The Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy Wins an IPPY for Best Fiction Series

I just got a huge surprise that The Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy won Best Fiction Series in the IPPY (Independent Book Publisher) Awards! It took home the Gold Medal, which is the highest award. I didn’t even know it was a finalist. It so wonderful to see that people like it and appreciate the 19 years of work that went into the series.

The Once and Future Queen is a Women’s Book Award Finalist

I think we are officially in awards season…

I just found out that The Once and Future Queen is one of two finalists for the Sarton Women’s Book Award in the non-fiction category. Here’s the full list. Winners will be announced in early April, so cross your fingers!

The awards are sponsored by the Story Circle Network, an international nonprofit community of women writers. The program is named in honor of May Sarton, who is remembered for her outstanding contributions to women’s literature as a memoirist, novelist, and poet. The awards are given annually to women authors writing chiefly about women in memoir, biography and fiction published in the United States and Canada and selected from works submitted. The awards are limited to submissions published by small/independent publishers, university presses, and author-publishers (self-publishing authors). The judging is conducted in two rounds. Professional librarians not affiliated with SCN select the winner and finalists.

Two Books in the Quarterfinal Round of the Cinematic Book Contest!

One of these days I swear I will start doing informational blogging again…but today I have more news!

A few months ago (prior to Madame Presidentess being optioned), I entered a contest called the ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Competition, which looks for books that have potential to be adapted. Well, I just found out that both Madame Presidentess and Daughter of Destiny made it to the quarterfinal round! Out of 1,200 submissions, 423 books made it to this point. Here’s the list of quarterfinalists. I’m not sure when they will announce semifinalists, finalists, and winners (all they say is “soon,”) but I will let you know if either (or both) books make it!

UPDATE: I heard back from Screencraft and Madame Presidentess is disqualified from future rounds of judging because I sold the rights. Ah well, at least it made it this far!

Daughter of Destiny Named Best Indie Book in Missouri

I’ve known about this since December, but now I can finally talk about it! Just when I thought Daughter of Destiny had won all the contests it could… it won the Missouri Author Project for adult novels! As Library Journal states, “out of all of the submissions, these winning titles reflect the best indie and self-published eBooks each state has to offer in Adult and Young Adult Fiction.” This is huge because Library Journal is a very important publication in the publishing world, especially for libraries (hence the name). Its endorsements rank right up there with Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus.

Here’s full list of winners from all eight states that held the contest in 2018. (Where there are two, like in Missouri, one is an adult book and one is YA.)There will be an article in Library Journal as well and I will post that when it is available. If you have a subscription, you might want to check in the January issue. I’m hearing that is where it is, but I don’t see it online yet.

Updates: Awards, Sales and 2019 Speaking Events

One of the ads I will be running December 16-26.

A quick update before we start with a series of blog posts on Christmas traditions tomorrow:

Awards
Mistress of Legend is a semi-finalist in the Chaucer Awards for historical fiction pre-1700. We will find out the final results in April.

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

IBPA Publishing University
April 4-6
Chicago, Illinois

Historical Novel Society Conference
June 20-22
National Harbor, Maryland
Nicole will be presenting three times during the Reader’s Festival on June 22:

  1. 1:15-2:15 p.m. – Dynamic Duos: Husbands and Wives Who Worked Together During the Women’s Suffrage Movement (presenting with Hope Tarr)
  2. Time TBA – THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’: Historical Fiction Joins the Protest March (pannel with Glen Craney, Diane McPhail, and Charles Degelman)
  3. Time TBA – GASLAMPS, GHOSTS, AND TROPES: Writing the Neo-Gothic Novel (panel with Kris Waldherr, Leanna Renee Hieber and Hester Fox)

Novelists Inc. Conference
September 25-29
Tradewinds Resort
St. Petersburg, FL

Praise for Mistress of Legend from the BookLife Prize Committee

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!

Assessment:

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.

Score:

  • Plot/Idea: 9
  • Originality: 8
  • Prose: 8
  • Character/Execution: 8
  • Overall: 8.25

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.

Mistress of Legend Short-Listed for Chaucer Award

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!

My Friend Won Book of the Year, Too!

Remember how The Once and Future Queen won Non-fiction Book of the Year in the Author’s Circle awards not long ago?

Well, I just found out that a really good friend of mine, Sara Dahmen’s, novel Widow won for Fiction Book of the Year! I reviewed Widow a while back, under its original title, Dr. Kinney’s Housekeeper. It’s definitely one to put on your list immediately.

 

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that we were both honored in the same year. Sara and I met at the Chanticleer Author’s Conference in 2016, just after Daughter of Destiny was published. (That’s the same event at which Daughter was named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews.) We have been to several conferences together and are pretty close online. I am so proud of her.

Now, go read her book!

The Once and Future Queen Named Non-Fiction Book of the Year

Holy crap, y’all. I just found out that The Once and Future Queen was named Non-fiction Book of the Year by Author’s Circle, the same group that named Camelot’s Queen Fiction Book of the Year last year.

I don’t even know what to do with this. I didn’t even know the book was in the running this year. At the time I sent my ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) into the contest, they told me it wouldn’t be in the contest until 2019 because I missed the deadline (through no fault of my own; long story.) I guess they changed their minds.

I can’t even begin to process that this is my third Book of the Year designation. Much less out of five books. I never thought it would happen once…but three times…I don’t even know what to do with that.

As the notification came in, I was finishing the second/third (I’m not sure) draft of Mistress of Legend. No pressure on that one…not at all!

I think I’m supposed to post something all professional and humble when something like this happens. But you’re getting my real, honest-to-God reaction. If you need me, I’ll be on my patio, staring  off into space and repeating “Oh my God,” over and over…