Daughter of Destiny Presale + Preview of Book

I’m over the moon excited to announce that Daughter of Destiny is available on Amazon for pre-order! Click the button below to place your order now.


The only version I can do pre-order for is Kindle, so if you’re looking for print, Nook, or other ebook format, you’ll have to wait until it comes out on January 1. :( If I could change that, I would. I’m auditioning narrators for the audio book now, so I’m hoping it will be ready by January 1 as well. :)

Even if you can’t pre-order, please go mark Daughter of Destiny as “want to read” on Goodreads, if you have an account there. And while you’re there, feel free to ask me a question about the book and I’ll answer it (within reason, of course). I’m very excited to finally be a Goodreads author! Be on the lookout over the next few months for giveaways there as well.


One question for all of you: what price would you be willing to pay for a paperback from a new author? I’m looking for your input as I finalize my paperback price. I don’t want to undervalue my work, but I also don’t want to chase people away with a price that’s too high. My competition appears to price anywhere between $12-$15. What do you think? Please let me know in the comments below.

And…to entice you to buy the book (now or on January 1), here’s the back cover copy for the book, as well as the prologue. Chapter 1 is available for free if you sign up for my newsletter.

Before queenship and Camelot, Guinevere was a priestess of Avalon. She loved another before Arthur, a warrior who would one day betray her.

In the war-torn world of late fifth century Britain, young Guinevere faces a choice: stay with her family to defend her home at Northgallis from the Irish, or go to Avalon to seek help for the horrific visions that haunt her. The Sight calls her to Avalon, where she meets Morgan, a woman of questionable parentage who is destined to become her rival. As Guinevere matures to womanhood, she gains the powers of a priestess, and falls in love with a man who will be both her deepest love and her greatest mistake.

Just when Guinevere is able to envision a future in Avalon, tragedy forces her back home, into a world she barely recognizes, one in which her pagan faith, outspokenness, and proficiency in the magical and military arts are liabilities. When a chance reunion with her lover leads to disaster, she is cast out of Northgallis and into an uncertain future. As a new High King comes to power, Guinevere must navigate a world of political intrigue where unmarried women are valuable commodities and seemingly innocent actions can have life-altering consequences.

You may think you know the story of Guinevere, but you’ve never heard it like this: in her own words. Listen and you will hear the true story of Camelot and its queen.

Fans of Arthurian legend and the Mists of Avalon will love Daughter of Destiny, the first book in a historical fantasy trilogy that gives Guinevere back her voice and traces her life from an uncertain eleven year old girl to a wise queen in her fifth decade of life.



I am Guinevere.

I was once a queen, a lover, a wife, a mother, a priestess, and a friend. But all those roles are lost to me now; to history, I am simply a seductress, a misbegotten woman set astray by the evils of lust.

This is the image painted of me by subsequent generations, a story retold thousands of times. Yet, not one of those stories is correct. They were not there; they did not see through my eyes or feel my pain. My laughter was lost to them in the pages of history.

I made the mistake of allowing the bards to write my song. Events become muddled as ink touches paper, and truth becomes malleable as wax under a flame. Good men are relegated to the pages of inequity, without even an honest epitaph to mark their graves.

Arthur and I were human, no more, no less, though people choose to see it differently. We loved, we argued, we struggled, all in the name of a dream, a dream never to be fulfilled. Camelot is what fed the fires that stirred us to do as we did. History calls it sin, but we simply called it life.

The complexity of living has a way of shielding one’s eyes from the implications of one’s role. That is left for others to flesh out, and they so often manipulate it to suit their own needs. To those god-awful religious, I have become a whore; Arthur the victim of a fallen Eve; Morgan, a satanic faerie sent to lead us all astray. To the royalty, we have become symbols of the dreams they failed to create and Arthur is the hero of a nation, whereas to me, he was simply a man. To the poor, we are but a legend, never flesh and blood, a haunting story to be retold in times of tribulation, if only to inspire the will to survive.

We were so much more than mute skeletons doomed to an eternity in dust and confusion. We were people with a desire for life, a life of peace that would be our downfall. Why no one can look back through the years and recognize the human frailty beneath our actions, I will never understand. Some say grace formed my path; others call it a curse. Whatever it was, I deserve to be able to bear witness before being condemned by men who never saw my face.

