Friday, May 31, 2013

Witch Fall Cover Reveal

(Amber's covers are so gorgeous!)

I'm so excited to reveal my latest cover to all of you! I really struggled with the scene to use for the cover, and I'm so glad I went with this one-and thanks to all of your input on the many decisions to be made for this book. I adore the turquoise, reds, and golds. Look at the play of light on the surface of the water. The stone dragons are perfect, as is the palace they guard. Laura Save really outdid
herself--and she's such a sweet person! I love working with her.

Witch Fall is the last book in the Witch Song series (though there is a short story in the works). Though it is a prequel, I recommend you read it last. It's due out this October. I'm in the midst of a massive rewrite, and I'm working hard to meet that deadline, if only my children would cooperate. *sigh*

Here's the back cover:

All things fall.

Even Witches.

Supreme in their dominion over seasons, storms and sea, the Witches have forgotten the unmatched destructiveness of mankind—and among the weapons men seek are the magical songs of the Witches.

Lilette is one of the few who sees the signs of decadence and decay within the Witches. An outsider amidst her own kind, can she delay her people's annihilation long enough for them to survive the war that is coming?

Here's the links:

Find Amber here:


For the first twelve years of my life, I lived in a two bedroom ranch house at the base of a mountain. Besides my parents, my family consisted of three brothers--the oldest of which enjoyed beating me up. Ironically, the younger two were terrible wimps. I rode horses, moved sprinkler pipe, and mucked out barns (when they could catch me). We didn't have a lot of money, and the part of the ranch we lived on was eventually repossessed by the bank. Subsequently, we had to move to town (I know. I should have written Westerns).

I graduated from Utah State University with a bachelors degree (English and physical education), a husband, and a two-year old. I was a member of the collegiate honor society and graduated cum laude (which basically means I'm an overachiever).

My second son had severe colic, often crying for 16 hours a day. By the time he was four months old, I was in a very dark place. I discovered that I could prop him up between my arms and type for brief periods of time. Creating stories quickly became a cathartic addiction I couldn't function without.

It took seven manuscripts and five very long years before my debut novel, Witch Song, came out.
I currently live in Northern Utah with my husband and three children. 

Weekend Read

I, Spy (Spy Another Day #1) 

This week I am reading the brand new book by Jordon McCollum. It will officially be released June 5th for those who are interested. I, Spy sounds like the perfect treat for an Alias fan such as myself. Super secret decoder glasses in place. I'm ready for my latest mission. Radio silence until finished. ;)

Back Cover:

Canada is probably the last place you'd expect to find an American spy. But even idyllic Ottawa has its deadly secrets--and so does CIA operative Talia Reynolds. She can climb through ventilation shafts, blend in at the occasional diplomatic function, even scale buildings (small ones). But there's one thing she can’t do: tell her aerospace engineer boyfriend Danny about her Top Secret occupation.

It worked for a year, keeping Danny in the dark, keeping him away from danger, keeping her secrets. And then Talia finally catches a hot case: Fyodor Timofeyev. Russian. Aerospace executive. Possible spy?

She can make this work, too--until Danny needs her at the same time her country does. And when Fyodor targets Danny? Suddenly her schedule isn't the only thing suffering. Now to save her country and her secrets, Talia must sacrifice the man she loves.

What covert operations await you this weekend?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

WIP Wednesday

So my word count for this past week is hard to track. I've taken lots of notes and jotted down ideas for scenes, but haven't typed anything up yet. 

I'm hoping to start drafting today or tomorrow. Eeek! I so don't feel ready, but my characters are insistent.

What progress have you made? Any exciting new developments?

Good luck!

Interview with Amber Argyle!

Amber Argyle talks about her new book, Winter Queen

1. Where did you come up with the setting for Winter Queen?

Amber: I wanted something with abrupt mountains and alpine meadows. A rocky, cold environment that made surviving a challenge, but which also provided protection from any marauding forces. Basically, a landscape that made characters as tough as it was.

