Author Interview and Book Giveaway – Joey Rodriguez

I will be giving away 1 hardcover and 1 kindle e-book of JQR by Joey Rodriguez!!! Just fill out the entry form below to be entered to win.

The giveaway will run from Tuesday, April 7, 2020 – Thursday, April 30, 2020. I’ll notify the winners via email, so be sure to include your email when you enter!


Author Bio:Joey Rodriguez lives in New York City with his beautiful, supportive wife*, Lauren, and their Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Joon. Join Joey and Lauren each month for Pupcorn And A Movie, a podcast where he tries to convince her to watch the scariest movies of all time! *she suggested I include this very important note.

After their home is destroyed by an atomic blast, an android and his best pup set out to find his human parents and piece together the remnants of a nation-wide invasion. Lost in their own backyard, our heroes must battle unknown forces both foreign and domestic, using the skills, and wit, of their favorite Saturday matinee heroes. Spills, chills, and thrills leap from the page in the explosive saga of “JQR”, an adventure sure to tickle even the bravest of readers!

JQR by Joey Rodriguez

Hardcover Synopsis: An old enemy has returned. Dormant for only two decades, the rising sun stormed the beaches and the wide avenues to avenge their defeat. Just a boy and his dog; he a nearly obsolete model, her a pure breed. Left to fend for themselves during the invasion, JoJo, as his family affectionately called him, must wrestle with his metal construction, his childish memories, and the fact that he will never become human. His father’s own experiences in the Last Great War, painful and victorious, have bred fear, doubt, and distrust in them all.

But the world has been far from kind, the survivors hoarding their resources, firing blindly into the atomic remains of what they had proudly cultivated. Lost now in a world he thought he knew, his family’s shadows fading quickly, there is much to learn about the hierarchy of man and where a small android and his loyal best friend fit in.

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

  • What is your name and do you write under a pen name?
    Joey Rodriguez (no pen name).
  • Where do you call home?
    New York City
  • Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation?
    By day, I work as a Fund Development and Communications Director for an international non-profit.
  • Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books?
    I prefer hardcover books, but if I have to travel, an e-book is much easier to take along!
  • Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
    Absolutely! I think we all have this habit. The cover is what draws you in and forces you to turn it over to read the synopsis. I think more importantly, if the back cover provides enough to spark adventure, then it is easier to take a chance!
  • What is your favorite book genre at the moment?
    Historical non-fiction.
  • What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why?
    The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson. His research is always very interesting and he manages to weave two seemingly unrelated stories into a thrilling conclusion.
  • What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
    1453 by Roger Crowley in paperback.

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?
    My new novel is called JQR and it is about an android and his dog searching for his human parents after an atomic bomb destroys his home.
  • Is the above book part of a series?
    JQR is a standalone novel.
  • How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?
    I designed the cover myself. In the hardcover version, if you open the dust jacket fully, it reveals the pincer-like hand of the main character. I wanted the cover to invoke the pulpy, dime-store novels of the 50s and 60s that promised spills, chills, and thrills.
  • Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?
    I actually created a Spotify playlist of music that influenced the writing and the events of the story itself: http://bit.ly/JQRSpotify
  • How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
    The title of the novel is a hint to the main character’s background and the habit we have of naming our electronics with acronyms or unit numbers.
  • In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her?
    The lead character is JoJo, an android programmed with the memories of a little boy. He is precocious and adventurous, influenced highly by his father and the music, television, and cinema of the 50s and 60s. His companion is his dog, Pickles, who acts as a burden of responsibility and a vessel to rest his emotions and fears.
  • What is your character’s greatest strengths?
    His wit and quick thinking!
  • And what are his/her greatest weaknesses?
    Because his programming limits him to the mind of a child, he is naïve in the many ways in which the world can be cruel. He trusts implicitly in many adults and uses the wisdom of the movies to guide his decisions. He has not yet learned how to compartmentalize and analyze his surroundings to better survive.
  • What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
    His sincerity and his willingness to step-up. It’s a natural trait inherited from his parents that slowly boils to the surface as he realizes what the world has become without him.
  • Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
    I hope the readers like JoJo! He guides the reader through the entire novel and his coming-of-age and adventurous streak will help to define the rules of the world that he lives in.
  • What first gave you the idea for your latest book?
    I have always been interested in the Atomic Age and the exciting twists and turns that design, fashion, music, and movies took since the end of World War II, and I really wanted to explore what a semi-post-apocalyptic world would look like if the mid-1960s suddenly became the entry point for a new order. I had been looking for a way to write a sort of road trip-like story about a boy and his dog, and I thought using a robot and his dog could be a great way to explore artificial intelligence and how memories can be interpreted as well as explore the bonds between humans and animals, and humans and semi-inanimate objects. I am also a big fan of Westerns and Japanese cinema from the 50s and 60s, and to be able to use that as a backdrop was really exciting.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

