Friday, October 28, 2016

A Bookish Conversation with Poet John Sibley Williams

John Sibley Williams is the editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies and the author of nine collections, including Controlled Hallucinations (2013) and Disinheritance (2016). A five-time Pushcart nominee and winner of the Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors' Prize, and Vallum Award for Poetry, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a literary agent. Previous publishing credits include: The Midwest Quarterly, december, Third Coast, Baltimore Review, Nimrod International Journal, Hotel Amerika, Rio Grande Review, Inkwell, Cider Press Review, Bryant Literary Review, RHINO, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon. 

For More Information

Author: John Sibley Williams
Publisher: Apprentice House Press
Pages: 98
Genre: Poetry

A lyrical, philosophical, and tender exploration of the various voices of grief, including those of the broken, the healing, the son-become-father, and the dead, Disinheritance acknowledges loss while celebrating the uncertainty of a world in constant revision. From the concrete consequences of each human gesture to soulful interrogations into “this amalgam of real / and fabled light,” these poems inhabit an unsteady betweenness, where ghosts can be more real than the flesh and blood of one’s own hands.

For More Information

  • Disinheritance is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I sort of feel like I’m always writing. Even when at work, when driving, hiking, reading, listening to music. Inspiration can come from anything, so wherever I go I carry a pocket notebook and pen, just in case. But apart from writing, most of my time these days is spent raising my wife and I’s newborn twins. Fatherhood is a full time job, as is writing, so my various other passions have taken a back seat for the time being. Before that, I spent most of my non-writing time reading, watching films, exploring the gorgeous mountains and rivers and deserts of Oregon, and supporting my local literary scene by attending various readings and literary conferences.

When did you start writing?

I’m lucky to have been passionate about books since childhood. Perhaps it’s in part due to my mother reading novel after novel over her pregnant belly every day. Perhaps it’s in part due to my own restlessness, my need to make things, and my love of words. But I began writing short stories in middle school, and I continued in that genre until my early twenties. A handful of those stories found publication in literary magazines, which was eye-opening and oddly humbling.

I was 21 when I wrote my first poem. Before that, I had never enjoyed reading poetry and had certainly never considered writing one. It was summer in New York and I was sitting by a lake with my feet dragging through the current caused by small boats when suddenly, without my knowing what I was doing, I began writing something that obviously wasn’t a story. What was it? Impressions. Colors. Emotions. Strange images. I didn’t have any paper, so I used a marker to write a series of phrases on my arm. Then they poured onto my leg. Then I realized I needed paper. I ran back to the car, took out a little notebook, and spent hours emptying myself of visions and fears and joys I don’t think I even knew I had. That was 17 years ago. Since that surreal and confusing moment by that little city lake, I’ve written poetry almost every day.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

There have been so many pivotal points in my writing life so far, and each new book, award, and magazine publication feels like another huge step forward. I suppose my first truly pivotal moment was in middle school, when an English teacher who really supported and believed in my short stories took it upon himself to submit my work to a youth writing contest. I only found out about this when the following year he placed a copy of the anthology in my hands and said “now you’re a published author.” My head spun. I was holding an actual book published through a literary organization, and it featured one of my stories. That was the moment I realized that my writing might resonate with others, that I was not only writing for myself. 

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I have been lucky enough to have done a bit of traveling in the past. A cross country drive back and forth across America and a few years living in Central Europe have heavily influenced my work. But now, if I could live and write in one specific place for a few months, I think it would have to be Alaska, especially the Inside Passage. I adore the art and culture of Northwest indigenous tribes, and their unique histories and struggles have fascinated me since I was a kid. And such landscape and wildlife!  

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

I really hope this doesn’t sound cliché or evasive, but I would write. If my full time job and all my wonderful duties at home fell into the normal 24 hour cycle and four new hours mysteriously emerged, I would have so much more distraction-free writing time. 

