{Daring Hearts} Blog Hop *TONS of Bookish Prizes*

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Welcome to my stop on the Daring Hearts Blog Hop. I'm Amber Argyle, author of the Witch Song and Fairy Queen Series. In the box set, I'm including a prequel for my Fairy Queen Series, entitled Of Ice and Snow. In one line: Otec thought destiny forgot him. Now he wishes it had. 

After the box set releases, the price of my single book will jump up to 2.99, so why not snag 8 brand new books by 8 bestselling authors for 99C? 

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iBooks ~ Smashwords

 If you'd like to try one of my ebooks for free, I'd love to send you one! Simply tell me where you'd like the email sent



Together with RaShelle Workman, Christine Kersey, Lila Felix, Elle Strauss, Cindy Hogan, Julie Alexander, and Rebecca Ethington, we are offering two grand prizes: a Kindle White and a Kindle Fire, plus 20 other great prizes. Simply fill out this rafflecopter giveaway. The more times you enter, the more chances you have to win. 
DARING HEARTS has a new cover!


We've added new entry options to the rafflecopter to help spread the news so you have more opportunities to win prizes, including the final grand prize of a Kindle Fire!

The KINDLE WHITE giveaway is happening now! Winner will be chosen July 18th - exactly one month before launch.  
The more you enter - the better your chances!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules
Open internationally 
• If you win, you must claim your prize within 48 hours or the prize will be re-drawn
• You must be 16 years or older, or have the permission of a guardian to enter
• Only entries submitted through the rafllecopter will qualify as an entry.
• No purchase necessary. Bloggers, please feel free to copy and paste this post for your own blog! 

In addition to the great prizes above, each blog is offering an individual prize of your choice. You can have a character named after you (I'll 'fantasize' it to fit my High Fantasy genre), your full name in the acknowledgements of my book, a signed paperback of any of my books (US only), or a handwritten letter. You choose!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And don't forget to head to the next stop in the blog tour (with even more prizes!), Cindy Hogan.

Cover Reveal + Huge Contest

Friday, May 29, 2015

Cover Reveal and a Huge Contest 


I'm teaming up with bestselling authors Rashelle Workman, Cindy Hogan, Lee Strauss, Juli Alexander, Christine Kersey, Lila Felix, and Rebecca Ethington to put together a box set of 8 brand new books featuring never-before-released novels spanning 1600+ pages. This boxed set is called Daring Hearts. We've decided to make this an even better deal by selling this boxed set for only .99 cents--a savings of $30.00 over buying the books individually. Daring Hearts is available for preorder now, and will be released on August 18th. You can preorder Daring Hearts by clicking HERE.

I'm putting Of Ice and Snow into the mix. It's the prequel to Winter Queen (why do I write out of order???) and tells the story of Matka and Otec (Ilyenna's parents). We have lots and lots of prizes and exciting things going on. To keep abreast of everything, you can join our temporary FB group, Daring Hearts, here. 
In addition to the prizes offered on our FB group page, we've come up with an amazing Rafflecopter Giveaway with escalating prizes given out for every 500 preorders (the grand prize being a kindle fire!).To start entering the rafflecopter prizes, go here. But again, we're keeping track of everything on the FB group page, so make sure you join it.

If you'd like to put Daring Heart's cover banner on your FB page, here's a link to download it.

Class Notes for Writing Cover Copies

Monday, May 18, 2015
As I said in class, I use my formula every single time I write a cover copy (some call it a blurb).

u   Writing Cover Copies
u   In 10 easy(ish) steps
u   By Amber Argyle
u   Step 1-The goal of a Cover Copy
u   Evoke emotion!
u  If you can evoke the right emotional response, they will buy your book.
u  Which means you need to know the key emotion your book evokes.
u  Genre is a hint.
u   Inform—you must be honest!
u  If you promise X in the CC and deliver Y, you’ll get bad reviews
u  IE: In WB, I wanted to put in that the world was at stake, but it wasn’t.
u  If you find yourself exaggerating to make a CC more interesting, maybe it’s time to rewrite.


