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Archive for October 7th, 2015






Title: Madison’s Song
Author: Christine Amsden
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Pages: 275
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Format: Kindle

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.

Praise for Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective

“In this entertaining series opener, Amsden (The Immortality Virus) introduces readers to the eponymous Cassie, a decidedly mundane member of a magical family. …Readers will enjoy Cassie’s fish-out-of-water struggles as she fights magical threats with little more than experience and bravado.” ~ Publishers Weekly

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First Person: A Matter of Perspective

Whether a writer is a panster or an outliner, there is one question she must answer before getting started: First or third? For some the answer is simply a matter of personal preference, but even if that’s the case it’s important to think through the implications.

First person is a compelling viewpoint for many authors because it is easy to imagine ourselves as “I” and to tell a story that way. It’s sort of what we do, isn’t it? Play an elaborate game of make believe? But unless you’re a dedicated hobbyist, you’re not just telling this story for your own amusement. You’re writing to an audience, and your audience may have a different perspective.

As a reader, I usually prefer third person – and I don’t say this lightly because my Cassie Scot series is told in the first person (I’ll get into why in a bit). I enjoy third person because in my readerly games of make believe, it is a little easier for me to pretend to be “he” or “she” than “I.”  It also has the clear advantage of allowing me inside the heads of more than one character, deepening the story by bringing in multiple perspectives.

The third person limited omniscient is a great point of view which eliminates the distance between readers and characters. It puts us straight into their heads in a way that makes it a more intimate reading experience than first person. First person used to be the “close” point of view, but that’s when it was competing with an omniscient version of third person. Nowadays, we have better options. Modern limited omniscient third person gets as intimate with the character as first person, but it eliminates distance in time. A first person narrator has, presumably, already lived through the events of the story and is telling them from the future. A third person narrator is right there in the moment.

But don’t take this to mean that first person doesn’t have a place. Of course it does! There is power in the first person narrator, but it has to be harnessed well and used wisely. As a reader immersing myself in a first person novel, it’s more like a close personal friend is telling me their story in intimate detail. To get into it I have to like not only the story, but the person telling it and the way it’s being told. Or to put it another way: Your narrator had better have character.

I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say this: If you can substitute “he” or “she” for “I” in a first person story and it’s still basically the same, you’ve chosen the wrong point of view. If this is the case then you’ve thrown away all the advantage of first person while embracing all the disadvantages.

A first person narrator isn’t just a narrator. He or she is a character telling a story. Their character will influence how they tell the story – including voice, style, and presentation method. First person narrators can get away with asides to the audience, or drop dark hints about what is to come (since they have already lived through it). A first person narrator can be unreliable – he can even lie to himself and believe it. He can also withhold information from the audience.

You can get away with breaking more rules in the first person than you can in the third. Ironically, this makes it harder to write. It’s easier to effectively break rules once you know them and understand what they’re for.

The power of a first person narrator is freedom of style.

I chose first person for Cassie, after a lot of agonizing deliberation, because she needed to tell her own story. It helped that the story (by which I mean the prominent series arc; the individual books are mysteries) is entirely about Cassie coming into herself as an adult. But you can tell a great story in the third person, even if it belongs to only one character. A first person story needs more.  It needs a character who desperately wants to tell her own story. Cassie’s got attitude, and she’s talking right to you. “My parents think the longer the name the more powerful the sorcerer, so they named me Cassandra Morgan Ursula Margaret Scot. You can call me Cassie.”

I said earlier that as a reader, I usually prefer third person. I put the “usually” in there for a reason – I usually prefer third person because I run across too many first person stories that don’t harness the power of first person. That don’t have the right style or perspective, or that differ from a third person story only in the pronoun choice. The whole truth is that when first person is done well, it’s my absolute favorite to read. But of course “done well” is also a matter of perspective.

Christine 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.

Visit Christine’s website.
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Illusion of an Ending banner

Danielle Soucy MillsDanielle Soucy Mills is the award-winning author of children’s book, Tina Tumbles and Visionary & Metaphysical novel, Illusion of an Ending. A lover of books since childhood, she studied English and creative writing at Rhode Island College, before moving to California to earn her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Chapman University. She enjoys writing books for both children and adults which inspire, encourage, and delve into our Divine purpose for being. Danielle has made guest appearances on The Nancy Ferrari Show on iHeart Radio, The Writer’s Divine Den Radio Show, and has been featured in Bellésprit Magazine. She currently resides in San Diego with her wonderful husband, Jesse, and her ever-growing collection of books.

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About the Book:

Illusion of an EndingThree peoples’ life stories intertwine with a synchronistic twist.

Jimmy Pollaski, a young man at the peak of his potential, dies suddenly in a motorcycle accident. As his spirit hovers above his lifeless body, he calls out to his mother, Patricia, only to find that his words are inaudible. He then promises to find some way to transmit his message to the world of the living.

