Tribute to Christine Weston Webb

Monday, August 22, 2016
This is my favorite picture of my Aunt Chris. Her husband and grandkids are circling around her, curling toward her like she was the sun. I love that it shows her hands too. She did so much good with those hands.
The first memory I have of my Aunt Chris was when she was pregnant with Kelsey. She was eating a salad with ranch and drinking a diet coke with ice, the glass slick with condensation. She made me Kraft macaroni and cheese and let me add the milk. I added too much, but she didn’t mind. “As long as you’ll eat it,” she said.

Later, Jeremy and Wes chased us around the house with some kind of spray. It ruined Tiffany’s umbrella and both boys ended up on stools at the opposite sides of the kitchen.

There was the smell of horses, makeup, and hairspray as Tiffany and I tried out for queen contests, rode in parades, or participated in 4-H. Bending down to pop tar bubbles on the hot asphalt, we would walk to the store for penny candy with their dog, Muffin. I remember rides in their boat, sand between my toes, skin peeling off my shoulders. Uncle Chuck telling me that if I swallowed a watermelon seed, I’d end up pregnant (I was seven, I think, and terrified).

I remember jumping on her trampoline and feeling like I could fly, just for a minute.

There were long summer afternoons in her beautiful yard—hot dogs that were a little burned and fingers stained with raspberry juice. When we were older, we would pick raspberries for hours, a cramp in our backs and our arms and legs scratched and stinging. But we didn’t mind as we laughed and chatted. Chris would always overfill her costumer’s boxes because that’s just how she was.

I remember Women’s Conference and trips to the craft fair. I remember her laugh and the way she would slouch in her chair, wrists on the end of the armrest so her hand’s dangled. And the crafts she could make with those hands! Beautiful blankets, doilies, scrapbooks—she crocheted the dress both my daughter and I were blessed in as infants. 

Whatever Chris touched, she made beautiful. It was a gift she had. A gift she nurtured. Taking scraps of paper or fabric or broken hearts and seeing possibility—nurturing that possibility until it became something lovely and new. I like to think of her that way in heaven. Sitting with my grandpa, hands dangling from the end of her chair as they look down on our big family and decide how to shape us from afar.

I love you, Aunt Chris. 

#Giveaway of Daughter of Winter #Paperback

Monday, August 1, 2016

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Daughter of Winter by Amber Argyle

Daughter of Winter

by Amber Argyle

Giveaway ends October 07, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

{New Release} Winter's Heir

Thursday, July 21, 2016

IOf Ice and Snow and Winter Queen (which are on sale for a limited time for 99C each), I explored the theme “Strong as stone, supple as a sapling”—that to be strong, sometimes you have to bend or risk breaking.

In Of Fire and Ash and Summer Queen, I explored the theme “To rise from the ashes, first you must burn.” Everyone crashes, everyone burns. Everyone fails. It’s what you do after failing that’s important. When you pick yourself up, learn from your failures, and move on to something better.

In Daughter of Winter and Winter’s Heir, the theme is “outshine the darkness.” Everyone has moments when they falter. When hope seems lost. When life shatters around them. But the hero always stands up. Even in the midst of hopelessness and despair. The hero always tries one more time.

And that’s why I love fiction. That’s why I love heroes. Because we all have those moments. When the night is at its darkest and there is no hope of living till the dawn. But you just keep trying. Because giving up is not in your nature. Or maybe because there’s nothing left to do but keep trying. You dig deep and pull upon courage you didn’t know you had. And you triumph.

I hope my fiction has given you that kind of hope. I pray that my words have touched you. Uplifted you. That in some small way, the courage of my characters will remind you of your own courage. That even if the very jaws of hell gape after you, you can find it within yourself to keep trying.

Even if it’s for just one more second.

And then the second after that.

And the second after that.

~

Winter's Heir is the final book in the series (though there is one more bonus book I'll be releasing next month. It follow's a character from Winter's Heir named Cinder - but more about that in the next newsletter). Winter's Heir wraps up the stories of 
Otec, Ilyenna,Nelay, and Elice, as well as all their friends.

