Friday, April 29, 2016

Last Friday of the Month Recipe by Author Michelle Boule ~ Black Beans and Cheese Enchiladas!



Okay, I admit it. Anything with cheese, salsa and the word Enchilada in it is Pavlovian to me...bring me the bib, I'm drooling.  Then Michelle adds all these pictures...sigh.

Recipe of the Month by Michelle Boule
Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

The recipe and why you love making it:
I am a native Texan and, like any true Texan, I am very serious about TexMex food. TexMex is similar to Mexican food, but with a lot more cheese. Everything is better with more cheese.

My family will eat anything rolled into a tortilla. Throw cheese and salsa in there and you have a perfect meal. I wanted to share a staple at our house that is easy and highly adaptable to your own likes. These have beans and cheese as a filling, but you can fill them with just about anything. I suggest eating these with a side of guacamole and Spanish or Mexican rice. Top everything with a dollop of sour cream and salsa and you will think you’ve gone to heaven. Wash it down with a margarita and you will have the perfect end to any day.

Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

Ingredients
2 cans whole black beans
1 can mild red enchilada sauce
1 small can diced green chilis
12 oz. queso quesadilla (or cheese of your choice)
2 c. shredded manchego (or cheese or your choice)
2 Tbl. sour cream


Depending on where you live, you may not be able to find black beans or the specific cheeses. No worries. Enchiladas are hard to mess up. You can put almost anything in them. Pinto or refried beans will work fine. If you have a lonely bell pepper or onion in the fridge, dice that up and toss it in with the beans. Hate beans? Use roasted vegetables instead. Squash, peppers, onions, and eggplant are all fabulous in enchiladas and tacos. Other cheeses that would work well are monterey jack or colby. I like Manchego in the recipe because it has a strong distinctive taste and you already know I have an unhealthy love of cheese.

Preheat oven to 350.


Drain the beans and dump them into a medium bowl. Partially mash them with a fork. (This is optional, I just like the texture.) Mix in 2 tablespoons of sour cream.

Slice the cheese into thin slices. Spray a 9x11 glass pan with cooking spray.


Shake the enchilada sauce before opening it. Open it and spread 4 spoonfuls of the sauce on the bottom of the pan. This will keep the tortillas from sticking and becoming dry.


Place a slice of cheese in the middle of a tortilla. If you need more than one piece of cheese, just rip off a bit of another. The more cheese the merrier. Put two spoonfuls of beans over the cheese. Spread it out evenly, take one side of the tortilla, and fold it over the middle. Fold the other side over the folded side and place the enchilada, seam side down, in the pan.


Continue filling tortillas. Squash them in there. They like to be cozy. You should be able to fit 12-13 in a 9x11 pan. If you run out of room, make an overflow pan and share them with a friend. Nothing says, I want us to be friends forever, like melted cheese in tortillas.


Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce evenly over the enchiladas. Use the back of a spoon to spread it over the tortillas and make sure all the tops have some sauce on them. They will not be covered, you just want them to not be white. Then...more cheese! Spread 1-2 cups of manchego cheese evenly over the top of the enchiladas.


Spread the diced green chilis over the top of everything. It’s messy, but easier just to use your fingers to spread the chilis. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly as green chilis do have some heat and it does not feel great in your eye.

Bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, check to make sure the edges of the enchiladas are not getting too crispy. I like my enchiladas a little crusty around the edges. If they are getting too hard around the edges for your taste, put some foil over the top of the enchiladas and cook another 5-10 minutes.


 Enjoy!

Blurb: Letters in the Snow
Iris is a simple postmistress in the small town of Turning Creek, Colorado. Simple, except for being a descendant of a Greek myth, having a pair of golden wings, and possessing the ability to speak prophecy. She has had her hands so full guiding the harpies towards their destinies that she has forgotten to seek out her own.
A mysterious letter from an anonymous admirer begins a correspondence that weaves itself into Iris’s heart and awakens a longing for a love of her own. The letters keep arriving, and Iris is increasingly more aware of the charms of Jacob Wells, a newcomer to Turning Creek. She wonders if the letters are from him. But even with Jacob’s charisma and the lure of a new relationship, Iris discovers the heart can't be contained, and that her heart’s desire might be for someone who was there all along.
Unfortunately for Iris, the letters and the resulting affairs of the heart are not the only perplexing things happening in Turning Creek. Something more than nature is burying the town in a deadly winter blanket, and a closely guarded secret that will change Turning Creek forever is revealed.

