Archive for September 26th, 2016

Dr. Newsome was raised in North Carolina farm country.  During his childhood, he learned a strong work ethic and a love of nature.

photo-6_19_14-1He received a BA in American history from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1971.  He received his medical degree from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine (now Wake Forest University School of Medicine) in 1975.  He completed his residency and certification in family medicine in 1978.  In 1992 he received his certification in Geriatric Medicine.

In 1978 he returned to King with his wife, Betty, to begin his practice in family medicine.  As part of his practice, he staffed the community hospital and the county health department.  He also began a county jail health program and continued to care for patients in local long-term care facilities.

He has two sons.  Carlton shares a love of writing and lives in Raleigh.  Justin lives in Winston-Salem and is an engineer at B/E aerospace.

Sam continues to live with Betty, his wife for forty-five years, in King, North Carolina. He continues to be fully involved in his medical practice.

His first novel, Jackie, was published in October 2013.  It chronicles the life of an unfortunate child with autism spectrum who was bullied and abused in school till he was ruled uneducable.  As a young adult he is discovered to have a near supernatural ability that propels him to a historic destiny.

His recent effort, Joe Peas, grew out of his experiences in medical practice and explores the increasing demands for conformity in our modern world.  He does this in the setting of a long-term care facility that gives him the opportunity to both entertain and educate.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Joe Peas. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

joe-peas-jpegA:  James King is a family doctor who is bound by a life that is too full of structure and regulation.  His routine is interrupted by an itinerant Italian house painter, Joe Peas.  Joe’s free spirited life is a sharp contrast to Doc’s.  They bond, and eventually, after an accident, Joe becomes a rehab patient in Doc’s long-term care facility.  As Doc is drawn to his patient’s vagabond lifestyle, Joe begins to miss the family and human connections he never had.

The long-term care facility is populated by residents with problems including traumatic brain injury, stroke, colon cancer, and advanced age.  Joe’s infectious personality gets him involved in all their struggles and issues.

As Joe’s secret life begins to unfold, he creates a plot to help Doc with his own personal struggles. The Italian’s scheme is both unique and surprising.

Q: What do you think makes a good novel? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A:  Let me counter by my own question.  Why write at all?
I write to send a message.  In JoePeas, the main message is that we are becoming enslaved by conformity.  A continuing theme is a celebration of the individual.

So, a novel sends a message. It may be subliminal, or it may have the power of a sledgehammer, but it should say something.

Second, it should entice the reader to turn the page.  Humor, excitement and greed are all factors that contribute to wooing the reader to continue.  Sex is also a popular legitimate means of holding attention, but I have no talent for writing erotica, so I largely leave that out.

Third, secondary stories (plots) that keep the reader guessing, “Just where is he going with that?”

The fun is in the trip with the expectation of arriving at a destination.

What else is there?  So much that my puny talent can’t begin to fathom!

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A:    This story was character driven. It began with the four residents of a skilled nursing facility plus the Joe’s story.  Each character’s story was initially written separately.  Then they were woven together to provide interaction and, finally, the appropriate resolutions.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: My main character, Joe Peas, is based on a patient I treated for twenty years. The model for Joe was an adolescent during World War II and hidden by the resistance in Eastern Europe. After the war, like Joe Peas, he was given a choice. He could live in London, Toronto, or New York. He picked a very American name and became a New Yorker. That true story was too good not to incorporate in a novel at some point.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: There are two main antagonists in my story, as there are several simultaneous plots. One is so obvious, that I won’t expound on that here. The second is the extreme opposite of Joe Peas. He is a copy of every irritating front-row school student who continually asked questions to get noticed and raised the ire of the rest of the class. If Joe is the ultimate non-conformist, Professor Watley is a paragon of conformity.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: Having several story lines helps. I want to address serious topics in some detail, but I want to make a “good read” as well. If I think I’m getting too serious, I let one of the other characters carry his story for a while. I’ll occasionally throw in a light moment or have him tell a joke. That allows the deeper thought to percolate a bit before resuming the deeper subject. Shorter chapters are placed at the areas where attention may lag. That gives the reader a chance to turn over and begin to tan the other side before resuming the book.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: Correct, the setting is an important part of my story. I describe the long-term care facility and the struggles of running a facility. Statistics show that fifty percent of us will spend time in long-term care. A sympathetic narrative should peel away some of the stigma associated with nursing homes.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: The continued interaction of Joe and Doc was always the foundation of the story. The character studies were initially meant to be short stories. But I eventually felt they belonged as part of a single work and putting them into Joe’s story invites an interaction with a number of different people that highlights his Italian free spirited life-style.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?
A: I think that art comes first, then craft. As I reflect on my own story, I jot or type the story as quickly as possible (I guess that’s art). Then I go back and rewrite as necessary (that’s craft).

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: First, is there something to be said? Otherwise, what’s the point?
Second, A novelist needs a grasp of what it takes to be a good storyteller. Can he successfully tell a joke?

Third, does he have the patience to methodically piece together? Can he see find imperfections and be honest enough to discard and rewrite?

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: I don’t see that. I relate writing to an illness, an obsession—an obsession that is mollified by “writing it down.”

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?
A: Those would be great, and I fully intend to avail myself of those in the future. Like many authors, I am fully employed. I am, In fact over employed, so workshops will have to wait.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: I’m not sure that there is a single formula for a great novel. There are as many different ways to construct a good story as there are novelists. Please write. Make good stories and enjoy the process.

