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Fictional Deaths Heard ‘Round the World

Published July 14, 2016 by Ashley Townsend

Sick of ‘Em? Kill ‘Em . . . in Fiction!

We all know those authors, the ones who can’t figure out a place for a beloved character or think it will be just sooo dramatic and win them some kind of award if they randomly kill them off. If you’ve ever picked up a book or binge-watched a TV series, then you’ve probably experienced one of those Fictional Deaths Heard ‘Round the World. It’s that terrifying scene where you aren’t sure how they can get out of it this time, that breathless moment of denial that your favorite character could die and that a writer could be so cruel. And in the instant that they perish, your denial turns to tears, which evolve into a heart-wrenching, gut-twisting lifetime of pain.

princess bride

To honor those gone-too-soon heroes of fiction, I’ve compiled a short list of some of the fictional deaths that still twist my insides and provide a plethora of ugly sobs, though there are plenty more where these came from. This post will be spoiler-rich, so if you’re still waiting to read anything by Bodi Ashton or Cassandra Clare or have yet to watch Buffy, then you had best just avoid reading any further. Or if you know precisely what I’m talking about, then feel free to lament these fictional deaths all over again with me! *raises imaginary cup of shared pain and throws bars of dark chocolate into the air*

#3: Jem Carstairs in The Clockwork Princess

jem

Chances are you’ve heard about The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, but if you’ve read this series, then it’s safe to assume you’re still walking strangely. (And that Epilogue–just why??!!)

Jem is possibly the sweetest, most sacrificial and tragic character you will ever encounter. He’s been ill for most of his life and has to take this silver powder called yin fen to stave off the weakening effects of his disease so he can continue to live a relatively normal life. BUT the caveat is that the medicine he needs to function is killing him more quickly. His friends try to wean him off the poison to lengthen his days, but Jem wants to spend what remains of his life with his friends and his fiance, Tessa. And when she is taken, he stays on the yin fen to have enough strength to find her. But he becomes so sick anyway and weakens while Will (be still my heart! Never have I been so torn between two characters) goes out to find Tessa, who is in love with BOTH FRIENDS. Yeah, it’s messed up. So while Jem lies dying because he took too much medicine/poison to save his fiance, Will is off saving her. The tragic part–well, one of them–is that Jem always knew he was second violin to Will (poor joke), but he never held a grudge against his friend and loved him like a brother, and for a time they were all they had. I shed tears for Jem dying without either Will or Tessa, and I cried for Will’s loss when he was told his parabatai had died (Tessa who? She has feelings?!).

But almost more tragic than Jem’s “death” is the fact that he didn’t actually die. Waaaa???? What do I mean?

lemme splain

On the brink of death, Jem was turned into a Silent Brother, sort of like a monk with an eternal vow of silence that they all considered freaks for a lot of the series. The most horrific aspect of this change is that our Jem, whose greatest solace was found in playing his violin, must live in the Silent City where music is forbidden. And he did it all to fight one final battle with Will and Tessa and protect them. Yeah, killing him is too easy. Let’s destroy his life ans everything he holds dear.

d'artagnan crying

Even though he didn’t technically die, he still makes this list because the Jem we fell in love with disappeared and was replaced by this tragic creatures. *ugly sobbing*

#2 Cole in Evertrue

cole

Ohmysweetgoodness. First fictional death I ever really cried over. Cole is a total bad-boy, rock star, soul-sucker in Everneath, but I found him totally fascinating. He appeared to have this vague, broken past, but all we really know about him is that he chose Nikki to be his “life-support” for 100 years and wants her back.

When you see how he tried to protect Nikki in the Everneath and hear how he was a lost, lonely boy tricked into becoming what he is . . . Let’s just say he became a sympathetic “villain” in an instant. He disappoints you at the end of Everbound, but you can’t even be mad at him in Evertrue because he tries so hard to make things right and gets his memory swiped, so he thinks he’s an innocent Norseman who has no clue of the torment he’s caused! *sucks in a breath*

Nikki and Cole (whose memory has been restored by the end) are trying to destroy the Everneath throughout the book. BUT they also have to destroy the thing that tethers them to the Everneath to complete the process, which means they will return to their human forms. Cole is tired of taking life from others to survive and tearfully tells Nikki that they have to break their tethers, which means that he will return to his 900-year-old self. Desperately, Nikki begs for his heart before he can break it and turn to dust to close the portal to the Underworld. But he just kisses her and tells her she already has his heart, and THEN HE SNAPS THE PICK AND TURNS TO DUST.

lydia

 

It’s so horrible because he changes in the end and chooses to sacrifice himself to protect Nikki and make up for his past. I could barely see the page through my tears, and the watermarks are still on my book.

