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

Madison’s Song Ebook Release!!!!

Available TODAY in Ebook format ….

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Blurb

Her voice is enchanting; his soul is black…

Madison Carter has been terrified of Scott Lee since the night he saved her from an evil sorcerer – then melted into a man-eating monster before her eyes. The werewolf is a slave to the moon, but Madison’s nightmares are not.

Despite her fears, when Madison’s brother, Clinton, is bitten by a werewolf, she knows there is only one man who can help. A man who frightens her all the more because even in her nightmares, he also thrills her.

Together for the first time since that terrible night, Scott and Madison drive to Clinton’s home only to discover that he’s vanished. Frantic now, Madison must overcome her fears and uncover hidden strengths if she hopes to save him. And she’s not the only one fighting inner demons. Scott’s are literal, and they have him convinced that he will never deserve the woman he loves.

Themes

15 - 1 onegirl

From the Author

Madison’s Song is a stand-alone spin-off to the Cassie Scot series … but what does that mean?

Well, to be blunt, it means I have a new marketing tool – a way to interest new readers without having to worry about whether or not they’ve read the prequels. That was always a challenge for the Cassie Scot series, which grew so much in each new volume that in some ways the four books told one complete story. You don’t have to have read the Cassie Scot series to understand Madison’s Song – I even hired a new editor to make sure!

It is even worth mentioning that the tone of Madison’s Song is very different from the tone of Cassie Scot. Madison’s Song is darker, grittier, and more adult. It may resonate best with a slightly different audience.

HOWEVER …

Read the Cassie Scot series first, unless you’ve got a really good reason not to. The first Cassie Scot book is even 99 cents (at least for a couple more weeks). You’ll understand Madison a bit better, and probably be more invested in what’s happening to her.

T-Minus 2 Days to Madison’s Song

Pre-Laucn Jitters

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Two more days to the ebook launch of Madison’s Song and I’m just about useless!

This is my seventh book release. Seven. And I still get sooooooo nervous when I’m about to put my book out there.

Some part of me feels like I should be more sophisticated by now, taking these things in stride, but if anything knowing what’s coming makes me more nervous. As of this moment, Madison’s Song is all mine. No one has told me anything about it — good or bad — that I don’t already know. In a couple of days, the world sees. The world responds. Inevitably, they will see things in the book that I didn’t know were there. And even if they love it, the book will never be entirely my own again.

Whew. That’s pretty deep. Actually, I might just be terrified that everyone’s going to think it sucks. :)

(Hey, if there’s an author out there who can honestly say they wouldn’t be nervous right now … please share whatever it is you’re using!)

It’s T-Minus 2 days to the release of Madison’s Song! Deep breaths…. one … two … three …

Madison’s Song Ebook Release July 1

Ebook release moved up to July 1, just in time for the holiday weekend!!!

MadisonsSong_med

Her voice is enchanting; his soul is black…

Madison Carter has been terrified of Scott Lee since the night he saved her from an evil sorcerer – then melted into a man-eating monster before her eyes. The werewolf is a slave to the moon, but Madison’s nightmares are not.

Despite her fears, when Madison’s brother, Clinton, is bitten by a werewolf, she knows there is only one man who can help. A man who frightens her all the more because even in her nightmares, he also thrills her.

Together for the first time since that terrible night, Scott and Madison drive to Clinton’s home only to discover that he’s vanished. Frantic now, Madison must overcome her fears and uncover hidden strengths if she hopes to save him. And she’s not the only one fighting inner demons. Scott’s are literal, and they have him convinced that he will never deserve the woman he loves.

*Stand-alone companion to the Cassie Scot series

Read Prologue and Chapter 1

Book Review: Wanted: Undead or Alive (Love at Stake #12)

Wanted: Undead or Alive (Love at Stake, #12)

When I saw that this would be the story of Phineas and Brynley, I have to admit I wasn’t excited. Phineas, though quite a characters, has always struck me as very immature. And Brynley is prickly.

BUT … I actually liked it. There was better characterization in this story than I’ve seen in many of the prequels, and these two managed to set themselves apart. Turns out, Phineas has grown up in the 5 years since he was turned into a vampire and wants to be taken more seriously. And Brynley has extremely good reasons for being so prickly.

We dove further into the shifter world in this volume, with Brynley, the daughter of a pack alpha, having to deal with the fact that apparently alpha werewolves are complete a@@($)*@. This was a different view of shifters than I’ve previously run into. I’m still not sure what I think of it.

