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It’s Always Been A Dream Of Mine

M. K. Lever Author Interview

Surviving the Second Tier follows a female college athlete and her team who rebel against a greedy coach and a system that cares more about money than the players. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I had a couple sources of inspiration for my story. My first is personal experience as a former Division 1 athlete who navigated the college sports system myself and had some of the best and worst times of my life during my athletic career. College athletes are under so much social, personal, and external pressure and that’s really hard to understand unless you’ve been there yourself. Although I was a successful runner who loved my sport (until injuries derailed me) I struggled immensely with feelings of worthlessness, self-doubt, and anxiety. I was also in an emotionally abusive relationship with one of my coaches and I needed a way to make meaning of that. Surviving the Second Tier was an outlet for that experience as well as a way to educate readers about these dynamics and the problems that college athletes face in the real world.

The second source of motivation is my research. I’m a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas where sports policy is a huge part of what I study. The policy issues I research are important but frankly, policy can be boring to talk about even if it’s fascinating to me. Academic research is also very inaccessible because of paywalls and jargon so I needed an interesting and accessible way to discuss my research because, given the current climate, I believe the stakes of it are high. I started telling people “the NCAA is a dystopia” whenever they asked about my research as a way to create conversation. The metaphor really stuck with people and became a great gateway for discussing the ways bad policy negatively impacts college athletes. I wanted to give the college sports industry the 1984 treatment and give people a thought-provoking book that hit close to home and fiction turned out to be an effective vehicle for my academic work. Plus, it’s always been a dream of mine to write a book!

Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the character’s personalities grow organically as you were writing?

I’m a terribly disorganized writer so I didn’t outline my characters so much as I outlined the issues I wanted to cover. They’re all stuck in a system that was never designed to benefit them but they’re also dealing with personal struggles like anxiety, injuries, burnout, identity crises, discrimination, poverty, abuse, and masculinity. Once I had a concept of the issues that I wanted to address within the real-world college sports industry, I had a good idea of how I wanted my characters to develop and they sort of had minds of their own once I started the writing process (which I loved!).

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Identity was a huge one for me. College athletes tend to get really wrapped up in who they are as athletes and fixate on their performances, statistics, rankings, and so on as measures of self-worth. It’s a form of self-objectification that is hard to stop, and fans and coaches also dehumanize college athletes by viewing them solely in terms of their productivity. A big goal of Surviving the Second Tier was to humanize college athletes because they’re so often viewed in terms of production instead of personhood.

As the title implies, I also wanted to focus on themes of surviving a corrupt system. When we think “survival,” we tend to think of things like food, clothing, shelter, and basic necessities. For some athletes (like Sis and Striker), their sport is a ticket out of poverty so it truly is life or death, but sometimes athletes are surviving other things like abusive coaching relationships, mental health issues, crippling media pressure, and life-altering injuries. There’s a lot of pressure on athletes to be tough and gut through these things without showing weakness so I wanted to explore all of that through my characters, their work, and their relationships with each other.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’ve very tentatively started my sequel but I’m also finishing up my Ph. D so it’s hard to juggle creative writing with my academic obligations. If I had to guess, I’d say I could be done with that in a few years (fingers crossed!). I’m also currently working on my dissertation which addresses many themes from my book so I’d love to publish a non-fiction book about college sports as well. The problems college athletes face are a great civil rights issue and writing about them matters a great deal to me.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Website

“Sicily “Sis” Jones is the only undefeated college athlete in the Amateur Fighting Association (AFA), but her spotless record is running her life. She’s living on pennies and nursing a debilitating injury. Her teammates have their share of struggles, too. Striker fights to support his struggling family. Rip has a secret. Cal harbors a grudge.

Topping it off is their cut-throat coach who pushes them beyond their limits for the sake of his own career.

It’s a new order in the world of college athletics. After a financial crisis, the AFA had to salvage its profits. Fighting became the only sport, a brilliant and violent solution to the economic collapse. But at what cost to the athletes?

