Best night of the week – writers group

Thursdays are special.

My writing friends take me to their worlds. We might spend time with a bounty hunter in Las Vegas or look over the shoulder of a small town Kansas cop. We are in the future – a bleak one – in the Pacific Northwest. We relive the turbulent ’60s in the South. Or we are in Czarist Russia experiencing life through the eyes of a teenage girl. We are in medieval England.

As my friend and fellow writer Catherine Hedge says, we come together to be surrounded by dreamers who are passionate about writing and to get support for our creative energies. This writers life? “Some call that madness. Writers call it fun.”–CH

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Charlene Newcomb is currently working on Book III of her Battle Scars series, 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.

The Big Gay Fiction Giveaway #BGFG

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Discover a new author – better yet, discover more than 80 authors writing m/m fiction in multiple genres: historical fiction (like mine), literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and more.

Free books, short stories, and sample chapters are just a click away.

Yes, free! Opt into an author’s mailing list and you can download something new to read just in time for the long holiday weekend. This is a great promotion for both readers and authors! Readers can find a lot of freebies in one place, and rather than each author individually trying to promote their own book, we have 80+ people teaming up to share this giveaway on their websites and through social media. That will reach a lot of people! Their readers may spot an intriguing title on BGFG, drawn to a book by its cover and blurb. and sign up, which will help each of us build our own readership.

My BGFG giveaway
I wasn’t able to offer a free copy of Battle Scars I, Men of the Cross. It is part of a program called KDP Select, which means the ebook is exclusive to Amazon, at least until early January. So my giveaway is Chapter 10 of For King and Country – a chapter that isn’t part of the Amazon preview. I know a lot of readers don’t want to read Book 2 of a series before reading Book 1, but I hope they’ll read the free chapter and decide to get Book I (and/or II). I am offering an incentive: a Kindle Countdown on Men of the Cross on Amazon (US & UK) to coincide with the BGFG all week. The price today is 99p/99c, but it won’t stay that low for long. Get it now before it goes back up to full price at the end of the week!

Benefits of being on my mailing list
If you sign up for my mailing list you won’t be bombarded with email – promise! I’ll use my newsletter sparingly to offer exclusive content and to let you be the first to know about special offers. Sign up and you will see the cover reveal for Book III, Swords of the King, before I show it off here on my website. You’ll be the first to read a draft of Chapter 1 of the new book, too.

Find a new author to curl up with!
Browse the free books, short stories, and sample chapters.

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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. 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.

GRL Retreat in Kansas City

GRL 2016 Supporting Author

Broadening my horizons, stretching my wings. GRL is the Gay Romance Literature Retreat. According to their website, GRL is “for people who create and celebrate LGBT romance.” My Battle Scars series is historical fiction with a gay romance – it made me smile when I signed up to be a Supporting Author and organizer Teresa E. emailed and asked, “You do know this is for LGBT romance correct?” It was great to laugh with Teresa when she introduced herself at the Supporting Authors book signing. This retreat has been happening for 6 years and I am so thrilled to have finally discovered it.

I’ve been to a number of Star Wars and other SciFi conventions where the joy of sharing your love of a particular fandom with thousands of other people gives you the warm fuzzies inside. While the Internet allows us to gush online in forums, chat rooms, and Facebook, and to virtually meet people with similar interests, attending an actual event is an other-worldly experience that most of your co-workers just don’t get. 🙂

This book event was an eye opener. In some ways, you could call the Historical Novel Society (HNS) Conference that I attended in 2015 and 2016 a book event. There were big name guests and book signings, but I didn’t get the impression that the same reader/fans attend the conference every year. At GRL I met so many readers who were attending their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th event, coming from far and wide. (Of course, HNS authors are also readers/fans, but for repeat-GRLers I specifically mean readers.)

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the author lounge

I was super nervous about being a “supporting author.” I’m usually the observer at conferences so this was a new experience for me. GRL provided three separate opportunities where I met a lot of readers, authors, bloggers, narrators, and book reviewers: a supporting author book signing and two 45-minute “author lounges.”  The lounge, which ran throughout the day Thursday and Friday and on Saturday morning,  was in the main hall outside the meeting rooms – a perfect place for people to visit and ask about my books.

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my table at the Supporting Author book signing session

I applaud the GRL organizers for this set up. For us introverts, it was a lot of fun, but exhausting – about 3 hours straight on day 1 of the Retreat for me. When we had no ‘visitors,’ I was able to chat with other authors, including Christine Wright (setting up her table next to mine above). Christine also lives in Kansas!

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view from my table at the Supporting Author book signing event

I didn’t see many authors hawking historical romances during the event. That certainly made my books stand out – you cannot believe the number of people who commented on my book covers! 🙂 Contemporary, SciFi, and paranormal seem to be the big sub-genres in LGBT romance literature, but there were fans of historicals who stopped by to chat with me. I also connected with other authors who have written or are writing historical romance: Michael Jensen, Dean Frech, B.G. Thomas, and Edmond Manning. I know there were others in attendance and I sense networking opportunities ahead!

Like other book events, there were author Q&As and book readings, but there was also boyfriend bingo (with great gifts for the winners), a movie night (featuring a sing-a-along of Grease), a masquerade ball, a cock-walk (handmade items in many cases donated for a raffle), and regular bingo that raised money for charities. This community knows how to have fun and is very giving, donating thousands of dollars to the PulseVictimsFund, the Trevor Project, and more.

