Monday, July 7, 2014

Big, Fat Loser: A Book about Bullying

  • File Size: 318 KB
  • Print Length: 157 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: BookBaby; 1 edition (October 21, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
~About the Book~

 The kids at Ralph Bunche Middle School love to pick on Elliot Kravitz-Carnucci. He struggles with his weight, looks like a geek, makes top honors, and lives above the Carnucci Home for Funerals in South Philadelphia with his distant, workaholic father and Nonna, his quirky, overbearing grandmother.

Since his parents divorced, he splits spending his time with his funeral director father and his mother Rayna, who dreams of becoming the queen of commercials on the west coast.

At the hands of his peers, Elliot experiences a series of bullying episodes that escalate from entrapment in a school supply closet to a brutal “swirly” (head dunk in the toilet) that lands him in the hospital emergency room.

Elliot has a small circle of loyal friends and a mentor named Duke, an aging school custodian, who root for him to overcome his bullying issues so that he can enjoy his life as a teenager and a budding singer/performer. Can Elliot win his fight against the nasty bullies, or is he doomed forever? Read this funny, sad, and crazy book to find out.

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Book Tour for Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book about Bullying by Catherine DePino, a Middle Grade (8-14) fiction book available now from Book Baby Publishing. The tour will run June 16, 2014 to July 18, 2014, and Catherine is available for guest post and interviews. An ePub and Mobi copy of the book is available for review in conjunction with a guest post or interview.

~My Impression~
Having 4 children that have all been bullied at some point in their lives, mainly while attending the public school system, I was very interested in reading this book.The author does a wonderful job developing characters that are real and likeable. I felt so horrible and sad for Elliot at the beginning of this book. His life was such a mess and it seemed he would not find his way out and remain a victim suffering at the hands of Kyle and his friends.

I adored watching how Elliot learned to step outside his comfort zone and make new friends and lean on others,allowing them to help him gain confidence and control back over his life. No man is a fortress unto one self and I think Elliott found this out.

Catherine did a wonderful job tackling the bullying issue with the sensitivity and attention it deserves. I can easily recommend this book to family and friends.

Catherine will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So please visit all those participating and leave some comments.

~About the Author~

Catherine DePino Dr. Catherine DePino wrote fourteen books, including two chapter books, Blue Cheese Breath and Stinky Feet: How to Deal with Bullies and In Your Face, Pizza Face. Her parenting book, Who Says Bullies Rule?: Common Sense Tips to Help Your Kids Cope, gives parents the tools to help children overcome bullying. Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser, her middle grade bully-prevention book (available on all e-sites), chronicles the attempts of a high school student to conquer his bullying issues. She also wrote Real Life Bully Prevention for Real Kids, a teacher resource book. Her non-denominational e-prayer book for teenage girls, Hi, God, It's Me: e-prayers for teenage girls, is available on Kindle and other digital outlets. Additionally, Catherine wrote many grammar/writing resource books for teachers to use in the classroom. Excuse Me, Your Participle's Dangling: How to Use Grammar to Make Your writing Powers Soar helps transform adults and ESL students into dynamite writers. Catherine holds a doctorate from Temple and has served as an English teacher and department head in the Philadelphia School District and as a student teaching supervisor for Temple University. View her website and contact her at 


Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying

Who Says Bullies Rule?: Common Sense Tips to Help Your Child Cope

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Author Interview: 

What were you like at school?
I always loved reading and writing, both in elementary and high school. In high school I wrote for the school newspaper and literary magazine and loved acting in the drama club.

Were you good at English?
English was my best subject because I loved it so much. I was fortunate to have excellent English teachers who inspired me to become an English teacher for 31 years. I loved teaching high school English and my years spent as an English/world languages department head in the city of Philadelphia.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I want to keep writing for the rest of my life. I enjoy writing fiction and non-fiction for all different age groups.

