Monday, July 11, 2016

Live and Let Psi by D.R. Rosensteel - Interview, Book Reviews & Giveaway

About D.R. Rosensteel

D. R. Rosensteel writes clean action-adventure fantasy. He grew up devouring Marvel and DC comics. He is a Batman aficionado (1960s television version) and über-fan of the television series Supergirl. He planned to be a comic strip artist but dated a girl in college with a very scientific mind, so he became a chemist instead. Fear of genetic mutation caused him to leave that field and start a consulting business so he could charge obscene fees, giving him plenty of time to write. Rosensteel lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, two daughters, and a cat. Also female. The extreme estrogen levels in his house contribute to his writing voice, and the high-pitched whining that destroyed his hearing has given him an almost supernatural ability to tune out everything and concentrate on his characters.


Hi Suze, thanks so much for having me!

1) Can you tell a bit about yourself?

Well, let’s see, where to begin? I write clean action-adventure fantasy for teens because it’s not as much fun to write for adults. My main characters are strong females, probably because I live in a house with two daughters, a wife, and a cat. Also female. The estrogen levels are dangerously high, but on the plus side, they contribute to my writing voice, and the high-pitched screams that destroyed my hearing have provided me with an almost supernatural ability to tune out everything and concentrate on my characters.

2) Your series is called the Psi Fighter Academy, what is that exactly?

The Psi Fighter Academy is the hidden training grounds of a secret society of protectors who call themselves Psi Fighters. Psi Fighters are skilled in the Mental Arts, which Rinnie, the main character, likes to describe as “martial arts with extra habanero sauce.” The sauce she is referring to is psionic energy. Psi Fighters have been trained to create weapons from their thoughts and emotions. Rinnie’s favorite weapon is the Thought Saber, because she loves swordplay. Her least favorite is the Memory Lash, which is also the most powerful weapon the Psi Fighters have. She attends class six evenings a week at the Academy, and the training is intense. Andor Manchild, the genius behind a myriad of psionic inventions, is her trainer and he wants her to be the best of the best. Which can get to be annoying.

3) If you could have a special skill yourself which one would it be?

I would like to be skilled with the Memory Lash. Not because it would let me see everything the bad guy is thinking, although that would be fun, but because it’s the only weapon that can change a person’s heart. Not even Superman can do that!

4) Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?

I have known for a long time that I wanted to be a writer, but I never thought I could actually make a living doing it! It is the most challenging work I have ever done, and the most satisfying.

5) Your titles are inspired by James Bond titles. Is there also a connection with the stories and why do you find them inspiring?
Yes, the titles are all plays on James Bond titles. There is no connection between my stories and their James Bond title equivalent, but I do find the James Bond franchise inspiring. First of all, the bad guys have the coolest names! Second, James gets to use all sorts of amazing gadgets and drive some awesome cars. And most importantly, the action never stops. The movies are as good as the books, although until Daniel Craig, I don’t think anyone really played Bond the way Ian Fleming wrote him. Although I do love the way Sean Connery played him. Yeah, so the titles of this trilogy are a play on Bond titles. The next trilogy will take a different route, but will still use the word Psi as a play on another word.

6) You have good advice for both adults and children on your website. What's the most important thing they should know?

For kids, stick together and don’t hang out with the wrong crowd. For adults, pay attention. Our kids watch everything we do. They pick up our habits and ways of thinking. If we don’t like what they do, we should look in the mirror.

7) You love action, what's so fascinating about it?

Well, I grew up on Marvel and DC comics, so action is in my blood. And to be fair, it’s more interesting than, say, shopping. Actually, it’s not the action, per se, that I like. It’s action that causes tension with one or more of the main characters. That’s what I find fascinating.

8) Your stories are fun and action packed, but they're also about serious topics like bullying. What message do you want to give to your readers and is it hard to write about difficult topics when it comes to children?

My message is, “You’re not alone. Outcast is the new Amazing.” And no, it’s not hard to write about difficult topics when it comes to children. They’re already immersed in difficult topics. Spend 15 minutes riding a school bus and it’s easy to see. I just work real life into the story. What’s difficult is writing in such a way that adults don’t flip out and scream about giving bad advice to their kids. I have not had this happen, but I’m careful with how I handle these subjects. I’m not necessarily politically correct, because I don’t believe in it, but I have certain guidelines I stick to.

9) You have your writing schedule listed on your website, what does a regular day look like for you?

I get up at 5:30 or so, then I choose my writing space for the day. Recently it’s been the treehouse. You know, nice weather and all. Then I make coffee (the Keurig is the greatest modern day invention known to mankind) and plan my day on a pad of lined paper with the title “Official List of Stuff” written at the top. I always use a fountain pen to make my plan. Fountain pens are like the Green Lantern’s ring. They give a writer his power. When I use my fountain pen to cross something off my Official List of Stuff, I get an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I digress. Anyway, I always work on whatever is Number One on my Official List of Stuff. Unless it looks too hard, then I move to Number Two. So, I’ll work on Number Two for several hours or until my eyes begin to smoke. Usually because Number Two is a first draft, which I hate. My first drafts suck. I’m talking worse than a Torricellian Vacuum (yeah, you might want to google that one to check scientific validity). Anyway, smoking eyes are my signal to move on to the next item. So I go back to Number One. It’s still too hard, so I jump to Number Three, which is usually social media, then I check email, update my website, and sigh in relief because it’s lunchtime. I usually read at lunch. Sometimes I eat. After lunch, I go back to Number One. It’s still too hard, so I go outside and do some yard work. Then I mow the grass. Once I have broken a sweat, I feel pretty good about myself, so I am ready to tackle Number One. I boldly pick up my Official List of Stuff, draw my fountain pen from its scabbard, and cross Number One off. Then I walk away with a feeling of accomplishment. It’s a vigorous schedule, but such is the life I have chosen.

