OMG y’all I am so excited! Camelot’s Queen has been chosen by TaleFlick as Team Pick. TaleFlick is a company comprised of movie/TV producers (including one formerly of Apple and Netflix), filmmakers, writers and tech experts that aims to get storyteller’s stories turned into TV and movies.
Now, this doesn’t mean there’s been an offer; only that Camelot’s Queen is getting extra promo from the company, but the more eyes that see it, the more likely it is that Camelot’s Queen will be eventually turned into something. Cross your fingers!
Today is a momentous day for me. Not only does it mark the publication of my sixth book, Mistress of Legend (Guinevere’s Tale Book 3), and a single-volume compendium of The Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy, it is also the end of an era.
You see, 19 years ago Saturday is when I first heard Guinevere speak in my head. (Yeah, I’m one of those authors – wouldn’t have it any other way.) I tell the whole story in the Author’s Notes to Daughter of Destiny, the first book in the series, but for now suffice it to say she told me she wanted me to tell her story and that it would be unlike any written to date. I’ve always loved Arthurian legend, and Guinevere in particular, so I thought, “why not?”
That afternoon when I got home from school (I was a sophomore in college at the time), I sat down at the computer in my dad’s bedroom and began to type the words Guinevere was saying in my head:
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….
It goes on for a bit longer, but you get the idea. That prologue is mostly intact in the published version of Daughter of Destiny (though it was shortened a bit). I can’t tell you how many times I rewrote the first few chapters of the book (it was in the double digits for sure) as I learned to find my own voice as an author and developed a plot and style that was doing more than simply aping The Mists of Avalon (which was the book that inspired it). But somehow, Guinevere’s words remained.
(Some of you know this story, so feel free to skip down if you have heard it before.)
I never thought I would become a published author. For the next 10 years I played around with the book when I had free time from college, then grad school and my first two grownup jobs. But it was just a hobby.
Then in 2008 I started taking my writing seriously. The catalyst? Twilight. (Shut up.) By that time I was about halfway through what would become Daughter of Destinyand realized I had something worth reading on my hands. At this point, I still thought the book would be one doorstop of a volume (which is why I’m publishing the compendium). Upon researching the publishing industry, I realized it would have to be trilogy.
Fast forward another 10 years – past an agent, countless rejections (okay, I counted, it was like 40), three damn-near book deals with Big 5 publishers, self-publishing and three Book of the Year awards – and here we are, on the precipice of the final book being published. And I have to say I am very, very proud. It may have taken me two years to finish this book (much longer than I know my readers wanted to wait), but I think it was worth it.
I set out to give Guinevere back her voice and give her the fair shake I never thought she had from other authors (at least the ones I had read). In my mind, she was a full-fledged woman with hopes, dreams and desires, not the one-dimensional adulteress we usually see. In order to show that I set out to tell her whole life story, not just the part that involves Arthur. That meant dreaming up a youth for her in Daughter and imagining her heading into old age in Mistress of Legend. I feel like I’ve told the best possible story I could and did as much as possible to redeem her from the stain of sin past literature has laid upon her.
Apparently others think so as well. I sent an ARC of Mistressto my friend and fellow author Tyler Tichelaar so he could review it on his website. He liked it so much, I ended up using the opening of the review as a blurb on the cover. But the part that brought tears to my eyes was this line: “She has given back to Guinevere, an often overlooked and derided figure, her dignity and endowed her with a true personality.” Mission accomplished.
Completing a trilogy is no small feat. There were years upon years where I wondered if I could do it and feared I could not. I remember burning with jealousy the day one of my friends completed her first series. But now all I feel is tremendous accomplishment and pride. I want to jump up and down and yell “I did it! I did it! I did it! I did it!”
More than that, I feel like each book on the series got better as I grew as a writer. One of my biggest fears was that my story would end up like so many other trilogies and peter out or go totally off track in the last book. (Breaking Dawn, anyone?) In fact, I feel like this is the strongest book in the series, and early reviews are indicating the same.
Now I face for the first time in nearly two decades a future without Guinevere. (Well, not totally. She’ll be one of the point of view characters in Isolde’s story whenever I get around to writing that.) I will be forever grateful for all she as done for me. She was meant to get me started in my career, and I know she will gracefully cede the stage to the characters who come next. I just hope this trilogy is repayment enough.
PS – If you want to catch up, Daughter of Destiny and Camelot’s Queen are only $0.99 for a limited time…
PPS – For those who know of my obsession with the band Kill Hannah, the reference in the title of this blog to “a wild dream achieved” comes from their song “Believer.”
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…
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.
It’s public now, so I can officially announce that Camelot’s Queen was named Best Second Novel at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and won the Gold Medal in the Fantasy category, just as Daughter of Destiny did last year!
After my debut novel being named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews, I didn’t think I would ever see another accolade like that. But for Camelot’s Queen, which is my favorite book I’ve written, to be acknowledged as a second book means the world to me! Wheee!!!
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.