Wow, I got the shock of my life last night when I logged in to Facebook to see that I was tagged by Author’s Circle. I had entered their contest, so I was hoping for good news, but I certainly didn’t expect to see that Mistress of Legend was named Book of the Year!
This means that all three books in the Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy have received Book of the Year Awards: Daughter of Destiny from Chanticleer Reviews (2015) and Camelot’s Queen (2016) and Mistress of Legend (2018) from Author’s Circle. Author’s Circle also named The Once ad Future Queen: Guinevere in Arthurian Legend as their Non-Fiction Book of the Year in 2017.
This is my fourth Book of the Year award. When I received the first one I was absolutely shocked. The second I thought was a fluke. The third was just unbelievable. But four? That’s like beyond mind-blowing.
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.
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…
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.
I was hoping to write this post a bit sooner than a week after the fact, but with traveling, the day job and other book-related events, I just haven’t had time. (What a wonderful problem to have!)
For those who haven’t heard on social media, my books took home four awards at the Chanticleer Author’s Conference in Bellingham, Washington, last weekend. I knew going in that Daughter of Destiny and Madame Presidentess were both going to get first in category awards, for romance/women’s fiction and historical fiction, respectively.
I had no idea that Daughter of Destiny was going to continue on to take home overall category Grand Prize in the Chatelaine (romance/women’s fiction) Awards. They asked me to speak (which I wasn’t expecting) and I told a short version of how I got here (two years to find an agent, two years with an agent, getting close to traditional publications so many times, then leaving my agent, unsuccessfully trying to get another and finally going indie) with the theme of never giving up, which I almost did many times.
Imagine my shock when it was proclaimed Book of the Year! I will never watch awards shows the same way again. Those reactions you see? They are genuine. I leaned forward, covered my face with my hands and uttered some sort of guttural cry. I think at a time like that, it’s all you can can do. When they asked me to speak again, I felt like the Oscar winner who didn’t prepare an acceptance speech. People told me the next day I was very eloquent, though I have little memory of what I said. I know I thanked my mom, who is always my first reader, and who was there in the room with me. I talked about other things, but I can’t recall them.
Later, when i was trying to hold up all four ribbons at once, i felt like the multi-Grammy winner who can barely hold all her awards. It is so overwhelming and humbling all at once. On top of that, you are in a state of shock.
I can’t even put into words what that night meant to me. I am so thankful to everyone who listened to me complain and be scared and frustrated and reassured me that I would figure it out. All of you who have been with me on this journey (whether from the beginning or just recently) are the reasons why I can now say I have written the Book of the Year.
I still can’t believe it a week later. All I can say is believe with everything in you, put in the hard work and it will happen. Manifestation, or as some of us know it, the Red Feather process, is a real thing and it does work, but you have to put in the work as well.
Thanks to everyone who has read my books or supported me in any way, shape or form.