9/2/15

Madison's Song - Christine Amsden (Review, Guest post, and AWESOME GIVEAWAY!)

  

 5 Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -
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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
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.

 Social Media Links:

MY THOUGHTS -
Well in my opinion - Christine just keeps getting better and better! I thought the Cassie series was very good but this one was way better. You don't really have to read the Cassie Scot series, but it does help. There are references to things that happen and you will know everyone better if you read the first ones.

The writing in this story flowed nicely. It was a very exciting, suspenseful, paranormal, romantic read! I loved the characters in this one. Loved Madison and her gift of voice (what a creative and original idea) and I loved Scott, what a hunk! I could see myself falling for him, even though he is a werewolf! He was one of those bad boy/sexy protective types. Christine did an excellent job with the character development. The only thing for me was that Madison seemed younger than she was suppose to be, but that may have been her mousy, timid personality.

I loved the romantic beginning, I loved the thrilling middle, and I loved the perfect ending! LOL
Another reviewer complained about the prologue - I loved the prologue! It was very exciting and really urged you to read more. There is a LOT of magic and paranormal stuff in here, so if you like that kind of thing - this is the book for you!

I am looking forward to seeing what Christine comes up with next!

Thank you Christine for this complimentary copy for my honest review!
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Excerpt (Christine gave me a bunch to chose from, and I had a hard time deciding. I wish I could have included them all!)

“Silence,” David commanded.
   
 Her throat continued to work, but no sound emerged. She felt like a fish being gutted, choking and spluttering as David returned to the work of cutting into the soft, sensitive flesh of her belly. Yet even as tears refilled her eyes and fear devoured her heart, some part of her recognized that her guts remained intact. Whatever David was doing to her with the dagger involved tracing shallow patterns across the surface of her skin.   

Fight the pain. Take deep breaths. Ground and center. She was not in the empty living room of a house she had not quite moved into yet, she was at church, singing in the choir. Above her, Jesus hung from a cross, a crown of thorns atop his head, a soft glow surrounding him. She usually found the magic within that glow. She reached for it...   

“Stop that!” David slapped her hard across the face. 

Once again her eyes flew open. She saw the dagger dripping with blood – her blood. Had her feeble grab for magic actually made a difference? David seemed to have noticed something, but what?    

“You're just making this harder on yourself,” David said.  

“What do you want?” Madison tried to ask. Her mouth moved, her lips forming the question, but no sound emerged.    

She didn't think he would answer; he couldn't even have heard the question, but to her surprise he only hesitated a moment before saying, “Your soul.”

Guest post from Christine Amsden -
When Characters Outgrow Their Roles …

Some characters arrive on a blaze of inspiration. They bowl you over, shout their secrets into your mind, and won't shut up until you've written their story. Such was the case with Cassie Scot, the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers who became the heroine in her eponymous series.

Other characters sneak up on you, perhaps whispering their secrets, perhaps trying to grab your attention when it's spent somewhere else. Such was the case with Madison Carter, Cassie's shy, plump friend who outgrew her role in the Cassie Scot series.

I first met Madison as I built a world around Cassie. I'd already given Cassie a large family, a romantic interest, and even a bad guy to fight, but she still didn't feel complete. Of course! She needs friends. Normal friends, I decided, not part of the supernatural world she doesn't quite fit into. Friends who could express doubts about magic. Friends who ended up getting drawn into her world.

If Cassie is, in some ways, the person I would most like to be, then Madison started out as the person I felt I truly was. Maybe this connection made it inevitable that she would grow into something more than a background figure, there to play the role I'd set for her. I don't know. I only know that over the course of four books she turned from sidekick to real person. Ultimately, I couldn't finish her story from Cassie's point of view. Madison deserved a story of her own.

Madison Carter went through hell during the Cassie Scot series. She was outed as a songbird – someone whose voice can influence emotions in others. Worse, she was outed as a very low-powered sorceress, with no training or skills to protect her from those who would take advantage of her. That's what happens to her in the prologue to Madison's Song, which I wrote shortly before writing Mind Games (Cassie Scot #3). That's when it happens, as a matter of fact. An evil sorcerer, having heard about her gift, and believing her unprotected, attempts to steal her soul in order to trap her songbird gift.

Whew.

One of the biggest challenges I faced when spinning off Madison's story was that it began in such a dark, horrifying way. The Cassie Scot series begins in a lighthearted manner, and though it has its ups and downs, the lighthearted tone remains true to the end.

But Madison isn't Cassie. And Scott, the romantic hero, is not Evan.

Madison nearly loses her soul in the prologue to Madison's Song. Scott saves her, but at a terrible cost. And that's not the only bad thing that's happened to her in the past. In the final two volumes of the Cassie Scot series, Madison is betrayed by her father, her fiance, and her mentor. Already prone to feeling shy, this combination of hurts sends her into a real panic, with fear of werewolves at the heart of it all. Yet I had plans to set her up with a werewolf who loves her.

This was not going to be a lighthearted story, not if I wanted to stay true to the character I'd spent four books building.

I'm a character girl. I've always said so because I see great characters as being more important than anything else in telling a good story. Madison put this mantra to the test as she took me in directions I wasn't sure I wanted to go.

When characters outgrow their roles, when they take on lives of their own, all an author can do is channel them onto the page and hope for the best. They may not have come to life in a blaze of inspiration, but they are alive. Perhaps even more fully realized than the ones who just show up.

And they'll be the ones writing the story.


GIVEAWAY!!!

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5 comments:

  1. Thank you so much! I really do try to learn new things with each book. Maybe in a decade or two, I'll be off the charts! :)

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  2. I had a fear of flying, till I had to join my new husband overseas in Bangkok, Thailand. So my first experience flying was Indianapolis, IN to Texas, Texas to San Francisco, bus trip from San Franciso to Travis Military Airport. Travis Military Airport, to Hawaii, to the Phillipines , to Bangkok, Thailand. That was some experience.

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    1. Wow, that was quite a first experience!
      I don't mind flying at all but I don't know if I would have like that much flying!

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  3. I have had to overcome the fear of a breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Be brave and hope. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Oh my word! Yes you have to be brave and hopeful! My prayers go out to you!

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