Buy Links: 
Amazon | Nook | Kobo

Bio:
Michelle Boule has been, at various times, a librarian, a bookstore clerk, an administrative assistant, a wife, a mother, a writer, and a dreamer trying to change the world. Michelle writes the historical fantasy romance series, Turning Creek. She is married to a rocket scientist and has two small boys. She brews her own beer, will read almost anything in book form, loves to cook, bake, go camping, and believes Joss Whedon is a genius. She dislikes steamed zucchini, snow skiing, and running. Unless there are zombies. She would run if there were zombies.

Social Media Links: 
A Wandering Eyre - Michelle’s Blog







Monday, April 25, 2016

I Love This...Gwen Hernandez's Scrivener Courses (& a discount coupon)



Gwen is offering a discount use coupon code 20SARTOR2016 for 20% off any course. She is the author of Scrivener for Dummies.

A better way to learn Scrivener
I’m excited to share my new Scrivener training platform with you (thanks, LA)! I’ve been offering online courses—as well as workshops and private training—since 2011, and I’m always looking for ways to make that process easier and more fun. With ScrivenerClasses.com, I think I’ve done it.
So what’s new?
  •  You don’t have to wait for a scheduled course anymore. Now you can sign up and get started whenever you’re ready.

  • 60 days of Q&A with me. :-) Each course includes all of the lessons, plus unlimited Q&A on the student forum for 60 days. (That’s about 40 days more than my old classes got.)
  • Videos! I expanded my popular step-by-step course material, broke it down into easier-to-digest chunks with lots of screenshots, and added short videos to reinforce the concepts for those who learn best visually.

  • Every section comes with a downloadable review sheet. I took notes so you don’t
    have to. ;-)
  • Every page shows your progress through the course, and displays a lesson outline so you can see what you’ve already done, and jump ahead or back as desired.
  • The site is easy to navigate and mobile friendly, so now you can work on the lessons from your smart phone or tablet.
  • Scrivener introductory courses for Mac and Windows are up now. The Intermediate/Advanced and Compile classes are coming before summer.
What are students saying? Here’s a sample:
“Whether you're a Scrivener newbie or you just have that nagging feeling that there's more to Scrivener than you've learned on your own, Scrivener I: Basics and Beyond is the place to start. I highly recommend it.” - Ed (Mac Intro course, March 2016)
“I had no idea what Scrivener can do...until I took Gwen's course. […] I'm feeling more confident about using the program, and I know Gwen's notes will get me out of a corner if I get lost or stuck.” - LynnK (Mac Intro course, March 2016)

Try it:
Want to give ScrivenerClasses.com a try at no cost? Visit one of the course pages listed below and check out the free lessons. If you like what you see, use coupon code 20SARTOR2016 for 20% off any course. Thanks!


Gwen Hernandez—author of Scrivener For Dummies—uses Scrivener to write her Men of Steele military romantic suspense books, blog posts, and more. Since 2011, she has helped thousands of people all over the world through online courses, one-on-one training, and conference workshops. Find her online at gwenhernandez.com.

Buy Scrivener for Dummies HERE





Friday, April 22, 2016

Mental Can Openers & Writer's Hash ~ Conductor. Hold That Train!



As writers, how do we handle it when others succeed?  How should any professional handle it?  You know, the lady two booths over from Jan Karon who was writing the romance?  And still is.  Or the guy whose submission came in right after Tom Clancy’s Hunt for Red October?

You know the story.  The fame-train is rolling down New York tracks, pulled by that annoying little Engine-That-Could.  Inside car “Celebrate,” some giddy gal or loopy guy is waving a book in one hand and a contract in the other while the publishing porter pours “I’ve-never-been-so-happy” into crystal fairy glasses. 

But you put on a smile that’s wearing thinner than last year’s political promises and tell them it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person.  Ignore that Grand Central P.A system in your head, booming, “You!  Success should happen to you!”  The scene fades as we politely applaud from the platform and their train pulls out.

