Men of the Cross – sale July 28-29

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July 28-29 – Two Day Sale on Amazon (U.S.)

Get Men of the Cross for $1.99 (ebook)

Why do you want to pick up Men of the Cross for this great low price? Well, it’s cheaper than that latte at the local coffee shop and will stick with you a lot longer! And Book II of the Battle Scars series is now available. You could skip Men and go straight to Book II – both novels work as stand-alones. But if you read Book I, you will have fuller insight into the relationship of characters Henry de Grey and Stephan l’Aigle.

Men of the Cross is a B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree. indieBRAG is the Book Readers Appreciation Group which has a selective review process. They have  a two-fold mission: “to discover new talented self-published authors”; and to “provide an independent, broad-based and reader-centric source to advise the public which indie book merit the investment of their time and money.”

The novel has had some splendid reviews, too –

“A vivid picture of the Third Crusade.”
–Professor Andrew Latham, author of The Holy Lance

“A historical romance with a difference . . . very well researched a
and historically 
competent . . .”
–Christoph Fischer, author of Ludwika:
a Polish Woman’s Struggle To Survive In Nazi Germany

“If Mary Renault had chosen to write about the Crusades instead of ancient Greece and Persia, she could not have done any better–and that is high praise, indeed.”
–Bo, on Goodreads

“Trauma and passion in a battle of bodies and souls.”
–Christopher Monk, aka The Anglo Saxon Monk

Get Men of the Cross on Amazon now!

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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. For King and Country, book II of the series, was published on 2 May 2016. 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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Holiday Historical Fiction Blowout – 8 Authors, 8 Days, 8 Great Sales!

historical fiction promotion blogpost bannerGet swept away to
Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire (past & present),
the Crusades, the War of the Roses, the Regency era, and the Golden Age of Piracy.
Eight authors share the history and setting of their books.
Be sure to follow the links after my post to
read all the authors’ posts and then go pick up a great read
for only 99cents/99p for the holidays!

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Men of the Cross
Time period: Medieval – 12th century

Richard the Lionheart. Saladin. Who hasn’t heard these names? I wasn’t a student of medieval history back in high school or college, but I knew of these two men. Sadly, I would not have been able to tell you they lived in the 12th century and were involved in the Third Crusade. Those were things I learned around 2007 when a BBC Robin Hood series placed them in context for me, and subsequently led to my overwhelming need to write a novel set during that war.

But first, I had to do a lot of reading and research!  So let me take you back to the 12th century, to the time of the Third Crusade…

A Time of Conquest
Throughout the 1170s and 1180s, the ruler Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub, also known as Saladin, unified Muslim factions from Egypt to Syria. His army defeated forces of the Kingdom of Jerusalem at the Battle of Hattin in July 1187. Nearly every Christian stronghold in the region, including the major coastal port cities of Ascalon, Jaffa, and Acre, fell to Saladin and he set siege to the city of Jerusalem. When word arrived in Rome in late October of the devastating loss at Hattin (where Saladin had also captured remnants of the True Cross), Pope Gregory VIII issued the call for a holy crusade. The city of Jerusalem had surrendered to Saladin in early October, but that news had not yet reached the Christian West.

Political alliances
For many Christian princes, kings, and nobles, the call to crusade meant putting aside regional conflicts. Among them, Henry II of England and Philip II of France had fought on and off in the 1180s in what is present-day France, but agreed to lay down arms. Unfortunately, Henry’s son Richard, Duke of Aquitaine – the man who came to be known as Lionheart – had become incensed when Henry would not recognize him as his heir unless Richard relinquished Aquitaine to his younger brother John. Richard responded by pledging loyalty to King Philip, and the conflict between Henry and Philip with Richard continued until Henry died in July 1189. At that time, Richard and Philip agreed to a peace and began to make plans to go to the Holy Land. Richard was crowned King of England in September 1189, and he and Philip met in Vézelay (in present-day France) the following April to begin the arduous journey to the Holy Land.

