Cover Reveal! CLAIMING EXCALIBUR by Author L.H. Nicole


I’m so excited to be hosting a cover reveal for my publisher sister, L.H. Nicole, whose book CLAIMING EXCALIBUR comes out December 16! CLAIMING EXCALIBUR is the sequel to her novel LEGENDARY.


So first, here’s the synopsis of CLAIMING EXCALIBUR:


Aliana Fagan has done what many thought impossible: she’s awakened King Arthur from his fifteen-hundred-year sleep, reunited the Knights of the Round Table, and even beaten Mordrid and Morgana LeFay in battle.

But the Destined One’s quest has only begun.

Before the knights can “unearth and reclaim their lost relics” they must survive the trip to Charleston, South Carolina and meet the newest member of the Round Table. If King Arthur’s men thought Aliana and Lacy were tenacious, they’ll be even more surprised by Dawn, the third member of the fem-trio.

Deadly secrets, unexpected allies, and a traitor lurking in the shadows await Aliana and the new Round Table as they continue their search for Excalibur. Their only clue is a beyond confusing poem from a mysterious book that speaks of a terrifying creature guarding the legendary sword. Trying to build a somewhat normal relationship with Sir Galahad adds a whole new level of complexity to Aliana’s task, especially when several among them suspect the White Knight may not be wholly himself. Her friendship with King Arthur grows closer, and when circumstances become intense, he may finally get the chance with Aliana that he’s been pining for.

Mysteries, legendary quests, and haunting memories will either unite the members of the New Round Table or fracture their bonds. Aliana and her crew only have seven months before the planets align and Mordrid can seize the power he needs to conquer the seven realms. Can the Destined One keep her new family together and lead Arthur to his destiny of saving the realms? Or will a centuries-old plot for revenge finally spell the king’s end?





…And here’s an official excerpt from the book!


“Being back is hard for you.” Aliana nearly smacked into the doorframe when Galahad placed his large hands on her tense shoulders.

“You scared me!” she said, placing her hand over her heart.

“I though you would have heard me coming.” His warm hands massaged her tight shoulders. “But you seem lost in another world.”

Leaning into his touch, she shook her head. “I was just thinking.”

Galahad sighed deeply, his hands squeezing her shoulders before turning her to face him. “I understand how you’re feeling right now. My parents were murdered when I was young.”

Aliana looked into his blue eyes, surprised. “You never told me that.”

“Sir Belvoir and his men found us just after it happened. He raised me as his own, trained me to be a knight.” His hand rubbed light circles on her back.

“I was just remembering how things used to be,” Aliana confessed, hoping that sharing some of her pain would help lessen it.

“Why were you looking through your father’s things before you came to London?”

Aliana turned in Galahad’s arms, leaning her back against his chest. She studied the office until she found her voice. “I was in New Orleans working on a photo commission several months ago. I was walking the French Quarter when I came to a fortuneteller’s stand. I took a few pictures, and she called me over. I thought she was going to be upset with me, but she sat me down at her table. ‘You feet mus’ be achin’ after running so hard, chère,’ she told me. ‘Folks thinkin’ the’ can run from de past and they ghosts never find peace’.”

Aliana laid her hands over Galahad’s, remembering the feel of the woman’s cracked, dry hand on top of hers and the smell of sweet tea on the woman’s breath. “I tried to ignore her, but she kept insisting that I needed to stop running and face what was haunting me. She said I’d never again know what a real life ‘filled with love, happiness, and adventure’ felt like until I faced my past. It took me another two weeks before I came home.”

Galahad hugged her tighter, his chin resting on her shoulder, silently supporting her. “When you returned home you discovered your adoption.”

Aliana nodded, turning her face toward his. “I guess she was right. I never would have been in London if she hadn’t pushed me to come home. I never would have been in Avalon’s forest, and I never would’ve found you or Dagg or Arthur.”

“Do you regret it?” Galahad asked, a worried kind of seriousness in his eyes.






So without further ado….





Wait for it…





Wait for it….