Which writers inspire you?
More than any writer, Shakespeare inspires me. He knew how to craft a story and turns his characters living people. I learn a lot from the classics but also enjoy reading contemporary fiction. I also love to learn about subjects such as psychology by reading non-fiction. I recently read a book by Lior Suchard, a magician/mentalist. He talks about how we can use certain expressions and phrases to influence people. That led me to read another non-fiction book in his bibliography called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. It may sound strange, but I learn a lot by reading footnotes and bibliographies.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
My main character, Elliot Carnucci, works hard to overcome his bullying problem. His tormentors won’t leave him alone, but with the help of his friends, he finds ways to deal with the harassment they dish out to him. He shows resilience and perseverance and has a desire to help other bullied kids, and that makes him a special character to me.

What are you working on at the minute?
I recently published another book for soon-to-be retired women called Fire Up Your Life in Retirement: 101 Ways for Women to Reinvent Themselves. It aims to give practical advice to women facing this big milestone. Since I’m retired, I discussed a lot of issues I personally faced and talked to other women about the challenges and joys retirement brings.

Now, I’m thinking about writing a book for middle grade kids who need tips about dealing with the adults in their lives without having a lot of conflicts.

What genre are your books?
I write both fiction and non-fiction books about bullying, grammar, women’s issues, and prayer. I feel equally comfortable writing fiction and non-fiction. Some people think that writing non-fiction is cut and dry and that you can’t be creative. However, I’ve found that many of the same elements that apply to fiction (finding the right theme, tone, mood, and voice apply equally to non-fiction.

I self-published my first book, Elliot K Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser and am finding self-publishing a whole new experience, especially the publicity end of it. Also, I received the e-rights back from my prayer books for teenagers and decided to put the one for girls, Hi, God, it’s Me: e-prayers for teenage girls on the Internet. I’d originally written it for a traditional religious publisher but revised it for all different faiths so that it would appeal to a wider readership. So far a lot of people have read it. I also plan to put my prayer book for teenage boys on the Internet.

I hope your readers will take a look at my website, and write to me. I love hearing from readers.

What draws you to this genre?
I write both fiction and non-fiction because I love reading books in both of these genres.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve written all my life. When I was a child, I composed poems and had one published in the Girl Scout magazine when I was a pre-teenager. I didn’t have much time to write when I was working in the school system when my girls were growing up. However, I found time to write some magazine articles and eventually wrote a book for an educational company, a study guide for the works of Cynthia Voigt, a YA author.

The book company, J. Weston Walch, eventually accepted a book called Grammar Workout  that  teachers could use in their classrooms to help improve students’ writing. Many homeschooling parents also use this book with their children. They tell me that it’s a user-friendly text that their children enjoy using.

Why do you write?
I write because I have to write; it’s a basic need to me, like eating and sleeping. It fulfills my spirit and brings me happiness.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
I knew that if I kept dreaming about it and didn’t do it, I never would. So I promised myself that when I left my job I’d start to write in earnest. I think what holds a lot of writers back is their fear of rejection. I was apprehensive about it too at first, but now I don’t let it stop me. I believe that it’s only one person’s opinion and that I should keep trying. Remember to tailor your writing to the publication and be willing to be tough on yourself when you edit. That will help stave off the rejection slip blues.

Do you write full-time or part-time?
Some days I spend a lot of time writing and other days I devote to other activities. However, I’m very strict about deadlines and have never missed one with a publisher. After publishing a book, I usually need a little break. Then I’m fired up and ready to start another one.