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

Recently my poetry has tended toward Midwest and Western inspirations, from the miles upon miles of wheat and hay bales to the bison and barn fires and quaint towns scattered across the heart of America. There’s something rustic and mysterious about endless fields and huge skies and lives spent toiling the land. But for a future book, I think I might focus on uniquely Northwestern themes and landscapes. Though I’ve lived in Oregon for eight years now, I’m still constantly surprised and inspired by the ever-changing terrain and by the rugged fishermen and loggers who live here.

Back to your present book, Disinheritance, how did you publish it?

After I compiled, edited, and ran the completed manuscript by a few trusted peers whose critiques I trust, I began querying various poetry publishers whose books I admire and whose editorial visions seemed a good fit with my work. Luckily, it only took a few months before Apprentice House Press, out of Loyola University, accepted it. I adore small presses and university publishers. Often staffed by volunteers and students, they are so passionate and supportive of their authors, and I was excited to join AHP’s 2016 list.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

Disinheritance didn’t require any travel, though two of my previous chapbook collections were inspired by personal experiences in unique locations. The poems in From Colder Climates are primarily focused on my time in Iceland, and The Longest Compass sweeps across mainland Europe, from Austria to Czech to Greece.

Why was writing Disinheritance so important to you?

Disinheritance was inspired by a few pivotal moments that occurred within a few months of each other, namely the illness and passing of my mother, a terrible miscarriage, and my wife and I’s struggles to move forward and redefine the landscape of “family”. To explore grief more fully in this collection, I adopted various unique voices, like those of our miscarried child, the hypothetical boy he might have grown up to be, my mother in her last moments, and my wife as she struggled to cope.

So Disinheritance shows a far more personal side than most of my poetry, though I hope the poems speak to larger, universal human concerns about how we approach mortality and what roles we play in each other’s’ lives.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

Not to sound coy, but I believe everything is a storehouse of inspiration. It all depends on the author’s curiosity and on retaining an open mind. From other books and current events, from overheard conversations and history, from memories and mythology and the way a bridge sways against the sky and my son’s hand brushing against mine. And I’m heavily inspired by the landscape itself, from weather patterns and bridges and rivers and animals and cityscapes. And sometimes ideas seem to materialize from the ether, as if they never existed until that moment.

But I think most of my ideas stem from how things interact with other things. Be it people in love or coyotes sniffing a deer carcass or clouds darkening the sky or trains shooting through the night, warming the rails. The effects one thing has on every other thing are astounding, ever-changing, and so very inspiring.

Any final words?

I’d hate to waste my final words talking about myself, so, if I may, I’d like to give a little advice to new authors.

There’s a reason “keep writing, keep reading” has become clichéd advice for emerging writers; it’s absolutely true. You need to study as many books as possible from authors of various genres and from various countries. Listen to their voices. Watch how they manipulate and celebrate language. Delve deep into their themes and characters and take notes on the stylistic, structural, and linguistic tools they employ. And never, ever stop writing. Write every free moment you have. Bring a notebook and pen everywhere you go (and I mean everywhere). It’s okay if you’re only taking notes. Notes are critical. It’s okay if that first book doesn’t find a publisher. There will be more books to come. And it’s okay if those first poems aren’t all that great. You have a lifetime to grow as a writer.

Do we write to be cool, to be popular, to make money? We write because we have to, because we love crafting stories and poems, because stringing words together into meaning is one of life’s true joys. So rejections are par for the course. Writing poems or stories that just aren’t as strong as they could be is par for the course. But we must all retain that burning passion for language and storytelling. That flame is what keeps us maturing as writers.

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Book Blast: Spaces Between Notes by Kristina M. Sanchez

Inside the Book

Title: Spaces Between Notes 
Author: Kristina M. Sanchez 
Publisher: Amazon 
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Nikolai Amorosa is one of those men’s men. You know the type—allergic to feelings, couldn’t have a heartfelt discussion if he tried, which he never did. Then, he lost his voice, and any chance of communication went out the window.

