Abby Normal ~ Giveaway

Abby Normal (The Abby Normal Series Book 1) by Samuel Thomas Fraser
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Horror

Abby Henderson has lived her whole life under a dark cloud. When she was born, a demon called the Deacon claimed her family as his property. When she turned 13, she was traumatized by an ominous psychic vision. When she turned 14, her dad had a psychotic breakdown and tried to kill her.

She’s just turned 25, and now people are dying all around her.

This is all according to the Deacon’s plan. He believes that Abby is the key to a ritual that will unleash an ancient evil on the world, and he will stop at nothing to make sure that ritual succeeds.

Now, Abby is in the fight of her life against an enemy that defies all reason. Together with her pious girlfriend, her magic-slinging ex-teacher, and a hotheaded Amazon with a machete, Abby will have to use every trick in the book to outlast the Deacon. Because if she can’t, her next birthday is going to be Hell.

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Samuel Thomas Fraser is a writer and actor from the rainy mountains of Vancouver, BC, Canada. A lover of medieval literature and truly weird fiction, Sam holds a BA in English and a Certificate in Creative Writing from Simon Fraser University. His short fiction and poetry has appeared in outlets including The Macabre Museum and Unleashed: Monsters Vs. Zombies Vol. 1. As a performer, he has inhabited such memorable stage roles as Algernon Moncrieff in The Importance of Being Earnest and Charlie Cowell in The Music Man. Abby Normal is his first novel.

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What made you want to be a writer?

When I was 19, I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. That’s a very broad term for a whole host of developmental disorders from low-functioning autism to Asperger’s syndrome (which is what I have). Day-to-day, having Asperger’s isn’t as much of a hindrance for me as it is for some people, but social interaction can be very difficult sometimes. 

In conversation, I often fixate on one topic for too long, and if it’s a topic I’m passionate about, I’ll just start monologuing and I won’t stop. On the other hand, if I don’t have as much interest in a topic, I may not say anything for ages, because I’ll feel like I have nothing I can sensibly contribute. If I do try to contribute, I’ll trip over my words and ramble while my brain screams at me that I’m not making sense and the best time to shut up was about fifteen seconds ago. Sometimes I can be too blunt, and because I can’t pick up on nonverbal cues, I won’t realize it if I offend someone until they tell me they’re offended.

This is a long way of saying that writing gives me a sense of control. When I can dictate both sides of a conversation and steer it toward a conclusion of my choosing, I feel so much more relaxed than if I have to go to a job interview or (heaven forbid) on a date. As a kid, I was always making up stories and losing myself in imaginary worlds even at times when I really shouldn’t have been. I played soccer for a bit when I was about eight or nine, but when I was on the field, I always spent more time fighting imaginary pirates or secret agents than I did chasing the ball and paying attention to the game. When I reflect on that time now, I realize that I was always trying to escape into a world that was more predictable than my own. There’s a 50% shot at victory in a soccer game, but in a battle with imaginary pirates, I would always win. I write because it gives me a clear goal to work toward, and I always know how the beginning and the middle will beget the end. That’s the same reason I enjoy acting and building LEGO sets: I always know from the first page what will happen on the last page. As for real life? Yeah, not so much.

What made you want to write this book?

Abby Normal is what happens when you take a nerdy theatre kid, stick an English degree in his hands, and pump his brain full of Beowulf, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and HP Lovecraft. As a result of my education and my general geekery, I have a very wide range of literary and cultural interests that don’t always jibe with one another. The writing of Abby Normal was a process of taking all those interests and stuffing them into one box, then trying to craft a narrative that would at least make them all look like they belonged together. In this book, the astute reader may find bits and pieces of Buffy, The Dresden Files, Doctor Who, BioShock Infinite, Alice in Wonderland, Alan Wake, and much more besides. Ultimately, I wanted to write a story that would entertain me, and if that meant ripping off (or as we say in the business, “paying homage to”) other stories that have entertained me over the years, that was a price I was willing to pay.


Abby Normal by Samuel Thomas Fraser

CHAPTER 1

RENDER UNTO CAESAR…

Another match failed, and Don’s cigarette remained stubbornly unlit.

He cursed, insinuating that the match had had improper carnal knowledge of a family member. He threw a hard look at the matchbook, trying to intimidate it into cooperating with him. He promised the matchbook that this really was his last cigarette, honestly, and wasn’t a man’s last cigarette more than enough reason to give him a light?

And it was going to be his last one, too. For real this time. He had sworn to Karen he would quit when the baby arrived, and he’d already cut down to only two or three smokes a week.

But. But, but, but. He had said “when the baby arrives” and not a split second before. And Karen had been in labour nearly eleven hours now.

Jesus. Eleven hours in the worst storm to come up the coast of BC in 15 years. Don had heard of natural births before, but this was fucking ridiculous.

