Happy 5th Blogiversary and a Giveaway

5-candle-birthdaySo WordPress tells me today is the anniversary of this blog. I totally spaced on that this year with all that’s going on. (Just turned in final edits to the layout people for Madame Presidentess! No more changes after this. Only one more look-see to make sure they made them correctly. It’s officially done! You’ll have it in your hands July 25.)

As usual, I’m having a giveaway to celebrate! And this year I can finally use my own books as prizes. So if you go over to Goodreads by June 21, you could win a copy of Been Searching for You, my new contemporary summer beach read (US only – sorry but the international postage is a killer).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Been Searching for You by Nicole Evelina

Been Searching for You

by Nicole Evelina

Giveaway ends June 21, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/widget/190738

I can’t believe all that has happened in five years. When I started here, I was an unknown writer with no credentials and my first completed manuscript. Now I’m three-times published (soon to be four!) and have won multiple awards. It’s amazing how a lot of hard work and a little faith can pay off. Thank you to everyone for your support, whether you’ve been with me from the beginning or have just joined. There’s no way I could keep this up without you.

Here’s to five more wonderful years. I’ve got plenty of books in my head, so if you stick with me, I promise many more historical adventures to come!

2014: Year in Review

happy-new-year-2014-colorful-fire-wallpapersHi everyone! I emerged from the writing cave yesterday with a first draft of my next book weighing in at 107,000 words. It’ll get smaller as I edit it, but that’s two weeks away.

For now, I thought it would be a good time to look back on 2014.

Favorites
Moment:
Meeting Deb Harkness and my WISH sisters at Hedgebrook Second place: Meeting Elizabeth Gilbert
Book:
Tie between Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell and Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Blog Post
(on this blog): There were a lot but these two rise to the top: General: Hell Yes, We Need Strong Female Characters and Historical: The First Black Friday, 1869 – Stocks, Not Shopping
Memory: Getting the words “write” and “create” tattooed on my right wrist
Music:
Book writing music: The score to Belle, composed by Rachel Portman. General music: Wrongchilde’s Goldblooded.
Quote:
“Historical fiction writers are just as qualified to write about the past as historians, if not more so.” Deb Harkness
Unexpected Occurrence:
Joining the Romance Writers of America. Never thought it would happen, but I’m so glad I did it. Oh, and connecting with Sarah Kennedy, Patricia Bracewell and Nancy Bilyeau via the Historical Novel Society was pretty cool, too.

The Year of “Bloom”
On January 1 of this year, I declared it the “Year of Blooming.” While I didn’t bloom publicly like I expected to, it was still an appropriate choice for the growth and confidence I gained this year. The goals I outlined were (and progress actually made) were:

  • Delivering book 3 and another non-related book I’m working on to my agent by the end of June. I did this. Book 3 is still in a first draft that needs work stage, but at least I’ve got my ideas down on paper. The non-related book was He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, which went to her on time. I also delivered 80% of a non-fiction book and its proposal, which I haven’t talked much about because…reasons. I’m still hoping you’ll see it someday. I just have no idea when.
  • Finally being able to announce when Guinevere book 1 will be available to the world. I really shouldn’t have made this a goal because it’s out of my hands. I still don’t have any news here, but please know I haven’t given up on making it happen.
  • Researching and beginning writing another Celtic era historical fiction novel. This was put on hold in favor of the 19th century American novel I just completed.
  • Attending the Sirens Conference with several of my writer friends in October (and possibly speaking there if I can come up with a topic and get it approved). I decided not to do this because of lack of funds. But I was able to speak at the Lit in Lou festival here in town, so I consider that a win.
  • Finding balance in my life between my day job, writing and all the other demands of life. *snort* I don’t think writing three books in one year along with working a full-time job is considered balance according to any definition.
  • Getting healthier so that I can have more energy to devote to the things I love. Not so much. See above.
  • Being more active on Facebook. (I’m already on Twitter all the time.) This kind of happened. I scheduled weekly posts all year on Facebook, although with as much as they monkey with who gets to see it and who doesn’t, I really wonder about the value.
  • Traveling for research (cross your fingers that I’ll have an announcement on this soon) for book 3 and my current non-related book. Travel for Book 3 didn’t happen, but instead I got to take a week-long creative writing class from Deborah Harkness at Hedgebrook, which honestly, was way more beneficial. I did get to travel to Chicago to research He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not and I will share some of that with you as soon as the book gets a contract – whenever that may be.
  • Continuing to find new ways to use this blog to reach out to Arthurian/Celtic fans, book lovers and writers. Honestly, I’m not sure what I had in mind for this one. I didn’t do a lot of Celtic topics, but there were a few that came out of the non-fic book.

Writing
If I have learned one thing this year, it’s that trying to write three books in a year while holding down a full-time job is INSANE. That’s not a feat I aim to repeat again. At least not until I can write full-time. But it is really mind blowing to think that one year ago today, those three books didn’t exist; all I had to my name was the three Guinevere novels. Now I have:

  1. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (romantic women’s fiction)
  2. The non-fiction book
  3. A first draft of the 19th century strong political woman book (histfic)

Reading
Goodreads told me that I read 70 books this year, but that doesn’t include the five I’ve finished since they put out their tally, nor does it include the 30 something research books I used for the non-fic and the 19th century book. So my total is more like 100. How did I do it? A lot of audiobooks (sometimes two at a time), along with reading every spare moment. That’s about it.

