About the Author
Justin Calderone started creating books when he was old enough to hold a pencil and crayons. He pursued writing professionally after reading Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels. His first book, the poetry novel Revolutions, was published by Lachesis Publishing Inc. in 2004.
Dive into the Book
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!
Writers write for different reasons. Secretly, all of us want to be rich and famous. We all think we have the “big idea” that will change or inspire society. Some of us do have that idea, and it goes unnoticed. Some of us don’t have that idea, and everyone loves our work, anyway. I’ve been writing creatively since I was old enough to hold a crayon, and below are the top ten reasons why I keep on keepin’ on:
1. God- I know that God gave everyone at least one talent, and mine is writing. I’m not saying that I am the most talented writer ever, but I know that what I am able to do comes from God, and I feel closest to Him when I use the talent He gave me
2. Jack Kerouac- He’s the writer who inspired me to write. If you don’t know who he is, Kerouac was a writer in the ‘50s who spent a few decades hitchhiking across America. He wrote books about his adventures. What’s unique about his writing is that it’s mostly stream of consciousness, and there’s a huge theme of a search for spiritual purity and truth. I read his novel Desolation Angels when I was 19, and it floored me. He wrote in a way that I always wanted to, but didn’t know it, if that makes sense. After reading that novel, I started to work and focus on my own writing.
3. Music- My #1 artistic food is music, more than books. I am listening to music as I type this. I love all types of music, as long as it is artistic, meaning, music made by people, not computers.
4. I can’t stop- Writing isn’t something you do, it’s something you can’t stop doing. I’ve been making books since I discovered books.
5. I can’t stop, Part II- Part of the way my writing brain works is that I suddenly get an idea, or a phrase, a title, or an entire paragraph. I could be driving, or watching TV, or sleeping. The idea will repeat itself, making me crazy, until I write it down. It’s almost like being held hostage by an idea.
6. Bob Dylan- The older I get, the more Dylan means to me. His songs speak to me in a very deep way, and seem to say something different each time I listen.
7. Bruce Springsteen- I wanted to make LARP: The Battle for Verona like a Springsteen album. His albums are emotional, and speak to small town situations. Dennis, the main character in the novel, could have been a character from the Born to Run album.
8. Rod Serling- You know him, The Twilight Zone guy. He’s the first writer I really connected with. Serling’s brilliance is unmatched.
9. I’m in competition- With myself. When I write, I am constantly pushing myself to do better. Part of the fun of writing, for me, is to see if I can top myself.
10. I can’t stop, Part III- I’ve got something to say. LARP: The Battle for Verona is basically a story of geeks who save a society that has shunned them. The purpose of the novel is to reach segments of the teen and young adult audience of readers who have felt marginalized and bullied because of their particular passions and intellectual pursuits. As a high school English teacher, I know that this is a message that needs to be heard.