u   Step 2-Audience
u   Who is your audience? Sci fi reader? Young adult? Suspense?
u   What does your audience want to know?
u  Thriller: will you keep me on the edge of my seat?
u  SciFi/Fantasy: Will you arouse my sense of wonder?
u  Myster: Will I be guessing who done it till the very end?
u  Romance: Will I fall in love along with your protag?
u   For steampunk, historical, fantasy, the setting is part of the sizzle. For action thrillers it might be the gritty ex-forces hero. For crime procedural it’s the puzzle.

u   Step 3-Tone/Voice
u   Each word needs to evoke the emotion beats of your genre.
u  Be aware of connotations
u  Passionate
u  Uplifting
u  Dark
u  Gritty
u  Minions
u  Each of these words has a vastly different connotation and give the reader an idea of the emotions your story will evoke.


u   Step 4-Hook
u   One liner that catches the reader’s attention.
u  Notice that these steps mimic those for plotting a novel.
u   *A novelette*
A ship burns, sinking into the dark sea. (Witch Rising)
u   Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg.  (Cinder)
u  Note the use of irony in both of these examples.
u   A gorgeous, witchy, romantic fantasy by a debut author! Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and the Beautiful Creatures series! (Born Wicked)

u   Step 5-Establish Normal
u   Establish normal—What’s normal for your character/world?
u   There is only one survivor—a child hunted for the power of her song. Hidden away on an isolated island, Lilette buries her power deep, convinced it caused the deaths of those she loves. (Witch Rising)
u   She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. (Cinder)
u   Everybody thinks Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. (Born Wicked)
u   “When we find our protag, they are_____.”

u   Step 6-Break it
u   That moment when the world changes forever for the protag. *Notice they all begin with “but”*
u   But she can’t run from who she is. And when her secret is revealed, (Witch Rising)
u   But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, (Cinder)
u   But the truth is even worse: they're witches. Then Cate finds her mother's diary, and uncovers a secret that could spell her family's destruction. (Born Wicked)

u   Step 7-Twist/Villan
u   The protag’s “normal” is broken by a twist/villan. It’s the second half of the “But . . .” sentence.
u   , the only thing that can save her is her song. (Witch Rising)
u   , she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. (Cinder)
u   And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship--or an early grave. (Born Wicked)

u   Step 8-Risk and Rewards
u   List the risks and rewards if the protag fails/succeeds.
u   It’s time to rise up and become what she was always meant to be: the most powerful witch ever born. (Witch Rising)
u   Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. (Cinder)
u   Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.  But if what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe--not even from each other. (Born Wicked)
u  As is show above, some CC add a “Plan”, in which the details are brought up.


u   Step 9-Checks and balances
u   Read outloud. Does it flow well w/o jarring or stops/starts.
u  Always read aloud in a sexy Hollywood voice.
u   Alpha readers
u  Crowd Source: Find them on FB writer sites. Post your blurb, ask for help. The ones who are good at it, ask them to help you more.
u   Beta readers
u   Check for grammar/spelling issues
u   Copyeditor
u   10-Checklist
u   The Seven Ps.
u   People Problem Plan Power Prize Peril POV
u   Triangle in Journalism
u  Most important information up top
u  Details below
u  This is the purpose of a Hook
u   Sci fi and fantasy needs the world set up before the characters.
u   The best CCs end like they began, with a hook that’s a mirror opposite of the opening hook.


u   The Formula
u   Hook (One liner that grabs readers attention).
u   Establish Normal (Paint picture of protag + setting).
u   Break (often using the word “but”)
u   *often broken by Twist/Villian*.
u   The Plan can be included or omitted depending on voice and complexity.
u   Risks and Rewards if protag succeeds or fails. 

u   More Examples
u   Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can't see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king--a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior, and he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn't die young. Most of the chosen do.

u   Sources
u   http://marilynnbyerly.com/blurb.html#SFANDFANTASY




Massive author signing in Northern Utah

Wednesday, May 13, 2015



After taking two years off, I'm actually starting to do some signings again. On Saturday, May 16th from 4:30-5:30, I'll be at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah (Ballroom A). While this is a writer's conference, the signing is open to the public, and there will be dozens of other amazing authors in attendance (James Dashner, anyone?) 
I'll have book available for purchase at the store, or you can bring what you have to be signed.

Also, Witch Rising's audiobook is available on Audible. 