  • What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
    I usually start with the cover image first! I try really hard to make each print version of my books a unique experience. I select the font, the look, the overall design to invoke old paperbacks, or literary classics. It helps set the mood for the entire work. Then, I usually do a bit of research on certain topics that I know I’m going to write about. Then I’ll do a rough outline in bullet form. I usually know how the story will unfold, how many chapters there will be, even before the actual meat of it comes together. I generally only write exactly what I want to say on the page. I know some people write, and write, and write, but I am more selective. What comes up on the page is usually my intended choice, and I rarely deviate except to make sure the character’s voices are unique or if my language is borrowing one or two many phrases or words that sound redundant.
  • Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?
    Not particularly. Although finding time to write is always difficult! A majority of this book was written on the subway to and from work.
  • Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?
    I am self-published, but do it through my own company Not Your Platypus.
  • If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?
    As a graphic designer, I wanted a lot of control over the presentation of the book. A hardcover or paperback helps invokes a certain kind of pastime, and I just remember all these classic covers of books when I was a kid that made me want to pick up a particular work. This way, I could design everything and create the experience that I wanted the reader to have. I had wanted from the outset to be in charge, because I knew how the process worked and knew how to lay out a book, etc.
  • What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing?
    I was always inspired by “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote because he found a way to turn a real event into something that read like fiction. I think finding a style or voice first is key when beginning your writing journey. I also read a lot of indie books to research what I did and didn’t like about the genre I was writing in. Trust your voice, because there are so many books out there that read the same exact way!
  • Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.
    You can follow me using the links below!

Personal Website | Twitter |Facebook |Facebook Author Page | Instagram Goodreads | Bookbub | Amazon Author Page | Amazon Page for “JQR” Purchase “JQR” in hardcover


BELOW by Joey Rodriguez

WINNER of Best Horror: Occult novel in the 2019 AMERICAN FICTION AWARDS.
HONORABLE MENTION in the 2018 SPR BOOK AWARDS

The lurking shadows feasted on the weak, infecting those who cared little to resist. Their possession drove them to madness, spewing the vitriol of the King. Iconography, scripture, prayer, these proved helpful, driving the demons back with that which they sought to deflect. There were those, though, who sought to raise the clawed hands of evil, to benefit their own pleasures, to steal power, to ensure everlasting life.

Unrelated victims, their numbers erratic, were left empty for others to find. A warning at first. Letters followed; instructions, ingredients. Soon, a trumpet call for the hidden to feast on the carrion, to rise to the mountains and perform the sacred ceremony. In the bowels, past the Gates, they would enter the sanctuary of the rotten mutt, sacrifice the Mistresses, and call upon a dark presence.

The feathered wings of their past had unfurled slowly; three children, running from responsibility, finding solace in justice and servitude, drowning in the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They too were called, the memories rotten but the sensation still fresh. Back to where it began, now; a truth they wished to ignore. Forced to descend into their own sins, they discovered the truth of their origin, a single moment shaping their whole lives, leading them all back into the familiar embrace of the Devil.


The Final Transmissions of a Doomed Astronaut by Joey Rodriguez

Seven crews had come before her, each one trusted with the same mission. A substance, a source, a beacon of light, growing somewhere in the universe. There were warnings, collateral damage on a massive scale, and the oppression and opposition that came with this new discovery. They had chosen her out of necessity from the dust that had settled after fear and anxiety had run high.

She had lost everything. She was a heathen, an unfit soul, plagued by visions and a violent conscience whose influence stretched beyond the limits of her mind. Now, out here in the void of space, she must fight to survive against the elements, her inexperience, and those who wish to protect the universe from her mission. She must push forward to fulfill her own sense of worth and to appease those that have sent her here to search for an unstable gift that may finally grant her freedom.