 

#1 Angel from Buffy

angel hotness

He was Stefan before there was Stefan, and he was too cool to sparkle

I know it happened over 15 years ago, but believe me when I say that the tears are still flowing from this scene oh-so-long ago. This fictional death is actually what sparked this post of tragedy and eternal torment (thanks, Liz!) . . . and also the fact that writers won’t stop killing off beloved characters.

Quick background if you never watched television in the ’90s: Buffy and Angel were the ultimate star-crossed lovers of the decade. A vampire slayer + a vampire with a soul and a conscience and who hates what he was turned into = perfection. There are a few other obstacles in their way–for instance, if he experiences a moment of pure joy, his soul will be stripped from him and he will revert to the monster he was before. Yeah, big problem, but it makes for the best romance on TV!

buffy and angel

Which brings me to the most dramatic fictional death of all time.

Angel does, in fact, find a moment of true happiness with Buffy, and he loses his soul because of it. It is this epic race to stop the total maniac he was before, and Buffy loves him too much to kill him, even though there is absolutely no sign of his kind and tender former self. But when Angel plans to open a portal that will destroy the world, she knows she has to kill him or send him into the portal, since only his blood can stop what he started.

There is a super dramatic battle between the two, and Buffy is getting ready to stab him through the heart when Angel ‘s soul is suddenly returned to him (let the cries of exaltation and fangirling ensue!).

angel death

He just looks at her and says her name like she’s all he understands, and Buffy just knows he’s returned to her. They have this beautiful moment together, and we the fans are already crying with joy at this point. BUT THEN she sees over his should that the portal has already been opened, which means the end of the world if she doesn’t make a decision to act, and you can just see in her eyes how it guts her. Angel clearly has no idea of her inner struggle as she tearfully admits that she never stopped loving him. Then she tells him to close his eyes and that everything is going to be all right. . . . AND THEN SHE STABS HIM!

buffy sob

Believe me, we all felt that mortal wound to our core. Angel looks so confused and betrayed because he’s her Angel, and he has no idea why she would do that to him. It’s so tragic because it was Angelus who did those horrible things, and now he’s our sweet Angel again and has no idea that Buffy had to kill him to save the world. The torment!!! All he knows is that Buffy stabbed him and then let him get sucked into the portal to close it, and there’s no time to explain. So he dies confused and hurt and betrayed. The gut-wrenching death of Angel was analyzed and cried over for weeks, and we still shudder when we think on it nearly two decades later. Don’t even get me started on how much we cried during “I Will Remember You” from Angel.

buffy angel sobbing

Now, please excuse me while I consume an entire chocolate pie after reopening these very real wounds caused by fictional characters and their demises.

 

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#FanArtFriday Round 4!

Published October 30, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

What’s this? Fan Art Friday on a Friday?!!!! Imagine that. ^_~ So this is the last Friday of Chasing Shadows‘ birth month, where we celebrated a year of reading by giving away copies of Chasing Shadows, swag, gift cards, plenty of fan art, and also new pieces of art created for Defying Shadows that I released every week. This next piece of art was designed specifically to torture you guys, but I have a couple things to cover before I get into the gorgeousness that has been created for the final “official” Fan Art Friday. But fret not, dear Hooders! There will be more agony and tempting teasers to come, especially since four Fridays of fan art is certainly not enough for my liking. 😉

The winners of the Chasing Shadows 1-Year Celebration all received their packages–yay!–and posted pics of their prizes on Twitter. I hope you enjoy the series, ladies! #TeamHood

fan 1 fan 2Also, my good friend and award-winning author (and dancer!) Nadine Brandes recently released her second book in her Out of Time series, a Christian dystopian trilogy that is absolutely incredible. A Time to Speak is amazing, moving, and all around a fantastic ride. You can order your copy on Amazon here, and if you haven’t yet read A Time to Die, you can find it here. Keep an eye out for my name in the acknowledgements page on Book I; yes, I did get to read these books before anyone else, and let me tell you, they were just as powerful and entertaining the second and third time around. You won’t want to miss them!