They’d all told him it had to be this way, Karen included. Something about ley lines and chaotic energies and ancient traditions. Something about imbalance in the mystic equilibrium, which would alter the electric potential in the atmosphere and wreak havoc on the complex mechanical systems in a hospital.

In Don’s opinion, the whole thing had a pretty pungent odour of bullshit.

He finally got his cigarette lit and took a walk around the beach. The island was a half-mile of rock and trees, with one log cabin stuck in the middle of a clearing on the nearby hill. It was what Don’s father-in-law would have called ‘a real strip-of-piss’. As lightning struck the next island over, Don told himself there wasn’t anything to worry about. Really, there wasn’t. That 200 pounds of rugby muscle wasn’t just for looks: he knew how to handle himself in a fight. So did Karen, if it came to it.

Not to mention the retinue of freaks, said a voice in his head. Then, Holy shit, there’s a Word of the Day for you.

“Lovely night for it, eh?”

Don turned and saw a man approaching him from the cabin. Enter Freak Number One, said the voice.

The man shouted at Don over the howl of the wind, and his long Inverness coat billowed behind him. “I said, ‘lovely night for it, eh?’”

Don didn’t answer as the man in the Inverness coat drew close to him. He was shorter than Don’s six-three, and much thinner, with goofy oversized ears and a square chin, but there was something about him—some presence in his bright green eyes—that was naturally, effortlessly commanding.

One of the green eyes winked, and the man in the Inverness coat whispered, “Oh, to be in Canada now that autumn’s here.” He spoke with a soft English accent and a cheeky, joking note in his voice.

Don wasn’t in much of a joking mood, and he looked straight past the Englishman to the log cabin. “How is everything in there? I mean… is she here yet?”

The Englishman shook his head. “Not quite yet, but I’d say she’s very near, going by the state of things.” He glanced at the sky as he said this, as if the ‘things’ in question would suddenly blow down from one of the dark clouds above.

Don turned back toward the water, and the Englishman closed his eyes like he was meditating. It was several minutes before the Englishman gripped Don’s shoulder and whispered, “She’s here.” As the wind died away, Don heard an infant crying in the distance. He threw his cigarette into the waves and charged toward the cabin, excited and terrified in equal measures. He could hear the calm, measured footsteps of the Englishman jogging after him.

Inside the cabin, Karen Henderson was lying on a creaky twin bed in one corner, trying to soothe what looked like a very noisy pile of old dishrags. She was a small, round-faced woman, like a child’s doll come to life. Not at all, then, like the two women flanking the bed, who could both have passed for angry villagers in a Universal monster movie.

The woman on the right was a tall, muscular Haitian with a lot of dark hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. Natalie Arnaud wore a bulky, dirty trench coat over an equally dirty tank top, khaki pants, and heavy steel-toed boots. The whole ensemble suggested that she’d been working nights in either a munitions factory or a slaughterhouse.

The woman on the left looked like an older version of Karen. Stout of frame and straight of back, ‘Grandma’ Meg McAllister had a glass of single malt scotch in her hand. It was not her first one of the night.

Don stood with his back to the door for a moment, staring at the squirming, noisy bundle in Karen’s hands, until the Englishman gave him a nudge. “I think some introductions are in order, Donald.”

Karen looked up and nodded, beckoning Don over to her. As he approached the bed, she glanced at the Englishman and said, “You too, Simon.” The two men huddled around the bedside as Karen gave the child a gentle pat on the back and said, “Don… say hi to your daughter.”

Grandma Meg put down her Scotch and gently placed the child in Don’s arms. His whole body froze as the baby’s weight settled against him, and he imagined that the slightest tremor would offend her. Only his mouth moved as he whispered, “She’s gorgeous…”

This was, of course, a clever lie. She was a newborn baby, and all newborn babies look like flesh-shaped balloons filled with prune juice and raspberry jam, but as far as Don was willing to admit, the child was perfect.

“So, what do we call her?” Simon asked. “Only I feel like ‘Small Human-in-Progress’ is a tad wordy.”

Karen smiled and shook her head. “We call her ‘Abigail’.”

Grandma Meg nodded and took a sip of her scotch. “Aye,” she said, in a broad Yorkshire accent, “Abigail Margaret ‘enderson.” Then she smirked and added, “My suggestion, of course.”

Don nodded and rocked the child in his arms. “Abigail. Abby, for short.” He leaned in close to his daughter and whispered, “Do you like that? Do you like ‘Abby’?”

Abby made a gurgling noise of assent and reached for Don’s nose with a fat, sausagey arm. As her eyes opened and she took a first look at the room around her, the party went quiet and just watched her, forgetting that there was a world beyond their log cabin.

So it came as a huge shock when somebody knocked on the door.

Knock-knock-knock. For a second, nobody moved. Then Natalie pushed aside her trench coat, letting her hand rest over the hilt of the long machete she had strapped to her leg.

