Madame Presidentess is Now Available in Audio

 

I’m so excited to share that Madame Presidentess is finally available as an audio book!

It is narrated by the amazingly talented Melissa Frank.

Here are the buy links:

 

iTunes takes longer to load things, so I’m not sure when it will be available there. I’ll add it as soon as I find out.

Gimme More! Shows I Binge-Watch

I don’t watch much TV. In fact, the only reason I even own a TV is to see weather reports during tornado season and traffic reports in the winter. I have turned into my college English professor (he didn’t own a TV, which at the time we thought was crazy). I prefer to use the time to read, research or write.

Needless to say, I don’t have cable. The few shows I do watch are through Amazon Prime on my Kindle Fire.

orphan-black-image-orphan-black-36398134-1280-920Orphan Black (BBC America)
I wasn’t sure what this show was about for the longest time, so I avoided it, but one of my co-workers finally convinced me to watch it and I was immediately hooked. I won’t say what the main plot point is in case you haven’t seen it yet, but I can confidently say, there is nothing else like it on TV. I mean, the lead actress (Tatiana Maslany) literally plays 14 characters and she is so good that you forget that they aren’t actually different people. I binged the first two seasons over a single weekend. Starting with season three, I had to watch week to week just like everyone else. Unfortunately, the upcoming season is its last. Should be a good one because they have so many questions left to answer and loose ends to tie up. But they better not kill off Cosima. If they do, the fans will revolt. Or at least I will.

Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon Original)
mozartI love this show because not only is the writing fabulous, the acting is great and the music is amazing. An intelligent show that promotes the arts! FINALLY! And who would have thought the symphony could be so scandalous? The show is based on a book, which was based on real-life. If I ever get the chance, I want to read it. I need to add it to Goodreads.

I watched the whole first season in one weekend. The second was pretty much the same. I was worried when the third season started in December that it might be getting a little old, but the writers are doing better than ever. I will watch as many seasons as they can keep witty and fresh. Any show with Bernadette Peters is worth watching in my book, and Gael García Bernal (Rodrigo) and Lola Kirke (Haley) have become two of my new favorites. Saffron Burrows fascinates me for some reason, and even Malcom McDowell grew on me. This one is a must watch for any classical music or theatre lover!

Good Girls Revolt (Amazon Original)
good-girls-revolt-tv-show-on-amazon-season-1-canceled-or-renewedThis show follows a group of women working at the fake publication News of the Week in the late 1960s. They decide to secretly band together to file a gender discrimination suit against the magazine because they aren’t allowed to become reporters. Only men can be reporters; women are stuck as their researchers and don’t get bylines even if they rewrite the articles and/or do most of the work. The general plot is based on real events at Newsweek that changed women’s roles in the workplace across the country. But the producers admit to taking lots of liberties (probably the sex and drugs) with the characters. It’s a really great period show and I’m glad it introduced me to actress Genevieve Angelson (who plays Patti), whom I now adore. Amazon shocked fans of this show by cancelling it, even though it is one of their highest rated originals ever. I will never understand that decision. But I also can’t say I HAD to have another season. I enjoyed this one – watched it in 2 or 3 days – but toward the end it was getting a little much.

Murder in the First (TNT)
mitf_s2_g_coverI started watching this police procedural because Kathleen Robertson is in it and she’s my inspiration for Mia in Been Searching for You. I was also interested because Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter) was in the first season and I hadn’t seen him in any other role at the time. Man, can he ACT! One of the unique things about this show is that each season follows a different major murder case from start to finish. The first was about a tech billionaire (Felton), the second about a school shooter (with a subplot about a drug dealer) and the third was about a drinking and driving hit and run involving the DA. And just as I was writing this, I found out there won’t be a fourth season. Excuse me while I go sit in the corner and cry. This was one of the best shows on TV! Please go back and watch it, especially the first season. That is some fabulous, edge-of-your-seating writing and wonderful acting.

I also really want to see Blindspot. I saw one episode on my flight back home from Oxford and was hooked. I just haven’t wanted to spend the money on it yet.

And I will watch any Property Brothers’ show when I’m at my parent’s house, but I haven’t gotten myself to buy any seasons yet.

These aren’t out yet, but I will be binge-ing them as soon as they start, just based on the pilot episode. All are Amazon Originals.

The Last Tycoon
the-last-tycoon-amazonBased on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final book, this show “follows Monroe Stahr, Hollywood’s Golden Boy as he battles father figure and boss Pat Brady for the soul of their studio. In a world darkened by the Depression and the growing influence of Hitler’s Germany, The Last Tycoon illuminates the passions, violence and towering ambition of 1930s Hollywood.” I loved it because the sets, costumes and cinematography are top-notch and the storyline is utterly enthralling. I also have a thing for 1930s Hollywood/New York lately. Something about the glitz and glamour reels me in. The acting is great too, although I really want to introduce Lily Collins’ eyebrows to a pair of tweezers. My new fascination is Jessica De Gouw, who plays Minna, the late wife of the lead character. She’s going to be the inspiration for one of my characters someday; I can tell.

zZ: The Beginning of Everything
This show is based on the novel Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler, which tells the life story of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald. While I liked the book, I LOVED the pilot of the show. I think it gives the story the drama and fun the book sometimes lacked. Oddly enough, I don’t normally like Christina Ricci, who is in the title role, but she is PERFECT for this role. Can’t wait to see more!

