Category Archives: Guest Post

Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer GUEST POST

GUEST POST – Surly Joe


SYNOPSIS – In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a party of moose hunters. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir. In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his cash. He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and , unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented. Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away. Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.


Freedom from everything… That is the main point.” – Zen master Shunryu Suzuki

REVIEW – There’s a derelict shell of a seventy-year old bus sitting empty in the Alaskan bush. Over the last twenty years, it has become a destination, the end goal of a pilgrimage for anti-establishment dreamers, drop-outs, hard-core wilderness lovers and curiosity seekers who want to honour an intriguing, complicated and, depending on the point of view, either an unintentional hero or a naive narcissist named Chris McCandless. At the age of 22, after graduating from Emory University in Atlanta, McCandless burned all his identification, donated his life savings to charity, and disappeared from his upper middle-class family without a word. Changing his name to Alexander Supertramp, he wandered alone to Alaska, where his body was eventually found rotting in Fairbanks Bus No. 42.

“I’m absolutely positive I won’t run into anything I can’t deal with on my own,” McCandless wrote early in his journal, one of the main sources of information author Jon Krakauer used for Into The Wild, his fascinating examination of McCandless’ short life. Even in the first phases of his wandering in California, Mexico and Nevada, when he was malnourished, dirty, and living under bridges or sleeping in the desert, he was in his element. “God it’s great to be alive! Thank you. Thank you,” his journal reads. In a letter to a friend he met on the road, he explained “nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.” And written on a sheet of plywood discovered near his Alaskan bus, he described himself as “an extremist, an aesthetic voyager whose home is the road”, who rejected society “to kill the false being within”. He was living his life his way, away from a corrupt, crushing establishment. He was free.


To many native Alaskans, however, and other readers of Into The Wild , Krakauer’s portrayal of McCandless is irresponsible and romantic. To them, McCandless wasn’t a heroic figure at all, just “one more dreamy half-cocked greenhorn who went into the country expecting to find answers to all his problems and instead found only mosquitos and a lonely death”.

One of the last entries in his journal gives credence to this opinion. Desperately sick, knowing that he was near the end, McCandless wrote an SOS letter to the world. “I need your help. I am injured, near death…I am all alone. This is no joke.” Ironically, he signed it with his real name. He was reaching out to the society he had rejected, victim to his ultimate freedom.

“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Janis Joplin


avt_jon-krakauer_29261Jon Krakauer is a preeminent writer of narrative non-fiction. His numerous bestsellers include Where Men Win Glory, Under the Banner of Heaven, Into the Wild, and Into Thin Air. He is editor of the Modern Library Exploration series.

CKIn his own words – Surly Joe is a moderately nondescript Toronto-based white guy who spends too much time contemplating the nature of boredom.  His aspirations waver between wanting to be either a professional gambler or a Zen monk, with a touch of writing on the side.  After completing university with a degree in a subject that does not readily lead to any sort of viable employment, he wandered through Europe and Northern Africa for a while collecting stories and useless trivia, circumstance led to a career back in Toronto.  He now spends his money on food, friends, wine and annual trips to Las Vegas.






Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – The Original Punk Feminist

GUEST POST – Surly Joe

SYNOPSIS – Jane comes from nothing but she desires everything life can offer her. And when she finds work as a governess in a mysterious mansion, it seems she has finally met her match with the darkly fascinating Mr Rochester. But Thornfield Hall contains a shameful secret – one that could keep Jane and Rochester apart forever. Can she choose between what is right, and her one chance of happiness?



Let’s start with the blatantly obvious. Jane Eyre is a classic. Received warmly and immediately successful when it was first published in 1847, Charlotte Bronte’s novel has been read, studied and appreciated by millions ever since. The story is simple yet always engaging, the language is detailed and flowery, typical of nineteenth century English literature, however never daunting or overblown. For a book of almost five hundred pages, it is a surprisingly quick read.

SHPThis is not what makes it a classic. Jane Eyre, the character, is why it is a classic. She is a rebel with principles. She is a feminist. She is a survivor. In the 1920s, she would have been a flapper. In the 1970s, she would have been a punk. Not a sniveling, dirty, randomly-destructive punk. An innovative, creative, anti-establishment punk. She would have hung out with Vivienne Westwood and Patti Smith and lived her life her way.

“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

tumblr_nuxdqbx5Nj1u7ezalo1_500Right from the earliest pages, when Jane is a child orphan living in an abusive environment with extended family who think they are doing her a favour by keeping a roof over her head, the seeds of her feistiness become apparent. She was conscious that she did not fit in, and so, “like any other rebel slave”, she says “I felt resolved, in my desperation, to go all lengths”. She had in her “the mood of the revolted slave” and found her surroundings “Unjust! – unjust!

