Monday, February 10, 2020

Meet Sam Rawlins, Author of YOUNG LINCOLN OF NEW SALEM, in Celebration of Lincoln's 211th Birthday

I've been a huge Lincoln buff since childhood, and it was a joy to write my own novel about Booth's insane plot to assassinate him (A NECESSARY END). I read every Lincoln book--fiction and nonfiction--I can find. When I saw a post about Sam's book on one of my Facebook author groups, I snapped it up and read it immediately. After thoroughly enjoying it, I gave it a glowing review on Amazon (below).



In Sam's Own Words

In all my years of researching Lincoln’s life for my book, Young Lincoln of New Salem, I have found what he lost in life was worth saving in his memories. This was something he learned time and again throughout his life.

In the many first hand accounts I have reviewed over several decades, one important personal trait he never lost. He never let go of his deep, emotional feelings for friends and beliefs he treasured.

He kept all that he cherished locked inside his heart and soul. To those he shared his feelings and beliefs with, he was a man of great courage and compassion. The fact that he never let go of memories of those he loved and cherished is reflected in countless photos that reveals the grief concerning them. Such deep, heartfelt feelings were all a part of the sadness that never left his face.

In some ways it was these emotions that filled his most sincere beliefs and contributed to the great man Abraham Lincoln became. He drew to embrace all that was inside him to become one of the greatest presidents and one of the greatest Americans who ever lived.

He left both a legacy and a shining example of what can be accomplished against all odds if one comes to believe in oneself. In writing my own book about Abraham Lincoln I became deeply humbled by this man’s shining example to others. I will always admire him.

On the coming occasion of the 211th anniversary of his birth on February 12th I would encourage everyone to learn more about the life of this great human being.

Connect With Sam


Website

Email

Purchase YOUNG LINCOLN OF NEW SALEM


Amazon

Barnes & Noble

* * *

My Review of YOUNG LINCOLN OF NEW SALEM:


Reviewed in the United States on January 17, 2020
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I’ve been a huge Lincoln buff since childhood and have read many of the 
thousands of books about him, all of which go no farther back than his 
career as a lawyer in Springfield, and his tragic romance with Ann Rutledge. 
They all mention his birth in a log cabin, of course. But Mr. Rawlins dug 
deep—and you’ll see at the end of the book how many sources he 
probed—to research Lincoln’s early life—that log cabin birth in Kentucky, 
his formative years during which he was brutally abused by his father, 
his and his sister’s starving after his mother’s death during his father’s 
many absences, his stints as a store clerk, postmaster, term in the 
Illinois State Assembly, service as a captain in the Illinois Militia, four 
terms in the Illinois House of Representatives, and flatboat trips to 
New Orleans, where he witnessed the brutal treatment of slaves. He 
fell deeply in love with Ann Rutledge, and she died soon after they became 
engaged. He suffered a deep depression and friends prevented him 
from committing suicide. This ‘melancholy’ never left him, as Ann 
was the love of his life. His grief consumed him through his courtship 
and marriage to Mary Todd. We learn of the extreme poverty he suffered 
as a child and how he overcame it to learn the law from reading law 
books, becoming a successful lawyer. The book then goes over the 
later parts of his life; his marriage, law career in Springfield, presidency, 
family, and assassination. Up to now, we know who Lincoln was, but not 
what made him who he was. I highly recommend it.


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Meet Voice Actor/Narrator/Storyteller Nina Price--And How She Discovered Audio Books


Nina has narrated several of my books, and is working on more, my romantic comedy time travel FOR LOVE AND LOYALTY with a variety of British accents (she's nailing the Yorkshire accent). Her voice is expressive and animated, and her accents include German, French, Australian, New York, Scottish, and several regional British accents. She has an impeccable sense of comedic timing and sarcasm. She really makes my characters come to life--the fictional ones I made up, and the historical figures who really lived!



Nina's Story:

How I Came to Narrate the Audio Versions of Diana Rubino’s New York Saga Books

I’m Nina Price and I thoroughly enjoyed reading and narrating all three of Diana Rubino’s New York Saga books: From Here to Fourteenth Street, Bootleg Broadway and The End of Camelot. The characters are delightful and the stories compelling. In fact I enjoyed Diana’s books so much that I offered to do another one: For Love and Loyalty, which should be available by next fall.

