Winners + News

Thursday, February 24, 2011
  • Witch Song is selling really, really well on Barnes and Noble (It's not on Amazon yet). And that's without the cover or blurb attached yet. Super exciting!
  • Witch Song is now up on Goodreads! If you get a sec, add it to your "to read" list. Or to any book lists you'd like. Lists sell books, so I'd appreciate it. :) (Anyone else thinking contest???)
  • I'm still taking names for book bloggers interest in reviewing my book. Please fill out this form. I've starting visiting classrooms via Skype. If you're interested, email me. :)
Here are the winners of my signed hardcover edition of Tracy Hickman's Song of the Dragon and the signed bookmarks:

Ben wins the book + bookmark
Shanella wins 2 bookmarks.
Theresa wins 2 bookmarks
Charlie wins 1 bookmark
Modicum wins 1 bookmark

Congrats guys! So fun to have multiple people win. If by chance you don't want the two signed bookmarks, let me know and I'll use them for another contest. Email me your addresses at amberargyle at yahoo dot com and I'll mail them out!


Interview of Tracy Hickman, Author of Song of the Dragon

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
In conjunction with my signed giveaway of Tracy Hickman's Song of the Dragon (which closes on the 24th), I interviewed Tracy. Enjoy!

(AA) As I said in my review of Song of the Dragon, I love your twist on mythical creatures—creatures that are normally cast as evil (manticores, chimera, etc) are the good guys. While creatures like that are normally pure (elves) become the villains. What inspired such a drastically different perspective from the common perception of Tolkienesque angelic elves and other creatures?

(TRH) I believe that reading should -- on some level -- be uncomfortable and by that I mean challenge the way we think. A little cognitive dissonance is a good thing, helping us to grow in our thought and perspective on the world. Speculative fiction has long been the province of presenting new ideas in a 'safer' form by setting the more difficult issues in a fantastical setting -- but having been in fantasy for most of my professional life I like the idea of the stereotypes of fantasy also being turned on their head and a little uncomfortable as well.

(AA) Is your take on Dragons as drastically different as your take on Elves? Can you give us a description of your dragons? If not, how about just a glimpse?

(TRH) We will be visiting the dragons of the northern lands extensively in our second book which I am just finishing now. What intrigues me the most about the northern dragons is that they are not unified but have political factions within their ranks -- they are not united by any means. Their high level of telepathic communication also has presented a number of narrative problems and the central question of the dragons betrayal of humanity is finally addressed. It has made for some intriguing dragons as characters.

(AA) I love the interplay between the villains Ch’drei and Soen. The very last chapter, you hint that Chi’drei’s betrayal might have pushed Soen over to the good guy’s camp. Any backstory from their long past you’d like to share?

(TRH) Soen and Ch'drei certainly have a long and somewhat checkered history, it is true but I think I would like to leave that in the mists of the past. The tower on a distant hill is a romantic vision -- compelling and filled with wonder -- until we visit it, wander it's dusty halls and blow at the cobwebs. Then it become 'real' to us but loses it's romance.

(AA) The gnomes in your books are very simple creatures that have no possessions except for the stories they tell. Because they have no possessions, they are nearly impossible to corrupt. In contrast, the Elves are rich beyond imaginings and seem to be constantly vying for more. Do you think this is true in real life? What do you think we should do about it?

(TRH) I believe that there is far more to life than being defined by the things we own ... which in turn seem to own us. While I am hardly one to run off to Walden Pond and live in a shack, I believe that we are defined more by our stories and our relationships than by our possessions. So I do believe that on a basic level that being obsessed with our 'precious' possessions -- 'precious' in the Gollum sense most certainly -- holds us like an anchor to the ground when we should be soaring instead. As to what should be done about it ... I think that is part of each one's personal mythic cycle through their lives; to rise above the mundane and reach for higher perspective and ideals.

(AA) What’s the one question you think someone should ask you and never does? (yes, I’m cheating)

(TRH) The one question I'm never asked is "Why are you a Mormon?" Religion and faith are taboo subjects these days and the very idea that there might be an answer to a religious question seems to be frightening to interviewers.

(AA) Tell us about your next project? Could you share your first 13 lines from Book 2?

(TRH) Right now I am engaged in far too many projects but I can tell you that I am finishing the second Drakis novel at the moment. I have a number of book projects this year coming up but I am perhaps most excited about our Scribe's Forge Writing Seminars and Workshops. After over thirty years as a professional fantasy writer we believe it is time to pass on what we know of the craft to a new generation of writers.

