Thursday, January 16, 2014

From Continue by A.H. De Carrasco with Guest Post

The Taste of High Fantasy

Grab your fork and knife. 2014 promises to be another smorgasbord for the fantasy reader. I believe fantasy has never experienced such a broad selection of sub-genres as it does today. However, for the fantasy reader this can be seen as a blessing or curse, especially when a reader is trying to find a new author to follow.  Some fantasy genres are as different as night and day, medieval and modern times, or dragons and vampires. Likewise, for the author it can be really difficult to figure out exactly where her novels "fit in." That in itself can be a quest of epic proportions.

On The Level
For time's sake, I could tell you the Teller of Destiny series is pseudo-medieval high fantasy with the elements of quest, court intrigue and heroic fantasy. It also tackles dark and mature subject matters. Oh, dang. My eyes are glazing over, too--and I'm the gal writing this. What a mouthful of specifics! It's almost frightening. But that's basically what my readers can expect from the series, in a nutshell.

So what do all these terms mean? If you would like to learn more about the different sub-genres, I suggest checking these pages out:  I guess the best way for me to describe what I write, and for you to decide if it's something you like to read, would be to tell you a little about my background as a reader and what I love about high fantasy.

As a reader and writer, I like almost every kind of fantasy from epic to magic realism. Unfortunately many readers who love urban fantasy, low fantasy, or magic realism won't always get into epic or high fantasy. This is just a matter of taste, for the same reason some young readers love to read the teen witch books by Lynne Ewing but can't finish the (amazing) acclaimed witch trilogy by Libba Bray.

Hmmm... Were you a kid who spit out your carrots? Your peas? So what's the flavor of high fantasy?

The Challenge in Reading Fantasy
I started out reading mythology for kicks as a kid. I moved on to science fiction and high fantasy. I loved the moral struggle of good verses evil and all that's grey in between. I spent my freshman year in high school with my nose in a book, going though all the thick novels in Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant Chronicles (or two trilogies, depending on how you look at them) followed by LeGuin, McKillip, and MZB. I was hooked. But not right away. And I strongly emphasize that. It took real effort. Just like I learned to adore opera, and coffee, and beer. These were all acquired tastes. Once I'd acquired my taste for high fantasy, however, I spent hours staring off into space, going over the plot and emotions of the epic story and characters. I spent as much time thinking the stories through as I did reading them, probably.

Stories are never spoon-fed to the reader of high fantasy. The author expects the reader to "figure it out" and appreciate the wit. In fact, I know many readers who become infuriated when a point is repeated too many times, or if everything is given away in the first chapter. Traditional fantasy expects real commitment, so I learned early on to trust the author and not expect a plot hook by page five. Hah!

Conveying Emotion Through Setting
High fantasy often lets the scene set the mood. If the quest leads our heroes into a dark, musty part of the forest, the author leaves no doubt that danger and death await. If rain has passed over a village or town, it's most likely an Easter egg for the observant reader--symbolic of a spiritual cleansing or change in fortune. As an author, I love to leave these symbols for my readers. I will rework scene after scene to add clues and tidbits. These little gifts are especially rewarding when the subject matter is spiritual or religious in nature. Those with "eyes to see" will find them. It's part of what makes traditional high fantasy a literary undertaking and just plain fun. These extras also make high fantasy books the kind of novels readers return to again and again throughout the years.

The Traditional Fantasy Narrative and the Intimacy of Deep Point of VIew
I am a writer who seeks a balance between deep point of view and traditional fantasy's narrative. In many ways, fantasy grew out of folktales or the retelling of fairytales. The pull toward third person distant or "God-view" narrative is strong. But today's readers want to connect with the main character, to empathize with her, and deep point of view accomplishes this easily. However, if the same can be achieved through a carefully crafted narrative, it will always pack a bigger punch for the reflective reader.

The Beauty of Words versus the Simplicity of Emotion
If I have an opportunity to write something beautiful, something expressed in such a way that my reader with think on it, ponder it, and savor it, I will go for that goal without regrets. For some readers it may be too flowery, might slow the pace, or might pull them away from the cathartic experience of being in the heroine's head. And that's okay. Somedays I want to see a romantic movie set in nineteenth century India. On another day, I might want to see the latest psychological thriller. We have different moods. We should allow ourselves different books to read during those moods, too.