Meantime your dream Pullman has been hitched to “Wreck of the Ole 97” for the short, dark ride to the “slush pile” where ink goes to fade and stories go to rust.  The only drink served in your honor is warm soda without the fizz, and agents remind you the industry’s shrinking and kids don’t read anymore.

Given this scenario (and keeping sharp objects out of reach), how do you make your salutary expressions heartfelt?  How do we congratulate without one’s nose going all “Cyrano de,” and turning that shade of green everyone associates with bitter limes?  There are some methods, my friends.  Some not quite as serious as others.

Stop hanging with crowd “success.”  Avoid J.K. Rowling’s coffee shop, Jan Karon’s writers clique or anyone who’s won an award for anything.  Remember a small fish looks bigger in a small pond.  Or put another way, a glamor shot can lift anyone’s spirits, but not if you insist on having it taken at the Miss America beauty pageant.  (Or Mr. Universe for the males.)

You could remember a line from the 2012 movie, Unfinished Song.  "What makes a song beautiful is not always the quality of the voice but the distance it has had to travel."  The same hold true for writing.  Learn from others’ success and your failure.  Each failed attempt, every rejection adds a bit of character to your writing voice.  True, some of us must sound like John Wayne gargling bourbon over broken glass by now, but we are getting more unique.

Or you can steal a chapter from a guy named John, who had the unenviable task of lead act for Jesus Christ.  John watched the people who had listened to him turn and follow the Nazarene.  When his disciples complained, John told them, “He must increase and I must decrease.”

For a Christian writer, this doesn’t necessarily mean we go nowhere.  It does mean that every voice in the market on behalf of Jesus Christ is a victory for all.  It means success is getting someone on that train to promote His Golden Rule, via story.  It means every successful book out there grows readers who will want more. 


Finally, it means that just the act of writing is enough.  It’s our labor’s fruit to offer God.  Our spikenard broken over Him.  And if our Pullman doesn’t leave the station in this world, it will in the next, and to greater acclaim.  All aboard?



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Take Five And Meet Author Kay LaLone


Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Kay LaLone.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book  Family Secret?

Hi L.A., thanks for having me for a return visit. Family Secret started out as a short story I did for a writing assignment. Over the years the main character, Thomas Patrick Henry kept talking to me. So I continued to add to his story until it became a YA novel.

Have you been a lifelong reader of Mystery?  What are some the first books you remember reading?

Yes, I have been a lifelong reader of many books, but mystery has always been my favorite. One of my favorite authors that inspired me to be a writer is Agatha Christie. Halloween Party was my first book of hers that I read.

What do you do to rev your creative juices?

I like to go for a walk. It clears my mind and gives my characters a chance to communicate with me. Also, if you have a clear mind, ideas seem to flow better. Sometimes I like to read or watch a movie to get the creative juices flowing.

What would be your advice to people who are considering a writing career?  And/or what would do differently in your career?

If you call yourself a writer, you must write. Don’t just talk about becoming a writer or read about how to become a writer. A writer writes. One thing I try to do every day is write even if it is just writing down a great idea that popped into my head.

You’re having a dinner party.  What character from your novel do you hope doesn’t show up? Why?

Well, I like all the characters in my book. But if I was having a dinner party, I wouldn’t want the demons to show up. Those demons would cause too much trouble.

Give us a brief summary of Family Secret:
On the road to solving his mother’s murder, sixteen-year-old Thomas Patrick Henry discovers a secret his father has kept from him for years. Tom thought Dad’s secret put him in danger, Mom’s secret is far worse. Magic. Witches. Ancient Book of Spells. Magical Amulet. Ghosts. Demons. Tom never thought these things existed until he is face to face with them. 

There is nothing else to do but destroy the demons before someone else Tom love dies. He already lost his mom and a close friend because this secret was kept from him. No one else will die. No one else will be possessed. Tom faces his demons. A mother’s love gives Tom the strength to slay his demons.


Buy Links: 

Bio:
I’m Kay LaLone author of Ghostly Clues, my first MG novel. Family Secret is my first YAnovel. Both published by MuseItUp. I live in Michigan with my husband and teenage son (two older sons and a daughter-in-law and my first grandbaby live nearby) and two dogs. I love to get up every morning and write about ghosts, the paranormal, and things that go bump in the night. 

