Monday, April 30, 2012

Kindle or Paperback: Two Ways to get I Serve FREE This Week

A tale of arms, of death, of love, and of honor.... Monday and Tuesday (April 30 & May 1) I am running a free promotional of I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince on Kindle. Head on over to Amazon to get your free copy today.

E-books aren't your cup of tea? I am also offering one paperback in a giveaway over at the English Historical Fiction Authors blog. Head over there and enter by commenting with your e-mail address. (Available internationally.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Things to Do on a Cloudy Day

My friend and fellow Inkblot Society member Lauren recently posted about using Wordle to create fun word clouds of your blog content. I'm sure many of you have heard of this site already, but I'm a little bit behind the times, so this was my first visit over there. I input the blog feed for this site and (as evidenced by the picture above) discovered that I've had Jerusalem on the brain lately. That's where the Crusader army has just arrived in my current WIP, Flower of the Desert--I think I'm as excited as they are to get to the city at last.

Just for fun, I did a couple more Wordles. Here's the word cloud for the Flower of the Desert manuscript itself. I bet you can't guess who the protagonist is....

And then here's the word cloud for Read Room, my book review blog. 

One of the best things about these word clouds is that you can manipulate the layout, the font, and the color. If you have a few spare minutes on this cloudy Friday morning, head on over to Wordle to input your own blog or manuscript. It's time well wasted and lots of fun.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When Sources Just Fall into Your Lap

Last night I was working on Flower of the Desert and writing a descriptive passage of the Crusaders first sighting Jerusalem. My sources were Benjamin of Tudela (a Jew traveling in the 12th century) and some maps of old Jerusalem that I had found on the Internet. Trouble is: the maps were all proving contradictory, and although Benjamin of Tudela had an adequate description of the city, I was having trouble visualizing it enough to make my reader visualize it.

This morning when I was perusing Facebook, I discovered that History Today has a new article up by John France titled "The Capture of Jerusalem." How could I pass that up? I clicked over to the article and about halfway through it found this:
In attacking Jerusalem the crusaders faced a formidable task. The city is set upon a steep spur dividing the Kidron valley, which falls away southwards towards the Dead Sea. To the east the Valley of Josaphat cuts an enormous gash between the city and the Mount of Olives, while to the West the Valley of Hinnon provides a similar if less dramatic protection. Apart from a level stretch of some 250-300 metres around the Zion Gate, the land before the southern wall falls sharply to the Kidron valley: it was here that the Count of Toulouse chose to mount his attack, but he faced a deep ditch between the wall and his camp. The most vulnerable aspect of the city is the northern wall, about a kilometre long, which is built well below the brow of the hill; here the rest of the army gathered. The whole city was surrounded by a wall, three stories high, studded with projecting towers; the relative vulnerability of the northern wall was protected by an outer wall and beyond it a ditch extending from the citadel, called the 'Tower of David' by Jaffa Gate on the west side, to the platform over the Valley of Josaphat at the north-east corner.
I love it when sources just fall into your lap. I guess I'll be rewriting that passage tonight, with a little help from John France and "The Capture of Jerusalem."

Siege and Capture of Jerusalem (1099)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Black Prince and Joan of Kent: A Love Story

English Historical Fiction Authors is a great blog featuring a daily historical essay written by historical novelists whose work is primarily set in England. It also has a weekly giveaway of a historical novel by one of the participating authors. Today I have a blog post over at EHFA entitled "How Joan of Kent Became Princess of Wales."
Edward, the Black Prince, and Joan of Kent: a pair of star cross’d lovers that eventually came together in one of history’s true love matches. It took three marriages and over thirty years before Joan finally became the Princess of Wales, but if the chroniclers are to be believed, it was worth the wait.... (read more)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Flower of the Desert: First Chapter

Later this month my writers' group, The Inkblot Society, is going to give me feedback on the first chapter of my WIP. And since I'm sharing it with them, I thought I might as well share it with all of you too. Am I introducing the characters and the situation clearly enough? Does it make you want to read more? Feel free to give me your feedback in the comments section of this post.

Flower of the Desert: Book II of the Chronicles of Tancred
By Rosanne E. Lortz

Chapter 1

The hole in the floor of the church grew deeper with each thrust of the soldiers’ spades. Twelve men, blessed with broad backs and brawny arms, had been digging in shifts since the light of dawn. It was now nearly vespers.

Over the last twelvemonth, the Church of St. Peter in Antioch had seen its share of abuse. First, the Mussulman governor had turned it into a stable for his horses. Now, the Crusaders, who had captured the city after a long and arduous siege, were tearing up the flagstones around the altar without any thought for the sanctity of the place. The pit was already shoulder-deep, and who knows how much longer they would have to dig?

While the twelve men grunted and toiled halfway underground, hundreds of observers watched impatiently. Row upon row of Crusaders lined the sanctuary. The lords and leading churchmen stood closest to the center and the lesser men-at-arms spilled out onto the porch and street outside. Every soldier who could be spared from manning the walls was there. The stifling air of June in the East left the spectators nearly as sweltering as the shovelers. The atmosphere was rank with sweat and anticipation.... (read more)

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