Tuesday, March 19, 2013

EPIC Award Winner!

Let me tell you a story of the little book that could. Back in 2003 or so, I had this idea for a story about reincarnated soul mates from Pompeii who excavate their own bodies 2000 years after they died tragically in the eruption of Vesuvius. It took me 2 years to write it. It was the book of my heart. In 2005, that manuscript landed me an agent who believed in the story as much as I did. He shopped it around to the big NY publishers. Then the rejections started coming in. Not sexy enough for the paranormal market. Too much humor, only dark paranormals are selling. But we did get one ‘maybe.’ It climbed up the editorial ladder and they loved it…with a big BUT. They wanted me to reset the WWII time setting (the 2nd half of the book) as a contemporary. But that would mean so much more than changing a few dates and the clothes they wore. It would have changed everything about the characters. I couldn’t do it. So I took the book of my heart, put it in a drawer, and moved on.

Fast-forward to 2011. Indie publishing was busting out of the closet and turning the publishing industry on its head. Friends urged me to try it. They said that indie publishing was perfect for books that were good but didn’t fit in the NY box. I pulled my little book out, dusted it off and sent my baby out into the world, self-publishing it in March of 2012.

OUT of the ASHES did okay. It wasn’t shooting up the bestseller lists, but I didn’t expect it to. After all, I was an unknown author with no following, no fan base. The book was set in odd time periods (ancient Pompeii and WWII Italy). After a good start and some great reviews, ASHES settled into obscurity on Amazon.

Still, I believed in the book of my heart and started entering it in published author contests. The EPIC Awards was the first. I was shocked when they told me I’d finaled. When I checked out the other finalists in the paranormal romance category, I figured ASHES was a long shot to win. How could my light paranormal with bumbling guardian angels stand up against hot vampires and sexy shape-shifters? Then last week I found a package sitting in my mailbox. It was a lovely trophy (it’s clear plexiglass and doesn’t photograph well or I’d post a picture of it.) Evidently, since the organizers knew I wasn’t going to be at EPICon, they sent the award ahead of time. I had to re-read the letter several times before I believed I was the winner. And then I had to keep it a secret until all the winners were announced on Saturday evening. Talk about torture! So now I can shout it to the world:

OUT of the ASHES is the winner of the 2013 EPIC Award for Best Paranormal Romance!

The stars must have aligned for me, because it just so happens that Ereader News Today featured ASHES as a bargain book yesterday. No, I didn’t plan the timing to coincide with the EPIC Awards. I was doing the ENT ad for ASHES one year birthday so it was a fluke. But it worked. Between the EPIC Award and the ENT ad, ASHES has landed on two bestseller lists on Amazon as of this morning:  #22 in Historical Romance and #27 in Paranormal Romance.  I am beyond thrilled. It took a year, but the book of my heart is finally shining.