Here's a couple tweetables to share: 

Massive author signing in @provocity May 16th @4:30 at UVCC w @amberargyle @davidfarland @jamesdashner @nielsenwriter


Deleted Scene from Summer Queen

Monday, April 20, 2015
This scene is actually an alternative beginning to the book, as I worried there wasn't enough setup into how the Priestesses worked or Nelay's motivations. In the end, it was cut because there simply wasn't enough to pull the story forward.

Note that it is a rough draft, so errors in spelling/grammar will occur. If you think your friends might be insterested, I'll include a tweet you can share.

Enjoy!






Check out a deleted scene from 's Summer Queen.      

It wasn’t everyday the king came to the holy city of Thanjavar. Nelay and Jezzel took the lead, as they were the highest ranking acolytes in the compound. They bypassed the temple, with its grand arches and onion domes, moving to the gate manned by a guard with a red and yellow jacket and bell trousers.
He opened it for them seamlessly and they passed the open-air worship chambers and stepped into the courtyard, with its circle of eternal flames rising up much like a fountain of water would.
Suka was waiting for them, her eyes pausing on Nelay before sweeping across the rest of the acolytes in their finery. “Let’s show the king what the best Priestesses in the kingdom can do.”
She hastened out without another word, the Priestesses right behind her, with Nelay and the other acolytes following. The temple was inside the expansive palace grounds, though it had its own entrance to the city. The high priestesses in white fanned out across the wide palace stairs while Nelay and the other acolytes lined the walkway as they had practiced a thousand times before.
The drums sounded and Nelay lifted her staff into the ready position, above her head and poised to strike. The drums rolled and the enormous gates rolled open.
The King moved into the palace grounds atop a bay charger, his Immortal Soldiers in a phalanx around him. The first two acolytes dipped their staffs’ soaked, padded end into the bowls of flame at either end of the door.
This set of the chain reaction. Each acolyte touching her staff to the woman next to her as the king came level with them, and then they began their intricate battle dance. Swinging their staffs in formations that were elegant and deadly with flames dancing about their bodies, close enough to feel the heat but not close enough to burn.
Their clothes were dyed in deep read that shifted to yellow and then white at the top, so they looked like spinning flames.
Nelay held her position across from Jezzel as the King came closer and closer. She watched him with her peripheral vision, noting that his beard was long and he was shirtless.
That’s all she could make out before he came even with her and her staff was lit. She whirled it about her and sprang into motion, lighting the shallow channels of stone that had been filled with a viscous flammable paste called fiall, which burned slow, but gave off different colored flames.
The fire spread across in intricate patterns until climbing elevated channels which curled in patterns similar to the tattoos Nelay wore on her scalp.
Nelay and Jezzel raced the flames, reaching the palace doors just as the King came level with them. They stuck their whirling staffs into cauldrons of fiall and flames spread in special channels carved into the rock frame as the doors were pushed open.
The acolytes came in just behind Nelay and Jezzel as they lit more cauldrons and set fire to more channels built into the walls. One by one, each acololyte went still as they took their original places, until the king sat on his throne with flames dancing all around him.
Nelay and Jezzel twirled their staffs in perfect unison before slamming both ends onto the ground just as he sat. Nelay’s heart was pounding and sweat ran in beads down her bare back.
She looked up, taking in her surroundings for the first time and saw the King watching her. Suka stood beside him, leaning and speaking in his ear.
Looking angry, the King motioned for Suka to step back. She did, proclaiming, “The King has arrived at the Winter Palace!”
A deafening cheer rose up as the king’s court clapped and cheered. There was no mention of the fact that the king was three months early. Or that he’d been forced to retreat here because the Summer Palace had fallen to the Clansmen’s armies.
The King stood, the heavy golden phoenix amulet across his chest catching the light from the fires. “As always, the temple of fire proves themselves the most skilled fire dancers in the entire Kingdom,” as he said this, his eyes strayed again to Nelay. “The flame of Idara has returned to Thanjavar. May ever it burn!”
“Burn on!” the people called back.
