever without freedom or peace until you forgive yourself. Look at me, Amanda.”
Her sobs weakened as she looked up at him.
“It was not your fault that I tried to steal your handbag. You had to run after me. It was not your fault that I got ran over by that car. You’ve punished yourself enough, drowning in alcohol and pills. Why did you take so many pills that night?”
“It was an accident…”
“I know.”
“I never meant to kill myself!”
“I know.” Then he said, “I forgive you, Amanda. This is why I’ve come here. Tonight.”
They were quiet for a long time. Amanda stood up and looked around her. Would she smell the sea again? Play with Noah? She felt scared and lost.
“What now? Where do I go?”
Alfonsito took her by the hand. “Let me show you the way.”

The End

©2007, 2008. Mayra Calvani / All Rights Reserved. This story may not be copied nor printed in any form without permission from the author.

SPANISH VERSION:

Déjà Vu
Por: Mayra Calvani

Amanda miró hacia el mar desde la acera del Boulevard del Valle. El estruendo de las olas contra las rocas resonaba en el aire. Sintió el gusto del salitre en la lengua y cómo la brisa fresca le alborotaba el pelo. Cruzó los brazos, tratando de darse calor.
Esta noche, el Viejo San Juan vibraba con una cualidad mágica. Los balcones y las vitrinas de las tiendas estaban adornadas con guirlandas de parpadeantes luces de colores. Por las ventanas de los apartamientos que daban a la calle se veían los árboles de Navidad encendidos.
Amanda se quedó mirando el mar durante un rato más. Era tarde ya y tenía que regresar a casa, a la fiesta que ella y su marido ofrecían, como todos los días de Nochebuena. Se estaba atrasando y lo sabía, aunque no podía precisar porqué.
Fue entonces que alguien chocó contra ella. Se dio vuelta para ver a un muchachito que corría calle abajo. Se congeló por un momento, antes de darse cuenta de lo que había sucedido – ¡le había robado la cartera!
“¡Oye!” le gritó, mientras le corría detrás. “¡Vuelve acá!”
Tuvo la sensación de algo irreal. Vio, como en cámara lenta, que el niño corría, con sus rizos oscuros flotando detrás, como si no hubiera gravedad. Una extraña noción de “deja vu” le sacudió las entrañas. Tenía que alcanzarlo. Tenía que detenerlo.
“¡Para!” le gritó, ya sin aliento.
Todo sucedió en cuestión de segundos. El muchachito miró hacia atrás, hacia ella, justo cuando empezó a cruzar la calle. Un auto se aproximaba hacia él a toda velocidad. Amanda lo agarró por la camisa y le dio un halón que lo devolvió a la acera y lo alejó de la calle. El muchacho trató de zafarse, pero ella lo tenía bien agarrado. Una sensación de alivio la invadió toda.
“¡Deja de luchar! El policía se va a dar cuenta,” dijo Amanda, mirando al oficial que caminaba por el otro lado de la calle: parecía aburrido, como si no hubiera notado que pasaba algo raro.
El muchacho dejó de forcejear y por primera vez ella lo miró a la cara. Tenía el pelo rizo y largo hasta los hombros. Sus ojos, grandes y castaños, la miraban desde debajo de unas pestañas muy largas. La luz de los faroles de la calle le sacaban un brillo rojizo a sus rizos. No podía tener más de ocho años. A pesar de su actitud arrogante, le recordaba las pinturas de los querubínes.
“¿Qué estabas haciendo? ¿Querías que te aplastara ese carro? ¡Por poco te arrolla!”, le dijo.
“¿Vas a hacer que me denuncien?” le preguntó él, con un gesto de desafío en la cara.
Amanda miró al policía, que ya estaba lejos. Suspiró: “¿Me vas a devolver mi cartera?”
Con una tranquilidad algo extraña, el muchacho le tendió la cartera.
“Gracias,” le dijo Amanda, secamente.
“¿Puedes soltarme ahora?”
Amanda se dio cuenta de que aún lo tenía agarrado por la camisa. Sintió una mezcla de confusión y temor. No quería dejarlo ir.
“No voy a salir corriendo,” le dijo el muchacho, enigmáticamente.
Los ojos de ambos se encontraron.
“Bueno,… está bien …”, dijo ella y lo soltó. “¿Cómo te llamas?”
“Alfonsito.”
“¿Porqué trataste de robarme la cartera?”
El muchacho alzó los hombros pequeños y huesudos. “¿Porqué es que los niños pobres les roban las carteras a la gente rica?”
Ella decidió ignorar la respuesta arrogante. “Debes regresar a tu casa. Es tarde”, le dijo. “Tus padres deben estar preocupados.”
“No, ellos nunca se preocupan.”
Empezaron a caminar uno al lado del otro.
“Deja que te lleve a tu casa.”
“No quiero ir a casa. Siempre hay pelea allí.”
“Es Nochebuena. Seguro que tu mamá está preparando una cena especial.”
“No quiero ir a casa,” repitió él, y su frialdad la dejó, a su vez, fría.
Amanda lo miró. No quería despedirse todavía. “¿Quieres ir a mi casa entonces? Podemos comernos algo juntos.”
“¿Vives en una mansión?”
“Sí, es una especie de mansión.”
“No tengo hambre.”
“Tengo un perro,” le dijo Amanda en tono tentador.
La expresión del muchacho cambió. “¿Cómo se llama?”
“Noé.¿Vienes?”
Alfonsito se quedó pensativo. Metió las manos en los bolsillos y siguió caminando. “Me gustaría conocer a Noé.”

