Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Top Ten Favorite Fantasy Tropes Guest Blog and Giveaway with Christine Amsden

I don't care how many times I've seen them, I'll gladly read them again!
10. Everyman — I’m seeing less and less of this one in recent years (or maybe I’m looking in the wrong places), but I really enjoy becoming engaged with a fantasy tale from the perspective of someone like me. Or at least, someone who is as awestruck by the magic as I am. It helps ease me into the story.
9. Shape shifters — These ARE incredibly popular right now, but that works for me!
8. Attitude and wit — I doubt I’ll ever get sick of clever characters with a wry sense of humor and a certain flair. Authors with strong voices freshen this trope up every time just by being themselves.
7. Swords — So much cooler than guns, even if they are a bit less practical!
6. Cats — Anyone ever notice that there are a lot of cats in fantasy novels? Not nearly so many dogs. As someone who has *mostly* overcome a childhood phobia involving dogs but who still only tolerates the beasts, cats will always be my preferred pet.
5. Series — Maybe not the ones that go on and on and on with no end in sight, but honestly, I do like to spend a few books with the characters I love. I particularly like to do this when the characters grow and change over the course of those books.
4. Fae — So much more interesting than Tinkerbell.
3. Long-lost relatives — Tell me I’m not the only one who has a soft spot for this plot device. (I will make an exception for the specific discovery that the bad guy is your father. Star Wars pretty much killed that one.)
2. Ridiculously good looking men — Sorry ridiculously good looking women, I can’t say the same for you and I don’t care if that’s a double standard. I like what I like. :)
1. Superpowers — Enough said!

Stolen Dreams
Cassie Scot
Book 4
Christine Amsden

Genre: Urban fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, new adult

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Date of Publication: June 25, 2014 (ebook)
October 15, 2014 (paperback)

ISBN:  978-1-60619-281-8
ASIN: Coming soon

Number of pages: 260
Word Count: 84,000

Cover Artist: Ural Akyutz

Book Description:

Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have despised one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt.

When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood’s grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie’s father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot.

But things may not be precisely as they appear.

Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own?

Conclusion to the Cassie Scot series.

Excerpt (From Chapter 7)

            “I–” My cell phone rang, saving me the challenge of coming up with a plausible lie. I answered without checking the caller ID. “Hello?”
            “Cassie, dear, how are you and my grandson getting along?” It was Abigail. I had the volume turned up loud enough that Evan could hear. His eyes widened, and he stepped closer. Too close, but I pretended the proximity didn’t affect me in the slightest.
            “Abigail, where are you? What are you doing?”
            “You know the answer to that question, Cassie. And as much as I’d love to give you and Evan a chance to work through more of your issues, I find I have a selfish last request.”
            My heart squeezed. “What?”
            “I don’t want to die alone.” The words were a bare whisper, but both Evan and I heard.
            “Where are you?”
            “At the overlook around back. Hurry.” The call ended.
            “What did she mean?” Evan asked. “What do you know?”
            I was already on my way out the front door, Evan right on my heals. To simplify matters, and to get to her as soon as possible, I decided to give him as much of the truth as I could. “She says someone has to die, and if it’s not her, then it’s going to be your parents.”
            “What? When did she say that?”
            “In snatches for a week, but most of it earlier tonight, right before I came over.” I was out the door now, heading around back up the paved path wide enough for Abigail’s wheelchair to navigate.
            To my immense relief, Evan didn’t question me further. He followed me for a few paces, then rushed ahead, moving too quickly for me to keep up even when I broke into a run.
            She had her chair parked at the top of the hill, overlooking the lake below and a spectacular sunset above. Either I had never seen colors so vibrant before, or I had never paid proper attention. It was as if the heavens were saying farewell.
            My father was nowhere in sight. I had half expected to see him there, and managed a sigh of relief when I didn’t. It was short lived, though.
            Evan knelt in front of his grandmother, holding her right hand in his. When I arrived, I sank to the paved earth at her other side, taking her left hand in mine. The skin was papery thin and so frail I feared it would flake away.
            “Thank you.” She didn’t look at either one of us, and her voice was whisper-thin.
            “You don’t have to die,” Evan said. “There has to be another way out. How are you going to die?”
            “I-I don’t know. I can’t see past my own death. It’s made things... difficult these past few months.”
            “Then how do you know you’re doing the right thing?” I asked. Demanded might be a better word. “How do you know your death will prevent anything?”
            “I didn’t have long to live anyway. My heart is weak, and.... I don’t want to talk about it. Please. I don’t have long. Talk to me about something nice.” There was a hitch in her voice that told me no matter how she had prepared for this moment, she wasn’t ready to die. That realization, more than anything else, brought the first tears to my eyes.
            “Don’t cry for me. I’ll be all right. My husband’s been gone these many years now, and I’ve been alone.”
            I felt Evan’s free hand take mine, and I didn’t even think about yanking it away. For once, his touch didn’t feel anything except comforting. He needed it. I needed it. And so it was.
            “Did you like my invitations?” Abigail asked.
            “Why did you send them?” Evan asked.
            “I don’t suppose you two would consider it a dying woman’s last request?” she asked.
            “Nice try,” I said.
            Evan didn’t say anything, although I became more aware of his hand holding mine.
            “Seriously,” Abigail said, “will you at least talk to one another? Really talk?”
            I closed my eyes, swallowed hard, and nodded. The request was at least as manipulative as the first because she knew I couldn’t deny this one. It was too reasonable.
            “Good.” She squeezed my hand.
            That’s when her house exploded.

About the Author:

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams.

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

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Christine Amsden said...

Thanks for hosting!

KMichelleC87 said...

the mercy thompson series is my favorite! as far as i know it isnt over yet


Melanie Simmons (mlsimmons) said...

There are so many great series out there. The Women of the Otherworld is a great series that has come to an end. The Hollows soon.