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

Universe of Creativity: A Writer’s Affirmation

Oh universe of creativity,

of light and life that dwells in me.

I see you out there vast and strong,
as curious as time is long.

Through me you’ll find a willing heart
to think and dream and do my part.

I’m a writer through and through;
my words are my gift to you.

I judge them not but set them free,
little wisps of eternity.

Please guide me as I find the strength to set aside internal restraints. I need the courage to challenge fear, that voice of doubt within my ear.

Your beauty is a part of me; I honor that so let it be.

~Christine Amsden

Feel free to share, just share the credit!

Kaitlin’s Tale BOOK LAUNCH!!!!

May 16 Event

It’s here!!!!

The long-awaited and much-anticipated spin-off to the Cassie Scot Series starring Cassie’s best friend, Kaitlin, who was last seen running away with a vampire. How’s that working for her? Not too well, as you can see from this sneak preview. Want to know more? All the answers await in Kaitlin’s Tale.

But wait, there’s more! All day today (May 16) I’m having a book launch event, culminating in a Facebook Party this evening (5:30 CST). There will be prizes, early reviews, me reading from my first chapter, special guest appearances by Kaitlin and Matthew, among others, and much, much more! Plus, the Internet is buzzing about the book. For event details, click here.

Today is more than a release day, it’s a BOOK BLAST. I’m asking family, friends, fans, and anyone with a healthy sense of curiosity to buy the book TODAY to help me drive up those Amazon sales figures. Basically, if you plan to buy the book anyway, even if you maybe have a to-read stack ten books high, it would be super, super, super helpful if you would buy it today. And, when you do get a chance to read it, a review is helpful as well. Even if you just say, “It was okay.”

Buy Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

T Minus 6 Days to Launch!!!!

KaitlinsTale_med

And the countdown begins …

Kaitlin’s Tale will be available in 6 days, on Monday, May 16. The initial cost will be $3.99 (ebook). The print launch comes in July.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping all my friends and family and fans and strangers who thing “Huh, that looks good!” and people who read the first Cassie Scot book but got sidetracked and may not know all the rest are out and really just anyone and everyone (this is an example of a run-on sentence — you’re welcome) to come to my LAUNCH PARTY Monday night.

Special guests: Kaitlin Meyer, Matthew Blair, Evan Blackwood, and Cassie Scot Blackwood

6:30-8:30 if you’re on the east coast
5:30-7:30 if you’re in the middle with me
4:30-6:30 if you’re in the mountains
3:30-5:30 if you’re out west
2:30-4:30 if you’re in Alaska
12:30-2:30 if you’re in Hawaii

Non-US citizens, I hope you can figure it out from there. You are, of course, welcome.

Kaitlin’s Tale Cover Reveal + Sneak Peek at 3 Full Chapters!

Coming May 16, 2016 …

KaitlinsTale_med

Kaitlin Mayer is on the run from the father of her baby – a vampire who wants her to join him in deadly eternity. Terrified for her young son, she seeks sanctuary with the hunters guild. Yet they have their own plans for her son, and her hopes of safety are soon shattered.

When she runs into Matthew Blair, an old nemesis with an agenda of his own, she dares to hope for a new escape. But Matthew is a telepath, and Kaitlin’s past is full of dark secrets she never intended to reveal.

Read First Three Chapters Here

Ebook Release: May 16, 2016

Print Release: July 15, 2016

Audiobook Release: TBA

Facebook Launch

Party: May 16

5:30–7:30 pm US-CST

The Jungle Book

I have fond memories of The Jungle Book from my childhood. My favorite part from way back then: The music. The story itself was a bit flat. Which may be why I was so engrossed in the story that came to life in the 2016 remake of The Jungle Book.

The modern retelling stayed true to the cartoon. Yet the story grew up, even as modern special effects made the animals far more realistic. That visual made the danger more real. Made the struggles more real.

Warning to parents: This movie was frightening to my 7 and 9-year-olds. My 10-year-old was okay with it; I think it was a personality thing more than an age things.

But they watched the movie, and afterward they seemed to have liked it, even though they were scared.

Just like the original cartoon, this movie had some slow spots that had me looking at my watch. Not sure how they could have fixed that; I think I’m just used to too much sizzle and bling from more modern movies. This movie was far more like an old movie reanimated with modern technology.

I recommend it. Let’s called it 4/5 .

Amazon Giveaway

CassieScotAmazonGiveaway

Keeping Secrets in Romance

I’ve written more than one blog article on the dangers of withholding information from the reader. If the point of view character knows something that the reader does not, the story keeps the reader at a distance and they can’t properly connect to the characters or events.

(Please note, the reader doesn’t need to know a thing that the point of view character does not know. In fact, the reader and main character can enjoy learning secrets together — that’s called a mystery.)

Yet time and time again the romance genre, I see withheld information being the principle “conflict” in the story. The theory seems to be that the reader finds out when the romantic partner discovers the truth, but this is a failing strategy. Let me explain why:

Romantic conflict is a simple formula: That which draws them together vs that which keeps them apart.

When “that which keeps them apart” is a secret, the whole thing falls apart. Why does she keep pulling back? Why does he? The worst part is if they do get intimate before the secret is revealed because there they are, connecting to one another on the page, when I have yet to connect to them.

Here’s the bottom line: Romance writers, you don’t get an exception to this writing rule. It has failed for bestselling authors such as Julia Quinn and Lorraine Heath. It will fail for you, too. Let us get to know your characters, inside and out, and let us feel the true pain of their inability to have a relationship. That’s what romance is all about — that feeling of perfect pain.

Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow

This was an exciting, well-done scifi action flick. The premise is something like Groundhog Day, except there’s an actual reason why the day keeps repeating and staying in the loop is a matter of saving the planet.

Aliens, time travel, fast-paced action, and an ending that managed to surprise me.

Basically, watch it!

TV Review: Jessica Jones

Netflix’s new original series Jessica Jones is a dark superhero series set in the Marvel Universe. As with many such stories, it was once a comic book. And as with many such stories, especially those set in the Marvel Universe, I didn’t care for it.

First, let me be clear: I don’t care if something was once a comic book; if you make it a movie or a TV show then it has to stand alone in that medium. So while I am judging this without having read or been a fan of the original comics, I feel entitled to do so.

Jessica is a boring character. She has super strength but this came up so infrequently during the show that I managed to forget more than once. She’s dark, brooding, and a drunk — a modern cliche. She’s low on intelligence and high on self-pity. She did possess some compassion, which would have been a redeeming characteristic if she hadn’t been such an idiot about it.

Basically, Jessica had about a thousand chances to kill Killgrave. She chose not to because she wanted to prove a girl innocent of murder on the grounds that Killgrave (mental compulsion) made her do it. Meanwhile, Killgrave kept killing more and more and more and mroe and more people.

Killgrave was the reason I started watching the show; I knew David Tennant played the role and I’m a fan of his. Indeed, Tennant is a marvelous actor who brought life and depth to a character who otherwise had very little. Yet even Tennant’s skills couldn’t keep me afraid of Killgrave for long. As I said, there were just too many times he could have died.

I think that this series should have been a movie. There just wasn’t enough content to merit 13 episodes.

The Quest for the Three Magic Words

Put simply, the quest for the three magic words is an irksome phenomenon I’ve witnessed in novels with a strong romantic component, characterized by the stubborn refusal to say the words, “I love you.”

In a broad sense, the goal of any HEA romance is for the characters to fall in love, and often the realization of this love is the climax of the story. The dramatic tension in such a story (or subplot) is the constant interplay between that which brings them together and that which keeps them apart. When these forces are in perfect balance, when we desperately want the couple to find true love and happiness but desperately believe in the obstacles preventing such a union, there can be a moment of true emotional pain.

On the other hand, when he loves her, she loves him, they are both acting on this love, showing one another this love, and the only thing holding the HEA at bay is that one or both is afraid of saying three little words, then you have the quest. What is keeping them apart? Maybe he is afraid of commitment or doesn’t believe in love. Maybe she’s been burned before or doesn’t believe in love. (I get a lot of the whole not believing in love thing, especially in the male’s perspective.) Whatever the reason, they would be blissfully happy together if only one or both would pry open those lips and say a few words. Nothing else really needs resolution – there’s no anger, mingled feelings of hatred or jealousy, or even guilt over betraying a deceased love with this new love. (Though I should say that in all of these situations, when the angst goes on for too long, I’m still liable to brand it a quest.) There’s just a refusal to say the words and possibly a fear of commitment (which becomes all the more ridiculous in regency romance novels in which the couple is already married).

As far as dramatic tension goes, this quest quite simply puts me to sleep. In fact, in a straight-up romance with no subplot, I’ll usually stop reading as soon as the story devolves to this quest. Why? Because I know how it’s going to end. Sooner or later, they’re going to say the words and live happily ever after. It’s just not that interesting to find out how he or she finally comes to realize what is already so incredibly obvious. She’s afraid to risk her heart? What? It’s already gone!

I’ll tolerate the quest if another parallel plot such as a mystery or suspense is holding my interest, but even then it often earns an eye roll. This is because of the other issue I have with the quest for the three magic words: In my mind, it is more important by far to actively love someone than it is to say you love someone. Call me quirky if you like, but I guess I’ve taken the old writing advice, “show, don’t tell,” to be more than a useful trick for bringing a story to life. It works in real life relationships – show me you’re my friend, don’t just tell me. Show me you’re an expert, don’t just tell me. Show me you love me, don’t just tell me. Yes, you can say the words too, but in the grand scheme of things it simply is not that important. And that is the key characteristic of the quest for the three magic words – they’ve already reached their HEA. I know it. I feel it. They’ve shown it. They just haven’t said so.

I suppose the point of the quest is to show a person coming to a turning point in his or her life in which they finally realize the truth about themselves, a truth previously blocked by a host of preconceived notions (eg the hero doesn’t believe in love). And since the quest for the three magic words is such a popular part of the romance genre, I imagine that it must work for a great many readers, perhaps readers who have had a different experience with life and love than I have, but for my part, you can feel free to imagine me rolling my eyes anytime you see these words in a review: I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a quest for the three magic words.