Investing in the Story Reaps Rewards
As a reader, after placing my trust in a dedicated writer, I've rarely been disappointed with a well-spun yarn of high fantasy. I may not always like the endings or the fates of certain characters, but I can usually understand why certain things happen. I can respect a writer who has really offered her time to set up a deep story of sorcery, and magic, and social commentary.  I will trust her with the next book, and the next.

As a writer, I strive for the same with controversial subjects and carefully crafted phrases. I strive for the honey on the tongue, the jaw drop, the intake of breath, and the book pressed reverently to the chest. There are no greater rewards!
--A. H. De Carrasco 

Book: From Continue
Series: Teller of Destiny #1
Author: A.H. de Carrasco
Genre: Young / New Adult Fantasy
Tour Organized by: Indie Sage, LLC

Purchase Link: 

“I saw the dead king…burn,” Raphere whispered to the voices.
“Why would I see such a thing, if not to prevent it.”

Ever since spilling her blood before the Teller of Destiny, Raphere has tried to prove she is not like her mother, a dark sorceress. Some call her Jivasivar–savior; others, assassin. One thing is clear: everyone has a plan for Raphere. Few seem to care about what is best for her, only what she might gain or cost them.
Even the handsome mercenary, who fascinates and frustrates her, has secret plans he doesn’t wish to share. Ever watchful in the shadows, Rant Pae spies on her–probably for her mother, Verisa. Does Rant Pae wish to draw Raphere closer with his distance? If so, he is succeeding.
Searching for her purpose Raphere embarks upon a journey to find the white wanderer Tranquia and the Jivan Tome–the Divine Poem which promised Raphere’s emergence, centuries ago. She must discern friend from foe as all strive to manipulate her for their own designs. Does she have the conviction to be the Jivasivar or is she merely a pawn in a fight for the survival of both ancients and kings?


