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About Tom Leveen
Tom Leveen is the author of nine novels with imprints of Random House, Simon & Schuster, Abrams, and more. He has also teamed up with Todd McFarlane writing Spawn, the comic book series, and released four independent books: A young adult novel, a how-to guide for writers on the subject of dialogue, a book on using movies to improve your fiction writing, and a horror novella based on real events.
Currently a library assistant in charge of teen programming with Phoenix Public Library, Tom has nine years of previous library work experience. He also has 22 years of theatre experience as an actor and director, and has been the Artistic Director for two different theatre companies.
Tom wrote his first story in second grade and has been writing and telling stories ever since. His first horror novel, Sick, won the Westchester Fiction Award and the Grand Canyon Reader Award. His novel ZERO was a Best Book of 2013 (American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association). His horror novel HELLWORLD was a Bram Stoker Award finalist.
A frequent guest speaker and teacher, Tom has taught, paneled, and/or keynoted for SCBWI, RWA, Desert Nights Rising Stars, Phoenix ComiCon, AzLA, NCTE, TEDx, People of Color Network, Western New Mexico University, Arizona State University, Arizona Reading Association, Kennesaw State University, multiple schools and conferences throughout Germany, AETA, the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest, and many others.
In addition, apropos of absolutely nothing, Tom:
Completed a 13-and-a-half hour crucible staffed by retired Navy SEALs; finished a marathon (in six and half hours), earned a blue belt in Tae Kwon Do, co-hosted a public access comedy show, directed 30 plays and acted in 30 more, ran a theatre company out of his backyard, met almost all of his literary heroes except for Stephen King, played in a punk band live in front of actual people (once), prefers the Hero System but nevertheless runs a warlock minotaur and storm cleric elf when time permits, trained at the Utah Shakespeare Festival Actor Training program for five sessions, was Best Masque & Gavel Member in high school, lettered in Speech, has a rock in one finger from a pretty bad bail on his (now stolen) Tony Hawk, was the safari train driver for the Phoenix Zoo for a short time, worked in the stock room for Forever 21 for an even shorter time, completed a Spartan Sprint with three friends, and spent twenty years earning his Bachelor of Science degree.
So if there’s something you want to do, go do it.
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Titles By Tom Leveen
Maybe it's pacing, plot, narrative . . . what if it's what your characters say?.
Outstanding dialogue is often the difference between a good book and a great book. How does yours stack up?
No B.S. -- your dialogue has to rock to get attention from agents, editors, and readers.
I'm an award-winning novelist and Bram Stoker Award finalist with nine novels published with imprints of Penguin Random House, Abrams, and Simon & Schuster, plus more than twenty years of experience as an actor and director. I'll guide you through everything you need to improve your writing, make your dialogue shine, and get your book noticed and talked about by readers, agents, and editors alike!
What people are saying about Tom Leveen’s dialogue, voice, and character:
“I must say that I’m absolutely in awe of Leveen’s ability to build such distinct and totally believable voice for eleven characters [protagonists] in one novel.”~ fortheloveofya.com
“Well written, with a distinct and fantastically done voice, Zero is an unflinching must read.” ~ agoodaddiction.blogspot.com
“[H]is voice is fresh and strong and consistent.” ~ scratchingcat.wordpress.com
“Part of what makes the book, and the voice, believable is Leveen’s ability to channel a teenage girl and make her real. It’s all there—the insecurity, the bravado, the conflicting feelings about sex, the sense that your whole life is in front of you, which is both exhilarating and paralyzing.” ~ The Phoenix New Times
“[I]t’s the relationships between the novel’s teenage characters that are the real standouts. Tyler’s crass banter with his buddies, his snarky but supportive relationship with his sister, and his botched dealings with both Becky and Sydney are entirely realistic.” ~ Publisher’s Weekly
“Tom Leveen has a unique voice and writes interesting male characters, so I was intrigued to check out his latest book manicpixiedreamgirl. Leveen’s characters are usually creative types and not the typical leading men you see in YA. . . . I thought the male voice in manicpixiedreamgirl was very strong and unique.” ~ thereadingdate.com
“Author Tom Leveen presents a powerful story with a plot so real, readers will be gripped from the very first page.” ~ readingjunky.blogspot.com
“[Leveen] really nails the ‘guy’ dialogue as well—it is gross, colorful, and at times, downright funny.” ~ VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
“In an exciting take on the zombie novel, Leveen … shifts to horror while maintaining his trademark complex relationships and character-driven storytelling.” ~ Publisher’s Weekly
“Tom Leveen’s voice is truly one of the best elements…” ~ blog.homoeoteleuton.
Five years ago, Abby Booth's mom, cohost of a ghost-hunting reality show, went missing while filming in a "haunted" cave in Arizona.
Since then, Abby's life has all but fallen to pieces, most notably because of her dad's deep depression and how they've drifted further and further apart.
But now, at sixteen, Abby has decided that things will change. She plans to go to the same cave where her mom and the crew went missing and to find out, once and for all, what happened there.
With the help of the cohost's son Charlie, and two of his friends, Abby sets off on a quest for answers...but when the group ends up finding, what they stumble across in that dark, primordial cave in Arizona, is nothing they could have ever imaged.
Abby was investigating a possible haunting...she never expected that there could be something worse.
Sixteen-year-old Pelly has a master plan. After years of therapy, medication, and even a stint in a mental hospital, she’s finally ready to re-enter the world of the living. Pelly has been suffering from severe panic attacks ever since her best friend, Tara, disappeared from a mall six years ago.
And her plan seems to be working, until an unkempt girl accompanied by an older man walks into the coffee shop where she works. Pelly thinks she’s seen a ghost, until the girl mouths “help me” on the way out, and Pelly knows she’s just seen Tara.
