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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the Next Big Thing

blog-hopWelcome to the NEXT BIG THING Blog Hop.

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way for readers to discover authors new to them.  I hope you’ll find new-to-you authors whose works you enjoy.  On this stop on the blog hop, you’ll find a bit of information on me and one of my books and links to other authors you can explore!

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Jennette’s book

My gratitude to fellow author, J. L. Mbewe, for inviting me to participate in this event.  Head over to Jennette’s blog to learn more about her and her fiction.

In this blog hop, my fellow authors and I, in our respective blogs, have answered ten questions about our current book or work-in-progress (giving you a sneak peek). We’ve also included some behind-the-scenes information about how and why we write what we write – the characters, inspirations, plotting and other choices we make. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the working title of your book?
My recently published novel is called Keeping the Family Peace.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
This may be a convoluted explanation, but the seeds for this date back years! I wanted to write a story about a large military family who served on spaceships! A father, his sons, & one daughter – her name was Stephanie. They were all officers in this space “Navy.” (Hm…shades of Star Trek? Probably.) Instead, I ended up with a story set in the 20th century: a father, 5 daughters, & 1 son (and no one named Stephanie). Dad & the girls are Naval officers. Son Nick, the youngest child, is the rebel – no military, except military history – for him.

3: What genre does your book come under?
It’s a contemporary mainstream family saga.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Nick & his father Jack are the main characters. The college-aged Nick would be played by Chris Hemsworth with that look from Thor. And for some reason, I keep picturing Steve Martin in his Father of the Bride character, as Jack Peace. That might be because of the weddings & Jack’s silvery hair in Family Peace! 🙂

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Deprived of his father’s love and approval growing up, a history scholar must convince his aging father to reveal family secrets. The revelations will either tear them apart or allow him to become the man his father was never able to be.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
The novel is self-published, available as an ebook for Kindle, Nook, etc., and as a trade paperback. There are links to the various formats on My Fiction page.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took close to 3 years to finish the first draft. The manuscript is about 90,000 words. It took me about 2 years to write the first half; 1 year to write the last 45K & get to THE END. That was Nov. 2011. I put the manuscript aside for 6 weeks, then started revisions. In April 2012, I enlisted the help of several beta readers when the 2nd draft was done. With their comments in hand, I revised again during the summer. My writers group served as editors and received the 3rd draft in late August. I completed the final draft at the end of November 2012. Published the ebook in mid-December. Whoa! What a long process, eh? (Oh – did I mention that I started writing my 2nd novel in April? This one won’t be a 4 year process! I finished a very rough draft of it a few weeks ago.)

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
<big guilty look> Maybe my readers could help me out here because I honestly don’t have a clue. It certainly is no Little Women. My characters have a lot of different ‘problems’ – nothing like Yours, Mine, and Ours. My book, as my niece wrote in a mini-review, “… [is] a great family drama full of surprises, sorrow, intrigue and joy.”

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Life. Not mine – the only similarity between the Peace family & me is that I served in the Navy, lived in Maryland, and worked at the place where Willa Peace works. 🙂  I just wanted to write a story about a father-son relationship.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Here are a few tidbits about the development of the plot:
1) In my original outline, character Anne Bailey was not a nice person. She had a much smaller, but significant, role and disappeared (in shame!) from the lives of the Peace family about 2/3rds of the way through the story.

2) Baseball. As a finished my rough draft, I knew I needed more foreshadowing about Jack’s secret. I can’t tell you anything more than that without spoiling it.

3) I also knew there were plenty of stories about abusive relationships and their impact on family members. Readers learn very early that Jack was a victim. How would I do something different? What is Jack’s story? I hope the reader’s curiosity keeps him/her turning the pages.

If you’ve read Keeping the Family Peace and have any questions about the characters, their lives, etc., just pop a note in the comments!

Below you will find authors who will be joining me virtually, via blog, next Wednesday. Please be sure to bookmark their sites, and add them to your calendars for updates on their upcoming books!  Happy Writing and Reading!

Cathy Hedge

Jen Fitzgerald

and here’s one that was recently posted by author Alex Beecroft. I plan to write up a Talking About the Book post of her book Blessed Isle in the not-too-distant future.