DiverseReader – #Review & #Giveaway for For King and Country

king and country_smallMeredith likes For King and Country!! Maybe you will too.

To celebrate, I am doing a giveaway on DiverseReader for a chance to win an e-copy of this tale of war, passion, and forbidden love. You’ll also have a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Get over there now and read Meredith’s review. Enter the drawing! The drawing closes on Feb.28 so don’t delay.

And sign up for my Newsletter – I’ll send out occasional updates, news about giveaways and contests, and offer some exclusive content, including Fifty Shades of 12th Century England, a compilation of fun facts, trivia, and research.

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Charlene Newcomb is currently working on Book III of her Battle Scars series, 12th century historical adventures filled with war, political intrigue, and a knightly romance of forbidden love set during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. 

A Discovered Diamond – Book Review of For King and Country

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There is a new site in town – rather, on the web – for reviews of historical fiction: Discovering Diamonds. You should definitely bookmark or follow this site if you are looking for good historical fiction.

And I am thrilled to report that For King and Country, Book II of Battle Scars, has been selected as a ‘highly recommended’ diamond. Read the great review.

“Ms Newcomb has stepped outside the normal restrictions imposed on novels set in these times in that her Henry and Stephan are not only comrades in arms, they are lovers. In a sequence of beautiful scenes, she breathes careful life into their passion, moments of tenderness and love that make it abundantly clear theirs is not a short-term relationship, theirs is the love of a lifetime.”

If you haven’t read the book, I hope the review might sway you! Give it a chance. Get the book on Amazon – it’s available in print and for Kindle.

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Charlene Newcomb is currently working on Book III of Battle Scars, 12th century historical fiction filled with war, political intrigue, and a knightly romance of forbidden love set during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. There will be more to come, so sign up for Char’s Newsletter. It will be used – sparingly – to offer exclusive content and and to let you be the first to know about special offers.

Men of the Cross Review & #Giveaway on Diverse Reader

21878750Diverse Reader loved Men of the Cross!! Thank you, Meredith.

Check out Meredith’s review. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win an e-copy of this tale of war, passion, and forbidden love. You’ll also have a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Get over there now and enter the drawing! The drawing closes in 5 days so don’t delay.

And sign up for my Newsletter and I’ll send you a sample from Book II of Battle Scars, For King and Country.

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Charlene Newcomb is currently working on Book III of her Battle Scars series, 12th century historical adventures filled with war, political intrigue, and a knightly romance of forbidden love set during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. 

For King and Country – Editor’s Choice at the Historical Novel Society

king and country_smallGotta love 3 day weekends. One more day to get the usual chores done, and of course, spend a few more hours working on Book III of my Battle Scars series.  My habit on writing weekends is to stay away from the Internet for the morning except to post the English Historical Fiction Authors weekly round up to social media on Sundays. But I made the mistake(!!) of checking email this morning before I’d settled into the opening of a new scene.

And there it was – an email from Helen Hollick, the Managing Editor of Indie Reviews for the Historical Novel Society (HNS).

“I am delighted to inform you that the above book has been reviewed by the Historical Novel Society and has been given an Editor’s Choice Selection, which also means that your book has been longlisted for the 2017 Annual Indie Award.”

If you felt the earth shaking and heard ear-splitting shouts across the galaxy, well, that was me. So much for the new scene. Those mercenaries who have captured Henry, Stephan, and Robin will have to wait a few more hours. (Sorry, boys.) I had to share my news, email friends and family, try to get my heart rate back to normal. It isn’t easy to come back down to earth and concentrate on writing after news like this. What a tremendous honor. I am thrilled beyond belief! Here is the HNS review:

When Henry de Grey left England to ride with his king in the third crusade, he was more of a boy than a man. Now he has returned, and the experiences he’s survived in the Holy Land have not only left him marked for life, they have also shaped him into a person who knows who he is and what he wants. Unfortunately, what Henry wants does not conform with the expectations of society – the times he lives in have little tolerance for a man who loves another man.