And some of you know that I got to work directly with Roan Carter on the cover of Chasing Shadows, which was amazing to be able to have total creative control of a project that meant so much to me. But yesterday, I had the pleasure of literally getting hands-on training in the creative process of cover designing by Lisa M., also known as the Elegant Stylus on Facebook and Etsy. I always imagined that artists spent all their time immersed in creative projects in little elvish caves far below ground, with candles for mood lighting and dramatic music echoing through their little hovel of creativity. Not so. We spent the afternoon with our feet propped up on the ottoman, munching on snacks while we researched fonts and played around with images and lighting and fangirled over our little project. It was the best crash-course in designing ever! Lisa is currently in the process of making me drool and giggle and squeal every five minutes with her designs for the cover of Defying Shadows. You’re going to be blown away!

And, finally, today’s Fan Art Friday reveal:

Timeless loveCare for another little teaser? How about a quote between booooop and booooop that shortly follows this scene (I can’t tell you who’s involved in the conversation–that would be cheating!). 

“No, not goodbye. It will never be goodbye between us.”

“What then?” she asked, voice catching. “How are we supposed to do this?”

He smiled softly, though his eyes filled with tears. She felt the band tighten painfully around her heart at the thought that this would be the last time she ever looked into those eyes or felt his hand on her cheek. Inhaling a shuddering breath, he whispered, “I shall see you in my dreams.”

Ahoy! Spoilers Ahead!

Published May 16, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

Okay, so this could definitely be considered cheating, but I am DYING to share a little snippet from Book III in the Rising Shadows trilogy!

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Yep, you heard right. I’ve been writing several pages each day, refining as I go, and spent basically all of yesterday working on an imperative, mystery-unraveling scene. I also had the opportunity—at last!—to pen the letters between Cadius and Alexis. . . . There aren’t any major spoilers within the actual letters (as long you’ve read Chasing Shadows), so don’t panic or get too excited.

The "Freaking Out Hard Core" (the BEST pin in history. I cant breathe. this is seriously amazing. Click on the link. NOW.)

… Or get excited—that’s okay, too! But if you are going into your second year of being cold turkey concerning spoilers, then you might want to back out now and wait for the book to release. I’d hate to be the one who set you back.

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That’s right, go ahead. I’ll wait a moment for you to leave…

Flash Cisco Ramon ♥♥♥

Ah, now that we’re all ready for some serious glimpses of the literary future, shall we continue on? 

Ned

Nonsense, poopy pants! (a little shout-out to Ace Ventura) Without further ado:

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!

Sarah ran a tentative finger over the rough, discolored parchment she had found in the hidden compartment. With careful fingers, she removed the uppermost letter from the pile and set the box on the desk. Pausing to listen for the sound of footsteps and hearing only her own rapid breathing, Sarah reverently opened the letter, fingers shaking as she unstuck the seal, broken years before now. The ancient parchment crackled as she unfolded it gently, praying it didn’t disintegrate in her hands. Instinctively, her eyes roved the small letter quickly, catching glimpses of words that led her to believe it was a love letter, but her mouth swung open when she saw Cadius’ signature at the bottom.

We are nearing the end. You expressed your concern of my plans, but I assure you that I shall employ great care as my design unfolds. It will take time as I gather men who are willing to unseat the current monarch, but be patient, dear heart; I swear to you we will be free of this gilded cage soon. I shall release our souls from the tyranny of my brother by releasing his soul from this life, as I promised you I would. Your time is near, and the pieces are falling into place as planned. Patience, love–do not be so hasty as to try and rush our plan, as you proposed. All in due course, recall? Everything shall go into motion once the child is born.
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Me:

#Arrow reaction gifs "What?"

Just a little taste of what’s to come later this year when the series comes to a close. You’re welcome.

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Chasing Shadows is off to the Presses!!!

