Giveaway – Coming May 2 – For King and Country

Fantastic, Char! Congratulations!

Charlene Newcomb

11313088_10102867963460201_8701581433964500015_oPrint proofs have arrived!
There are only a few events in life that are more awesome than seeing your book in print. I could rattle off a number and let you add a dozen of your own. But holding a copy of the book you have spent hours researching, writing, revising, editing, editing, editing, and proofing & more proofing has to be pretty high on the ‘awesome’ list for most writers. (Did I mention editing? And proofing?)

You cannot order your copy yet – these are the print proofs that must go through another round of proofing. I am working on the ebook now – proofing and fixing formatting issues – and 3 readers have received that version as ARCs (advanced review copies).

For King and Country
will be available on May 2 on Amazon

Comment for the Giveaway
To get things rolling, I am  offering a signed paperback copy. Comment here…

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Visiting with author Anna Belfrage and other news

Kudos to our Pen in Hand colleague, Charlene Newcomb!

Charlene Newcomb

sex-lastjudgementthelustful388Anna Belfrage invited me to visit with her last week (on her blog, that is). We talked “Of sodomists, sex, and sin in the Middle Ages – not as clearcut as you think.” We take a look at the Church’s definitions of sexual sins and talk a bit about how we have handled gay characters in our medieval novels. Anna’s new series takes place during the reign of Edward II who was accused of having intimate relationships with his favourites. I reviewed Book I last week.

In other news…

Men of the Cross was reviewed by the Historical Novel Society:

Charlene Newcomb has woven a gripping tale, recounting the crusade without ever [being] boring or laden down with pages of political detail. The five main characters are compelling, believable and likeable. Ms Newcomb does not do gore, which is a blessing for someone who does not particularly enjoy…

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Time Triptych

Here are some poignant pieces by our fellow poet, Steve Pfister.  We hope you enjoy these views of time, our mortal yet fickle companion.

Midnight Butterfly

Wings pressed against blue moon-

Your shadow soars on shifting winds-

Your image floats in starry nights.

But- on a night like this I hate to see you go

Because I know

Soon comes the snow

And frozen wings are far too slow

To bring you back to morning light.

Why can’t we grab the hands of time

And stop the clock forever?

Because I know

Soon comes the snow

And frozen wings are far too slow.

©Pfister 10/12/2015

 

Distant Ripples

Quiet acts of kindness come as ripples from across the lake-

A mystery that can hide on foggy distant shores

And may stop your heart and mind for a brief moment

In the wonder

Of how each ripple is like the one before

And yet is gently nudging others on

To find the silent energy that moves the surface of the lake.

These ripples make a certain rhythm as they lap against the shore

If you listen closely you can hear the songs that have been written

By those ancient acts of kindness that flow from wave to wave

In search of those waiting for a touch that will hold them tight

And bind them in the distant ripples of the lake.

©Pfister 9/7/2015

 

Before I Sleep

Drifting on the oceans of my yesterdays,

I wonder why all good journeys must have an end

And why it is so hard to leave a friend

And why sometimes I smile before I sleep.

Light and night embrace for a momentary love affair

As if to teach us how to understand

The secrets of eternity as found within our dreams~

©Pfister 10/14/2015

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A Writer’s Life with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Charlene Newcomb

Great interview with our Pen in Hand colleague, Charlene Newcomb!

Layered Pages

Charlene Newcomb-BRAG

I’d like to welcome back B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Charlene Newcomb to talk with me about her writing. Charlene is the author of Men of the Cross, Book I of Battle Scars. A tale of war’s impact on a young knight serving Richard the Lionheart and of forbidden love, this historical adventure is set during the Third Crusade. Book II, For King and Country, will be published in 2015. Visit Charlene’s website and find her on Facebook at CharleneNewcombAuthor, and on Twitter @charnewcomb.

Why do you write?

Growing up, I was the youngest of three children. With an 11-year age difference between my brother and me, I often was on my own. As early as I can remember I had stories floating around in my head. But it wasn’t until I was well into my 30s that I seriously put pen to paper. Back then, I…

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Traveling Times

June…July…August…

We take to the road, sky, sea, and mountains when that old yearning returns.  Every since we were babies, we’ve needed to find out exactly what is on the other side of that door or hidden atop the table.  What is so wonderful that is just out of reach?

Join two of our Pen in Hand Bloggers to see where they have been!

Charlene Newcomb, Colorado and History Novel Society Conference  (Great Swords, Great Stories, and Great View!

Catherine Hedge, St. Augustine, Florida with Epicurean-Traveler

St. Augustine Lighthouse

St. Augustine Lighthouse

 

 

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Rocky Mountain highs amidst the Historical Novel Society Conference

High Flying Stories and Swords!

Charlene Newcomb

What a way to begin my first HNS conference – a 3 hour broadsword workshop with writer/actor/swordsman David Blixt and his associate Brandon St. Clair Saunders.
david and brandon

These two gentlemen were superb swordsmen and were incredibly patient with some of us who were a bit uncoordinated, i.e., me!

Sword and shield

 Mary (from Iowa) and me!

Sparks flew. (Yeah, right.) We had a blast. And no humans were maimed in the process.

Even better, I met authors Sharon Kay Penman (Lionheart;and, A King’s Ransom; and many more) and Patricia Bracewell (Shadow on the Crown; and, The Price of Blood) in the workshop.

