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).

goldenrose2015_CST1st

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.

Why I Chose to Self Publish

Originally posted on Spellbound Scribes:

keep-calm-and-support-indie-authorsSo, as some of you know, I announced earlier this week that I’ve chosen to become an indie author. This was not a decision that I made lightly. In fact, if you would have told me six months ago that I was going to do it, I would have laughed at you. That’s because being a traditionally published author is a dream I’ve held for nearly 20 years. However, things change in that amount of time and I’ve come to believe that for me – as for several of my fellow Spellbound Scribes – this is the right path – at least for right now.

I want to be clear that I have nothing against traditional publishing. I may still end up agented and with a traditional house at some point in my career. I am closing the door to nothing.

If that’s the case, why did I decide…

View original 847 more words

Publication Announcement!

Image purchased from Dreamstime

Image purchased from Dreamstime

This is the blog post I’ve been waiting four years to write. I’m excited to announce that you will be seeing four (maybe even five) books from me in 2016!

That’s because I’ve made the decision to become an independent author. I’m even in the process of setting up my own company, which will be my publication house.

Here’s the publication schedule:

  1. Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere’s Tale: Book 1) – January 1
  2. Camelot’s Queen (Guinevere’s Tale: Book 2) – March 23
  3. Been Searching for You (formerly He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not) – May 23
  4. Madame Presidentess – July 25

And if the stars align, I’d love to have Mistress of Legend (Guinevere’s Tale: Book 3) published by the end of 2016, but that may be a bit ambitious, so I’m not making any promises yet.

All of these books will be available in e-book, print and audio formats. (Audio may come later than the others, depending on the production schedule. I’ll keep you updated.)

These books are the beginning of three series that I’ll continue in years to come:

  1. Arthurian Legend – Obviously, this includes the three Guinevere’s Tale books, but I also plan to write Tristan and Isolde’s story (Isolde demanded it when she walked into my head all those years ago), as well as several novellas. I’m also planning a companion book that tells you more about the details of my Arthurian world – you know, all the stuff that didn’t fit into the books.
  2. Love in the Windy CityBeen Searching for You was supposed to be a standalone novel. However, my beta readers immediately came back and demanded more, as have several contest judges. I’m pretty sure that there will be two more books in this series. I don’t want to give away more than that until all of you get to read it and tell me if you agree there’s more to Annabeth and Alex’s story (and Miles, Mia, and Nick).
  3. Heroines of the 19th CenturyMadame Presidentess (about Victoria Woodhull) is the first of four books about three feisty, mostly unknown, real-life women of the 19th century. Victoria was the first female to run for President in the United States. Another woman I will write about was a Morman with dreams of a new life in California, who unexpectedly became involved with Indians in the Wild West (I think her story will be two books). The other is a French woman who made a certain brand of high-end wine a household name in a time when women simply did not work. Though they are from vastly different worlds, none of these ladies lived the traditional role set out for women of their time and the world is better for it.

Which one will I focus on once the third Guinevere book is out? I have no idea. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I have 22 books floating around in my head, so it will really be up to the muse and the characters what comes next. Well, that and how all of you react to the books once you can read them.

As many of you know, this has been a long journey with many ups and downs, and I want to make sure you know how grateful I am for all of you sticking with me, whether you’ve been here from the beginning or are just hopping on for the ride. I plan to keep you apprised of every step in the process and will give additional information as soon as I can. Look for cover reveals, early sample chapters, giveaways and more as publication dates approach.

Eventually I’ll get to the fun stuff like scheduling book signings and virtual tours (hope to get to meet some of you via Skype!), but right now I’m working on securing a cover designer, map illustrator (for the Guinevere books) and editor. Plus learning everything I can about self publishing. Before long it will be time to firm up the audio deal. Every day brings a new challenge, but it’s something I am having so much fun learning. For me, this is a career and a business, so I want to get it right.

