“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
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.
“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.
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:
“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.
One lucky person will win a copy of the ebook. See The Review. Comment there for a chance to win.
I am guest posting today on English Historical Fiction Authors with John’s Man in Lincoln: Gerard de Camville. Gerard is a late 12th/early 13th century sheriff, who like many men, paid King Richard (the Lionheart) to get his appointment. Richard needs the money for his Crusade to the Holy Land. But does money buy loyalty?
Enjoy the post about Sheriff de Camville. He won’t appear, but you will be hearing his name in For King and Country.
We know Richard the Lionheart had any number of detractors and outright enemies. In this case, I’m not talking about King Philip of France, Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, John, Count of Mortain (Richard’s brother, the future King John of Magna Carta fame), or other contemporaries of Richard. As I work through through final checks of For King and Country, I’ve been reviewing my notes, following up on some 12th century Lincolnshire history, and discovered this little tidbit. I couldn’t resist sharing this ‘gem’ with you.
“But every excuse must be made for the Plantagenets. They claimed to live on the heroic principle of doing what one likes with one’s own, and this realm of England, with all its belongings, including such trifles as Lincoln City and Castle, was of course their ” own.” They had a sort of hereditary family trouble in the way of financial ” shortage,” and had to bend their Royal minds in a certain magnificent style to some vulgar means of “raising the wind.” Besides, Richard was a very pious person, and went a good deal into crusading and getting himself shut up in foreign prisons, with troubadours loafing around and encouraging his melancholy by chanting favourite melodies under his window with a kind of vamp accompaniment on the harp. You couldn’t tell a minstrel in those days to ” move on ” under a county council bye-law, and Richard had to endure it, but it no doubt added much to his well-known irrascibility on his very infrequent visits to the country he was supposed to be governing.” –p.81-82
If I’d been on top of things a few days back, I would have mentioned that 7 September was the anniversary of the Battle of Arsuf in 1191. This was a huge victory for Richard the Lionheart. Arsuf is about 14 miles from the port of Jaffa, a strategic objective for the Crusader army. Jaffa must be held. Goods brought by Richard’s fleet there would replenish the army’s supplies as they marched east toward Jerusalem.
On to the writing update…
Title: Battle Scars: For King and Country (book 2 of a series) Current word count: @57,000 words
I’ve visited Nottingham with Robin this week, and castles and manor houses near York and Lincoln with knights Stephan and Henry. Allan has a bit of a run-in in a small market town called Grantham. The knights are reuniting at Henry’s manor as I write this post. It’s time they report back to Queen Eleanor. What orders will she have for the men who remain loyal to her son, King Richard? Conspiracies, intrigue, action, adventure…and romance! What more could a reader want?
I mentioned last week that I participated in a Labor Day weekend writing marathon. My friend Marie described the #laboringaway objectives on her blog. Though I didn’t take part all 4 days, I made significant progress, jumping to a record high word count for a week: over 10K added.
You must be scratching your head about the word count thing, right? Generally, writers estimate 250 words a page. 10K is 40 pages. For me, it’s just a way of marking progress. I have no idea how long this book will be. I have broad plot points mapped out. (Mapped out meaning I have a 2-3 sentence description that needs to blossom into a scene or chapter.) Nine more to go, though I’m certain I’ll have double before it’s all over. New scene ideas pop into my head as I write. When I type “The End” we will all know how long the book will be.
Every week I discover another article or book to add to my research on the Middle Ages. Elizabeth Chadwick’s blog posts at Living the History are fantastic. She covers a wide range of medieval topics including money, bedchambers, food, William Marshal, and sexual sins! (I wrote a mini-review of her book, The Greatest Knight, a couple of weeks ago.)
Sharon Kay Penman has almost daily posts on “today in medieval history.” While I’m most interested in her wonderful descriptions of the Plantagenet’s and her own current research for her sequel to Lionheart, I’m learning about many other British monarchs.
Beyond the blogs, I’m reading Land and People in Medieval Lincolnshire by Graham Platts. Did you know that – at least as of this writing – my main character, Henry de Grey, is from Lincolnshire? His family manor is near the southern edge of the Lincolnshire Edge (apparently also known as the Lincoln Edge or Lincoln Cliff). It’s about halfway between Nottingham and Lincoln. Hence, my current explorations of medieval Lincolnshire history and geography. The sequel to Battle Scars will, for the most part, take place in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire during 1193 and 1194, ending shortly after the siege of Nottingham Castle. Count John (who becomes King John of Magna Carta fame) will be a major nemesis, as will a certain evil Sheriff of Nottingham. But friends and family feature in the sequel, also. Who is friend and who is foe?
I’m also reading Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century, by John Boswell. The book, published in 1981, was considered groundbreaking. There are some scholars who dispute Boswell’s interpretations that homosexuality was tolerated and recognized in many cultures and was not widely condemned until the 13th and 14th centuries. I find myself amongst his supporters, confirming my own treatment of the subject in Battle Scars, which features a gay main character and a bond of friendship that turns into something much deeper.
And look at this cool Google map showing sites in medieval Lincoln: http://bit.ly/13e0D7B. This might come in handy!
All over the blogosphere, authors are offering their tips, observations, and words of wisdom. Here are a few of my favorites from the last couple of weeks:
Words to write by: How To Maximize Your Word Count And Write More Every Day « terribleminds: chuck wendig http://ow.ly/kVsfs