Unable to speak or otherwise interact with anyone, Niko’s anger was off the charts. It could’ve been worse; he could’ve been in jail. Instead, he found himself doing construction on Carys Harper’s house. Carys talked—a lot—both with her voice and her hands. She was also at the beck and call of her deaf little brother, Benny, which drove Niko nine kinds of crazy. Not that he would’ve said anything, even if he could.

Something else that drove him crazy? Carys was stubborn. She wouldn’t let him wallow. More than that, she seemed to hear all the things he couldn’t say. She understood him like she understood music. She heard what existed in the spaces between notes. She knew that sometimes silence screams the loudest.

Meet the Author

Kristina Sanchez is a lifelong insomniac whose creative career began when she used to make up stories about Bugs Bunny in her head while the rest of the house slept. She’s a Southern California native who can frequently be found at Disneyland because it’s easier to park there than go to the beach, sadly. Although writing is her first passion and only love, she finds fulfillment working in social services with the county of Orange. Currently, Kristina is the mother of a grumpy old man-cat named Mutt and a strange flight risk named Sirus Blackcat, who is, indeed, a black cat.

You can find Kristina easily enough on most social media platforms, where she will share her viewpoint on all the taboo subjects: religion, politics, and Supernatural, with the odd cat video thrown in for flavor. Prolific. Opinionated. Nerdy as all get out. Have fun, because you can bet she will.




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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Talking Books with K.C. Hardy, authors of ONE WAY TICKET HOME

Kristie Hardy, whose life is the inspiration behind this book, holds a B.S. in Education, a minor in English, and is a former teacher.  But her most recent profession as a private investigator spawned a desire to unearth the long-suppressed details of her own personal story.  She is a mother of two, and a thirty year metastatic breast cancer survivor. Kristie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas with her husband.

Cate Hardy, Kristie’s daughter and co-author, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.  Cate lives in San Antonio, Texas with the loves of her life: her husband and two children. 

Kristie and Cate are the mother/daughter writing team of K.C. Hardy. Their latest book is the Christian inspirational fiction, One-Way Ticket Home.
For More Information

Title: One-Way Ticket Home
Author: K.C. Hardy
Publisher: Casbury Lane Press
Pages: 262
Genre: Christian Inspirational Fiction

Days before boarding the plane to Italy for her daughter’s wedding, Julie Whitaker receives an unexpected phone call from her past. The memory of Mark Jennings, a handsome and charming Top Gun pilot, had haunted her for decades. Their fairy tale wedding was everything she’d ever dreamed of, but it quickly turned into her worst nightmare.

Starting a new a life without Mark proved to be much harder than Julie had imagined. But in her darkest hour, God revealed Himself in a miraculous way, giving her the strength she needed not only to battle depression, but to face a diagnosis of breast cancer that threatened to cut her life short.

Now, amidst the splendor of the Italian Alps, on the eve of her daughter’s wedding, Julie’s thoughts are catapulted back to Mark and the reason for his call.  After thirty years, will Julie have a chance to see him once again? And would she even want to?
Based on true events, One-Way Ticket Home will take you on an unforgettable journey of love, loss, hope and forgiveness. With grace, candor and an indomitable wit, K.C. Hardy reminds us that it is often in our darkest hours, that the strength of the human spirit shines the brightest.