It’s important to always think of writing as fun and not a drudgery. When it starts to drag you down, it’s time for a break. Be sure to allow yourself to rest and recover so that you can approach your next work with enthusiasm and energy.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I usually write when I get home from exercise (mainly Zumba these days). I write better later in the day than in the early morning. My brain is much more alert after mid-morning.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I don’t keep a set schedule. I like to be flexible and write when I want to. Some people need more structure, but I find that I work better when I feel like writing rather than when I force myself to sit down and produce during a certain time period. Once I begin a writing task, however, I stay with it until I complete it. I’m very disciplined that way.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I never pressure myself that way because it won’t work for me. Some days I feel like writing more, and other days, less. In the end, I always complete what I set out to do. If an editor gives me a deadline, I work steadily (but at my own pace) until I complete the project.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I usually write on a computer, but when I’m formulating ideas for a book, I usually write longhand. I like to cluster ideas to see where they lead me. Gabriele Rico’s book Writing the Natural Way is an excellent source for learning about clustering.

Where do the your ideas come from?
First a title enters my head and then I go from there. I always start with a book title and then begin to come up with ideas from there. It has never failed me, and my editors have never changed one of my titles.

One of my most unusual titles is Excuse Me Your Participle’s Dangling: How to Use Grammar to Make Your Writing Powers Soar. Everything I want to say is embodied in that title. When thinking about the grammar book for adults, I knew I wanted to show how easy it is to get rid of common errors, such as dangling participles, to improve writing. As the title implies, the book includes all the necessary points of grammar that will help you become an expert writer.

Elliot K Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser is another unusual title. I asked myself what a pack of bullies in high school would say to someone they wanted to ridicule about his weight, and this title came to mind. With my chapter book, Blue Cheese Breath and Stinky Feet: How to Deal with Bullies, I thought about what younger kids might say to taunt a classmate and came up with that title. I think it’s important to think of a title that will catch an editor’s or agent’s eye when you write your query letter. It will make your book stand out more.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
When I write a non-fiction proposal,I have to outline every chapter to see what I’ll include. With a fiction book, I outline a general plot on the back of a file folder and then see where the idea ends up. Sometimes I scrap my original plan and try going in a different direction with plot and characterization. But that’s the fun part of the writing process. The most important thing is not to be too rigid and to go where your instincts take you.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I believe that I’m learning more about the subtle differences in meaning among words. I’m paying more attention to the psychological implications of words, which goes beyond denotations and connotations. The sounds of words can also evoke deeply-rooted memories and emotions in readers. I’m learning more each day about writing and hope to never stop learning.

What is the hardest thing about writing?
It used to be dealing with rejection, but I feel that now, for the most part, I’m beyond that. I try not to think about writing as something hard. I write because I want to and try to make it a pleasurable experience. If it ever becomes hard, it’s time for a break.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
With Elliot, it was dealing with his mentor’s illness. I had to write a couple of heavy scenes, and that was difficult because I loved Mr. Boardly’s character. I patterned him after a beloved school custodian I used to know. It was also a little scary researching the funeral industry because that’s where the story took place, in Elliot’s Dad’s funeral home. However, I learned about the many different facets of the job, and that was quite interesting. Many of the people in that business deserve a medal, in my opinion.

What is the easiest thing about writing?
I love when the words flow easily, but any writer can tell you that it doesn’t always happen that way. Most writers say you should edit after you’re finished writing. Being the grammar nut that I am, I have to edit as I go along. I feel more comfortable that way. Of course, I sometimes change things after the book is completed.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It usually takes four months to a year. It depends upon the subject matter and how much research I have to do if it’s a non-fiction book.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?
I usually take a breather if I feel that no ideas are forthcoming. Usually, I don’t get blocked because ideas are everywhere. Many times they just pop into your head. It’s up to you to remember them. In line with this, I always advise writers to carry around a small notebook in which they can jot down ideas so they don’t forget them.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
I’d say it’s best not to worry about it as eventually the ideas will begin to flow. Do something else until you feel you find something you want to write about. Also, read books by an author you like. That often gets the juices flowing.

What is your favourite motivational phrase.
It sounds like a cliché, but “Never Give Up!” is my favorite phrase. It’s carried me a long way throughout the years and has motivated me to kee

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The Goddess Fish Review Crew.

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