Published September 24, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

“Chasing Shadows” is literally off to the presses as we speak. Dying. Of. Feels. That means that in the next couple of weeks, you can have your very own copy of my second book online and IN STORE!!!!!!

super excited

The illustrator is working on the final updates for the cover, and then we’re dumping some extras inside, like the amazing map he did of Serimone country, and tons more for you all. This is my “ta-da” face:

yay gif

Over the next month, keep an eye out on here and my other social networking sites (be sure to follow them on the right if you don’t already!), because I’ll be doing tons of promotional work for the release of the book–blog-hopping, interviews, reviews, a Facebook Release party with games and prizes to support readers and authors, a blog tour with http://doubledeckerbooks.blogspot.com/, and so much more! I’ll also be doing a very dramatic final cover reveal, leaking the map of Serimone, adding character profiles, and doing character interviews on my site and others very soon. But you don’t want that, do you?

oh yes

Whoah, okay, never mind. I’ll do it, I’ll do it! Sheesh.

Oh, yeah. Notice anything. . . different about me? Yep, that’s right. Total new makeover on my blog and just about everywhere else! I figured that with the new addition of “Chasing Shadows” and all of the changes/additions/impact that this sequel will be making to the series as a whole, I figured some updates were in order all around.

excited

My sentiments exactly, Tom. Thank you, darling. You can share your sentiments, as well, in the comment section.

I changed my usernames on both Pinterest and Twitter to TownsendTales because it sounds so much more author-y. So don’t panic if you see some new crazy person doing all sorts of nonsensical things that are something of nonsense; it’s still just me. 😉

Love you all and be sure to follow and share and spread the word about this story. And, as always, keep coming back!

https://twitter.com/townsendtales

Keep coming back

“Chasing Shadows” Has A Cousin!

Published August 27, 2014 by Ashley Townsend
Or maybe it’s sister/brother (I haven’t decided a gender for Book III yet).

Brace youselves

After having the Shadow Trilogy rattling around in my brain for nearly a decade, I set out this past weekend to tie up loose ends. That’s right, guys: Book III is officially underway! Most of you know how I like to make a big deal out of everything and turn it into a memorable event, so I just sat there for a full five minutes, watching that little line blink on and off on the clean slate that was the brand new Word doc. And I just let it sink in that the next word I wrote would be the last first word I would ever write in this series.

The beginning of the end.

Okay, okay, it sounds super dramatic that way, but it’s the truth. While I have a caravan full of other stories plotted out and half-written, and also random ideas that I want to bring to life, it’s still hard to accept that after this series, I’ll never really get to hang out with these characters again.

Start writing

For an author, starting the final installment in a trilogy is like having your kid graduate from high school—they haven’t gone off to college yet, but it’s only a matter of time—or setting your feet on the moon for the first time. OR like tasting your one and only first bite of Talenti ice cream. You’ll never be able to go back and experience the tantalizing flavors of Mediterranean Mint, Sea Salt Caramel, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, or Cappuccino (trust me, you’re missing out). Unless, of course, I’m successful in creating a time machine and can travel back simply for the purpose of eating and experiencing history. You’re welcome for that. 😉

So going back to what I was actually talking about before (writing, remember?). It’s either extremely exciting or totally terrifying to begin a new story, but for me it’s always a little bit of both. I’m not sure if it’s fear that I won’t be able to do the story justice, but all I know is that it feels a little like going on a first date, or so I’ve heard (all the single ladies, woot-woot!): Is the opener/introduction good enough to keep them interested? Haha. I know, I’m full of weird analogies today, but they’re all totally appropriate.

I did it anyway, though. I typed those first two lines, and then another four . . . then a page, and by the time I was done—and only because I had to go to work and get real pants on—I had the entire prologue finished, another scene typed up, and several chapters plotted out. EEE! I can’t tell you how good it felt to once again have new ideas pouring from my fingertips, my mind working faster than they could type. I don’t think I’ve ever had totally new and unexpected ideas and scenes come to me so quickly. In that hour before work, I explained Cadius’ motives for—well, I guess you’ll find that out in “Chasing Shadows” ;-P—why Ridlan, the surrounding province, will play such a significant part in the series, how time travel is really going to mess things up, why the professor was betrayed, and also how Karen’s parents were murdered. It was like an onslaught of awesome!

