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.
Well, I came home to a wonderful surprise in my mailbox tonight: a certificate telling me Mistress of Legend won Silver in the Fantasy category of the Foreword Indie Book Awards. I didn’t even know they had held them already!
I am so glad because I am so proud of that book. I feel like it is the strongest in the series, yet I know it is difficult for judges to judge the final book in a trilogy when they haven’t read the first two. But the fact that this one won tells me I did my job in making the story make sense on its own.
I am weeks behind on announcing this, but Mistress of Legendwas a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the fantasy category. These awards give out one gold medal to a category winner and 5-6 silver to the finalists. I may not have gotten gold this time, but I’m proud to have the silver!
This award has been two years in the making since I just barely missed the deadline for entries to last year’s awards. But it was worth the wait.
I have spoken with two of the Story Circle awards coordinators and what really got me was how much they appreciated the research that went into this book. Finally, someone understood why I wrote it. So many people seem to think the book was somehow done incorrectly because I don’t posit a lot of new information or advance a groundbreaking theory. That was never the point; the point was to gather into one volume what others have said about Guinevere and show how that fits the idea of Guinevere changing as a character as society’s views of women changed over time.
I have to say that knowing that someone understands it gives me a lot more confidence going into speaking about Guinevere at the Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies in June! As part of being a winner, I will also have the opportunity to present at the Story Circle conference next year. I’m seriously thinking about it.
There is another award I know about, but can’t announce yet…
Sales Madame Presidentess got an international BookBub ad for December 21 to celebrate its film option, so it will be on sale all over the world December 17-26 for only $0.99 in ebook. (Don’t forget that it is available in audio and print as well!)
2019 Events 2019 is shaping up to be a busy year. Here is my schedule so far:
Book Signing with Missouri Romance Writers of America
February 9, 7 p.m. The Novel Neighbor 7905 Big Bend Blvd. Webster Groves, MO 63119
Presentation: Victoria Woodhull: Forgotten by History
Monday, March 4, 7 p.m.
Eureka Hills Branch Library
156 Eureka Towne Ctr
Eureka, MO 63025
I just had to share this review of Mistress of Legend from Reader’s Favorite. This reader gets it! I’m not even sure which part to pull out for an endorsement. (What a problem to have!)
Mistress of Legend is the third book in the Guinevere’s Tale series, an interesting recreation of the legendary world of Camelot with its feisty characters and intriguing relationships. Nicole Evelina reinvents the character of Guinevere and starts readers on an adventure with her as she returns to Camelot, a world splintered by political factions. Having escaped death at the stake, her options are limited, and while she wants nothing more than to be with Lancelot, she is embroiled in the turmoil in Camelot where Mordred is thirsty for power and the people are longing for her leadership as the former queen. Follow her on an odyssey that brings her back to Lancelot and how her people rely on her to save them from the warring Votadini. But does she still have the fight in her, the wisdom of the queen she once was?
For fans of the legendary tales of King Arthur, Mistress of Legend comes along as a sumptuous, delectable treat, a tale written in gorgeous prose and featuring characters that are richly developed, with multiple levels of conflict and an enticing romance. Nicole Evelina’s writing is daring, a work of great imagination, and I was enticed by the world she recreates in this story. The absorbing first person voice catches the attention of the reader as the protagonist opens the tale with Arthur’s men finding her and Lancelot in the woods and bringing them to Camelot. But this strength in the voice doesn’t ebb as the narrative progresses; on the contrary, it deepens, unveiling layers of emotions and the intensity of the conflict, keeping readers focused and interested. This is a book that fans of legendary tales will be delighted to read, an enchanting world to navigate.
Contests are interesting beasts. Like reviews, how well you do (or don’t) depends on the fit of your book with the judges. I’ve entered all of my fiction to-date in the BookLife Prize (which is sponsored by Publisher’s Weekly, but separate from its reviews.) Until now, Been Searching for You is the only one they liked and even it failed to move on beyond the first round – just barely. They took the top 10 books and it was 11.
I received the critic’s report today for Mistress of Legend. The overall score likely won’t be high enough to advance it to the next round, but I’m really proud of what the critic had to say about it. I think it’s interesting that he/she calls it a mystery and psychological thriller and compares Guinevere to Beowulf – totally not what I intended, but it if works for the reader, that’s all I care about. I’m proud to be in that company!
Plot: This book offers a cleverly crafted, suspenseful tale spun from Celtic mythology. Though many plotlines are drawn together in this Arthurian mystery, Evelina interweaves each line neatly, careful to not leave any strand loose.
Prose: With its eloquent style and lush imagery, the work retains the rich, earthy tones of an Old English epic. Evelina’s work boasts a careful interplay between riveting legends and modern sensibilities and will appeal to a broad range of readers.
Originality: Though inspired by ancient storytellers, Evelina transforms a murky, two-dimensional tale of kingdoms and conquest into a three-dimensional, psychological thriller with a pertinent feminist sentiment.
Character Development: The ferocity of female strength and skill present within Evelina’s work allows passage for protagonist Guinevere to be seen as a female Beowulf-archetype. However, like Beowulf, Guinevere’s strength is so palpable that she sometimes borders on two-dimensionality.
I noticed that you can re-enter any book from previous years as long as it doesn’t make it to the semi-final round. I may try that in the future, but maybe not.