The king sat down and servants flooded the room with fire baked bread which they threw like discs into the crowd.
Suka tapped her staff and the acolytes dropped their position. Jezzel came immediately to Nelay’s side.
“He’s been watching you,” Jezzel whispered. “And he looks angry. What did you do?”
Nelay didn’t have to ask who Jezzel meant. She could still feel the king’s eyes upon her. “Me?” Nelay said, incredulous. “If anyone’s done anything, it’s you.”
In truth, Nelay had nothing to fear from the king. The Priestesses were not his subjects, they belonged to the Goddess of Fire. But still, his interest made her uneasy.
“And risk my chances of being Liason, I don’t think so.”
There had been a time when Jezzel and Nelay had been the bitterest of rivals. Both were ambitious, rather brilliant, and best of everything. And then after a particularly nasty fight, Jezzel had hissed that they couldn’t both be the Priestess Liason. Nelay had laughed. She wanted to be the high Priestess, not liason.
In that moment, they realized that working together, no one would be able to stop them. Their alliance had lead to friendship, which had developed into a fierce loyalty. 
Nelay’s gaze swept carefully across the room. She stopped when she saw one of the younger soldiers. He was not an immortal, just one of the palace guards. But Tanzer had a pretty face, and a way of knowing far more than he should. Which is why she had employed him as a spy years ago.
She made the sign that she wanted to speak with him and left the palace, Jezzel forced behind her because of the press of the crowd. Hands reached out, asking for her blessing. Nelay gave it as often as she was asked. Pressing three fingers to their foreheads and saying, “Fire burn in your bosom.” It promised many things, life, passion, ambition, success.
Nelay stepped outside the open doors. It was pleasant out now, no longer cold and not yet hot. Nelay breathed a sigh of relief to feel the wind across her sweaty skin. She and Jezzel crossed the palace grounds and entered the upper city market. They headed straight for the cumfa tables, where they specialized in thick black liquid made from the cumfa root.
Nelay didn’t really like the stuff, but it was the best excuse she could come up with for her regular visits into the market, though the proprietor always provided lavender tea instead.
She got up as she always did to visit the privy, but instead of going out back, she stepped into the kitchen, which was hot and steamy.
Tazner was waiting for her. She wanted to come right out and ask him what he knew, but Tazner was one of her more finicky spies. More important to him than money was that she stroked his ego. “You’re looking dashing in your uniform.”
“Care to see what’s inside?” He shot her a cocky grin that she knew cause other girls hearts to melt.
Nelay wasn’t other girls. “You know Priestesses don’t have relationships with men.”
He took a step toward her. “Relationships, no. But dalliances, frequently.”
She tipped her head to the side. “Ah, but you deserve better than a mere dalliance, Tazner.”
He rested the point of his shoulder on the wall beside her, his posture the very picture of ease. “It wouldn’t get much better than a dalliance with you, Nelay.”
Nelay dropped her voice to a throaty whisper. “Well, I wouldn’t want you to peak so soon into manhood, would I?”
He threw his head back and laughed, and Nelay knew she’d paid her price without having to give him a single coin—she’d stroked his ego and made him laugh. The money was a mere formality now.
Tazner shook his head. “My brother in the Immortals says the king didn’t want to come to Thanjavar. He wanted to stay with his armies in Dalarta and Arcina, but someone convinced him to come back.”
“Who?”
He shrugged. “Don’t know.”
“Why?”
He grinned lazily at her. “Don’t know that either.”
She narrowed her eyes in thought. What could be more important to the king than fighting a war that had already cost him half the kingdom? “What about the Hansi Province?” Her father and mother still lived on the outskirts. In letter after letter, she’d begged them to come to Thanjavar, had sent them nearly every silver she had, but they had refused. “Nothing new.”
She sighed. “All right. If you find out anymore, I’ll be here tomorrow after the morning training.”
She pressed a silver into his hand and turned to go, but he captured her wrist and held on. She looked up at him as he leaned in dangerously close. “Are you ever going to give in to me?”
She patted his cheek. “And ruin all your other girlfriend’s hearts? I’m not that cruel.”
Just as she turned to away, her reached over and cupped her cheek. Before she could process what he’d done, he’d kissed her mouth. There was none of the hunger she’d expected from a man like Tazner, only gentleness. “I would give them all up for you,” he said earnestly.