Here is the gorgeous cover for CLAIMING EXCALIBUR!





I think it looks awesome! I’m really excited to read it 🙂


Need to catch up on the series before checking out the sequel? Here’s a little about the first book in the series, LEGENDARY!



Before the darkest hour strikes the Destined One shall come forth

Avalon’s lost daughter must thrice and alone prove her worth

Then can she fully possess the power to awaken the King

It shall become her destiny to reunite the Round Table

Unearth and reclaim their lost relics

Become the key to undoing the evil Mordrid has wrought

Only with her can the Once and Future King prevail


Aliana Fagan spent her childhood traveling the world, dreaming of legendary heroes and mythical lands. But after the sudden death of her parents, she hides behind the safety of her camera and her art until a vivid recurring dream compels her to dig into her father’s research about Avalon and Camelot. When she is hurled into a magical realm by forces she thought were only the stuff of fairy tales, she finds herself thrown into an adventure she could never have imagined. Nearly everything she thought she knew about Arthurian legend was wrong.

The independent eighteen-year-old is shocked to find that the people of Avalon think that she is the Destined One, the only person who can summon King Arthur back to life from his hidden chamber. Most surprising of all is that it’s up to her to lead the Knights of the Round Table on an epic quest–an adventure that will transport them across the seven magic realms to reclaim all that has been lost so they can defeat the evil Mordrid for good. But first, she must bring the ancient warriors into her world and reunite them with their lost brothers. Chaperoning the legendary knights-with-a-chivalry-complex as they navigate the modern world is a constant challenge, and she certainly never thought she’d be caught between her intense feelings for the noble Sir Galahad and her growing friendship with the King.

To fulfill the prophecy, Aliana will have to discover the meaning of friendship, bravery, loyalty, true love, and forgiveness. But can she do it all in time to save the realms from Mordrid’s impending Armageddon?


You can buy LEGENDARY here!



Here’s a little about the author, L.H. Nicole, in her own words!

I am a seasoned Pastry Chef in our nation’s capital and a lifelong fairytale (Disney and Grimm) lover, believes in love at first sight, is addicted to 80’s & 90’s cartoons and anything that can capture my ADD-way-to-overactive-imagination. Joan Lowery Nixon and L.J. Smith were the first authors I became addicted to and who inspired me to steal away whenever I could to read and write. You can keep up with me, and all my news and adventures on FacebookTumblrPinterestBlogger and Legendary Saga website.



Legendary is a story I’ve had in head for years. The idea came to me during an english project about you guessed it- Arthurian legends. My teacher was against web research and allowed us to use textbooks only. I discovered different ways to spell the characters names, including Mordred. There are five spelling variations that I found, and I chose to use one that is much less known: Mordrid. Other names I kept the same, and some I changed for the sake of the story. My reason for changing the names and/or spellings is this: my Knights of the Round Table, their enemies and allies are very different from what people are used to. I don’t want to offend Arthurian purists and the “Arthurian legend/history.” Legendary is pure fiction, straight from my imagination. I took some liberties with the different stories and incarnations. I changed the things I didn’t like to the way I wanted them to be. I changed things to make them my own creation and tell you a new story. Hence Legendry’s summary “everything she thought she knew about Arthurian legends was wrong.”




Legendary Saga website

Facebook: L.H. Nicole

Pinterest: L.H. Nicole

Tumbler: L.H. Nicole

Twitter: L.H. Nicole

Blogger: LH Nicole

Goodreads: LH Nicole



Be sure to check out CLAIMING EXCALIBUR on December 16!


8 Terrible Titles

My friend / one of my awesome CPs Molly Dean Stevens challenged me to play #8terribletitles! For the challenge, you have to randomly scroll through your manuscript and, wherever the cursor stops, you have a new (and most likely pretty weird) title for the story. Here were Molly’s #8terribletitles:

Alright, my turn!

Here are the titles my cursor picked for my WIP YA SF novel.

“Odd request”

“Find the others”

“It clicks shut”

“Evelyn, I’m so sorry”

“In silence”

“They want to break out”

“Behind the wall”

“Some dumb metaphor”

Lolol… #4 is pretty accurate. And #8 cracked me up.