10) Could you sum up the main characters of Live and Let Psi in five words each?

Rinnie Noelle—A Jedi with Cinderella’s heart.

Kathryn Hollisburg—Rinnie’s BFF and Secret Keeper

Mason Draudimon—A heartwarming distraction for Rinnie

Andor Manchild—Rinnie’s mentor and sparring partner

Kilodan—Leader of the Psi Fighters

The Red Team—Bane of the Dweeb League

Dweeb League—High school outcasts turned Protectors

Walpurgis Knights—Psi Fighters’ most deadly enemy

Nicolaitan—Wants Rinnie dead or alive

11) What are your plans for the future?

The third book in the Psi Fighter Academy series, titled The Psi Who Loved Me, is due out in early 2017. So here’s what happens: Nicolaitan captures Andy and the Kilodan, the Psi Fighters’ beloved leaders. He gives Rinnie twenty-four hours to give herself up, or he’ll murder them and hang their bodies from the courthouse flagpole. And, oh, by the way, one of them is already dead. It’s a tense moment for our heroine.

I am also working on an entirely new series tentatively titled Geek Wars. It’s about a group of teen geniuses recruited by a secret government agency known as ORDER. Think of the characters of The Big Bang Theory if they were given James Bond missions. It will also come out in 2017. Then there’s a new Psi Fighter Academy trilogy in my head and on various notebooks scattered around my office. All of my stories will have a message to kids that will hopefully let them know that they are awesome just the way they are, and that they don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations but their own. Kids are real superheroes of the world.

Thanks for having me! It’s been a blast!

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Review by Suze

Rinnie is a fierce warrior, she's a member of the Psi Fighters. She pretends to be a normal high school girl, but she has many secrets. Something is happening at her school. The excessive drug abuse and bullying are hard to miss. Rinnie has to find out who's behind it. When someone dies the stakes are much higher all of a sudden and she needs to act fast. Fortunately she isn't alone, she has the other Psi Fighters, her sister and her best friend to help her, but that also means there are a lot of people she wants to protect.
The biggest jerk at school, a person of interest in Rinnie's investigation, might have a good side as well, but what is he doing and what is his role in the organization Rinnie has to gather more information about? Rinnie also has personal problems, she doesn't know if being a Psi Fighter and having a love life is ever going to work. Does she have to choose? And is the boy she likes the one she should give up her life for?
Psi Another Day is an action-packed story. Rinnie is strong, fierce, impulsive and sweet. I liked her immediately. She's the perfect kickass heroine. I loved reading the fighting scenes. D.R. Rosensteel's battles are vivid and colorful. I could easily picture all the fabulous movements. The mental fighting skills are as fun as the combat techniques. Rinnie is young, but she is already a serious opponent and she's smart. There are a lot of difficult clues she needs to figure out. Bit by bit she uncovers the truth and I couldn't wait to find out what it was.
Psi Another Day is a story that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. I loved that there's so much going on. Rinnie's life is never dull, there's always somewhere she has to be and something she has to solve. I enjoyed reading about her missions. D.R. Rosensteel has certainly made her story entertaining and his world building is fabulous.  I really liked this amazing book.
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Review by Suze
Rinnie has defeated one of her enemies, but that doesn't mean her troubles are behind her. The people who were after her parents are now after her. They've seen Rinnie's Psi Fighter appearance, but they don't know who's hiding behind the mask. Rinnie needs to keep her identity a secret to stay safe. The situation at her school is getting worse. The students who are under the influence of a powerful drug are hard to control and not everyone who seems to be on Rinnie's side can actually be trusted. Will Rinnie be able to keep herself safe?
Live and Let Psi is a fantastic adrenaline rush. I really like this series. Rinnie is clever and she knows how to get out of difficult situations. She's fierce and loyal and I loved that about her. She's a brilliant fighter, but love scares her, which is a nice contrast. There's someone she really likes, but how does she combine dating with her Psi Fighter career? She doesn't want to put anyone in danger. She has a wonderful personality. It's obvious that D.R. Rosensteel has spent a lot of time perfecting his characters. They have distinct traits, they are easy to recognize and everyone has a clear function. It's necessary for a story with many different individuals and the author remains in control the entire time.
Rinnie's life is chaotic. She goes to school during the day and she trains at night. Almost all of her time is being spent on missions, also when she's at school. There's too much to discover to rest and relax and she's constantly trying to stay ahead of her opponents. The story is gripping and it's filled with tension, scary moments and unexpected twists and turns. The mental fighting skills are fascinating and I enjoyed discovering Rinnie's skills and abilities. The ending is great and it's also promising, I can't wait to find out what will happen next.
Live and Let Psi is the second part of the Psi Fighter Academy series. I recommend you to read Psi Another Day first. The books can be read as standalones as D.R. Rosensteel takes the time to thoroughly explain things, but the stories are better together. I love Rinnie and her friends and think this series is fantastic.

Live and Let Psi

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If you live in the US you can enter the giveaway for a chance to win a Live and Let Psi Gift Basket, featuring: a signed copy of Psi Another Day, a Psi Fighter tshirt, a Psi Fighter hoodie, a Psi Fighter backpack, and a Psi Fighter Amplifier, a device that allows Psi Fighters trained in the Mental Arts to create weapons out of their thoughts!


  1. Great review . I am Intl so can't enter the giveaway , good luck to all who can enter :)

  2. I am super excited to read this series because it sounds fantastic, unique, and very intriguing!!

  3. The only superhero story I know is the one about Superman.:)