Without another word, he slipped out the backdoor. Nelay stood in shock before slowly shaking her head. Pushing the heavy door, she stepped back into the pavillion. Jezzel was leaning back in her chair with her arms folded across her chest.
Nelay sat down, but before she could say a word, Jezzel grunted. “Tazner was looking very satisfied with himself just now.”
Nelay grunted. Men like Tazner treated women like toys—something to play with. She had more ambition than to ever settle for a man like that. “He wouldn’t know what to do with me if I ever allowed him to catch me.”
“Ah, but he’s pretty.” Jezzel said between sips. “And it might be fun.”
Nelay didn’t bother responding. “What did you find out?”
Between the two of them, they had a network of spies in nearly every level of government. They also had loyalty accumulated over years of service. And promises of support without any questions asked. Such a network was vital if Nelay was to challenge Suka for the title of High Priestess once her training was over.
Jezzel leaned over her mug of cumfa. As opposed to Nelay, she loved the stuff. “Someone convinced the king to come to back to Thanjavar.” She sat back, a jealous glint in her eyes. “Who has that kind of clout?” she asked.
“There are three ways to force someone to do what you want.” She counted them off on her fingers. “Threats, bribes, and loyalty. The king is the law, so a threat would be pointless.” Nelay looked past the busy market to the green of the high mountains in the distance. She squinted, not really seeing anything. “And the king is loyal to no one over himself.” That the king would die horribly if the kingdom fell did not need to be stated. “So that leaves some kind of bribe.”
“But who would have something so powerful in their possession.”
Nelay growled in frustration. “What did your maid say?”
Jezzel passed the note. “Only that the King brought his mistress and their children with him and it looks like they’ll be staying indefinitely. She didn’t think the king would stay long.”
Nelay let out a drawn out breath. “Perhaps we’re overthinking it. Perhaps he simply came to deliver his mistress safely from the fighting lines.”
“And leave the army?” Jezzel didn’t look convinced.
Nelay perused the childish scrawl before glancing outside. The wind had completely died, the calm before the ovat took over, bringing with it the unbearable heat off the desert. She finished the last of her tea. “It won’t be long before the wind changes. Come on.”
Jezzel rested her hand on Nelays to stop her. “Any word from the man you sent after your family?”
Nelay let out a frustrated breath. She’d sent letters after her parents, demanding they flee their small sheep ranch and head into Dalarta, but her father had refused to leave the land that had been in their family for generations.
Finally, Nelay had simply hired a handful of mercenaries and a handler to retrieve her parents, regardless of what they wanted. If all was according to plan, her parents should be on their way to Thanjavar even now.
They left the shop and moved toward the temple entrance. One of the guards, who were always very pretty to look at, stepped in front of her. “Acolyte Nelay, you are to report to your rooms and not leave until the temple servants come for you.”
She stopped short. “Why?”
The guard bowed. “I was not told, Acolyte.”
She and Jezzel exchanged glances. Besides the few times Nelay had been caught sneaking out of the temple grounds after curfew, she’d only ever been confined to her room before an advancement in her status.
“Are they making you a full priestess?” Jezzel asked. That was the last step in Nelay had left to take.
She slowly shook her head. “They wouldn’t do it today, not with the king coming.”
Glancing around, Nelay pulled Jezzel out of earshot. “We’re missing something. Something big.”
Jezzel bit her lip and looked around before leaning closer. The two stared at each other, and Nelay was suddenly glad she’d been acquiring an underground network since she was nine, when she decided she would be the next high prestess, that she needed to build a network. “Get everyone in motion. Let’s see what we can find out.”
  
Chapter

Jezzel pushed the door open, letting in a blast of heat from the Ovat. She stood panting, her clothes stained with sweat. She’d been gone for hours.
With nothing else to do, Nelay had taken a nap, as she always did during the ovat. “What did you find out?”
Jezzel’s mouth thinned. “The King’s mistress, her name is Zayid, one of the maids found her in her rooms sobbing.
Without a word, she went to Nelay stood with her arms crossed, staring at the blank wall. “You’re certain of this, Jez?”
Jezzel watched her carefully. “She heard the mistress screaming at him.”
Nelay “

“Good enough to distract a King,” Jezzel finally said.
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