Diana thought her readers would enjoy knowing more about me. So here’s a bit of the story about how I became an audiobook narrator.

MY FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH “AUDIOBOOKS” - THE SINGING LADY

As a child growing up in New York many of the adults in my family read stories to me, but my first experience of someone reading me a story and creating special voices for all of the characters, was when I listened to Ireene Wicker, The Singing Lady on WNYC radio. Like millions of children before me, I was enchanted by The Singing Lady and her stories. Most of all, I loved her voices. At the time, I never thought that I could or would tell stories with voices, but apparently a seed was planted.

I Started Each Day in College with 30 Minutes of an Audiobook  (Even though they weren’t called “audiobooks” in those days)

I studied music as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I’m fond of telling people that when I graduated from high school, even though most kids received a typewriter for a high school graduation gift, my Dad gave me a radio. I had to borrow a typewriter each week to write a paper for my Freshman English class, and I listened to my radio each morning as I began my day.

East Lansing, MI the home of Michigan State University was also home to WKAR radio where Dick Estell, The Radio Reader read 30 minutes of fiction each morning to me through my beloved radio. Dick Estell didn’t really create voices for his characters but I loved his readings and never missed an installment, except when I was out of range.

UNBEDTIME STORIES – My Own Foray into Radio Storytelling

I never started out to be like Dick Estell, or Ireene Wicker, but in fact the Unbedtime Stories segment of my radio show Dancin’ in the Fast Lane with Ann Arbor premiered along with the show in April of 1993. My radio show was, and still is a music show on KFJC 89.7 FM kfjc.org in the San Francisco Bay Area each Wednesday morning from 6 to 10 am. I added the Unbedtime Stories segment to my show because I wanted to learn to cold read – to be able to pick up a script and just read it cold.



Dick Estell

Unbedtime Stories featured up-and-coming works by up-and-coming authors read by me. Later it included writers who participated in NANOWRIMO, National Novel Writing Month – which one of my listeners introduced me to, and which debuted in the San Francisco Bay Area. For twenty years I read (or hosted) Unbedtime Stories.

Then audiobooks came along. Since I had read stories on the radio for years, I figured I should narrate audiobooks. In December of 2015 I got started and I’ve been going strong ever since. To date I’ve produced about 40 books for Audible.
Nina Price narrates audiobooks, and is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Master Herbalist in Palo Alto, CA.  Ann Arbor continues to host Dancin’ in the Fast Lane each Wednesday morning (kfjc.org

Find out more about Nina and her audiobooks -- click on: her new website.  

Contact Nina





Monday, January 6, 2020

TO LOVE A KING, My First Historical Re-Released

Happy 2020, readers & fellow authors!

TO LOVE A KING is my 20th published book, but the first historical I ever wrote, in 1991, with no internet. How did we do research in the old days? With library books, a trip to Henry VIII's haunts in England, and calling on Tudor experts.

My inspiration was Bertrice Small, in whose romance novel BLAZE WYNDHAM Henry VIII has 2 mistresses.

A Tudorphile since I'm a kid, I'd always wanted to write about him.

TO LOVE A KING has one heroine, the love of Henry's life (no, it's not Anne Boleyn). Its first publisher went out of business in 2005, and Next Chapter just re-published it with a new cover. It's now Book 2 of the Yorkist Saga--Book 1 is CROWNED BY LOVE. A sweet-voiced British narrator is working on the audio versions, and they're free for Kindle Unlimited. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A Tradition of Christmas Past, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe, and My Italian Heroine, Based on my Great Grandmother


My great grandmother (Grandma to everyone) was the matriarch of the family, the mother of my grandfather. “Josie Red” as she was known in downtown Jersey City was way ahead of her time, as a bootlegger during Prohibition, a real estate tycoon, a small-time loan shark, a very good friend of Frank Sinatra's mother Dolly, and according to legend, Mayor Hague’s mistress.