Termination Dust by Joey Rodriguez

The dust had fallen recently, a larger deposit than the prior season. A great indicator of how harsh the winter will be, tales were told that these early flakes were born from spirits who have been allowed to pass on without proper burial, those who ascribed to a life of greed, of thievery, of boiling pitch. The Civil War had ended over two decades’ prior, yet the country’s hunger for new land and new people failed to cease.

Ila had returned home, a native daughter of the North, just west of the border. It had been nearly a decade, but she sought refuge now to clear her mind of the fog-swept bay. The judgment from a pistol deep in the tundra, however, forced her to forsake all that she had chosen to forget about her past: the lessons of her elders, the teachings of the forest. Her loyal pack of eight were split in the haze of the attacking force, barreling upon the mountains, the plains, the rivers of her territory, spilling blood and siphoning the ground of its lucrative plasma.

Alone and without direction, each member of her pack that ventured out into the wilderness that early morning faced the rising tide of the spirits of the forest. Their inner yega, their instinctive souls, were bared to each other, their forms otherworldly. Her purpose, though only an outsider by her own consideration, in their eternal struggle would not reveal itself to her in a simple, feverous dream. For the evil of humans would soon rear its head, obstacles of heritage, of conservation, of belief, of kinship, and of war thrown from its claws, attempting to destroy her very existence.


Spirits of the Earth Trilogy ~ Giveaway

After the Sky (Spirits of the Earth Trilogy Book 1) by Milo James Fowler
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic SciFi Fantasy

The world isn’t how they left it. When the bunker airlocks release them after twenty years in hibernation, the survivors find a silent, barren world outside. But they are not alone. There is a presence here, alive in the dust—spirits of the earth, benevolent and malicious as they interact with the human remnant.

Milton is haunted by a violent past he’s unable to escape, despite the superhuman speed the spirits give him.

Not interested in bearing the next generation, Daiyna is determined to destroy the flesh-eating mutants lurking in the dark, pierced by her night-vision.

Luther is a man of conviction who believes the Creator has offered humankind a second chance, yet he’s uncertain they deserve it—and he’s perplexed by the talons that flex out of his fingers.

Willard is a brilliant engineer-turned-soldier who refuses to leave his bunker, afraid of becoming infected and willing to destroy any obstacle in his way.

As their lives collide, the mysteries of this strange new world start unraveling, culminating in the ultimate life-or-death decision one survivor will make for them all.

Don’t miss this Post Apocalyptic Adventure with a Paranormal Fantasy twist! It’s perfect for fans of Stephen King, T.W. Piperbrook, and The Walking Dead.

** Only .99 cents!!**

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Tomorrow’s Children (Spirits of the Sky Trilogy Book 2) by Milo James Fowler
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic SciFi Fantasy

The future is in their hands.

The post-apocalyptic world is bigger than the remnant imagined. Across the ocean, the domed cities of Eurasia have survived the nuclear holocaust that ravaged the rest of the planet. But only the survivors from the North American Wastes can give the sterile Eurasians what they need most in order to continue existing as a society: children.

Sergeant James Bishop, United World Marine, leads his team across the desert wasteland in order to make first contact with survivors in Eden, who are rumored to have a lab full of viable embryos. Meanwhile Cain, a coastal warlord dedicated to repopulating the planet, follows the will of Gaia, a malicious spirit of the earth with no love for humankind. Margo, telepathic geneticist responsible for designing the next generation, struggles to balance the will of a selfish dictator with what’s best for humanity. Tucker, an invisible man on a mission, carries precious cargo across the Wastes in an effort to rally a group of survivors into action against Eden.

As their lives intersect, agendas collide and tensions reach a breaking point. Twenty unborn children in incubation chambers hang in the balance—along with the fate of the world.

Grab the thrilling sequel to After the Sky! It’s perfect for fans of Stephen King, Tom Abrahams, and The Walking Dead.

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City of Glass (Spirits of the Sky Trilogy Book 3) by Milo James Fowler
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic SciFi Fantasy

The children of the remnant are adults living in the 10 Domes of Eurasia, self-sustaining biospheres along the Mediterranean Sea. Aerocars fly, clones work as security officers, and every citizen’s words and actions are monitored via their neural implants. Peace reigns over all—until a group of terrorists targets government buildings, and Chancellor Persephone Hawthorne is kidnapped.

