Upcoming appearance: Norwescon

I’ll be at Norwescon this weekend! My appearances:

SATURDAY (correction: I had previously listed this as Friday) 6-8pm Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading. I’ll be reading for 10 minutes from one of my books, along with a number of other fabulous authors. There will be giveaways!

bu norwescon 2014 flyer

Saturday 3-4pm Autographing Session 2. If you’ve got anything you want signed. I’m going to bring some books along to give away as well. While supplies last, I’ve give one to anyone who supplies Justien’s code phrase “lemons in winter.”

Sunday 2:30-3pm Reading in Cascade 1.

Hope to see some of you there!

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Release party and giveaway: $75 Amazon gift certificate

PrincesFire_100DPI3Today I’m at Bitten by Books celebrating the release of Prince’s Fire! Starting at 12pm Central, this link below will go live (it won’t work if you click it before noon today):

Bitten by Books Release Party

At the release party, I’m giving away a $75 Amazon gift certificate! It’s done by Rafflecopter, and you can enter now using the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Prince’s Fire out today!

It’s here! I know it’s April Fool’s Day, but no fooling on this one: Prince’s Fire is out today!

PrincesFire_100DPI3The third book in my Hearts and Thrones series, Prince’s Fire features a mathematician heroine. Celeste wants to please her brother the emperor by marrying the Inyan prince they need an alliance with, but she’s understandably nervous about entering into an arranged marriage with a stranger.

Rayn, the Inyan prince in question, is wary too, not of Celeste herself but of allying himself to Kjall, an aggressive, militant nation.

As part of their imposed courtship, they take a boat trip together along the coast, and when they wind up shipwrecked together, they learn a lot more about each other than they’d originally intended.

This is one of my sexier books. There’s sex on the beach, sex in the water–in fact, the characters are sexually involved before they are emotionally involved, which leads to some problems. Celeste has body image issues stemming from a disastrous earlier marriage, and that’s something she and Rayn have to work through as their relationship progresses.

If you’ve read the previous books, you’ll definitely recognize the characters and settings. Vitala and Lucien play a big role in this book, as the overall storyline advances. But if you’re new to the series, this book can be read as a stand-alone as well; it has a fully-resolving story arc. I hope you enjoy it!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBookstore | BAM | Powell’s | IndieBound

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Signing in Albany, NY

Readers! Apparently I am insane, because I am going to upstate New York in the dead of winter. While I am there, I will be doing an author event (reading, Q&A, signing) at:

Flights of Fantasy Books and Games (Albany, NY), on Saturday February 8th at 7pm.

If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you!

So here’s why I’m intimidated: I have zero experience with serious cold.

Serious heat doesn’t scare me at all. I grew up in Texas and spent my summers outdoors running around in hundred-degree weather. I’m used to that and quite tolerant of it. I only got heat exhaustion once, and it was while riding a horse at noon in August, in full sun. Riding a horse is real exercise, by the way, if you’re trotting and cantering. I wore a heart monitor once while doing it and clocked rates up to 176. But that August/noon/horse situation was the only occasion on which I had trouble. Mostly I would just sweat buckets and drink out of the hose, no big deal.

Serious cold, on the other hand…

I live in Seattle now, and it’s cold. I have decent cold weather gear. Sometimes we see single digits, and we see snow about once a year. But the entire city tends to shut down when we do, so it’s not unreasonable to just hole up until it melts. And I’ve NEVER seen temperatures below zero. So this is going to be an adventure for me. Send me your cold weather tips!

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ARCHER’S SIN out today!

AmyRaby_ArchersSin800Today I dipped my toes into the waters of self-publishing and published a novella on Amazon! (For those of you who prefer other platforms, no worries, I have an EPUB version as well and will be publishing it post haste at B&N and other vendors.) While it’s a fair bit of work, it was also a lot of fun. I have a technical background, including a degree in Computer Science, and I worked in e-publishing for 8-9 years, so this stuff is pure joy for me.

ARCHER’S SIN is a companion piece to my Hearts & Thrones series. It’s not necessary to read it to follow the overall storyline of the novels (in fact, like this novella, each novel is a stand-alone story), but it tells the story of two supporting characters who will appear later in PRINCE’S FIRE, which comes out in April. Chronologically, this one fits between ASSASSIN’S GAMBIT and PRINCE’S FIRE, so if you want to check in on what’s going on with Lucien and Vitala a few years into their reign, this novella gives you some hints.

ARCHER’S SIN is a short work of about 100 pages, a quarter of the length of one of my novels. The heroine is a world-class archer who’s come to Kjall to enter a tournament and hopefully get a job, because she’s out of work. She falls in love with a man while she’s there. The problem? He’s her top competitor in the archery tournament, and neither of them can bear to lose to the other.

ARCHER’S SIN is on sale now for 99 cents at Amazon, coming soon to other vendors.

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Frozen: what is it about this movie?