Every Christmas Eve, her daughter, my great aunt Lucretia, a gourmet cook, invited everyone to her basement for an Italian feast. Grandma’s four children were grown with children and grandchildren of their own. Of course this necessitated a ‘kiddie table’ at which I sat until I was tall enough to sit with the grown-ups. Aunt Lucretia always made two types of spaghetti sauce—regular marinara sauce and aglio e olio—but what I remember is it always contained clam sauce, which I wouldn’t touch, so I went for the plain and safe marinara. Her finished basement had a small kitchen so she was able to do all the cooking right there. Kiddies weren’t allowed to, but several adults helped her carry the steaming plates to the long tables set up and covered with holiday-themed tablecloths. She served all the traditional Italian dishes—after the pasta came the ham, then the fruit and nuts, and of course, an array of desserts, always including her famous struffoli (honey balls) and Italian rum cake. My Uncle Eddie tended bar at the other end of the room. Thankfully, he’s still with us at 84.

After dinner, Santa always showed up. My cousin Mike’s father played the part very convincingly—the kiddies scrambled onto his lap for their chance to gush about how good they behaved all year and how deserving they were of his visit later that night to surround their Christmas trees with presents to be torn open the next morning. Someone always had a home movie camera to capture these special moments on film. I remember the lights always blazing like the noonday sun when the camera started rolling.

After leaving the party, I always went to Midnight Mass with my friends and someone always threw a party after that.

Christmas Eves in the basement ended after Grandma left us, but the memories live on!



Vita Caputo, the heroine of my 1894 New York City romance FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET, is based on my great grandmother. It’s now on audio with the expressive voice of Nina Price.

FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET in paperback, on Kindle and on Audio at Amazon

Recipe for Spaghetti Aglio e Olio


      Ingredients:

One pound uncooked spaghetti
6 cloves minced garlic
½ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a pasta bowl.
  2. Combine garlic and olive oil in a cold skillet. Cook over medium heat to slowly toast garlic, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low when olive oil begins to bubble. Cook and stir until garlic is golden brown, about another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt into the pasta. Pour in olive oil and garlic, and sprinkle on Italian parsley and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; stir until combined.
  4. Serve pasta topped with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

New Release--TO LOVE A KING--Henry VIII, that is...Book Two of the Yorkist Saga


My newest title, TO LOVE A KING, is now on sale. It's Book Two of the Yorkist Saga--Book One is CROWNED BY LOVE. Both books stand alone, and don't need to be read in order.

I've been a Tudorphile since childhood, and had a great time researching this story in 1991, with no internet--how did I ever do it?? I also took a research trip to England and visited Henry VIII's surviving landmarks, such as Hampton Court and his grave at Windsor Castle (a very unpretentious slab in the floor, and he is buried next to his third wife Jane Seymour).

I revised the book, originally published as THE JEWELS OF WARWICK, and it's now with Next Chapter Publishing. 

 About TO LOVE A KING

While embroiled in the intrigue and scheming of court, King Henry the Eighth meets the love of his life—and it’s not Anne Boleyn.

Henry VIII had six wives and many more mistresses, but Amethyst of Warwick was the love of his life. So why didn’t he ever marry her? He was either married, or she was married—to a despicable old wretch he foisted upon her as a punishment.

Amethyst’s sister Topaz is a spitfire who makes his life a living hell, only because she’s trying to seize his throne. She has a credible reason—Henry’s father killed her father, a rightful heir to the throne, to get him out of the way. As the Jewels grew up without their father, Topaz mourned his wasted life. Now she wants what’s rightfully hers.

Amethyst remains a faithful supporter, confidante, lover, and friend, through Henry's tragic marriages and England's break with Rome.

Until the night Henry dies in her arms, she is torn between her love for him and for her sister. Amethyst’s devotion to Henry creates a painful rift between the sisters that remains unresolved until the story’s end. While Amethyst lives a comfortable but troublesome life at court as the king's mistress, Topaz raises an army and goes into battle with the king. Forced to defend his crown, he imprisons Topaz for treason. Amethyst begs the king to release her, but he dies while she's still imprisoned.
 
Henry's heir, young King Edward, sets Topaz free, but banishes her to the New World. She embarks on a voyage with explorer Sebastian Cabot, hoping to colonize her own monarch‑free realm, in what will someday be New England. 