I write PB, MG and YA novels. No matter the books I write, I want my readers to feel like they have met a new friend. I’m an avid reader of just about any type of book (mystery, paranormal, and ghost stories are my favorites). I do reviews and post them on my website and blog. I love to collect old books, antiques, and collectibles. You can find many of my antiques and collectibles selling on ebay and at fleamarkets.


Social Media Links:


Monday, April 18, 2016

Author Spotlight Featuring Kim McMahill's Latest Book; A Taste of Tragedy



Today I feature Kim McMahill.  Tell us a little about why you wrote this book, Kim.


Thanks for having me back, L.A. A Taste of Tragedy is the second novel in the Risky Research series. The first was A Dose of Danger. The common theme revolves around the lengths an organized crime group will go to control the multi-billion-dollar-a-year diet product industry.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun paying more attention to what I eat and my overall health. The more I read about nutrition and fitness the more confused I become. Available research isn’t much help since often one study appears to contradict the next. There are a myriad of products out there that make all sorts of claims, but what’s true? I’m sure the answer is very complex because there are a lot of variables that influence a products effectiveness, which makes the subject an excellent topic for fiction.

Excerpt:
“Here, let me help you,” Morgan said as she draped Devyn’s arm around her shoulders.
Morgan tried to relieve as much weight as she could from Devyn as she helped her hobble to the waiting vehicle. Once Devyn was seated in the cramped back seat, Morgan dug out her emergency supply bag. She handed Devyn a blanket and a bottle of water. “I have a first aid kit, but I think you need something a little more than a bandage.”

“It’s just a few scratches. I’ll live.”

Morgan could see why Nick trusted Devyn with his back. As she looked at the battered and bruised woman, who had taken off into the desert in the middle of the night in bare feet to prevent a criminal from getting away, she had to admire her. Devyn had to be in extreme pain, yet not a complaint escaped her lips.

“Make room in the back,” Nick huffed.

Morgan looked up to see Nick trudging toward her with an inert man slung over his shoulder. She raced to the tiny back cargo area and moved a few items around so Nick could squeeze the body in the vehicle.

“Is he dead?” Morgan whispered.

“Not quite, but we need to get him medical help A.S.A.P. The bullet didn’t hit any vital organs, but I’m not sure how much damage he suffered from the knock to the head”

Morgan watched as Nick set the man down in the vehicle, and then she joined Devyn in the back seat. Turning around and kneeling, she was able to lean over the seat and assess his injuries. She folded up a handkerchief and placed it over Aaron’s gunshot wound and applied pressure. She wasn’t sure which was bleeding more, the bullet hole or the bump and cut to the head, but she had to try and slow the blood loss any way she could.

“That’s all we can do for now,” Nick said. “Just keep the pressure on the best you can.”
Morgan nodded as Nick secured the back and then got behind the wheel.

“You okay?” Nick asked as he turned to face Devyn.

“I’ve had better days, but sadly, I’ve had worse.”

Sales Link:

Blurb:
Morgan Hunter sacrificed everything for her career. She had yet to encounter anything she wasn’t willing to do to succeed . . . until now. When she uncovers evidence that the healthy foods she’s been hired to promote may be dangerous, she must reevaluate her priorities. 

As questions mount and the body count rises, she finds herself caught in the crosshairs of an organization that will stop at nothing to hide its secrets and protect its profits. With no one else to trust, Morgan is forced to seek help from the man she drove away, but whom she never stopped loving.



Bio:
Kim McMahill grew up in Wyoming, which is where she developed her sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. Kim started out writing non-fiction, but her passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew her into a world of romantic suspense. Along with writing adventure novels, Kim has also published over eighty travel and geographic articles and contributed to a travel anthology and cookbook. Kim has recently relocated to Colorado, and when not writing, she enjoys gardening, traveling, hiking, and spending time with family.

Find Kim:


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Take Five with Author Cornelia Amiri




Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Cornelia Amiri.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book I Love You More?