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Inside the Book:

Title: Sick to Death
Author: Greg Levin
Release Date: September 3, 2016
Publisher: White Rock Press
Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Dark Humor
Format: Ebook/Paperback


When Gage Adder finds out he has inoperable pancreatic cancer, things really start to look up for him. He leaves his soul-crushing job, joins a nice terminal illness support group, and takes up an exciting new hobby: Beating the hell out of bad guys.

Gage’s support group friends Jenna and Ellison don’t approve of his vigilante activities. Jenna says fighting never solves anything. Poison, on the other hand… When the three decide to team up and hit the streets, suddenly no rapist, pedophile or other odious criminal in the city is safe.

They are the sickest of superheroes. Their superpower is nothing left to lose. But what happens when one of them takes this power too far and puts at risk the lives of hundreds of innocent people? Where does one draw the line when dying to kill?

Meet the Author:


Greg Levin is an award-winning author of dark comedic fiction.

Greg’s first novel… meh, nobody but Greg really cares about his first novel.

His second novel, The Exit Man, was optioned by HBO for development into a TV series and won a 2015 Independent Publishers Award (a.k.a., an “IPPY”), earning a silver medal for Best Adult Fiction Ebook.

Greg’s third novel, Sick to Death, is out now and is being hailed by critics everywhere as one of the top three books he has ever written. Author Craig Clevenger (The Contortionist’s Handbook)calls Sick to Death “a tour de force dark comedy.”

Greg resides with his wife, daughter and two cats in Austin, Texas, where he reportedly is wanted by local authorities for refusing to say “y’all” or do the two-step. He is currently working on his fourth novel.

Visit him at http://www.greglevin.com



Tour Schedule

 Monday, September 26 – Book featured at The Dark Phantom
Tuesday, September 27 – Book featured at Books, Dreams, Life
Wednesday, September 28 – Guest blogging at What Is That Book About
Thursday, September 29 – Book featured at CBY Book Club
Friday, September 30 – Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge
Monday, October 3 – Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures
Wednesday, October 5 – Book featured at Write and Take Flight
Monday, October 10 – Book reviewed at My Book Addiction and More
Wednesday, October 12 – Book featured at Book Cover Junkie
Monday, October 17 – Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish
Wednesday, October 19 – Book featured at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic
Thursday, October 20 – Interviewed at Literarily Speaking
Monday, October 24 – Book featured at Mello and June
Wednesday, October 26 – Book featured at Bound 2 Escape
Thursday, October 27 – Book reviewed at Natural Bri
Friday, October 28 – Book reviewed at Fundinmental
Monday, October 31 – Book reviewed at Falling Over Book Reviews

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Becky JohnsonBooks are Becky Johnson’s passion and always have been. She used to get in trouble in school for reading during class!

Becky has Master’s degrees in social work and history, and for her day job she is a social worker. In her writing she tries to answer a question that is important to both social work and history: Why? She always wants to know why people do the things they do or feel the way they feel.

When not reading or writing she enjoys yoga, photography, cooking, and makes a pretty mean chili!

Her latest book is the mystery/suspense, Touching Death.

For More Information

About the Book:

Rachel Angeletti knows things. She always has. With one touch she sees secrets, emotions, lies. Her gift helps her to be the best museum curator in Chicago. It also makes her personal relationships difficult.
Touching DeathHer life is complicated enough when a run in with her ex and an unanticipated vision sends her reeling. One touch and she sees death. One touch and she is thrown into the midst of killer’s dark fantasy. Now Rachel is in a fight for her life against a killer she knows too little about.
With danger stalking her around every turn Rachel is in a thrilling race against the clock. Can she catch a killer before he catches her?
Touching Death will take you on a riveting, page-turning, journey into the mind of a killer and the heart of a survivor.

For More Information

  • Touching Death is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid so I guess so. I wrote my first short story in 1st grade. I wrote it backwards so it wasn’t exactly easy to read, but the Amazing Adventures of Tommy and Ralphie were some of my favourite stories to tell when I was a kid.

What was your inspiration for Touching Death?

A few years ago I was walking through the Arms and Armory wing of the Philadelphia Museum of Art when I had the thought ‘what if someone touched one of these artifacts and could see the past?’ In that moment Rachel Angeletti was born.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Growth and spirituality. I like to show characters learning to trust themselves, to forgive themselves, or to believe in themselves. People’s journeys are fascinating.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

The first draft went pretty quickly, I had it down in about three months. The editing took twice that long. With every book there is a time where it just clicks and I know the book is good. Sometimes that happens right away other times it needs to be massaged a little bit.

Are you disciplined?

Describe a typical writing day. I make myself write at least 500 words a day. If I didn’t still have my day job I would be able to write more, but right now with working full time it just isn’t possible. But every day after work I write. And on the weekends I write. Nora Roberts once said her best advice to writers was ‘ass in the chair.’ I try to follow that advice!

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I talked before about waiting for the click that tells me the book is good. It took a long time for the click to happen. For whatever reason the story just wasn’t gelling. After speaking with a few of my betas and my editor I moved some scenes around and added some history and depth. Boom. Click.

What do you love most about being an author?

It gets the stories in my head out into the world which is just the greatest feeling. Plus, I get to work in leggings on my sofa with my cat at my side. What could be better?

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I decided to self-publish after talking with several other authors. With Amazon the process is very easy. The difficult part is that I didn’t know anything. My first book was definitely a learning process for me. I had to learn about editing, cover design, marketing. Overall, I’m very happy with my decision although if a good deal from a publisher came my way I wouldn’t say no.

Where can we find you on the web?

Facebook at www.facebook.com/bjohnsonauthor or my blog bjohnson-author.blogspot.com.


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