Soon, I’ll be releasing quotes/excerpts from “Chasing Shadows,” doing a final, final cover reveal once it’s sized, and also releasing the official map of Serimone, thanks to the amazing Roan Carter, who illustrated the cover. But you guys are just as important to the success of this series as my writing is, even more so because you guys help to get the word out about “Chasing Shadows.” I have some signing events, activities, meet and greets, and the like over the next few months, and I would love for you all to help spread the word when I post event info. You can Tweet, Pin, like/share on Facebook, follow, become a fan on Goodreads via the link on the sidebar, blog, or use word of mouth to share anything pertaining to the series. Or if you have any creative ideas for promotions that I can add to my bag of tricks, let me know!

I have a few ideas for a title that I have up my sleeve, but I can’t reveal them quite yet. If you’re interested in contributing your input, though, please send me an email with possible titles (containing the word “Shadows”) for the final installment in the Shadow Trilogy. And I’m still accepting review and interview submissions. If you want to host me on your blog and review “Chasing Shadows,” or if you’re an author who would like for me to interview them, let me know at ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com

CHASING SHADOWS COVER REVEAL!!!

Published July 12, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

I could not be more ecstatic, excited, and flipping out in pure elation (lot of “e” words, there) to announce that “Chasing Shadows” officially has a cover!!! EEEEEPPPP! We’re just working on a few finishing details and deciding on text, and then it’s bada-bing–off to the presses! I’m freaking out here! Which I thought was a tad obvious with all of my exclamation points, but I thought I should clarify for your benefit. ~_^

Is it weird that I want to make out with you sweet, sweet cover?

Is it weird that I want to make out with you sweet, sweet cover?

We’re almost done with the final edits, as well, and I have been smiling and crying and laughing all over again as I read it for, what? The 50th time? It still gets to me! I cannot wait to hear all of your reactions to the newest additions to our cast of Serimone characters, including (be still my heart!) Damien Lisandro, the handsome, tortured, cheeky Spaniard I’ve mentioned before. I keep getting hung-up on his scenes, reading them over and over and smiling as I pick up new inflections in his tone. Ack! I just adore him and know you all will too.

Side note(s), because I have way too many updates to give you guys:

BA-BADA-BAAAA!!!!!!!!! The “Chasing Shadows” playlist is nearly there and, if I may say so myself, spectaculaaaaar. We might even be sneaking it into the backs of the paperback copies, so keep your eyes peeled at the end of the story.

Also, our amazing web designer and digital wizard at Ink Smith Publishing, Macy, is diligently working on getting a possible cast together (yes, a Shadow and bow and forest and REAL people) for the “Chasing Shadows” trailer. Be. Still. My. Heart. So for those of you on the “Tube,” please subscribe and share Ink Smith’s YouTube page, and keep your eyes peeled for my trailer. *giggles in sheer delight* I just love saying that. http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQEHbnEhJhMf1me8LPVJy9Q

Don’t forget to add “Chasing Shadows” to your Goodreads, become a fan, and post your reviews. You wouldn’t believe how helpful and encouraging your responses are. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22545313-chasing-shadows?from_search=true

And Can we all just give Roan Carter a round of slow-building applause? He has been so diligent to work with me and make this cover for the sequel absolutely everything that I envisioned, and so much more. He’s even taking the time to work up a map of Serimone and the countryside for the book. Bah! *flat-lines in joy* Be sure to check out his amazing website and illustrations. http://www.roancarter.com/

As always, stay awesome, my delightfully quirky readers!

Saweet. Awesomeness!

Published April 19, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

Soooooo, I have amazing family. My cousin Lisa and the cuuutest baby girl in the world (I had coffee this morning), little Scarlett, came over the other day for “Ladies Time.” Basically, it’s a time every Wednesday when Lisa, my sisters, and I get together and relive our youth by watching ancient episodes of Smallville and chatting nonstop in the name of ceremony. But this Wednesday, Lisa decided to sacrifice her afternoon and whip up this little bad boy with me hovering over her shoulder, oohing and aahing for a half hour. Officially, coolest Rising Shadows fan poster yet. Make sure to add it to your summer reading list, and don’t be surprised to find it plastered all over San Diego.

Thanks, Lisa! And make sure to pass along her incredible work, guys!

Fan Poster 11x17

 

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