Tag Archive | Ron Vitale

How Did You Become a Lover of Books and Reading? (Ron Vitale)

Ron Vitale

Ron Vitale, Author of “Cinderella’s Secret Diary”.

In today’s guest post, author Ron Vitale shares how he fell in love with the written word.  In “Cinderella’s Secret Diary: Lost” Ron writes about what happens after happily ever after.  You can visit his blog at www.ronvitale.com

Growing up, a friend of mine introduced me to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and taught me how to play Dungeons & Dragons. I devoured Tolkien’s trilogy and happened to be living at a fun time for fantasy literature. The Dragonlance series was all the rage and I spent many long hours reading through the books and then roleplaying my Dungeons & Dragons games using the modules to have my friends and brother go through the adventures.

Back in the mid-80s we had pencils, paper, dice and lots of imagination.

But none of this truly sparked my inspiration to loving and reading science fiction. I want to tell that story. I am known for my fantasy young adult books, but I have written some science fiction and am a big fan. Of course, these days, with limited time, I don’t get as much chance to read sci-fi as I would like. I focus reading more on the fantasy side of the fence since that’s more relevant to my writing.

Back when I was around 13 years old, a relative of mine gave me Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series for a birthday present. When I look back, I would say that those books and all the other Asimov books I read over the next decade marked a turning point for me. I loved fantasy, but science fiction opened new worlds (literally) to me. I have been a diehard Star Wars fan since the first movie came out, but Asimov’s work broadened my taste in reading and first introduced me to the actual man behind the books.

I read as much as I could get my hands on, falling in love with Asimov’s style, his easy going prose and his thought-provoking topics. His robot series are still one of my favorite books because of the moral complexities woven throughout the stories. Years before anyone really had thought about this, Asimov wrote about the effects of a robot society on people. How would we adapt to being mostly surrounded by robots? Would we become alienated from other people? Being a young teenager and reading Asimov’s stories caused me to question the effects technology would have on us as well as sparked great hope within me.

I dreamed of a future in which I could be a writer and that the science in the fiction that I read would one day become reality. But most importantly, Asimov’s books acted as a gateway. Through Asimov, I stumbled on Niven’s work (Ringworld and The Integral Trees stand out in my memory), Heinlein’s and Clarke’s. From there, I became a subscriber of Asimov’s monthly magazine and then Science Fiction & Fantasy.

I read, read and I read some more.

I love reading and as I matured and went to high school and then college my reading diversified. Professionally I had become an English major, focusing on the Romantics, but in my leisure time I would read fantasy and science fiction.

This all took place before Rowling’s Harry Potter and Meyer’s Twilight series. I have read The Washington Post article that cites that 25% of Americans haven’t read one book in a year. That disturbs me. With mobile devices and tablets great tools for unlocking millions of books, I do not understand why someone would not take advantage of this opportunity. How many games of Angry Birds can one play? With many indie authors as myself offering free or inexpensive books, the world has changed, and although the choices have become overwhelming, there are still more great books out there than I could ever read in a lifetime.

I look back and my love of books started from a simple decision: 

Someone gave me a book as a gift.

With the great diversity that is now available for such low costs, I would encourage people to give books or ebooks to people as gifts. When a new book comes out that I think my wife might like, I buy it on Amazon and it shows up on her Kindle Fire. How easy is that? To me, it’s about creativity, imagination and the solace that a book brings me from the stress and rush of the day-to-day world.

Read. If I could pass that message onto my kids and they were to listen, I’d be most satisfied that they would have a rich inner life. If you’re a reader, then spread the word: Give books to your family and friends. With many ebooks being under $3, that’s a great deal. Now I’m off. I have a date with A Discovery of Witches by Deborah E. Harkness and need to get going. But before I do go, could you do me a favor? Share your story in the comment section. How did you become a reader?

Ron Vitale is the author of the dark fantasy novel Cinderella’s Secret Diary who hopes that his daughter will grow up to find her own voice and not allow others to dictate who and what she can be.

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Author Interview – Ron Vitale

Ron Vitale

Ron Vitale, Author of Cinderella’s Secret Diary

Hello, Fellow Bibliophiles!  Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you, Ron Vitale, author of Cinderella’s Secret Diary.