Alright Jamie Howard, wanna play? 😉

Does Your Main Character Have a Case of “The Plots?”

There’s an epidemic going around, and it’s known as “The Plots.”

Picture this scene: your main character stands beside a secondary-character in the middle of a riveting story. The secondary-character asks your MC a question…and suddenly…

Backstory barf! All over the page.

The secondary-character is then drowned in the MC’s backstory for three, four, or more paragraphs. And it just keeps spilling out!

My good friend Jennifer Stolzer is the master of identifying plot pitfalls in a story. (She’s also an awesome fantasy author and children’s book illustrator, and you can find her here!).

Fortunately, she’s usually 100% spot-on with these pitfalls. Unfortunately, I’ve caught myself committing a few of these plot-sins in my own work. But since Jen has put names to these pitfalls, I’ve been finding it easier to identify – and slaughter – them in my own writing.

Here are a few examples (all terms coined by the lovely Jennifer Stolzer):

  • A Case of the Plots / Backstory Barf
    This is what happens when your main character – or any character – unloads his or her backstory on another character in a monologue. Reveal backstory slowly when possible. Blocks of backstory become boring to the reader, and become sections readers skim. Try to work it in naturally. Think about it: when was the last time you met someone, and they asked you straight out to explain your entire history? And then you went on a five minute monologue answering in detail? It doesn’t usually happen in real life – so it shouldn’t happen to your characters.
  • Plot Cul-de-sac
    (I’m looking at you, Tolkien).
    This is what happens when your characters essentially go on a plot tangent. Maybe they explore a new place, or visit a friend, or do something else that doesn’t do anything to move the plot forward other than waste several pages worth of space. When the character leaves the cul-de-sac, nothing in the story has changed – he/she just keeps pressing on with the plot. Every sentence in your book should matter, and every sentence should help to move the plot forward. Sometimes prose is really beautiful, but does nothing for the story. Delete it!
  • Exposition Couch
    Similar to Backstory Barf, this is what happens when two characters sit down / walk around / do something completely menial as an excuse for an exposition dump. Jen came up with this term after reading a book that had two very long scenes – both of which took place on the same couch – during which one character proceeded to describe fantasy lore of his species to the other character. Nothing happened in the scene other than an exposition dump / telling disguised as dialogue.
    Think of the Star Wars prequels. Padme and Anakin do a lot of “conversations on couches,” during which nothing interesting happens other than a lot of stilted conversation. Also similar to the example in Backstory Barf, there usually isn’t a time in natural conversation where one person asks another person a question, and then that person goes on a ten minute monologue to answer.
    Remember, real conversation is like a tennis match – it should bounce back and forth, with each person adding to the discussion. Show, don’t tell.
  • Bamboo Trap
    Picture the reader is walking through a jungle, and all of a sudden falls into a trap hidden by twigs and leaves. The inside of the hole is filled with sharpened bamboo. The reader is stuck inside, and it’s painful. This is what happens when characters spend time rehashing details of the plot that the reader already knows. Nothing really changes in the story other than we get a big repetitive reminder of the plot details. Trust your reader – if your reader has been reading your story, he or she doesn’t always need all the details repeated. Skip this scene!
  • Big Gaping Plot Hole
    There’s no real way to describe this, other than the fact that it’s a big gaping plot hole. Something that doesn’t add up at the end of the story. Something that leaves your reader saying “hold on, this doesn’t make sense….”
    I bet every writer has found at least one in his or her own manuscript (I know I have found several…), or can identify a book / movie with one. The best solution to this is to have a team of good beta readers scoping for plot holes. And if you find one, don’t hastily patch it up without thinking it through – your readers will spot a lazy patch job right away!

In conclusion, there are many plot pitfalls to avoid. These are just a few.

For more information on these and other plot pitfalls, check out the Write Pack Radio episode where Jen, me, and other members of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild discuss the dreaded Exposition Couch and others! Listen here!