There is another award I know about, but can’t announce yet…
Sales Madame Presidentess got an international BookBub ad for December 21 to celebrate its film option, so it will be on sale all over the world December 17-26 for only $0.99 in ebook. (Don’t forget that it is available in audio and print as well!)
2019 Events 2019 is shaping up to be a busy year. Here is my schedule so far:
Book Signing with Missouri Romance Writers of America
February 9, 7 p.m. The Novel Neighbor 7905 Big Bend Blvd. Webster Groves, MO 63119
Presentation: Victoria Woodhull: Forgotten by History
Monday, March 4, 7 p.m.
Eureka Hills Branch Library
156 Eureka Towne Ctr
Eureka, MO 63025
I just had to share this review of Mistress of Legend from Reader’s Favorite. This reader gets it! I’m not even sure which part to pull out for an endorsement. (What a problem to have!)
Mistress of Legend is the third book in the Guinevere’s Tale series, an interesting recreation of the legendary world of Camelot with its feisty characters and intriguing relationships. Nicole Evelina reinvents the character of Guinevere and starts readers on an adventure with her as she returns to Camelot, a world splintered by political factions. Having escaped death at the stake, her options are limited, and while she wants nothing more than to be with Lancelot, she is embroiled in the turmoil in Camelot where Mordred is thirsty for power and the people are longing for her leadership as the former queen. Follow her on an odyssey that brings her back to Lancelot and how her people rely on her to save them from the warring Votadini. But does she still have the fight in her, the wisdom of the queen she once was?
For fans of the legendary tales of King Arthur, Mistress of Legend comes along as a sumptuous, delectable treat, a tale written in gorgeous prose and featuring characters that are richly developed, with multiple levels of conflict and an enticing romance. Nicole Evelina’s writing is daring, a work of great imagination, and I was enticed by the world she recreates in this story. The absorbing first person voice catches the attention of the reader as the protagonist opens the tale with Arthur’s men finding her and Lancelot in the woods and bringing them to Camelot. But this strength in the voice doesn’t ebb as the narrative progresses; on the contrary, it deepens, unveiling layers of emotions and the intensity of the conflict, keeping readers focused and interested. This is a book that fans of legendary tales will be delighted to read, an enchanting world to navigate.
Contests are interesting beasts. Like reviews, how well you do (or don’t) depends on the fit of your book with the judges. I’ve entered all of my fiction to-date in the BookLife Prize (which is sponsored by Publisher’s Weekly, but separate from its reviews.) Until now, Been Searching for You is the only one they liked and even it failed to move on beyond the first round – just barely. They took the top 10 books and it was 11.
I received the critic’s report today for Mistress of Legend. The overall score likely won’t be high enough to advance it to the next round, but I’m really proud of what the critic had to say about it. I think it’s interesting that he/she calls it a mystery and psychological thriller and compares Guinevere to Beowulf – totally not what I intended, but it if works for the reader, that’s all I care about. I’m proud to be in that company!
Plot: This book offers a cleverly crafted, suspenseful tale spun from Celtic mythology. Though many plotlines are drawn together in this Arthurian mystery, Evelina interweaves each line neatly, careful to not leave any strand loose.
Prose: With its eloquent style and lush imagery, the work retains the rich, earthy tones of an Old English epic. Evelina’s work boasts a careful interplay between riveting legends and modern sensibilities and will appeal to a broad range of readers.
Originality: Though inspired by ancient storytellers, Evelina transforms a murky, two-dimensional tale of kingdoms and conquest into a three-dimensional, psychological thriller with a pertinent feminist sentiment.
Character Development: The ferocity of female strength and skill present within Evelina’s work allows passage for protagonist Guinevere to be seen as a female Beowulf-archetype. However, like Beowulf, Guinevere’s strength is so palpable that she sometimes borders on two-dimensionality.
I noticed that you can re-enter any book from previous years as long as it doesn’t make it to the semi-final round. I may try that in the future, but maybe not.
It’s here! It’s here! It’s here! I am soooooooooo excited for you find out how Guinevere’s story ends. I LOVE this book and am so proud of how it turned out. I hope you feel the same way.
The Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy (Boxed Set) Release Schedule
Due to production delays and differences in the way retailers handle final files, when you can get the boxed set (which is really a single volume of all three books) will vary. To the best of my knowledge, here is when it should be available on the various sites:
Today is a momentous day for me. Not only does it mark the publication of my sixth book, Mistress of Legend (Guinevere’s Tale Book 3), and a single-volume compendium of The Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy, it is also the end of an era.
You see, 19 years ago Saturday is when I first heard Guinevere speak in my head. (Yeah, I’m one of those authors – wouldn’t have it any other way.) I tell the whole story in the Author’s Notes to Daughter of Destiny, the first book in the series, but for now suffice it to say she told me she wanted me to tell her story and that it would be unlike any written to date. I’ve always loved Arthurian legend, and Guinevere in particular, so I thought, “why not?”
That afternoon when I got home from school (I was a sophomore in college at the time), I sat down at the computer in my dad’s bedroom and began to type the words Guinevere was saying in my head:
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….