Richard and Philip had little love for each other, and as history would prove, Philip could not be trusted. Richard arrived in the Holy Land in June 1190 and joined Philip and other forces involved in the siege of Acre, including those of another future enemy, Leopold of Austria. Taking back Acre would be a critical step in the campaign to secure Jerusalem.

Religion and the Church
The Church dominated the lives of Christian peoples in medieval times. Secular rulers in the West answered to the Pope’s authority (though throughout the period, political struggles did exist). The call for the Third Crusade that came from Rome promised salvation for any person who “took the Cross.” It may have motivated many to this pilgrimage (as it was called then) to Outremer to wash away sins. Sin was also forgivable through confession – penances and/or a coin or two in clerics’ pockets would do the trick – and even the worst of sins could be forgiven. The idea of Heaven and Hell were very real.

Men of the Cross
This sets the background for my novel Men of the Cross. The young knights Henry de Grey and Stephan l’Aigle join the thousands of men in spring 1190 on the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Henry is a devout Catholic and a naive, inexperienced warrior. Stephan is a battle-hardened knight who is cynical about the Church. The events of the novel and the developing relationship of the two fictional main characters takes place over the period March 1190 – March 1193, from Henry’s first meeting with Stephan and boarding a boat in Southampton to rendezvous with King Richard in Tours for the journey East until their return to England.

The reader becomes part of Richard’s army through the eyes of Sir Henry and Sir Stephan – they observe their king’s struggles first-hand. Life in a medieval army is not filled with flowery chivalry. These men cross great distances over land and sea, survive the elements, see the horrors of war, nearly lose their own lives in fights against the Saracen army, and come to question their beliefs about love and war. Henry struggles with his growing feelings for Stephan knowing that sodomy was a mortal sin in the eyes of the Church. Political intrigue abounds as Richard’s allies become enemies. Through it all, the knights’ loyalty remains with Richard.

They will endure battles in Messina, Sicily, the siege and massacre at Acre, the coastal march south with skirmish after skirmish, the Battle of Arsuf, Jaffa, and the march east to Jerusalem – twice – the truce with Saladin – sailing home – the harrowing flight through Bavaria where King Richard is captured – and back to England. You will be there.

historical fiction promotion blogpost bannerlindaA Similar Taste in Books – by Linda Banche

Historical Period: Regency

Synopsis:
Book 1 of Love and the Library: Clara and Justin

“Pride and Prejudice” has always brought lovers together, even in the Regency.

Justin has a deep, dark secret—he likes that most despised form of literature, the novel. His favorite novel is “Pride and Prejudice”, and, especially, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Intelligent, lively, fiercely loyal Miss Elizabeth. How he would love to meet a lady like her.

Clara’s favorite novel is “Pride and Prejudice” and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Intelligent, steadfast and willing to admit when he is wrong. Can such a splendid man exist? And can she find him?

One day in the library, they both check out copies of their favorite book. When Justin bumps into Clara, the magic of their similar taste in books just might make their wishes come true.

A sweet, traditional Regency romantic comedy novella, but not a retelling of “Pride and Prejudice”.

Website: http://lindabanche.blogspot.com/2015/11/holiday-historical-fiction-blowout-day.html
Sales Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/247691
On sale for 99 cents at Smashwords only with coupon code FF67C (not case sensitive)

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December 2

derekKingdom of Rebels – by Derek Birks

Historical Period: Fifteenth Century – the Wars of the Roses

Synopsis:

When all hope is gone, only death lies in wait…

England in 1468 is a nervous kingdom. King Edward IV has fallen out with his chief ally during the Wars of the Roses, the powerful Earl of Warwick. 
Ned Elder, a young lord whose sword helped to put Edward on the throne, has been forced out of England by Warwick.

Far away on the Scottish border, a beleaguered fort, Crag Tower, desperately awaits Ned’s return. Led by his fiery sister, Eleanor, the dwindling garrison is all that remains of his brave army of retainers. Unknown to all except the loyal knight, Ragwulf, Eleanor has Ned’s young son in her charge – a son who has never seen his father. But, as border clansmen batter the gates with fire, the castle seems certain to fall. 

One by one Ned’s family and friends are caught up in Warwick’s web of treason. The fate of the Elders and those who derek2serve them lies once more in the balance as all are drawn back to Yorkshire where they face old enemies once more. Eleanor can only hope that Ned will soon return. She must fight to keep that hope alive… and when Lady Eleanor fights, she takes no prisoners…

Website: http://bit.ly/1NZfXfF

Sales links
Amazon UK:   www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MQA6826/
Amazon.com:  www.amazon.com/KINGDOM-REBELS-Rebels-Brothers-Book-ebook/dp/B00MQA6826

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December 3 

lucianaSearch for the Golden Serpent   (Servant of the Gods, Book 1) – by Luciana Cavallaro

Historical period: – 600 BCE Ancient Greece

Synopsis:
The story is about Evan, an architect whose been having strange dreams. He received an unexpected phone call from an entrepreneur from Greece who wants Evan to restore his Family’s home. He dismissed the caller and regarded the person as a crank. During a dream, he met the mysterious entrepreneur, Zeus, who catapulted him back in time, five hundred years before the birth of Christ. Evan, an unwilling participant finds himself entangled in an epic struggle between the gods and his life.

luci2Website: http://luccav.com/2015/12/01/hhfb/#more-2071
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Search-Golden-Serpent-Servant-Gods-ebook/dp/B00TO8TT9W/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1424238434&sr=8-6&keywords=luciana+cavallaro
Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/520605
Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/search-for-the-golden-serpent

 

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December 4

adamChildren of Apollo (Eagles and Dragons – Book I) – by Adam Alexander Haviaras

Historical Period:   The Roman Empire, A.D. 202

Synopsis:
At the peak of Rome’s might a dragon is born among eagles, an heir to a line both blessed and cursed by the Gods for ages.

Lucius Metellus Anguis is a young warrior who is inspired by the deeds of his glorious ancestors and burdened by the knowledge that he must raise his family name from the ashes of the past. Having achieved a measure of success in the emperor’s legions in North Africa, Lucius is recalled to Rome where he finds himself surrounded by enemies, cast into the deadly arena of Roman politics.

Amid growing fears of treachery, Lucius meets a young Athenian woman who fills his darkening world with new-found hope. Their love grows, as does their belief that the Gods have planned their meeting, but when an ancient oracle of Apollo utters a terrifying prophecy regarding his future, Lucius’ world is once more thrown into chaos. Ultimately, he adam2must choose sides in a war that threatens to destroy his family, his faith and all that he has worked for.

Website: http://eaglesanddragonspublishing.com/blog-writing-the-past-2/
Available here on Amazon, iBooks, and Kobo: http://eaglesanddragonspublishing.com/books/children-of-apollo-eagles-and-dragons-book-i/

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December 5

helenSea Witch (Voyage One) – by Helen Hollick

Historical Period: The Golden Age of Piracy – 1716

Synopsis:
Escaping the bullying of his elder half brother, from the age of fifteen Jesamiah Acorne has been a pirate with only two loves – his ship and his freedom. But his life is to change when he and his crewmates unsuccessfully attack a merchant ship off the coast of South Africa.

He is to meet Tiola Oldstagh an insignificant girl, or so he assumes – until she rescues him from a vicious attack, and almost certain death, by pirate hunters. And then he discovers what she really is; a healer, a midwife – and a white witch. Her name, an anagram of “all that is good.” Tiola and Jesamiah become lovers, but the wealthy Stefan van Overstratten, a Cape Town Dutchman, also wants Tiola as his wife and Jesamiah’s jealous brother, Phillipe Mereno, is determined to seek revenge for resentments of the past, a stolen ship and the insult of being cuckolded in his own home.

When the call of the sea and an opportunity to commandeer a beautiful ship – the Sea Witch – is put in Jesamiah’s path he must make a choice between his life as a pirate or his love for Tiola. He wants both, but Mereno and van Overstratten want him dead.