I was excited for the opportunity to contribute one of the dozen literary fiction stories celebrating mothers and motherhood from the perspective of different authors around the world. My story, I love You More, was drawn from my own personal experiences as a single mother. I think most moms, especially single moms, can relate to it. there are a lot of families that are headed by women, sometimes just one mom and her child, but they are still families in every sense of what a family means. I wanted to acknowledge these strong, loving single moms and the wonderful children they are raising or have raised. they’re doing a great job. 

How do you use setting to further your story?

The first scene in each chapter of my story is set in 2016 as Garland is celebrating Mother’s Day at age 58 with her son and granddaughter. So we see how she is now, how well her son has done, how happy this family is, and how strong the bond between them is. The second scene in each chapter is set during a mother’s day of Garland’s past and shows her and her sons challenging journey to reach this point. So we get to see much of what this small family of Garland and Judson have overcome to reach this point of celebrating, what is for Garland, the best Mother Day ever. 

How do you construct your characters?

I am a pantster so I don’t outline, but I usually do character charts, covering my characters’ pasts and main goals, biggest fear,  and details about them. These characters particularly, were very close to my heart and I knew a lot about them in my mind when I began to tell their story, when I began the first draft.


How is your main character completely different than you?

I concentrate the story on Garland as a mother with all scenes set at Mother’s Day.  But motherhood, though the most important part of my life, is just a part. I call my son about twice a week and usually see him and my granddaughter once a week but the rest of the time I’m living my own life. Doing things I want to do, working as a writer and freelancer and all that entails, going to events and get-togethers with friends and all the other activities that are not connected to being a mother.


Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

That along with the romances, I sometimes try my hand at other genres. I wrote a contemporary mystery called Dead End Job, a horror story called Taliesin’s Song, a Young Adult fantasy, non-romance, called Samhain Calls, and a modern-day, non-romance fantasy called The Ghost Lights of Marfa. The later is published by itself, and the other three are in book called, Reach…Reach across the genres. And of course, I Love You More, in Mother’s Day Magic is literary fiction.



Give us a brief summary of  (I Love You More from Mother’s Day Magic):

A mother's love never fails…it always prevails.

On the verge of turning sixty, Garland recalls memories and moments of her life’s journey from an abusive childhood to a bad marriage to the ups and downs of a single mom. She is rewarded with a magical mother’s day with her son, daughter in law, and granddaughter. Her moving story is sure to touch your heart.

Buy Links:





Meet Cornelia:
Cornelia Amiri, who also writes as Maeve Alpin, is the
author of 30 published books. Known as the Celtic Romance Queen, she writes Celtic Fantasy Romance, Celtic Historical Romance, Steampunk Romance and Sci-fi Romance. She lives in Houston Texas as does her son and granddaughter and her cat, Severus. Severus is a writer's cat, he loves books. He likes to knock them off the bookshelf, sit on them, and sniff the open pages. He also uses the computer, he sits on it, lays on top of it, and walks across the key board almost constantly. 

Cornelia is working on two soon to be released books a historical romance box set, Scandalously Yours and a modern day fantasy romance novella set at Woodstock 1969, Back to the One I Love.

Find Cornelia: 



Monday, April 11, 2016

Author Spotlight Featuring Marissa Doyle





Today I'm pleased to bring you Marissa Doyle and her latest release Skin Deep.

Hi L.A. Thanks for having me here. Writers are always exhorted to “write what you know.” Do we always take that advice? Heck, no! That’s what research is for. If writers only wrote what they knew, there wouldn’t be any paranormal or science fiction or even historical novels out there. And what fun would that be?

But rather to my surprise, I wrote a book that was—well, full of stuff I know. Like Cape Cod, which I’ve lived near my whole life, and quilting, which is what I like to do when I’m not actually writing, and selkies, which I’ve been obsessed with since childhood. Of course there are things in Skin Deep I didn’t know about and had to research, since I’ve never been divorced or attacked by ancient evil entities (thank goodness!) or noticed that my quilts can do a lot more than just look pretty draped over the end of the bed.

Will I stop writing about things I’ve never experienced and stick to what I know? Nope—because research is fun and I love writing historicals and fantasies. But writing a book drawn so heavily from my own life experience was fun too. I hope reading Skin Deep will be as much fun for readers!