Knock-knock-knock. Grandma Meg reached for the Webley revolver she’d holstered at her hip and thumbed the hammer nervously.

Knock-knock-knock. Simon closed his eyes and nodded once. “It’s him.”

The door crashed against the wall as a rush of freezing wind howled through the cabin. Don held Abby close to his chest and turned his back to the chill, while Natalie and Grandma Meg trained their weapons on the figure in the doorway.

The newcomer was not quite a man, nor was it quite a monster. It was human in shape, but it was cloaked in a set of white floor-length robes, with gold at the sleeves and collar, and a purple hood that hid its eyes.

The thing in the robes glided into the cabin, hands folded in front of it, heedless of the venomous looks it received. Behind it, the door slammed shut and locked itself. The thing whispered, “The weather is… pleasant, is it not?” Its voice was like the crunch of dead leaves underfoot, and the way the corners of its mouth twitched upward suggested that it was attempting irony.

Natalie stepped forward and touched the point of her blade to the creature’s throat. “What the hell do you want, you son of a bitch?”

The robed figure raised its hands submissively. “Such language,” it wheezed, “and in the presence of a child…”

Natalie leaned in and pressed the blade harder. The robed figure winced as the tip of the blade bit into its neck, and a thin track of blood seeped into the collar of its robes. “I’m warning you, Deacon,” she hissed.

The Deacon flicked one of his raised hands and the machete sank to the floor like a lead weight, taking Natalie with it. He moved his hand again, and the weapon leaped out of Natalie’s grip and flew toward Grandma Meg. The Deacon made a fist and the machete screeched to a halt, its tip inches from Grandma Meg’s heart.

“Do not test me, woman,” the Deacon hissed at Natalie. “I do not come here to quarrel with any of you. But, if I am met in the spirit of war, I will take steps to… defend myself!” He opened his fist, and the machete jumped forward another inch. Grandma Meg retreated back against the wall.

Simon raised his hands. “All right! Everyone just take a deep breath. This is not a fight we wish to have.” Then, pointedly, to Natalie, “Any of us.”

With a curt nod to Simon, Natalie backed away from the Deacon and raised her hands. Behind her, Grandma Meg dropped the Webley and kicked it across the floor. The Deacon flicked his hand again, and the machete veered right, sinking into the far wall.

“Cooler heads prevail…” the Deacon whispered, glancing at Simon. “And the wisdom of the ages shines bright.” He turned and glided toward Don, extending a hand. Abby whined and kicked as the Deacon’s slender fingers brushed against her swaddling clothes. “Please. I wish to consider my… investment.”

Don shook his head. He didn’t realize it, but every muscle in his body was vibrating with fear and fury. “She’s a baby…” he whispered. “She’s just a baby…”

The Deacon’s thin lips stretched into a grin. His teeth were like piano keys: shining white and perfectly straight. “Soon,” he vowed, “she will be much, MUCH more.”

Before Don could respond, the Deacon tore Abby from her father’s arms and rearranged her swaddling clothes, smiling the whole time. Don looked back at Karen, who was struggling to rise from the bed. But the labour had left her exhausted, and she sank back into the pillows.

The Deacon bowed his head over Abby and opened his mouth. Don and Karen both gagged as the Deacon pressed his tongue to Abby’s pink flesh, right over her heart, then tracked it up her chest, her throat, all the way to the top of her head. Abby began to sob and Don’s hand curled into a tight fist. But he dared not move. Not against the being that had saved his life.

When the Deacon was finished, he licked his lips and hissed, “I can taste it on her already. I can feel the energy crackling and burning within her. She will have great power before long…” The Deacon passed Abby back to her father, and he tried to calm her down. “You see? I have no ill intentions toward you, Hendersons.” He bowed low in an exaggerated gesture of mock-respect. “I will, of course, honour our arrangement, so long as you do me the same courtesy.” He straightened up again and pointed a thin, bony finger toward the wall behind Karen. “Use your time wisely, for it is short.”

Scritch-scratch-scritch. Wood chips sprinkled onto the bedspread as an invisible knife carved a number into the wall, right above Karen’s head. “Render unto Caesar,” the Deacon rasped, “that which is Caesar’s… and render unto God…” He pointed at Abby and loosed a short, devious laugh. “The things that are… God’s…”

Nobody heard him. They were too fixated on the number above Karen’s head, which glowed bright red like a fireplace ember. In the howling storm outside, a bolt of lightning struck the shore opposite the tiny strip-of-piss island.

The following thunderclap made Abby cry again and snapped everyone back to reality. Don looked back and saw the Deacon had vanished. The door of the cabin was still locked tight, and the only sign that he had ever been there was the mark carved into the wall.

If you enjoyed the brief 1 chapter excerpt, be sure to click on the cover image below to order your copy today!

Abby Normal by Samuel Thomas Fraser
This post sponsored by Silver Dagger book tours!