Sera Chen, Dome 1 law enforcer, is drawn into the conflict after chasing a curfew violator capable of leaping from one skyscraper to another. When her augments go offline due to a localized EMP burst, she starts hearing voices. The band of survivors in North America is fractured. Daiyna roams the Wastes with a bounty on her head, refusing to confront her demons. Samson and Shechara target UW raiders who are pillaging ruins for resources the remnant needs to survive. James Bishop struggles against unexpected obstacles to be reunited with his family. And Luther is determined to find a way into Eurasia to meet the twenty children taken from Eden.

As their lives converge, unlikely alliances will form to combat an emergent enemy with plans to undermine the course of humanity’s future.

The Spirits of the Earth Trilogy concludes with this epic final installment. You won’t want to miss this!

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Milo is a teacher by day and a speculative fictioneer by night. When he’s not grading papers, he’s imagining what the world might be like in a dozen alternate realities. http://www.milojamesfowler

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Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author? I started writing when I was 12 years old. Having grown tired of The Hardy Boys and their predictable mishaps, I thought I could write better adventure stories myself. Not sure  if I succeeded, but it started me on a path to becoming a writer. By the time I finished high school, I’d drafted a bunch of short stories and even a few novels. But I put my writing on pause during the college and early career years, figuring I’d pick it up again maybe when I retired or when I was old (like 40 or something). Then a wonderful young woman (who is now my wife) entered my life and encouraged me to start submitting my work for publication. Over the past ten years, 150+ of my short stories and poems have been published, and this year, six of my novels will be released by Aethon Books and Montag Press.

What is something unique/quirky about you? For some reason, I like to go against the flow and rebel against what’s popular. I liked Coldplay until they hit it big, and I refuse to get a smartphone. I still use my old flip-phone! I don’t need the latest gadget in order to feel relevant.

Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you! I climbed the Great Wall of China in February ’05 without knowing how cold or icy it would be. But it was nice. Only two or three other people were around, not crowded at all.

What are some of your pet peeves? Entitlement is a big one. Hypocrisy is another.

Where were you born/grew up at? San Diego. We’ve got everything: beaches, mountains, lakes, deserts. You can mountain bike, snowboard, and surf all in the same day if you time it right.

If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day? With my wife, doing more than a few of our favorite things. And I’d wear a T-shirt that says, “I’m dying tomorrow. Ask me where I’m going.”

Who is your hero and why? Franklin Graham. His organization Samaritan’s Purse does amazing work around the globe helping those in need.

What kind of world ruler would you be? I’d assume similar to how I manage my classroom: strict but fair with plenty of freedom within clearly defined boundaries. And I’d make sure cashews weren’t so expensive.

What are you passionate about these days? Writing the best stories I can tell with characters that resonate with readers, and teaching my students to be effective communicators for Christ (and not hate writing in general).

What do you do to unwind and relax? I like to read, play guitar, mountain bike, surf, eat Mexican food, and watch movies/series with my wife.

How to find time to write as a parent? Other than my 120 students, I don’t have kids.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less! Creative, goal-oriented, persistent, sarcastic, skeptical

When did you first consider yourself a writer? Write1Sub1 back in 2011 made me feel like a writer because I was following in Ray Bradbury’s footsteps: writing and submitting a new short story every week for a year. It really helped me improve my craft, and within a couple years, I sold all 52 stories to various publications. So that was a win! I felt like a professional writer when I started selling my work to pro-paying markets. Writers write, but authors finish what they start — and can somehow manage to convince a publisher to share their work with the world.

Do you have a favorite movie? El Cid with Charlton Heston is one of my all-time favorites. Inception is another, along with the Dark Knight trilogy.

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie? Every single one. I see things cinematically as I write them; it’s just a matter of putting it all into words on the page. But I’m leery of the prospect of my work making its way to the big screen. I don’t know if I’d be okay with changes the studio would want to make; they always seem to enjoy branding projects, and more times than not, the source material is better than the film adaptation.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? I stood outside Stephen King’s house once…

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? The elusive panda.


Would you like a change to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

I am excited to be one of the many tour hosts sharing information about the Spirits of the Earth Trilogy.

Bad Soul ~ Giveaway

I’m excited to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about Bad Soul (Uncanny Ink Series Book 1) by David Bussell & M.V. Stott
David Bussell

Matthew Stott writes strange stories. Influenced by the likes of seminal TV show ‘Doctor Who’, and writers Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, he crafts stories full of creep, wonder, and adventure. Matthew is not a murderer.