At any rate, after a few wobbly books, this series is back on track. :)

Book Review: Mother of Storms

Mother of StormsImmense. That’s the best word I can think of to describe this story.

At first glance, it’s the story of an apocalypse — a nuclear attack accidentally releases enough methane into the air to cause catastrophic global warming and resulting hurricanes.

But it doesn’t take much of a peek beneath the surface to see that this story is a classic scifi lover’s utopia. Who are we? Where are we going? What is the nature of humanity? I got all this and more as I slowly grew to realize that the apocalypse in this story is more of a motivating factor than a real theme and that what was happening to Louie and Carla was far, far more interesting.

Going back to the “immense” comment — this story was told in a true omniscient viewpoint, and though this is not usually my preference, I have to say that it was a good choice for a novel set on such a global scale. I even enjoyed some of the tales that would never be told — viewpoints that were washed away to see.

Then of course, there’s what happened to Louie and Carla. I don’t want to say too much for the sake of spoilers, but writing about their experiences is an unenviable task for any mere mortal.

I do have the usual concern that this book will be dated. It’s set in 2028 (from a 1995 copyright date) and as with many of my favorite classic authors, he predicted a great deal of advancement that has not and certainly will not come to pass in the next 13 years. Not to mention political realities that seem far-fetched (and honestly would have seemed far-fetched in 1995). I often think scifi needs to cast its dates further afield, if for now other reason so that your work won’t be dated in your own lifetime. And if it does become dated in 2195, well, it still stands as a testament to what we thought of the future way back when. In the case of Assimov, Heinlein, and other greats whose predictions have come and gone, I think it does stand as a testament to their own times. I’m concerned that this might be less the case here, especially since there has been so much technological advancement since 1995, just in wildly different ways than predicted. I don’t know. Perhaps I should wait until 2028 to make this call — if I’m still around doing reviews then, someone remind me and I’ll update this one. :)

My biggest concern with this story was XV, a technology that allows people to broadcast their thoughts. It takes over journalism the way we know it as people want to experience the news rather than simply see it. Setting aside that our understanding of the human brain is so limited, making this unlikely in the near future, let’s assume it happens. I’m just not sure that people will really want to stay plugged in to someone else’s thoughts and perceptions all the time. You could argue that people don’t often think for themselves all the time and really like others to do their thinking for them, but the word “effectively” needs to go in there somewhere — because people like to think they’re unique and thinking for themselves.

Of course, that’s just the sort of debatable “criticism” that makes this a thought-provoking read. Scifi should do that, if it’s any good — get you thinking and maybe disagreeing.

If you’re a scifi fan, I really recommend this!

Book Review: Sexiest Vampire Alive (Love at Stake, #11)

Sexiest Vampire Alive (Love at Stake, #11)Gregory is a 100% bottle-fed vampire. That is to say, he’s never bitten a mortal; he has survived entirely on synthetic blood. So he seems like the perfect person to go talk to the president, who has recently learned of the existence of vampires, to try to persuade him that he is no threat. Gregory is successful largely due to Abigail, the president’s eldest daughter, who needs help saving her mother’s life.

The gloves came off in regards to “love at first sight” in this book. The two were making love almost as soon as they were alone together and saying “I love you” by the midpoint of the book! And this despite the fact that Abigail is a brilliant scientist who got a PhD in her early 20s ….

…turn brain off. Must turn brain off!

That’s better. :)

Actually, the series has been spiraling downhill (IMHO) for a few books, but I thought it started to get back on track here. We’ve got a new enemy, new characters, and it was nice to see a vampire who wasn’t centuries old fall in love. Gregory can still give his mortal mother grandchildren before she dies. :)

Book Review: Vampire Mine (Love at Stake #10)

Vampire Mine (Love at Stake, #10)This book takes us back to the Scottish warriors. But instead of hooking up with a mortal, this one falls for … an angel?

Hmmm.

I’m not sure how excited I am that this series has taken on an angel. I don’t want to see it morph into a heaven vs hell story.

This book was fine. I did like the ending — there was a little twist that promises new conflicts to come.

Book Review: Eat Prey Love (Love at Stake #9)

Eat Prey Love (Love at Stake, #9)This corny vampire series continues in book 9, when Shana’s sister Caitlyn comes for her nephew’s birthday party and gets thrust into a world she never imagined. She instantly falls in love with Carlos, a jaguar shape-shifter trying to save his species from extinction. But in order to do that, he must marry and have children with a jaguar shifter like himself.