Sis and her teammates have made it through nearly four years together at their little second-tier university. But all bets are off when the AFA puts Sis against one of her own. Will the Association survive the aftermath?”

Doctorate 101 A Concise Guidebook For Your Doctoral Journey

Book Review Icon

In Doctorate 101 author Dawn McLucas shares her personal journey pursuing her doctorate degree. Along her journey she shares tips and things to consider when pursuing a doctorate degree. McLucas starts off by sharing what she had to overcome to obtain her doctorate. The author continues on to provide in-depth information on what is needed in order to earn a doctorate.

I found a lot of the information in the book to be very helpful and pragmatic, like the authors recommendation to list out your goals prior to pursuing your doctorate. This is similar to creating a vision board and will help readers keep themselves on track. I also appreciated the emphasis on motivation when times get tough. The biggest pieces of advice that the author provides is in the lessons learned section, as she shares with readers that this journey is not a cake walk and to expect some roadblocks.

Dawn McLucas provides the reader with insightful and encouraging information. I believe those who are pursuing their doctorate will benefit from reading this informative book as McLucas sets the reader up for success by creating clear expectations and then diving into how to overcome them along with handling moments of doubt.

The writing comes off as conversational and encouraging, which makes the reader feel like they are listening to a friend or a mentor. The book is setup in an easy-to-read format and flows smoothly between sharing the author’s experience in pursuing her doctorate and her lessons learned as well as tips to stay motivated and how pursuing your doctorate can be rewarding.

This step-by-step guide will mitigate any surprises prospective students may encounter when pursuing their doctorate. The author shares exactly what to expect from planning your classes, scheduling your time, research and presenting your data.

Doctorate 101 shows readers that even though this is a difficult task, it is not unattainable. With hard work and perseverance it is possible. Doctorate 101 is an important book to read when pursuing, or even considering pursuing, your doctorate. McLucas sets the reader up for success and provides the motivation needed when you begin to doubt yourself.

Pages: 33 | ASIN : B09VY96N1G

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Craziness and Humor

Author Interview
William Haylon Author Interview

The College Shrink follows a recently divorced woman that takes a job at a college where the students end up helping her as much as she helps them. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

This story was built upon many unspecific tales that I have heard over the past two decades from a person who has spent their life as a college psychologist. It’s a hard job and the challenges are sometimes unimaginable. At the same time, there can be a good amount of craziness and humor working for a college, something I have learned over many years of being a witness to that world. But with the explosion of mental health issues among teenagers, it is a story that was well worth exploring.

Did you create an outline for how Emily would develop before you started writing or did her personality grow organically as you were writing?

Good question, Karen. I had developed an outline before launching into writing The College Shrink. As it is a character driven story, the personalities of each of the people (not just Emily), ultimately drove the story in a different way than I had originally planned. They were rich characters, and I grew quite fond of them. Some of their actions I applauded, and some made me cringe. In many ways, they wrote the story.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

There are many difficult topics touched on in The College Therapist, all of which took a fair amount of research. Anxiety, depression, body image issues, substance abuse, racism, assault, rape, suicide. All of which, unfortunately, are omnipresent on college campuses. And, of course, central to all human beings is the theme of how relationships work in the midst of these difficult topics.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next book is closer to home for me. Where poverty, Asperger’s, pedophilia, and churches make for strange bedfellows. It is a story of a family where dysfunction seems the norm. The manuscript is close to completion. The question is whether I can bring myself to publish it.

Book Review

Doctorate 101: A Concise Guidebook for Your Journey – Book Trailer

Are you thinking about starting a doctorate program?

Did you recently start your doctorate program?

Do you have anxiousness or concerns about what to expect?

In this book, the author, Dr. Dawn McLucas strives to offer insight and motivation to all learners pursuing or considering starting a doctorate program. This compact book provides key information to provide students with an introduction to the doctoral journey without overwhelming the reader. The summary of experiences, tips, and encouragement serve to better equip students in their new educational pursuits.

