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.

Writing Medieval Lincoln – Lincoln Castle

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The Observatory Tower

I wish I lived closer to Lincoln or could have the Enterprise transporter take me the 4000+ miles in a few seconds. While I am wishing for the transporter, I might as well add a time machine to the mix. Where is the TARDIS when you need it?

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I didn’t have a chance to visit Lincoln until after I published Book II of Battle Scars. Lincoln’s 12th century history is background for my novel, but only two scenes from the 579 page book actually take place there.

Photos on image sites are great for seeing what a place looks like, but as I mentioned in previous posts on Lincoln Cathedral and  Nottingham Castle, those pictures only capture a snapshot of a place in a specific time. If I hadn’t dug deeper, I might have assumed the Castle’s Observatory Tower existed in the 1190s, but it wasn’t added until the 19th century, and Cobb Hall, a tower on the north-east corner of the Castle, wasn’t built until the 13th century.

The Castle dates back to the 11th century, one of the fortifications built by William the Conqueror and the Normans. It would have had a wooden palisade back then, but by the early 12th century, stone replaced the timber walls.

The Lucy Tower originally stood two stories high and would have been home to the castle constable (also known as the castellan). Lucy, daughter of Thorold, first sheriff of Lincolnshire, inherited the title of constable and passed it on to her son, Ranulf, 4th Earl of Chester. When Henry II became king, the title went to the de la Haye family.

The Castle saw conflict in the 12th century: at the Siege of Lincoln in 1141, King Stephen was captured by troops loyal to the Empress Matilda. In 1191, while King Richard was on Crusade, his chancellor William Longchamp laid siege here for forty days against Nichola de la Haye. She and her husband Gerard de Camville, who became castellan when they married, were staunch supporters of Prince John. Nichola defended the castle in her husband’s absence and did not surrender. After de Camville’s death, Nichola, as castellan, once again held Lincoln Castle in 1217 for more than three months against the French, who were finally routed when William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and regent for Henry III, arrived with more troops.

One of four surviving originals of Magna Carta is housed in Lincoln Castle. There is another 800 years of history at this remarkable place – visits by kings and queens, of plague, economic turns, the English Civil War, and more. The buildings in the bailey are more recent construction – a courthouse and a prison existed there in the 17th century. The red brick building above was a prison completed during the 19th century, and when we visited, the tents were placed for a University of Lincoln graduation celebration.

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Soldiers on the battlements in the 1190s wouldn’t have had this view

The white timber-framed house on the left (now the Tourist Information Center) sits on the corner of an old road known as Ermine Street. This was a main north-south road since Roman times. Need to get to York? Turn left/north and the road will pass through the old Roman gate – the Newport Arch. The road south took medieval travelers all the way to London.

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Ruins of the 3rd century Roman gate – the Newport Arch

Historic places never get old, do they? 🙂

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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.

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.

A shout-out from Sharon Kay Penman

 

me and Sharon Kay PenmanAugust slipped past and I never managed to mention that the lovely Sharon Kay Penman mentioned both For King and Country and Men of the Cross on her blog at the end of July. Sharon writes:

“I think they might be of interest to my history-loving, book-loving readers and friends.”

What a thrill to have my books noted by a best-selling author of historical fiction! I met Sharon last year at the Historical Novel Society Conference in Denver. She is so generous with her time, with her fans and with authors like me. And she writes amazing books – I have many on my TBR list, but will recommend Here Be Dragons as my favorite. 13th century, King John, England, Wales, and France – fabulous!

Men of the Cross and For King and Country (Battle Scars I & II) take place at the end of 12th century while John’s brother, Richard the Lionheart, is king. John’s shenanigans are the focus of Book II. Fans of Sharon’s Lionheart and King’s Ransom will enjoy the series (even if I do say so myself).  I hope you’ll check them out!

And don’t forget, both books have been recognized as great reads. Men of the Cross was awarded the B.R.A.G Medallion in 2014; and For King and Country has been long listed for the Historical Novel Society Indie Award for 2017!

! An HNS-longlisted 2017-2registered- 800

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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 to let you be the first to know about special offers.

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Mini-teasers for Book III, Swords of the King

nominee-high-res-flatHave a line or two…

But first – voting is still open for the Summer Indie Award.
Go vote, preferably for one or both of my books.
Historical: http://goo.gl/zK9veq
Then come back here to see what is in store for Battle Scars, Book III!

Okay, now that you’re back…

I want to get into the habit of cross-posting these one-liners, 7x7s, and random blurbs from Facebook more often. If you’ve read them there, skip to the end because you don’t want to miss information about the cover reveal and preview of Chapter 1.

Of teasers and pantsers

I can’t say I post these types of teasers to my Facebook page on a regular basis. They are spur of the moment posts – I’ll be working on a scene for Swords and think, “This is cool and there aren’t any major spoilers. Let me share this.” Or another author acquaintance will tag me to participate in a “go to page 7, line 7, and share 7 lines” game. Maybe a few more people will see them here and be interested in tracking my progress, or they’ll check out Men of the Cross or For King and Country.

