Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Labors of an Epic Punk by Mark & Sheri Dursin

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. 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. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

MARK: I don’t know if I’m “drawn” to YA literature in general. For example, the “dark” and “edgy” subset of YA lit does not really appeal to me at all. Instead, I prefer books that fall into the “John Green” camp—stories that balance humor and insight, populated with likable, relatively normal characters. Voice is really important to me, and my favorite YA books—going all the way back to Catcher in the Rye—have that.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

SHERI: This one is super easy for me to answer…ice cream! My absolute favorite dessert is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Sadly, they have a very mean tendency to discontinue some of my favorite flavors (Dublin Mudslide, Fossil Fuel.) But thankfully there are still many great flavors to choose from!

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

MARK: I’ve got to go with teleportation. Think of all the time you’d save. Some technical things will have be worked out, obviously—How do you not teleport INTO something or someone? Are all your molecules being taken apart and then put back together? Do your clothes get teleported along with you? (Because if not, that’s kind of a deal-breaker)? But overall, I think teleportation has all the advantages of flight, without worrying about getting bugs in your eyes.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

SHERI: Right now I’m in the middle of three books: 1) The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes. She’s been one of my favorite authors since I first discovered her years ago. She has an amazing way of writing humor but also touching on deep and serious topics. 2) The Caller by Juliet Marillier which is part three of the Shadowfell series, a YA fantasy trilogy. She writes fantasy novels for adults and teens and she’s my favorite! 3) The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I’ve heard so many great things about this book, and obviously it falls right in my mythology wheel house so I’m excited to finish it!

What reality show would you love to be on? Why?

I would love to be on Survivor because this show has been a family favorite for years. My boys absolutely love it and we haven’t missed a season since they discovered it. Sadly, I think I would be the world’s worst Survivor contestant (I’m not very athletic or outdoorsy) and I would probably be voted off the island on the first episode!

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

MARK: Looking back, I watched a lot of shows in the Happy Day universe—Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, even Joanie Loves Chachi. I can’t remember more than a handful of episodes, but those shows were definitely “Must See TV” for me in the late 70s/ early 80s—which seems very quizzical to me now. As an adult, I have some questions about Happy Days: What does it mean to “sit on it”? What made the Fonz so cool, anyway? He hung out with a bunch of nerdy high school kids, and his “office” was the bathroom at Arnold’s.

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.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Mac never remembered his name. He only knew him as the short kid with the bad foot and the big mouth who had the distinction of being, almost without peer, the least “cool” kid in school. Not because of his height, exactly (he barely reached Mac’s shoulders), or any other aspect of his physical appearance—his floppy black hair, say, or his ill-fitting school-issued tunic. And not even because of his pronounced limp, caused by a twisted, misshapen left foot. Those things didn’t help, certainly, but he could have been better looking than Adonis himself, and none of that would have mattered. He was just different.

And today, the kid was definitely different. While everyone else had on these goofy battle accessories, this guy was decked out in an obviously homemade furry cape with a hood, a circular mane-kind-of-thing tied around his chin.

“What are you supposed to be?” Mac heard someone ask, as the pitiable sap limped to the front of the group, wearing his weird get-up and clutching a large sack and a bunch of scrolls.

“For your information,” the kid said, disdainfully, “this is an original Nemean lion costume.” Met with silence, he clarified. “Uh, Nemean lion? Heracles had to kill it as one of his labors? You people honestly don’t know the Nemean lion?”

“Why do you have it?” another person asked.

“My mom made this for me when I was in the fifth grade.”

“You can fit into something from the fifth grade?” an anonymous voice asked.

About the Authors:
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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Congrats on the tour and thank you for the book description and giveaway as well. I enjoy these tours and have found some great books.

  2. Thanks to Books in the Hall for hosting!

  3. I love young adult books that balance humor and insight. They strike me as a perfect way to entice young readers into literature. As to the significance of Happy Days, who knows? But there's a metaphor in an office like The Fonz had. I just know it.

    Thanks for the great post today.

  4. Loving the sound of this book!

  5. Who is your favorite literary charachter? Congrats on the release. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  6. When did you first get the idea for your book? I hope your book is a success. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com