It ends now. I will take back my voice and speak the truth of what happened. So shall the lies be revealed and Camelot’s former glory restored. Grieve with me, grieve for me, but do not believe the lies which time would sell. All I ask is that mankind listen to my words, and then judge me on their merit.

[Guest Post] Wales and the Tudors By Sarah Kennedy

51YLOAqIy0L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_I am thrilled to have with us for the second time, historical fiction author Sarah Kennedy. The third book in her The Cross and The Crown series, The King’s Sisters, is out now. Today, she’s going to give us insight into what it was like to visit Wales while researching the trilogy. Take it away, Sarah!

The principality of Wales, to the west of England, has long been a site of contention, and many Tudor enthusiasts know of it through Shakespeare’s Henry IV plays, which feature the prince Owen Glendower, or through reading about the Welsh heritage of Henry VIII and his children.  The history of struggle over Wales, though, goes back much further.  The Normans occupied it, then the Anglo-Norman English, while the native princes of this beautiful and lush place tried valiantly to hold on to their power—and their homes.  A friend and I recently took a short road trip from Cardiff to Aberystwyth, wending our way north and then circling down the coast, stopping to see some of the historical sites that remain to mark the efforts of Welsh leaders to keep Wales out of the hands of their neighbors.  I’ve always been interested in the history of this small principality, and since a Welsh man plays an important role in my new and upcoming novels, The King’s Sisters and Queen of Blood, I was happy to see this beautiful place again.

The Tudor monarchs, during whose reigns my novels are set, were Welsh, but once they gained the throne of England, they, like monarchs before them, thought of Wales as part of England.  I want, in my novels, to highlight the tensions that existed between these two cultures, even during the long Tudor century.  Despite the fact that the red dragon of Wales appeared on naval emblems during Henry VIII’s reign, and Elizabeth I continued that tradition, Henry and his children are revered as English monarchs.

IMG_0807My friend and I were interested, of course, in the medieval Welsh castles that made up Edward I’s famous “ring of iron,” a series of fortifications erected by the king to subdue the Welsh and ward off invaders from the sea.  These are Anglo-Norman castles, and the Welsh princes often fought for control of them.  Among them is the great Caerphilly Castle, which was blown up from the inside during the English Civil War.  One of the great corner towers leans at a precipitous angle from the explosion.

image002We also visited Harlech Castle, which sits on the coast of the sea and provides breathtaking views.

These Norman castles are grand tourist destinations—but they’re not Welsh.  They were built by English kings to protect English interests.  We also wanted to visit some of these “more Welsh” sites, and wandered through the countryside until we came to Dolforwyn—a castle, as the small interpretive plaque informs visitors, “designed in Wales.”

IMG_0813This castle, which is difficult to find without careful attention to tiny roadside signs, was erected during the late thirteenth century.  The surrounding hills are now sheep fields, and visitors are asked to close the gates behind them as they walk up.  It’s a grand site, with views across the fields to the east, and though ruinous, Dolforwyn still shows what a castle (rather cozy in its dimensions) built by the Welsh for a Welsh prince looked like.  It has the typical D-shaped tower (called an aspidal), living quarters, cooking and storage facilities.  A town grew up around its base, protected by (and providing support to) the castle.  The builders, however, had neglected to sink a well inside the protective walls, and when attacked, the castle was easily taken by Edward I, who gave it to his ally Roger Mortimer (that’s my friend, Terry Southerington, peering over the edge!).

Many of these “designed in Wales” castles still exist in the Welsh interior.  They are often open to the air and neglected—and few visitors ever see them.  Most tourists prefer the great Edwardian castles.

Military fortifications were not the only great structures built in Wales during the Middle Ages, however.  This country was also home to many abbeys, most of which now lie, like the later-built castles, in ruins.  Tintern Abbey, made famous by William Wordsworth, is of course a popular tourist destination, but we made for the lesser-known, smaller sites, where monks lived and worked until the Reformation under Henry VIII.