As Jane matured, and even as she seemingly fell in line with convention, finishing school and getting a job as a teacher, her individuality and strength of character simmered under the surface. She admitted to herself, ”I desired liberty; for liberty, I gasped, for liberty I uttered a prayer”.


It was a long and difficult path to find the freedom she craved. Oftentimes, owning only the clothes on her back, she trudged on and maintained her focus. In one instance, when she was forced to survive for two days with no food, water or shelter, it almost killed her.


But Jane Eyre is not a tragedy and Jane Eyre is not a tragic figure, And when the good turns of fortune finally arrive, her principles and her individuality become even more pronounced and admirable. Despite the appearance of settling for conformity, it is her own conformity. It is dictated by no one. Her inner punk is alive and well.


Charlotte Bronte
Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Brontë was a British novelist, the eldest out of the three famous Brontë sisters whose novels have become standards of English literature.


CKIn his own words – Surly Joe is a moderately nondescript Toronto-based white guy who spends too much time contemplating the nature of boredom.  His aspirations waver between wanting to be either a professional gambler or a Zen monk, with a touch of writing on the side.  After completing university with a degree in a subject that does not readily lead to any sort of viable employment, he wandered through Europe and Northern Africa for a while collecting stories and useless trivia, circumstance led to a career back in Toronto.  He now spends his money on food, friends, wine and annual trips to Las Vegas.



Just Another Marriage of Convenience? Guest Post & Review – The Billionaire Bachelor

Indecent Proposal…


Manwhore. That’s what the board of directors-and the tabloids-thinks of billionaire bachelor Reese Crane. Ordinarily he couldn’t care less, but his playboy past is preventing the board from naming him CEO of Crane Hotels. Nothing-and no one-will keep him from his life’s legacy. They want a settled man to lead the company? Then that’s exactly what he’ll give them.

Merina Van Heusen will do anything to get her parents’ funky boutique hotel back-even marry cold-as-ice-but-sexy-as-hell Reese Crane. It’s a simple business contract-six months of marriage, absolute secrecy, and the Van Heusen is all hers again. But when sparks fly between them, their passion quickly moves from the boardroom to the bedroom. And soon Merina is living her worst nightmare: falling in love with her husband . . .




Pre-Order the other very sexy Crane Brothers…



By Jessica Lemmon

Curious about what makes Reese Crane, billionaire bachelor, the man? Lucky for us, I was able to get my latest (stubborn) hero to open up about 5 things that make him, well, him.

#5 ~ Beard trimmer. Reese is never without a sexy amount of stubble on his jaw and chin (see book cover) and this bit of dishevelment throws our heroine, Merina right off course. Reese maintains his look, never clean-faced, and never too beardy. Can you say control?

#4 ~ Scotch. Reese prefers it on the rocks, and as he tells Merina on their date one evening, “It’s always what I expect.”

#3 ~ Yacht. In case of temporary nuptials, climb aboard and hide out! But not for long. Sunrise on the deck isn’t optional for Reese—he and Merina need reporters to see them together after the wedding.

#2 ~ Sharp wit. I’m not sure whose banter is more infectious, Merina’s or Reese’s. But I promise you this: when they’re together, they are on fire!

#1 ~ The tie. Merina becomes obsessed with loosening Reese’s ever-present tie, much to the reader’s delight. As she puts it, she likes to see him come undone.

As do I, Mer. As do I. 😉



Oh the “marriage of convenience“, it’s a classic trope and one of my all-time favourites. Perhaps second only to the “best friends to lovers” one, though I am also fond of the “mortal enemies who fall for each other” one as well but I digress, I knew the moment I read the synopsis for The Billionaire Bachelor that it was just my kind of book.

Reece Crane needs a new image like yesterday, what would be the best way to get the board to take him seriously as a candidate for the soon to be available position of CEO? A wife, of course. Reece has no intention of making himself vulnerable for anyone, not again but he knows how to make a deal and he has something that Merina Van Heusen wants… badly.

The Billionaire Bachelor is perfect summer reading with likeable characters, even if Reece did overreact just a teensy bit but then again if he didn’t there would be no story. If you are in the mood for a romance with low angst (always a plus in my book) and intelligent driven characters then Jessica Lemmon’s latest is for you. You will enjoy it, I did.


A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.



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My Final Thoughts on “The Austen Project” by teachergirl73

GUEST POST – teachergirl73

It’s finally over. After three years and three novels, I can officially consider this experiment in fan fiction complete. What I have I learned about this experience? That if you are going to tackle a classic, especially a piece of work written by Jane Austen, you had better have an unparalleled understanding of the original work before you get started.


