Ain't No Messiah by Mark Tullius Book Tour and Giveaway :)
Ain't No Messiah
Tales of the Blessed and Broken Book 1
by Mark Tullius
Genre: Psychological Suspense
“God has chosen Joshua to bring forth his new kingdom on Earth.”
the day he was born, Joshua has found himself the recipient of
death-defying miracles. His earliest memories include his own father
proclaiming him the second coming of Christ. However, Joshua has
wrestled with serious doubts about the validity of this claim all his
life. How could he not, having survived a childhood filled with
physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his earthly father.
Now, one way or another, Joshua is going to show the world who he really is.
"A compelling, if sometimes-lurid, picture of a faith gone wrong." - Kirkus Reviews
"Ain’t No Messiah is a beautifully-written book about one man's effort to find himself - and maybe even a bit of happiness - in a world bitter enough to greet even a supposed Messiah with abuse and scapegoating." ~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader
I was looking at the sad stack of pines piled on the ground that’d become someone else’s firewood, the only way we were able to ever afford meat. “I got a better idea.”
He dropped the rope. “Where you going?” I changed direction so he wouldn’t follow, as the side of the church was strictly forbidden ever since Blackie was snatched. “What are you doing?” “Why, you going to tell on me again?” I didn’t wait for his answer, and walked past the wall with the boarded-up windows that’d been painted white at least five times. FAKE MESSIAH covered up but ever-present there underneath. Father camouflaged the bear traps with twigs and leaves, easy for me to spot, but not a demon doing work under the cover of night. One of these days, Father said, we’d catch us a nonbeliever. He said he wanted to hear who they’d be praying to with one hundred pounds of pressure crushing their leg. The safest form of vengeance, he argued, was hurting others before they could hurt you.
Mark Tullius is the author of Unlocking the Cage: Exploring the Motivations of MMA Fighters and dark fiction which includes Ain't No Messiah, Twisted Reunion, 25 Perfect Days: Plus 5 More, Brightside, and the Try Not to Die series. An Ivy League graduate, Mark lists Chuck Palahniuk and Stephen King as the authors who most influence his own writing. He attests that attending Tom Spanbauer's Dangerous Writing workshop marked the turning point in his career. In addition to his writing, Mark is the host of the podcast Vicious Whispers.
Mark resides in Southern California with his wife and two children.
Advice they would give new authors?
Write what you want to read. Believe in yourself and embrace your distinct voice. Don’t stop.
Describe your writing style.
My writing has always been dark, but now it’s getting more efficient. I recently went through and reworked a selection of short stories, many of which had already been published. It was difficult reading my old prose, not because of the story, but in the way I told it. On average I cut 30% of the words, unimportant details I assumed the reader needed. So now, instead of it being like a slow bleed to death finale, I’m going for more of a blade being driven straight through your heart. With maybe a kiss to send you on your way because I’m kind and I care.
What makes a good story?
Real characters in shitty situations. It’s easy to make the right choice when there is one, but what do you do when both ways suck?
What are they currently reading?
The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I am a very visual person and start most of my ideas on a large piece of paper. I vomit everything I can onto that page and slowly scrub it into shape, creating a rough storyline and then developing chapters. Although I like having the outline, I add and delete scenes regularly and allow the book to follow the course it needs to.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
One of my biggest problems starting out was feeling that I need the first draft as clean as possible. That’s such a waste of time since many scenes, characters, and such may be deleted. Now I try to fly through the first draft and each subsequent pass I add to it and slowly polish it.
The belief that all you need to do is write and you’ll find an audience is another misconception with many young authors and another one of my downfalls. I still err on the side of writing instead of marketing, but I understand the importance of both and am working on finding the right balance.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Distractions. I need to block everyone out if I want to disappear in my imaginary world. If someone disturbs me while I’m in the middle of a scene it can be difficult easing back into it.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I never worry about what the reader wants until after the book is finished and it’s time for reviews. I have no desire to write for the masses and only want to write the stories as they come to me. The thought of being a sellout and specifically writing a certain way to gain more readers is something I’d be ashamed of. I understand that individuals will do that and claim it is a smart business move, but to me it seems so disingenuous. I strive to be an artist and don’t believe that will ever change.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Embrace your voice and don’t doubt yourself. Pour everything you have into the writing and you’ll be rewarded.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I’ve struggled with writing female characters because there are so many differences with our minds. Reading The Female Brain by Dr. Louann Brizendine helped me understand some of these things but whenever I write a female character I turn to my wife or female friends for their input. With my upcoming Try Not to Die: In Brightside I co-authored with my friend Dawna Gonzales because I knew she would be able to create a much more realistic 16-year-old female than I would on my own.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I don’t believe I’ve ever written a book without several distractions along the way. Because I have so many projects going on, both fiction and nonfiction, and several coming up with co-authors, it is hard to stay on task and know exactly how long one book would take. I’m averaging about one book a year but I’m aiming to increase this number.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in writer’s laziness, procrastination, and burnout. There are times where I’ll be spent and feel like I have very little creative energy, but that’s when I’ll switch hats and work on editing or another aspect of the game. I think writer’s block is an excuse for people that have trouble committing and become overwhelmed by taking on such a big project.
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