For More Information

  • One-Way Ticket Home is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing? 
First of all, thank you for having us!  When we are not writing, we are busy designing invitations for our stationery store,  or cuddling up with a good book and sometimes a frappe or a good glass of wine. We also love taking annual road trips across this beautiful country of ours, checking places off our bucket list along the way.
When did you start writing?
Oh goodness...that’s a great question.  We started writing One-Way Ticket Home about eight years ago, which happens to be the year I found out I was pregnant with my second child.  All those hours spent writing during my son’s nap times were well worth the sacrifice.  We had numerous starts and stops along the way, and an occasional detour.  But like our road trips, enjoying the journey is often times just as rewarding as the destination.
As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?
 I think both of us can agree that the most pivotal and distressing point in our journey was realizing that in order for the book to reach it’s full potential, we were going to have to do a complete about-face and start over.  Dumping complete chapters and months of writing in the trash can be a little disconcerting, but we wouldn’t let it deter us.  And now that we have finished, we realize it was not a step back but a step forward.  When you’re smack dab in the middle of it however, all you want to do is cry.
If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?
We love to be able to one day go to Ireland.  And specifically the Cliffs of Moher near the village of Kilcolgan.  What fun that would be!
If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do? 
 Oooh...another great question.  Probably grab a big juicy hamburger at Longhorn Cafe (both of us are supposed to watch our cholesterol which makes it even more tempting :) and take in a movie.
Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet? 
Ireland or Alaska.  Both seem so enchanting and exotic (and cooler...much, much cooler). 
Back to your present book, One-Way Ticket Home, how did you publish it?   
After almost being picked up by a couple of big traditional publishers, we decided to maintain more control over our book and self-publish.  Staying true to the authenticity of the story was very important to us.
In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?   
Although we have never been to Varenna, Italy, we spoke with people who have been there and did extensive research.
Why was writing One-Way Ticket Home  so important to you? 
I wanted to share with other women how God brought me through and healed me of breast cancer - not once, but  twice. If my struggles and pain could help someone else realize just how much the Lord truly loves them, how His word does not return void and that He  desires to heal us, then it was all worthwhile.  Also, when I was volunteering with Reach to Recovery with the American Cancer Society after my mastectomy, I realized that many women who suffer from ‘female’ cancers, such as breast and ovarian have been in abusive relationships of some kind. The knowledge of  how destructive abuse is to our bodies and realizing how important it is to stop the cycle of abuse, can perhaps one day save a life.
Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is? 
The expression ‘life happens’ best explains where the ideas for this book came from. Pretty much every idea came from my life's experiences as well as my younger daughter’s dream destination wedding to Italy.
 Any final words? 
We hope you laugh, cry, shake your head in amazement and have several aw ha moments while reading our book. We hope you find words that bring encouragement and inspiration to your soul. In short, we hope that you enjoy reading One Way Ticket Home as much as we enjoyed writing it.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Cover Reveal: Guarded By The Warrior by Eliza Knight


Inside the Book:

Title: Guarded by the Warrior
Author: Eliza Knight
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Publisher: Knight Media LLC
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Ebook

A lady in need of protection...

Suffering through a short marriage to an enemy of Scotland, Lady Emilia MacCulloch manages to escape just before her husband dies. But the Ross clan will stop at nothing to get her back, for she plays a big part in their plans to thwart Robert the Bruce. She fears for her own family being labeled traitors and for her life. Placed by her king as a governess in the household of a devastatingly handsome warrior, Emilia finds herself drawn to the man, when she had previously sworn off love all together. His passion, charisma, loyalty and strength shake the very foundation she's built around her heart.

A warrior in need of saving...

Ian Matheson has spent his entire life trying to prove himself. To belong. When his father passes away and his mother takes her vows at a nearby abbey, he is suddenly left in a position he was wholly unprepared for. And then his father's dozen illegitimate children arrive on his doorstep in need of a father figure of their own. They are adorable and reckless, and he's certain they'll drive him mad. Just when he thinks he might actually need to find a wife to help him, Lady Emilia is presented to him by the king. She needs his protection, and he needs her help with the bairns. Ian is tempted by her angelic face, her fiery tongue, and the secrets that surround her. He must resist the growing desire that's laying claim within him. He must prove to his clan that he is a worthy leader. But maybe, just maybe, he can have the respect of his people, and Emilia, too.