***

Cuando llegaron a casa de Amanda, la fiesta estaba en su apogeo. Los invitados, muy bien vestidos, conversaban –con tragos y cigarrillos en las manos- alrededor de la piscina. Algunas parejas bailaban. Otros hacían fila ante la larga mesa del bufé. Por los altoparlantes escondidos salía la música de aguinaldos navideños.
Amanda llevó a Alfonsito hacia el patio trasero, donde estaba la entrada de la cocina.
“¿Conoces a toda esta gente?” le preguntó él.
“Sí y no,” le contestó ella mientras se detenía a mirar a los invitados. “Mi marido es un hombre importante. Casi toda esta gente trabaja con él.” Su voz se ensombreció y adquirió un tono amargo. “Yo siempre he sido una especie de ermitaña”
“¿Qué es eso?”
“Me gusta estar sola.”
“Oh.”
“Mi marido es un hombre muy importante.”
“Ya lo dijiste.”
Cuando estaban llegando a la cocina se abrió la puerta y un enorme perro de pelo castaño claro salió corriendo hacia ellos.
“¡Noé!” lo llamó Amanda, y sonrió por primera vez esa noche. “¡Ven acá! Quiero presentarte a alguien.”
Se bajó para acariciarlo y le rascó la cabeza tras las orejas. Alfonsito reía y lo acariciaba también. Noé daba grititos, como si estuviera ansioso de que siguieran mostrándole tanto afecto.
“Vamos a entrar,” dijo Amanda.
Llevó a Alfonsito a una mesa que estaba en un rincón de la cocina. Los sirvientes siguieron en sus tareas del otro lado. Amanda buscó una bandeja de pastelitos y dulces y se la trajo al muchacho. Se sentó frente a él y a sus pies se tiró Noé, moviendo el rabo a todo lo que da.
“Anda, come,” le dijo ella.
“Y tú, ¿no vas a comer?”
“Me voy a tomar un trago,” contestó, mientras levantaba una copa de vino como si fuera a brindar.
Él la miró con cierta tristeza. “¿Tienes niños?” le preguntó.
Ella dijo que no con la cabeza. “Siempre he querido tener hijos, pero no puedo tenerlos.”
“Oh…”
Cuando Alfonsito terminó de comer, Amanda le dijo, “Ahora te voy a llevar a tu casa. Se ha hecho tarde. Tu mamá debe estar preocupada.”
Amanda se bajó a acariciar a Noé, que empezó a llorar como si se diera cuenta de que ella se iría.

