Into the Dreaming Imaginative Fiction from Author, Reviewer, and Writing Coach Christine Amsden

Tag Archives: Urban Fantasy

Free Ebook Today Only!!!

It’s Read an Ebook Week, and that means free books! Twilight Times is offering Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective, the first book in the Cassie Scot Quartet, completely free for one day only! No catch! Just click the link to the file type you need …

Download Cassie Scot in .mobi (kindle friendly) format

Download Cassie Scot in .epub format

Open Cassie Scot in .pdf format

If you like the book, don’t forget to check out the other books in the series …

 

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99 Cent Sale!

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PLUS …

Every book in the Cassie Scot series will be discounted through the end of November!

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Read the First Chapters Here

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Book 1)

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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.

  • *Winner of the 2013 Global Ebook Award for Fantasy
  • *Finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Awards

Buy now in print, ebook, or audio…

Secrets and Lies (Cassie Scot #2)

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 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. Sequel to Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective.

  • Winner of the 2014 Global Ebook Award for Fantasy

Buy now in print, ebook, or audio…

Mind Games (Cassie Scot #3)

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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. Book 3 in the Cassie Scot series.

  • *Winner of the 2014 Global Ebook Award for Fantasy

Buy now (Print, Ebook, Audiobook)

 Stolen Dreams (Cassie Scot #4) 

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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.

Buy Now in Ebook and Audiobook

Trade Paperback: November 15, 2014

Praise for the Series:

“When sorcerers call the shots, what’s a girl without powers to do? Get ready for a ripper of a murder mystery full of romance and intrigue, where magic potions bubble, passions spark and vampires are definitely not your friend Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective grabs you by the heart and won’t let go until the very last page. Well written, immersive and unputdownable. This is urban fantasy at its best. More please!” — Kim Falconer, bestselling author of The Spell of Rosette, Quantum Enchantment Series

“Amsden continues the story of the only mundane member of a supernaturally-gifted family in this middling sequel to Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. Cassie, stubborn and proud, is bravely trying to live on her own after her family disowns her. Struggling to make ends meet, she accepts a case involving a pair of magical girls who disappeared from summer camp. With the aid of the handsome Evan Blackwood, to whom Cassie is attracted despite her family’s disapproval and her own better judgment, she follows the trail of the missing girls. What she finds is a dark side of the magical world, and the hidden depths of her family’s past force her to reconsider long-held assumptions. The growing complexity of Cassie’s world makes this an entertaining installment, focusing as much on the will-they, won’t-they romantic chemistry between Cassie and Evan as on the primary mystery. An inconclusive ending is clearly intended to feed into the next volume.” — Publisher’s Weekly 

About the Author

Author_2013Christine 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:



Secrets and Lies Review Blitz Highlights

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Here are the highlights from yesterdays amazing review-day blitz with Innovative Online Tours!

 Books, Books, and More Books “OMG!  I reviewed the first book in this series (here) and loved it, but this one was SO much better.”

T B R Wow where do I begin? I feel awe at Cassie’s deductive abilities and strength and bravery but My heart breaks for her as well. “

Pure Jonel  Amsden does a great job of introducing new and unique concepts as part of the story’s action rather than as a separate narrative. She keeps you guessing and on your toes throughout with her imaginatively suspenseful storyline. By mixing relationship drama with a murder investigation and a few other twists en route Amsden creates a masterpiece that you won’t be able to put down.”

The Insane Ramblings of a Crazed Writer  “There are so many layers to the story, Christine has done a fabulous job at ensuring that she has kept everything straight and not overly confusing.”

Love, Laughter, and Friendship  “This series just keeps getting better and better.  I can’t wait to see how book #3 will turn out.  Bring it, Ms. Amsden.  :)”

 Pink Fluffy Hearts ” I can’t wait for the next book to come out. Seriously. I need it right now, please. ”

Lissette E Manning “Another great addition to this series! ”

My Kindle Fever “Christine Amsden draws me in every time with her talent and command of the quill or should I say Keyboard.  I would love to see this series turned into a television series.  I can so see this on the CW! “

Cassie Scot: Swimming in Reviews!