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David Bussell is a winner of the P.G. Wodehouse New Comic Writer Award. David is an avid fencer, and a committed comic book fan. Rumours that David was conceived on an Indian burial ground remain unfounded

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MV Stott

Bad Soul (Uncanny Ink Series Book 1) by David Bussell & M.V. Stott
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Promises, rules, bones; Erin Banks will break them all.

Unscrupulous and lethal, Erin has everything she needs to be an assassin in a world full of mobsters, monsters, and magic.

She wasn’t born with powers, but thanks to her Uncanny Ink—arcane tattoos that transform her body into a magic-fuelled killing machine—she’s more than a match for anyone dumb enough to stand between her and getting paid.

Fresh out of prison, Erin wastes no time getting back to what she does best: running down wanted men and claiming their bounties.

But when a powerful demon lurking in a black cathedral hires her to round up an errant soul, the creature offers a reward far more valuable than money…

He offers Erin the key to unlocking her tragic past. The key to the mystery surrounding her long-lost brother.

Magic, scares, and acid-tongued snark collide in this thrilling urban fantasy series set in the Uncanny Kingdom. Buried secrets and whiplash twists will keep you riding the edge of your seat. Read Bad Soul now for a pulse-pounding tale you won’t be able to put down.

Praise for Bad Soul:

“Bussell and Stott deliver a dark and gripping read in Bad Soul, marking Uncanny Ink as a must-read series for urban fantasy fans.” ~  Readers’ Favorite

“The writing is very colorful with lots of British slang and strange and seedy characters. The plot is fast and furious with unexpected developments and exciting scenes. A nice piece of gritty urban fantasy.” ~  Kasey’s Book Nook


“Hits the ground running and doesn’t stop.”  ~ Sean Cunningham, Author of the Hawthorn House series

“Bussell and Stott deliver a dark and gripping read in Bad Soul, marking Uncanny Ink as a must read series for Urban Fantasy fans.” ~  Inspired Chaos


“Smart, funny, irreverent with tons of action… [Bad Soul] has it all in spades.”  ~ K. Bird Lincoln 

**On sale for only .99 cents April 1st – 13th!!**

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I’ve always found authors who partner in their writing endeavors to be intriguing. For this reason, I was so excited to get to interview David Bussell and M.V. Stott.

How long have you been writing? Writing together; getting on for 12 years now. Wow, 12 years. When we say it like that… yeesh.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book? A fair chunk, particularly in regards to locations and setting. We really hope that authenticity is reflected in the body of our work, because we’ve read some Urban Fantasy books set in England that were written by writers on the other side of the pond, and… oh boy… not good.

Do you see writing as a career? Very much so, and a fulfilling one at that. The idea that people are willing to lay down money for the stuff that spews from our brain meat never gets old.

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time? If possible, we like to work on at least two at a time. That way, instead of messing around on social media, we can make another book our method of procrastination.

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision? David wrote a short story in primary school that ended up in the school library; the rest just snowballed from there. Matt has wanted to write since he first started complaining about his beloved Doctor Who.

A day in the life of the author? A constant vacillation between numb butt cheeks and trips to the fridge.

Describe your writing style. Lean. Fast. Irreverent.

What makes a good story? At this point, with the endless barrage of quality content we’re exposed to every day, anything that can take root in the audience’s head and still be there a year from now.

What are you currently reading? David is reading Junji Ito’s Tomie. Matt is reading Terry Pratchett’s Mort.

What are common traps for aspiring writers? Making too big of a deal of the effort that goes into writing a book. Sure, it’s a slog, but once you’ve reached the top of the mountain, you realise it ain’t so bad. The trick is to get up that mountain and move on to the next one as soon as possible. Because the truth is, unless you’re one of the rare few who writes a sublime work of genius on their first outing, it’s going to take more than one mountain before you write anything worth reading.

What is your writing Kryptonite? A truly great Netflix series.

Do you believe in writer’s block? Writer’s block is a luxury that independent authors don’t really have.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Buy shares in Apple. And get a damned hair cut.


Follow the tour HERE and find out how you could win a $50 Amazon gift card!!!


Get the Rest of the Series Below!