IMG_0810Talley Abbey—or what’s left of it—lies at the end of a winding narrow road.  This little abbey was the only place where Premonstratensians (or “White Canons”) lived in Wales.  There’s not much left, but what is there testifies to a brief time of peace between the Welsh and the English, which allowed it to be built.  Sadly, the Cisterians considered the Premonstratensians to be dangerous rivals, and a lawsuit broke out which prevented the abbey from ever being completed according to the original plan.

IMG_0829The Cisterians, of course, fared no better under Henry VIII than did the White Canons, and abbey of Cymer is almost as ruined as Talley.  It sits behind a holiday park, part of a farm (visitors park at the farmhouse, which is just across the driveway from the abbey), but the remaining walls suggest a site once thriving, at least for the few monks who lived there.  They were horse-breeders, providing stud-service for Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, and though they, like other abbeys, suffered economically during the thirteenth-century wars between the Welsh and the English, their downfall only occurred—yes, you guessed it—when Henry dissolved the order and confiscated the building and its contents.

IMG_0809By the time of the Tudor monarchs, the great castles were out-of-date as military fortifications, and Henry VIII centralized power when he seized the church’s property.  Much of that property was in Wales.  The small, prosperous abbeys were closed, as were the English ones, by Henry, left to be scavenged by locals for building materials.  The Welsh Tudors have, in history, become more English than the English, and, perhaps ironically, many of the old castles’ occupants stood with the English monarchy during the later Civil War. And, yet, the complex and rich history of Wales that gave rise to their power remains—in its stunningly beautiful landscapes, its living language, and its many architectural ruins, both small and large, both Welsh and English, that still dot its hills and valleys and shores.

Do you have a question or comment for Sarah? If so, please leave it below. She’ll be checking them and answering as she can. Don’t forget, you can order The King’s Sisters at all major retailers.

All Souls Con Article over at Daemons Domain


So I promised to share a link to my post on All Souls Con in Los Angeles on September 12. I hope you all enjoy the recap as much as I enjoyed the experience!


Thanks to Valerie and everyone for having me!

Updates and I Admit to Being a 1st Person POV Author

Sometimes this is how I feel when writing in first person POV. Plus, I love this movie. And it    IS all about me, darn it!

Sometimes this is how I feel when writing in first person POV. Plus, I love this movie. And it IS all about me, darn it!

  1. I’ll be attending the Chicago River North RWA Chapter’s Spring Fling event next May. Because I’m hoping to do a signing there (it is the city where the book takes place, after all – Annabeth will be so happy!), I’ve moved the publication date of Been Searching for You up from May 23 to May 16. That doesn’t really affect anything now, but thought you would want to know.
  2. On Friday, I’ll have a guest post at Daemons Domain about the All Souls Convention that was September 12 in Los Angeles. It was so much fun! Be sure to check it out. I’ll post a link here once it’s live.
  3. Been Searching for You (under its old title, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not) made the final-final found in the Molly contest! Results will be announced in October.
  4. I have the proofread copy of Daughter of Destiny back and as soon as two more sets of eyes (and mine) read through it one more time, it goes off to the formatter. It’s starting to look like a real book..

Okay, so my point in writing was really to finally admit I’m a first-person POV author and likely always will be. I think I’ve just gotten used to it after writing Guinevere’s books for so many years. Plus, I tend to write fictional biographies, so it makes sense that my characters would tell their stories in their own words.

I tried third person with Victoria in Madame Presidentess mainly because it came out of my fingers that way – plus I didn’t want to look like a one-trick pony – but I’m now planning on changing the POV of the whole book to first person. A lot of work? Yes. But I feel that it’s necessary.

I came to this conclusion after several rejections from agents saying they just didn’t connect to Victoria emotionally. I think some of that may be due to the narrative distance that third person (even deep POV) gives you. So I’ve decided to go back and change the whole thing, plus take another agent’s advice and add in a section at the beginning showing you her early years. I think that will help you understand why she does some of the things she does later in life. Thank God this one doesn’t come out until July!

Looking forward, I envision a few books that will have multiple first-person POVs. I’ll use the person’s name at the beginning of each chapter so you know whose head you are in. I can think of three off the top of my head. One will have only his and hers chapters that will likely alternate and another will have *counts on fingers* four different POV characters (well, five, but one takes over after another one dies…). That will be an interesting experience to write, especially when I get into the male first person characters. The other will also be dual time period, so that might get tricky, but I’ll figure it out.

