Guest Author: Elizabeth Leiknes

Literary Escapism is excited to welcome author, Elizabeth Leiknes, and her new novel The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns.

Lucy Burns wants a normal life: friends, love, and a family of her own. And she could have it all if only she could break free from the job she hates.

That job? Facilitator to hell.

And her boss is a real devil.

After nineteen years of doing the Devil s dirty work, Lucy wants out, but it all seems hopeless until Teddy Nightingale, her easy listening music idol, gives her the answer: a little-known loophole.

If she succeeds, Lucy gets love, happiness, and everything she ever really wanted. But the consequences? They’re considerably worse than death. To make it through, Lucy must decide what is evil and what is good, what is right and what is wrong, and if, in the end, there’s ever any way to truly know.

Make sure you stick around because I’m getting to give away a copy of The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns.

Why Squirrels Don’t Read

I’ve never understood people who avoid stories—whether movies or books—because certain stories make them feel “sad” or “scared.” Okay, I admit I’m sugarcoating. Those people (I like to refer to them as “flat-liners”) really annoy me. Why the hell are we on this planet, if not to truly experience life in all its sad, happy, miserable, beautiful glory? Why call ourselves human beings if we’re not going to do human things like laugh so hard we snort, cry so hard we snivel, or worry so deeply about something besides ourselves that we actually do something to inspire change? You wouldn’t see a squirrel with novel in hand (paw), misty-eyed and pensive, shaking his head in wonderment over an amazing story. (To be fair, some squirrels are probably smarter and more emotional than others.)

Here’s my point: The only escape a squirrel is concerned about is escape from the ravenous coyote down the path. We humans, on the other hand, need to find a healthy balance between being comforted and being afflicted.

When one of my students asks, “Why do we need to read, anyway, Mrs. Leiknes?” I always reply with the same bit of stolen wisdom: “Stories are meant to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.” Here I’ve paraphrased the famous quote by newspaperman Finley Peter Dunne, who was talking about newspapers, but I believe that all art, particularly stories, are meant to do exactly what he said.

In all honesty, I admit to having chosen books or movies based on mood—sometimes I don’t have the emotional stamina to watch or read a deep, taxing story, but to completely disallow a good story into your life because it will somehow upset your perfect, anesthetized status seems like a missed opportunity to me.

When I began writing The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns, it was in response to the question, What would you do for love? Rather, what would you be capable of doing for love? I was pregnant with my first son Hardy, and I had experienced, for the first time in my life, an indescribable gut feeling that I could and would do anything to protect him. Hardy Leiknes was born on October 28, 2003, and a few weeks later, when the new-mother crying fits had subsided, the character of Lucy Burns was “born.” An extension of that gut feeling, she took residence in my mind with great authority and moxie. She was one part naughty and no parts nice, but the sum of all her parts somehow equaled . . . good. She gets your attention with her unconventional antics, but she keeps your attention with her unconventional charm.

So that’s my great hope, then—that Lucy Burns will both afflict you by inviting you to think about possible answers to difficult questions, but also comfort you when the answer that you decide upon makes you feel icky. But no matter what, I hope she makes you feel something, because you, dear reader, are not a squirrel.

Thank you Elizabeth for visiting Literary Escapism.

Contest Time! We’re giving away a copy of The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns to a lucky commentator and it’s very easy to enter. All you have to do is answer one simple question:  If you could ask the devil for anything, and receive it, what would it be?

The contest is open to everyone, so everyone overseas can join in the fun as well.

As always, if you want more chances to win, you can post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer (in the same post). The more places you share it, the more entries you get.

For more entries, purchase any novel through LE’s Amazon store sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: myjaxon AT gmail DOT com.  Each purchase is one entry and it has to be through the LE Link.

Join the Literary Escapism Facebook page and you’ll get an additional entry. Make sure you leave a comment so I know that’s why you’re joining. Only new readers to the group will be considered.

For an additional entry, subscribe to Literary Escapism’s newsletter in the sidebar. This is for new subscribers only.

I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer. All entries must be in by midnight on July 14th.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. I’m rather happy and content with my life. Of course I could use more money (who couldn’t?) but I don’t like asking people for anythihg because I hate owing people. So, you can imagine that I’d really hate to owe the devil! So although I may be tempted, I don’t think I’d actually ask for anything.

  2. well, if I was there then I’d pretty much be stuck (in Hell) so I suppose in order to deal I’d ask for a grande white chocolate iced mocha with 5 shots of espresso and a long straw.
    Oh..and lots of ice and maybe an ice pack for my persistent headache.

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