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

Category Archives: My Writing

A place to talk about my writing and publiations, past, present, and future.

Love is a Verb: Valentine’s Day Giveaway

All the rules and how the hop will work it listed on the Safari Heat site.

Be sure to post a comment with your name and e-mail address for more chances to win the grand prize (a Kindle Fire HD 7″). If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, mention it in the comment for more chances to win!

And don’t forget to sign up for my own Rafflecopter giveaway below (this is separate from the blog hop prizes).

Love is a Verb

From our earliest pre-teen days, chatting about boys and wondering over the mystery that is romance, we’ve tried to define love. We’ve asked our girlfriends (who didn’t know any better than we did), and our parents (who may also not have known). We watched movies and read books which presented us with spectacular dreams of “soulmates” and “true love” and “happily ever after.”

My personal favorite:

“And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva…” (The Princess Bride)

I won’t pretend like I know what love is better than the rest of you, but I’ve spent the past few years of my life writing a romantic series with one idea in mind: Love is a verb. I know – it’s not a definition, it’s a part of speech – but that’s the best I’ve got!

I’m an incurable romantic, really. I’ve read countless hundreds of romance novels – from historical to contemporary, normal to paranormal – and I love many of them. Yet when it came time to breathe life into my own romance novels, I couldn’t help but notice how so much of the romance world treats love as a noun. It’s a thing, a power that conquers all, a force, a feeling. When it’s true, it’s all you need and it lasts forever; if it fails, then it couldn’t have been love.

I’ve been married for fourteen years to a man who is also my best friend. He drives me crazy and drives me wild. He’s not perfect and neither am I. There are days when I can’t remember why I married him and days I can’t imagine how I’d live without him. And through all of that, love has never been a noun. Or at least, not just a noun.

Love is something you do. It’s an action – the act of loving – and it’s a little different for everyone because we’re all a little different. We want and need different things.

Love is a choice you make, every day. It’s thinking of someone else’s needs before your own, and considering their feelings as at least as important as yours. It’s making a big sacrifice because what he needs is more important than what you want. It’s about making little sacrifices just because, well, you may not like kale but he does so every once in a while you make it for dinner.

Chemistry is great. Aside from feeling good, it makes the choice to love someone a little bit easier. But at the end of the day if you want to sell me a fabulous tale of love, then it needs more than feelings. It needs actions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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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 …









Defining Freedom and Power: A Rebuttal

In a recent blog post, Christopher Nuttall, author of the bestselling Schooled in Magic series (which I proudly edit), made some assertions about Freedom and (Women’s) Rights. In it, he has this to say about my own Cassie Scot Series:

Cassie Scot is a squib, if I may borrow the Harry Potter term. She’s the daughter of powerful magicians – and sister to several more – but she has no power of her own. And this has inevitable consequences.

Throughout her four books, Cassie is constantly objectified. Not in the sense that she is treated as a sex object, but in the sense she is constantly treated like a minor child. She is powerless in her community. Her very safety depends on protection from her parents; later, when she loses that, her (eventual) love interest makes decisions for her, meddles freely in her life (sometimes without telling her) and generally continues the tradition of treating her as a cute but wilful child, rather than a grown adult in her own right …

And the hell of it is that he (and her parents) has a point. Cassie may act like a confident adult, but it’s based on other people, rather than on her inherent power (she has none) or human rights (she has none of those either). She is staggeringly vulnerable. And so is Julianne. And so were far too many women throughout history. The powerful women were often the ones who were born to power, like Queen Elizabeth.

Now let me just start by saying that Chris and I don’t see eye to eye on many things. Luckily for the both of us, I have no problem speaking my mind and he’s happy to work with editors who challenge him, whether he ends up taking their advice or not. This is the mark of a successful author/editor relationship, IMHO. 🙂

To give his article some context: In his most recent novel, Past Tense, I made some comments about a primary character that seem to have been echoed by at least some portion of the reading public. Due to editorial privilege, I won’t go into details past those Chris himself mentions in his own blog post. Yes, I said that Julianne was weak and unconvincing as a character. She came across to me as a symbol more than a person — a representation and amalgam of that which has plagued women throughout history.

From a literary perspective, this opinion isn’t a death sentence. Plenty of characters in plenty of books have been more symbolic than anything else. It’s a valid literary technique.