 

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Wow, I’m overwhelmed! I just finished up a review tour for my Cassie Scot AUDIOBOOK and the responses have been amazing.

 

Lissette E. Manning — “I must say that this book is a must-read.”

Sapphyna’s Book Reviews — “Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective is straight up one of the absolute best mystery books I’ve read. ”

Love, Laughter, and Friendship — “Ooooo, Pink loved this book….I can’t wait to read more of Cassie and Evan.  Just wondering how long I have to wait.  *pout*”

Little Miss Drama Queen — “The story was so great, it’s an adventure very much worth getting swept up in. It’s so fun and a great addition to the paranormal genre.”

Books R Us — ” I have always enjoy Audiobooks and the narrator Melissa did a fantastic job. she was able to change her voice to fit the different characters in the book. I was immediately sucked into the storyline and I stayed up way past my bedtime to listen to the story….The book was well written, entertaining and I cannot wait to read (or listen to) the Next book in the series.”

Brroke Blog — “Cassie Scot: Paranormal Detective by Christine Amsden is a book that I’ve read and enjoyed before. I was quite excited to have the chance to review the audio version of the book. I felt like the narrator did a really nice job with the story. It seemed to fit the way that I had felt it would sound. This is a fun story to listen to!”

Pink Fluffy Hearts — “When I was first sent “Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective” by Christine Amsden to review, I was excited. I’ve read detective series in the past that focused on the world of the supernatural, and I was eager for more. Thankfully, I can say that Amsden did not disappoint, and I enjoyed the first book in her detective series.”

Wall to Wall Books — “This is the first book I have read by Christine and I do think I would read another.”

Literal Hottie Naughty Book Reviews — “This is a really fantastic story, think cozy mystery meets urban fantasy. Really awesome from beginning to end!!!”

TBR — “The story is very well written and the narrator does a wonderful job with pace and inflection. I really felt like Cassie was telling me her story and not like I was being read to.I have completely fallen in love with Cassie and Evan, sorry Braden.”

 

I want to thank all these reviewers once again for their wonderful, thoughtful, and insightful reviews!

Guest Blogger Scott Eder on Urban Fantasy vs Contemporary Fantasy

 Genre Confusion (Doh!) – Urban VS. Contemporary Fantasy

By Scott Eder

Hello. My name is Scott, and I write Urban Fantasy. Wait, no, that’s what I did a few weeks ago, before the revelation, before DragonCon. Today, in my post-DC era, I write Contemporary Fantasy. And the funny thing is that I haven’t changed a thing. I still write the same novels, but my genre perception has shifted thanks to the wisdom presented at Dragon*Con.

I’ve heard the advice not to worry about genre. Let an agent or editor figure out into which Fantasy subgenre the book should fall since the writer is not typically the best judge. That’s all well and good after the fact, once the book is sold and the decisions on how to market it are made. What about when a writer is discussing his work with publishing professionals or other authors?

When talking about my book, framing it in terms of genre is a natural thing. It’s meant to set a certain expectation or set of rules in which the plot unfolds and the characters develop. So, when talking about my book, Knight of Flame, I start off by telling people it’s Urban Fantasy with strong romantic elements. Here’s the kicker…I was wrong.

But, Scott, say it aint so. I wish I could. I feel kinda silly about it, actually. Thank goodness I came to the realization myself instead of having someone have to point it out to me. I don’t claim to know a lot about this industry into which I’m trying hard to break into. In fact, I know fairly little. That’s why I keep asking questions, hanging with those who do know about this crazy business, and attending different cons and seminars. Look out World Fantasy, you’re next.

I got my first inkling of my genre faux pas early on. I’d been trying to identify my niche, my stand-out factor. What made my Urban Fantasy novel unique? I realized that one of the differences is POV. My novel has multiple POVs. I haven’t seen that much in UF. Most UF stories turn upon the axis of a single driving character—typically a badass detective or bounty hunter protecting their slice of the world from the nefarious creatures of the night.

