Sunday, October 16, 2011

Here is the Synopsis from Karen's Facebook Page:

Ember has been accepted into the mage academy, but not without cost. She has gained a new enemy, ancient and dark, whose entire purpose is to destroy all white magic and her along with it. After nearly losing her life in a brutal attack, DeMunth is assigned her guardian, and the keystone he wears, The Armor of Light, begins the transition that will make it a true power.

Kayla has lost most everything of importance to her—the people, the prestige, and all she fought for the past ten years. With nothing left to lose, she continues her search for the birthplace of The Sapphire Flute and the Wolfchild she believes to be its player. Her journey will take her to strange, foreign, and often dangerous places, and everything she had thought to be true will be proven wrong.

In a showdown full of betrayal and heroic loss, Ember and Kayla finally meet on the battlefield, fighting a war on two fronts—against C'Tan and her people, and the mysterious enemy bent on destroying all magic—the shadow weavers.

The story is full of power, betrayal, hope, and love. The elements of the universe are coming together, and none can know who will stand in the end.

The Armor of Light picks up where The Sapphire Flute ends--with a world on the brink of destruction and one girl with the power to unite the magical forces that can save it. 

Just like the first book, AoL is told from the POV of three different women.  Ember has to learn how to control her potentially dangerous powers.  She has been accepted at the Mage Academy, but who is qualified to teach her.  And what will she do about the undercover traitors in her midst?  Can she trust anyone?

Kayla is learning how to use the Sapphire Flute.  She attracts the attention of Sarali's handsome brother, much to Brandt's dismay.  She is disgusted by the two men's attempts to win her heart.  There are some hilarious moments as they fight over her.  Kayla also has some lessons she has to learn the hard way, and the cost is devastating.  Will she ever recover from the mistakes she has made?

C'Tan, the villain is so deliciously tortured. She is a myriad of contradictions and that makes her such a compelling character. She is determined to destroy Ember and all who stand with her and to gain control of the keystones for her evil master. She has sent spies to the Mage Academy.  Will they remain loyal to her?  Will they be discovered?  Will her master continue to turn a blind eye to her failures?

DeMunth becomes a knight in shining armor--literally--charged with the responsibility of protecting Ember.  He doesn't seem to mind his new job, in fact, you'll have to read to find out just how much he enjoys it. (wink, wink)

The story moves forward at an exciting pace.  There are scary bad guys, action scenes, romance, friendship, betrayal, heart breaks, monsters, true love...(Is this a kissing book?) Everything I look for in a novel. 

Karen is a master of Character.  From the first page of the Sapphire Flute, I felt a connection with the people I was reading about.  Truthfully, I procrastinated reading for the last few days because I knew I was getting close to the end.

So, to sum up, if you haven't become a fan of the Wolfchild Saga, what are you waiting for?

Thank-you , Karen for letting me preview this book.  It is fantastic.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Welcome to the October Blog Hop, where you can visit new blogs, enter to win prizes, and have a great time!

At the bottom of this post, you'll see a list of participating blogs. Just click on each link, check out the prize, and follow the easy instructions to enter. You can enter on each blog, so it's possible to win multiple times. It's frighteningly easy.

On this blog, you can win ...a $15.00 gift card.

To enter, all you need to do is:

1. Become a follower of my blog.

2. Leave a comment on this post and tell me why you'd like to win this prize. If your e-mail address isn't visible through your Blogger profile, please also leave it with the comment so I can notify you if you win. You can enter until midnight MST on Saturday night, October 15th.

That's it! You are now entered. Now please go visit all my friends on the list below. It's almost like trick or treating!

October Blog Hop Participants
1. Tristi Pinkston
2. I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
3. Bonnie Harris
4. Michael D. Young
5. Misty Moncur
6. Debbie Davis
7. Mandi Tucker Slack
8. Mary Ann Dennis
9. Deanna Henderson
10. Laura Bastian
11. Kristy Tate
12. Kristy Wilson
13. Jennifer Debenham
14. Jenny Moore
15. Elizabeth Hughes
16. J. Lloyd Morgan
17. Close Encounters with the Night Kind
18. Billy Boulden
19. Scott Bryan
20. Maria Hoagland
21. Shirley Bahlmann
22. Shelly Brown
23. Marcy Howes
24. Lynnea Mortensen
25. Jaclyn M. Hawkes
26. Diane Stringam Tolley
27. Gail Zuniga
28. Betsy Love
29. iWriteNetwork
30. Canda's InkBlast
31. Stacy Coles

Learn more about October Blog Hop here.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Look who I hung out with tonight! How lucky am I?