I also wanted a place where winter was a dark and deadly presence, signaling the end of warmth and light. All this so my character would hate winter and see it as a sort of evil. When she's presented with the opportunity to save her people from a war they cannot win, she must turn to this dark force to save them.

I even searched out old maps and Pinterest for such places and found Triglav National Park in Slovenia (there are lots of hints of this throughout the novel, but they are buried pretty deeply). Check out my Winter Queen Pinterest board to see some of the images that inspired me.

2. Is it true parts of the book were inspired by the movie The Last of the Mohicans?

Amber: Yes. I watched the movie as a young teenager and found myself much more fascinated with Alice's story as opposed to Cora's. Alice was portrayed as the weaker of the two sisters, but in reality, she was simply untried--very young, and very innocent.

The moment when she stood at the edge of the cliff, looking down the long drop below, still haunts me. She had a choice to marry and bear children for her captor, or end her life.

She chose to die, and I wanted to shout at that there was another choice. She could be strong, endure until she had a chance to change her life. To live.

But she didn't. She dropped, silently and suddenly. And I wondered how differently that story would have been if Alice had chosen to live.

That's the story I wanted to explore in Winter Queen. A girl faced with a similar choice: death or marriage to the murderer of those she loves. But . . . . well, I don't want to spoil it for you. But it's pretty intense.

3. You also explore themes of what it means to be a man and a woman in the book. Can you tell us a little about that?

Amber: I'm not sure when I realized that boys would, for the most part, outgrow rules like "stranger danger", "the buddy system", etc. While I never would.

That to be a woman meant I was and always would be vulnerable. How much worse then for a woman raised in a time when all that stood between her and those who meant her harm were her kith and kin.

So what would happen if her kith and kin were presented with a choice to save her--the daughter and girl they loved--or themselves? It's a choice that is replayed over and over again throughout the world's history.

In ancient times, men were fighters and protectors. So what does it do to them when they fail? When they aren't strong enough to defend what's theirs, despite everything they could do. I explore this as well with my hero, Rone.

4. This sounds like a pretty intense book, with some difficult themes. What age to you recommend reads it?

Amber: If you're okay with the violence level in Hunger Games and the steaminess in Twilight, you'll be fine with Winter Queen.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Liebster Blog Award Nominations!

Apparently I'm supposed to tell everyone 11 random things about me and answer 11 random questions. So, here they are.

11 Random facts about me:
  1. I had my jaw surgically fixed when I was a teenager.
  2. I got my drivers license at 20.
  3. I've been to Germany, twice.
  4. I'm deathly afraid of spiders.
  5. I believe in computer gremlins!
  6. I want to create my own library like the one on Beauty and the Beast.
  7. I love show tunes. 
  8. I can do the Bewitched nose twitch.
  9. I love kids books!
  10. Plants wither around me.
  11. I'm an insomniac. (If you see me and I look like I might eat your brains, don't worry I'm too exhausted to chase you.)
  11 Random Questions

1. Who is your favorite author? Why?

Gail Carson Levine. Her wit and creativity suck me into her worlds and I never want to leave.
2. Have you ever done anything you think is insane? Would you do it again?
I'm terrified of heights and drowning but I went cliff diving. Yes, if someone pushed me.

3. Did you ever have an imaginary friend?
No, but I've been talking to the voices in my head since I was a kid.

4. Who is your hero?
Queen Esther from the Bible.

5. Have you ever read something that changed your life?
A Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (Turned me into a historical fiction lover.)

6. Did you ever believe you could fly?
Nope, I believe in gravity too much.

7. What is the strangest thing a child has ever asked you?
Will my nose really grow if I lie?

8. Dogs or Cats?

9. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Thomas Jefferson

10. What is your dream vacation?
A month spent in Ireland, England, and Scotland.
 11. Are you right or left handed? 
Very right handed. I wish I was ambidextrous.