I was good with the multiple POV thing. I started talking that up and building my case on how my book differed from the others. That went well until I started asking questions of NYT bestselling UF authors about it and got some strange looks. Perhaps there’s a reason there isn’t much multiple POV in UF.

It seems that the general consensus about UF is that the pacing is very fast. That single POV ass-kicker drives through the story at a very fast pace. The characters don’t typically amble about smelling the flowers. They find and fight the badies threatening their town. The tone is dark and gritty, like the dirty streets and water of the cityscape in which they prowl. UF is the noire of the Fantasy genre.

And that’s where it all went crazy. Yeah, I see the dark and the grit and the detective aspect of UF stories. Mine decidedly did not have those elements. I realized the only things my novel and UF had in common was that it occurred in a city (for a little while) and brought magical elements into a real-world setting.

Sorry, but that’s just not enough. So, Knight of Flame is not Urban Fantasy. It’s Contemporary or Modern Fantasy. It doesn’t have the grit and dark tones of a Faith Hunter, Jim Butcher, or Kim Harrison novel. It’s more like the sense of wonder and camaraderie of the Companions of the Hall from R.A. Salvatore’s Forgotten Realms books. I loved the interplay between Drizzt, King Bruenor, Wulfgar, Regis, and Cattie-brie. They fed off each other while they saved the world from utter destruction time and again. I wanted to make sure that my characters had that type of relationship and wrote that in from the beginning. Duh. I should have realized.

The book held true to genre, but the writer got lost somewhere along the way.

That’s not the only place I got lost. This being my first trip to Dragon*Con, I spent a fair amount of time wandering the floors of the Hyatt and the Marriott. When I did find the right room at the right time, I learned and I’ll be passing some of those other lessons on in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Have fun,
Scott

Against the Shadow, burns a noble light.

Author Bio:

Since he was a kid, Scott wanted to be an author. Through the years, fantastic tales of nobility and strife, honor and chaos dominated his thoughts. After twenty years mired in the corporate machine, he broke free to bring those stories to life.

Scott lives with his wife and two children on the west coast of Florida.

Knight of Flame

Knight of Flame

Fire. The most chaotic of the primal elements. When wielded properly by the Knight of Flame, it burns like the sun. Otherwise, it slowly consumes the Knight, burning away his control, driving him towards dark deeds.

Stationed in Tampa, FL, Develor Quinteele, sixth Knight of Flame, waits impatiently for the predicted emergence of the last Gray Lord, his Order’s ancient enemy. Hampered by a centuries-old tragedy, Dev knows of only one way to control his elemental power—rage. It broils just below his surface, waiting for the slightest provocation to set it alight.

After a brutal attack by the Gray Lord’s minions for which Dev is blamed, he’s stripped of his freedom until he learns to control his violent impulses. With the help of his fellow Knights, can he balance his rage and unlock his true elemental potential to prevent Tampa’s devastation?

“In Knight of Flame Scott re-imagines traditional fantasy and forges something new from old metal—a fast-paced thriller that delivers a healthy dose of wonder. As enjoyable as it is engrossing.” ~ David Farland, International Best-Selling Author

Link to First Five Chapters:

Buy Links:

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Kindle: 

Contact Links:

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Twitter: @Scotteder

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Cassie Scot Audiobook Preview

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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.

This audiobook version of Cassie Scot was narrated by talented voice actress Melissa Reizian Frank.

Here’s your free preview of chapter one:

On sale now at audible.com and amazon.com. Coming soon to iTunes.

 

 

Cassie Scot Takes the Silver in the Global Ebook Awards

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Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective won its first award last week! You may recognize the Global Ebook contest from two years ago, when The Immortality Virus won in the science fiction category. I’m very excited that my new series is off to such a strong start! I’m even more excited by all the positive reviews and reader comments I’ve received over the past few months. People are falling in love with Cassie and I can’t stop smiling. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

How to Choose a Virtual Tour Service Provider: My Reading Addiction

 

 

 

If there was one thing I learned during this book release it’s that persistence pays off. If you’re looking to put your book on the internet, then there are thousands of bloggers you can reach. A few hundred here, a few hundred there, sooner or later it makes a real impact. That’s what I was thinking when I rehired Reading Addiction Book Tours to do a one-month tour of Cassie Scot in July 2013.