Bookworm:  In your bio, you mention that the seed to Cinderella’s Secret Diary was planted as your read fairy tales to your daughter.  What was it about the fairy tales that launched this book series?

Ron Vitale:  Having a daughter and seeing her be inundated with Barbies and the world of pink, wanted me to do something right for her. I decided to write a young adult book with the heroine starting off as being unsure of herself and weak, but eventually learning how to rescue herself. Often in fairy tales, a magical source helps and saves the heroine, but I wanted to tell a different story.

Bookworm:  The silver fox is a wonderful new wrinkle in the fairy tale.  Where did you draw your inspiration for this character?

Vitale:  In my graduate studies back in college, I studied Carl Jung’s beliefs about the human personality and really took that to heart. Jung believed that each person’s interior life consisted of various parts. The Shadow was the dark part of a person’s personality. For me, the Silver Fox is an extension of looking deep within and seeing that darkness and then embracing it.

Bookworm:  You published your first book The Jovian Gate Chronicles through Lulu back in 2007.  What was self-publishing like back then and how much has it changed?

Vitale:  I look back and realize that I had no clue what I was doing back in 2007. I experimented with creating audio books, self-publishing and learning all I could about the technology. Years have passed and now the ebook revolution has exploded around the globe. Amazon and many other companies make it easy for a writer to sell his/her work to anyone around the world. Back in 2007, things were much more complicated and harder to do. We’ve come a long way and I think readers have many more choices in front of them to choose from now.

Bookworm:  Can you tell us about some of the other works you have published?

Vitale:   I’ve had published my young adult fantasy book (my first novel) Dorothea’s Song, Lost: Cinderella’s Secret Diary and Stolen: Cinderella’s Secret Diaries which is a direct sequel to Lost. And you already mentioned The Jovian Gate Chronicles which is a loosely connected science fiction collection that answers the question: What happens when humans cross paths with intelligent aliens that claim to be prophets from God?

Bookworm:   What are you currently working on?

Vitale:  Currently, I am working on Found which is book 3 in the Cinderella’s Secret Diaries series. I’m halfway through the rough draft and am plugging away as quickly as I can with working full-time, raising a family, blogging, staying active on social media and running half-marathons. There’s definitely a lot of juggling going on, but I like to be diversified and to work hard. I also like being able to connect with readers because it’s really important to me to let people know why I wrote my books and get feedback from my readers.

Bookworm:  What is the most important thing about being an author to you?

Vitale:  Being able to take a really intimate and personal belief that I might be afraid to share with the world, but to do it anyway. I write books about young women and I’m a man. That’s not unheard of, but it’s unusual. For me, I like to tap into my memories of angst and heartache I had in going through my teenage and young adolescent years and share that with my readers.

Bookworm:  Who do you read for fun?

Vitale:  My guilty pleasure is Star Wars books. I’m a big fan the main series with Luke, Han and Leia in the books. I’m also a big Twilight fan, but I try to be open as I can about reading. I’ll read lots of different things, but certain books really grab me. Several years back I read the “His Dark Materials” series by Philip Pullman and I fell in love with those books. What an amazingly wonderful world and great characters. More recently, John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” topped my best of 2012 list. Insanely crazy premise, but wonderful book that speaks about the power of love and of the sublime importance of our temporal lives here on Earth.

Bookworm:  James Bond, Jason Bourne, or Ethan Hunt?

Vitale:  Bond, James Bond. He’s handsome, intelligent, strong and gets the women. Daniel Craig has resurrected the 50 plus year old franchise and it’s great to see him do so well in the role.

Bookworm:  So why did you stop doing Magic:  The Gathering podcasts?  I ask because I am giddy that I might have found someone a little nerdy than I am.  I played in a Magic: The Gathering pre-release three days before I gave birth to my son.

Vitale:  At one point in my life, I was working full-time, trying to write, did two podcasts and raise two kids. Something had to give and I decided that doing five years of Magic: The Gathering was enough. If I wanted to be a writer, then I needed to write.