Curious as to why I chose to self-publish? Find out my reasoning on Thursday, August 28, over at Spellbound Scribes.

Are you excited that my books will finally be out there? Which one(s) are you most looking forward to? Anything in particular you want to see in terms of marketing?

New Book Titles Selected

I wasn’t thinking it would happen this fast, but my best friend Courtney and I did some brainstorming yesterday and came up with new titles for both books. Thank you to everyone who gave suggestions.

The new titles are:

Daughter of Destiny (was Guinevere of Northgallis)
(Other two books in the series are Camelot’s Queen and Mistress of Legend)

Been Searching for You (was He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not)

I’ll be able to tell you in a bit why I needed these new titles. You will be very happy when I do. Now I need to go and change them throughout this site.

Your Help Needed: New Titles for 2 of my Books

book titleI’m excited to finally be able to involve all of you loyal readers in an important part of the book creation process! Two of my books need new titles and I’m looking to you for help and suggestions. If your title is picked or your word suggestion is key in coming up with the final title, you will be mentioned by name (unless you tell me otherwise) in the acknowledgements included in the book, and you will receive a free digital advanced copy of the book as soon as it becomes available. I’ll report back on the final decision here once I’ve made it.

Here’s what I need from you: What titles do you think fit the descriptions of the books below? If you don’t want to think of a full title, what words or phrases would make you want to pick up the book? Short titles tend to stick in people’s minds better, so I’m aiming for no more than four words. (I’ll do the research later as to whether or not a title is already taken; you don’t have to worry about that unless you want to.)

Re-title #1: Guinevere of Northgallis
This was always a working title and I’ve never been happy with it. This is the story of Guinevere’s life before King Arthur. I want something that says Arthurian legend (but not literally) when you read it. I want you to know right away that this book is connected to the story of Camelot, but is Guinevere’s story. The two other books in the series are titled Camelot’s Queen (book 2 – someone else already took Queen of Camelot, darn it!) and Mistress of Legend (book 3) – these are final titles that I love. I want something that fits with these. The trilogy will collectively be called Guinevere’s Tale.

Book description (This may well end up being the back cover copy):

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.

What are your thoughts? Please let me know in the comments below.

Re-title #2: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
I LOVE this title, but unfortunately, someone else recently released a book with the same title. There is no rule or law that two books can’t have the same title, but it causes confusion when readers search for the book and I’d like to avoid that.

This book is a light, beach-read love story. I consider it a romantic comedy. Beyond the love story, it’s about maturing and learning to trust, as well as the power of literature and education to change lives. It’s not a steamy book, but that was done on purpose (in fact, my historicals are way more graphic), though it is made clear who is having sex. There’s plenty of snark and adult language to distinguish it from the inspirational side of sweet.

I’m looking for something that says fun, entertaining love story. One thing that may help you in thinking of a title is that the book takes place in Chicago, and the location is very important to the story.

Book description (not finalized):

Annabeth is a hopeless romantic who believes in soul mates. In fact, she’s been writing to hers each year on her birthday since she was 16. Now, at 34, she’s still holding out hope of finding Mr. Right even though he’d be fighting an uphill battle to gain her trust, thanks to a traumatic experience years before with her childhood friend/college boyfriend, Nick.

When Annabeth meets a handsome literature professor named Alex on her 34th birthday, she thinks her quest may be at an end. But things don’t quite go as planned, so Annabeth resolves to do everything she can over the next year to get over her issues and find the unknown recipient of her letters. This leads to many awkward and humorous dating incidents, culminating in the unexpected reappearance of Alex, her handsome birthday boy, as a work client. Just when Annabeth thinks her life can’t get any more confusing, Nick comes crashing back into her life, turning her world on its head and forcing her to face all of her old insecurities and unresolved feelings.

Written in the tradition of Bridget Jones’ Diary, Kim Gruenfelder’s A Total Waste of Makeup, and Melissa Pimental’s Love By The Book, this novel shows love on the sweet side and would be right at home on the Hallmark Channel or Lifetime.

