Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Labors of an Epic Punk by Mark and Sheri Dursin - Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway


Labors of an Epic Punk
by Mark and Sheri Dursin

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GENRE:   YA Fantasy, Myth Retelling

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BLURB:

Mac is an epic punk. No wonder: after his dad went off to fight in the Trojan War and never came back, Mac spent his childhood evading his mom's scumbag suitors—all one-hundred-and-eight of them. Of course, he turned out this way—a moody, friendless sixteen-year-old who blows off work, alienates everyone at school, and pulls pranks. But when he trains a flock of birds to defecate on the headmaster, Mac (short for Telemachus) goes too far. The administrators give him an ultimatum: prove that he's truly the son of Odysseus by doing something heroic—or get out. A school story that just so happens to take place 3,000 years ago, Labors of an Epic Punk is a tale of friendship and transformation, regret and redemption, and a reminder to us all that even heroes need to survive adolescence.


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EXCERPT

No one on the field that morning had any idea that all Hades was about to break loose.

Well, one person did.

The stands were over-crammed with students, all chirping away about their summer travels, each one trying to out-fabulous the other. But Mac wasn’t talking to any of them. (No surprise there.)  Instead, he just stared at the empty stage in fist-clenching anticipation. For the entire morning, the entire summer, the entire two years he’d wasted at this gods-forsaken school, he’d been waiting for this moment. His moment of glory, of genius. The moment when he’d finally and irretrievably cross The Line— that hard-to-define boundary between tolerable and intolerable. Between a week of detention and expulsion. All he needed was for Headmaster Gurgus to blow on that shell.

Just when he thought he couldn’t wait any longer without throwing up, Mac heard the band play the opening notes to “Yielding Never,” Pieridian Academy’s absurdly overblown fight song. The Opening Ceremonies were officially underway. From his seat high up in the stands, Mac watched intently as the members of the so-called Grand Procession marched onto Garthymedes Field: the entire faculty and staff, wearing shiny red gowns and smiles full of phony reverence; followed by the honored students, also in ritualistic red, condescendingly waving at the crowd; followed by a grotesque, nine-headed Hydra. 

Lastly, waddling ten paces behind the Hydra, in all his roly-poly, four-hundred pound glory, was Headmaster Gurgus.
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 I asked where are Five places you go for inspiration and here is their answer

Our Car- The book basically was born in the car; one summer, while driving to the beach, Sheri started musing about mythology, and we eventually hit upon a premise that became LABORS OF AN EPIC PUNK. In the months and years that followed, as we got deeper into the process, the car continued to be a place of inspiration. Because we wrote the book together, our writing process depended on conversations. Before either one of us wrote a single word, we talked things through; everything needed to be pretty well hashed out between us before we started writing. We found a great time to have these productive conversations was in the car during road trips. Here’s an example: we were in the car, driving to Massachusetts, and Sheri said, “I have an idea that you’re probably not going to like.” She wanted to include a chapter that took place a school dance, where two of our main characters would almost kiss. So, as our sons played their Nintendo DSs in the backseat, we started talking about this new chapter. By the time we got to our destination, two hours later, we had determined what was going to happen, why it was going to happen, who was going to be doing it, and what would happen afterward. And it all happened in the car.

The Beach- Our book takes place on a fictitious island—well, it takes place at a fictitious private school located on a fictitious island—and so, several key scenes happen on beaches. That’s probably because we draw so much inspiration from the beach. Not consciously: we’ve never plopped our laptop in the sand or anything like that. But just thinking about the beach or the ocean can put you in a good head space for writing. For one thing, the beach conjures up so many sensations—all the colors of the umbrellas, the smell of the salt air, the sounds of the sea gulls, the feel of the sand on your feet. Writers need to notice those kinds of sensory details. But more than that, the beach is all about letting go, about detaching from your real life. After all, it’s a place where you’re meant to walk around barefoot! That’s the kind of freedom you don’t often have as an adult. In the same way, writing requires you to get into that “barefoot” creative state. 

Library or Bookstore- Who wouldn’t be inspired surrounded by all those books? Several times, we would go to the Young Adults section and try to imagine what our book would look like on the shelf. Plus, a library or bookstore is the perfect place for this great writing activity: (1) Take a random book off the shelf, open up to a random page, and put your finger down; (2) Write out the word or phrase or sentence that you randomly selected; (3) Start writing!  Don’t think about what’s coming up next; write past the censor. The key is to keep your hand moving. Just write nonsense, if you have to. Allow one idea to trigger the next one. (4) Stop writing, after a predetermined time (say, three minutes), and re-read what you wrote. Most of it will be garbage, but there might be one diamond of an idea in there. (5) Identify that diamond and use it for the start of a new free-write. 

Self-Guided Retreat- We were almost finished with our final draft—or at least, we thought we were almost finished—but we knew we had some major things we needed to work on. So we planned our own writers’ retreat. We booked two days at a bed and breakfast in Rhode Island, and we used that time to work on the manuscript. We knew going into it that we needed to condense some chapters and expand others. So we used this time away to edit, write, read, re-read, re-write, re-organize.  And we talked about things—while in our room, or at lunch, or out on late morning walks. This writers’ retreat was such an essential part of our process, and we absolutely encourage all writers to exile themselves once in a while, to get away from the responsibilities of daily life and concentrate on their creative pursuits. 

The couch- This may sound strange, but we find a great deal of inspiration while sitting on the couch. After all, that’s where we spend time reading, watching TV, watching movies. Escaping into the world of fiction always inspires us.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

For many years Mark, a high school English teacher, and Sheri, a freelance writer and blogger, wrote independently. No matter the writing project—newspaper articles, retreat talks, college recommendation letters, fan-fiction, blog posts on spirituality or 80s pop songs—they tended to work alone. Separate rooms, separate computers. But raising their twin sons helped them discover an important truth: All Good Things Come in Twos.

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION :

Mark and Sheri Dursin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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