I first hired this company for The Immortality Virus last summer and I have to confess, it didn’t do much at all. I scraped together a handful of sales over the course of the entire month, and that was after drastically (and temporarily) reducing the price to $0.99. But there were a lot of factors working against that tour, especially the fact that it took place more than a year after the release of the book. (Some reviewers were even confused by this fact and listed the release date as June 2012 instead of June 2011.) I thought that I could revive interest in the title because it had recently won awards, but that didn’t seem to be the case. (I should write an article about awards and what they do/don’t do for you sometime.)

Books are made or broken in the first few months after release. 

I’m not saying there’s nothing you can do to sell a book a year later. There is something — release another book. A better book. And do a better job of marketing it. I’ve sold more copies of The Immortality Virus this summer than I did the summer it was released!

There was one other problem with my Reading Addiction Tour of The Immortality Virus — wrong genre wrong audience. The Immortality Virus is pure scifi. I switched course dramatically to write the Cassie Scot series, which is urban fantasy/paranormal, mystery, and romance. I didn’t write it to play the market, but I think I managed to do just that. This is a story the market wants right now, and it is what Reading Addiction Book Tours does best.

If you go to My Reading Addiction’s packages page, you may notice something that struck me as important when I used them last month. Their biggest tours have a caveat:

*Available to Young Adult/New Adult and Paranormal Genres

Since I’ve used their services twice and one of those times I toured a science fiction novel, I feel comfortable saying that this is an important caveat. I got some nice reviews of The Immortality Virus from their bloggers, but I felt like most of them (and their readers) were more into the paranormal, especially with a romantic spin. To this day I’m not sure what the best source for scifi reviews is because I never found it. I happened to write a scifi book that got a lot of  “I don’t normally read this genre but this was very good” comments. At the time I thought that would mean something to the people reading the reviews, but I’ve lost some of that naivete. I now believe that the people reading the reviews were more likely to go, “Hm. Well, if I’m ever in the mood for something different…” then put it on a to-read list that never gets read. To support that statement, I note that I have more “to reads” for The Immortality Virus on goodreads than I do for Cassie Scot, but far, far more people have bought Cassie Scot.

Price

Reading Addiction Book Tours are low cost. Their biggest tour with 40 stops and plenty of bells and whistles is only $200. I ended up using their standard tour — 20 stops, half reviews, which is $90. Since I was a repeat customer, I got a 10% discount. They have great repeat customer specials, special pricing for publishers touring multiple books, and they often have sales or coupons going on so keep an eye on that. Even without the discounts, though, they are inexpensive.

Value

I believe Reading Addiction is a value if your book is in their blogger’s target reading interest. That is to say paranormal, romance, young adult, or new adult. I do not believe it is a value if you are writing science fiction. I’m not sure about other genres. But for their target genres you will get your book reviewed by engaging, enthusiastic bloggers.

Look and Feel

The only truly negative thing I have to say about Reading Addiction Book Tours is that their banner was blah.

They did make me a nice static page that remains active (click on the banner to see it). They also updated the blogger links so that after a blogger posted my review or spotlight, the link went directly to that post rather than the home page. This was a nice touch. 

Professionalism and Communication

Wonderful! Friendly, responsive, and on their game.

**It is worth noting that Reading Addiction Book Tours does not allow negative reviews during their tour. If a host really does not care for a book (ie would give it less than 3 stars), the host has the option of switching to promo only. They may post the review on their own after the tour is over.

Bottom Line

I recommend a Reading Addiction tour for paranormal, romance, young adult, or new adult book tours. I recommend them as part of a bigger effort, if your budget can handle it.

Secrets and Lies Cover Art Reveal

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Ural Akyutz once again provided the cover artwork for this book.

