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!
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.
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.
Today is a big day…one I’ve been dying to talk about this for months. Well, now I officially can!
DAUGHTER OF DESTINY HAS WON THE NORTH STREET BOOK PRIZE!
It is one of only three winners: nonfiction/memoir, general fiction and YA. They put it in the YA category. It’s not a YA book, but given Guinevere’s age and the fact that it is the “coming of age” part of her story, I can see why it landed there. But, I don’t care what you call it, as long as you like it, and the judges obviously did. Here are a few quotes from the official critique:
“Nicole Evelina’s Young Adult novel Daughter of Destiny is a lyrical, imagistic retelling of the Arthurian legend…The writer’s skill in creating a lushly imagistic fantasy world was a major reason for her first place award. Nicole Evelina has suceeded in creating a YA novel that is a pleasure for adults as well as teenagers to read. Although I am not normally a reader of fantasy fiction, I loved being immersed in the misty, magical land of Avalon.”
This huge for me, as big of a deal as my two Book of Year designations. In light of this win, I have point out one irony. The very first rejection Daughter of Destiny received was from an agent (who shall remain nameless) who said it “read like a bad YA novel.” I kid you not. And here it won in the YA category. 🙂 Just goes to show that you shouldn’t listen to the nay-sayers!
I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am that my debut novel continues to receive accolades more than two years after it was published. Thank you to everyone who has read it, reviewed it and supported it!!
PS – Mistress of Legend is shaping up nicely. It finally feels complex enough to stand beside the previous two books in the series.
So I made my first list today! Bookriot does all kinds of cool book lists, and this one, Rex Quondam, Rexque Futurum: Arthurian Legend in History And Literature, is even cooler because a) it’s about Arthurian Legend and b) I’m on it for Daughter of Destiny! It is so thrilling to be in the company of major award winners like Kazou Ishiguru, legends like Persia Woolley (to whom The Once and Future Queen is dedicated) and my real-life friends like Helen Hollick. Plus, I added Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell to my TBR list.
If that isn’t enough, I’ve got an article on author branding in the November issue of InD’tale Magazine (p.23-27). This article is also the basis of one of the online classes for authors that I’m developing with Teachable. Hoping to have those available to you by the end of the year.
And I have the next to final layout of The Once and Future Queen in my hands. I have two days to proof and index it. If you don’t hear from me for a while, that’s what I’m doing.
Plus, I am toying with the idea of exhibiting next year at Wizard World convention in St. Louis, where Sebastian Stan (the inspiration for Nick in Been Searching for You) is slated to appear. Yep, I’m going to go all fangirl on him. Actually, I’ll be more crazy author “OMG-you-are-my-character-come-to-life,” which I think is worse! We’ll see if it works out.
Oh and speaking of 2018, I found out that the Historical Writers of America conference will be in Rhode Island, which is the major place I need to go to research my biography of Marie Rose Ferron. So that book may be finished much sooner than I anticipated.
Daughter of Destiny is part of this month’s Ever After Box, and I’m celebrating by giving one away!
July is all about kings and queens, princes and princesses. Give yourself the ROYAL treatment with great romantic reads featuring royalty past and present along with themed gifts that will make you feel like queen (or king) for a day. This month features books and goodies from Vanessa Kelly, Jennifer Faye, Gwen Hayes, me, and more.
You can enter just by commenting to let me know you are interested. I’m taking entries through end of day Tuesday, July 18. Then I will use a randomizer to pick a winner and will announce it here. If you win, I’ll send you the promo code, which is good through July 31.
Good luck and thanks for your support!
PS – You can also buy this month’s Ever After Box here. And if you still haven’t purchased Daughter of Destiny, it will be on sale for $0.99 July 21-25 to celebrate the book having an international BookBub ad on July 24!
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.
If you’re in the US, chances are good you’ve heard about a little movie called King Arthur: Legend of the Sword that is coming out this Friday. It’s directed by Guy Ritchie and stars Charlie Hunnam is the titular king, so it certainly has star power. In case you’re not familiar, here’s the trailer:
Personally, I think this is typical Hollywood, where they are more excited about the “cool” effects they can use (I mean, elephants in Arthurian legend? Ugh!) than with plot, but I don’t discount that it will have entertainment value for some people.
For those who would rather hear Guinevere’s side of the story, I’ve put both Daughter of Destiny andCamelot’s Queen on sale (ebook) through May 14 for $0.99 at all major retailers.
As before, if are willing to help spread the word, I’d really appreciate it!
Share information on the sale on social media. I’ve created a folder that has ready-made images and sample tweets/FB posts and links to where the book is for sale to make it as easy as possible to share.
I will have an article in the Huffington Post this week, so if you see it, please share it.
If you’ve already helped my dreams come true by buying, THANK YOU. If you have time to leave a review, that is always appreciated and may encourage others to buy. Here’s the link to Review on Amazon.
By the way, at the time of this writing, both Daughter of Destiny andCamelot’s Queen are in the 300s on their categories on Amazon. I’d love to see them get to #1…so any help you can give is appreciated!
This is my last ask that I know of until my next release. I really appreciate your efforts, your patients and that are willing to stick with me. Tell me what I can do for you in return!