It was nice to get a break from the vamps in this volume. This story took us into China, where we meet a new enemy who will hopefully keep this series from stagnating. :)

I have to admit, though, that the romance in this book didn’t work for me. Granted, this series is never going to step away from the “love at first sight” style, and that’s fine. It’s not my favorite setup but I can accept it. The trouble is the sameness of the characters and the way the romances keep working out. For Caitlyn, in particular, I didn’t entirely buy into her forcefulness — not when she was supposed to be afraid she was unworthy of love. It just seemed like a contradiction to me.

My New Favorite Scifi Series: Sense8

I have a new all-time favorite science fiction series.

Snese8, which I binge watched over the last week-and-a-half on Netflix, has ousted Babylon 5 from the coveted #1 spot that it held in my heart for over 15 years. J. Michael Straczynski had a hand in both, and there are some similarities in what I love about each, though they are entirely different concepts.

What is Sense8?

First and foremost, Sense8 is a character story. And you all know by now that I am a character girl. In fact, for much of the series the speculative element (the scifi or otherworldly component for those who are not familiar with the lingo) took a backseat to the development of characters and connections.

The premise is not simple, but let me do my best: Eight unique individuals from around the world are suddenly reborn into a cluster. They can share one another’s thoughts, feelings, and memories. They can “visit” with one another (mentally). They can even share one another’s bodies and in so doing share skills.

So there are 8 main characters?

Yes, and dozens of important secondary characters! When I first read about the concept for this show I didn’t know how they could pull it off. How would I keep the characters straight? And how would television portray a largely mental connection?

With these doubts in my mind, I watched the first episode. And do you know what? By the end of the first episode, I didn’t know all their names, but I knew all 8 characters and a little something about them. There aren’t any two who are remotely alike. The creators used a bit of a cheat at first — something I’m familiar with from writing fiction. When you want to introduce a large number of characters at first, you find one important, distinctive characteristic to start from and build upon that. You can even start with something stereotypical, although to avoid cliches you need to build on that. And they did!

Netflix

It is now important to give some credit to Netflix, the one place a show like this could have possibly happened. The show is accused (somewhat accurately) of having a slow pace. Well, there are 8 different primary viewpoints!

But let’s face it, if this show had needed to string viewers along from week to week, it never would have worked. This show is the epitome of what binge watching is for. In fact, if you don’t have time to finish it within the next 2-3 weeks, don’t start watching! Ideally, you could watch it in a weekend, but some of us have jobs and kids and things. :)

This isn’t a show you can judge on any single episode. This season was chapter 1 — forming connections. By the end of the first season I know all 8 characters extremely well and I care deeply about their problems. And finally, by the end of season 1, the sense8 are working together, giving us a sense for what it means to be a sense8 cluster.

I told you — it’s not a simple concept. It wasn’t simple for these characters to suddenly belong to a cluster either. It took them time to be fully reborn and understand what they are (although there are still some questions there).

Twelve episodes. One long chapter. But they’re all right there, waiting for you.

Content Warning

Much like HBO, there are no rules regarding content on Netflix. So be prepared to see things you never imagined you’d see on TV. Aside from cursing and violence (which are sadly mainstream), there is sex, nudity (as in full frontal female AND male — kudos for being fair!), and other intimate details you might not have expected.

To be fair to the show, they are presenting the concept that a group of 8 people have somehow just become like one, sharing even the most intimate and private moments. Believe me, this came across!

Watch this show!

What are you waiting for? If you have kids, make sure they’re asleep, if you don’t, just go watch it!

The Vampire and the Virgin (Love at Stake, #8)

The Vampire and the Virgin (Love at Stake, #8)Book 8 in the Love at Stake series gives us another male vampire and female mortal with a gift — this time she’s an empath and human lie detector. Apparently she’s a virgin because no man has ever been completely honest to her. So of course she decides to get together with a vampire who she can’t read at all. Really?!?

Okay, I had trouble suspending disbelief on this one. Partly it was because I feel like the series is stagnating. I can’t tell Robby apart from any of the other vampires in previous volumes, nor Olivia from the other women. And honestly, if I were a human lie detector and empath, I don’t think I’d fall for a guy in less than a week if I couldn’t read him. (I mean, maybe over time this would turn out to be a relief or something, although even then … I don’t know. I guess I believe in honest men. I married one, after all. Seriously, the man couldn’t lie to save his life!)

I’m kind of hoping we get into more shifters soon. Or that something else happens to move the main plot along. We did meet a couple of fun new characters who might be interesting going forward.