Reflections on 19 Years and a Wild Dream Achieved

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 Destiny and 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 Mistress to 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.”

My New Article on Guinevere on Medievalists.net

I’m thrilled to say my second article Medievalists.net is up! “Will the Real Guinevere Please Stand Up” is about the twin Guineveres, sometimes called The True and The False, which originated in the Welsh Triads and were expanded on in the Middle Ages by the Cistercian monks.

More information on this is available in my book The Once and Future Queen: Guinevere in Arthurian Legend.

Hope you enjoy!

 

The Once and Future Queen Ebook Pre-order Information

The ebook for The Once and Future Queen is available for pre-order from most major online outlets now.  The price is $7.99.

The print version will be available November 21, as will ordering from iTunes (long story as to why).

Here are the links:

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Right now, I don’t have any plans to release this one on audio unless Audible approaches me. (Which would be really nice!)

Cover Reveal: The Once and Future Queen

The Once and Future Queen will be out in November (exact date TBD). I’m thrilled to share the cover and back page copy with you! Depending on when I know the publication date, I may or may not do pre-orders. I’ll let you know at that time.

I hope you are as excited for this book as I am!

Guinevere’s journey from literary sinner to feminist icon
took over one thousand years…and it’s not over yet.

Literature tells us painfully little about Guinevere, mostly focusing on her sin and betrayal of Arthur and Camelot. As a result, she is often seen as a one-dimensional character. But there is more to her story. By examining popular works of more than 20 authors over the last one thousand years, The Once and Future Queen shows how Guinevere reflects attitudes toward women during the time in which her story was written, changing to suit the expectations of her audience. Beginning in Celtic times and continuing through the present day, this book synthesizes academic criticism and popular opinion into a highly readable, approachable work that fills a gap in Arthurian material available to the general public.

Nicole Evelina has spent more than 15 years studying Arthurian legend. She is also a feminist known for her fictional portrayals of strong historical and legendary women, including Guinevere. Now, she combines these two passions to examine the effect of changing times and attitudes on the character of Guinevere in a must-read book for Arthurian enthusiasts of every knowledge level.

Huffington Post Article on the Women of Camelot

I’ve known for months that when Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur movie came out (as it does tomorrow in the US) I wanted to share some of the many books that have been written about Arthurian women. What I didn’t expect is to go on about the lack of movies about female Arthurian characters. Well, I’ve done both in this article in the Huffington Post! Happy reading! (And I hope you find another book you’d like to add to your list!)

 

As King Arthur Hits Theatres, My Guinevere Books Go on Sale

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 and Camelot’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!

  • If you haven’t bought Daughter of Destiny or Camelot’s Queen yet, please do.
  • 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 and Camelot’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!

Cover Reveal: Camelot’s Queen (Guinevere’s Tale Book 2)

I’m happy to announce that Camelot’s Queen, the highly-anticipated sequel to Daughter of Destiny, will be published in ebook and paperback on Tuesday, April 12 (audio book release date TBD). You can pre-order the Kindle version on Amazon and/or add it to your Goodreads list right now.

And, without further ado, here’s the cover and the back page copy…

Camelot's Queen eBook Cover Large

History remembers Guinevere’s sin, but it was Arthur who transgressed first.

Forced into a marriage she neither anticipated nor desired, Guinevere finds herself High Queen, ruling and fighting alongside Arthur as they try to subdue the Saxons, Irish and Picts who threaten Britain from every direction. Though her heart still longs for her lost love, Guinevere slowly grows to care for her husband as they join together to defeat their enemies.

Meanwhile, within the walls of Camelot their closest allies plot against them. One schemes to make Guinevere his own, another seeks revenge for past transgressions, while a third fixes her eyes on the throne. When the unthinkable happens and Guinevere is feared dead, Arthur installs a new woman in her place, one who will poison his affections toward her, threatening Guinevere’s fragile sanity and eventually driving her into the arms of her champion.

Amid this tension a new challenge arises for the king and queen of Camelot: finding the Holy Grail, a sacred relic that promises lasting unity. But peace, as they will soon learn, can be just as dangerous as war. As the court begins to turn on itself, it becomes clear that the quest that was to be Arthur’s lasting legacy may end in the burning fires of condemnation.

This highly anticipated sequel to Daughter of Destiny proves there is much more to Guinevere’s story than her marriage and an affair. See the legend you think you know through her eyes and live the adventure of Camelot’s golden days yourself – but prepared to suffer its downfall as well.

Guinevere on the Home Page of Huffington Post Books!

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I am so proud to be able to say my article Why Guinevere Matters Now, is on the homepage of Huffington Post Books today! It’s the top story on the upper left.

As you can probably tell from the title of the article, my aim is to show why the character of Guinevere is relevant to a modern audience, especially women, and how looking at her story from a new perspective (as I do in my book) provides context to enable her to stand side by side with her famous husband, rather than in the shadow of scandal.

I’m going to go pet my computer screen now…

HuffPoScreenShot 010415 - full article

How You Can Help Make Daughter of Destiny Success

daughter-of-destiny-ebook-cover-iAs many of you know, today is publication day for Daughter of Destiny! The buy links are on that page in case you wish to do so. The only glitch so far is that print isn’t showing up on Barnes & Noble (not sure why), so if you’d like to get a print copy, I recommend going through Amazon.

Now that the book is out into the wild, here are a few things you can do to help make it successful:

  1. Buy it – It doesn’t matter to me whether you buy print or ebook (or audio when it comes out). I’m just happy you are interested. It’s available pretty much everywhere online, both in the US and internationally. Imgram should be trying to get it into mainstream bookstores and I’ll work on getting it into indie bookstores later this year.
  2. Leave a review –  Reviews are SO important for authors, especially indies, because they give us credibility and certain avenues of promotion aren’t open (Bookbub, certain Amazon algorithms, etc.) until we have a certain number of reviews. Of course, we all prefer glowing reviews, but please be honest. Amazon and Goodreads are probably best, but please leave a review wherever you like. (FYI, Amazon is cracking down on friends/family reviews, so you may not want to mention it if we know each other…just a thought.)
  3. Tell your friends – Word of mouth is still the best tool any author has. If you liked it, please tell everyone you know in person, on social media and however else you can!
  4. Ask your local library to acquire it – Most libraries have online forms where you can suggest a purchase, but you may need to go in person and ask them to buy it. I know from experience that libraries are usually very open to buying patron requests. And as a lifelong library patron, I can’t tell you what it would mean to me to see it on the shelf!
  5. Ask for it at your indie bookstore – I’m listed in the Ingram catalog of books, so any indie bookstore should be able to purchase Daughter of Destiny for you.
  6. Suggest it to your book club – I LOVE book clubs and am happy to visit yours in person (if I can) or via Skype. I have a whole page dedicated to book club resources, so please keep me in mind.
  7. Share photos – Take pictures of yourself and/or your friends/family/book club reading Daughter of Destiny and send them to me. And if you see the book in the wild (in the library, on a bookstore shelf, etc.) please snap a pic and let me know. I’ll start a section on my website as soon as I get the first photo and I will share them on Instagram and other social media, crediting you.
  8. Follow me on social media – On the top right are links to my social media accounts. I’d love to have you as a follower! If you see something that you like, please comment on it or pass it on (RT, share, etc.)
  9. Have fun! – This should probably be #1. I want everyone to enjoy reading my books, so I hope you have the time of your life while you read them. I know I did while I wrote them!

I’m sure I’m missing something. What am I missing? How do you plan to share the love?

And thank you all for your constant support. I couldn’t do this without you!