While the love story between Henry and his lover Stephan d’Aigle is a recurring theme, the main story centres round the ongoing political events. King Richard is a prisoner in Austria, and the huge ransom demanded for his release is yet another burden for the common man in England. No wonder that some listen to Prince John and his cronies, a whispered suggestion that maybe England would be better off without this crusading – and expensive – king of theirs.

Henry, Stephan, and their companion, Robin – a rather novel interpretation of the legendary Robin Hood – have no intention of allowing the traitorous Prince John to succeed. Plots and counter-plots, smuggled weaponry and food – all comes to a head at the siege of Nottingham.

Ms Newcomb is obviously entirely at home in this historical setting. Excellent descriptive writing brings the historical context into life, drawing the reader into the medieval world. Henry and Stephan are wonderfully developed characters, supported by a colourful cast which includes everything from a charming Little John to Elle, Henry’s intended bride who has no more desire to marry him than he does to wed her. All in all, an excellent read, quite impossible to put down, despite its length!

Whew. Thank you to reviewer Anna Belfrage, to Helen Hollick, and to HNS.

PostScript: in fall 2016, HNS decided to revamp its Indie Review program and apparently there will be no shortlist and no award in 2017 for Indies.

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Charlene Newcomb is the author of the Battle Scars series, 12th century historical adventures set during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. For King and Country, book II of the series, was published on 2 May 2016 and is available on Amazon. There will be more to come, so sign up for Char’s  Newsletter. It will be used – sparingly – to offer exclusive content and to let you be the first to know about special offers.

 

Talking about the book: Days of Sun & Glory by Anna Belfrage

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Title: Days of Sun & Glory
Author:  Anna Belfrage

A tidbit about the author
Born in Sweden, raised in Peru & Colombia. Anna notes that where her classmates in Bogota “were constantly talking about the future (or football, at which I excelled) I was mostly dreaming about the past. I had no desire to become a business woman – I wanted to be a medieval knight.” Obviously, Anna cannot be a medieval knight, but man, oh man, can she write brilliantly about them!

The story
“…the king’s greatest traitor, Roger Mortimer, has managed to evade royal justice, the king and his beloved Despenser see dissidents and rebels everywhere – among Mortimer’s former men, but also in the queen, Isabella of France. Their suspicions are not unfounded. Tired of being relegated to the background by the king’s grasping favourite, Isabella has decided it is time to act – to safeguard her own position, but also that of her son, Edward of Windsor. As Adam de Guirande has pledged himself to Prince Edward he is automatically drawn into the queen’s plans – whether he likes it or not. Yet again, Kit and Adam are forced to take part in a complicated game of intrigue and politics…”–from the author’s website

Days of Sun & Glory is Book II in Ms. Belfrage’s The King’s Greatest Enemy series and pulls us back into the life of Sir Adam and his wife Kit. Concerned that you haven’t read Book I? Don’t be. This book works fine as a stand-alone. And I say that as someone who is barely familiar with this particular time period.

The scene that made you laugh out loud or cheer; the place where you wanted to throw the book across the room
Usually these are two separate questions, but I have combined them here. I was torn between laughter and groans watching the jealous reactions of both Kit and Adam, the two main characters. In this sequel to In the Shadow of the Storm, they have been married more than two years and have been to hell and back for each other. Their devotion to and love for each other is so vivid and well drawn. The bits of jealousy had me getting impatient with them both after a while.

My cheers are too numerous to count, but I absolutely love Ms. Belfrage’s portrayal of young Prince Edward. In this particular scene he is standing up to his father as Edward II tries to throw Adam out:

“I cannot have a man suspected of traitorous activities in your household.” [Edward] gestured at the men-at-arms “Take de Guirande away.”
[snip]
“You’re shaming me,” Prince Edward said.
“Shaming you?” The king looked at Adam, then at his son.
“Sir Adam is my liegeman. He has pledged himself to me, and I, in return, have pledged to protect him – isn’t that what liege lords do?” The prince turned wide eyes on his father.

A memorable line (or two)

Kit on Hugh Despenser…

…Kit would gladly have nailed his intestines to a tree and have him walk around it until he’d disembowelled himself, she had to admit the man exuded  some sort of magnetic allure, his sharp features enhanced by the neatly trimmed beard that clung to his cheeks and chin, his eyes glittering under dark, straight brows.