Excerpt 

          "I must marry Anne.” He spoke so low she could barely hear him. “She believes she is with child."
          “Oh, no.” Amethyst shook her head. King Henry’s gemstones flew from side to side in a dazzling blur. “No...no, it can't be...Anne Boleyn is a liar!” She grabbed his arms and shook him, abandoning all protocol, all etiquette, all manners. “Why must you marry her? You bedded her and after making me wait all this time, now you are going to turn round and marry her?”
          Henry jerked out of her grasp. “You ran away, you silly wench. What was I to do, live like a monk, the way Catherine wants?” He took a few paces to the table and picked up a goblet. “The only reason I turned to her was because you'd left, without so much as a word.” He took a long pull of the ale and replaced the goblet with a thunk. “I do not love Anne. She is merely a breeding mare, more than willing to give me an heir, which you did not have the patience to stay around and do.” His eyes narrowed at her. “My divorce is finally in sight, you know how badly I need an heir, and you couldn't wait another few months.” He swept his hand through the air. “No, you had to come running back to home and hearth, back to the castle, expecting me to come back to you, begging on bended knee. A king does not beg.” His eyes narrowed to beady slits. “I have come to tell you I want you to return to court. I am admitting what you so desperately want me to admit. I want you back there with me. That is why I journeyed here. To bring you back.”
          Her wish, her prayer, now answered after all this time…but now it hit her like an insult. “To play second fiddle to the night crow? After you asked me to be your queen? What kind of fool do you take me for? You no longer love me.” She placed a fist on her hip. You want me under your thumb so you can keep me as a spare for when Anne gets too swollen and ugly for you to bed.” She turned away, unable to look at him.
          “Holy Jesu, Amethyst, would I have left court and the future mother of my heir if I did not love you?”
          “At this point I don’t know what to believe.” Her fists now clenched before her, she wished she could strangle that harlot he’d bedded. 
          “How dare you refuse me.” Henry strode to the door and flung it open. “I shall give you until tomorrow, when my retinue and I leave. If you have not agreed to come back with me, do not ever return to court again.”
          At the door he dismissed her with the same wave of his arm befitting his servants. She left, not in obedience to him, but because she no longer wanted to see his face. The thought of him bedding Anne Boleyn sickened her. 


Monday, October 28, 2019

If You’re Fascinated With the Salem Witch Trials...



We all read Hawthorne's stories and books THE SCARLET LETTER and THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES in school, but did you learn what made the handsome brooding genius tick, and what haunted him?
I’ve always been fascinated with Hawthorne’s dark stories, but never knew he wrote out of his own fears and demons until I began researching my story about him and his wife Sophia. This was a true love story.

About FOR THE LOVE OF HAWTHORNE


Salem, Massachusetts witnessed horrific and shameful events in 1692 that haunted the town for three centuries. Accused as witches, nineteen innocent people were hanged and one was pressed to death. Judge John Hathorne and Reverend Nicholas Noyes handed down the sentences. One victim, Sarah Good, cursed Noyes from the hanging tree: “If you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink!” She then set her eyes on Judge Hathorne. “I curse you and your acknowledged heirs for all time on this wicked earth!” Hathorne was not only Sarah Good’s merciless judge; he also fathered her son Peter and refused to acknowledge him.

In 1717, Nicholas Noyes choked on his own blood and died. Every generation after the judge continued to lose Hathorne land and money, prompting the rumor of a family curse. By the time his great great grandson Nathaniel was born, they faced poverty.

Ashamed of his ancestor, Nathaniel added the ‘w’ to his last name. His novels and stories explore his beliefs and fears of sin and evil, and he based many of his characters on overbearing Puritan rulers such as Judge Hathorne.

When Nathaniel first met Sophia Peabody, they experienced instantaneous mutual attraction. Sparks flew. He rose upon my eyes and soul a king among men by divine right, she wrote in her journal.

But to Sophia’s frustration, Nathaniel insisted they keep their romance secret for three years. He had his reasons, none of which made sense to Sophia. But knowing that he believed Sarah Good’s curse inflicted so much tragedy on his family over the centuries, she made it her mission to save him. Sarah was an ancestor of Sophia’s, making her and Nathaniel distant cousins—but she kept that to herself for the time being.
  
Sophia suffered severe headaches as a result of childhood mercury treatments. She underwent routine mesmerizing sessions, a popular cure for many ailments. Spirits sometimes came to her when mesmerized, and as a spiritualist and medium, she was able to contact and communicate with spirits. She knew if she could reach Sarah and persuade her to forgive Judge Hathorne, Nathaniel would be free of his lifelong burden.

Sarah Good’s son Peter had kept a journal the family passed down to the Peabodys. Sophia sensed his presence every time she turned the brittle pages and read his words. John Hathorne’s legitimate son John also kept a journal, now in the Hawthorne family’s possession. Living on opposite sides of Salem in 1692, Peter and John wrote in vivid detail about how the Salem trials tormented them throughout their lives.

Nathaniel finally agreed to announce their engagement, and married Sophia on July 9, 1842. They moved into their first home, The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts. Wanting nothing else but to spend the summer enjoying each other, we became Adam and Eve, alone in our Garden of Eden, Sophia wrote in her journal.

As success eluded Nathaniel, they lived on the verge of poverty. After being dismissed from his day job at the Salem Custom House, he wrote The Scarlet Letter, which finally gained him the recognition he deserved. But the curse he believed Sarah cast on his family still haunted him. In the book he asks for the curse to be lifted.


                      The House of the Seven  Gables, Salem, MA, built in 1668
                                                            Photo by Me

Sophia urged Nathaniel to write a novel about the house, knowing it would be cathartic for him. While they lived in Lenox, Nathaniel finished writing The House of the Seven Gables. The Gothic novel explored all his fears and trepidations about the curse. He told Sophia, “Writing it, and especially reading it aloud to you lifted a tremendous burden off my shoulders. I felt it physically leave me. I carried this inside me since my youth and couldn’t bring it out to face it. And I have you, and only you, to thank.”

But he did not believe the curse could be lifted.

Sophia invited renowned spiritualist John Spear to The Gables. She explained that she needed to complete one final step to convince Nathaniel the curse was lifted.

Purchase For The Love Of Hawthorne on Amazon





Monday, October 14, 2019

Meet Award-Winning Historical Novelist Anne Easter Smith & Read About Her New Ricardian Title THIS SON OF YORK


About Anne

My friend and award-winning historical novelist Anne Easter Smith is a native of England, who spent part of her childhood in Egypt. Educated at an English boarding school, she arrived “for a two-year lark” in Manhattan as an executive secretary from Swinging ‘60s London—and never went back there to live. Somehow she wound up as the Features/Arts Editor at a daily newspaper in northern NYS, and went on to publish articles in several national magazines, which gave her the confidence to embark on her first best-selling novel, A Rose for the Crown. Anne’s muse is the recently re-interred King Richard III, whose life and times she has studied for fifty years, which led to a five-book contract about the York family during the Wars of the Roses with Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone Books. The King’s Grace won the Romantic Times Best Historical Biography award in 2009, and Queen By Right was nominated in the same category in 2011. Her latest book of the series is This Son of York, which finally sees Richard as protagonist. Known for her period detail, she has been a regular panelist at the Historical Novel Society Conferences and has taught workshops on researching for historical fiction at the San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference. Anne and her second husband, Scott, live in Newburyport, MA, where Anne is very involved in her other passion—theater.


A Note From Anne

I am delighted Diana has invited me to tell her loyal readers about my new book This Son of York. Diana doesn’t really need to read it as she is as loyal a Richard III fan as I am! But I am grateful to tell you all about my passion! After five books about Richard’s family, This Son of York is the last in the series about the Yorks in the Wars of the Roses, and Richard is finally my protagonist.

“Write what you know” was often advised when I plunged into the murky waters of literary endeavor and found myself floundering about in that terrifying first foray. So I did. 

What I “knew” centered on a king who died 528 years ago on a boggy battlefield outside of Leicester, smack in the middle of England. A history nut from adolescence, I came upon a book in my early twenties by English mystery writer Josephine Tey called Daughter of Time that repudiated everything I had learned at school about one of our “Bad” kings, Richard III. When I had turned the last page, I became a Ricardian fanatic. This Son of York is my homage to Richard and the book I should have written first but was too chicken to get into a man’s head! 

What they didn’t tell me about writing was that, along with your knowledge of a subject, a strong dose of passion would lift your book above the ordinary. I learned this when an editor recognized it in my first novel, A Rose for the Crown. She told me my passion for righting the wrong done to Richard shone through every page. But that was my protagonist Kate Haute’s perspective on him as his mistress, not Richard’s. This Son of York finally puts Richard front and center. 

As well as gaining the writing chops to tackle a man’s perspective, I became inspired to give Richard his due when they discovered his grave under a car park in Leicester in 2012. I was so moved when I stood on that grave (now enshrined in strong plexiglass, I hasten to add!) and a hologram faded in and out showing the position of the skeleton. After all the information gathered from studying those bones, I realized we now need a new look at Richard for the 21st century. And I was the one to tell the story. 