I have a long, long history with Magic. I did some freelance work for Wizards of the Coast many years ago, was able to visit their old headquarters out in Renton, WA and even had an article on Highlander published on MagictheGathering.com. An interesting tidbit is that I was even lucky enough to play Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic, in a game. The videos to my duel with him are on my website: http://www.ronvitale.com/2007/02/richard-garfield-and-me.html

 If you ever happen to be in the Philadelphia metro area, let me know, I’m always looking to play a game of Magic since I don’t get to very often these days.

Bookworm:  What advice do you have for an up and coming writer?

Vitale:  Never give up. If you’re writing for money and fame, then ignore my “never give up” advise and give up now. There are only a few writers who are earning solid income to have fiction writing be their sole career. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I wouldn’t suggest going into writing for the money. I believe it’s deeper than that.

If you have a story that’s bursting out of you and you have to get it out, then do so. Don’t worry about failure, making mistakes and not knowing what you’re doing. Work at it and then work at it some more. Write and talk with writers, listen to them, read as much as you can get your hands on and believe in yourself.

You will fail and then you will have that dark moment of the soul: Should you give up or go on? If you choose to keep trying, then I applaud you. Writing isn’t easy, but it can be the most freeing thing in the world.

I thank Ron Vitale for taking the time out of his schedule to do this interview.  If you want to know more about Ron, visit his webpage/blog at http://www.ronvitale.com.  Also feel free to follow the bookworm on twitter @ErinEymard and on GooglePlus.  


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Cinderella’s Secret Diary: Book 1 Lost by Ron Vitale (Book Review)

Cinderella“What happened to Cinderella after she married the Prince? Set in the late 1700’s as Napoleon is rising to power, Cinderella embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to come to terms with her failed marriage and her inability to have a child. Torn between the Queen’s insistence that she try all means necessary to conceive and her own desires, she agrees to travel to Paris to consult with a witch to help her become pregnant. Her journey leads her to find her long lost Fairy Godmother and aids her to solve the mystery behind her mother’s death…”

Let me start off by saying “I love, love LOVE fairy tales”.  I love how they have made a resurgence lately and been re-tooled with stronger female characters that don’t lose their femininity and still manages to stay away from being “Chicks in Chainmail“. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I definitely enjoyed Chicks in Chainmail back in the day and am giddy that I found them on kindle, but when it comes to fairy tales, I want my princesses/heroines/main female characters with a little softness to them.

One thing I always wondered about fairy tales is “what exactly is happily ever after?”.  You don’t really ever see that addressed.  And if no one ever goes into detail about it, then how do you know it is even happy or ever after.

Enter Ron Vitale and his Cinderella’s Secret Diary series.  In this book, you learn (through Cinderella’s private journal) what exactly “happily ever after” looks like.  Turns out that its not so happy after all.  What I love about how Vitale approached this is that the characters are indeed human.  They aren’t perfect and have a bit of tarnish on them (sometimes though a bit too much). 

In this tale, Cinderella pours her heart out to her much missed fairy godmother through her journal practically begging for another miracle.  This added a level of realism to the story because we humans are greedy creatures.  I know that many people would say “Oh she already got one miracle.  She should be happy with that.”  But the truth is that we are never truly happy.  We always want more.  Especially when things don’t turn out quite as we think they should as they obviously have for this Cinderella.

The reader is given the very real character of a woman who was never prepared for life outside of her family much less the responsibilities that come with being royalty.  She soon finds out that there is more to being a princess/future queen than balls and parties.  Her plight is very reminiscent to that of Anne Boleyn (though with none of the rumor or slander), perhaps the most famous woman to fall in hot water for not being able to bear a (male) child.

As I was reading this, I was making notes (as I always do) of possible continuity errors/problems.  I am happy to say that Vitale definitely ties it all together in the end.  It is a quick read at 187 or so pages and I found it a great literary pallet cleanser.  It was something light, sweet, quick, and clean.  It gave my brain a much need rest and boost before delving into deeper selections.

Though it was not without its flaws, the Bookworm gives it 4 out of 5 stars!

Visit the author’s page at http://www.ronvitale.com or grab Cinderella’s Secret Diary from the Bookworm’s Amazon Store If you liked the review, check out our previous reviews of Kainan, The Northern Star and Dragon Fate. Follow us on twitter @ErinEymard and Google+.

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