Oh, Anna, you have such a way with words!

Kenilworth was like a dog with fleas, always  itching, always restless.

…the autumn wind painted roses on her cheeks.

My verdict – ****4.5 stars****
Book II of Ms. Belfrage’s series The King’s Greatest Enemy, is well researched with plenty of historical details that will transport the reader to the 14th century. Ms. Belfrage makes her characters come to life, and if you aren’t cringing with fear every time Hugh Despenser comes on scene, why not?! Evil radiates from that man.

This is a turbulent era in England’s history and even readers unfamiliar with this particular time period will be drawn into the fictional life of Kit and Adam de Guirande drawn against the reign of Edward II. Kit and Adam find their lives governed and their hands tied by the politics and intrigue surrounding them. Spies are everywhere. Kit serves Edward II’s queen, Isabella, who, untrusted and unloved, plots against her husband. Adam’s former allegiance to Edward’s enemy Roger Mortimer, now exiled in France, makes him a traitor in Edward’s eyes. Adam may have sworn his allegiance to Edward’s son, but Despenser and the king seek any excuse to throw him into the dungeon, or worse, execute him. I was genuinely frightened for both the fiery Kit and the loyal Adam, which shows how much I cared for them.

When they become embroiled in Mortimer’s plot to raise money and an army to fight Edward, the stakes become deadlier. Queen Isabella and Prince Edward are sent to France to negotiate a peace, and Adam and Kit with them. The tale becomes heart wrenching as their family is torn apart and the young prince becomes a pawn in his mother’s hands. Will Adam and Kit stand by the prince, the queen, and Mortimer? The story of King Edward II and his favorite, Hugh Despenser, is one that in and of itself sounds more fiction than fact. But it is true, an incredible twisted history that Ms. Belfrage breathes life into with the help of her fictional characters.

Highly recommended.

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Research, Writing, Star Wars, and Medieval Knights

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I had the pleasure of being interviewed by award-winning author Anna Belfrage about a week ago. I probably went on too long about my research and inspiration for the Battle Scars series, my writing roots in the Star Wars universe, and the knightly romance, i.e., the forbidden love that is a central theme of this series. Anna rounded out the interview with a wonderful review of For King and Country.

If you missed my earlier blog stops, do check them out. On Matthew’s blog I write about 12th century Nottingham and York vs what what visitors see today:

“What Char Newcomb learnt while writing Battle Scars I & II”  on Matthew Harffy’s Bernicia Chronicles.

And on #EHFA, see the research behind the scene of For King and Country’s climactic battle scene:

“Richard the Lionheart and the Siege of Nottingham, 1194” on English Historical Fiction Authors 

There will be more to come, so do follow me! Sign up for my Mailing List. In the future I’ll use it – sparingly – to offer exclusive content and and to let you be the first to know about special offers.

For King and Country and Men of the Cross

are available on Amazon sites worldwide.

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Historical Nottingham, York, and more – blog trotting adventures

king and country_small“A breathtaking gallop through Richard the Lionheart’s England.”
–Sharon Bennett Connolly on The Review blog

The knights have returned from the crusade to the Holy Land in For King and Country and face enemies at home that will take them from Lincolnshire to York to Nottingham, climaxing with the siege of Nottingham in 1194. Writing about these places required a lot of research. A writer always wants to transport the reader back in time (and preferably get it right!), but there is always a danger of overwhelming the reader with too much information.

Blog Trotting

In my blog trotting this week, I get to tell you about some of my research discoveries. I hope you will stop by to check out these posts:

“Richard the Lionheart and the Siege of Nottingham, 1194” on English Historical Fiction Authors 

and

“What Char Newcomb learnt while writing Battle Scars I & II”  on Matthew Harffy’s Bernicia Chronicles.

There will be more to come, so do follow me! Sign up for my Mailing List. In the future I’ll use it – sparingly – to offer exclusive content and and to let you be the first to know about special offers.

Giveaway

One lucky person will win a copy of the ebook. See The Review. Comment there for a chance to win.

For King and Country

is available on Amazon sites worldwide.