Posted by authorcamilson
Labors of an Epic Punk
by Mark and Sheri Dursin
GENRE: YA Fantasy, Myth Retelling
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.
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.
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.
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.
Author’s choice of topic
When Mark and I visit schools to talk to teen readers, the question we’re asked most often is pretty obvious: How did we become authors? I think a love of writing always starts with a love of reading. The kind of reading that results in a pile of “to be read” books that keeps growing and growing. The kind of reading that keeps you up late into the night, because you need to finish “just one more chapter!”
As kids, Mark and I were exactly those kinds of readers. We both had that experience of falling in love with the world of fiction and the amazing realization that authors could create imaginative stories out of thin air that people would read and love and relate to and talk about. I was in 8th grade when I first tried doing this. Having joined a brand new club called The Young Authors Club, I wrote my first book, which I called The Garden Party. The story was pretty short and was inspired (more than a little) by my favorite childhood books, The Secret Garden and The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe. But it was a completed book and it was mine.
When I was young, I had this vision for my life of being a full-time author…maybe not a “famous” author, but definitely someone who wrote books for a living. And then I “grew up” and like what happens with so many childhood dreams, I thought of it less and less as my path took me in other directions.
But I never stopped writing.
I know Mark’s story is almost the same as mine. Lots of short stories and half-finished novels written on notebook paper and stuffed in drawers. When we were young, there was no Internet with fanfiction sites, Wattpad, or blogs. Stories remained hidden because there weren’t a lot of ways to share them. So it was easy for our dreams of becoming authors to remain hidden, too. Until we met and got married, and that’s when things changed. And now here we are…all these years later, finally published authors.
It took a series of leaps for us to get to this point. The first was the lightbulb moment that we had a good idea for a story. And then came the decision to actually start it. Writing takes time and discipline and inspiration all mixed together. The conditions for writing aren’t always ideal and so just getting started is often the first hurdle.
What got Mark and I over this hurdle was our decision to work together. We had both been dragging our feet for so long…having a partner to write with made it fun, exciting, and not so scary or overwhelming.
The second big leap was the decision to publish Labors of an Epic Punk ourselves. It was the most freeing decision we ever made, and it’s how we’re finally able to hold our book in our hands and share it with the world. It took about a year and a small investment of money to go through the indie publishing process. But we can honestly say it was worth it. We’ll have to keep our day jobs. Very few published authors make enough money to write full-time. And now that anyone can publish their own book, there’s tons of competition out there. But there’s also tons of inspiration to be found. We’ve met authors who work as teachers, accountants, landscapers, engineers, office managers, EMTs, and lawyers. The common thread that ties us together is that writing is our passion. It’s something we fit into our lives because we love it.
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