While some writers can pound out a novel in a few months – bless them – I work a bit slower and some days can’t even get one hour of writing in. I started working on Swords of the King in late June. I’m what’s called a “pantser,” that is, I write by the seat of my pants rather than have a detailed outline. I know how the novel ends and I have the key points outlined to get me to the end – but how I get there within the confines of actual historical events is a journey for me and my characters. I was surprised when a nasty villain from Book II decided to show up much earlier than I had originally planned, but I am having a ball with him. 🙂

I had done a good bit of research preparing for the writing of Book III, but keep discovering I have more to do to ensure I can immerse the reader in events, places, and people.

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I would like to say the first draft will be done by early summer 2017, but I can’t make any promises. I hope you will hang in here with me.

One-liners, 7x7s, and random thoughts…

Henry  knew warriors who claimed every battle was the same. Details were lost in the charge, in the flight of arrows overhead. Henry shuddered. The noise. Siege machines ripping large boulders through the air. Rocks smashing into a stone curtain wall. The clink of armor, the clank of swords. Screams, the sounds of men dying. The smell… Oh God. The smell of blood stung Henry’s nostrils and bile rose in his throat.

* * *

May have to dig deeper into medieval Paris circa 1196. Hadn’t planned to go there for Book III, but the knights are pointing me in that direction.

* * *

At the bridge, Henry and Stephan watched the ducal train. Cart after cart came over the distant ridge and then stretched down on to the flood plain like a serpent, an apt description when Henry remembered King Richard’s words about his former sister-in-law and her advisors. Covered in brown and beige tarps that looked like snakeskin when shadows fell across them, the carts overflowed with baggage. The duchess’ necessaries would include tapestries, pillows, and linens to make any room to her liking, silver and gold goblets and trenchers, pots to cook her meals, and casks of wine.

A hundred mounted riders slithered at the van- and rearguard, the procession plodding along and now about half the distance between the summit of the hill and the bridge. The Breton flag, a black cross on white field, flew above the duchess’ litter. A spirited horse drew up beside it and the curtain was drawn aside. The rider was a child judging by his size—an important one, being that three knights hovered round him. Arthur.

* * *

By the time King Richard rode through the gates the skies had unleashed their fury—not that the storm matched the thunder in the king’s eyes.

* * *

“Why so suspicious, friends?” Edric settled himself and slung a blanket across his back. “I am here to ensure Robin completes his mission and—”

“And then kill me so if I am captured I will not break under torture and tie the deed back to John.”

“God’s bones,” Henry exclaimed.

Edric roared with laughter, even wiped tears from his eyes. “You have quite the imagination, Robin.” He took a long breath. “That cannot be further from the truth. I am here to help, that is all. You underestimate your usefulness to Prince John.”

* * *

“What have you done, Robin?”

Robin heard Marian’s voice call to him above his horse’s pounding hoofs. “You will not be happy,” he muttered to himself.

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Be special! Sign up for the cover reveal and a preview of Chapter 1

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tiny snippets. In the future – hopefully by the end of this year – an early Christmas present! –  I plan to send a preview of Chapter 1 to people who sign up for my mailing list. Be the first to see the cover of Swords of the King (unless you happened to be at the Historical Novel Society Conference the last few days and got the postcard in your hospitality bag) See the link below and sign up now.

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Photo credit
Château de Fougères – photo by Luna04 at French Wikipedia – Transferred from fr.wikipedia to Commons by KaTeznik using CommonsHelper., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4838424)

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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 to let you be the first to know about special offers.

Voting begins today – Summer Indie Book Award

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VOTE EARLY AND DAILY!!

Both of my historical fiction novels – Men of the Cross and For King and Country – have been nominated by a lovely reader for a Summer Indie Book award in the historical category. Readers can vote once a day Sept. 1 – 11.  You can even vote for both books!

Vote here!  http://goo.gl/zK9veq

Metamorphic Publishing notes:

“Voting for the awards will be done via Poll Maker, and will open on September 1, 2016. Anyone can vote once a day, until midnight on September 11, 2016. Links to polls will be posted here, and pinned, hopefully a week before voting begins. They will also be on the webpage athttps://metamorphpublishing.com/summer-indie-book-awards/. Genre links will go out in the newsletter, so sign up here: http://eepurl.com/bL43cf.

You may vote in any or all genres. Each genre will allow you to make muliple choices, as long as you checkmark them all BEFORE you hit vote the first time! Since voting is limited to one visit per day, you must get all your choices marked before you hit the vote button.”

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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.

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Goodreads Giveaway – For King and Country

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Enter to win one of 3 signed copies! This Giveaway will run June 6 – July 5. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

See what the reviewers are saying:

“A breathtaking gallop through Richard the Lionheart’s England.”
–Sharon Bennett Connolly at The Review

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

“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 

“…the anguish, the joys, the sorrows, leap from the page while shes ties the threads of the web together. Strong characters, vivid detail and an interesting take on the Robin Hood mythology make this page turning adventure a joy to read.”
Paul Bennett, Historical Fiction Reviews

With reviews like these, can you go wrong?

Enter the Giveaway now!

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Charlene Newcomb is the author of The Battle Scars series, 12th century historical adventures taking place during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. For King and Country, book II of the series, was published on 2 May 2016. For exclusive content and early-bird announcements of special offers,  sign up for Char’s Mailing List.