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Posted by on in Author Series

Memorial Day Weekend.  The official un-official start of Summer.  This is my 2nd annual Summer Book List recommendations. So, while you’re lounging around – whether it be poolside or at the beach – or maybe you’re on a cruise ship somewhere in the Atlantic, or on an 8 hour flight to some wild European adventure, you’re going to have to ask yourself at some point, “WHAT’S IN MY BEACH BAG?”

In honor of summer’s start, I’ve compiled my annual list of my summer reading recommendations.  Click the link of each book to take you a description and spot where you can purchase.  There’s a little bit of something here for everyone, so dive into what you love, OR be adventurous and step outside of your usual “reading comfort zone.”  I promise you won’t be disappointed!




**And, as always, anyone leaving an AMAZON review will get extra credit!**


Now, of course I'm going to recommend my own book, The Coal Elf, only because the sequel, The Rise of Sturd, is due out early next year, so now's your chance to get familiar with the dark side of the North Pole!  


YA Dark Fantasy

The Coal ElfMaria DeVivo



Middle Grade

Blackbird Fly, Erin Entrada Kelly

~the long awaited debut from Kelly is finally here. Check out the tale of Apple Yenko in this coming of age story about culture, finding yourself, and being YOU!





 Destiny Revealed, Cris Pasqueralle

~coming of age fantasy



A Ranger’s Tale: Tallenmere, Book 1, Mysti Parker

~fantasy romance. With elves. I have a soft spot for elves. ;)  First in a series.



The Wilco Project, Daniel Springer

~techno murder mystery!



Murder Caribbean-Style, Diane Rapp

~a murder mystery and a cruise!



Young Adult

Finding My Escape, Fran Veal

~romance, suspense, and a touch of the paranormal in this first book in a series.


Dr. Rayther’s Game, John Thayer

~16 years old and on a mission to save the world!




The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief, Charles Day

~enter Day’s world of Halloween screams! A great suspense story to get you in the Halloween-y mood, or just give a good scare!




The Hellbound Heart, Clive Barker

~an oldie, but a goody




The Tilian Virus, Tom Calen

~a fun, horrifying zombie story. 1st in a series.



True Crime

Fatal Vision, Joe McGinnis

~the account of Jeffery MacDonald and the murder of his family



New Adult

Dream Student, J.J. DiBenedetto

~paranormal, mystery, suspense, romance. This one is free on Kindle, and if you like it, there are many more in the series!




Jessica’s Obsession, Taabia Dupree

~Amazon bestselling NA book


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Posted by on in Author Series

Christine Amsden, author of the Cassie Scot series, is stopping by my bloggy blog with a post on writing in different perspectives.  The fourth and final novel in the series, Stolen Dreams, is available now!  Thank you, Christine, for stopping by and giving us your valuable insight!



First Person: A Matter of Perspective

by: Christine Amsden

 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 affects 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.



Follow Amsden on Social Media:

Christine's Website









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Posted by on in Author Series

Memorial Day Weekend.  The official un-official start of Summer.  Lazy days at the beach.  Hanging out by the pool.  A full two months of fun and adventure.  Are you ready?  Have you gotten all your essentials ready?  Flipflops, sunscreen, bathing suit, book….  Oh yea…. THAT!  Hmm… have you asked yourself “What’s in my beach bag?” 

In honor of summer’s start, and as part of my NOT JUST A CHRISTMAS STORY campaign, I’ve compiled a list of my summer reading recommendations.  Click the link on each book to take you to a description and the spot where you can purchase.  There’s a little bit of something here for everyone, so dive into what you love, OR be adventurous and step outside of your usual “reading comfort zone.”  I promise you won’t be disappointed!

**And, as always, anyone leaving an AMAZON review will get extra credit!**


Picture Book

Nuwa and the Great Wall, Salena Casha

~reimagining Chinese mythology!



Historical Fiction:

 Sinners and the Sea, Rebecca Kanner

~the story of Noah’s unnamed wife (yes, THAT Noah! Ark and all!)


Tale of Two Maidens, Anne Echols

~a Joan of Arc adventure


Magnolia City, Duncan Alderson

~1920’s romance and scandal




Cassie Scot: Paranormal Detective, Christine Amsden

~New Adult/ Cassie is the un-special daughter of two powerful sorcerers trying to figure out where she belongs in this world


 Dragonfire, Dina von Lowenkraft

~YA/ Dragons and revenge.  What more can you ask for?


The Curse Giver, Dora Machado

~Epic Fantasy.  Lords, ladies, birthmarks and curses!


An Elfy on the Loose, by Barb McCaffrey

~YA/ What’s an elfy to do when he’s straddling two worlds?


Knight of Flame, Scott Eder

~Contemporary Fantasy.  Florida residents will not be disappointed!




Middle Grade

Homefront, Doris Gwaltney

~coming of age story set during WWII



 The Case of the Displaced Detective Omnibus, Stephanie Osborn

~Enjoy the first four books in the Nu-Sherlock Holmes series. 


Spirit me Away, Aaron Paul Lazar

~the summer of 1969.  Sex, drugs, rock and roll, and slave traders.  Gus LeGarde and his new wife are in for a mystery of a lifetime.






Sexual Strategies: How Females Choose their Mates, Mary Batten

~looking for some non-fiction to whet your appetite?  I know my science teacher friends will definitely love this!


Travel Memoir

Plunge, Mari Christine Anderson and Fritz Damler

~Read of Anderson’s and Damler’s trials and tribulations as they pack up and leave their stateside abode for island life in the Bahamas.


Young Adult

The Dagger X, Brian Eames

~ARGH!  Those pirates are at it again in this sequel to Eames’s THE DAGGER CHRONICLES




Manhattan Film Festival; June 21st, Quad Cinema

Jack and Paul, Thomas Moore

~More of a visual person?  Gonna be in NYC on June 21st?  Check out Moore’s short film Jack and Paul debuting at the MFF!






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