Meet the Author:

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a princess…

Growing up, I was a proficient story teller, with most of my plots encompassing princesses and princes and dreams coming true. Now as an author, some of my stories are still about royalty, knights, duels, ladies, intrigue, betrayal. History fascinates me and I try to bring history back to life in each of my stories.

My favorite time periods are medieval, renaissance and Regency eras of Europe. Growing up, I was lucky to have grandparents who lived in Paris, so many a summer was spent exploring medieval ruins and historical sites.

One of my all time favorite books is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, and I am of course Jane Austen fan, my two favorites being Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I love the in-depth, emotionally riveting and intriguing works of historical author, Ken Follett. I am also a fan of Shakespeare, and you will find in a lot of my writing reference to the literary God and his work. Not only Shakespeare, but other period poets and literary notables of history are on my keeper shelf. My love affair with the romance genre started young. I picked up my first romance novel, The Bride, by Julie Garwood when I was in high school, and I haven’t been able to stop reading or writing romance since.

When I’m not reading or writing I am usually doing research for fun. If you love history, come visit me at History Undressed, where we discuss all the wildly fascinating and titillating facts of history! Recently I’ve started to post reviews of historical fiction and romance novels as well.

You can visit her website at

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Talking Books with 'Born to Resist' Ember Raine Winters

Ember Raine Winters is a single mother of 2. Living in Bakersfield California. She has an Associate’s Degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the Local Junior College and she loves to read. Anything she can get her hands on, but mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy. She self-published her first book in March and hopes to publish many more in the future.

“I never thought one moment could change my life forever. In an instant life as I knew it was over. My new life was the stuff of legends. I just hoped I was strong enough to survive it.” 
A series of what were called The Immigration Wars changed the way of life for the former United States. It was thrown into chaos and a dictator came into power. 
On the eve of Alexa's sixteenth birthday her world changes forever. Her father is arrested for treason and she finds out her mother is really alive. She and her best friend Jacob must travel across country to meet her so they can free her father from the tyrannical leader of the government. Everything is not as it seems in the resistance and secrets and lies will be revealed along the way. 
They must rely on each other and their new friends to be successful. But, trust isn't easily given in the resistance and Alexa must find a way to save her father and keep her friends safe while on the run from both the government and the resistance. 

Pick up your copy at

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

When did you start writing?

I have always loved to write. When I was in like first or second grade my teacher would let us write our own “books” and bind them. We would draw little covers for them and everything. In high school I went through the whole teen angst thing and wrote dark poetry. I had one of my poems published in some anthology that I can't even remember the name of anymore. I was always writing speeches for school and won a couple of awards for those as well.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

I think the moment I get the order of paperbacks that should be here tomorrow will be the most pivotal. To actually have that in my hand. I think that will be the moment that I actually created something that's out in the world. I think it's going to be a great moment.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I would go to Ireland. I have always wanted to go to Ireland. I have seen pictures and planned trips with all of the places and things I would love to see. It's a magical beautiful place and I think it would be an extremely inspirational place to be. I have read somewhere that traveling helps with the writing process.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

I am in the beginning stages of a contemporary romance about living with PTSD I would have spent that extra time writing that story.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

Ireland, I have been thinking about writing some Epic Fantasy novels and I couldn't think of a better place than the home of the Druids to set the story for it.

Back to your present book, Born To Resist, how did you publish it?

It was completely self-published through Amazon. I had it available on Smashwords for awhile, but it didn't work out and I like having it on Kindle Unlimited. So it's sold exclusively through Amazon and createspace.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

No, I did some research on the internet when it came to stops along the way from California to Washington DC, but that was pretty much it.

Why was writing Born To Resist, so important to you?

It's my belief that some writing should have a moral to it. I wanted to show people that in a blink of an eye our whole way of life could change and it won't always be for the better. Alexa's life changed in a moment, but it's what she did with the hand that she was dealt that was the most important thing. She didn't give up no matter how impossible her task seemed.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

The funny thing is I think I get my best ideas from life. What's happening around me or random stuff I hear on the news. I often think, hey that would make a great story. I have an active imagination and I have always heard writers say to write what you know. 