Blogging
I know I was a little sporadic in 2014, especially toward the end of the year, but I’m coming to realize that when I’m focused on finishing a book, blogging is just going to have to take a back seat. I love you guys, but there is only so much of me to go around. BUT, I’m hoping the quality of content I give you weekly in between will make up for it. WordPress did this silly little year in review thing for my blog, so here it is in case you want the details: http://nicoleevelina.com/2014/annual-report/.

So I think that’s about it. Is there anything else you want to know about my 2014? I’ll be back tomorrow with another blog and several more this week, so stay turned!

Happy New Year. Let’s make 2015 the best yet! I love you all!

A New Venture into Feminism – Femina Aequalitas

womens blog header small“You, a feminist?” I can hear all of your mock shock and horror. I can also hear some of you saying, “You don’t need another project. Just write.” While that’s true, I have to follow my heart in all that I do, and it was telling me the time had come for this blog.

Those of you who have been around here a while know I’m all about the strong female characters. Well, that extends to other areas of my life, too. So I decided a few months ago to start a blog to talk about issues around feminism, women’s equality, female rights, whatever you want to call it. (Check out my “why I’m here” post for more about why I created this blog.) I gathered up nine of my closest friends and several people who wanted to be guest bloggers, we did some planning via email and voila: Femina Aequalitas was born.

Femina Aequalitas is Latin for Female Equality. (Thanks to Liv for the name!) It was an easy way to show what we’re all about. It just so happens that it was ready for prime time right around the time that Emma Watson gave her groundbreaking speech on the role men play in the fight for gender equality. (If you haven’t seen, go watch it. You won’t regret it.) I’m grateful she broke the ice on the subject; we intend our blog to be a place where it can continue.

We’re not like a lot of other feminist blogs out there. You won’t find any man-hating or hard-line rhetoric. As our “About” page will tell you, we’re a group of men (yes, we have male contributors, too) and women who are searching for equality among the sexes in our lives and in our world – in pop culture (movies, music, books, TV, etc.), world news, politics and in our own lives. We’re want share those thoughts in order to foster healthy discussion and grow a community of like-minded individuals. We are desirous of change, but aren’t necessarily traditional activists.

We’re also taking a different approach to blogging. For now at least, we don’t have a regular posting schedule; we just post when something moves us so that the content is fresh and heartfelt, rather than required by a schedule. (We’ll see how that works.) We also have a Twitter account that all of us tweet from to spread the word about women’s issues that way. Feel free to follow us at @feminaaequalita.

We’re open to contributions, so if any of you would like to get involved, please either subscribe or check out our submission guidelines, or both! We’d love for you to stop by and say hi. While we’re still in our infancy, we hope you’ll join us as we build our community.

They say to practice what you preach, and this is the best way (online) I knew how to do that.

What do you think about the site? Are you interested in joining? Or at least following the conversation? What do you think about the recent discussions about feminism on social media and in the news? How do you define feminism? Do you consider yourself a feminist?

We’re Three Today!

Photo courtesy of Tiiu Roiser - www.freetiiupix.cwahi.com

Photo courtesy of Tiiu Roiser – www.freetiiupix.cwahi.com

Happy Blogiversary! Can you believe it’s been three years since I started this blog? Wow, time really does fly. Thank you all for being here and supporting me in my writing and research. I love hearing from all of you. As always, if you have any suggestions about what you want to read about here, let me know, either in the comments or by email. I’m happy to take requests.

To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of Roman Britain and Early England: 55BC – AD 871 by Peter Hunter Blair. I thought that was only appropriate given how much we talk about Celtic history around here. If you’re interested, please let me know in the comments and leave your email address so I know how to contact you. I’ll select one winner at random on Saturday, June 21 (which just happens to be Midsummer).

I also wanted to take a minute to let you know that I may not be blogging quite as often for the next month or so. I’m going to try to maintain the weekly schedule, but I’m working very hard on a project I can’t talk about yet and it’s taking up most of my non-work hours. It’s something I’m really enjoying and I think you’ll be excited about it, too. I just wanted you to know why you may not be hearing from me quite as much.

Love to all of you!

We’re Two! Time for a Giveaway!

Cherio! I’m back from England! (Photos on Flickr, video on YouTube.) But I’ll start the posts on that next week.

Today, we have something else to celebrate. We’re two today at Through the Mists of Time! Happy blogiversary, everyone! It amazes me how much we’ve grown – 660 subscribers and counting, not to mention all of you who read this blog through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other forms of social media.

Of course, blogiversaries mean presents for all of you. I bought some neat little things in England:

Giveaways

  1. The three location magnets (Avebury, Stonehenge, the Uffington White Horse) are from Avebury. They can be given away individually or as a set, depending on interest.
  2. The four figurines are a set (they are tiny, about 1-2 inches tall) meant to represent a warrior, bard, wizard and I think a Saxon.
  3. King Arthur magnet is from the Glastonbury Abbey gift shop.
  4. The wall plaque of the Celtic god Cernunnos is from a shop in Glastonbury. (It’s about 4 inches high.)

If you’re interested in winning any of the above, please leave a comment below with your name, email address and which item(s) you’re interested in. The contest will be open through noon (CST) on Sunday, June 23. I’ll notify each winner individually as well as mention you here in the next blog post.

Thanks to everyone who reads this little piece of my mind every week. I’m keeping this short this week because jet lag is enticing me to go back to sleep. Love to all!