YA Scavenger Hunt with Myra McEntire (Hourglass)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Welcome to Amber Argyle's stop in the Dec. 1st, 2011 YA Scavenger Hunt, hosted by the AMAZING Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse)! I'm the author of Witch Song, a YA high fantasy where witches control nature (seasons, storms, winds) through singing, but all the witches have been captured by an evil witch who plots to use their power to bring mankind to its knees. Only Brusenna, a young, untrained witch stands between the evil witch and the world. (I've hidden the first chapter of book 2 on one of the blogs in the scavenger hunt--go find it!)

On this Hunt, there are tons of prizes. Each blog is giving away a prize, so take a couple hours and go enter them all. At the end, there's BIG grand prize (signed editions of books, signed bookmarks, jewelry, and many more exclusive gifts with at least one gift from EVERY AUTHOR!) for someone who unscrambles all the RED codewords hidden in each post and uses it to fill out this Puzzle Form in order to win said BIG grand prize (puzzle and instructions located at the bottom of this post).

I'm also giving away a signed copy of Witch Song. All you have to do is add Witch Song to your "To Read" list on Goodreads (if you don't have a Goodreads account, you can Tweet or Facebook) and let me know in the comments. How easy is that?

As part of the tour, I'm hosting the beautiful and talented Myra McEntire, author of Hourglass and Timepiece. Myra McEntire knows the words to every R and B hit of the last decade, but since she lives in the country music capital of America where her lyrical talents go sadly unappreciated, she chose to channel her mad word skills into creating sultry Southern timeslip novels.

But if you catch her at a signing, she can probably be convinced to rap with you anyway.
Here's a little about Myra's amazing looking book, Hourlgass:  
 For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
Here's the cover for her second book in the series, Timepiece. Love it!

You can buy her books at IndieBound, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. I've even been told if you buy one you get a pony free (okay, not really).

AND Myra has been awesome enough to read an excerpt of her new book, Timepiece! Click here! (link goes live at 1 Pacific).

Here's the link for the next stop on your hunt: Gregg Olsen.
If you'd like to see my bonus feature (the never before seen 1st chapter of Witch Song 2) visit Cynthia Hand's blog as well! And don't forget to leave a comment here to win a copy of Witch Song.

Puzzle Rules:
As an extra bonus we’ve put together a puzzle with one keyword found on each website. Complete it and you will be eligible for a fantastic GRAND PRIZE which will include signed editions of books, signed bookmarks, jewelry, and many more exclusive gifts with at least one gift from EVERY AUTHOR!

Directions: Search for the 37 keywords—one on each Scavenger Hunt website—that are highlighted in RED. When you are finished, go here [link] to the puzzle form, where you will find a list of scrambled keywords. Put your keywords in the same order as the scrambled ones—from #1 - #37—and paste that list into the entry form.

Rules: To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed puzzle form before noon on Dec 4th Pacific Time. All the keywords must be included and you must include your full name and address. Entries sent in without name and address will not be considered! The contest is international.

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Gearing Up

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Start getting excited. I have a big event planned starting this Thursday on the blog. I'll be giving away a copy of Witch Song, showing you where you can get a look at the never before seen first chapter of Witch Song 2 AND get a never before seen look at Myra McEntire's new book trailer for Timepiece! I'm so freaking excited!

AND I'll be signing at the Logan Book Table this Friday (Dec 2nd) from 8 until midnight with fellow authors Elana Johnson, Tyler Whitesides, Heather Theurer, Carole Thayne Whalburton, Lori Lewis, Tristi Pinkston, Mary Higgins, Ronda Gib Hendrickson, Wanda Luce, Darren Smith, and Jenni James.

It's going to be a Par-tay!

Turkey's Lament

Sunday, November 20, 2011
Don't Eat Me
By my 9 year old son.
Reasons why not to eat me
I stink
I'm ugly
I'm full of fat (your diet, remember?)
I hate your cat
I'll eat the mouse
In your house
I'll mow the lawn
I'll sweep the floor
I'll vacuum your house
I'll pick up the floor
I'll throw away that banana from days of yore.
Just don't eat me!

Happy Thanksgiving!

WOW: Tangled Tides by Karen Hooper

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yara Jones doesn’t believe in sea monsters—until she becomes one.

When a hurricane hits her island home and she wakes up with fins, Yara finds herself tangled up in an underwater world of mysterious merfolk and secretive selkies. Both sides believe Yara can save them by fulfilling a broken promise and opening the sealed gateway to their realm, but they are battling over how it should be done. The selkies want to take her life. The merfolk want something far more precious.

Treygan, the stormy-eyed merman who turned Yara mer, will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything to protect his people—until he falls for Yara. The tides turn as Yara fights to save herself, hundreds of sea creatures, and the merman who has her heart. She could lose her soul in the process—or she might open the gateway to a love that’s deeper than the oceans.

Young Adult fans of Mermaids, Selkies, Sirens and Gorgons will love this tale of the sacrifice one makes for genuine love. Love that could be lost at any moment to the ever-changing tides.