Val McDermid’s re-interpretation of Northanger Abbey has been the most successful in my opinion. To read my views on Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope and Emma by Alexander McCall Smith, check out the links below to my previous posts on Penny Dreadful Book Reviews:

NASYNOPSIS – Cat Morland is ready to grow up. A homeschooled minister’s daughter in the quaint, sheltered Piddle Valley in Dorset, she loses herself in novels and is sure there is a glamorous adventure awaiting her beyond the valley’s narrow horizon. So imagine her delight when the Allens, neighbors and friends of her parents, invite her to attend the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh as their guest. With a sunny personality, tickets every night and a few key wardrobe additions courtesy of Susie Allen, Cat quickly begins to take Edinburgh by storm and is taken into the bosom of the Thorpe family, particularly by eldest daughter Bella. And then there’s the handsome Henry Tilney, an up-and-coming lawyer whose family home is the beautiful and forbidding Northanger Abbey. Cat is entranced by Henry and his charming sister Eleanor, but she can’t help wondering if everything about them is as perfect as it seems. Or has she just been reading too many novels?



McDermid’s version of Northanger Abbey was quite enjoyable for the most part. She relocated the story from Bath to Edinburgh in August during the festival season, which was the perfect backdrop for the mystery and intrigue that Catherine Moreland, or Cat is searching for. McDermid did a great job of resettling Austen’s characters in the 21st century.  McDermid seems to have stayed fairly true to form, clearly establishing Cat’s naivety and lack of worldly experience with the polar opposite gold-digging, scheming Thorpe siblings and the oppressed Tilney children, trapped by an over-bearing, dictatorial father.

Northanger-Abbey-009Cat has led a very sheltered life, the daughter of a vicar and home-schooled by her mother, her only escape to adventure is through her love of gothic novels. Cat’s first real-life adventure away from home comes when she gets invited to join family friends, the Allens, on a trip to Edinburgh for the Festival. Edinburgh in August is hopping and Cat is in her glory as she gets to explore the Festival, the city and along the way, she meets some new friends. Cat encounters Bella Thorpe and her family, and the two girls become fast friends. Cat’s older brother James and Bella’s brother John decide to join the party in Edinburgh and Cat begins to see her older brother through the eyes of others as she discovers that James is already well-acquainted with the Thorpe family since he went to school with John, a character who is completely self-obsessed and who turns up everywhere that Cat goes. Bella sets her sights on capturing James’ heart, and John assumes that through his sheer force of will he can make Cat his own, despite the fact that Cat does not return his affection.

There is one person that Cat wishes were around more and that is Henry Tilney. She first meets Henry at a dance class, and from that moment on, Cat can’t get Henry out of her head. Cat also gets to meet Henry’s sister Ellie, who’s friendship she comes to appreciate as it not only provides Cat access to Henry, but Cat quickly realizes just how much they share in common. As Cat jumps between spending time with Bella, James and the every-increasingly annoying John, and the Tilney siblings, finds herself juggling new emotions along with her time as she tries to keep everyone happy.

As Cat becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the excessive flirtation between her soon to be sister-in-law and Freddie Tilney, the incorrigible player, she is given an opportunity  to further her own desires. Cat is invited to get away from the scene in Edinburgh by Ellie and Henry Tilney who invite her to come and stay at their family ancestral home Northanger Abbey. Cat jumps at the chance to spend more time with Henry, who she is becoming more and more infatuated with, and to spend time with Ellie, who’s friendship seems to be one that has greater staying power than the unpredictable Bella.

This is where the rebooted story begins to falter. Both Catherines, in this version and the original, have VERY over-active imaginations that create a lot of grief. Northanger Abbey, like Edinburgh, provides the perfect setting for a mystery, coupled with the very hushed up details of the Mrs. Tilney’s death years earlier, Cat’s imagination takes off. The Catherine of the original dreams up a murderous plot carried out by the Tilney children’s very domineering and controlling father. The Cat of the 21st century takes it to a whole new level, adding to her fantasy of possible murder that the Tilney family are really blood-sucking vampires. As a fan of supernatural fiction, this storyline thread just felt ridiculous. McDermid should have just stuck with the suspicious death plot and developed that more instead of trying to jump on a pop culture trend that is now long past over. It was so poorly tied into the story that I nearly gave up reading the novel a few times. The end of the story was also poorly managed, rushed and not believable at all.