***

Amanda y Alfonsito se detuvieron ante la puerta de la casita donde vivía él.
Alfonsito estaba serio. Amanda iba a tocar la puerta cuando él la detuvo y le dijo: “No toques. Entremos.”
La salita era pequeña. No había adornos navideños: ni árbol, ni luces, ni guirnaldas ni pascuas.
Una mujer estaba sentada en la oscuridad, dándoles la espalda. Tenía algo en las manos.
Alfonsito le cogió la mano a Amanda y juntos se aproximaron a la mujer hasta que pudieron mirar sobre su hombro.
Alfonsito suspiró. “No llores, Mami,” le dijo bajito.
“¿Qué tiene entre las manos?” preguntó Amanda.
Y entonces vio. Era una foto de Alfonsito.
Se viró hacia él. Le pareció que el piso se estremecía bajo sus pies, que la habitación daba vueltas en torno a su cabeza. Abrió la boca pero no le salieron las palabras.
“Yo morí hace un año,” dijo él.
Amanda dio un paso atrás. “No…”
Se alejó de la mujer que lloraba y de Alfonsito. Los ojos grandes del muchacho brillaron de emoción mientras le tendía a Amanda una mano.
“Ven. Te llevaré,” le dijo.
“No puedes estar muerto. Estás aquí, conmigo, hablándome. Acabas de jugar con mi perro, de comer en mi cocina. No puedes estar …”
“Ven.”

***

A esa hora de la noche en el cementerio del Viejo San Juan hacía frío y soplaba el viento. Amanda oía cómo las olas chocaban contra las rocas.
“¿Adónde me llevas?” le preguntó ella.
Ahora le tocaba a él sujetarla con fuerza.
“Tienes que saber, Amanda. Tienes que dejarte ir.”
Ella negó con la cabeza. Las lágrimas le corrían por las mejillas. “Me vas a llevar a tu tumba, ¿no es eso?”
Su manita apretó la de Amanda; las uñas del muchacho se le metían en la carne.
“Allí,” le dijo, empujándola hacia una lápida.
Ella leyó su propio nombre grabado en la piedra y se cubrió el rostro con las manos. Toda su vida, todos sus recuerdos le pasaron por la mente, incluso los de aquel último momento. “¡No! ¡No! ¡No!”
“Piénsalo”, le dijo él. “¿Porqué es que nadie nos puede ver u oir—nadie con excepción de Noé? ¿Cómo piensas que nos movimos de aquí a tu casa sin un auto?”
“¡No!”
“Tienes que dejarte ir,” le dijo él.
“¡No!” Ella cayó arrodillada. La sobrecogían los recuerdos, la culpa, el dolor.
“Te quedarás aquí para siempre sin libertad y sin paz hasta que te perdones a ti misma. Mírame, Amanda.”
Los sollozos de ella disminuyeron cuando lo miró.
“No fue culpa tuya que yo tratara de robarte la cartera. Tenías que correrme detrás. No fue culpa tuya que me arrollara aquel carro. Te has castigado bastante, ahogándote en alcohol y píldoras. ¿Porqué tomaste tantas píldoras esa noche?”
“Fue un accidente…”
“Lo sé.”
“¡Nunca quise matarme!”
“Lo sé.” Entonces él le dijo, “Yo te perdono, Amanda. Por eso he venido aquí esta noche.”
Permanecieron callados durante un tiempo. Amanda se puso de pie y miró a su alrededor. ¿Volvería a oler el mar? ¿A jugar con Noé? Se sentía asustada y perdida.
“Y ahora, ¿qué? ¿Adónde voy?”
Alfonsito la tomó de la mano. “Yo te enseño el camino.”

***This version appeared in Revista Domingo, El Nuevo Dia newspaper, December 2007.
©2007, 2008. Mayra Calvani / All Rights Reserved. This story may not be copied nor printed in any form without permission from the author.