Sharon is such a lovely woman. I’d ‘met’ her through social media a couple of years back. She emailed me about 2 weeks before the conference and invited me to have lunch with her. Novelist Priscilla Royal joined us. This was the best conference moment ever! We talked of our love of…

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Sea-side

Pen In Hand

By Catherine Hedge

One of the best aspects of teaching writing is that inspiration flows as much from the students to the teacher as the other way around.  If I challenge the students to do a bit of quick writing and then share, the corollary is that I am supposed to do it, too!

I hope you like this memory they inspired me to write.

*     *     *

The sea wind rushes like a friend to embrace me. It tosses my hair wild. Salty strands catch in the corners of my mouth. Flying sand peppers my hair, my long eyelashes, and grinds between my teeth. Waves crash nearby, sending the sea spray cold against my skin. I shut my eyes tightly and shiver, but I don’t care. I am ten-years-old and perched on my favorite rock at Trinidad Beach in Humboldt County, California. From here, I feel the whole world…

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Sea-side

By Catherine Hedge

One of the best aspects of teaching writing is that inspiration flows as much from the students to the teacher as the other way around.  If I challenge the students to do a bit of quick writing and then share, the corollary is that I am supposed to do it, too!

I hope you like this memory they inspired me to write.

*     *     *

Not Trinidad...but I sat on this cliff with my family and remembered.

Not Trinidad…but I sat on this cliff with my family and remembered.

The sea wind rushes like a friend to embrace me. It tosses my hair wild. Salty strands catch in the corners of my mouth. Flying sand peppers my hair, my long eyelashes, and grinds between my teeth. Waves crash nearby, sending the sea spray cold against my skin. I shut my eyes tightly and shiver, but I don’t care. I am ten-years-old and perched on my favorite rock at Trinidad Beach in Humboldt County, California. From here, I feel the whole world is my domain.

I stare out across the ocean to the horizon where the setting sun looms like a blood orange Japanese glass float. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we find real glass floats loosed from far-away fishing nets. They’ve bobbed all the way across the sea to my beach. Someday, if I’m lucky, I will cross the Pacific to sit on the opposite side, staring out toward my rock.

For now, imagination and reality blur. Though my long legs are white and coated with wet sand to my knees, though I wear plaid cotton shorts and one of Daddy’s t-shirts, though I’m thin, stringy-haired, with too large teeth, I am surrounded by magic. I’m riding on the waves, counting the swells to the big one…One two three four five SIX!

Any moment now, I know my skinny legs will transform to a long tail. Gleaming, scaled, just like the marlin’s hanging on the bait shop wall. I will take the form of a woman with silky hair, covering just the right places.

My family will watch, amazed. I’ll hear their forlorn cries as I plunge into the sea. I will return to my rock, to my home. Eventually. But for now, the sea is mine and shall always be.

©2015 Catherine Hedge

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Hearts Aren’t Crystal

Hearts Aren’t Crystal.

via Hearts Aren’t Crystal.

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Hearts Aren’t Crystal

By Catherine Hedge

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA Kansas is beautiful today.  The sun is brilliant. After a week of brutal cold and icy winds, the warmth penetrates the icicles hanging off my deck.  It seems they weep as they disappear.

Heartbreak is much like a winter freeze.  As  Valentine’s Day approaches, some of my friends are suffering the cold of heartbreak.  I hope the thaw of healing comes soon.  This repost is for you.

****

Hearts Aren’t Crystal

Posted on April 22, 2012 by Catherine Hedge

By Catherine Hedge

I once read a old fairy tale about an innocent girl who met with tragedy.  The Ice Queen broke a magic crystal.  A shard flew through the air, piercing the child’s heart.  Originally sweet and loving, she became increasingly cruel and rigid while her brother tried to save her.  I wonder if that’s what happens when our hearts are broken. Sharp fragments bury themselves into our psyches  and dare us to pry them out.

I’ve never met anyone over fifteen who hasn’t had a broken heart at least once.   Sadly, most of us experience it multiple times and know all the platitudes people use to make us feel better:

“Just keep yourself busy.  You’ll get over him/her soon enough!”

“No one ever died of a broken heart.” (Are they so sure?)

“If it were real love, none of this would have ever happened.”

“Just wait.  Someone better will come along.”

You know they mean well, but all you really need is someone to wrap both arms around you, to say, “I am so very sorry….”, and to listen. Sometimes it seems you’re asking them to listen forever.  You tell the same story so often your sister, brother, mother, friend could say the next line, but still the spinning of it is healing.

You need someone to say, “It really wasn’t your fault.” Even if it was.  You need to talk about little moments, insignificant before the break-up, that become magnified into monumental foretellings.  (Why didn’t I see it coming?  How could I have been so naive?  Why wouldn’t he/she change when he/she knew I needed him/her so much?) Characteristics that were once endearing when you loved the person become traits that drive you crazy.   Places you adored, holidays you cherished,  friends you shared, you avoid in the aching, dulling  aftermath of a soured romance. That shard of heartbreak can keep digging deeper, shredding your spirit until it seems there is nothing left.

Some creatures really are made to love only once.  My daughter told me a story of a friend who used to hunt wild geese.  He was very proud of bagging a large goose until he saw the gander circling, landing, and calling out for hours for his lost love.  The sound was so mournful, he never hunted geese again.  That goose may have returned to search for years.  They mate for life.

But humans are lucky.  We do have the capacity to love again, if given the chance.  Perhaps a dear friend, a new lover, or our child reaches inside us and finds that old injury.  Somehow, with patience and hope, they tweeze out the slivers of glass.   That makes us love them even more.

©2o12 Catherine Hedge

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