After (Movie Review)

Title: After (2019)

Director: Jenny Gage

Novel By: Anna Todd

Screenplay Writer: Tom Betterton, Tamara Chestna, Jenny Gage, and Susan McMartin

Stars: Josephine Langford (Tessa Young), Hero Fiennes Tiffin (Hardin Scott), Khadijha Red Thunder (Steph), and Dylan Arnold (Noah)

Genre(s): Romance/Drama | Runtime: 1 hour 45 minutes | Rating: PG-13

IMDB STORY LINE:

Based on Anna Todd’s novel, AFTER follows Tessa (played by Josephine Langford), a dedicated student, dutiful daughter and loyal girlfriend to her high school sweetheart, Noah (played by Dylan Arnold, as she enters her first semester in college. Armed with grand ambitions for her future, her guarded world opens up when she meets the dark and mysterious Hardin Scott (played by Hero Fiennes Tiffin), a magnetic, brooding rebel who makes her question all she thought she knew about herself and what she wants out of life. ~ Written by Aviron Pictures

Background:

Ok, lets start by pointing out that this film is based on the book AFTER by Anna Todd, who posted the first chapters of the novel on Wattpad, a free online storytelling community. The original story is said to have been based on Harry Styles and Zayn Malik from One Direction, but they were portrayed as students at Washington State University.

When her readership quickly grew passed 500 million readers on Wattpad, Anna landed herself a publishing deal and the novel was published in 2014. Paramount Pictures then acquired the rights, later returning them to Anna Todd because she wanted more freedom when it came to adapting the film. Eventually the rights were sold to Aviron and the movie was released in April of 2019.

As an author myself, I would love to have one of my books take off like this. It’s a writer’s dream come true. We’ve seen it with other fan fiction novels like the Twilight Series, the 50 Shades of Grey Series (which was actually Twilight Fan Fiction), and now AFTER just to name a few.

There is a lot of negative talk about Wattpad, and I personally have never used it because I prefer my old-school Microsoft Word, so I can’t speak to my personal experience. However, aside from AFTER, there have been a number of novels and movies that got their start on Wattpad. Most recently; The Kissing Booth (a Netflix movie) and Light as a Feather (a Hulu Series based on the Wattpad story, Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board). So, mock it all you want, but authors are being read and making things happen.

Now let’s talk about the movie… That’s why we are here, right?

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★ (3 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★  |  Cinematography:  ★★★  |  Character(s)/Acting: ★★★

Writing/Story: ★★★

I haven’t read the book but, if for no other reason than to see how true to the book the movie was, I feel like I need to read it. I didn’t think the writing was bad, it was a typical college coming of age movie. It was extremely predictable and, in that sense, written in a way that most people could find at least one character to relate to. Having gone to college right out of high school, I had at least one friend that fit into each of the character molds that Anna Todd created. There were no real plot twists or surprises. The one potential twist was set up with two in-your-face foreshadowing moments. (Spoiler Alert “It was all a lie.”)

Cinematography ★★★

There are some pretty shots in this film, but the cinematography is nothing to write home about.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★

I’ll admit the acting isn’t that great. I’m not sure if it was the director’s choice or the actors’ choices, but the long “dramatic” pauses between almost every sentence made the movie drag. I did enjoy the relationship building between Tessa and Hardin as well as between Tessa and Landon. However, I hope that there was more buildup between Tessa and Landon in the book. Landon seems like such a minor character in the movie that as a viewer, we don’t really care about him. I would imagine that in the book there is a stronger friendship between Tessa and Landon, giving us a reason to root for him. It feels like the potential for Team Noah vs. Team Hardin vs. Team Landon was there, but the movie just never made us care enough about any of the male characters (aside from Hardin) to get there. I’m hoping the book does a better job.

FUN FACT:

The copy of Wuthering Heights that we see in Hardin’s bedroom is actually the copy that author Anna Todd has had since she was a teenager.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“My life before him was so simple and decided, now after him…It’s just…After.”

I think most people can relate to this quote in one way or another. We all have a moment in our life that seems to change everything. We plan… we dream… we decide our future. Then, one day, something changes. Someone comes along or something happens that completely turns our world upside down and our plans fall through, our dreams fade away, and our future which was once so clear becomes uncertain.

TO SUM IT UP:

Despite the fact that I’ve seen and read a number of reviews that completely trashed this film, I have definitely seen worse. I didn’t hate it. I enjoyed it for what it was, mindless entertainment… a chance to watch the good girl fall for the bad boy in hopes of changing him. I know, when I was young and stupid, I tried to change a few bad boys too. Trust me, in real life, it never works.