The Collection
collectionI haven’t even seen a pilot for this, but the trailer looks amazing. Here’s Amazon’s summary: “A gripping family drama and entrepreneurial fable, set in a post-war Paris fashion house. It exposes the grit behind the glamour of a rising business, spearheaded by two clashing brothers. The atelier staff survived one war, but others loom; rivalries and romances pitting family against family, protégés against mentors, the past against the future.” I love shows  about the fashion world (yes, I loved Project Runway when I had cable) even though I’m not particularly concerned with fashion in my own life. I’m hoping this is going to be a great period piece chock full of drama.

Highston
highstonJust when you thought I was all about serious or period shows, I throw this one at you. It’s about a boy named Highston (God, do I hate that name) who not only hears voices in his head, he sees them as celebrities and imagines them as his friends. In the pilot, it was Flea from The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. And OMG is this show hilarious. It’s also way too relatable for writers.

As I was gathering images for this post I also came upon Flesh and Bone, about ballet dancers, and Maison Close, about brothels and prostitutes in late 19th century France. May have to give those a binge as well.

What are your binge-worthy shows? What else do I need to see?

Camelot’s Queen Now Available in Audiobook

Camelot's Queen Audiobook IIAt long last, I’m pleased to tell you that Camelot’s Queen is available on audio book! Narrated by Serena Scott Thomas, who also narrated Daughter of Destiny, this book covers Guinevere’s life as Arthur’s wife and queen of Camelot.

At the moment it is available on Amazon and Audible. iTunes usually takes a few months to approve books, so I’ll post that link when it becomes available.

Here are the buy links:

amazon-logo-icon audible_icon_125px

Happy listening!

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.

amazon_logo_large

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.

add-to-goodreads-button

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.

FREE SAMPLE
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.

Sample

Prologue

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.

How to use Amazon as a Research Tool

By Jonymamilou, CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A while back, someone on Twitter recommended a book to me that traces the evolution of Arthur, Guinevere and Mordred as characters. Naturally, I thought this would compliment my research nicely. The only down side was that it was selling on Amazon for $268. I don’t have that kind of money to spend on a single book, much less one I don’t know if I will like. Luckily, I remembered the interlibrary loan system from the public library and was able to get the needed information right from the book’s page on Amazon, and a few weeks later, the book is mine (at least for three weeks, then I have to return it.) That was when it hit me that Amazon is a great research tool, one I’d been using for years without realizing it.

We all know Amazon is a great place to buy books (I’ve gotten some great rare titles from their seemingly endless list), but it can also help you to:

  1. Know what else is out there – In many ways, Amazon’s catalogue is like a giant research database. A simple search can tell you what’s been written in your area of interest, and since they sell used books as well, you may come across some that are out of print or otherwise hard to find. And sometimes, finding a helpful book by an author can open you up to other things they’ve written (For example, Joan Alcock’s Food in Roman Britain led me to her Daily Life of the Pagan Celts). And because Amazon serves up books similar to the one you’re looking at, you don’t even have to try to find related items. Its search engine can also help if you’re thinking about writing a book. Who else has written on that subject? Is your book title/pen name taken? Has someone already written a book very similar to your idea? All questions that can be answered with a quick search.
  2. Make interlibrary loans easier – I love libraries. You can save a ton of money by using them instead of buying all your research, but sometimes the library just doesn’t have what you need or you exhaust their offerings quickly. This is especially the case in niche areas like mine. Enter the interlibrary loan system. I’ve only ever lived in one state, but I think all U.S. public libraries (and many college libraries) have this service. At my library, all you have to do to request a book you can’t find is go to their web site, click on the interlibrary loan form, fill it out, and they do the searching and shipping for you. But you have to have certain key information, like the ISBN number and place and date of publication. I’m sure there are other ways to find it online, but if the book is on Amazon, all that information is in one place. You just have to copy/paste into the form. If you haven’t tried an interlibrary loan, do it. You’ll be amazed what they can find and where it comes from. All you have to do is pick up the book, take good care of it and return it on time.
  3. Judge what to buy – Of course, no discussion of Amazon would be complete without talking about purchasing books. Their “look inside” feature is great if you’re questioning the usefulness of a book. User reviews are also helpful, although sometimes I question how much some of the people actually read before reviewing.

Some people may say this isn’t a fair use of the site because you’re not purchasing anything from them. It’s a valid point. But I can tell you from my own experience that having used Amazon for other things has made it a “go-to” site for me and I’m a more frequent purchaser because I’m familiar with the site and its offerings.

Note: I was not paid, or even asked, to write this blog post. This is purely my opinion and experience. I have no association to Amazon or any of its affiliates other than being a customer.

How have you used Amazon to help in your writing or in searching for books? Are there other non-traditional ways you’ve found to do research? I’d love to hear what’s worked for you.