Too shocked to do anything, Pelly helplessly watches Tara slip away again as she steels herself against a renewed spiral of crippling anxiety. But rather than being overcome by anxiety, Pelly feels more energized than she has in years. Determined to track down enough evidence to force the police to reopen Tara’s file, Pelly’s master plan takes a dangerous turn.
Pelly decides she cannot be shackled by her past—and the anxiety, fear, and grief that comes with it—any longer if she wants to save Tara. But in seeking answers through whatever means necessary, she’ll come face-to-face with true evil. And not all the shackles are in her head…
Braden’s got a wonderful wife, darling three-year-old son, nominal success as a novelist — and no contact with his parents for years, with very good reason.
Then a box of his books is accidentally—and mysteriously—delivered to his childhood home. Against his own best judgment, Braden swings by the old place with his son, Josiah, to pick up the box. In and out, super fast, no big deal.
The house has other ideas.
Infected by the traumas inflicted by his parents, the house traps Braden and Josiah with its lone, erstwhile occupant. It turns Braden’s long buried memories into corporeal horrors threatening his fragile, still-recovering psyche and the childhood of his only son. Braden must quickly uncover what exactly the house wants from him--
Or if it is, in fact, the house that’s haunted.
Jim never thought of himself as the hero type. When his girlfriend and her daughter are targeted by a disfigured assailant who's been popping the eyes out of his victims, Jim becomes the only person with a chance to save them.
The first victim is Jim's best friend Travis, who is attacked and blinded in his home and overpowered by the grisly intruder. Travis's elderly father is assaulted next, then his mother. That leaves Travis's only living relatives: his daughter Darla, and his ex-wife, who police assume are targeted as the next victims. Jim quickly agrees to protect them as best he can, neglecting to tell his buddy that he and Travis's ex- already have a relationship on the side, and that Jim is beginning to love Darla like his own kid.
As police race to find and stop the assailant, Jim discovers it's far too late: someone's lying in wait, and what he -- or they -- want is the last thing Jim could ever have expected . . .
...now you don't.
Danny’s parents yanked him from the art school that let him wear a kilt and listen to bands that no one’s heard of. Now he’s starting sophomore year at the public high school—the one with the gymnasium at the heart of the building and the glorified athletes who rule it all. The smart thing would be to blend in, but Danny has always been about making statements.
Brady just wants to get out. Go to college, play football, maybe reach the NFL. He definitely wants to stop waiting for his deadbeat mother to come home, sleeping on park benches, and going to bed hungry. But first he has to lead the team to the championships. It all adds up to a lot of stress. So who can really blame him when he and the football team turn their aggressions on the new freak? Even the quarterback needs to blow off steam sometimes.
Coach turns a blind eye to his players’ crimes—because this year, they’re going to State. But maybe if Coach had paid more attention they could’ve caught it before it all happened. Maybe it could’ve been avoided.
With quick cuts between a large cast of unforgettable characters, and razor-sharp plotting, Tom Leveen takes readers on a countdown to an inevitable, horrifying act. This gripping novel offers an intense, smart perspective on the tragic, toxic mindsets behind the celebrated American sport and the monsters it creates.
In the middle of a sudden epidemic that deforms its victims and creates bloodthirsty hunters of everyday people, high school senior Laura Fitzgerald becomes trapped in a classroom with a freshman boy she's never met . . . and who has suffered a bite from one of the infected students.
The day started normally enough, with her ex-boyfriend, Brian, ditching class with his friends while Laura stayed on campus and tried to control her frequent panic attacks. But today was going to special: today she was going to tell Brian that she'd been slowly reducing her medication and learning to control her panic naturally.
Then all hell breaks loose in the school gym. Kids turn into grotesque beasts who feel no pain, maiming and killing the uninfected. Laura fights her way to a classroom with another student, who reveals that he's been bitten by one of the sick kids . . . and he doesn't feel well.
With both their lives on the line, Laura must fight the overwhelming symptoms of her panic disorder to get him medical attention and both of them to safety, not knowing if anyone is coming to save them.
Tonight's the night. Everyone will be there. Will you?
Graduation in Santa Barbara, a house near the beach, and no parents! That can mean only one thing: PARTY! But not everyone's in a partying mood. Beckett is only going to confirm she is invisible after having spent two years caring for her mother; Morrigan seeks revenge on her ex- for having the gall to NOT sleep with her; Azize is trying to make a friend -- any friend; and Anthony's ready to pop off on anyone who mentions his maimed, combat-veteran brother.
As the night quickly spirals out of control, eleven unique characters -- all of whom are familiar to anyone who's been a high school student -- crash, collide, and recombine in ways none of them saw coming when a brutal act of xenophobic violence brings the party to a halt.
Graduation is a time of change. But after tonight, no one will ever be the same.
After missing her best opportunity to attend a prestigious art school, 17-year-old Salvador Dali devotee Zero begins dating Mike, a drummer in an up-and-coming punk band. As their tentative relationship blooms, Zero confronts a ton of baggage holding her back from her art career: the majorly awkward drama with her former best friend, Jenn; her dad's excessive drinking and parents' ongoing fights; and one formerly successful art teacher who might just hold the keys to her future, or smash Z's hopes forever.
When Mike's band gets a chance of lifetime to bust out of black hole that is Metro Phoenix, Zero must make a life-altering decision and answer the one question we all face at some point in our lives:
Follow your own heart, or the heart of the one you love?
Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It’s a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line.
He asks for a single thing—one reason not to kill himself.
The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he’ll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can’t help but suspect the caller is a fraud. But what if he’s not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.
With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger—and maybe redeem herself—leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything…