Happy New Year & a January Giveaway

To start off 2017 I am offering one ebook of Men of the Cross or For King and Country to one lucky person. Just sign up for my Newsletter by

midnight (CT) on January 10

to enter the giveaway. I’ll do a random drawing for the winner. I’ll confirm which book and what format (epub or Kindle) when I contact the winner.



I had a lovely holiday except for dislocating my ring finger in a spill down some stairs. It was a rude wake up call on Christmas morning for my daughter and her husband. It could have been worse – at least I can still type (sort of). I lost one day of writing time, but otherwise made very good progress on Book III. With luck, my first (rough) draft will be done by early summer. Once I get to that point, Newsletter subscribers will get an early peek at the book cover! At Chapter One! There will be other goodies in store for subscribers, too! Sign up now (and before end-of-day January 10) to put your name in the drawing.


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.

L.Q. revisited…

gardens at VersaillesI read about as slowly as I write. There was a time I could devour a novel  in 3-4 days. Wish I had those kind of days now.  But come to think of it, I wasn’t writing when I read at that pace.

So why does this post include a picture my son took at Versailles and what does that have to do with reading? Hm…  Absolutely nothing. It’s just a cool shot, isn’t it? (Versailles was my favorite experience on a 2 day trip to France.)

Anyway…back to reading. Mentioning others’ works and blogging about books you like helps build L.Q., the ‘likability quotient’ Kristen Lamb wrote about a few weeks ago. Accomplishing L.Q. #6  is not an easy task when it takes me weeks – or months – to find my way from start to finish of a novel. A full-fledged review would be the way to go but I suppose even a mention is a good thing, right?

My problem is that I don’t tend to read many currently published books. I decided to make an effort to explore some indie writers so I downloaded 6 new ebooks over the holidays. I read 1 (no comment), started 2 others, and have scooted back to 1 of the 2 now & then. The others await my attention.

The stack of books – physical and virtual – that I am currently reading:

  • biographical materials from the Third Crusade era: 7 books, none recently published – need I say more? : )
  • Timothy Zahn’s 20th anniversary Heir to the Empire – I sang praises of the original edition on AOL forums years ago & this annotated version is a Star Wars geek’s Nirvana
  • Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island, a Christmas gift from my future son-in-law who knows how much I love traveling around the UK. I found myself chuckling throughout the first chapter
  • 4 ebooks (these are ebooks in addition to the 6 I mentioned above)
    • A Breath of Snow and Ashes from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series (yes, I’m way behind) – she doesn’t need my recommendations
    • Marie Loughin’s Valknut: The Bindingwhich I actually have read and commented on. (Norse gods and hobos. Buy it, people!)
    • The Sonsov Bitches, by Niklas Leavy, whom I read about on writer David Gaughran’s blog. Thumbs up for this gritty, realistic, funny, and sad look at Simon and his gay boy band
    • What Stays in Vegas, by Beth Labonte – a fun romp so far!

I’m curious about other writers’ reading habits: do you put a ‘writer’ or ‘editor’ hat on and start analyzing the text, the structure, etc., of a story when you read?  I know I’m guilty of that!

How’s my L.Q.?

Kristen Lamb* has a great post on 10 Ways to Improve Your “Likeability Quotient“.

“…likability on social media is so crucial to marketing. We are no longer selling stories…we are selling ourselves, which just confirms for me that writers really are the oldest profession in the world. “

I’ve been a heavy user of social media. Love love LOVE my RSS reader. It’s highly organized – made me feel good to read Alex Cavanaugh’s post on Saturday to see I’m in good company. But I’ll admit my L.Q. needs to come up on the scale. I read a lot of posts, but as Kristen notes, you also have to comment to build a relationship with other readers & writers. And I need to post interesting content on my blog, not just me-me-me. So I fail big-time on those two points.

It would be so easy to give you a play-by-play of how I stack up against Kristen’s other points, but there’s that me-me-me content I need to avoid. A little goes a long way, right?

*Kristen Lamb writes some fabulous blog posts and is the author of  We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer .  

I will not be one of those writers…

“I get very confused when a writer with a few hundred friends on Facebook and Twitter thinks that repeating the publication of their book over and over and over and over will make them more than a handful of sales. And fewer friends.”Dean Wesley Smith

Words to remember. Okay…I am months away from placing Keeping the Family Peace on Amazon and other sites, but I definitely see where Mr. Smith is coming from. I love Twitter, especially when others point me to interesting articles on writing and marketing.  I want to engage with other writers, but when all they do is remind me–several times a day–that their book is available, I just want to cover my head. I will not be one of those writers. I will NOT be one of those writers.