I will say this though, the demographic this film is geared toward – young teenage girls – seem highly inappropriate. There isn’t a lot of overly sexual content in this film, but I have seen previews for the sequel and it definitely steps up the sexual content a few notches. So, all the 13 and 14-year-old girls who feel in love with Hardin Scott in the first film are going to really be exposed to more-than-necessary sexual content when they hide away in their bedrooms watching movie number two. On top of that, this movie also makes light of underage drinking, smoking, and use of e-cigarettes, etc.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THOUGHT!!!

Have you seen AFTER? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If not, I recommend seeing it for yourself and forming your own opinion. Have you read the book? If so, let me know if I should read it!


Click on the individual book covers below to read more about these titles by Anna Todd!

THE AFTER SERIES

THE LANDON SERIES


ANNA TODD (Author/Writer/Producer) is the New York Times bestselling author of the After series of books, The Spring Girls, and the recent The Brightest Stars.

Always an avid reader, Todd began writing stories on her phone on Wattpad, the reading and writing multiplatform for original stories, with After becoming its most-read series with over 1.5 billion reads.

The print edition of After was published in 2014 by Simon & Schuster and has since been released in over 30 languages with more than 11 million copies sold worldwide. After has been a #1 bestseller across the globe including Italy, Germany, France and Spain. She has since written eight additional novels and serves as a producer and screenwriter on the upcoming film adaptation of After We Collided, the sequel to After.

Todd has been hailed by Cosmopolitan as “the biggest literary phenomenon of her generation.” A native of Ohio Anna, her husband and son currently live in Los Angeles.

Find her at AnnaTodd.com, on Twitter at @AnnaTodd, on Instagram at @AnnaTodd, and on Wattpad as Imaginator1D.

Author Interview – Esraa Yousry

I’d like to welcome Esraa Yousry, author of In Your Absence: Emerald Lover, to my site today.

Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you

  • What is your name and do you write under a pen name? My name is Esraa Yousry same name as my Pen Name 
  • Where do you call home? Besides my own house? In a library but of course, my house with my beloved family and my loved ones. 
  • Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do? I’m a designer, video editor, and screenwriter. I’m good at directing also.
  • What is your family like? When I say My family is the best I mean it. Incredibly, wonderfully, talented and loving. We’d die for each other. 
  • Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? Of course, astrology is my favorite hobby. I’m a Taurus so I love knowing more about Astrology.
  • Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love? And how can I forget? even though we are not together anymore but I still respect him to this day. That’s all.
  • What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? That’s a hard question, many terrible things happened to me that I can’t even name one, honestly. 
  • What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing? My family, that’s where it all began, they inspired me to start all of this. Professionally? for three or two years. As a hobby? maybe five years ago.
  • Who is your role model? My role model is Maya Angelou for sure. 
  • What is your greatest fear? My greatest fear is losing my loved ones. Maybe that’s why I’m overprotecting them, that sometimes they think that I’m controlling them.
  • Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? I’m more into paperbacks, hard-covers.
  • Have you ever read a book just based on its cover? Maybe once? you know they always say never judge a book by its cover, but I did once and it was the worst.
  • What is your favorite film based on a book? Let me be clear, I hate when books are turned into movies. It loses its identity. 
  • What is your favorite book genre at the moment? Literature. 
  • What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why? I don’t have any on my wish list recently, I don’t know why or maybe It’s just me. But nothing really attracts me right now. Recently, books are cheap and that’s my own opinion maybe it’s wrong. 
  • What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format? At the moment, I’m not reading any. I’m currently supervising the writing of some new books by new writers.

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

  • What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say? The name of my most recent book is In Your Absence: Emerald Lover. It’s all about relationships, culture, beauty, love, family and pain.
  • Is the above book part of a series? Yes, the book is part of the In Your Absence series.
  • How did you come up with the covers? Who designed the covers of your book(s)? The cover is Inspired by my African culture and roots. The cover is designed by me.
  • Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)? The answer is yes. Actually, the songs I was listening to inspired me to write more of what I even expected to write in this book. 
  • How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? The title is a secret, that only a few will understand but maybe if you read it you will understand why I gave it this title.
  • Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it? No, I don’t have a book trailer.
  • How did you come up with the idea for your latest book? My culture, my family and my own experiences.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

  • What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter? I change my mind a lot so, I’m a Pantser. I start at the beginning and let the characters and situation determine what happens next.
  • Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company? I’m a self-published author.
  • If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route? I choose to be a self-published author so I can do whatever I want, I can control my whole writing process from writing to publishing. 
  • What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? “To pen down something isn’t a big deal. But to pen, something that has never been said or something spoke like never before takes courage and skill.”
  • What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing? My advice is to ask themselves why do you want to become a writer? If you want to do it for the love of the writing itself then do it, if not for the whole process then just let it go. It’s not for you. But if you do it for the whole Idea and process of writing then just try to be professional in every way and in everything that you do, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make mistakes. Of course not, you’ll fail many times but it makes you more educated. Write on a regular basis and know who you are writing for. 
  • Where can your readers follow you?

FACEBOOK       INSTAGRAM       WEBSITE GOODREADS


Also by Esraa Yousry:

MADRE: Three kids realize they’re stuck in the basement of a psychopath old woman who claims to be their mom, and forces them to call her “Mommy”, can they escape this nightmare?


If you have questions for Esraa, please comment below and she will answer them as they come in.


The Atlantis Bloodline ~ Giveaway

I’m so excited to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about The Atlantis Bloodline by C.A. Gray

C.A. Gray is the author of three YA Amazon bestselling trilogies: PIERCING THE VEIL (magic and quantum physics meet Arthurian legends), THE LIBERTY BOX (dystopian metaphysics and mind control technology), and UNCANNY VALLEY (dystopian coming-of-age with neuroscience and super intelligent A.I). She starts with some scientific concept that she’s interested in learning more about herself, and then creates lots of epic chaos and high-stakes action to go along with it. Her stories are free of gratuitous violence, language, and sexual content, and she abhors depressing endings… but they’re not all kittens and rainbows either!

She also listens to and reviews audiobooks on her website (www.authorcagray.com), Goodreads, Instagram, and on her podcast, Clean Audiobook Reviews, where she also occasionally interviews other authors.

By day, C.A. Gray practices naturopathic medicine, podcasts, and writes medical non-fiction under her maiden name (Lauren Deville). She lives in Tucson, AZ with her husband Frank, and together they maintain an occasionally contentious film review blog (under her real name: Lauren Baden. Three names. Yes.) She’s kind of the queen of multitasking–so in her spare time, she creates whatever meals or crafts she found most recently on Pinterest, drinks lots of coffee (Aeropress btw) and occasional wine (reds–and she saves the corks for craft projects), works out (while listening to audiobooks), and studies the Bible (about half of the podcasts on Christian Natural Health are scripture meditations). …She does sleep, too.

Join her newsletter for best-of-the-month reads, freebies and giveaway information, as well as new releases! http://eepurl.com/F3rof


I love when I get to interview a guest author and really get to know them. C.A. Gray is a pleasure and I’m proud to be hosting her book.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m working on something a little different this time. It’s an early chapter reader/middle grade series in which three 9-10 year old kids (Gabe, Elizabeth, and Marty) apprentice under a time-traveling magician called Thrylos, traveling to various critical moments in history. They must battle against the evil magician Kakovoulos, ensuring that history turns out as we know it, rather than taking a much darker turn. I love the historical research I get to do for this one! For instance: did you know that Julius Caesar was once kidnapped by pirates? Or that Plato was once sold as a slave? Or that in 1908 an asteroid nearly hit London that would have wiped out the entire city? True stories, all. Not sure how my kids are going to save the day, but they totally are… Now I just have to figure out the whole illustration thing! 🙂

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

The first novel was Intangible, and the original name for it was Ripple Effect. It referred to a quantum mechanical principle, but it was just so vague. Intangible isn’t much better, I’ll admit, but I wanted an alliteration theme with all one word: Intangible, Invincible, and Impossible is what I came up with. I know better now — I need to have some keywords in there!

Who designed your book covers?

Now I do them all on Design Crowd so each is done by a different person, though I’ve used a few designers more than once.

How did you come up with name of this book?

Actually I originally intended to call it just Bloodline. It was the name of a sermon series at my church, and I thought, that would be an awesome book title!! But then I decided, not enough keywords for Amazon searching. And since it was about descendants of Atlantis, and that’s a BIG keyword, bingo. (Then I ended making Bloodline the name of Kai’s band.)

What is your favorite part of this book and why?

I LOVED writing the initial tension between Ada and Kai as they got to know each other, and Ada wasn’t sure what his deal was. I knew what was happening and I still felt the suspense!

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Oh I’d totally hang out Esme (I’d say Kai, but I’m married) 😉 and she’d take me to the Mermaid Cove where we would swim with the mermaids! And then she’d take me to the Faerie Glen. I never even give the faeries any page time in this book, but I’d like to meet them.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

I think all of my main characters have aspects of me in them, because I imagine how I would react in a given situation or how I might say something, and I put that in their heads or their mouths. But I suspect I’m pulling all of my characters from experience, whether it be myself, others, or fictional archetypes. You write what you know.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

A little bit of both. I have outlines, but the outlines are pretty fluid. Sometimes as I’m writing a scene, I realize that something needs to be said or done that I didn’t plan for, and I just go with it.

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.

This book is a bunch of my favorite things, all meshed together: romantic suspense, a Cinderella-ish story, a secret society, mermaids, magic, and mythology… how could you not be intrigued? 🙂

Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?

Marissa Meyer or Orson Scott Card. Both of them have such distinctive narrative voices (though completely different from one another.) I could read anything by either of them, no matter what it’s about, and be engrossed. I want to know how they pull that off!


