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

Tag Archives: Fantasy

Finish the Story Grand Opening Special: FREE First Chapter Edit

This week is the Grand Opening of Finish the Story.

I’ll be working alongside Claire Ashgrove and Dennis Young, two fantastic fellow authors/editors, to offer a greater variety of services than I could on my own. We are a full-service editing company, which means we strive to help you prepare for publication no matter where you are in the process. We include services such as book fixing, for books that need a little doctoring before they’re ready for editing, and formatting, for authors who are ready to publish. Our package rates bundle services to keep the costs down, and give you access to more than one editor through the different phases of editing to ensure that your finished product is as error-free as possible.

All genres of fiction welcome! Non-fiction and memoirs welcome!

Give us a try! Now through the end of March, send us your first chapter (up to 5,000 words) and get a FREE, no-obligation developmental-style edit.

Learn more at Finish the Story

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

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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.

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:



Holiday Parade: Barb Caffrey

My holiday parade continues today with another fellow Twilight Times author,  Barb Caffrey.

Like fantasies? Like mysteries? Like comedy? Put ’em together and you have Barb Caffrey‘s An Elfy On The Loose. Bruno is a young Elfy, a creature from another dimension, and he’s been dumped into our dimension with little to no preparation. While here, he encounters young Sarah, a human who is not what she seems, and Sarah’s parents, who are not nice people at all…

Excerpt

Bruno watched Sarah run through the grass while still carrying the backpacks, and wondered why she had so much energy when he had none. Could Roberto have been right? Could she be draining my energy and using it for herself? Although if she is, she can’t possibly know it…maybe she needs training. Although he didn’t know how Elfy girls got their training in magic, much less how a Human girl would get any.

Bruno knew that girl and boy Elfys were sent away to separate schools at the age of twelve. Bruno himself had been held back and home-schooled by his parents, not for being slow, but rather because they hadn’t trusted the school system. Bruno had never been sent to a segregated, all-boy Elfy school until he turned sixteen. That was right after his parents had died in a fiery aircar crash, after he’d become a ward of the state.

Many Elfys used magic frivolously, almost as if it was going out of style, and they didn’t want to use technology. Yet his people had aircars, while Sarah’s realm, the Human-Earth Realm, didn’t. Elfys would use toasters, light rail, and buses, when they wouldn’t use electricity to heat their homes (why pay for electricity if the magic was free?) and only used modern plumbing for elaborate, sybaritic layouts. He wondered if the Humans had those, too. He simply hadn’t had enough time on Sarah’s Earth…he needed to know more!

If the Elfy High Council was going to just send him out, why allow him to be so woefully unprepared? This was just silly!

Bruno rubbed at his head, and frowned. He felt a headache coming on; surely, this meant he should stop thinking so hard. He vowed to ask as many questions of Roberto, providing Roberto found them anytime soon (wherever they were), as he needed in order to make the headache go away.

This avowal immediately made him feel better.

But he still had no idea where he was. He didn’t recognize anything, except green grass, yet he had the oddest feeling. He wasn’t sure, but he thought they somehow had made it back to the Elfy Realm after all, and the not-knowing made him dizzy.

Sarah had stopped and appeared to be weaving on her feet. Bruno jogged the equivalent of three city blocks to get to her, hoping she’d not fall before he made it.

“Bruno, I feel…sick,” she gasped when he was only a few steps away. He sprinted toward her and turned her around; her greenish-white face was alarming. He told her to let the packs fall, then gently helped Sarah lay down on the ground.

“Will you two help me? I need a pillow for Sarah,” he asked the backpacks. Before he could feel too silly about asking backpacks, of all things, for help, a fluffy white pillow appeared in the air by his right hand. Maybe the packs had more power here for some reason? Bruno reached out and caught it before it hit the ground. “Thanks,” he said over his shoulder to the backpacks, as it never hurt to be polite.

He went to Sarah, knelt on the grass, and put the pillow under her head.

