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

Stolen Dreams in AUDIO!

Stolen Dreams: A Cassie Scot Novel, Book 4 | [Christine Amsden]


I am a BIG audiobook fan, so when I got the chance to turn the Cassie Scot Series into audio productions, I jumped on it. Melissa Reizian Frank is a true professional; talented and easy to work with.

For me, audiobooks are a near necessity. I am legally blind. This doesn’t mean I can’t see (in large print), just that even Ereaders give me headaches and at the end of the day, after I’ve worked hard in my usual 26 to 36-point  font, it’s nice to let someone tell me a story instead. I curl up with my audiobook player, close my eyes, and live the story inside my mind.

There are tons of great reasons to listen to audiobooks though. I’ll also listen while I clean the house. Many like to listen while driving to or from work, or on long trips. It’s a hands-free method of reading that still gives you all the heart of the story.

If you’re an audiobook lover too, check out the Cassie Scot Series. Read them in order! (I’ve only said that a thousand times. Hope people are listening. :) )


Here’s the link for the latest:

Characters Welcome: The Gods of Garran + $25 Amazon Gift Card

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MEDIA KIT Book CoverOnce the Borrai, the Gods of Garran, walked among the people, taming the wind and the fiery mountains. Then invaders came from the sky and killed the gods–destroying all who opposed them. A hundred years have passed since the Invaders came from the sky–an advanced alien race known as the Chanden. Now, having suffered many grievances at the hand of the aliens, the tribesmen rise up to find the god-stones and revive the ancient powers of the Borrai–and reclaim their world.

When the Chanden learn of this, they send a spy to infiltrate the Garrans–a young woman named Asta, who has her own reasons for hating the Garrans. She begins to realize that they are dealing with a real power and not a superstition when they get close to finding the god-stones. Can the Chanden be in the wrong?



    Moorhen never fit in with his numerous other brothers and sisters in the Sand Plain Clan. He was never much of a hunter; even his little sister, Crysethe was a better hunter than him, though he could be a fair shot with a bow.

   The others in the tribe did think him odd at times. He had too much curiosity, questioning the world. And secretly, he would read books. Chanden books, since the Garran natives had no written language, prior to the invasion by the Chanden. 

    He found simple pleasure in increasing the productiveness of the crops they grew and finding ways to preserve the food to last longer, decreasing hunger among the tribe.

    But the others talked of war and revenge on the Chanden for the wrongs of the past—a lot of talk but no action. Yet.

    Moorhen’s own father, Ashtan, chieftain of the tribe, was too sensible a man to give in to rash action. Though some said in his younger days, that was not true. Long ago, he had killed his share of Chanden.

    But all actions against these technologically advanced invaders had failed, and the Garrans had given in to their rule. What power could they bring against them that could possibly prevail, now that the gods of Garran were dead?



    Asta was determined to take hold of her own destiny. She’d grown up in her father’s shadow: Koethe, the Commander of the colony on Garran. Neither her mother nor Asta had wanted to come to this remote planet. Powerful and wealthy, Koethe usually got what he wanted, though that had not been enough to keep her mother from being murdered by Garrans during the rebellion when they had arrived, years ago. And no amount of apology would bring her mother back.

    Powerful as Koethe was, did her father think he could command her? Now that Asta was of age, she had joined the Stealth Unit, working to stop Garran rebellions, without telling her father. He’d be furious. The work was dangerous. And he had already told her he’d support her, but he wanted to arrange an “advantageous” marriage for her to some rich family or diplomat back home.

    All he thought about was being appointed governor of Garran one day.

   Well, she wouldn’t let him marry her off. And now that she was of age—he couldn’t force her. Though working in the Stealth Unit, he was technically her boss. 

    But once her field training was complete, surely he wouldn’t humiliate her by demoting her back to a desk job once he found out what she was doing. Would he? Already, she was so upset with him that she had scarcely spoken to him in years.

    Once she’d made enough money, she’d leave this deserted rock and move back to the capital. The Garrans were smelly, ignorant barbarians who had no gratitude for the efforts the Chanden had made help provide an education, doctors and the technology that they had tried to share with this indignant race.

    They preferred to live in the desert in their lava caves, hunt for food, wear rags and live like their ancestors had lived rather than accept the help that the Chanden were trying to offer them. If they chose to be miserable, let them be!

    But the things she saw in the field training disturbed her, the way the Garrans were occasionally treated by the Chanden Enforcers. Was that right?


Slowly, Moorhen made his way toward the group. It sounded like ten or more people. He readied his bow.
The band of men stopped moving, perhaps to camp for the night. Moorhen heard raucous laughter. Would expert warriors be foolish enough to get openly drunk in an unprotected place, even if their spirits were high because of a good hunt?
As Moorhen peered out from a new vantage point, he froze. These men were no clansmen. They weren’t even Garran–but Chanden. His heart pumped faster. What were they doing so far from any city? Men like that seldom ventured this far out, except to seek out trouble.

They hadn’t seen him. He’d make his way back to the ravine–then he could leave unseen. The Chanden were not good hunters, but their weapons were deadly.
As Moorhen started back, he heard a cry amidst the laughter, a word or two in Garran. Moorhen turned, recognizing his brother Norbi’s voice. Quickly Moorhen climbed to a vantage point where he could see the men clearly. In their midst Moorhen saw his little brother struggling against them. Two of the Chanden men hit Norbi and kicked him. From the shape his brother was in, the Chanden must have had him for awhile.
Moorhen’s blood grew hot. Without stopping to think, he aimed his bow at the tallest man who was tormenting his brother and shot. The arrow hit and the man fell. Realizing they were not alone, the Chanden looked around.

Moorhen shot again. Another Chanden fell.


MEDIA KIT Author Photo

Meredith Skye began writing fiction in elementary school and always wanted to be a novelist. She was fascinated by tales of the fantastic and bizarre.

She loves to travel. She has a fascination with the Middle Ages and loves swords, medieval costumes, castles and ancient lifestyles. She enjoys Celtic art and music.

She’s a vivid dreamer and many of her dreams come back to life in her novels.

Meredith Skye has a B.A. from the University of Utah in Film Studies.

Gods of Garran Amazon ASIN: B00FGLUI00
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TV Series Review: Last Comic Standing

After the best comic on America’s Got Talent got sent home early because she performed on the wrong night (Seriously, first two weeks I was only excited by about 3 acts. Then last week I could easily have seen 8 performers moving on!) I decided to check out a show entirely for comedians — Last Comic Standing. I mean, America’s Got Talent is fun because you never know what you’re going to get, but I was clearly in the mood to laugh.

And laugh I did. Last comic standing begins with invitational rounds that fire 100 carefully selected stand-up comedians at you like rounds from a machine gun. The laughter is thick on the ground and they don’t waste nearly as much time as other shows I could name with personal stories and judge’s criticism.


The show is flowed. America doesn’t get to vote on the comedians, only the panel of judges do. Maybe I’m getting soiled from watching all these talent shows in which I get to vote on the best, maybe I’m on a power trip. And yet I tired of the jokes very quickly once I realized that the “last comic standing” would ultimately be the one Roseanne, Keenen, and Russell thought was the best — not the one America thought was the best. It makes the show nothing more than an aired live audition for a new comedy show on NBC.

I’m afraid I’m done laughing. I’ll stick with John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight; I just wish it aired more than once a week!

Book Review + Characters Welcome: Guarding Poppy + $100 AGC Giveaway

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Thanks for having me here today at Into the Dreaming to talk about my newest release, Guarding Poppy, featuring one of my favorite characters, Alec Lambert.

Characters are the most important element to any good story and, as a writer, I feel I’ve grown up right alongside Alec. We initially meet him in the first book of my first series The Charmed. He is young, impetuous, charmingly witty and most of all confident, a confidence that borders on arrogance. He has been raised since boyhood knowing he would someday ascend to Elder, the highest ranking position within a secret organization called The Brethren. That confidence/arrogance (a trait I firmly believe someone has to have to be a good leader) will serve him well in the future. Yet, in many ways, the reader can see Alec is not ready for the responsibility. The difficult experiences and ultimately the final battle scene that occurs in The Charmed Trilogy change Alec. He grows up fast, but not all of the changes are good.

He witnesses the death of his best friend at the hands of his now vampiric uncle, and his anger and grief have hardened him as a leader. He is completely driven towards his goal of protecting humans and would do anything to protect the people with whom he’s charged . . . but he is also grieving. He just refuses to acknowledge it.

That is where Guarding Poppy starts.

Guarding Poppy is the second book in my Men of Brahm Hill series and my very favorite reason to write connected series is so I can have the opportunity to build a strong, fleshed-out backstory for a character before they are front and center in their own story. My hope is when the reader starts Guarding Poppy they see Alec’s flaws but they are also routing for him to find balance and happiness.

Enter Poppy Honeywell . . .

Poppy, an incredibly clumsy woman, enters Alec’s life and he finds his whole Brethren world turned upside down. This man of confidence, who is used to having everything under control, suddenly begins to see he doesn’t have everything under control and that scares him more than any supernatural being. That loss of control and the unraveling that follows makes Alec the best kind of character for me. He is layered, he is complicated and he won’t always do what the reader wants him to do. And isn’t that great? Who wants to read about a Hero who does everything you expect him to? Characters are only characters if they are flawed and frustrating and real . . . just like we are. That’s how we relate to them as a reader. And when you see them make the turn in the right direction you just want to cheer because you are invested in that character.

And that’s the way it should be.


VBT Guarding Poppy Book Cover Banner copyONE NIGHT . . . ONE VIOLENT, SUPERNATURAL BATTLE . . .


Alec Lambert was born to lead. He’s a ruling Elder of The Brethren, possessing steely confidence, natural smarts, and decisive problem solving abilities . . . and he’s not too bad on the eyes, either. Everything in his life has gone exactly according to plan—until the night of Brahm Hill. Alec loses his best friend at the hands of the uncle he trusted like a father, along with his previously unshakable faith to lead those with whom he’s charged. Despite this, he continues to press ahead, and for his next assignment he’s asked to protect a very beautiful but very clumsy Dhampir who’s being hunted by a powerful warlock. Suddenly, he finds his whole Brethren world is turned upside down . . . and he finds himself harboring a desire for her he can’t explain.

Poppy Honeywell knows she’s far from perfect. Bad things tend to happen when she’s around. She’s more than a little clumsy, with a phobia or two mixed in. Not to mention that her name is certainly unusual. But she doesn’t have time to worry about all that because she’s on the run and not about to back down from the arrogant Elder who’s just been assigned as her protector, claiming he has all the answers to her problems. The real problem, though, is . . . she’s irresistibly drawn to this man who faces constant danger and takes charge so naturally. But Poppy also sees that taking charge of others helps Alec mask his own very deep pain.



My Review

Poppy is on the run for her life, being hunted by a warlock who killed her mother before her eyes. Now Alec is charged with keeping her safe, and he is determined to do it with or without Poppy’s cooperation!

There was a lot to like about this book. Alec was a strong, likable character who made for a terrific romantic hero. In fact, I think he made the book. He was dealing with a terrible loss — the loss of a friend he himself sent into battle. I was immediately drawn to him both as a man and as a human being.

There was a world full of magical creatures, secret organizations, evil arch nemesises (nemesi? :) ) and complicated relationships between more than just the main two characters. I am always drawn into stories with complex relationships. World building in urban fantasy these days offers a lot of sameness; IMHO overcoming it requires well-developed characters.

The writing style was easy and smooth, largely getting out of the way of the story. It did hit a couple of my pet peeves — the dreaded !? and the use of “questioned” in place of “asked” — but that could just be me. I did notice some typos and a few awkward phrases.

I did have some reservations as I read, largely involving the title character Poppy. She spent her whole life thinking she was cursed but cursed in what way? It was all very vague, even knowing it was going to turn out all to be in her own head. Part of the problem may have been that her unwillingness to interact with people was inconsistent. And her protestations that she needed to be alone were weak. All in all, I vastly preferred Alec’s viewpoint.

The pacing had some ups and downs, with a solid start and some great, immediate scenes that kept me turning pages. In between these scenes I did feel some drag, but overall this was an enjoyable read.

If you like magic, romance, vampires (and other magical creatures), you may like this book!



Sovereign Elder Joseph Davin stepped forward to embrace Poppy. “You’re not safe here, little flower.” Now Alec really felt like he was intruding on a private conversation. “I must protect you the best way I know how. I promised your mother.” He then motioned back to Alec. “I trust Alec. He’s a former Guardian—and a very good one. You yourself said that you can feel Irina getting closer. Let Alec take you someplace where he can protect you and you can know what it feels like to be safe. In the meantime, I will find a way to deal with Irina.”

Poppy dropped her head quietly, and for a moment it seemed she wasn’t going to answer him. “I feel safer here with you than I will with a stranger.”

He’s right,” Alec finally said as he came slowly to his feet, realizing he needed to do something to gain this woman’s trust—though he could hardly blame her for being guarded after spending a lifetime on the run. “I may be a stranger to you, but I can protect you. And more importantly, I can give you all the tools at my disposal so you can protect yourself. If you have a sense for recognizing the warlock who’s threatening you, your Dhampir instincts are telling you that you’re in danger. You need to start trusting those instincts.”

Those huge gold eyes of hers locked on him fully with a look of utter determination as she walked right up to him—thankfully, straight this time. He had to admit, he flinched just a bit with the possibility she might trip again. “I don’t want any part of witchcraft, Dhampirs or vampires. That’s not who I am.”

Yes, it is,” he challenged her without hesitation. “That’s exactly who you are.”

Her eyes narrowed as if she were preparing to blast him with a thousand different reasons why that was not true, but instead she replied, “I will agree to go with you on two conditions.” Alec simply crossed his arms in front of his chest. What was it about women and their conditions? Why couldn’t they just agree? “One, you’ll agree to never disagree with me again.” Alec’s brows arched high at that rather impossible request. “And two, I will only go with you if it doesn’t require us crossing an ocean in an air-”

Poppy’s words were cut off by her small squeal when Alec caught sight of Joseph sticking a needle into her arm. Her eyes widened in shock and she tried to turn to Joseph, but her limbs gave out from under her almost immediately. Alec reached out and caught Poppy when she would have otherwise collapsed to the floor. “What in the world did you do that for?”

No worries,” Joseph assured him. “It’s just a little something to help her relax for the trip.”

Alec blinked at him. “Relax? She doesn’t like flying?”

Joseph shook his head. “Terrified of it, actually. Unfortunately, Poppy lacks an appreciation for the severity of her current situation. We need to get her out of London tonight—hence, something to relax her. But once she’s someplace safe she’ll be no trouble at all.”

Alec’s gaze narrowed shrewdly. By what he had already witnessed in the few scant minutes he had been in this woman’s presence, she was the very definition of the term high maintenance.

So he doubted that very much.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

MEDIA KIT Author PhotoChristine is a graduate of Washington State University where she received a BA in Interior Design. And true to form of using mostly her ‘right brain’, she splits her time between her commercial design career and her imaginary world of writing. She lives in the scenic Pacific Northwest where she enjoys hiking, camping and photographing many of the wonderful places that served as inspiration for her writing. Her biggest reward in life is any given day when one of her books connects with a reader because she herself is such a lover of reading. Some of her favorite authors include Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, and Kimberly Derting.


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Twitter: @CWenrick




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Movie Review: X-Men First Class

The X-Men and the Hellfire Club walk towards the viewer. From left to right, they are Beast, Professor X, Magneto, Emma Frost, Moira McTaggert, Havok, Mystique, Azazel Salvadore, Angel and Sebastian Shaw. The background and its reflection on the floor form an "X".
I finally got a chance to watch X-Men First Class with the family over the weekend (Netflix DVD). I enjoy many of the modern superhero stories being reinvented for the modern age with amazing special effects and more depth of character. I particularly like beginnings, the story of how someone discovered and came to terms with a special ability.

But I’m afraid I have to rate this one B for BORING.

There was no new depth of information or character in this show that I couldn’t have gotten from the original X-Men series. There was no depth or growth in any of the characters, main or otherwise. The darkness in Magnito was there from the start. Charles Xavier’s idealistic philosophy was practically inborn from his wealth and privilege. For that matter, the ideology and philosophizing didn’t grow or change. It was completely circular, with no new developments or angles, no fresh points of view.

The conflict in this movie was senseless, and too closely related to the major theme which they hammered home with all the subtlety of a mallet. The antagonist (who Magnito essentially replaced at the end) wanted mutant domination.

The dialog was painful at times.

The acting was good despite all this, but I’ve always been of the opinion that good writing can overcome back acting easier than good acting can overcome bad writing. This is a case in point.

Characters Welcome: Logan Finley + $25 AGC Giveaway

I am pleased to welcome author Kimber Leigh Wheaton, along with the hero of her new novel, Logan Finley.

Kacie Ramsey’s Interview of Logan Finley

Hi! My name is Kacie Ramsey. Kimber Leigh told my story in Tortured Souls. Since I was kind of the star in that book, I’d like to introduce you to my boyfriend, Logan Finley. He’s my rock in Tortured Souls and in life (lately anyway). As I become more involved with the Orion Circle, he keeps me from becoming completely lost. He’s also responsible for my training. See, the Orion Circle is more than just ghost hunts. I’m learning Tae Kwon Do on a rather intense schedule—one year to black belt. Crazy, huh! Weapons training is also a must. Wooden stakes are so 1700s. I chose silver daggers. They work on vampires and werewolves. Yep the myths are true, werewolves are weak against silver. With vampires, destroy the heart and they’re toast. A sharp dagger works better than a wooden stake—though I’ve only practiced on a dummy.

K: Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Logan.

L: Anything for you, Kacie.

K: You’re a physical medium like me. Tell our audience what that is, exactly?

L: On the most basic level, I can see, hear, and communicate with ghosts.

K: What do the ghosts look like?

L: Well that depends on how powerful the spirit is, and how they wish to be perceived. The newly dead tend to appear in their death state, as a translucent image. I think it takes a while for a ghost to realize that they’re capable of changing their appearance. Residual spirit energy normally appears as wispy, silver images. Every once in a while I come across a spirit powerful enough to manifest so thoroughly that they appear human.

K: How old were you when you saw your first ghost?

L: I don’t remember, but my mom said I was babbling at the spirits when I was still a baby.

K: Your mom and dad are both clairvoyant as well. What are their abilities?

L: My mom is a sensitive, which means she can feel energy and emotions around her. Even if she can’t see a spirit, she can feel its presence through the energy. She’s also a Wiccan high-priestess descended from a long line of witches. Mom has a natural affinity with plants. They speak to her, and she instinctively knows how to mix the most amazing potions. My dad is a physical medium and prolific author.

K: You have another psychic ability you tend to keep a secret. Will you share?

L: As you know, I’m nowhere near as strong a physical medium as you are, Kacie. I believe it’s because I possess a second ability that pulls on my energy. I have little control over this ability, which I find infinitely annoying.

K: It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I think it’s really cool!

L: Fine… I’m a diviner. I have visions of the future, sometimes just by brushing up against someone. I never know when it’s going to happen. Not to mention, the visions aren’t always clear. Remember when I had that one about you when we were at The King’s Ransom Inn. I knew you were in trouble but had no clue why or how to help. I hate feeling helpless.

K: You have an awesome car— a Mustang Shelby GT500 that sports an equally impressive price sticker. Tell us how you managed to snag that car.

L: I tell fortunes…

K: What was that? I couldn’t hear you.

L: I read Tarot cards for the rich and famous. My client list is secret, so don’t bother asking.

K: Are your predictions accurate?

L: Yes… almost always. I seem to be skilled at channeling my divining ability through Tarot cards.

K: Will you do a reading for me?

L: What, now??

K: Yep.

L: Fine. But with your ability to attract trouble, I don’t know if this is a good idea. Do you have a deck… of course you do. Okay, normally I use a Celtic Cross layout, but I want to make this quick, so we’ll use the 3-2-1 spread. I’m going to shuffle these nine times, then you’ll pick six.

K: Okay, now what?

L: The three cards at the top set the scene, where you are now. So this is all normal… you’re content with the present, but feeling anxious about the future. There is also a hint of indecision.

K: So that’s good?

L: Does it sound like you right now?

K: It sounds like everyone at our high school, Logan.

L: Hmm. These next two cards represent the near future—where you’re heading. This isn’t as good. I see strife and hard work. Looks like we’ll snag a case soon.

K: Par for the course. Next?

L: This last card is the projected outcome of the middle two cards. And this is… fine. The Tower card is perfectly fine.

K: You don’t look like you think it’s perfectly fine. What’s wrong Logan?

L: You’re going to start practicing your daggers an extra two days per week.

K: But that’ll make it five days a week! When will I find the time?

L: You’re also going to start training with Blake using regular steel daggers.

K: Logan, what did you see? You’re scaring me! Why Blake?

L: He’s a werewolf, and you need to learn to fight one. You need to get used to the speed… they move pretty fast in human form too.

K: Calm down! This Tarot card thing was a bad idea.

L: No it was a very good idea. I should’ve known with the fourth anniversary coming up.

K: Fourth anniversary of what? Logan, where are you going?

L: To talk to Blake and set up your training.

K: Logan it’s just a Tower on the card. How bad could that be? Logan? It isn’t even upside down. I thought upside down was bad…

Well, ah, thanks for joining me for the interview of Logan Finley. I guess it’s over now since he just ran from the room. It looks like there’s going to be excitement for the Orion Circle on the horizon. But werewolves… why did it have to be werewolves?


Tortured Souls

The Orion Circle #1

Kimber Leigh Wheaton

YA Paranormal Romance

June 29. 2014

Sea Dragon Press

Amazon * Goodreads

Sometimes Rest in Peace isn’t an option.

Kacie Ramsey sees ghosts—and it’s ruining her life. Her mother left, her father blames her, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t keep the ghosts away. Now a new power has emerged. Nightly visions of grisly murders and a relentless predator draw her to the brink of insanity.

When the phantom appears at a party, Kacie’s longtime crush, Logan, saves her. He invites her to join the Orion Circle, a group of supernatural hunters with chapters in schools all over the country. Through the Circle, Kacie learns to embrace her spiritual powers, and for the first time in her life she feels in control rather than a victim.

But the Foxblood Demon will not give up so easily. A demented serial killer in life who trapped the souls of the thirteen children he murdered, imprisoning them within the walls of his mansion. Now in death, he plots his return while drawing power from the pure souls of the children. He recognizes something in Kacie he’s never seen before—a medium powerful enough to provide a vessel for his tainted soul.

Kacie can’t ignore the tortured souls of the children crying out to her every night. With Logan at her side, she will fight the Foxblood Demon. But can they banish this powerful phantom, or will Kacie lose not only her body, but her eternal soul to the monster.

About the Author

Kimber Leigh Wheaton is a bestselling
YA/NA author with a soft spot for sweet romance. She is married to her soul
mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs, four cats, and
lots of dragons. No, she doesn’t live on a farm, she just loves animals. Kimber
Leigh is addicted to romance, videogames, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not
necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate
covered superhero!) She currently lives in San Antonio, TX but has been
somewhat a rolling stone in life, having resided in several different cities
and states.

Website Twitter * Goodreads Author Page

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Uriel’s Fall Excerpt + $15 ACG



Ronnie has the job any entry-level angel or demon would sell their soul for—she’s a retrieval analyst for the largest search engine in the world. Ubiquity is a joint initiative between heaven and hell. Because what better way to track all of humanity’s secrets, both good and bad, than direct access to their web browsing habits.

She might appreciate the position a little more if a) she could remember anything about her life before she started working at Ubiquity, b) the damn voice in her head would just shut up already, and c) her boss wasn’t a complete dickhead.

As she searches for solutions to the first two issues, and hopes the third will work itself out in performance reviews, she uncovers more petty backstabbing than an episode of Real Housewives, and a conspiracy as old as Lucifer’s descent from heaven. On top of all that, if she forgets the cover sheet on her TPS report one more time, she’s absolutely going on final written warning.

Now Ronnie’s struggling to keep her sanity and job, while stopping the voice in her head from stealing her life. She almost misses the boredom of data analysis at Ubiquity. Almost.



Howard’s smile sent sparks under my skin, making every one of my fingers itch. I tried to be subtle about wiggling them to work out the excess energy.

You’re on your own starting on Monday,” he said. “You’ve learned enough, Ari needs to focus on her own work.”

That wasn’t so bad. So why wasn’t the crawling inside subsiding? “Is that all?”

His smirk grew, showing teeth. “She’s not going to be there to cover your ass anymore.” His tone was quiet and threatening, lined with heavy smug. “I give you a week before you crumble, and have to beg someone else to pull some strings for you.”

I couldn’t rise to the taunt. There was no reason to fight back. He was a bitter, sad angel with bitter, sad dreams. The itching in my hands grew, calling to a recent memory I couldn’t quite make solid. “I appreciate your input.”

He leaned closer, voice low. “We both know you screwed your way into this job. That will only take you so far.”

My palms clenched, but not into fists. Oh, swell. They were curving around two grips about to appear in my hands. The sensation was identical to when I’d pulled the swords on Michael that morning. I was seconds from letting it happen again, and this time I didn’t know if I could—or even wanted to—stop Metatron from striking.


The enthusiasm attached to the single word was enough for me to grasp the last threads of my exhausted reason and muted the urge to decapitate Howard in the middle of the Ubiquity offices. I spoke through clenched teeth. “You’re probably right, but it ought to be enough get me off work ten minutes early on a Friday. Have a good weekend.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Loralie Hall is a full time corporate geek and a fuller time writer. Her spouse is her muse and their cats are very much their children. When they’re not spending way too much time gaming, they’re making the world more good by vanquishing one fictional evil at a time.

Find Loralie Hall Online





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Betraying Mercy Excerpt + $10 AGC



Betraying MercyCan she be more than a mistress?

With a tarnished reputation, Mercy Lyndhurst expected to become the Earl of Rochford’s mistress, not his wife. Immediately abandoned by her husband after their wedding, Mercy transformed herself from commoner to countess, vowing to protect the lands and people her husband was forced to leave.

Over the past six years, William has restored the family fortune all the while tortured by his memories of Mercy…and the dark night he killed a man. When a threat draws him home, William learns just how much has changed—including his wife. While the passion still flares between them, he fears he has wounded her too badly to regain her trust. But as the danger grows they must unite to save the estate…and possibly their marriage.



William stopped beside his horse, staring into the gray hills.

Back there,” Beck said. “My lord, it was murder.”

His heart squeezed tight. Murder. “He was going to hurt her. You saw it.”

He was drunk and unarmed but for a piece of glass. You came to the house with a pistol. It will look like revenge. There are limits to what the law will accept, even for a peer.”

William paused, swallowed. “No. There aren’t.”

A part of him wished Beck was right, that someone would punish William for what he had done, that someone would protect this young woman from his misuse. But that part of him was very small and William spoke the truth. That was the problem with being an earl, even a poor one—there was no one to stop him.

The young woman crossed the marshy grass in her thin nightgown—already halfway to translucence in the rain. She faced him with a blankness he recognized in himself. Shock at what had happened. Acceptance of what was to come.

Sweet little Mercy Lyndhurst, and here he was to defile her.

The last time he’d seen her she’d been a waif of a girl. Now she was all woman. And why shouldn’t he take her? He could have her and help her at the same time.

A poor excuse.

He examined her, struggling for detachment. Already the rain was clearing some of the fog from his mind, allowing rays of sanity to peek through. The thought of going home alone to the empty cavern of a house chilled him. He might as well be a stranger in his own lands for all that he knew anyone here.

He was selfish to take her this way, but concern whispered, too.

What would she do here? Jasper may have been a poor excuse for a caretaker, but a young woman with no means could starve in the next cruel winter. She deserved better than him for a rescuer, but he was all she had.

Another excuse. The simple truth was, he couldn’t quite bring himself to leave her here, in a place that reeked of death.

Did you send the note?” he asked suddenly. He didn’t know where the idea had come from, but he knew the answer even before she nodded.

She’d sent the note, because she knew there was trouble. She’d used code from their childhood, so that he would understand. And that was as good a reason to take her as any—there were very few people he could trust.

Just her, perhaps.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

AuthorPic_Betraying MercyAmber Lin writes edgy romance with damaged hearts, redemptive love, and a steamy ever after. Her debut novel, Giving It Up, received The Romance Review’s Top Pick, Night Owl Top Pick, and 5 Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies. RT Book Reviews called it “truly extraordinary.” Since then, she has gone on to write erotic, contemporary, and historical romances.

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Characters Welcome: Aaron Drake + $25 AGC Giveaway

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I am pleased to welcome Aaron Drake, a dragon shape shifter, to my blog today. Aaron is the hero of Bound by a Dragon, a debut fantasy novel by Linda K. Hopkins. She has chosen to introduce Aaron to us through a special bonus scene that takes place shortly before the start of her novel. And now, in her own words …

* * *

Aaron watched the girl with narrowed eyes as she ambled along the path, oblivious to the danger lurking just a few yards away. She was pretty, with long hair that swung as she moved and bright eyes not yet shadowed by troubles of the world. She hummed as she walked, a soft tune that stirred a long-ago memory in Aaron’s mind. He pushed it roughly aside and continued to watch the girl as she drew closer. Her scent wafted on the breeze, fresh, young and sweet, and he could see her pulse just below her skin, vibrant and healthy. He drew in a deep breath, savoring the fragrance of her, and his eyes grew a little brighter. The girl, this creature, was the perfect prey. Young and innocent, she would be mourned when she did not return to her village. People would miss her, just as he missed his parents. Her people were no different to the ones who had killed his. His parents had been murdered in cold blood. And the murderers had congratulated themselves. Now he would return the favor. He would kill this girl and leave her family mourning just as he had mourned. It was a worthy sacrifice. After all, what was one more dead human? The fact that these were not the same people did not trouble him. All humans were the same, after all, and just as inclined to wrong-doing as another.

So then. He shifted slightly, not making a sound despite his size. He wanted to watch this girl as she walked towards her doom. Wanted to savor her innocence for a few more moments before he pounced. She was drawing closer, still completely unaware of the threat to her life. She lifted her hand to her face as she walked, pushing a stray strand of hair out of her eyes. Aaron watched the movement, mesmerized. It has been years since he had been this close to a young woman without her features being twisted with dread. There was something about this girl that seemed almost familiar. He cocked his head slightly, trying to figure it out. The movement made the leaves rustle slightly, and the girl glanced around, interest alighting her features as she looked for the source of the sound. It was clear she felt no fear, and when she saw nothing to relieve her curiosity, she shrugged with a very slight movement before turning back to the path. She had stopped humming for a brief moment, but as she continued on her way, she started to sing under her breath:

Summer has come in, loudly sing Cuckoo,’

The words hit Aaron full in the chest, and he pulled back slightly, as though struck by a physical force. The sound didn’t reach the girl, and she continued to sing, the volume growing.

‘The seed grows and the meadows bloom …’

Memories assaulted Aaron, blinding him to his surroundings. Instead of the girl, it was his mother’s voice he heard, her lilting voice singing the same words as she walked with him through the woods behind the castle, his small hand secure in hers. He closed his eyes, the memory transporting him back through time, before snapping them open again, pulling himself back to his surroundings. He pushed at the memories, willing them away. This girl was not his mother. She was dead and cold in her grave while this creature walked through the woods in the sunlight. But the sound of her voice had reached into his soul, twisting through his need for revenge. He pulled at the memories – other memories – of his mother dying as she lay in the dirt, his father being killed, slowly and painfully, but instead of his usual anger he felt only a deep sense of weariness weighing against his heart. Dimly he heard Favian’s voice warning him that he was turning into a monster, but it wasn’t that that made him pull back. It was the thought of his mother, the look of horror she would wear if she could see Aaron now. And with a flash that left him gasping, he realized that he was no better than those monsters who had killed his parents. If the thought had occurred to him before, he had pushed it aside, driven by his need for revenge, but this young girl, this snip of humanity, had forced something into his soul that nothing else had done. Slowly, so as not to startle her, he pulled himself back, gently easing himself through the trees. He saw the girl turn around, once again looking for the source of the sound, before her eyes widened with shock as her gaze came to rest on him. For a brief moment he saw her horror, before he turned around and launched himself through the trees.