I'm so excited for this book! Isn't the cover gorgeous?
What's your WoW this week?

Witch Song (Witch Song #1)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brusenna is the last. 

All the other witches have been captured, their songs stolen and twisted from harmony and growth into chaos and death. She alone must stand against an evil much older and darker than anything she could ever imagine—an evil every witch before her has failed to vanquish. 

In that, Brusenna must be the first.

Click to read the Reader Guide.
Click to download the Sales Sheet
Click to download the Press Kit

Purchase links:

Witch Song Reviews:

"In WITCH SONG, Amber Argyle makes a riveting debut, creating a fresh new world full of wonder, peril, and splendor. I found WITCH SONG to be positively engrossing from the first page to the last. I'm convinced that this is just the first book in what will be a long and prosperous career!" David Farland, NYT Bestselling 

"Witch Song was a rich and compelling fairytale of magic and dark controlling forces, that gives a unique twist to witchcraft and witches, in general. It was powerful and interesting. Argyle's ability to create a world in which the power of song is used to create magic, is not only masterful but brilliantly clever." ~Suz, Soul Unsung

I can honestly say that I haven't gotten this lost in a fantasy world since the Harry Potter series. Witch Song was so unbelievably outstanding, that I'm having a hard time translating my thoughts and feelings into a sufficient review. Amber Argyle for me, has earned herself a rank equivalent to the best fantasy fiction authors of this decade.” ~Cory, Antidrug Reads 

It is rare to find books that immediately sweep you into their world, plunging you head first through a tale filled with intensity so real you can feel it. These are the books I crave - the stories I seek & find once in a blue moon; such is Witch Song.” ~Author Ashley Knight

“An engrossing story peopled with colorful races and far off places await you in Witch Song, an adventure that will sweep you from the daily grind and deposit you on the other side of your imagination . . . Those readers who love books by Shannon Hale and Aprilynne Pike will enjoy Witch Song.” Christy Dorrity, Syracuse Islander

Witch Song is a debut with an engrossing world full of magic, adventure and romance. It's a story that fascinated me with its unique witch lore and rich world building, and introduced me to some great in-depth characters.” ~Katie, Mundie Moms

“Ms. Argyle’s story of a young witch’s journey through dangerous lands during even more dangerous times held me utterly mesmerized. Witch Song was Bewitchingly Beautiful and the tempo of the story sang to me long after I had finished it.”~Kristi Stern, The Book Faery

First page

Brusenna’s straw-colored hair felt as hot as a sun-baked rock. She was sticky with sweat—sweat that trickled down her spine and made her simple dress cling to her. Her every instinct begged her to run from the glares sticking her like wasp stings. But she’d already put off her trip to the market for too long as it was.

The merchant finished wrapping the spools of thread in crinkling brown paper. “Twelve upice,” Bommer said sourly.

A ridiculous price—no doubt made worse by the drought. Had Brusenna been anyone else, she could’ve bartered it down to half that. But she wasn’t anyone else. And even though the villagers only suspected, it was enough. Careful not to touch her, the man’s hand swallowed the coins she dropped in it. She wondered what marvelous things he ate to flesh out his skin that way. Things like the honey-sweetened cakes she could still smell in her clothes long after she’d left the marketplace.

As Bommer mumbled and counted his money, Brusenna gathered the packages tightly to her chest and hurried away. She hadn’t gone five steps when a heavy hand clamped down on her shoulder. Fear shot through her veins like a thousand nettles.

Here, no one ever touched her.

With a wince, she craned her neck back to see the merchant looming over her. “You tryin’ to cheat me, chanter?”

This close, the smell of his stale body odor hit her hard. She swallowed the urge to gag. Her mind worked furiously. She’d counted twice. It’d been right. “I gave you twelve,” she managed.

He yanked her around, grabbing her other arm and bringing her face next to his. She cringed as his large paunch pressed against her. Somewhere, a baby squalled. “You think I can’t count? That it, huh?”

Brusenna tried to answer, but her mouth locked up. She should’ve been more careful. She should’ve stayed until he’d finished counting her coins. But she’d been too eager to escape. He shook her, his dirty nails digging into her skin. Her packages tumbled from her hands and hit the ground.

Taking shallow breathes and arching away from him, she squirmed, desperate to be free. “Please,” she said, finally finding her voice. “Let me go!”

He laughed, his eyes gleaming with pleasure. “No. I don’t think so. Not this time. You know what the punishment is for stealing?”

The stocks. Brusenna swallowed hard. Trapped for an entire day with the whole village taunting her. They’d throw things. Rotten food. And worse. She looked for help in the crowd that had eagerly gathered around them. Satisfaction shone plain on every face. She was suddenly angry with her mother for letting her face this alone. For refusing to come on the grounds that someone might recognize her.

“I didn’t steal,” she whispered, already knowing no one would listen.