Here are the first two paragraphs (from the original manuscript, unedited) of the second Drakis book: Citadels of the Lost.

"The throats of a thousand dragons answered the call.

Drakis took several steps back from the towering statue, awestruck by the shapes rising from the craggy peaks beyond. He glanced back at the statue, the craning neck with the ridge of scales curving down to the horn-spiked head with blade-like long teeth onto the ancient marble base, the enormous stone wings rising straight up over a hundred feet, and the gigantic claws gripping the glowing crystal globes. His eyes jumped back to the mountaintops and the shadows pulling their way closer to him through the evening sky. Dragons ... real dragons! Even from this distance of several leagues he could make out some details of the enormous monsters, their great wings sweeping forward and scooping the air down and back with every stroke. The sound of their shrieking calls rolled down the mountainside and shook the wide pedestal on which he stood, carrying away with it every other sensation. It encompassed him, shot through him and drowned out everything else. Somewhere nearby the muffled voice of Urulani shouted through the noise, calling her men to gather closer around the statue and ready their weapons. What were their names, he vaguely thought. The dwarf, he knew, was also shouting nearby but his voice sounded more distant that the dragon calls and his movements somehow slow. Ethis was pulling at the dwarf, dragging him back on to the pedestal and closer to the fold – the magical portal sphere of radiant blue light that had opened at the base of the statue. Beyond the portal fold and through its shining blue haze he could see a land of dense foliage and distant towers but it seemed so very far away. Mala lay sobbing hysterically at his feet..."

Ohhh, I don't know if I can stand the wait! I love dragons. And I'm excited to see Tracy's take on them--especially since he's known to twist our preconceived notions on their heads.

Thanks so much, Tracy, for giving me the opportunity to interview you about your fantastic new series!

If any of you have a chance, sign up for his workshops. I had an opportunity to take one of Tracy's classes at the recent conference, and I can say without a doubt it was the best one I participated in.

Also, make sure you're all signed up to win the signed, hardcover of Tracy's Song of the Dragon. In addition to all 7 signed bookmarks.

Also, if you missed it, Witch Song is now available for preorder! I'm blown away by how many of you have preordered it and/or shared the news. Thank you so much!


Witch Song Available for Preorder!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Witch Song (Witch Song, #1)While at LTUE writer's conference, I found out lots of awesome things.

  1.  My book is available for Preorder from Barnes and Noble!!! It doesn't have the description or cover yet. BUT if you order it now, it's only $9.44 I'm amazed and humbled by how many people have preordered it! The interest so far has been phenomenal! SQUEE!
  2. My book is listed on Goodreads (though it may be taken down and put back up).
  3. I'm ready to start collecting names for book bloggers who'd like to review my book. Fill out this form if you'd like to be considered for a free copy.
  4. I've got tons of awesome contest ideas. Starting next month, anyone who votes for my book on any lists on Goodreads, Librarything, etc will be entered to win David Farland's signed books The Wyrmling Horde and . . . the other one. You know, the one I'm to lazy to go find out what the title is. (I just found it: Chaosbound. There. Now leave me alone about it. ;) )

These Elves Scared the Crap Out of Me

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Song of the Dragon is not a book you bust through in one setting. It's a book you read slowly, savoring the complex characters and myriad races. A book were world building and history are as important as plot and pacing.

In Hickman's world, the numerous races have lost their memories and their free will to the all powerful elves.

Lest you expect Tolkienesque, angelic elves, let me warn you, Hickman does a fantastic job of twisting the genre's preconceived notiton of elves on their heads. Here's his description of one of the elves great beauties:

"Shebin . . . unpinned her hair, which fell down around her shoulders, revealing the long bald strip typical of her race between her forehead and the back of her elongated crown.

Drakis drew in a sharp breath.

Shebin was easily numbered among the greats elven beauties . . . To Drakis, her wraithlike, angular, and bony form appeared hideously cadaverous--a living corpse whose fingers now lightly stroked his chest and body."

Notice the masterful juxtaposition of beauty and horror. He takes elements that our culture finds alluring--thin bodies, silver white hair pinned up with carefully styled curls--and shifts them a few steps further. Until they become gruesome.

All in all, a powerfully woven tale by a master storyteller.

And you, dear reader, can win a signed hardcopy. Just click on this link to enter my contest (or simply scroll down).