Thoughts? Ideas? Please leave them in the comments.

I really appreciate all of you and I hope you have fun with this. I really want to involve my readers in the book process as I can and I hope you enjoy this first opportunity to help shape the books you’ll soon be reading.

 

Book Review: Blythewood by Carol Goodman

BlythewoodWhy wasn’t this book on the top of the New York Times YA bestseller list? And how quickly can I start the second one? That’s what I wanted to scream when finished the first book in Carol Goodman’s Blythewood Tales trilogy, in a mere three days.

First, a quick recap:

Seventeen-year-old Avaline (Ava) Hall is a regular factory girl in 1911 New York until the day of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which claims the lives of 145 workers. But Ava survives, thanks to the help of a mysterious winged boy who begins to visit her in her dreams after the fire. After months in an insane asylum, thanks to someone who wasn’t happy she survived, Ava begins a new life as a student of Blythewood, which is anything but the all-girls finishing school the normal world sees. The initiated know it for what it is: the training ground in a centuries-old fight against evil – a world of strange creatures who eat mortal souls, creatures not unlike her winged savior. As Ava begins to uncover the mysteries of Blythewood, she also reveals mysteries about herself and her family – conspiracies of wild magic, charmed bells, mysterious smoke and cursed bloodlines that affect not only her world, but the events that shape modern history.

Think Harry Potter in an all-girls boarding school in the Hudson Valley, with echoes of Robin Lefevers’ His Fair Assassin series. But yet, this book is anything but a rip-off. Goodman’s intricate mythology is the number one reason to read Blythewood. While her school is much like any other single-sex institution, the ancient bent of its traditions and study give it a fresh purpose. Run of the mill courses like Latin, history and literature take on deeper meaning when they are used for magic. Archery isn’t just another form of physical education; it’s a matter of life and death. You see, in this world, what we perceive with our human eyes is only part of the story. The creatures from our children’s books and our worst nightmares live right under our noses, some fighting to protect us, others plotting our demise. Part fairy tale, part female hero’s journey, Blythewood is unlike anything else you’ve ever read.

I am a huge fan of Goodman’s adult work, particularly Arcadia Falls and The Sonnet Lover, but even after having read several of her books, she continues to impress me with her skill at creating atmosphere and painting a world which you never want to leave. I was thinking about it at work. I wore my class ring because I went to an all-girls high school (but not a boarding school) and that gave me a small connection to Blythewood. I found myself wondering what my special powers would be, if I had any, and which of the main characters/roles at the school I would be. I even debated which side of the love triangle I’m on (don’t groan; it’s an interesting one that I don’t think will resolve as simply as many other YAs have).

The only thing that itched at me the whole time I was reading was the fact that the book takes place in the early 20th century instead of the modern era, which I kept forgetting. Then I read the last 20 or so pages. Without giving anything away, I will say that Goodman connected her story to a major event in history in a way I never would have suspected. I was so excited actually cheered when I read it.

This is a book you don’t want to miss. Trust me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to reading the next book, which I can’t devour fast enough.

PS – If you like this one and want something similar in the adult realm, check out The Demon Lover, also written by Goodman, under the pen name of Juliet Dark.

Have you read Blythewood or any of Carol Goodman/Juliet Dark’s books? If so, what did you think? If not, what interests you about this book?

We Won! Romancing the URL Contest

aspiringauthorRTUbgWanted to take a minute to once again thank everyone who voted for my site in the Romancing the URL contest. Thanks to you, this site won not only the Aspiring Author category (judged by industry professionals), but also the Viewer’s Choice Award!

I started learning HTML and web sites back in 1997 when I was obsessed with a local band and wanted to help promote them in the wild west of the world wide web (back then, they didn’t even have an official band site). Little did I know that I would one day be an author and those skills would win contests. Just goes to show that skills are never wasted and everything happens for a reason!