“You callin’ me a liar?” Tobacco and spit splattered her face. He backhanded her. For a moment, her vision flashed white, then black with stars, then red. She tasted blood. Her eyes burned with tears. She clamped her teeth shut against the pain, refusing to cry out.

Bommer half-dragged her toward the center of the square, where two thin blocks of wood were connected with a hinge. Three holes, one for her neck and two for her wrists. Remnants of rotten food, manure, and even rocks littered the base.

The sight of the stocks shocked Brusenna into action. She squirmed and struggled.

His hand on the back of her neck, Bommer shoved her throat into the largest, center hole. She tried to rear back. He pushed harder. The wood cut into her windpipe. She couldn’t breathe.

Book Piracy is Stealing

Monday, November 7, 2011
This year, an author will spend hundreds of hours writing a book that you will download for free.

I've heard all the arguments. Hannah said, "I don't think that a few bites out of the book sales of mega authors are going to make that much of a difference to their profit."

This mistaken belief goes back to the fable that all authors are rich. I see it all the time. My neighbors frequently ask me when I'm moving into my mansion. The truth is that the average American author makes 9k a year. We are not rich. Most of us barely make enough to supplement our income (and believe me, my wallet has felt the thousands of illegal downloads of Witch Song). A few lucky authors make enough to pay their bills without a second job. Only a handful make enough money to move into the upper class.

But let's say you've downloaded some mega author's novel like JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyer. Stealing from them doesn't count because they're already rich??? Sorry. Stealing is stealing. You can justify it all you want, it won't change the truth. It's kind of like the argument that stealing from Walmart doesn't hurt anyone other than some nameless corporation. The truth is that every customer pays for theft in the increased prices from security measures and profit losses. Some writer's book will fail to make it and that author's contract won't be renewed. 

I'm familiar with Neil Gaiman's argument that book piracy actually helps sales because it's free marketing and the people who downloaded the book wouldn't have bought it anyway.

I disagree. There's generations of people who believe that content should be free because of the erroneous belief that the content didn't cost anything to create. And in once sense they're right. There are virtually no cost of materials in ebooks.

But what about time? After all, it's the only thing we as humans really have to give anyone. As I said before, authors spend hundreds of hours on their book. That's not to mention editors, cover artists, publisher production costs, etc.

Don't we deserve to be paid for those hundreds of hours?

"Downloading the book is no different from borrowing the book from a friend or the library."

Wrong. The library bought the book. You're friend paid for the book. They can lend it out until the binding falls apart and you can't read past the coffee stains. Though most people don't because they take care of their books.

But that doesn't happen with ebooks. No matter how many times you lend the book, it doesn't age. Meaning you can then lend the book out to infinity. And people do. Lending the book thousands of times, of which the author is paid once or not at all.

With Witch Song, we began to send the book out to book review blogs who requested the book. One of the girls coordinating my book tour contacted me to inform me that someone on the tour had pirated the book. She was appalled and wanted to apologize.

Within a week, the book had thousands of downloads from different file sharing sites. I reported this to my publisher, who went through the laborious process of having those files taken down. The very next day, the same people put the book back up.

I felt betrayed and undermined by the very people I thought wanted to help my book succeed.

So what's the solution?

For people to stop stealing. Seriously, if you can't afford a book, borrow one from the library. If they don't have it, request it. Most libraries are happy to buy books their patrons are interested in.

Book sellers like Amazon need to have the files available in numerous formats to everyone who wants to buy it--this includes all English speaking countries--without any ridiculous fees.

Hosting sites need to be held accountable for the websites they host. If they host a child porn site, they should pay a fine. If they host a site that sells pirated books, they should pay a fine. I understand that they don't have the man hours to patrol all their sites, but after a site has been reported, they should investigate it.

Search engines should block these sites from their searches.

Short story: Piracy hurts authors. Pay for your books.


Review of Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Vanish (Firelight, #2)

I love this series. Love it. Love it. Love it. If you adore paranormal, this is a must have for your library.

Jacinda has returned to her pride of dragons, determined to forget the boy she's fallen for. After all, how can a hunter and his prey fall in love?

And of course there's Cassian, who Jace has been convinced only wants her because she's a coveted fire breather. Or does he? Time after time, Cassian proves himself as he goes out of his way to protect and care for Jace.

No matter what choice Jace makes, she loses something. Being with Will means abandoning her family and her way of life. Staying with Cassian means losing her freedom for the tyrannical rule of her pride.

This is one of the best written love triangles I've ever read--and this coming from the girl who is sick to death of love triangles. In the first book, I was totally a Will fan. Now I'm totally in Cassian's camp.

I can't wait for the final installment!

Solution to Book Piracy

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Some techie needs to code ebooks so if they're downloaded over X amount of times, advertisements start to pop up.That way authors still get paid for pirated work. You don't want the ads, don't share the book over X amounts of times. Or pay for the @#%^ book in the first place.

I don't know if this is even possible, but it SHOULD be. Is it? Who's a computer/programming geek? What do you guys think?
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