It goes on for a bit longer, but you get the idea. That prologue is mostly intact in the published version of Daughter of Destiny (though it was shortened a bit). I can’t tell you how many times I rewrote the first few chapters of the book (it was in the double digits for sure) as I learned to find my own voice as an author and developed a plot and style that was doing more than simply aping The Mists of Avalon (which was the book that inspired it). But somehow, Guinevere’s words remained.
(Some of you know this story, so feel free to skip down if you have heard it before.)
I never thought I would become a published author. For the next 10 years I played around with the book when I had free time from college, then grad school and my first two grownup jobs. But it was just a hobby.
Then in 2008 I started taking my writing seriously. The catalyst? Twilight. (Shut up.) By that time I was about halfway through what would become Daughter of Destinyand realized I had something worth reading on my hands. At this point, I still thought the book would be one doorstop of a volume (which is why I’m publishing the compendium). Upon researching the publishing industry, I realized it would have to be trilogy.
Fast forward another 10 years – past an agent, countless rejections (okay, I counted, it was like 40), three damn-near book deals with Big 5 publishers, self-publishing and three Book of the Year awards – and here we are, on the precipice of the final book being published. And I have to say I am very, very proud. It may have taken me two years to finish this book (much longer than I know my readers wanted to wait), but I think it was worth it.
I set out to give Guinevere back her voice and give her the fair shake I never thought she had from other authors (at least the ones I had read). In my mind, she was a full-fledged woman with hopes, dreams and desires, not the one-dimensional adulteress we usually see. In order to show that I set out to tell her whole life story, not just the part that involves Arthur. That meant dreaming up a youth for her in Daughter and imagining her heading into old age in Mistress of Legend. I feel like I’ve told the best possible story I could and did as much as possible to redeem her from the stain of sin past literature has laid upon her.
Apparently others think so as well. I sent an ARC of Mistressto my friend and fellow author Tyler Tichelaar so he could review it on his website. He liked it so much, I ended up using the opening of the review as a blurb on the cover. But the part that brought tears to my eyes was this line: “She has given back to Guinevere, an often overlooked and derided figure, her dignity and endowed her with a true personality.” Mission accomplished.
Completing a trilogy is no small feat. There were years upon years where I wondered if I could do it and feared I could not. I remember burning with jealousy the day one of my friends completed her first series. But now all I feel is tremendous accomplishment and pride. I want to jump up and down and yell “I did it! I did it! I did it! I did it!”
More than that, I feel like each book on the series got better as I grew as a writer. One of my biggest fears was that my story would end up like so many other trilogies and peter out or go totally off track in the last book. (Breaking Dawn, anyone?) In fact, I feel like this is the strongest book in the series, and early reviews are indicating the same.
Now I face for the first time in nearly two decades a future without Guinevere. (Well, not totally. She’ll be one of the point of view characters in Isolde’s story whenever I get around to writing that.) I will be forever grateful for all she as done for me. She was meant to get me started in my career, and I know she will gracefully cede the stage to the characters who come next. I just hope this trilogy is repayment enough.
PS – If you want to catch up, Daughter of Destiny and Camelot’s Queen are only $0.99 for a limited time…
PPS – For those who know of my obsession with the band Kill Hannah, the reference in the title of this blog to “a wild dream achieved” comes from their song “Believer.”
You read that right! Mistress of Legend doesn’t even come out for 22 more days, and it’s already on its way to its first award! It has been short-listed for the Chaucer Award for historical fiction talking place prior to 1750 by Chanticleer Reviews.
I’m especially honored to be on the list with my friend, the amazing writer Anna Belfrage, who is shortlisted for not one, but two novels! And there’s another Arthurian book on the list. I hope this is the beginning of trend!
Those of you who follow me on social media, specifically Facebook, may be aware that the Historical Writer’s of America Conference that I was due to attend and teach at was canceled less than a week before the event. This made me every unhappy.
Putting everything else aside, it meant that I was not able to conduct my research for the Rose Ferron biography. However, I have not given up. I have flight credits that will pay for me to visit Rhode Island another time. The foundation is working on opening a “domestic chapel” and display of Rose’s possessions, so I hope to be able to attend the opening and blessing of that, which is estimated for late this year or early next.
BUT, I also have two more pieces of good news:
The Once and Future Queen received a 4.5-star Crowned-Heart review in the June issue of InD’Tale magazine! They called it “a powerful analysis of Guinevere…[that] does not read like a regular history book.” This honor also means it is automatically nominated for the RONE Awards next year.
Mistress of Legend is done! It still needs to be edited, proofread and laid out in book format, but it is finished at 97,000 words. (That is significantly shorter than Camelot’s Queen, but slightly longer than Daughter of Destiny.) There is nothing sweeter to a writer (other than perhaps holding a finished copy of a book in your hands for the first time) than typing those two precious little words: THE END. I was really surprised and pleased by some of the twists and turns it took, and I think you will be too. September 15 can’t get here soon enough!