EligibleThe heart of my disappointment really and truly seems to be that Austen’s stories have been completely lost in an attempt to ride the wave of the 200th anniversary of the publication of her works. Most of the authors that were contracted to complete their re-imagining of Austen’s most popular works, are very successful in their own right. Theoretically this should have equaled a win-win, but in reality, I feel the entire project has missed its mark. There is one more book in the series, Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, which is a re-interpretation of Pride and Prejudice, my favourite of all Austen’s works. I was really looking forward to this book, but after reading the description for it and some reviews I realized that I no longer have the stomach for the Austen Project and it’s somewhat nonsensical rewriting of Austen’s stories. My advice is if you are considering reading any of the Austen Project’s offerings, do so at your own risk. If you end up throwing books across the room or banging your head against a wall in complete and utter frustration, don’t say that I didn’t warn you!


val_mcdermid_0Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2010. In 2011 she received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award.

She writes full time and divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh.





Dubliners – James Joyce GUEST REVIEWER

GUEST POST – Surly Joe

I wanted real adventures to happen to myself. But real
adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad.”
James Joyce, Dubliners

SYNOPSIS (From Goodreads) – This work of art reflects life in Ireland at the turn of the last century, and by rejecting euphemism, reveals to the Irish their unromantic reality. Each of the 15 stories offers glimpses into the lives of ordinary Dubliners, and collectively they paint a portrait of a nation.



REVIEW – In Grade Ten English class, we were assigned to read a short story entitled “Araby” by an Irish author named James Joyce. It was one of fifteen stories in his collection called Dubliners. We were told he was one of the twentieth century’s greatest authors. None of us had ever heard of him. We read “Araby”, about a young boy’s first experience with infatuation, how his feelings made concentration impossible, and how every morning and throughout the day, he could not get the image of the girl out of his mind, “even in places the most hostile to romance”. When we had finished reading, our sentiment was almost unanimous. The story was slow. Nothing really happened. James Joyce was a master? Really? We didn’t get it.


Of course we didn’t get it. We were in Grade Ten. We were struggling with our own brand new adolescent feelings for the first time. We were only on the cusp of real emotional experience. We couldn’t relate to “Araby”. And if we had read the rest of Dubliners, we wouldn’t have related to it either.

This is the beauty of re-reading a book three decades later with an open-mind and a perspective that has been beaten up a bit by life. The subtleties and masterful language of Dubliners, the slow but perfect pace of the stories, and the themes of love, death, politics, religion and regret, are all only poignant to the reader who has experienced them.


Tracing the course of life in early twentieth-century Dublin, Joyce’s collection begins with “The Sisters” and how a young boy is confronted with death for the first time, wondering why, surrounded by grieving adults, neither he “nor the day seemed in a mourning mood”. He saw the body in the coffin and listened while his elders spoke of the “beautiful death”, but the moment had little impact.

One by one, they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.” ― James Joyce, Dubliners

Following “The Sisters” is “An Encounter”, where a group of boys look for “real adventures” after reading about the Wild West and American detective stories. Wandering through town, they meet an old man who talked to them about books, poetry, and “sweethearts”. But the adventure turns creepy when the conversation shifts to how “all girls were not so good as they seem to be” and how some boys deserved to be whipped.

With each passing story, from childhood to adolescence to adulthood to death, Dubliners gets more bitter. Layers of innocence are stripped away, replaced by regret, anger and melancholy. This is best exemplified in “A Painful Case”, with a very solitary man living a regimented solitary life. “He had neither companions nor friends, church nor creed…his life rolled out evenly – an adventureless tale.” But his routine is briefly interrupted when he meets a woman and starts to trust and talk. When she hints at intimacy, however, he retreats and buries himself in his old ways. Years later, he has regrets, recognizing that “he was an outcast from life’s feast.”

I have no idea where my Grade Ten English teacher is now, who forced me and my classmates to struggle through “Araby” long ago. I’d like to say thanks retroactively. I re-read Dubliners. I get it now.

NoVfeTMGSSSSZul3pJ0M_James-Joyce-9358676-2-402ABOUT THE AUTHOR – James Joyce (1882 – 1941) is one of Ireland’s most influential and celebrated writers. His most famous work is Ulysses (1922) which follows the movements of Leopold Bloom through a single day on June 16th, 1904. Ulysses is based on Homer’s The Odyssey.

Some of Joyce’s other major works include the short story collection Dubliners (1914), and novels A Potrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). Joyce was born in Dublin on 2nd February 1882 and attended school in Clongowes Wood College and Belvedere College (just up the road from the Centre) before going on to University College, then located on St Stephen’s Green, where he studied modern languages.