As an author, I shy away from that particular literary technique almost to a fault. Honestly, I spend so much time trying to make sure that my secondary and tertiary characters have clear motivations (at least to me) that it takes me at least a year to write a book … when I’m on form. If you’re in the market for fantasy you can rely on coming out every few months, check out Christopher Nuttall’s work, which involves creative world-building, clever twists, and a bit more focus on his main character. 🙂

The point is, Chris and I didn’t see eye to eye on this particular issue. And when he wrote a blog article explaining his perspective, he cited my own work (with my permission) as an example. When I okayed this blog article, I did warn him that I would have my say!

Cassie Scot has no magic. She lives in a world of magic. On a very superficial level, this makes her powerless.

On a very superficial level.

The #1 theme of this series of books was this: There is more than one type of power and more than one way to be powerful. Cassie herself didn’t understand this at first. Her family and her love interest didn’t understand this at first. And really, it’s a challenging thing to get your mind around.

In a world full of magic, wits, courage, and a bit of attitude can become a form of personal power.

Let’s go back to Chris’s points: That Cassie was treated as a minor child, that she had no power or human rights, and that the only power she did have came from the family that surrounded and protected her.

First of all: Yes, Cassie was treated a bit like a child. Because the people in her life thought she couldn’t take care of herself, because they thought they had to protect her, they overstepped — especially her parents and her love interest. Cassie had to prove to them that she could stand on her own and that she could be a value, something that she would never have had to do had she simply been born with magic like her many brothers and sisters.

But to take this a step further and assert that in the end she still has no human rights and no power other than that which is handed down to her by the community in which she lives is to misunderstand the role society plays in ALL of our lives.

Another theme in the Cassie Scot series is: No one can do it alone.

*I* don’t have any human rights that aren’t handed to me by the United States government and protected by a (sometimes fragile seeming) representative democracy built on the will of the people. My powers and human rights are further defined by my social affiliations, my husband, my skills, and my own personality.

There are women today, right now, in THIS “free” country who are not free. There are victims of all kinds of things — abuse, mental illness, fear, degradation … there is a slave trade still going on in the world today!

Power is more complex than the law. It’s more complex than society. It’s more complex than culture. Power is all of that and it’s our own personal energy.

Going the other direction, you can go back throughout history and find many examples of women who, despite their lack of status in the eyes of the law, were powerful cornerstones of their own community. Or at least a power in their own families.

Cassie Scot is not the type of woman who lets herself be walked upon. Even in a world where she almost doesn’t seem to belong, she’s got too much fire to let it happen. And that is why I love her. She’s not me — I’ve often told readers this — she’s who I want to be. In a world where I sometimes feel powerless to change the things that matter most to me, Cassie has shown me a truth that was immortalized in the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

That’s power. Strong women (and men) throughout history have known it.

Madison’s Song Gets a Double Win at Global Ebook Awards!!


Madison’s Song scored big in this year’s Global Ebook Awards, taking home not only the silver in its category but also earning the first-ever Dan Poynter Legacy Award. The Legacy Award was added this year to remember Dan Poynter, the founder of the Global Ebook Awards, and it is given to the best fiction, non-fiction, and “best of” entries. Madison’s Song won for fiction.

And if, like MadisonsSong_medme, you hover over the idea that the book earned second place in its category and first in overall fiction, I would just say this: Fantasy/Contemporary does not fit Madison’s Song like a glove. It was just the most reasonable category from a list of worse options. It’s hard to place cross-genre fiction on bookshelves, into marketing categories, and into prize categories. Which is why I feel so honored by this new and unexpected recognition in the form of the Legacy Award.

Thank you to all my fans for your support, to my publisher for standing behind me, to my beta readers, to my editors, and to the judges at the Global Ebook Awards.

Now Available in Trade Paperback!!


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


Barnes and Noble

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

Coming May 16, 2016 …


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

Best Book Couple

Madisons Song

36-Point Font!


People often ask me how I write when I’m legally blind. The answer? I use 36-point font and my monitor is on an arm that swings into my face so I don’t hurt my back! Or just look at the picture … apparently, they’re worth a thousand words.

(Oh, and I know my desk is a mess. It is also very representative. 🙂 )

T-Minus 2 Days to Madison’s Song

Pre-Laucn Jitters


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 …