In between the sessions and when I wasn’t perusing the author lounge, I hung out in the lobby and met more people. Narrators Greg Tremblay and Joel Leslie Froomkin sat with an informal group to talk about their experiences narrating audio books. Joel does fabulous English accents – and some readers will buy everything he reads no matter the genre. (Ditto for Greg.)

Last observation – GRL attendees were warm and welcoming. Authors and readers alike were passionate about the genre and supportive of each other. Author Tina Blenke welcomed me at the Meet and Greet the first night and introduced me to her friend Kathie S. and author Posy Roberts. There were so many friendly faces – authors Nicole Dennis, Eden Winters (another Star Wars fan), Aleah Barley, Lynn Lorenz, and reader Juli and others whose names elude me. I am already planning to attend next year’s event in Denver.

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

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B.R.A.G. Medallion awarded to For King and Country

5fd8e47ed036ac5eb5bd484b32302357-1-2Thank you, indieBRAG! I am thrilled For King and Country has been awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion.

B.R.A.G. is the Book Readers Appreciation Group. Indie-published books are put through a tough review process. As indieBRAG notes on their website:

This entails an initial screening to ensure that the author’s work meets certain minimum standards of quality and content…  If it passes this preliminary assessment, it is then read by a selected group of members drawn from our global reader team. In both the initial screening phase and, if appropriate, the subsequent group evaluation phase, each book is judged against a comprehensive list of relevant literary criteria.

Indie authors need your support. If you are looking for a good read amongst the 100,000+ titles debuting on Amazon each month, check out those that have been vetted through indieBRAG’s review process. Leave a review on Amazon; rate books on Goodreads. This can help others discover a new author.

Check out all the honorees (by genre).
 I bet you might find a new book and a new author to love. And while you’re there, go find For King and Country and Men of the Cross in the Historical Fiction section. Order through the Amazon link on indieBrag to help indieBRAG get credit for the sale.

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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. There will be more to come, so sign up for Char’s Mailing List. It will be used – sparingly – to offer exclusive content and and to let you be the first to know about special offers.

Final days – Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited

You may have noticed that the novels in my Battle Scars series have been Kindle-exclusive the last few months. I’ve read about other authors’ mixed experiences, including some who have been quite successful with one of the perks of going Amazon only. Amazon has a program for authors called KDP Select, which enrolls novels in their Kindle Unlimited (KU) library. This allows subscriber-readers to download up to 10 books a month to read as part of their subscription plan.

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If a KU subscriber reads my book, I receive royalties based on the number of pages read, a magical number Amazon calculates through some formula. Maybe some writers are making big bucks – I know one reported a million pages read in one month; my royalties feed my 2 latte a week habit.  KU2

It is fun to watch the dots, except when they remain at zero for days on end. But all good things must end – though I might be exaggerating about this experiment being a good thing.

With KDP Select, I am Amazon-exclusive, which means – unless you’re a savvy ebook person – readers cannot buy an ePub version of Battle Scars I & II to read. (Kindle is in .mobi format.) No Nook, no iTunes, no Kobo or Sony or other ebook sellers. I couldn’t add epub or pdf version on Smashwords or other sites. This apparently hasn’t been a big deal (or you are all savvy and know about the Calibre reader (and I’m sure there are others).  I haven’t heard any complaints – I only heard from one person who ended up buying the Kindle version when they couldn’t find it on the B&N site. My first 2 novels were on B&N and died after the first 2 months

! An HNS-longlisted 2017-2In early October, I will be taking For King and Country off KDP Select. Men of the Cross will stay enrolled and still be available via KU. KDP Select has given me the opportunity to offer countdown deals, but with For King and Country‘s nomination for the HNS 2017 Indie Award, I want to make this novel available across multiple platforms so as many people as possible will have an opportunity to discover and read it. (You can help with the discovery by sharing this post, by leaving a review, by following and sharing things I post on Facebook or Twitter!)

You will still be able to read & download the samples and purchase both books in the series from Amazon (which I would LOVE you to do, of course).  Read, enjoy, and do leave a review, even if it’s only a few words.

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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. There will be more to come, so sign up for Char’s Mailing List. It will be used – sparingly – to offer exclusive content and and to let you be the first to know about special offers.

Special sale – For King and Country

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July 6 – 8 

Get For King and Country for $2.99/£1.99 (ebook)

See what the reviewers are saying:

“The history is sharp, the action appropriately bloody, the passion undeniable.”
Christopher Monk (aka researcher/consultant and The Anglo-Saxon Monk)

“With a blistering siege scene, daring escapes and a truly dastardly villain there is something for everyone here.”
thurinius (aka author LJ Trafford)

“The anguish, the joys, the sorrows, leap from the page…”
Paul Bennett, Historical Fiction Reviews

“Beautifully written, chock-full of historical details imparted elegantly throughout, For King and Country is a compelling and wonderful read.”
–author Anna Belfrage, Historical Novel Society Indie Award winner 2015 

With reviews like these, can you go wrong?

Get For King and Country now! 

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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. There will be more to come, so sign up for Char’s Mailing List. It will be used – sparingly – to offer exclusive content and and to let you be the first to know about special offers.

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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