In this book you will discover:

  • Author experiences
  • Goal setting ideas
  • An introduction to the dissertation
  • Expectations
  • Tips for maintaining motivation and support

After processing the ideas and tips provided, you will hopefully feel more at ease and prepared to start your journey toward adding to the world of research and reaching your goal of obtaining a doctorate.

CAPE HENRY HOUSE 

CAPE HENRY HOUSE by [Jolly Walker Bittick]

Nostalgia is an entertaining source of literary inspiration – even when it’s getting nostalgic about the debauchery of your early adult years. This rings true in Jolly Walker Bittick’s novel, Cape Henry House. Based on a true story, this is a coming-of-age tale told by former Petty Officer Third Class Bosner. When his friends move into the titular house off-base, they originally see it as a place where they could relax and drink their livers to oblivion. Little do they know that the house will later become a focal point for the friend group as they navigate the real world. 

While it is true that one could consider Cape Henry House a coming-of-age story, you should have flexible expectations coming in. Because this novel is coming-of-age the same way the American Pie film series is. That is not a knock on either Cape Henry House or American Pie (I’m a huge fan of both) – all I’m saying is, do not expect to see quirky teenagers stick their heads out of the sunroof and talk about how they’re infinite (whatever that means). Instead, you will get to read about house parties, keggers, “pass-out rooms,” greasy hangover cures, and all the other rough trimmings of youth. 

Throughout this engaging novel, Bittick takes his time to paint the scene. Every character is described in vivid details, making each one stand out. The narration is told through Bosner, making the reading experience feel like you are kicking back with an old friend. Just like making new friends in real life, it is a bit difficult to get familiar with all the names being introduced as you flip through the pages. But once you get to a certain point, seeing characters make an appearance almost feels like going through an old photo album. 

Cape Henry House is an entertaining bro novel. There is fighting, there is copious amounts of drinking, and women are often described by their numeric levels of hotness. “I hope she’s a five…” or “She’s somewhere between a five and a seven.” This novel is overtly masculine in a way that reminds me of Ernest Hemingway. If you can handle Bosner’s vulgarity, then Cape Henry House is a book that will be entertaining. Do not hesitate to pick up this lively book: the doors of Cape Henry House are wide open.

Pages: 339 | ASIN: B093VPBL5L

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Conspiracy U

Conspiracy U: A Case Study by [Scott A. Shay]

Ever listened to some of the beliefs and theories uttered by renowned scholars and wondered how they could possibly say that out loud? Ever wondered how they can believe in these things despite possessing the capacity to research and disprove them?

Conspiracy U takes readers on a deep dive into the realm of conspiracy theories. The author uses his alma mater as a case study for this thought-provoking book. He discusses how these beliefs become so deeply embedded in people’s minds that they even start to champion for them. His aim with this book is to attempt to repair the cracks caused by anti-Zionist conspiracy theories that are peddled by trusted academicians.

The author’s concern for what these conspiracy theories can do to society is seen through his passionate writing. His words are a wake-up call to anyone who may be tempted to believe anti-Zionist conspiracy theories because of the authority those speaking about them have.

Author Scott Shay starts off with a definition and outline of conspiracy theories. His intention is to help readers understand the difference between healthy discussions about different possibilities and beliefs and intentionally aggressive misinformation.

This enlightening book is a voice of reason. It is a beacon of light in the murky waters these beliefs have led us into. It is a call to action for everyone to do their due diligence before taking sides in the conversation. It is a push to bridge the divide between those who dare to challenge the anti-Zionist theories. It is a plea to attempt to right the winds of institutional, national, and global politics.

Conspiracy U is a book that discusses social issues with far reaching impacts but it still feels very personal. The author is discussing this subject from a place of concern and a need to change things. This book is well researched and meticulously written. Illuminating and compelling, this is a must read book on a critical topic that is explored intelligently and passionately.

Pages: 198 | ASIN: B09DTLMXML

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What does school look like now?

Suzy Beamer Bohnert
Suzy Beamer Bohnert Author Interview

College, Covid, and Questions provides tips and advice for both parents and students that are preparing to go to college during these tumultuous times. Why was this an important book for you to write?