Is that famous author, James Dashner? Why yes. Yes it is.
I was so lucky to be able to go to an event tonight where James Dashner, Matthew Kirby and Brandon Mull were doing a question/answer panel. It was fantastic. They talked about their books, of course. But the thing that really made an impression on me was when they all talked about how many times they were turned down by publishers. Brandon said that he worked for four years to get Fablehaven published. I know it's easy for them to talk about it now, in retrospect, but it was still so great for someone like me to hear. They were funny and full of encouragement and advice for writers who are just starting out.
Another topic that they discussed was 'critique groups.' I read Josi's classes on this subject on W.I., too. I really think that a group is such a useful tool to improving your writing. It has been invaluable to me--even though I've had to grow some thicker skin.
All in all, it was a lovely evening and I was thrilled to be able to rub shoulders with some great writers that I admire. I guess it's hard to technically rub shoulders with someone so tall, but you know what I mean.
On a side note, the other handsome devil in this photo is my son, James who is an avid reader and turning out to be a pretty creative writer. I'm so proud!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What's in a name?

How important is a character's name? Obviously, we've all read books where the character's name is unforgettable: Frodo Baggins, Dagney Taggert, Nick Carraway, Mr. Darcy, Roland of Gilead.
But what if you picked up the sequel to a book you read a few months ago and some of the names were changed? Would you notice?
I read "Salem's Lot" about 6 months ago. I remember the characters pretty well. There was an author. He was brave, disciplined, used a typewriter, and liked to take walks. He fell in love with a girl he met in the town. There is nothing unusual about her character. I liked her. She was a reader--that's how she knew the author, and beautiful. There was a boy--he was intelligent and spoke like an adult. Then, of course there was a vampire and his servant.
So, here's the thing. I don't remember any of their names. Not one. The priest reappears in another of Stephen King's books, and I still don't remember his name--Father (something Irish, I think, McCulloch? Callahan?)
If the illustrious Mr. King were to write a sequel to "Salem's Lot" and assign all of the characters new names, I probably wouldn't notice, as long as the characters were the same.
So, here's my point... Do I really have one? I think my point is that the characterization is more important than the name you give your character-- in this example anyway.
A friend of mine is about to publish a sequel to her first book (Just so I don't give too much away about the plot of her next book, I'll keep her anonymous, but it is still probably pretty obvious)
Anyway, some of the characters need to go under cover and in order to protect their identities, they are given new names. So, for the rest of the story, they go by these new names.
Some of the people in our critique group think this is too confusing--now, who is this again? We even discussed how many times is appropriate for the author to remind the reader of which names were changed. Seriously, the more I think about it, the less important the actual names are. I really think as long as her characterization is on the mark, readers won't be too confused. We naturally read more carefully when we critique instead of just enjoying the story.
Another book I've been reading is Karen Hoover's "Armor of Light." Her main character is called different things by different people, and she isn't the only one. There are other characters who use secret names for each other, and without her overly explaining it, I haven't been confused once.
So, just to play devil's advocate, I'll go back to Karen's book to support the opposite view. Her main character, Ember was given her name to conceal her identity as she and her mother started a new life. She was named after the fire that killed her father. Her name is way important. If I picked up the sequel to this book and she wasn't called Ember or Shandae, I would totally notice. No matter how well her character was written (and she is such a great character!) Just like I would notice if Edward Cullen had a different name in Breaking Dawn. How do I remember every name of every character in Harry Potter? Would I still throw my book against the wall with a scream if it was Steve Jones that told Scarlett O'Hara that frankly he didn't give a damn?
What's the answer? Are some names just more memorable? Are some characters just written so well that their name doesn't matter? Does it depend on the book--like if it is more literary, their names may represent their character, their destiny, their allegiance, or their darkest secret?
Could all these answers be right?
Would Jane Bennett by any other name still seem as sweet?
Tell me what you think.
By the way, I think the vampire's name is Barlow.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Roll ipad Contest

Just in time for Fall, it's Josi Kilpack's latest book in the Sadie Hoffmiller series. If you've never read a cullinary mystery, they are stories that creatively incorporate food and recipes and Josi does it like a genius. Her books are clever and funny with just the right amount of sentimentality. Josi is a wonderful person and author. I should know because she's been one of my closest friends for over twenty years!

Sadie is not your typical heroine. She is adorable, middle aged, a little crazy and a super cook who seems to stumble onto mysteries wherever she goes. With her unorthodox and slightly hilarious methods, she is able to crack the case.Anyway, I'll be getting myself a copy to add to my collection. Look at that darling cover. You can go ahead and judge the book by it. It won't dissapoint.Oh, yeah...leave a comment and you're automatically entered to win an Ipad 2! More info on