Let’s talk about FROZEN, the new movie that currently is Disney’s highest-grossing film since “The Lion King” in 1994 (and since it’s still in theaters, it may pass up Lion King). Articles keep popping up in my feed about this movie. Why? What’s so special about it? I wasn’t even planning to go see it.

Well, I went, mainly because my older son badgered me into it (he kept hearing about the movie at school, and by the way this is a high school). Also because the power was out and we had nothing better to do. My younger son had to be dragged along; he really didn’t want to see it. When we left the theater, my older son and I started talking about the movie immediately. Who’s the protagonist, Anna or Elsa? Who’s the antagonist in the first half of the movie? We both really enjoyed it. My younger son said he thought the movie was terrible.

Well, guess what. The very moment my younger son’s iPod came within range of our house’s wi-fi, he had pulled up the video for the song “Let It Go” and was listening to it. He listened to that song about a thousand more times over the next 24 hours, and this evening he asked if we could go see the movie again. And when I said, “Uh, maybe? Sometime?” he kept badgering me about it, wanting me to commit to a day and time.

Clearly this movie works some magic, and one very important part of that magic is Hello, Hollywood, movies with female leads can be just as successful as movies with male leads. (See also: Catching Fire.)

Why does this movie work? You know what, I think it’s kind of a cinematic successor to Wicked, the enormously successful Broadway musical. Both Wicked and Frozen (note the similarity in titles!) feature two female leads, one of whom is “ordinary” (Anna/Galinda) and one of whom is powerful and tortured (Elsa/Elphaba) (note the similarity in names!). The relationship is a little bit different. In Wicked, Galinda is the shallow and popular girl and Elphaba is the rejected but powerful one whom Galinda takes under her wing. In Frozen, Anna is warm and caring and desires connection, while Elsa has a secret power she cannot control and isolates herself to avoid hurting people. So it’s not exactly the same story, but the character types are markedly similar.

The other big giveaway? The part of Elsa in Frozen is sung by Idina Menzel, the same actress who played Elphaba in the original cast of Wicked.

And then there’s this song, the best song in the movie, “Let It Go,” which Disney wisely released on YouTube so that it could go viral and promote the movie:

How can I not love a Disney song that uses the word “fractals?”

If you watch this song, and you’ve seen or listened to Wicked, you will note the great similarity of this song both thematically and structurally to Wicked’s “Defying Gravity.” Both songs are about the tortured/powerful heroine deciding to no longer hide her power and keep it carefully under wraps but to unleash it and reach her full potential.

These are powerful songs, and not the least because Elsa and Elphaba are metaphors for every woman who has ever been told to hide her abilities in order to find social acceptance. Don’t be too smart, don’t be too talented, people won’t like you, boys won’t want to date you. I have felt that pain–haven’t we all?–so it stirs my heart to see these powerful women casting off their shackles and unleash the full extent of their ability.

Anna is the protagonist of Frozen, and she’s very loveable. But Elsa, the sorceress who unleashes her magic to raise an ice palace out of the snow, is the character whom everybody wants to be, and is the reason for this movie’s success.

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Archer’s Sin: cover reveal!

AmyRaby_ArchersSin800Here it is, my brand-new cover for “Archer’s Sin,” a Hearts and Thrones novella coming out in January 2014!

This cover turned out to be rather difficult to put together because, as it happens, there are hardly any good stock photos available of women archers.  You would think these would be plentiful, what with the popularity of Katniss from the Hunger Games series, but no. The photographers have yet to catch up, and many of the available photos are unusable.

For example, one that the designer found featured an archer holding a longbow as if it were a crossbow. Given that the heroine in the book is described as a world-class archer and that she consciously thinks, during the course of the book, about her form and making sure it is correct, that wasn’t going to do.

For those familiar with the Hearts and Thrones series, this novella takes place after Assassin’s Gambit but before Prince’s Fire (out in April 2014). It features a couple who will appear again in Prince’s Fire. And of course, Vitala and Lucien are present in this novella, in minor but important roles. Here is the back cover copy:

Nalica Kelden, war mage and world-class archer, doesn’t need love. She’s come to the imperial city for a single purpose: to win Kjall’s most prestigious archery tournament.

Until she meets one of her fellow competitors, and he sends an arrow straight into her heart.

Justien Polini is the man she’s always dreamed of. Like Nalica herself, he’s from the rough country in the eastern highlands. He’s big and strong and handsome, and he’s nearly as good an archer as she is. Best of all, in a country where most men look askance at women warriors, Justien admires Nalica’s talent and strength.

But Nalica can’t let her personal feelings get in the way of her ambitions. The tournament must come first… and there will be only one winner.

Want to beta read? I’ll be sending out copies to beta readers at the beginning of January. If you’d like to participate, please contact me via my Contact Page. The overall content of the novella will be final by then, but I’m looking for typos, formatting errors, that sort of thing.

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