Friday, March 15, 2013

Justin Calderone Guest Post and Book info: "LARP: The Battle for Verona"


Paperback, $8.99
eBook, $3.99
ISBN: 978-1481231237
YA Fiction, 204 pages
December 12, 2012

Sometimes even a geek can become a hero.

Dennis and his friends have been LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) since high school. Now, in his 20s, Dennis is seriously considering giving up LARPing for good. He’s tired of dealing with his overzealous friend Mark; he’s tired of his older brother Brad's constant put-downs; and he’s tired of the fact that he doesn’t have a girlfriend.

Check that.

Not a girlfriend, but the girlfriend. Alyssa--the one woman he’s been pining over for years.

Dennis and his fellow LARPers have never been considered cool, in their small island community of Verona, located off the coast of Washington State.

But all of that is about to change . . .

While Dennis and his friends are attending a big LARP tournament on the mainland, a rogue terrorist group of Mongolians in medieval garb, led by an American madman, invade Verona and take its citizens hostage--including their families and friends.

When the LARPers find out what’s happening in their home-town, they do what any dedicated LARPer would do: they put on their armor, strap on their swords, and fight their way home--LARP-style!




Life is a big high school cafeteria, and society (you and me!) has labeled everyone. But, the message of LARP: The Battle for Verona is that the peer pressure we face in our teen years isn’t important, and it doesn’t last forever.

LARP is an acronym, which stands for Live Action Role Play. These are the folks who dress up in period garb and reenact battles, and, sometimes, entire historical villages. LARPers fall under the “geek” umbrella, which also houses Star Wars/Star Trek fans, sci-fi fans, and gamers. 

I wrote LARP: The Battle for Verona with the idea that we’re all geeks, and we just don’t know it. Who’s to say that the aging football jock is any cooler than a LARPer? Maybe the geek chick in your 11th grade math class would be a better option than the head cheerleader, because the cheerleader isn’t gonna look like that forever. She might not even look like that next month!

Dennis, the main character in LARP: The Battle for Verona, is in his early ‘20s, and he faces these issues. Brad, his ultra-jock older brother, still harasses Dennis about being a LARPer, and still loves to tell his “greatest hits” of high school football stories. Dennis’ friends, Freddy and Mark, still enjoy LARPing, and haven’t changed, socially, since high school.

What if Dennis had followed in Brad’s footsteps, and joined the football team, instead of becoming a LARPer? What if he would have pursued Alyssa, his dream girl, instead of spending time with his “geek” friends? 
Who hasn’t wondered “what if?” I know I have, and, maybe, LARP: The Battle for Verona is my way of answering that question for myself.

A writer with a passion for inspiring teens and young adults, Justin Calderone debuted his first novel LARP: The Battle for Verona in December 2012.

Calderone grew up in Verona, Penn., a suburb just northeast of Pittsburgh. He earned a bachelor’s degree in professional writing from La Roche College and graduated from Gannon University with a master’s degree in education. Calderone is expected to graduate in 2014 with a second master’s degree in educational leadership from Edinboro University.

Calderone, 36, began his journey as a writer nearly 20 years ago after reading Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels. He is the author of the 2004 collection of contemporary poetry Revolutions.

An English teacher at his alma mater, Penn Hills High School, Calderone lives in his hometown of Verona with his wife Emily and 1-year-old son Sam. He enjoys watching baseball, listening to music and has a special place in his heart for Spiderman.

Twitter @JustinCalderone

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