Dark tents, pitched earlier by her mother’s visitors, were scattered about the cottage grounds. More would appear tomorrow and the next day. Raphere would never sleep out on the grass with the visitors so close, and it was a long hike back to her friends. The closer to the house she came, the smaller her steps became; a mere snail’s crawl by the time she approached the wooden porch.
She tensed as the first step gave way to a creaking snap under her foot. Holding her breath, she jumped the remaining two. Like a bold but stealthy thief, she placed her hand carefully on the latch and pushed the door. It opened.
Stepping gingerly into the room then closing the door behind her, she was suddenly happy to have waited so long before returning. The moon poked its head into the window, shining ghost light upon the cluttered table. Catching the light, pewter glistened and tin reflected white. Pints of ale and overturned mugs littered the oak table—evidence of a lusty drunken visit by friends she would rather avoid.
She discarded her previous caution and fetched some water. She decided to start with the table and rolled up her sleeves as she approached the mess. With a quiet grace that came naturally to her when alone in the cottage, she began clearing away the filthy stains and crumbs. The acrid stench of spilt ale weaved a way to her nose, wrinkling it. Picking up the remaining mugs and placing them in the tub, she pivoted around to view her accomplishment and absently dried her hands on her apron.
Spotless as their hovel could be, she admitted wryly. A half smile flitted across her oval face.
The moon ducked behind a cloud and darkness filled the room once again. Out of the shadows a figure moved, detaching itself from the inky blackness. She swallowed hard. The memory of swirling grey clouds crushing Tedric’s massive body flashed before her. Instinctively, she touched her wristband.
Like a cat in grace but a nighthawk in menacing calculation, the dark figure fairly swooped toward the table where the clutter had been. The moon was rescued from its cloudy prison and shone suddenly into the room, casting blue dusk upon the visitor.
Expecting a monstrosity, Raphere caught her breath. Instead lazy, sardonic eyes entrapped her. Gray irises suited this man. Though mesmerizing, they veiled an impersonal hardness she sensed. She broke the enchantment, moving to the visitor’s distinct cheekbones that framed his face and downward still, to a prominent, firm jaw. Under her regard his jaw tensed; he frowned.
Like a statue she stood, gawking at him. Her heart pounded but the beat was oddly different this time. She was not afraid.
This was something else entirely. But maybe this feeling was equally dangerous. Her breath caught in her throat. What if he were an assassin?
He didn’t appear evil, she dismissed. Murderers were wicked and ugly, their features distorted by the darkness that crept about their souls. Her hand fluttered to a lock of hair and tugged upon it. He owned no characteristics of a cutthroat. Maybe a thief?
The stranger crossed his arms over his broad chest and didn’t seem inclined to chat. And, by Fate, she held no ability to speak at the moment, even if she wanted to. But look she could.
He must be very comely, she guessed, having never seen one like him before this night. The others caused her flesh to creep. But then she remembered her beautiful mother.
At that moment, she wished for Verisa’s grace and ease—no mortal-minded ever flustered her mother. Raphere desperately wished to speak and searched for something to say. Her face grew warm. She didn’t want this one to think her an idiot. Her eyes nearly crossed with effort as she tried to think of some clever phrase. The silence became unbearable. Indecision pestered her then dread as his eyebrow lifted higher and higher.
“Are you handsome?” she finally blurted out; a horrible whimper followed. Almost imperceptibly, his eyes widened but resumed their lazy regard just as subtly.
“Are you Raphere?” he lightly countered, making fun of her. He said her name so smoothly; his voice like butter. She’d expected it to be that way…
“Your wrist, is it hurt?”
Raphere’s mouth gaped open. This one was shrewd. He’d caught her slight gesture. Not a thieving thug. A mercenary? A spy?
With measured steps, the man advanced around the table while he studied her. Calmly, he waited for her answer, the acknowledgement that refused to leave her lips. His hand rested naturally on the hilt of his sword. Fingers of an old habit idly tapped upon leather.
“Your mother thought it might be you,” he said.
Verisa was awake.
“She was worried.”
The ridiculousness of his statement jolted Raphere into finding her tongue. “No, she’s not,” she snapped.
The swordsman’s hip came to rest on the table, his body closing her in as the moonlight played upon his strong features. “Shall I call her—?”
But his words fell on deaf ears. With the grace of a doe, she sprinted. Swiftly, he grabbed her arm and jerked her to a halt.
She gasped as he turned her wrist upward and her woven bracelet slipped. She winced. Her blood pounded under the old wound. Her knees began to shake, just as they did when she was young.
“This scar…” His words drifted into silence while he examined her exposed wrist in the moonlight. He pulled her closer to him and breathed in deeply, sniffing her hair. “You smell of the deep woods.”
Desperate to get away, she hissed, “Let go my arm, mutant.”
His lower eyelid twitched. Steel entered his gray eyes, though his hand went limp, releasing her. Raphere bolted past him and up the stairs; skirt gathered in her hands.

About the Author: 

A. H. De Carrasco embarked upon the writer’s journey at a young age, writing illustrated fan fiction for her grade school classmates’ favorite shows. Several decades later, she is publishing her collection of fantasy novels for teenagers and adults. Lately, she writes beside a waterfall as her husband tests his goggles and flippers. Her cats look on in displeasure from the screen door, but purr happily when she writes at her desk.


 Twitter Facebook


A. H. de Carrasco is offering an ecopy of From Continue as well as two custom necklaces for a giveaway.  The giveaway is open internationally.  Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM 01/19/2014.

My Review:  January 2014   ~ Review Copies ~

From Continue (The Teller of Destiny I)From Continue by A.H. De Carrasco
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author A.H. De Carrasco for giving me this book for an honest review. I love reading Fantasy stories, good vs evil, the quests, the characters. The world building is very good. The characters are well developed and defined. I am looking forward to reading more of this series.

View all my reviews


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me, Dalene!

  2. Great site, Dalene, and A.H., I respect and admire your angst over the writing/reading of the perfect balance of High Fantasy/POV connection for readers.
    Your post does a great job of articulating the important questions of the genre.
    Congrats on the Five Star Review - your book sounds great.
    Adding to my TBR list.

    1. Thank you, Paula. That really means a lot to me!

  3. Your prose is beautiful, Ann! I fond the heroine especially endearing. I also enjoyed your insights into the Fantasy genre. Brava!

    ~ Adrienne deWolfe
    Bestselling Author

    http://WritingNovelsThat Sell


  4. Thank you so much, Adrienne. I love your Writing Novels that Sell site and Magic & Mayhem site.