New winners of Sunne book drawing and fun in Denver
I have waited for over two months for the winner of my Sunne book giveaway, Laurie Spencer, to contact me, having no way to contact her myself. But to no avail, so I finally decided it was only fair to do the drawing over again; that probably means that Laurie will surface as soon as the new blog is posted….sigh. I can provide a signed paperback edition, though, as a consolation prize when she does. Meanwhile, there are two new winners in the re-drawing for the commemorative hardcover edition of Sunne, for when I pulled out one number, another one had attached to it, like a limpet to a ship’s hull. Since they emerged at the same time, it seemed only right to call them both winners. So…..Anna Kallumpram and Chris Torrance, please contact me so I can arrange to personalize and mail your copies to you. You can post a comment on this blog, use the Contact Sharon feature on my website, go to one of my Facebook pages, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a very important battle scene looming in the next Outremer chapter and am really looking forward to it. At the risk of sounding bloodthirsty, I enjoy fighting battles, find it very therapeutic—unless a favorite character has to die, of course. Fortunately, that is not the case in this battle. But because of this coming bloodshed, I will have to keep this blog shorter than usual.
I love Colorado in general and Denver in particular; in the good old days, they used to send me to the Tattered Cover on every book tour, but sadly, that has not been the case in recent years. So I jumped at the opportunity to attend the Historical Novel Society convention in Denver last June, and I am so glad I did. One of my favorite Kurt Vonnegut quotes is a commentary on the anti-social tendencies of authors; he claimed that most writers dragged themselves about in public like gut-shot grizzly bears. Not always true, though, for I had a wonderful time attending panel discussions and catching up with friends like Priscilla Royal, Barbara Peters, Margaret George, Anne Easter Smith, Judith Starkey, Mary Tod, and David Blixt, among others; I also enjoyed meeting Charlene Newcomb, who has written a novel set during the Third Crusade, Men of the Cross. Because this was the largest of the HNS conventions to date, with over 450 writers and aspiring writers attending, it was inevitable that some of us would be like ships passing in the night; for example, Helen Hollick and I missed each other altogether and Christopher Gortner and I got to exchange hugs, but had no time to chat. As an added bonus, I got to meet some of my Facebook friends at a book signing that was open to the public, and Karen King, a very gifted artist, gave me a beautiful portfolio of paintings she’d done of several of my characters: Llywelyn and Joanna, Richard III and Anne Neville, and Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. My blog continues to make it very difficult to insert images into the narrative—one reason why we will soon be moving it—but I will do my best to include one of Karen’s paintings for you all to see.
For me, the highlights of the weekend were David Blixt’s swordplay sessions on Friday. David and his actor friend, Brandon, put on a phenomenal show, first showing us how to kill with medieval swords and axes, and then how to kill with rapiers and other Renaissance weapons…..often while playing out scenes from Shakespeare! David and Brandon are experienced Shakespearean actors and would have been superb soldiers in the armies of the Lionheart, the Yorkist kings, or Cangrande della Scala, Lord of Verona in David’s magnificent Star-Cross’d series set in 14th century Italy. After showing us how it is done, David and Brandon then offered lessons in how to lop off heads and skewer evil-doers. Most of those in the class happily gave it a try, but I played the “senior citizen with a bad back card” and watched just as happily from the sidelines. You’ll understand if I am able to include a photo from that session; you’ll notice that the broadsword I am holding is almost as tall as I am!
I stayed over in Denver after the convention ended in order to visit with a Colorado friend, Enda Junkins, who’d accompanied Paula Mildenhall and me on our memorable trip to Israel last year. We had a very enjoyable dinner with Mary Tod and Margaret George and the next day Enda enabled me to cross Pike’s Peak off my Bucket List by driving me up to the top of that summit. Well, it actually was not on my Bucket List, but it should have been, for the views were spectacular. Only one slight problem—I found I couldn’t breathe very well at 14, 0000 feet! Apart from a train trip through the Alps many years ago, I’d never been at such a height, for the highest peak in my beloved Snowdonia is less than 4,000 feet. But the journey was well worth being out of breath and I highly recommend it for those of you visiting Colorado in the future.
The trip would have been perfect if only I’d been able to ask Scotty to beam me up or had my own private jet or a dragon to ride like Danni in Game of Thrones. I was stuck flying United, though, with all the attendant joys that flying offers us these days. Delays, bad weather, an almost-diversion to Colorado Springs, more delays, a cancelled flight, and during the actual time trapped in the flying tuna cans, all the comforts enjoyed by Roman galley slaves chained to their oars. I know, travel is still easier for us than it was for people for most of history, but that is not always much consolation at 35,000 feet when we find ourselves forced to get very up close and personal with our seatmates because airlines keep shrinking the seats in order to squeeze even more into every row.
Okay, end of rant; it did help. I will be waiting to hear from you, Anna and Chris. And I promise to hold another drawing for the hardcover edition of Sunne before the end of the year. Meanwhile, please wish me luck with the upcoming battle.
August 8, 2015