With the cover art in, we can now OFFICIALLY say that the release date for Secrets and Lies is November 15, 2013. The book will be available in ebook, paperback, and if I can manage to get it recorded by then, audiobook. (I’m hoping to announce the release of Cassie Scot #1 in audiobook later this month.)

Book Blurb

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. Book 2 in the Cassie Scot Mystery series.

You can read the first few chapters here.

About the Series

These books do not stand alone!!!. I cannot stress this enough. I would love for you to read Secrets and Lies, but if you haven’t read Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective, you won’t get it. Give that one a try first and see what you think.

Secrets and Lies is the second book in the Cassie Scot mystery series. Each book in the series is framed by a mystery, hopefully providing a natural stopping point, if not exactly a sense of conclusion. I admit that I wrote each ending hoping the reader would want to come back for more! IMHO, this second volume ends on a steeper cliff than the first. I might have cackled evilly when I first wrote the ending to this book. Tough to remember. 🙂

Cassie’s story is four books long, and all of those books have been written. With any luck, the final two books in this series will be available by next summer. Books three and four are called Mind Games and Dreamer respectively.

Spin-off sequels are planned for Cassie’s two best friends, Madison and Kaitlin. I expect to finish writing Madison’s Song soon. Kaitlin’s story is barely at the drawing board so no promises on that one. The reason I’m writing these books is that Madison and Kaitlin got too big and told me that not only was there not enough room for their stories inside Cassie’s, but that their stories really weren’t Cassie’s to tell anyway. I really couldn’t fault their logic. 🙂

Those are all the stories I have planned for this series. After that, I’ll go wherever the writing wind takes me.

Secrets and Lies teasers:

  • There is more romance in this book than in the first.
  • Cassie will learn something about her mom that she never knew before.
  • Madison and Kaitlin will both become more important, developing subplots of their own (that will eventually spin off into their own novels).
  • Angie is not in this book.
  • Long-time enemies Victor Blackwood (Evan’s father) and Edward Scot (Cassie’s father) will meet face to face in this book. The results may be explosive.
  • You will learn a bit more about why Victor and Edward hate one another.

Enjoy!

Book Review: Ill WInds

Ill Wind (Weather Warden, #1)I had trouble getting into this story, but it rallied at the end.

Joanna is on the run when the story unfolds, but the reason why doesn’t come clear until about halfway through. Oh, we get hints, but not the full story. She just talks about the “demon mark” as if a reader new to the series would have any idea what that means or what the implications are. The pacing of this book was a problem. There were a number of early flashbacks that slowed things down without, IMO, delivering true bursts of understanding that would have made that sacrifice worthwhile.

The world came together slowly and in the end I think it may be an interesting place, although my understanding remains tenuous even now. It was apparent from the first that the gin (genies) would be important and they are. I only wish I had understood more about these beings before Joanna came into contact with them so that I could have appreciated what they did, what she did in response, and how/why she broke the rules.

Joanna herself needs development, IMHO. She was a sassy heroine into fast cars but I didn’t get a sense for what motivated her outside of the events directly effecting the plot. She’s not shallow — there’s a lot of history here and I think a lot of thought went into her — but it didn’t come out in this book. Maybe we’ll learn more in the sequels.

The romance was hard to accept. Joanna was a bit too interested in every halfway attractive man she ran across. I didn’t recognize a difference when she ran into the man who (at least in this book) seems to have been the “love” interest. The whole relationship came about a bit too abruptly for me to really feel the love, especially in light of other things that would be spoilerish to mention.

Any one of these issues would have been manageable, but put together I found there wasn’t anything I could sink my teeth into and hold onto. I almost didn’t finish the book, which would have been a shame.

The last chapter was very engaging. The ending was completely unexpected, possibly brilliant, and it may convince me to give the series another try. It definitely won’t be the first series I’ve gotten into that took a little warm up! Fantasy in particular can be tough because the author has to introduce the reader to a whole new world while at the same time keeping the plot moving.

I haven’t decided whether or not to recommend this fantasy series. Give me another book and I’ll let you know!

Rating: 3/5

Title: Ill WInd

Author: Rachel Caine

ISBN: 0451459520

Published December 2003