In 1940, when Joyce fled to the south of France ahead of the Nazi invasion, Paul Léon returned to the Joyces’ apartment in Paris to salvage their belongings and put them into safekeeping for the duration of the war. It’s thanks to Léon’s efforts that many of Joyce’s personal possessions and manuscripts still survive today. James Joyce died at the age of fifty-nine, on 13 January 1941 in Schwesterhaus vom Roten Kreuz in Zurich where he and his family had been given asylum. He is buried in Fluntern cemetery, Zurich.


CKIn his own words – Surly Joe is a moderately nondescript Toronto-based white guy who spends too much time contemplating the nature of boredom.  His aspirations waver between wanting to be either a professional gambler or a Zen monk, with a touch of writing on the side.  After completing university with a degree in a subject that does not readily lead to any sort of viable employment, he wandered through Europe and Northern Africa for a while collecting stories and useless trivia, circumstance led to a career back in Toronto.  He now spends his money on food, friends, wine and annual trips to Las Vegas.

Dark Energy – Robison Wells GUEST POST

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

I’ve used that quote from astronomer Carl Sagan in two of my books now. I love it. It’s idealistic and hopeful. It speaks to the wonder of children as they look up at the stars—a wonder that seems, for whatever reason, to dissipate with age. Kids dream of space ships, aliens, and life on far-away planets. Adults, strangely, lose those dreams, and aliens get lumped together with urban legends, myths, and nonsense.

The X-Files mantra was “I Want To Believe,” but I don’t just want to believe. I do believe. There is life in this universe aside from just life on Earth. I’m not talking about the guy with the crazy hair on the History channel, talking about aliens building the pyramids, or creating crop circles, or raising Stonehenge. I’m talking about real, scientific possibility of other-worldly existence. (Which is not to say there aren’t compelling stories about alien contact—but I’ll get into that in coming weeks.)

There’s a scientific tool created to help us believe in alien life. It’s called the Drake Equation. (Named after Dr. Frank Drake.) The equation isn’t solved—there’s no solid answer to the equation; instead, it’s was created to inspire other scientists to work on the search for extraterrestrial life. It is this:

N = R x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x L

That looks complex, but it’s not. It’s all about probability. It means, simply, this: N (the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication may be possible) equals R (the average rate of star formation) times fp (the fraction of those stars that have planets) times ne (the average number of planets that could support life) times fl (the fraction of planets that could support life that actually do support life) times fi (the fraction of planets that support life that is deemed “intelligent”) times fc (the fraction of civilizations of intelligent life that can actually develop technology that extends into space) times L (the length of time those civilizations release detectable signals into space.)

Easy, right? Now we just have to argue about what those numbers and fractions are. When this equation was initially discussed, the scientists came to the conclusion that, using the most conservative estimates possible, N = 20. Using the most liberal estimates, it was 50,000,000. That’s right: fifty million possible civilizations! And the crazier thing: that was the estimate in 1960. Now, some scientists estimate the number might be closer to 280,000,000!

Why? As Douglas Adams wrote in The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” How big is it? There may be as many as one trillion stars, and even more trillions of planets. Big.

So over the next several weeks, we’re going to take a look at aliens. Some of it will be sciencey, and some of it will be fictiony, but all of it should be fun.



Author: Robison Wells

Release Date: March 29, 2016

Pages: 288

Publisher: HarperTeen

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

We are not alone. They are here. And there’s no going back. Perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and the I Am Number Four series, Dark Energy is a thrilling stand-alone science fiction adventure from Robison Wells, critically acclaimed author of Variant and Blackout. Five days ago, a massive UFO crashed in the Midwest. Since then, nothing—or no one—has come out. If it were up to Alice, she’d be watching the fallout on the news. But her dad is director of special projects at NASA, so she’s been forced to enroll in a boarding school not far from the crash site. Alice is right in the middle of the action, but even she isn’t sure what to expect when the aliens finally emerge. Only one thing is clear: everything has changed.

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1 winner will receive a finished copy of DARK ENERGY, US Only.

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About Robison:

RobRobison Wells is the author of Blackout, Deadzone, Variant, Feedback, Dark Energy, and Airships of Camelot. Variant was a Publishers Weekly Best Book, a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers and a Bestseller. Robison lives in the Rocky Mountains in a house not too far from elk pastures. His wife, Erin, is a better person than he will ever be, and their three kids cause mischief and/or joy.

Robison has an MBA in Marketing, and a BS in Political Science, with an emphasis in International Relations of the Middle East.

Robison suffers from five mental illnesses (panic disorder, OCD, agoraphobia, depression and dermatillomania) and is an outspoken advocate for those with mental illnesses.

His books have been published in nine different languages, and he is the winner of many awards both in and out of the United States.

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