Any final words?

Thank you for the opportunity to promote Born To Resist. I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Born For War the second book in the Born Series comes out October 25th! Check it out too.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Feature: Of the Abyss by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes


Inside the Book:

Title: Of the Abyss
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Horror
Format: Ebook

  After decades of strife, peace has finally been achieved in Kavet—but at a dark cost.  Sorcery is outlawed, and anyone convicted of consorting with the beings of the other realms—the Abyssi and the Numini—is put to death. The only people who can even discuss such topics legally are the scholars of the Order of the Napthol, who give counsel when questions regarding the supernatural planes arise.Hansa Viridian, a captain in the elite guard unit tasked with protecting Kavet from sorcery, has always led a respectable life. But when he is implicated in a sorcerer’s crimes, the only way to avoid execution is to turn to the Abyss for help—specifically, to a half-Abyssi man he’s sworn he hates, but whose physical attraction he cannot deny.Hansa is only the first victim in a plot that eventually drags him, a sorcerer named Xaz, and a Sister of the Napthol named Cadmia into the depths of the Abyss, where their only hope of escape is to complete an infernal task that might cost them their lives.


Meet the Author:

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is the author of seventeen young adult novels and three short stories.  In addition to writing, she has a full-time job teaching high school special education English, and is the mother of a brilliant baby girl named Becks. 

Yes, it is possible her daughter's nickname came from a favorite zombie trilogy (Newsflesh, by Mira Grant).  That there probably tells you more about Amelia than anything else I have to say. 

Amelia started publishing novels when she was a freshman in high school.  As she tells her students, she knows every excuse to get out of doing homework because she got away with them all.  These days she works a bit harder to balance her responsibilities, which means she is sometimes a terrible web-mistress, but she still loves to write. 

The Atwater-Rhodes household also includes two cats, Chivas and Morgan, and some goldfish in an aquaponics system set up for book research and maintained for yummy indoor home-grown food. 

If you want to chat with Amelia, you can reach her through Facebook or Twitter.  She maintains her social media and website herself, which means she's currently writing in third person and isn't that kind of odd? What can I say - I'm an odd duck.

Website | Twitter  


Tour Schedule

Monday, October 3 - Book featured at A Title Wave
Tuesday, October 4 - Book featured at Write and Take Flight
Wednesday, October 5 - Book featured at Literal Exposure
Thursday, October 6 -  Book featured at The Dark Phantom
Friday, October 7 - Book featured at The Literary Nook
Monday, October 10 - Book featured at Don't Judge, Read
Tuesday, October 11 - Book featured at CBY Book Club
Wednesday, October 12 - Book featured at Bound 2 Escape
Thursday, October 13 - Book featured at Perfect at Midnight
Friday, October 14 - Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge
Monday, October 17 - Interviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt
Tuesday, October 18 - Book featured at I'm Shelf-ish
Wednesday, October 19 - Book featured at The Review From Here
Thursday, October 20 - Book featured at From Paperback to Leatherbound
Friday, October 21 - Book featured at Voodoo Princess
Monday, October 24 - Book featured at The Hype and the Hoopla
Tuesday, October 25 - Book featured at As the Page Turns
Wednesday, October 26 - Book featured at Bent Over Bookwords
Thursday, October 27 - Book featured at Harmonious Publicity
Friday, October 28 - Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures
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Monday, October 17, 2016

Interview with Greg Levin, author of Sick to Death - 99 Cent Sale!


Inside the Book:

Title: Sick to Death Author: Greg Levin
Release Date: September 3, 2016
Publisher: White Rock Press
Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Dark Humor
Format: Ebook/Paperback


When Gage Adder finds out he has inoperable pancreatic cancer, things really start to look up for him. He leaves his soul-crushing job, joins a nice terminal illness support group, and takes up an exciting new hobby: Beating the hell out of bad guys.