It is no coincidence that Lorrena Shaw can see him, along with other spirits—a gift that Lorrena’s mother shuns. After her mother suddenly announces that they will abandon their home in Connecticut to care for Lorrena’s grandmother—a grandmother she has never known—Lorrena inevitably finds herself in the same small Massachusetts city where Patricia resides.

As their paths unite, Lorrena discovers the unbearable grief that haunts Patricia’s every move. Now, not only must she convince Patricia that her son’s soul has survived the fatal crash, she must also travel beyond space and time to access the Akashic Records, the library of all of Human Existence, and write their stories as one—a story that ultimately shatters the boundaries between life and death.

If you liked The 5 People You Meet in Heaven or The Celestine Prophecy, you’ll love Illusion of an Ending.

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Would you call yourself a born writer?

Yes, from a very young age I always knew I would be a writer. I remember being a kid and writing story after story, but realizing I did not know enough about life to write a real book. That certainly did not stop me from attempting. In elementary school, I handwrote my first 150-page book, similar to my idols, R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. I was at a Montessori school at the time, and our teacher created this thing called our “novel”—a blue notebook that we got to write in every day if we wanted. I continued to write in high school—children’s stories in Italian for a class project, poems about love not working out filled with teenage angst, along with short stories in my Writing for Publication class, before I moved onto college and an MFA program all focusing on creative writing. My mother—who is one of my biggest supporters by the way—almost convinced me to go to school for some kind of sports medicine since I was also very much into coaching and doing gymnastics, and she thought a job in that field might support me better financially. Yet, a calling is a calling and I knew it could not go ignored!

What was your inspiration for Illusion of an Ending?

Illusion of an Ending was inspired by a car accident I got into leaving work one day in the small city of Cranston, Rhode Island. It turned out that the other driver was in a rental car all the way from southern California. I remember realizing that there were no accidents, that I would write it, and that I would move to California too, though I did not totally believe it at the time. I later found out that on that same day, a friend lost his childhood friend in an accident about an hour away from where the man in the rental car lived in California. I later received the inspiration for my novel—a character who had just passed away in a motorcycle accident, but had a very important message to pass along to his grieving mother and the world of the living.

Shortly after, I discovered Chapman University in a Google search for MFA programs in southern California. Lucky for me, there was a young woman who lived literally 20 minutes away from my prospective school who had transferred to be on our gymnastics team at Rhode Island College just months after I found my dream school online. I was able to stay with her family while visiting the school, and just a few months later moved to California after being accepted with a small fellowship into Chapman’s MFA program. Oddly enough, I found that everyone I met was connected in strange ways. The synchronicity going on in my own life inspired the synchronicity in my book. I knew I would have three different characters whose lives, seemingly separate, would all come together as part of a plan they created before they were born.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I love to explore themes like life before/after death, life purpose, timelessness, and so forth. I’m very much into writing Visionary & Metaphysical fiction, a genre that is not too well known, but is certainly emerging. I have to say though, many of the books which fit into this genre like Paulo Coelho’s the Alchemist, The Celestine Prophecies by James Redfield, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom continue to make a strong impact in peoples’ lives, withstanding the test of time. It has been a goal of mine to have a positive effect on peoples’ lives with my writing.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

I started writing this novel for my thesis in graduate school in 2006. I finished about two and half years later, though the book went through some transformation after that. From the time I started it and the time I published it, it was about 8 and a half years.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

As a kid, I was super disciplined, always finishing my homework before gymnastics practice and striving for straight A’s. I have been a super hard worker my whole life, but I’ll admit, there are times when I got burnt out from not giving myself a break. Being an independent author, I’ve been learning to balance writing with marketing, and other daily tasks before I tackle my evening job as a gymnastics coach. I try to wake up, enjoy a little breakfast with my husband if he’s home before work, workout, and meditate before getting ready for the day. Then, I tackle writing and marketing, with a little rest before I leave for the gym. I’m also having a baby within the next couple of months, so I will have to create a whole new schedule to adapt to motherhood!

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I definitely think it was challenging not really having one definite “protagonist” and “antagonist,” in my novel but rather, taking three different characters’ lives and showing how they were all meant to come together. Also, although fiction, I tried to incorporate metaphysical concepts based on peoples’ real experiences with life after death. It was important for me to make it as realistic as possible. Much of what seems like fiction to some people is very real to others, depending on ones’ experiences and beliefs.

What do you love most about being an author?

It is extremely rewarding knowing that a child has enjoyed my children’s book, or hearing that my novel has made a difference in someone’s life.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

At first, I found a small press interested in publishing my children’s book as well as my novel. When things didn’t work out, I decided to publish Illusion of an Ending independently after successfully publishing my children’s book, Tina Tumbles. Since their releases in April/December 2014, it has truly been an honor to learn that both books were awarded Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.

Where can we find you on the web?

You can find me at:

www.daniellesoucymills.com

www.facebook.com/AuthorDanielleSoucyMills

twitter.com/DSoucyMills

instagram.com/DanielleSoucyMills

goodreads.com/DSoucyMills

daniellesoucymills.blogspot.com

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