By Andria Barrios

With the holidays approaching, holiday reads are common, but this book is far from the happy, candy-coated tale full of Christmas cheer. Published by Twilight Times Books, The Coal Elf tells of a young lady named Ember Skye who works underground mining coal for the naughty children of the world.

“She was summoned by Santa Claus and is struggling to find her purpose in life. This story tells of Ember’s journey to piece together some sort of meaning to her dark and dusty existence. Life at the North Pole isn’t all we think it is,” explains author Maria DeVivo. This young adult book shows an alternative side to Christmas seldom explored in the typical Christmas novel.

Originally from Long Island, New York, this author has been a resident of FishHawk since 2006, and currently teaches both honors English and Folklore at Randall Middle School. DeVivo was named teacher of the year at her school from 2010-2011. “The idea for the novel came to me in 2004 and it festered in my brain for 6 years.  It wasn’t until the summer of 2010 that I actually sat down to write the tale. It took me eight weeks to write.”

DeVivo additionally has two other dark fantasy manuscripts waiting to be published, one about zombies called The Altered, and one about angels entitled Aestrangel, The Fallen. She also plans to write The Coal Elf sequel in June of 2013.

“Randall Middle School is holding an event at the Barnes and Noble on December 8 from 1-3 p.m.  I will be there selling copies and signing autographs,” DeVivo informs.

Purchase The Coal Elf paperback through Barnes and Noble or Amazon for $16.95. The ebook is also available for Nook or Kindle for $4.99. For more information, contact The Carolyn Jenks Agency at Visit the author’s Website at, or Facebook page at


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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.