Excerpt:
Garland’s knees felt like they’d been turned to water, and it was all she could do to keep standing. A thin voice in her head was screaming Ohmygodohmygod adeadbodydeadbodydead

Another gull landed next to the first two and joined in the examination, creeping closer to what she realized was the figure’s face. Abruptly, strength returned to her legs.
“Go away!” she shouted, and ran at them. The birds leapt into the air in an explosion of wings, one muttering what sounded like “Aw, jeez, lady!” in Seagull.

Garland knelt by the body. It was a child, probably no more than three or four years old, with shaggy light brown hair partly obscuring its face. How had a child ended up out here and in this condition? A network of deep cuts, purple with bruising and caked with dried blood and sand, crisscrossed its back.

She brushed the hair aside and pressed her fingertips to its throat. A faint but steady pulse beat there. Not dead! She scrambled out of her vest and took off her appliqu├ęd flannel shirt, then turned the child over…and gasped in horror. More cuts, punctuated with a few deeper gashes, covered his torso. She wrapped her shirt around him then rose and looked around wildly at the empty beach, sweating though she now only wore a turtleneck and jeans. The seals were still there, watching her. She hoped for an irrational second that they’d swim into shore, take off their skins, and help her deal with this. She knelt again, slipped her arms under him, and picked him up. He felt light and insubstantial as she cradled him against her, like a child made of air.

“Poor baby,” she crooned. “You’re going to be all right. We’ll get you—”

“No!” a hoarse voice shouted.

Garland nearly dropped the boy as she whirled around. Twenty feet up the beach a man, equally naked and battered-looking, was climbing to his feet. She’d been so concerned about the boy that she hadn’t even seen him.

The man stood for a second, swaying, then staggered toward her, grimacing as if in pain. The wind blew his hair, just like the boy’s, around his face. “Give me back my son,” he growled, reaching for the child.

“I’m sorry—I d-didn’t see—I was just trying to help him,” Garland stammered. His son! What had happened to the two of them? How had they ended up on her beach in this condition? The man’s muscular body was cut and gashed in the same horrible pattern as the boy’s, and patches of dried blood on his upper lip hinted at a freshly broken nose.

The man ignored her, his eyes narrowed fiercely above the purple bruises on his high cheekbones. But when his hands touched the flannel of her shirt wrapped around the boy’s frail form he froze. A look of wonder replaced his anger, and his eyes opened wide as he stared at her so that she could see they were a light, almost golden brown, and unnaturally bright, as if he were feverish.

“What are you?” he whispered.


Sales Links: 
Amazon | iBooks | Kobo


The Blurb:
After a painful divorce, Garland Durrell looks forward to settling into her home on Cape Cod to make the quilts that are her passion. On the first morning of her new life she finds a man and a small boy washed up on the beach, both badly wounded. Since the town chief of police is strangely reluctant to help, Garland takes on the care of the mysterious pair who don't seem to remember what happened to them--and feels her own heart begin to heal.

Alasdair does remember. He and his son Conn are the last of the ruling family of selkies from the waters around the Cape, locked in a decades-long struggle with an evil that threatens all, selkie and human. He’s not sure if he can trust the lovely, blue-eyed woman who takes them in until he touches one of her quilts and feels the magic she’s sewn into it...and the emotions that he never thought he’d feel again.

But the evil entity that stole Alasdair’s sealskin and left him for dead quickly senses both his presence and Garland’s magic, and is determined to destroy one and possess the other. Only Garland and her quilts, made with a power she barely believes she has, can save them all from destruction—if she can avoid being destroyed first.


Meet Marissa:
Marissa Doyle graduated from Bryn Mawr College and went on to graduate school
intending to be an archaeologist, but somehow got distracted.  Eventually she figured out what she was really supposed to be doing and started writing.  She’s channeled her inner history geekiness into a successful young adult historical fantasy series, and is now also happily writing contemporary romantic fantasy.  

She lives in her native Massachusetts with her family, including a pair of bossy but adorable pet rabbits, and loves quilting, gardening, and collecting antiques. Oh, and coffee. Please visit her at her website, www.marissadoyle.com, and at her teen history blog  http://nineteenteen.com.


