Swords of the King – work in progress update

Chateau Gaillard, one of many   locations of Battle Scars III

Apparently back in September I promised monthly updates on Battle Scars III: Swords of the King.

Whoops! Is it really the middle of April? Looking back, I see I told you about awards & accolades for For King and Country. I wrote about research for Book III based on my visits to Lincoln and Nottingham, my experience as a ‘supporting author’ at GRL in Kansas City and the Big Gay Fiction Giveaway. And in March and early April I highlighted some significant events in the life of Richard the Lionheart.

So, what is happening with Swords?

I am closing in on “the end.” Three weeks ago I told a friend I had 5 ‘chapters’ noted in my Scrivener outline. Well, one of those turned into 3 chapters. I’m at 94,000+ words and those remaining 4 could add another 10,000-20,000 words.  A broken truce, numerous engagements between Richard’s army and the French, the big climax and aftermath — Henry, Stephan and Robin will be in the thick of the action.

Chateau de Gisors

At Gisors, Philip of France takes a dunk in the River Epte when a bridge collapses in September 1198. (A true story.) And the pace won’t let up in the pages that follow. Richard’s brother, the evil John (you know, King John of Magna Carta fame), does not forget how Henry, Stephan, and Robin thwarted his efforts to overthrow Richard in Battle Scars II.

It seems like the research never ends. I think I have read everything I need to, and then discover I want more detail about a particular place or event. Check/cross-check more sources. Am I missing some piece of information? I certainly hope not.

Snippets from Swords of the King

If you follow me on Facebook you will have seen these short snippets. Then again, given Facebook algorithms, maybe you haven’t! Enjoy…

John sniffed at his drink. “Interesting that you defend Lady Elle, Henry. She ignored her brother’s wishes when she did not marry you. She chose that landless, penniless squire. Quite the story there, even my own mother involved. So many secrets, plots and intrigue.” John’s eyes grew icy as he brought the wine to his lips and swallowed a swig. He clamped a hand on Henry’s shoulder and scrutinized Robin. “But as they say, the truth always outs.”

* * * *

A wrinkled map covered the table in the king’s tent and tallow candles made the air stale with smoke. The men hovered over it like a pack of wolves. Snarling, Richard whisked out his dagger and stabbed Paris. “So Philip consorts with Flanders, Ponthieu, and Boulogne. Where will they strike?”

* * * *

“Watch out for the rats,” Allan said.

Edric groaned.

“Give him the torch,” Henry said. “The path is uneven, and I for one don’t want to carry Weston if his foot catches in a hole.”

“Or slips in the pigeon shite,” Allan added as he handed the torch to Edric.

“Is that what smells like an overripe privy?” Edric had slowed, lowering the flame to inspect the sandstone.

“I thought that was you, Weston,” Robin said and increased his pace uphill.

* * * *

Just as Henry started after Robin, curses flew at the front of the room. Stephan scrambled atop the trestle and the curses weren’t the only thing in flight. He landed on Edric Weston and both men disappeared from Henry’s sight.

Chairs toppled, wine and food bounced into the air, and men clambered to get out of the way. Stephan and Weston rolled across the floor, knights cheering, definitely more in Stephan’s favor than Weston’s from the shouts Henry heard. King Richard was on his feet spurring them on, but one quick glance at his wife and at Queen Eleanor, and he immediately ordered them to stop.

For King and Country News

For King and Country is Amazon exclusive until early July, available free on Kindle Unlimited. Do check it out!

Image credits

Château Gaillard – by Sylvain Verlaine (Own work), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chateau de Gisors, France – by Nitot (Own work), GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


men_full-sideCharlene 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.

E- and Print, That is the Question…

Dean Wesley Smith asks indie self-publishers to think about publishing their works in print. He reminds us that we’re ignoring 65-70% of the market (see shot #9), and has a cool graphic showing trends in book reading & buying.

garden - June 2006 Hey – I’m the first to admit that I love the feel and smell of a book in my hands. And there is nothing so thrilling as seeing your name on the cover (or in my case, in the tables of contents) of a real live book that you can hold. When one of my short stories appeared in print¹ in a mass-market edition back in the dark ages, er, the 90s, I went looking for it on the shelves. Did a little rearranging so the book cover faced out for passers-by to see. Ahem. 🙂 Opened up to the contents and stared at my name, sitting there along with Timothy Zahn and Michael A. Stackpole.

I’d decided to go electronic only with Keeping the Family Peace months ago when I’d heard of the expense involved in setting up print-on-demand services through Amazon. But last week, a colleague at work mentioned the DIY portion of CreateSpace. Guess what I’ll be investigating over the next couple months…

I know many people don’t own e-readers, but you can get Kindle for PC and Kindle for MAC – for free, folks – yes FREE – and read e-books on your computer. All right – I get it that you can’t curl up in bed with your computer but I do a darn good job of it with the Kindle app on my iPhone. And all one-handed! I’ve read more than 2 dozen books that way, including some that are 900+ pages.

So…e- and print? Smith’s argument is a bit too hard to ignore. But will a newbie novelist’s $4.99 e-book look more attractive to the buyer than a paperback priced a good bit higher? One writer commented on Dean’s blog that he produced both versions. He sold 3 copies of the print book – to relatives. 🙂

Dean tells me I’ll sell more books going E+P. Is he right? Oh my dear readers – which would you buy? I’ll be delighted to report sales of e- and print here and hope you can make them look halfway decent.²

Self-publishing indies out there – how are you handling this conundrum?

¹From a kind Amazon reviewer: “A Certain Point of View-this is the third-best story because of the severely melancholy tone. Read it in a house with all the lights off on a rainy Saturday afternoon for the best effect. Stalemate. Excellent.”

²Reminder: Keeping the Family Peace is in the red-lining hands of my editors at the moment as I mentioned a week or so ago. I’ll be working on final – yes, final – revisions in October and November, and hope to be sending you off to Amazon & other retailers in December for your e- or print copy.