Have a great Memorial Day!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Weekend Read

The fabulous Julie Bellon has come out with a new book. I'm knee-deep in Ashes, Ashes. International conspiracies, handsome detectives, diamonds and a million dollars, a dead guy in the trunk of the heroine's car, this is going to be good.

Enjoy your weekend reads!

Ashes Ashes (Hostage Negotiation Team #2)

Are you ever really innocent until proven guilty?

Sophia Naziri is wanted for questioning in the murder of a U.S. senator. She’s worried the police will show up on her doorstep any moment, but when Detective Colby Black appears, it’s to help her put out a kitchen fire, not take her in. Yet. His easy smile and persistence in getting to know her pushes all her troubles to the back of her mind, until a hit man tracks her down. Getting arrested becomes the least of her worries and the handsome detective could be her only way out---if she tells him the truth.

Colby Black’s sniper skills have been a blessing and a curse to him. As a member of a Hostage Negotiation Team, he can use them to save people, but sometimes he can’t protect the innocent despite his best efforts. When a hostage situation goes bad, he tries to put it behind him by helping out his mysterious next-door neighbor, Sophia Naziri. But she pulls Colby into a web of lies and conspiracy that will force him to use every skill he has in order to survive. Faced with the moment of truth, can he trust anyone around him---including the woman at the center of it all?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WIP Wednesday

I have been trying to juggle a couple different projects at the moment. Let me tell you, drafting one book while revising another isn't easy. I need to pick one to focus on, but I'm not sure which part of my brain wants to be more dominant at the moment. *sigh*

I'm about a chapter into drafting my tale based off the Sleeping Beauty fairytale. And, I've revised the first chapter of Dark Heritage. Yea for progress! No matter how slow it seems.

Creativity has been a bit hard as of late due to a lot of stress and other demands on my time. (This is a common problem right now. My wishes for happier days goes out to all who are struggling!) But, by writing one word at a time, I'll reach my goals. That really is the key to success. All the how-to books or secret writing tips in the world will never replace old-fashioned tenacity and persistence.

Keep writing, and enjoy the journey!

How has your week been? What progress have you made?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

21 Principles Book Review

Richard G. Scott's 21 Principles: Divine Truths To Help You Live By The Spirit

Struggling with how to increase your testimony? Trying to find that added dose of spirituality to get you through your day? I would definitely recommend getting this book. The spiritual messages are short, but pack quite the punch. Each principle can be read over the course of many days, or the entire book can be enjoyed in a sitting. As you ponder and think about Elder Scott's words, you will feel your own testimony and commitment to the gospel increase. 
I chose to read a principle a day for the past 21 days. It was so simple to read the short 2-3 pages for each principle in the little bit of time I found. Though my actual time spent with the book was short, I found my thoughts reflecting on Elder Scott's teachings and testimony all day long. My own faith in the principles he highlights increased each day without my conscious realization.  
With powerful testimonials and examples on each topic, Elder Scott touches hearts and spirits in ways that have the potential to increase understanding and faith.
"Sincere love has the potential to exercise power far beyond our limited understanding of love." 
"Adversity is a part of life. We will have it because we need it for growth and for the forging of our righteous character."  
"I learned that there is a relationship between faith and character. The greater our faith in Jesus Christ, the stronger our character, and increased character enhances our ability to exercise greater faith." 
These and many more nuggets of wisdom Elder Scott has gained through years of dedication to the gospel and the Savior, can help give you that added dose of spirituality you need to get you through the day. I loved this book and plan to read it again many times in the future.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekend Read

I know I haven't posted my reads for the past couple weeks. Sorry, I've been out of town. I am back and ready to crack open the spine of another awesome book!

Today I decided to feature Brandon Sanderson's Elantris. I've already read the first couple chapters and I'm hooked. You'll know where to find me this weekend. (Psst, I'll be the person curled up on the couch with my nose touching the book.)

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon's new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping -- based on their correspondence -- to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn't recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It's also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wacky Writer Moment

As writers, we tend to be a, different. We get together and talk about things that would make a nerd drool, especially if you are a fantasy/sci-fi writer.