Here's the description: 


A price must be paid.

Elice has left behind the ice and isolation of winter. Before her is the warmth and wonder of summer with all its color and life. Adar, the young man she saved from the sea, is by her side, and his touch sends tendrils of heat where before there was only cold.

But all is not as it seems. There are secrets hidden in the heart of summer. Secrets that could burn Elice to the ground and take the whole world with her. The decades-long war between the fairies of winter and summer has thrown off the balance of nature, leaving the world in its death throes.

Adar believes Elice can stop the destruction—if only she will listen to him. But like the fairies’ bargains, that trust comes with a cost. And the price Elice will pay will tear asunder the boundaries between dreams and family, loyalty and betrayal.

Here are the purchase sites:

Amazon
Amazon Int'l
iBooks
Kobo
B&N
Goodreads

To help spread the word about the release, you can share this posttweet, or pin.

Witch Song Reader Guide

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
1.      Throughout the book, Senna struggles with her identity. What advice would you give to her—to anyone—who feels like an outcast?
2.      After a childhood of feeling powerless, Brusenna finally realizes the ability to stand up for herself was inside her and always had been. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt powerless? What did you to take your power back?
3.      How does Brusenna change from the beginning of the novel to the end? What obstacles did she have to overcome to grow and change? Do you think obstacles are necessary for growth? Or do they destroy an individual?
4.      At the beginning of the book, Brusenna is a reticent person. Is she still shy by the end? What did or did not change?
5.      At the beginning of the book, what was Joshen’s motivation for helping Brusenna? Was it the same motivation as at the end?
6.      Did Sacra (Brusenna’s mother) protectiveness shield or cripple Senna? If the latter, what do you think Sacra should have done differently?
7.      Trust comes up again and again in the story. How do you decide who you can and cannot trust?
8.      Senna is terrified of loosing those she loves. How does this affect her decisions?
9.      Do you agree with how Brusenna dealt with Wardof, Garg, and Espen. What would you have done differently?
10.  Sacrifice is another theme that is repeated in this story. How does Senna decide what she will and will not give up?
11.  The book mentions that the witches sold their songs for money. Do you think this justifies the populace’s hatred and mistrust of them? Why or why not?
12.  Near the end of the book, Grendi claims that no one group should have more power or control over a people than another. Do you think this is true? Why or why not?
13.  Do you see Senna as a weak or strong character? Does the fact that she often cries affect how you see her?
14.  Do you think Sacra was justified in hiding Senna away from the world and its dangers? What would you have done differently?
15.  Senna feels a tremendous amount of guilt when someone dies trying to protect her.
16.  Conversely, was Brusenna justified in spying on her mother to discover the answers to her questions? Explain.
17.  The book hints that Espen used a potion to force Wardof and Garg’s to serve her. Does this excuse their actions? Why or Why not?
18.  What do you make of Pogg’s dislike of men?
19.  Senna often puts herself in danger to protect those she loves (chasing after the whale, using the Ioa potion). Are her actions justified?
20.  What do you think of the Discipline Head’s treatment of Senna? How do you think they should have treated her?
21.  What do you think of Reden’s betrayal of his country and his soldiers? Is his a traitor? Or a hero?
22.  AT the end of the book, the Witches curse Tarten—basically sentencing the entire country and its people to drought. Do you think they were justified in this? What would you have done in their place?

23.  Do you agree with the Witches decision to surrender to Reden? Or should they have fought?

Interview about Witch Song

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Interview between journalist JoLynne Lyon and Amber Argyle

JoLynne: Throughout the story, Senna struggles with her identity. What advice would you give to her—to anyone who feels like an outcast?