Gage’s support group friends Jenna and Ellison don’t approve of his vigilante activities. Jenna says fighting never solves anything. Poison, on the other hand… When the three decide to team up and hit the streets, suddenly no rapist, pedophile or other odious criminal in the city is safe.

They are the sickest of superheroes. Their superpower is nothing left to lose. But what happens when one of them takes this power too far and puts at risk the lives of hundreds of innocent people? Where does one draw the line when dying to kill?

Now through this Wednesday (Oct 19th), the Kindle version of Greg's new novel ‘Sick to Death’ is available for just 99 cents! (For U.S. and U.K. customers only. Sorry everyone else -- Amazon's rules.) 

The Interview:

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

In my life life, I'm most proud of having helped raise a healthy, creative, open-minded and confident daughter. In my writing life, I'm most proud of my dedication to the craft, which has enabled me to continuously improve – and to discover what many readers have told me is a unique and engaging voice. I'm also proud of having carved out a career in which I can work in just my underpants -- or less. Oh, and having HBO option my last novel, The Exit Man. Definitely proud of that, too.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

I had a pretty happy childhood, which normally dooms a writing career, but I managed to overcome all the unconditional love and support and still become a tortured writer of twisted tales. That’s not to say my upbringing didn’t help me at all. I was a very talkative kid (still am), and when all my family and friends finally got sick and tired of listening to me, I turned to the written word. Nobody can shut you up when you're alone in a room typing... except for my cat, Dingo, who loves to sit on my laptop keyboard.

When and why did you begin writing?

As I just mentioned, I was overflowing with words as a kid, and those words had to end up somewhere. So I took to writing stories at a pretty young age. I think I was five when I wrote my first novel, and seven when I finished my first screenplay. Kidding. But seriously, from the day I was born I was anxious and moody, so having a creative outlet as a kid was key for me to not go crazy. Okay, crazier. 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Dr. Seuss infected me at a very young age. I blame him. For everything. Especially whenever I receive a royalty check and can’t decide whether to laugh or to cry.

When did you first know you could be a writer? 

Well, like I said before, I’ve always written. But I didn't think about becoming an actual writer until after college, when I realized how unhireable I was and how poorly I got along with other people. Not being able to tie a tie also contributed to my decision to go for it. 

What inspires you to write and why? 

Living. Being alive is so beautiful and agonizing and mesmerizing. Capturing it all with words is impossible, but that doesn't stop me from trying. Life is hell, but fortunately hell is great for fiction. 

Reading also inspires me to write. Whenever I sit down to read a great book, it’s only a matter of time – usually about twenty minutes – before the author in me catches fire and I have to head to my writing nook. Before I starting writing novels, I read them voraciously. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I finish reading five a year. 

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

None of the usual ones – unless you consider Dark Humor or Transgressive Fiction “usual ones.” I don’t adhere to any popular genre norms or stay in a lane. That said, if I had to choose a genre for my books at gunpoint, I’d probably say Suspense, or Thriller, or Contemporary Fiction. Then probably get shot anyway.        

What inspired you to write your first book?

Delusions of grandeur. I thought writing a dark comedy about a mad poet would sell like gangbusters. But it was published in 2011, not 1911. In hindsight, everything I put into that thinly-veiled autobiography (it’s called Notes on an Orange Burial), I should have just saved for my shrink. That said, the book has developed a cult following among my immediate family and a couple of people in England.   

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

Once I began? That I don’t recall so much. But I can tell you what authors have had the biggest influence on my own writing since I started taking this seriously. They include Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, and Hubert Selby, Jr. They are each masters of dark comedy and transgressive fiction. Yet as big an impact as they’ve had on me as an author, and as much as I idolize them, none of them will return my phone calls or Facebook messages. Not even the ones who are still alive.   