Bad Blood: An Uncanny Kingdom Urban Fantasy (The Uncanny Ink Series Book 2)

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Bad Justice: An Uncanny Kingdom Urban Fantasy (The Uncanny Ink Series Book 3)

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Bad Intention: An Uncanny Kingdom Urban Fantasy (Uncanny Ink Book 4)

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Bad Thoughts: An Uncanny Kingdom Urban Fantasy (The Uncanny Ink Series Book 5)

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Bad Memories: An Uncanny Kingdom Urban Fantasy (The Uncanny Ink Series Book 6)

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Watch the Series Trailer here:



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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Want to win a $25 Amazon gift card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and details about the giveaway!


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
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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.

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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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As Above, So Below ~ Giveaway

Lost Angels (As Above, So Below Book 1)
by Loren Rhoads and Brian Thomas
Genre: Paranormal Romance

When the succubus Lorelei sees Azaziel across Lost Angels, she knows he’s been kicked out of Heaven, but is not yet Fallen.  She resolves to do whatever it takes to bring the angel down.

Unfortunately, Lorelei doesn’t realize that Azaziel has an agenda of his own. Taking her back to a burned-out church, he forces a mortal girl’s soul into the devil girl’s flesh. Then the succubus needs to find an exorcist who can cast the ghost out of her.

With all the supernatural warriors of Los Angeles looking on, neither the angel nor the succubus can imagine how love will derail their plans…

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Angelus Rose (As Above, So Below Book 2)
by Loren Rhoads and Brian Thomas
Genre: Paranormal Romance

If Romeo had wings and Juliet a barbed tail, could they find happiness in the City of Angels?

After their escape from the ashes of Lost Angels, the succubus Lorelei and the angel Azaziel want nothing more than to enjoy each other’s company. Unfortunately, Asmodeus, the Demon Prince of LA, has threatened to devour Lorelei’s new-grown soul if she doesn’t bring about Azaziel’s downfall. Meanwhile, Aza is keeping secrets of his own that threaten the tenuous peace between Heaven and Hell.

Three archangels come to town to try to set things right, but friendships are fracturing. The demon in charge of fallen angels is sniffing around. And Los Angeles is about to be caught between a devil and the deep blue sea.

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Loren Rhoads is the co-author (with Brian Thomas) of the novel Lost Angels about a succubus who sets her sights on an angel and ends up possessed by a mortal girl’s soul. The sequel, Angelus Rose, came out in February 2020.

Loren is the author of The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes, a space opera trilogy set after a galactic war has wiped out much of humanity.

She is also the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. She blogs about graveyards as travel destinations at CemeteryTravel.com.

You won’t be surprised to know that she likes long walks in the moonlight and old graveyards.

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Deer Among Wolves ~ Giveaway

I’m so excited to be one of the many tour hosts sharing information about Deer Among Wolves!
Deer Among Wolves (A World in Ruin Book 1) by Rebecca Fernfield
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Survival

An extinction-level plague was only the beginning

Sixteen years have passed since an unstoppable plague ripped through the world killing billions.

A few desperate, mis-matched groups of men, women, and children found their way to a small town and learned how to survive, then thrive.

Now death is stalking them once more!

Newly appointed First Officer, Jude Sinclair, is under pressure when death follows a group of struggling survivors into town.

As the townsfolk sicken then die after a short, painful illness, Jude is desperate to learn how to stop the disease and save the town from extinction.

Deacon Carlisle lost everyone he loved to the plague and then ruthless survivors, now all he wants is to protect his new family and escape the infected town, but the unthinkable happens when his son disappears.

With the sickness claiming lives, and the boy missing, Jude and Deacon must rely on their own ingenuity to discover the truth, and save everyone they love.

Does Jude have what it takes to protect the town from its invisible enemy?

Can Deacon rise to the challenge of saving his son?

What is the truth behind the deaths and the boy’s disappearance?

‘Deer Among Wolves’ is book 1 in ‘A World in Ruin’, a series of action-packed and intriguing tales of life after the apocalypse.

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British author, Rebecca Fernfield, is a lapsed medievalist who spends her days plotting the overthrow of evil regimes and devising intricate plans to rescue their victims. She’s also given to flights of fancy about the end of the world and what she’d do if supermarkets suddenly ran out of chocolate, wine and other essentials. She lives among the flatlands of the Humber estuary where Vikings and Saxons once fought and where, sometimes, on foggy mornings, you can still hear the echoes of clashing swords.

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Would you like a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and giveaway instructions.