Monday, June 9, 2014

What is Normal anyway, asks Parnormal Writer

I'm delighted to welcome author Christine Amsden back to my blog today. The third book in her paranormal detective series is touring the internet, and, with a main character who's too "normal" for her paranormal world, I find myself asking, "What's normal anyway?" So here's Christine with her answer. Thank you for visiting my blog Christine!

What is Normal?
 by Christine Amsden

When you call a book Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective, it's only natural to ask: What is normal, anyway?

I don't know. I've never been normal, personally, and I don't think I know anyone who is!

Some people are a bit more abnormal than others, of course. Cassie Scot isn't at all normal, even if that's what she's calling herself. For her, the term is a reactionary thing and it has a negative connotation – one she tries not to admit to herself when she says, right at the beginning of the first book:

“My parents think the longer the name, the more powerful the sorcerer, so they named me Cassandra Morgan Ursula Margaret Scot. You can call me Cassie.

I’ve been called a lot of things in my life: normal, ordinary, and even a disappointment. After the Harry Potter books came out, a couple of people called me a squib. Since I haven’t read them, I have to assume it’s a compliment.

Personally, I prefer normal, which is why the sign on my office door reads: Cassie Scot, Normal Detective.”

I think I'm like Cassie on this. To me, normal has always had a slightly negative connotation. I don't want to be normal. I want to be better than that. Superior.


There's a stereotype about writers. Well, artists, really. We're not normal. Some people don't even think they can be normal in order to be a truly creative type. I disagree, but then, it does depend upon how you define the term. If you think artists have to suffer from some kind of mental disorder as characterized by diagnostic criterion set down in the DSM, then no. That's not true. We're not all depressed or bipolar or anxious or schizophrenic. “Normal” (as in not suffering from mental problems) people can be creative.

Yet artists do have to have something inside them to fuel their art. Something driving them. This isn't something we do for profit. (Most writers and artists don't earn a living off of their craft.) It's something we do as an expression of our unique inner selves.

There's that word again – unique. It is, perhaps, normal for humans to want to be unique. Ah, the irony! The more we strive to be unique, the more normal we become.

It's enough to drive someone crazy. :)

To tell you the truth, I do suffer from diagnosed mental disorders. I have periodic bouts of depression that are cyclical in nature (cyclothymia), and I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. I have dealt with these conditions through medication and counselling, but writing has always been my best outlet.

I know I'm not unique in this, but I refuse to believe that feeling sad is something I have to do in order to reach the depth of emotions I need for my characters to come to life. Or at least, it would seriously depress me to believe such a thing. :)

We all have an inner well of something. And I believe that each of us has the capacity to be creative. I've spent the past decade telling my husband that just because he's an engineer, it doesn't mean he's not creative. He likes to invent things. My goodness! Creative does not mean artsy. Creativity is nothing more or less than the expression of the truest, deepest part of ourselves.

How do you express creativity?

Wow! What a fascinating question. I guess I express it in writing, but I expressed it in math and computer programing for quite a long time, so I'd agree with you that engineers can be creative. And depression's not essential. And... 

...and now I'm tied up in your wonderful irony, because I do want to be unique, and it is quite "normal."

Thank you so much for revealing your normalcy, and letting us all enjoy Cassie's distinctly different version of normal too!

 And now, to let readers know more about Mind Games:

Beware your heart and soul…

Evan broke Cassie’s heart two months ago, and she still doesn’t know why. She throws herself into family, friends and her new job at the sheriff’s department, but nothing helps. The only thing that finally allows her heal and move on is the love of a new man, mind mage Matthew Blair. Cassie finds him…irresistible.

Matthew may also be the only one who can help keep the non-magical residents of Eagle Rock from going crazy over the murder of a beloved pastor’s wife. It looks like a sorcerer is to blame, but while Cassie tries to figure out who, others take matters into their own hands. With tensions running so hot, a single spark might set Eagle Rock ablaze.

First Chapter:  (Warning: Contains series spoilers. New readers to the series would be better off checking out the preview of book one below.)

Buy Links

Print release June 15. Audiobook release TBA.

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and read books 1 and 2 first for the whole experience!

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective

Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

Buy Links for Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detecitve

Secrets and Lies (Cassie Scot Book 2)

Cassie Scot, still stinging from her parents’ betrayal, wants out of the magical world. But it isn’t letting her go. Her family is falling apart and despite everything, it looks like she may be the only one who can save them.
To complicate matters, Cassie owes Evan her life, making it difficult for her to deny him anything he really wants. And he wants her. Sparks fly when they team up to find two girls missing from summer camp, but long-buried secrets may ruin their hopes for happiness.

Buy Links for Secrets and Lies (Cassie Scot Book 2)

And meet 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.

Social Media Links:

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Sheila Deeth said...

Hi Christine, I hope the tour is going well. I'm really enjoying this series, and I'm delighted to host you today.

Christine Amsden said...

Thanks again, Sheila, for being part of this tour!

The tour is going very well, thank you for asking. I was nervous about putting together my own tour but the support and encouragement I've received has been terrific! I plan to do my own tour again for Stolen Dreams (any I'll be setting it up day now ... seriously)

I am looking forward to the release of the conclusion to the series with anxious anticipation. :)

Amanda Ray said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the first Cassie book and am looking forward to the others!