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Starting December 11th until the 23rd travel to a new blog for a Christmas story, recipe and prize giveaway. The prizes will range from print books to gift certificates to goodie baskets!

Here’s the schedule of the chica-lit stars:

12.11.07: Mary Castillo, author of Switchcraft

12.12.07: Berta Platas, author of Cinderella Lopez

12.13.07: Mayra Calvani, author of Dark Lullaby (That’s me and I’ll post my story here at The Dark Phantom!)

12.14.07: Caridad Pineiro, author of Holiday With a Vampire

12.15.07: Lara Rios, author of Becoming Americana

12.16.07: Caridad Ferrer, author of It’s Not About the Accent

12.17.07: Margo Candela, author of Life Over Easy

12.18.07: Kathy Cano Murillo, author of Crafty Chica’s Art de la Soul

12.19.07: Tracy Montoya, author of Telling Secrets

12.20.07: Jamie Martinez Wood, author of Latino Writers & Journalists and Rogelia’s House of Magic (coming summer 2008)

12.21.07: Misa Ramirez, author of Lola PI: Living the Vida Lola (January 2009 from St. Martin’s Press)

12.22.07: Sofia Quintero, author of Juicy Mangos

12.23.07: Toni Margarita Plummer, author and editor

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Person: Lynda S. Burch, Publisher
Company Name: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
Telephone Number: 314 276 8482
Email Address: publisher@GuardianAngelPublishing.com
Website: www.guardianangelpublishing.com

New Christmas Children’s Book Focuses on Violin Playing

THE MAGIC VIOLIN

SAINT LOUIS, MO – Mayra Calvani’s first children’s picture book, THE MAGIC VIOLIN, has just been released in ebook and paperback by Guardian Angel Publishing, becoming one of the few picture books in the market today focusing on violin playing.

Book’s Blurb:

More than anything, 8-year old Melina wants to become a good violinist. When she loses confidence, her Rumanian teacher Andrea decides it’s time for a magic dose of self esteem. A mysterious, old woman in rags gives Melina some curious advice; a violinist Russian hamster, who happens to live under the old woman’s hat, offers her a virtuoso performance; a shooting star fills her with hope on Christmas Eve. Is Melina actually playing better, or has her violin become magic? Who is the old woman in the plaza, and why does she wear the same emerald ring as her teacher Andrea?

The message of The Magic Violin is that real magic lies in believing in oneself, and that if we trust ourselves, we can accomplish anything. The story, written for 4 to 8 year olds, shows how being compassionate and generous can have its rewards. It also introduces children to the violin and other countries–Belgium, in this case.

“The story combines violin music, magic, Christmas, and the charm of 19th Century Europe,” says Calvani, whose passion for the violin has led to several stories and novels since she began playing four years ago. “This is a book that little girls who are learning to play the violin will be able to identify with. The violin is an extremely difficult instrument to learn—probably the most difficult instrument there is, and sometimes learning a new piece can be quite disheartening. Hopefully my book will motivate young players to persevere and have self trust. Above all, I want my love for the violin to come through the pages and inspire children to try this incredible instrument.”

Author’s Bio:

Mayra Calvani is a multi-genre author whose short fiction, articles, and reviews have appeared on many print and online publications in the States, England, and Puerto Rico. She hails from San Juan, P.R., but now resides in Brussels, Belgium. Visit her children’s book website at www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com. Her official website is www.MayraCalvani.com.

THE MAGIC VIOLIN is distributed by Follett, the largest distributor of ebooks to schools and libraries. The paperback version is available from Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Gardners and Bertrams in the UK, most online retailers, and on order from any brick and mortar bookstore.

For review copies and/or interview requests, please contact the publisher, Lynda Burch, at publisher@GuardianAngelPublishing.com.

Title: The Magic Violin
Author: Mayra Calvani
Format: Paperback
Reading Level: 5-8 years old
ISBN-13: 978-1-933090-49-8
Publication Date: November 2007
Pages: 32
Price: Ebook $5.00, Paperback $10.95
To Order: 314 276 8482, or publisher@GuardianAngelPublishing.com

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