He started stroking her long, black hair, just to soothe her. He remembered, distantly, that his mother had used to do the same thing when he was a wee small Elfy and ill from eating some herb he wasn’t supposed to…anyway, he stroked. He talked, mostly nonsense, and tried not to think about the two of them in the middle of nowhere, one very ill and one mildly so. After all, considering Sarah’s sudden illness and his own headache and dizziness, wasn’t it more likely than not that they’d both been exposed to something? He wasn’t a completely stupid Elfy.

“Sarah, hold on,” he said as he continued to stroke her hair. “Somehow, Roberto will come. I know he will!”

“Why are you so sure, Jonny-wonny?”

“Please don’t call me Jonny-wonny, Sarah, or I’ll start calling you Daisy again,” he threatened, smiling to take the edge off his very real threat.

“All right…Bruno,” she gasped, and tried to smile. It was a feeble thing, like to her real smile as a tiny birthday candle on a cupcake was to a candelabrum.

“Don’t try to talk, Sarah,” he soothed, and continued to stroke her hair. This was very like petting a cat, he mused. Except Sarah didn’t claw when she was done with the petting.

He tried not to panic, but he had no way to treat her illness, and no way to get her any help. He felt completely useless, as he had no healing magic…very few did outside of the clerical orders, and even Roberto himself had very little.