When sweet Ada Edwards meets the mysterious Kaison Hughes, lead singer of the biggest band in the world, she can’t understand what he sees in her. Despite everyone’s warnings about him, she’s rapidly falling in love. But it’s obvious he has a secret, and he’s not all he appears to be.

Kai’s life isn’t his own, and his fame isn’t the half of it. As a member of a secret organization known as the Elioud, descended from the Atlantean daughters of the Pleiades, he’s been commissioned with a task: to reintegrate the lost line of Maia into their ranks. It just so happens that Ada is the one they’ve been looking for. He doesn’t know what they intend to do to her, and he doesn’t care. All he wants is the prize for a successful mission: one unqualified wish, which he intends to spend on his beloved sister’s freedom.

There’s just one problem: Kai’s falling in love with Ada, too.

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#Theredheadedauthor Presents the March 2020 New York Times TOP 10 Best Sellers – YOUNG ADULT

As an avid reader of fiction (and an author who one day hopes to make the list) I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE checking out the New York Times Best Seller list. So, here it is… The independently ranked top 10 Young Adult selections for March 2020!

If you’ve read any of the TOP 10 selections and recommend them, please comment below and let me know. If you see something you like and plan to pick up a copy, you can do so by clicking on the cover image, the title or the [BUY IT HERE] button.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


#1 A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

by Holly Jackson

While trying to solve a murder-suicide case for her senior project, Pip now finds her life in jeopardy.


#2 One of Us is Next

by Karen M. McManus

In this sequel to “One of Us Is Lying,” a deadly game of truth or dare via text now plagues the students of Bayview High.


#3 Children of Virtue and Vengeance

by Tomi Adeyemi

Zelie must stop the threat of civil war in Orisha.


#4 One of Us Is Lying

by Karen M. McManus

For five students, a detour into detention ends in murder.


#5 The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

A 16-year-old girl sees a police officer kill her friend.


#6 The Queen’s Assassin

by Melissa de la Cruz

Caledon Holt and Shadow embark on a dangerous quest and fall in love.


#7 Infinity Son

by Adam Silvera

Twin brothers are caught up in a war between the magical Spell Walkers and Blood Casters.


#8 Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi

Zelie fights to restore magic to the land of Orisha.


#9 Yes No Maybe So

by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

Romance blooms between two unlikely teens while working together on an upcoming local election.


#10 Five Feet Apart

by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Laconis

Stella and Will are in love, but they can’t get within five feet of each other.


When you purchase a book using a link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.


#Theredheadedauthor Presents the March 2020 New York Times TOP 10 Best Sellers – FICTION

As an avid reader of fiction (and an author who one day hopes to make the list) I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE checking out the New York Times Best Seller list. So, here it is… The independently ranked top 10 Fiction selections for March 2020!

If you’ve read any of the TOP 10 selections and recommend them, please comment below and let me know. If you see something you like and plan to pick up a copy, you can do so by clicking on the cover image, the title or the [BUY IT HERE] button.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


#1 One Minute Out

by Mark Greaney

The ninth book in the Gray Man series. Court Gentry tries to stop the head of a group trafficking women and children.


#2 American Dirt

by Jeanine Cummins

A bookseller flees Mexico for the United States with her son while pursued by the head of a drug cartel.


#3 Where the Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

In a quiet town on the North Carolina coast in 1969, a young woman who survived alone in the marsh becomes a murder suspect.


#4 Little Fires Everywhere

by Cheleste Ng

An artist upends a quiet town outside Cleveland.


#5 Chasing Cassandra

by Lisa Kleypas

The sixth book in the Ravenels series. Cassandra teaches a railway magnate a lesson.


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#6 The Silent Patient

by Alex Michaelides

Theo Faber looks into the mystery of a famous painter who stops speaking after shooting her husband.


#7 Golden In Death

by J.D. Robb

The 50th book of the In Death series. Eve Dallas seeks the sender of packages that give off toxic airborne fumes.


#8 The Dutch House

by Ann Patchett

A sibling relationship is impacted when the family goes from poverty to wealth and back again over the course of many decades.


#9 The Giver of Stars

by Jojo Moyes

In Depression-era Kentucky, five women refuse to be cowed by men or convention as they deliver books.


#10 The Tattooist of Auschwitz

by Heather Morris

A concentration camp detainee tasked with permanently marking fellow prisoners falls in love with one of them.


When you purchase a book using a link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.


Author Interview ~ Alegra Loewenstein

I am so excited to welcome Alegra Loewenstein, author of Body Wisdom Journal. She is here today to talk to us about her latest book, her writing process, and her life in general. If you have questions that aren’t covered in this interview, please feel free to comment below so she can answer them.

Author Alegra Loewenstein

Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you…

  • What is your name and do you write under a pen name?
    My name is Alegra Loewenstein. I don’t use a pen name, though if I started to write in a different genre, I might.
  • Where do you call home?
    San Diego, CA

I love San Diego. I moved there for a year after college before moving up to Los Angeles. Its a beautiful place with the most amazing weather.

  • Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
    I write my own books (author) and I also write other people’s books (ghostwriter). My clients are happy, so I think I’m pretty good at it! I enjoy the work, and I find it to be a very different creative process than writing my own books.

That is so interesting. As an author myself, I would worry that spending so much time writing for other people would distract me from my own manuscripts.

  • What is your family like?
    I am close with my family. We like to laugh together and make food together.
  • If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
    I grew up in a house that looked like southern California… but we were in Texas!!
  • Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing?
    I like to walk in nature and make crafty stuff. I also enjoy cooking (but I hate cleaning).
  • What is your greatest dream?
    I have a very big book project that I’d like to bring to fruition. I’m a bit superstitious about it, so I can’t tell you that much, but it’s sort of a memoir.
  • What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
    Hmm. That’s a good question. I think I do a pretty good job on improving myself. I guess maybe I’d like to be more patient with my kids and more vulnerable with my loved ones.
  • Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love?
    Wow, getting tricky. I had a lot of crushes. My first one was in elementary school. Taylor Clark. He was more of a frenemy though.
  • What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
    I think my life has been overall pretty lucky. I have had some disturbing experiences that involved being under the influence and being in situations that could have turned out very very very very bad. They are disturbing to think about, even though at the same time I am grateful they weren’t worse.
  • What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
    I’ve always loved writing. I went to a school that encouraged creativity and love of nature, and those things inspired me.

That is wonderful. I think all to often now, schools are not fostering a love for books, writing, or other creative arts. As a mom, I am always teaching my kids the importance of reading everything and expressing themselves creatively.

  • What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
    I used to want to live in San Francisco, and that never happened. I also wanted to combine science and art in my profession, and I do feel that I’ve succeeded in that.
  • Who is your role model?
    I love Lady Bird Johnson. She was such an advocate for wildflowers! I also love Michael Pollan and his ability to dive deep into subjects and give common sense answers.
  • What is your greatest fear?
    I am very afraid of physical pain in my life. Also, I fear having a lot of regrets.
  • Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books?
    Sorry trees. I love paperbacks.
  • Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so, what was it?
    Many times. Brighty of the Grand Canyon as a kid. The Hero Within as an adult. More I can’t think of.
  • What is your opinion of novellas?
    Like a small novel? I like small books for nonfiction, though for fiction I prefer about 300 pages.
  • Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
    I don’t think so.
  • What is your favorite film based on a book?
    Harry Potter did a great job!
  • What is your favorite book genre at the moment?
    I’m kind of obsessed with nonfiction!
  • What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why?
    Oh, that stack is too big to recall! My book club is reading the Testaments. I’m working my way through Persephone Rising. And about ten more.
  • What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
    I just finished The Magician’s Nephew on my kindle because I was on a trip.
  • If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
    Lady Bird Johnson and Michael Pollan from above – I also think they’d be super interesting to talk to. Michelle Obama because after I read her book, we were obviously best friends. Maybe Jill Lublin because she’s not that famous, but I went to her workshop once and she was awesome.

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

  • What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say?
    Body Wisdom Journal. It’s about getting in touch with your body as a tool for self-awareness and intuition.
  • Is the above book part of a series?
    Not really, but since I write in non-fiction people do tend to buy more than one of them. They work together.
  • How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?
    I have an amazing graphic designer! I send her a bunch of ideas and she makes something that looks great!!!
  • Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?
    No music for this one. The superstitious memoir has a soundtrack though.
  • How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
    I was trying to make it clear what the journal was about, though I’m not sure I succeeded. It’s all a learning process!
  • Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it?
    I’ve always wanted to make one, but since I write non-fiction, I’m not sure how I’d do it, plus my to do list is long enough.
  • In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her?
    I know that nonfiction is a deviation from the norm for your readers, so in this case there are no characters. Or perhaps we can say that you are the character! I was specifically looking for YA audience because I know that this guided journal really resonates with a youthful spirit. 

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

  • What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
    I write very organically. So, while I have an outline, it changes as I write the book.
  • Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?
    I hate sitting still for long periods of time. That’s rough when you write for a living.
  • Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?
    Self-published on this one! I’ve experimented with hybrid publishing but have not had great experiences. I hope someday I’ll be recruited by a large publishing house, but I’ll wait for them to come to me.
  • If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?
    I have total control over the creative process, which is awesome. I can also just publish a book anytime I get an idea (and write it of course), and I don’t have to get approval or wait around. Plus, I love that if I re-read it a year later or whatever, and I find something I hate, I can just change it and update the file, and then from then on readers get the new version!
  • What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
    Balance the love of writing with a business plan so you can see success and not get discouraged.

That is wonderful advice. I find, as an author, that the hardest part isn’t the writing… its the marketing. The business aspect of being an author can be very difficult for creative types like me.

Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.