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

I’ll answer the first part. The biggest challenge for me when writing a novel is remembering to feed my cats. Also, remembering to kiss my wife and hug my daughter every now and again. What I’m saying is I REALLY get into the writing process. So much so, I often forget about the living process. 

Another challenge is figuring out the best way to format the handful of text messages that appear in my novels. Someone seriously needs to write a how-to book on that. I’m considering switching to historical fiction just so I won’t have to deal with text messages in my stories.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?

Yes – it taught me that if you spend time interviewing a poison expert as part of your research on how to discreetly kill people in your novel, you’d better not forget to THANK that expert on your ‘Acknowledgements’ page at the end of the book.  

Do you intend to make writing a career?

Oh, are you implying I haven’t made it a career already? You cut me, man. You cut me real deep. 

All joking aside, yes, I do intend to continue writing for a living. And all joking aside again, trying to make a living writing is a joke. 

I’m very fortunate to have a highly supportive wife who insists I keep at this fiction-writing thing, and who insists on paying most of the bills. She’s amazing and, as you’ve probably guessed, not right in the head. 

Have you developed a specific writing style?

Yes. I call it “playfully irreverent contemporary transgressive minimalism.” But that sounds ridiculous and pretentious. And not very minimalist. Which is why I prefer to have people simply take a look at some sample pages of my books (via Amazon or my website) and see/judge my style for themselves. (Several readers have said that my fiction reminds them of Chuck Palahniuk’s – and I didn’t even pay them to say that. But I would.)   
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 

I would say it’s my ability to bring humor to controversial and dark topics while simultaneously revealing the heart and humanity of very flawed protagonists. I love getting readers to root for a sociopath or a serial killer or just a plain loser, and laugh and cry while doing it.  
What is your favorite quality about yourself?

My ability to say, “Next question, please.”

What is your least favorite quality about yourself?

Don’t get me started. There isn’t enough space here.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” –Pablo Picasso. I came across this quote just last year. It really resonated with me because I used to be big into all the rules of writing and grammar, until I realized how ignoring them at times can truly elevate your prose and set your story on fire.     

Meet the Author:

Greg Levin is an award-winning author of dark comedic fiction.

Greg's first novel… meh, nobody but Greg really cares about his first novel.

His second novel, The Exit Man, was optioned by HBO for development into a TV series and won a 2015 Independent Publishers Award (a.k.a., an “IPPY”), earning a silver medal for Best Adult Fiction Ebook.

Greg’s third novel, Sick to Death, is out now and is being hailed by critics everywhere as one of the top three books he has ever written. Author Craig Clevenger (The Contortionist’s Handbook)calls Sick to Death “a tour de force dark comedy.”

Greg resides with his wife, daughter and two cats in Austin, Texas, where he reportedly is wanted by local authorities for refusing to say “y’all” or do the two-step. He is currently working on his fourth novel.

Visit him at



Tour Schedule

 Monday, September 26 - Book featured at The Dark Phantom
Tuesday, September 27 - Book featured at Books, Dreams, Life
Wednesday, September 28 - Guest blogging at What Is That Book About
Thursday, September 29 - Book featured at CBY Book Club
Friday, September 30 - Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge
Monday, October 3 - Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures
Wednesday, October 5 - Book featured at Write and Take Flight
Monday, October 10 - Book reviewed at My Book Addiction and More
Wednesday, October 12 - Book featured at Book Cover Junkie
Monday, October 17 - Interviewed at I'm Shelf-ish
Wednesday, October 19 - Book featured at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic
Thursday, October 20 - Interviewed at Literarily Speaking
Monday, October 24 - Book featured at Mello and June
Wednesday, October 26 - Book featured at Bound 2 Escape
Thursday, October 27 - Book reviewed at Natural Bri
Friday, October 28 - Book reviewed at Fundinmental
Monday, October 31 - Book reviewed at Falling Over Book Reviews
Read More »