He propped the backpacks behind him and asked them to stay put. They did. Then he fell asleep, her cradled on his lap (with the pillow between) and his arms around her. Lost on a sea of too-green grass, with no way out in sight.

~~~


An Elfy On The Loose would make a great gift for anyone — adult, young adult, or older child. Check it out for YOUR holiday gift-giving!

Book Review: Leopard’s Prey

Leopard's Prey by Christine FeehanRenny is a New Orleans cop (and a leopard shape shifter) hunting a serial killer who murders in a strange, ritualistic manner. Meanwhile, he falls hard for a rock star turned jazz singer who is just emerging as a leopard and has no idea who or what she is.

There was a lot to like about this story. For one thing, it was satisfyingly steamy romance with all the wildness of a shape shifter story and all that implies — inner animals, mating, etc. The characters were reasonably well developed, though I have a sense that I might have understood Renny better had I read the prequels first. I’m still not sure I understand his past, or his problem with saying the three magic words, just from reading this story. The book was fast-paced, difficult to put down, and very engaging.

But this wild ride didn’t end very well, and I knew it wouldn’t from pretty early on. I had the identity of the serial killer pegged from the moment we met him and nothing swayed me from that certain knowledge for a second. I complained recently about books in which there are absolutely no clues present, making the ultimate revelation is stupid and arbitrary. I said I would prefer the other extreme if I had to choose between the two and I stick by it. Even knowing who it was, I did enjoy the wild ride, especially sine the book was as much romance as mystery. Still, in a perfect world the mystery is somewhere in between obvious and unguessable. 🙂

I also realized early on that the romantic tension would be a quest for the three magic words. Honestly, there’s not a lot left when you establish two characters as soulmates from a previous life who have just recognized one another in their current incarnation thanks to the instincts of the beasts within. It’s kind of cool at first, and very steamy, but not great for sustained romantic tension.

All in all I would read more books by this author and I recommend this book to people who enjoy steamy shifter romance.

Rating: 3.5/5

Title: Leopard’s Prey

Author: Christine Feehan

ISBN: 0515151556

Published May 2013

Book Review: The River of no Return

The River of No ReturnWell-constructed, well-told, well-characterized… these are phrases I so rarely associate with time travel that I had no choice but to give this book five stars! What a great read. I could not put this down. My only reservation about this book is that the ending called for a sequel, yet an Internet search shows no evidence of the existence of one. I know this doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but I would feel so much better about this book if the author would just have “work in progress…” or “coming soon…” on her web page!

Nick is a 19th century Marquis who finds himself in the 21st century. He jumped forward in time an instant before he would have died on a battlefield in Spain — apparently, not an uncommon occurrence. The Guild collected him, educated him on life in the early 21st century, and told him there was no going back. Except, they lied. And when they need him to go back to 1815 to take care of a problem, they start telling him small pieces of the truth that make him more suspicious than ever.

Come to find out, there is more than one group of people trying to control time travelers and the river of time. Nick has to decide which side he’s on, a decision that becomes more complicated when he learns that the future itself is in danger.

I found Nick to be a credible man-out-of time, and I liked that it was hard for him to slip back into life in the early 1800’s after life in the early 21st century. There was a bit of romance in here that was okay, although it didn’t drive the story. Julia has problems of her own, and secrets she’s been warned to keep.

I highly recommend this book to fantasy/scifi readers who like time travel.

Rating: 5/5

Title: The River of No Return

Author: Bee Ridgway

Published April 2013

Book Review: Werewolf in Alaska

Werewolf in Alaska (Wild About You, #5)I’m being more critical of this book than I probably should be because quite frankly, it’s time for this series to end. I’ve never been hugely fond of Thompson’s take on werewolves. I went with it anyway because she has an engaging style and makes me laugh, and I’ve always felt that was the intention. I didn’t even go into reading this book with particularly high expectations, I just wanted a lightly amusing read. But this book forgot to bring the funny, and I have rarely felt more like I was reading the exact same book all over again with the exact same set of character and circumstances. “I shouldn’t be dating you because you’re human and I’m a werewolf” doesn’t work five times straight. The concept has played out. Time to move on.

I’m certainly not sure why these two people needed so desperately to get together, or what, exactly, made them soulmates. Actually, I hate to say it but I was feeling pretty compelled by WARM (werewolves against random matings) by the end of this book and I’m completely buying that humans and werewolves shouldn’t mate. I’m ready to become an active member. Where do I sign up?

Rating: 2/5

Title: Werewolf in Alaska

Author: Vicki Lewis Thompson

Published July 2013

Book Review: Stonewiser, The Heart of the Stone

The Heart of the Stone (Stonewiser, #1)

Stonewiser Saraiah was raised to believe that the Stonewiser’s Guild stands for truth and justice. But when she nearly dies wising twin stones no sane person would touch, she learns that the stone truth may not be as it appears. Deception surrounds her and the rebllious Sariah sets off on her own desperate quest for truth.

The Heart of the Stone is a difficult story to describe. It’s high fantasy that steps outside of cliched genre norms to tell the story of a woman hungry for both love and truth, cast adrift in a world full of selfish deceit and manipulation. I suppose there’s a certain uncomfortable truth to that: It isn’t safe to assume that the things we’ve been taught our entire lives are true just because someone told us they are.

This is an imaginative, thought-provoking tale. Sariah is easily sympathetic, even if her need for stones sometimes felt strange or alien — that was a part of the other worldliness of the story.

I listened to the audiobook version of this book. Melissa Reizian Frank did a very nice job with the story. She has a strong voice for story-telling.

I recommend this book (in audiobook or text format) to fantasy lovers looking for something a little outside the mold.

Title: Stonewiser, Heart of the Stone
Author: Dora Machado
ISBN: 9780979968204
Originally published in June of 2008

Book Review: Alif the Unseen

Alif the UnseenI really enjoyed this story. It begins with Alif, who helps people hide from the government on the Internet, suffer from woman problems — a rich girl he fell in love with is marrying another man. When she says it’s best if she never sees him again, he takes this to heart — he writes a computer program designed to keep her from ever being able to get in contact with him again. This leads to interesting complications and suddenly the government takes an unhealthy interest in what he’s been doing.

This book had philosophy, religion, magic, stories that are not just stories, and even a little romance. It is set in the Middle East, and it was refreshing to read something that wasn’t American-centric.

This is a stand-alone fantasy, which is rare in this genre. I haven’t read it and then immediately needed to go track down another book, although I will be checking out other books by this author because it was well-written and well-characterized.

The only reason I went with four stars instead of five is that there were parts of this book that I had trouble following. There was a sort of fine line between computer programming and magic that I had a hard time identifying, and that at moments didn’t quite ring true. But these moments didn’t define the story, and I mostly really enjoyed this.

I recommend to any fantasy fan who wants to try something a little bit different — this is unique!

Rating 4/5

Title: Alif the Unseen

Author: G. Willow Wilson

Published June 2012