Long story short, if you pick up a book from me, it’s 99% likely it’s going to be written in first person. I’m just not good at third. But hey, they are my stories and I have to do what’s best for them, right? And I’m likely to write in past tense. Present tense doesn’t make sense to me for historical fiction and irritates me a lot even in contemporary books.

Do you have a POV preference as a reader? Do you care or are you more interested in the story? Personally, I think there’s an intimacy to first person that third usually lacks in all but the most skilled of hands. Agree or disagree? Why? Do you think an author should write in a range of POVs or stick to what he/she knows? Discuss.

[Guest Post] The Long Road to a Debut Historical Novel by Jeannine Atkins

Photo1LITTLE-WOMAN-webGrowing up, I liked to read books about ordinary girls doing things like fighting with or forgiving their sisters, but set in the past. Cooking in pots over fires or slogging through snow to reach wells or cold horses seemed thrilling. I started with an orange-covered series called “Childhoods of Famous Americans,” which were then shelved with biographies, though their use of dialogue and other fictional elements have convinced some librarians to put them elsewhere. I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books about Little Houses in woods or on prairies, another series that has made a similar shift to the fiction sections. I’m happy to browse for what I want, which remains books based on real girls and women who are full of dreams.

I found such a girl in one of the first fat books I cracked open. Many years ago, Little Women’s Jo March — huddled in a chilly garret penning plays and stories — gave me my first inkling that a girl could grow up to be a writer. My curiosity about other women writers stuck and carried me through college. I was unsatisfied with most reading lists, but scanned the stacks for books by women who’d been forgotten. I wrote some papers about them, and while I kept a scholarly tone, felt as if I were playing dress-up, again immersed in history.

The challenges and triumphs of women who came before me kept me good company as I wrote some stories that were published and two novels that weren’t. After I became a mom and read to my daughter, I found myself happily back with once-cherished books and the mother of the co-president of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Fan Club. The girls made posters (“Laura rocks! Ma rules!”) and wore old dresses to bake cornbread. Reminded of how life-changing children’s books can be, I put away my novels about angsty adults to write books for the young. I published picture books about paleontologist Mary Anning and religious reformer Anne Hutchinson, and collections about women explorers and pioneers in air and space.

No one should write history who doesn’t love doing research, and some of that is rereading books you once adored. I came back to Little Women, but what got inside me most this time was the half-hidden story of the youngest sister. In the novel, Amy March gives up art when she realizes she might not become great. In real life, May Alcott stuck with her paints.

I believed this real person who tried to balance art and love deserved more attention. Children and teens are a wonderful audience, but I wanted the girl I first met in Little Women to step out as fully adult, finding her way through or around traps and temptations and reveling in romance, too. For Little Woman in Blue: A Novel of May Alcott, I circled back to writing for adults who may find May’s struggles familiar, though they took place more than 150 years ago. Could May find a true love, in a period, after the Civil War, when eligible men seemed scarce? Could she keep making art in a time when women painters were rarely taken seriously? I loved exploring those questions, and finding a way to let another woman step out from the shadows of the past.

To learn more about Jeannine Atkins’s books about girls and women in history, please visit her website at www.Jeannineatkins.com.

Do you have any questions or comments for Jeannine? She’ll be around checking out the comments.

Book Review: A Man of Character by Margaret Locke

A-Man-of-Character-V7bI’m not a believer in coincidence. Even if I was, the story of how I ended up reading A Man of Character would have changed that.

I came across this book by accident when looking at a new site for romance authors and readers called Romance Debuts. I read the interview with author Margaret Locke and thought the premise  (below) sounded cute, so I downloaded it.

What would you do if you discovered the men you were dating were fictional characters you’d created long ago?

Thirty-five-year-old Catherine Schreiber has shelved love for good. Keeping her ailing bookstore afloat takes all her time, and she’s perfectly fine with that. So when several men ask her out in short order, she’s not sure what to do…especially since something about them seems eerily familiar.