I confess that I am a proud member of the ranks of fantasy nerds. Imagine my mortification, then, when I went to LDStorymakers this past weekend and didn't recognize the images shown from the movie Legend. I'd never seen it before, much to my chagrin. So, I went home, pulled up my local library website, and immediately put it on hold.

Watched it yesterday. 

It was...amazing! Okay, so there wasn't any plot of which to speak, the characters were cheesy and flat, and I laughed at the supposedly dramatic moments. But, the imagery was stunning (including generous views of Tom Cruise's legs in his little man version of a mini-skirt) and it had some of the best lines I've heard in a long time.

Case in point would be pretty much all the goblin Blix's lines. I mean, the guy rhymes almost everything he says. A creepy, rhyming goblin is just freaking awesome!

My personal favorites include:

"Black as midnight, black as pitch, blacker than the foulest witch." (I'm so posting this on my wall!)

"Higher, higher, burning fire, making music like a choir!"

"May be innocent, may be sweet...ain't half as nice as rotting meet."

I love movies with quotes that you can whip at when with fellow nerds, or at a writers conference. Now, I will be well armed for my next encounter with those who have seen this movie.

Embrace your own wackiness and enjoy being you!

(Christine Rains has a great guest post on embracing your writer self on Alex's blog. As a shy writer, I found it very encouraging.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

I'm off to the LDStorymakers Writers Conference this weekend. I downloaded the humongous syllabus yesterday when I found the present in my email. Now I sit, staring at the list of awesome classes, and fret over which will be the best classes for me. This is not an easy decisions. They all sound incredible! Where is a cloning machine when I need one? Or a magic spell that will split me temporarily?

More than one of me running around wreaking havoc on the world? Oh the possibilities! Mwahahahaha!, writers conferences.

My Top Five Reasons to Attend Writing Conferences:
1) It is an entire day, weekend, week, whatever dedicated to honing your writing craft. Time invested in your craft will only help it. (I don't think I need to even list the next four.)

2) Networking opportunities abound. Not many opportunities present themselves for new writers to mix and mingle with other writers and published authors. Not to mention all the agents and editors that will be milling about. Sure, Tweeting, Facebooking, and blogging can help you get to know writers and editors, but this is a rare opportunity to meet them face to face--without going through those bulky bodyguards.

3) They don't have to break the bank. Some of the higher end ones can get a bit pricey, but it is okay to start small. Attend local, one day conferences to still learn a lot about the craft. There are even a couple free ones out there.

4) Have a great book out but nobody knows about it? Here is a great opportunity to market your brand and yourself to a bunch of bookworms. (Don't be pushy about this though.)

5) Did I mention you get to immerse yourself into all things writing? I don't know about you, but after every conference I always feel ready to, I mean, tackle the world.

That's my two cents on the matter, and I was probably just preaching to the choir anyway. Keep up the great work! I'm off to agonize some more over which classes to take. Decisions, decisions. Anyone have a magic wand handy?

Happy writing!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Weekend Read-Chasing the Prophecy

I am a total nerdy fan girl when it comes to Brandon Mull. I've read everything he has written, including his children's books. So when the third book in the Beyonders series came out, I immediately requested it at my local library. This week a delightful email informed me that it was finally here. *loud squeals*
You know what I'll be reading this weekend.

The #1 New York Times bestselling Beyonders fantasy trilogy comes to a stunning and epic conclusion.Jason and Rachel were not born in Lyrian. They did not grow up in Lyrian. But after all of the battles and losses, the triumphs and adventures, and most of all, the friendships forged in this fantastical world, Lyrian has become home to them in a way they never could have imagined.

And so, armed now with the prophecy of a dying oracle, they have gone on their separate quests—each surrounded by brave and powerful allies—knowing that the chance for success is slim. But Jason and Rachel are ready at last to become the heroes Lyrian needs, no matter the cost.