* * *

Bound by a Dragon

Bound by a Dragon


Linda K. Hopkins

The dragon turned its head and seemed to look straight at Keira. Pulling her arm out of her sister’s, she drew herself upright and stared straight back, meeting the golden eye of the dragon before it turned its enormous body in a slow, fluid motion and lazily flew towards the mountains.

A dragon has moved into the neighborhood of Keira’s small, medieval village, unsettling the residents as they fear for their safety. All except Keira, who is fascinated by the creature, both dangerous and beautiful. But when Aaron Drake decides to take up residence in his ancestral home of Storbrook Castle, set deep in the nearby mountains, Keira finds herself unsettled by the handsome stranger. Why did he decide to move to Storbrook, almost eighty years after it was last inhabited, and does the dragon really live in the caves below the castle?


 Keira watched as the great beast circled slowly through the sky, blocking the sunlight for a few seconds on each turn. Fire spewed occasionally from its mouth, dissipating in the cool air before it could set anything alight. All around her people were shouting, grabbing their children and running for their homes, slamming the doors shut behind them before barring them from the inside. Keira shook her head in amusement. A mere door wouldn’t stop a dragon – it could just burn the house down! Anna was tugging on her arm, shouting at her to come, but Keira shrugged her off.

The dragon had taken up residence in the mountains some six months back, and although it was regularly seen soaring above the village, it had yet to kidnap and devour a single innocent maiden. And there were no reports of girls snatched from the other villages, either. Keira knew the stories about the last dragon that had lived in the area. For many years it had peacefully inhabited its mountain lair, until one day it had suddenly turned on the village, burning down half the homes before being killed by some brave soul. But the only questionable thing this dragon had done was to take a few head of cattle and a couple of sheep. And since the dragon always left some form of payment for the animal taken – a small bag of gold, a few precious stones – the villagers didn’t complain too loudly. These payments always far exceeded the worth of the animal. But still, stories about dragons abounded, and the villagers were convinced that it was just a matter of time before the dragon set the village alight and snatched the village girls.

“Come on, Keira.” Anna’s words broke through Keira’s thoughts, reminding her that her parents shared the same fears as the other villagers. “Mother will be furious if we don’t get back to the house now!”

“Stop pulling me! I’m coming!” was Keira’s annoyed response. She glanced back at the sky one more time, admiring the way the scales of the dragon caught the light, throwing back a thousand rainbows against the sky. The dragon was heading away from the village, but before Keira looked away, it turned its head and seemed to look straight at her. Pulling her arm out of Anna’s, she drew herself upright and stared straight back, meeting the golden eye of the dragon before it turned its enormous body in a slow, fluid motion and lazily flew towards the mountains.


Linda K. HopkinsLinda K. Hopkins lives in Calgary, Canada, with her husband and two great kids. When she’s not writing, she’s usually reading (a great pastime when you are trapped in a snowbound landscape eight months of the year!), tinkering on the piano or just living life!






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TV Review: Game of Thrones Season 3

Season 3 of Game of Thrones brought a few surprises. Season 2 exploded the playing board with six kings south of the wall, and one to the north. This made things a little confusing, but luckily things start to tighten up in season 3. By the end of this season two players are out of the game and another is really no threat. This made the story easier to follow.

The author of the books has a reputation for killing off characters and he does, although so far not my favorites. I’m still cheering on The Dragon Lady and The Imp in particular. I wrote that at the end of season 2, The Imp had wound his way into my heart as my favorite. Well, in this season The Dragon Lady is back! Her coolness and poise as she casually freed thousands of people from slavery won me over. Plus, she’s got dragons. :)

I’m still very fond of The Imp, and hope he will do something cool in the coming season. I felt like he spent most of season 3 feeling sorry for himself.

There were one or two episodes without naked people in them. That was nice. (Honestly, I wish HBO wouldn’t revel so much in the fact that they can do that. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.)

I’m bored by Grayjoy and wish he would die already. I’m not even sure what purpose he serves in the plot.

Overall, I’m eagerly awaiting the release of season 4 on DVD (and may not be willing to wait that long). Next year, I hope to watch season 5 alongside everyone else.

My hopes for season 4 (don’t tell me if I’m wrong): Joffrey dies. Grayjoy dies. The Dragon Lady crosses the sea. The Whitewalkers come south and start causing real problems.

At this point, I recommend this series to fantasy lovers, even if, like me, they couldn’t get into the books.