A startling revelation – that these men are fictional characters she’d created and forgotten years ago – forces Cat to reevaluate her world and the people in it. Because these characters are alive. Here. Now. And most definitely in the flesh.

Her best friend, Eliza, a romance novel junkie craving her own Happily Ever After, is thrilled by the possibilities. The power to create Mr. Perfect – who could pass that up? But can a relationship be real if it’s fiction? Caught between fantasy and reality, Cat must decide which—or whom—she wants more.

Blending humor with unusual twists, including a magical manuscript, a computer scientist in shining armor, and even a Regency ball, A Man of Character tells a story not only of love, but also of the lengths we’ll go for friendship, self-discovery, and second chances.

It was only once I started reading that I realized the story sounded familiar. That’s because I had judged an early version as part of an RWA contest! (For those who don’t know, those contests are anonymous, meaning the judges don’t have the author’s name and the authors don’t know who their judges were.) I remember that I liked it, but thought it wasn’t quite ready at that point. It thrilled me to see the small changes and other improvements Margaret made in the book between when I saw it and when it was published. This is the first book I’ve judged where I’ve gotten to see the final product – a rare phenomenon.

Besides my personal connection, A Man of Character is such a fun book! It’s lighthearted (which is how I like my romance), sexy without being dirty, with just enough magic to make the never-grown-up believer in you happy, but enough reality to make your jaded adult self believe magic just could happen. There’s actually less about the big magic item than I would have expected (may I suggest a novella giving us the back story on that item and maybe even letting us read it, Ms. Locke?), but it leaves more room to focus on the romance, which is the heart of this story.

As the blurb above implies, Cat ends up with several suitors, each of whom I liked in a different way. (Okay, one of them was a jerk, but we’ve all known and wanted someone like that at some point in our past.) I found myself rooting for each one to end up with her at different points in the book. Now knowing the ending (which was A+), it’s interesting to sit back and analyze what it is that makes each man attractive and what part of me, and Cat, he was appealing to.

This book is the delicious kind of fantasy you never want to end. What girl doesn’t want to experience these dream dates Cat goes on? One made my toes curl it was so hot, and one was so perfect, I almost jumped up and down with glee. This is the kind of story you don’t want to put down and can’t wait to get back to because it touches an inner longing for that storybook story (to use a phrase associated with The Princess Bride) we’re trained as little girls to want. Actually, I think a modern-day fairy tale is the perfect way to describe it.

The supporting characters are well-rounded and relatable, especially Eliza, the romance-reading, Jane-Austen-obsessed best friend. She’s like your real friend, one who is genuinely warm, forgives you for not being able to look past your own nose, but isn’t afraid to tell it like it is when you need her to. She’s got a surprise twist in this story, one that I’m excited to learn from the excerpt at the end, we’ll get to read all about in the next book.

In short, A Man of Character is a fun read that will make you swoon, while leaving you clamoring for more. As a reader, it made me feel all the ways I hope my books will make others feel. (It reminds me a lot of my own book, Been Searching for You, but I’m biased.) I highly recommend it to fans of light contemporary romance. And Margaret, this is my second plea for you to enter it into the RITAs next year. It’s that good folks – it really could win romance writing’s highest honor. Five stars.

Have you read A Man of Character? If not, do you want to now? Are there any other books it reminds you of? I’m always looking for more books like this one and poor Margaret can only write so fast!

Publishing Updates and More Contest Awards

As you can imagine things are progressing fast and furious on the publishing front. I’ve filed papers for my imprint and hired a cover artist, as well as a map illustrator. The map should be ready in a few weeks. I should see a first cover design for Daughter of Destiny at the end of October. That means a cover reveal will probably happen in early- to mid-November. I should be able to put the book up for pre-sale around the beginning of November as well.

I’m also delighted to announce that Been Searching For You (formerly He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not), won the Golden Rose contest in the Contemporary Single Title category (sponsored by the Portland chapter of RWA).


It is also a finalist in the Molly contest (sponsored by the Heart of Denver chapter of RWA) in the Contemporary Single Title category. Placement will be announced in October.

In case you’re interested, I also have two new articles up:

I think that’s it for now. Will keep you updated.