Upcoming events/announcements:
  • I'm attending to Life the Universe and Everything (LTUE) at BYU in Provo this weekend (Feb 17-20th). If you're coming, lets do lunch! Email me at amberargyle (at) yahoo (dot) com
  • Next month, I'll be giving two signed books by David Farland (Chaosbound and The Wyrmling Horde).
  • For those of you who read last weeks post, I'm done freaking out (for now). Just thought you'd like to know.
  • I'm up to 75 pages on Witch Song 2!

You All Terrify Me

Friday, February 11, 2011
This is going to be another of those completely honest posts. I don't mean to be whiny, but you all scare the hell out of me. Really. Did you know you were so intimidating?

I think the biggest reason I'm freaking out is because I feel so out of control. I've written the best book I can. But it's done now. There's no changing it. And now it's leaving me. Going out into the cold, cruel world. And while I can try to increase it's range, the public's reaction is largely out of my control. What if it isn't receive well, despite years of my best efforts?

I'm trying to do my best with marketing and such, but I signed with a small publisher, meaning I received no advance. So I'm trying to market on one income and I have three young children, so funds are extremely limited. Also, I'm not really one of the best salesman around. I don't like to be pushy and I'm not a braggart (at least, I don't think I am).

Also, what if it gets bad reviews? I'm promising myself I won't read reviews at all, because I don't want them to change the way I write, or worse, cripple me so I can no longer write at all.

I'm really worried about how this will affect my life. I'm a stay at home mom. I don't want that to change too drastically. I want to be there for my kids. See all their games and all their milestones.

I guess I'm scrambling to redefine myself and my life. Anytime I face a major change, it's scary and overwhelming and intimidating. And even though this is a good change, it's still frightening.

Also, just a little reminder to enter my contest to win a signed hardcover of Tracy Hickman's Song of the Dragon (this is one of those marketing attempts).

Signed Song of the Dragon by Tracy Hickman Giveaway

Tuesday, February 8, 2011
*giveaway now closed* February officially kicks off my Year of Fantasy Giveaways contest. To celebrate/spread the word about my novel, Witch Song, I will hold a monthly contest in which I give away signed fantasy books by David Farland, Tracy Hickman, Brandon Sanderson, Jessica Day George, and more!

This month, I'm giving away a signed hardcover of Song of the Dragon by Tracy Hickman. In addition, I have 8 signed bookmarks. These are heavy duty, glossy bookmarks. All are signed.

First place receives Song of the Dragon and one bookmark. Seven other winners will receive one of these beautiful bookmarks.

To enter, you need to receive points. To get points, do one of the following:

1 pt for Tweeting 
1 pt for Facebooking (include URL)
1 pt for following the blog (widget is on the right)
1 pt for leaving a comment.
2 pts for blogging about the contest
2 pts for blogging about Witch Song (you can combine this with blogging about the contest). Here's the link for my Witch Song page so you can copy and past it in your blog post:

So that's a total of 8 pts! !4 points just for blogging about the contest and Witch Song Make sure to add up all your own points, cause all those numbers hurt my head, and I can't guarantee I'll get them right. 

Winner will be announced February 24th.

Who's excited???

Witch Song Cover

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Witch Song (Witch Song, #1)
Here it is! The final cover for Witch Song!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Whenever I see it, I find I can't look away. It's like a girl with her first crush--only she doesn't have to worry about being caught staring!

Eve Ventrue captured the haunting, exquisite look in Brusenna's face perfectly. You might not be able to zoom in on it, but her eyes are so detailed and vibrant. Her lips look like they've been cut from her perfect face with a knife. The branches reaching toward her like gnarled fingers, ready to scratch and take hostage. I love the necklace, with the swirls of magic emanating from it--magic that brings life to the dead, dangerous branches around Brusenna.

And that's not to mention the back cover. The wolfhound and Brusenna with her golden hair. I LOVE THE TREE. The battered, warped door, the jagged glass on the window, even the ragged curtain trailing from the dark depths like a forgotten ghost.

I'm dying to know what you think! What's your favorite parts? Do you think it will appeal to the YA romantic fantasy readers? If not, why?

Big thank you to Rhemalda and Eve Ventrue!

If you'd like to see the cover with the final font/title, click here. While you're there, make sure you check out the art of my fellow authors' covers: Michelle Argyle, Walter Rhein, Eve Ventrue, Doug Brown, Cas Peace, and JS Chancellor.
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