Find Marissa: 





Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Take Five and Meet Author Nicole Evelina





Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Nicole Evelina.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book, Camelot’s Queen

Hi, L.A., thanks for having me as your guest. This is the second book in a trilogy that tells Arthurian legend from Guinevere’s POV, her life story if you will. While the first book covered her early life pre-Arthur (and is important to the overall story), this one covers her time as Queen, the story of Camelot we think we all know, with the famous battles, the Holy Grail, the adulterous love affair, and so much more. It’s the traditional story told in a whole new way.

My inspiration for the trilogy came from reading The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley while I was in college. I loved that book (it changed my life in many ways), but I hated her portrayal of Guinevere as a meek Christian wallflower. I investigated a few other books on Guinevere, including Parke Godwin’s Beloved Exile, which led me to wonder what happened to Guinevere before and after Arthur, which you don’t hear much about. That’s when Guinevere came into my head and asked me to tell her story. So I did.

Inspiration for this book is obviously the original medieval legends, but I also knew I wanted to do something different, something more in keeping with the Celtic time period in which a historical Arthur may have lived and with the beliefs of his people, so I infused as much history as I could while still using magic/fantasy elements.

How do you use setting to further your story?

Because this book is historical fantasy and I’m taking you back in time, setting is very, very important in my books. You’ll get more description that I would write in a contemporary novel because I want you to feel like you are really there. From the halls of Camelot to the stone circle atop the Tor in Avalon, to the dusty, bloody battlefields, I want you to experience everything the characters (especially Guinevere, as she’s the POV character) do.

Beyond building the world and orienting the reader, I think setting is a wonderful way to evoke mood. As a reader, you’re going to feel very different in an isolated island fortress than you would on the sundrenched fields of Avalon or the bitter winter mountains of southwestern Britain (and yes, those are all locations in this book), and the characters will react accordingly. Being forced to hide your identity in a seedy wayside inn where anyone around you could be an enemy, makes for automatic suspense, while being closeted away amid the soaring towers of Camelot gives much opportunity for romance.


How do you construct your characters?

They come to me pretty fully-formed. JK Rowling tells a similar story about Harry Potter, and while I’m nowhere near her level, the experience sounds a lot like mine. They just show up one day, all “Hi, I’m here. You want to write about me. Here’s what you’ll love and here’s what you’ll hate.” And then we’re off. I know it sounds weird, but that’s how it is for me. They even name themselves and get very pissy if I try to change their names or anything about them. 


How is your main character completely different than you?

Guinevere grapples with a strong sense of duty that I have never experienced. I’m lucky that my life has been pretty much up to me. Hers never has been. Even though she had no idea she would be queen, she was raised to rule. She knew she would be some nobleman’s wife. Her mother taught her to wield a sword and direct battles so that she could fight by her husband’s side. These skills plus her unexpected gift of The Sight and magical abilities gained in Avalon, make her a perfect equal for Arthur and are why he chooses her as his queen.

Before she married Arthur, Guinevere had to do what her father wanted (as we see in the later half of the first book in the series). By marrying Arthur, she was following her duty to her father, her king, and the Goddess. As she rules her people, it is always with her duty to them in mind. Every thought, every action, is weighed through that filter. I’m really glad it’s something I don’t personally have to think about in my life.


Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

 I have a degree in international business and never intended to become an author. I thought I was going to jet-set all over the world doing…whatever business people do (I was in college, so I was fuzzy on the particulars). I ended up focusing on marketing and PR, and when Sept 11 happened and my dream of working in the World Trade Center came crashing down (literally), my whole mindset changed. I got a job locally and ended up writing more. A few years later that led to the beginning of the first book. So my journey to authordom was a round about one!

But I have been fortunate to travel to many countries, including England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. I’ll be going back to England for the third time this September, which will be my first international trip as an author. I’ve gotten to travel all over the US for my books and hopefully will get to do more of that as well. So I’m still doing international business, just not the way I expected!

Give us a brief summary of Camelot’s Queen:

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 be prepared to suffer its downfall as well.

Buy:
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The book will be in available in print and ebook at all major online retailers April 12. Audio should be available in May.

Bio:
Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her most recent novel is Camelot’s Queen, the second book in an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view.

Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, took first place in the legend/legacy category of the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Her upcoming novel, Been Searching for You (May 10), a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests. Later this year, she will release Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America's first female Presidential candidate, which was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Find Nicole:


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