The Once and Future Queen has been shortlisted in its first contest: The Chanticleer Reviews 2017 Instruction and Insight Non-Fiction Book Awards. We’ll find out if it takes home the Grand Prize in its category on April 21, or maybe even Book of the Year! (Hey, it can’t hurt to hope!)
I’ve also had some really fun things happen lately and if you don’t follow me on social media, you might have missed them:
A blogger told me that she’ll be using The Once and Future Queen as part of her sources for presentation she’s giving at her local library and that she has asked them to purchase my books for the library. This is proof that targeted blog tours can result in sales!
My audio book narrator for Been Searching for You, Ashley Clements gave the book a shout out on Instagram Live.
I’ve known about this since before Christmas and keeping it a secret was just killing me! So soon, this little trophy on the right will join the others in my curio cabinet.
This is the first RWA contest that Been Searching for You has won (it has finalled in several others) and this one was a reader-driven contest, so it means even more because of that. That novel sits somewhere between traditional romance and women’s fiction and it doesn’t follow a lot of the traditional genre conventions, so a lot of romance readers don’t really know what to do with it. It matters so much to me that these readers understood and loved it, so it was finally recognized by an RWA chapter.
1) I found out last night that both Been Searching for You (long contemporary) and Camelot’s Queen (mainstream with romantic elements) finaled in the Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Contest! That’s an RWA contest hosted by the Ancient City Romance Writers chapter.
2) A few days ago, Madame Presidentess was named an Honorable Mention in the Reader’s Favorite book awards in the fiction – historical personage category. It may not be a win, but it is still and honor (no pun intended), and it puts me in the company of Anna Belfrage, who blurbed both of the Guinevere books. She also received an Honorable Mention and a second book of hers was a finalist. That is the kind of company I want to keep!
3) I am hard at work on beta reader edits to The Once and Future Queen. I’m hoping for a late October release, but it may end up being early November. I will let you know for sure once my editor and proofreader have seen the book.
4) If you’re in St. Louis/St. Charles, Missouri, be sure to stop at Main Street Books. They are now selling all of my books!
I should have news on Madame Presidentess audio soon, so stay tuned for that…
I’m proud to announce that Been Searching for You has been awarded the Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion for excellence in independent fiction.
I have to share this feedback that came along with the news because it’s exactly what every writer wants to hear:
“I have read a number of books in the women’s Lit/Romance genre and found this book exceptionally fresh. The main character, Annabeth, was an extremely real, believable character involved in the kind of real life dilemma that I could easily relate to…I would most certainly read other books by this author and others in this series. I am extremely grateful for the chance to read and comment on this book.”
I guess that means I should get going on the novella and four other books in this series, eh?
Camelot’s Queen and Madame Presidentess also have earned the B.R.A.G. medallion.
The B.R.A.G. medallion is one of a handful of honors that attempts to distinguish the best of independently published books in an effort to help readers weed through the glut of books and showcase the professionalism and excellence of certain works. It differs from programs like Library Journal’s SELF-e program in that it is not run by a particular organization within the publishing field, but rather by readers.
Plus, Been Searching for You was named a Novel of Excellence in the romance category. Whoa. (Imagine that in my best Joey Lawrence voice.)
The Author’s Circle awards are a division of Acorn Publishing. I found out about this contest when I saw a book advertised in the New York Times that had a finalist seal on it. I’m always interested in contests, so I looked it up. And the rest is history.
Yes, this is the official symbol of the Stiletto contest.
Been Searching for You is a finalist in the Stiletto contest, sponsored by the Contemporary Romance Writers chapter of RWA! Here’s the full finalist list. We’ll find out who the winners are at the RWA national conference in Orlando in July. So happy I will be there to attend the party and receive my award!
Midwest Book Awards I found out over the weekend that Daughter of Destiny won the fantasy category (Camelot’s Queen was also up for that award; I had 2 of 3 finalist slots) and Been Searching for You won the romance category at the Midwest Book Awards!
The winners were covered in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which is my first mention in my hometown paper. (I didn’t enter the IPPY Awards that are also mention in the article. Those awards are of questionable value for their price.)
Discovering Diamonds Reviews Plus, Daughter of Destiny, Camelot’s Queen and Madame Presidentess have all been honored with the Discovering Diamonds badge for outstanding indie historical fiction.
If you read nothing else, check out the review for Madame Presidentess. I wish everyone was as as enthusiastic about the book as this reviewer! Here are the links to the other reviews:
Other Big News Daughter of Destiny reached #49 in the historical fantasy category on Amazon over the weekend, which is HUGE! It stayed there are all weekend and is still in the low 50s. Thank you to everyone who has bought it and spread the word among your friends, family and acquaintances. We will get to #1 yet, together!
And I know about two more awards, but I can’t announce them because they aren’t public yet.
This week’s blog challenge is one I can’t believe I’ve never covered here before: My Ideal Romance Hero. I AM a romance writer, after all.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I am so NOT into alpha males. (Oddly enough I just talked about this during my romance cliche presentation last weekend at the Missouri Writer’s Guild Conference.) If you don’t know what that is, an alpha male is your typical romance hero. He’s usually ripped (think Fabio) and is very masculine, confident and bold. He takes charge to take care of his woman. *shivers* I can fend for myself, thank you. All that testosterone is just not for me.
Give me a beta male any day. A beta male is more vulnerable and sensitive than an alpha. He’s shy, sweet, reliable, trustworthy, easygoing but not a pushover, quick to offer comfort, feels deeply, and avoids confrontation. As author Cynthia Eden says: “The beta, well, he’s the guy you hope to marry in real life. Dependable. Steady. You know, a nice guy. The kind you looked for after you were done playing with the bad boy.”
I wrote Alex in Been Searching for You as a beta male. He’s highly educated, works as a professor (as opposed to alpha male careers like military, cop, fire fighter, construction worker, etc.), and he even cries while reading The Fault in Their Stars. He’s got a thing for theatre and the fine things in life. He’s basically my ideal fantasy man. My Lancelot is also more beta (although he may be a gamma), whereas King Arthur is certainly an alpha, which I did on purpose. Aggrivane is all beta. So is Miles from Been Searching for You. Nick? He’s an alpha-hole. (A subcategory of asshole alphas – this is a real thing in the romance community!)
Actually, the ideal man is probably what is coming to be known in romance circles as a gamma male, a combination of alpha and beta traits. There are shy betas who morph into aggressive, take-change alphas when the heroine is threatened, and alphas who hide a softer, beta side. If I had to pick, give me the former. I’d rather have the sensitive guy who will kick ass if I need him to than the one who kicks ass, but occasionally cries. When I think gamma male, I think Ben Pearl from Interred with Their Bones, who is totally my book boyfriend. he’s an internationally security expert and he protects the hell out of Kate Stanley, but he’s also highly intelligent and is able to keep up with her PhD-level Shakespearean knowledge. *swoon*
Ladies (and men who are so inclined) what does your ideal romance hero look like, physically and in all other ways? I want to know!