Amber: Senna finds herself trapped in a situation where she’s persecuted/bullied/belittled because of who she is. If you’re in a similar situation, don’t sit back and take it. Do everything you can to improve your situation—including looking for outside help. If everything fails, avoid the situation if possible. If even that doesn’t work, remember that nothing lasts forever and do what you can to make it bearable. Remember, what makes you different is what makes you beautiful. In the beginning of the book, Senna wants nothing more than to blend in, be like others. It’s only as she matures that she realizes the very things that make her different also make her beautiful, strong, and powerful. And she wouldn’t trade any of those qualities just to blend in.  

JoLynne: What are the qualities Senna values the most in others? In herself?

Amber: Like so many of us, Senna doesn’t see herself very clearly. She’s harder on herself than anyone else. She’s blind to her own strengths, seeing only her faults in glaring florescent lights. So when she looks at others, her view is colored by her own weaknesses—all she can see is their strengths in comparison to her weaknesses, which isn’t fair to herself. Or the other person for that matter. But let’s be honest, we’re often anything but fair to ourselves.

Through the book, Senna’s warped perception begins to change. She discovers her strengths—strengths that were there all along—were just in need of sunlight and water to blossom. Strengths like her ability to love—fiercely, her determination, her courage, her loyalty. And most importantly, she realizes that she’s strong—strong enough to face her biggest fear.

JoLynne: Trust comes up again and again in the story, as your characters decide who is and is not worthy of it. How can young people decide whom to trust?

Amber: It’s really very simple. If a person encourages you to become something more— someone better without asking for anything in return (except friendship), that person is worthy of your trust. Please realize that people who genuinely care about you don’t need anything in return. There is no price, no bad consequences for being with them. Because they’re pulling themselves up with one hand and you with the other.

The reverse is also true. If a person brings you down socially, emotionally, physically or asks a price for their friendship, that person is not to be trusted.

JoLynne: Senna's mother chooses to protect her—so much so that Senna feels unprepared to face her life. How can a mother protect her child without leaving her helpless?

Amber: By teaching that child to protect himself/herself. As a child becomes old enough to face a situation (ie bullying, pornography, peer pressure) we as parents need to provide the tools to deal with that situation. I’m a firm believer that if a child is old enough to ask the question, their mature enough to receive the answer (in an age appropriate discussion). And it doesn’t stop with physical safety. Children need to be taught moral guidelines—things like kindness, integrity, individual worth, etc.


JoLynne: Sacrifice is another theme that is repeated in this story. How does Senna decide what she will and will not give up?

Amber: Senna makes her choices the same way we all do—weighing her past experiences with the expected outcome and seeing which consequence she can live with. Refusing to hide from her problems, she educates herself about overcoming them. She doesn’t feel it is adequate, but she does the best she can with what she has. Though she faces daunting odds, she’s knows the cost of failure is simply too high not to try.

JoLynne: Joshen is a heroic man who falls in love with a powerful woman. What kind of future do you envision for two people who are both remarkably strong and stubborn?

Amber: There will be fights. There will be enormous clashes of will. But if Senna and Joshen truly love each other, they’ll work it out. And no, I won’t elaborate. You’ll have to read the sequel.

JoLynne: Reden is an interesting character who makes his appearance later in the story. Which beliefs and values dictate the choice he makes? Will he appear in other books?

Amber: I don’t give a lot of the backstory on Reden, simply because it isn’t really needed. But he’s actually from the Boor class. His military prowess was such that he worked his way up through ranks that are normally closed to the lower class. He’s intensely loyal to his men. And he’s very decisive and strong willed. He’s fascinated by Senna, in more ways than one. And yes, he’ll be a big part of book two.

JoLynne: Eventually Senna finds other people treating her like a leader, though she would rather blend into the background. How can a young woman come to accept and embrace her own leadership qualities?

Amber: By not letting fear cripple you. If you see something that needs done, don’t sit around waiting for someone else to take care of it. You take care of it. Or delegate. Either way, make sure it gets done.

Thanks for the interview, JoLynne! If you'd like to check out JoLynne's book, you can look her up here: http://mountainlyon.blogspot.com/ 




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