The whole Covid experience has turned everyday school upside down. I wanted to try to smooth the path to get to a more normal way of schooling.

Covid hasn’t gone away—and may never go away completely—but hopefully this book can bring normalcy to a person’s college experience than would typically be the case.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about going to college?

The students think everything must have changed a lot since their parents were in school. However, the practical things are much the same, and we all need to know about those.

Keeping track of your health, especially with Covid, is so important. You need to follow the rules. The details have changed, but the bigger-picture issues have stayed the same—such as health, eating, and living quarters.

What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?

With Covid, yes, health has always been a concern, but how does Covid change a person’s approach to maintaining their health?

Some of the latest learning techniques, including virtual and hybrid, have changed things in the classroom setting and so has technology. What does school look like now?

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

Taking care of all the practical, everyday ins and outs of things will make the entire college experience so much better.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | LinkedIn | Amazon

College, Covid, and Questions: Tips and Advice for Incoming Freshmen, Undergraduates, Transfer Students, and Parents

Millions of people are considering going on to college, but there are so so many choices and questions that need consideration and answers. Not only when and where do you want to go to school, but once you’ve made the decision, how do you prepare? Once on campus, how do you take advantage of all the opportunities at college and beyond? What type of school-community college, four-year university, public, or private?
Whether you’re in high school, the mom or dad of a university student, taking a gap year or a college transfer student, making a career change, finishing a military career, or enduring a bad job market, this book is for you. Or, maybe you were waiting for your dream school, and received an acceptance.
College, Covid, and Questions will help you to know:
– School essentials during coronavirus
– Considerations when buying a computer
– Technology to succeed in school
– Characteristics to look for in a tutor
– Advice on help with accommodations and services from the Center for Accessibility Services
– Advantages and disadvantages of campus meal plans
– Hints and tips when seeking an internship
– Tips to get along with roommates
– Academic advisors-your role and theirs
Simple, clear answers about coronavirus and college, classes, internships, campus dining, dorms, roommates and residence life, academic advisors and mentors, clubs, recreational activities, and getting back home.
This is the essential guide to navigating the college journey successfully in these unprecedented times.

College, Covid, and Questions

College, Covid, and Questions: Tips and Advice for Incoming Freshmen, Undergraduates, Transfer Students, and Parents by [Suzy Beamer Bohnert]

Suzy Beamer Bohnert has freshmen, continuing students and parents covered. In her book, the author talks about college routines, the basics, what every student and parent needs to know and general life in college. This book is timely as the author also talks about the coronavirus pandemic, how it has affected learning institutions and the economy. I enjoyed reading about the author when she talked about the status quo, as she paints the reality in a clear manner and one can get to fully comprehend where she is coming from. College, Covid, and Questions is an informative book that will not only help you choose the right collegiate path, but also help you navigate college life once you are there.

What I loved most about Suzy Bohnert’s writing is how she makes the reader part of her story. Suzy Bohnert is engaging and makes the reader feel like they belong. I appreciate the tonal variation when the author is writing about content to ensure it is relevant to parents and guardians versus the choice of words she uses when addressing students and young readers. Suzy Bohnert is easy to understand and fun to read. Her diction is excellent and the text in the book is clear from the start. This book is like a student manual that can help students navigate new settings and new communities. I have a child currently preparing for college so this book was very relevant to me. I wanted to know what my child could expect in the modern landscape of colleges. There was plenty of highlighting done on my part by the end of the book, as I found so much of this book enlightening and informative.

Starting college is tough, it was tough in my day, I can’t even imagine adding the stress of COVID on top if it all. This is why Suzy Beamer Bohnert’s book is critical to student success. Going to college can be overwhelming, but College, Covid, and Questions brings clarity and order to something that can be distressingly complex. Do yourself a favor, prepare yourself, and grab a copy of this pragmatic and insightful book.

Pages: 150 | ASIN: B08R91DVL8

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