In trouble, imprisoned in the darkness and stench that is the lowest part of his brother’s ship, can Tiola with her gift of Craft, and the aid of his loyal crew, save him?

Using all her skills Tiola must conjure up a wind to rescue her lover, but first she must brave the darkness of the ocean depths and confront the supernatural being, Tethys, the helen2Spirit of the Sea, an elemental who will stop at nothing to claim Jesamiah Acorne’s soul and bones as a trophy.

Website: http://ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/holiday-histories.html
Amazon Author link: viewAuthor.at/HelenHollick
Universal Amazon link: viewBook.at/SeaWitch

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December 6

alisonINCEPTIO – by Alison Morton

Historic Period: Modern/Roman (alternate history)

Synopsis:
New York, present day, alternate timeline. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after surviving a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice – being eliminated by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother’s homeland in Europe.

Founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety, at a price, and a ready-made family in a strange culture she often struggles with. Just as she’s finding her feet, a shocking discovery about her new lover, Praetorian special forces officer Conrad Tellus, isolates her.

And the enforcer, Renschman, is stalking her in her new home and nearly kills her. Recovering, she is desperate to find out why this Renschman is hunting her so viciously. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes an undercover cop. But crazy with bitterness at his past failures, Renschman sets a trap for her, knowing she has no choice but to spring it…

alison2Website: http://alison-morton.com/2015/12/01/holiday-historicals/ ‎
Purchase links:
Amazon (universal link): http://authl.it/B00K5OO4QW?d
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/inceptio-2
iBooks (UK): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/inceptio/id903741754
iBooks (US): https://itunes.apple.com/book/inceptio/id903741754
NookBook (UK): http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/inceptio-by-alison-morton/2940149661541
B&N Nook (US): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/inceptio-alison-morton/1114342315?ean=2940149661541

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December 7

charMen of the Cross (Battle Scars I) – by Charlene Newcomb

Historical period: Medieval – 12th century

Synopsis:
War, political intrigue and passion… heroes… friends and lovers… and the seeds for a new Robin Hood legend await you…


Two young knights’  journey to war at Richard the Lionheart’s side sweeps them from England to the Holy Land in this historical adventure set against the backdrop of the Third Crusade.

Henry de Grey leaves Southampton in high spirits, strong in his faith and passionate about the mission to take Jerusalem back from Saladin’s army. Stephan l’Aigle’s prowess on the battlefield is well known, as are his exploits in the arms of other men. He prizes duty, honour and loyalty to his king above all else. But God and the Church? Stephan has little use for either.

Henry’s convictions are challenged by loss and the harsh realities of bloody battles,
char2unforgiving marches, and the politics of the day. Man against man. Man against the elements. Man against his own heart. Survival will depend on more than a strong sword arm.

Website: https://charlenenewcomb.com/2015/11/30/holiday-histor…iction-blowout/ ‎
Amazon (universal link) ‪http://mybook.to/MenoftheCross 

 

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December 8

lindsayFlavia’s Secret – by Lindsay Townsend

Historical Period:   Ancient Roman Britain, 206 AD

Synopsis:
Spirited young scribe Flavia hopes for freedom. She and her fellow slaves in Aquae Sulis (modern Bath) have served the Lady Valeria for many years, but their mistress’ death brings a threat to Flavia’s dream: her new master Marcus Brucetus, a charismatic, widowed officer toughened in the forests of Germania. Flavia finds him overwhelmingly attractive but she is aware of the danger. To save her life and those of her ‘family’ she has forged a note from her mistress. If her deception is discovered, all the slaves may die.

For his part torn between attraction and respect, Marcus will not force himself on Flavia. Flavia by now knows of his grief over the deaths of his wife Drusilla and child. But how can she match up to the serene, flame-haired Drusilla?

lindsey2As the wild mid-winter festival of Saturnalia approaches, many lives will be changed forever.

 

 

 

 

Website: http://www.lindsaytownsend.co.uk/2015/12/holiday-historical-fiction-blowout.html
On sale at Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/flavias-secret

 

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?

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*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.