About THIS SON OF YORK


Concluding her best-selling Wars of the Roses series, Anne has made Richard III her protagonist in her latest book This Son of York. The much maligned Richard is brought into new focus following the discovery of his bones under a car park in Leicester in 2013. 

As the fourth son of the duke of York, Richard of Gloucester could not have hoped for much more than the life of a wealthy, but insignificant nobleman. Instead fate took him down a drama-filled, unexpected path to the throne. As York challenged Lancaster for the crown, early tragedies and betrayals, including by his faithless brother George, led the young Richard to count on none but himself. Imbued with the traits of loyalty and duty to family and country, he proved them time and again especially when he reluctantly came to wear the crown. Buoyed by the love of two women, he stayed true to one while cherishing the other, both helping him bear the burden of his scoliosis.

A warrior of renown, a loyal brother, loving husband and father, a king mindful of injustice yet beset by betrayal, and a man convinced his God has forsaken him by burdening him with crippling scoliosis, This Son of York has a compelling tale to tell. With her meticulous attention to detail—and the truth—Easter Smith’s compelling storytelling paints a very different picture of the king Shakespeare reviled as “…thou elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog.”

Prologue:

The night before a battle affected men in various ways. Some spent it drinking and carousing with the camp followers; some spent it hiding in the woods and nervously emptying their bowels; others passed the time playing dice; others in prayer; and still more, like Richard, in contemplating the insignificance of their earthly lives. “No matter what the priests tell you about each of us being important to God,” Richard had once said to his wife, “How can one life mean any more than another among so many throughout the history of mankind? As an anointed king, I must be more important than the beggar in the street, but in truth, I know I am not. When we die and molder in our graves, who will remember us then, one any more than another?”

“God will,” Anne had said simply, “you must believe He will. And because you are a king, your grave will be marked by a fine tomb announcing to the world who you were.” She had laughed then. “If I am lucky, I will lie with you and be remembered, too.” Dearest Anne, he thought guiltily as he lay on his elaborate camp bed, I must see to it that you are remembered.

The night was warm, and his tent was open to any welcome breeze that might waft by. In the past on the eve of battle, Richard had recited his prayers, had a cup of wine with fellow commanders, and slept well. Tonight, he knew, was different. Tomorrow he must fight for his crown as well as his life. He could not quite believe it had come down to this moment. He had acted honorably all his days, he thought, done his duty to his family, England and, lately reluctantly, to God. 

A remark of the earl of Warwick’s occurred to him: “Scheming is a virtue if kings are to survive.” Is that what I have done—schemed? Nay, it is not, he reassured himself, it is not. The other part of his mentor’s homily had warned: “To be a great leader, you must learn the skills to be flexible in wooing allies to your side.” It was a skill that had come easily to Edward, but Richard’s reticence to trust had not charmed those he should have sought as allies. Was that where he had gone wrong? Instead of winning with words, friendship, and diplomacy, he had tried to buy men’s trust with land and offices. How many of his men understood him, he wondered.

Richard gave up examining his flaws, failures, and missteps, knowing he must concentrate on the morrow. He tried to close his eyes to the pricks of light from the hundreds of campfires and his ears to the drunken shouts, laughter and singing of the soldiers, the stamping and snickering of a thousand horses, and the clinking of the armorers and smiths making last-minute adjustments or repairs to harnesses. Everyone faced death in his own way, and Richard had no illusions that this might not be his time. He had a fifty-fifty chance, he decided, because in the end it would come down to him or Henry. Only one of them would wear the crown after battle, because the other would be dead—either in the field or later by the axe. I would rather die a king on the battlefield than as a traitor on the scaffold. Traitor is what Henry Tudor would deem him, Richard thought. Neither fate appealed, he mused grimly.

Part of him wished the two of them could fight it out alone and let all others return to their homes. He had no doubt he would run the Tudor through. Richard had trained hard since boyhood and fought in many battles to become the experienced soldier he was now; Henry of Richmond, wrongly claiming the crown, would be seeing battle for the first time, and, as Richard had heard, had not enjoyed the rigors of knightly training while languishing at Brittany’s court. Another part of him relished the thought of a glorious military victory and of extinguishing Lancastrian hopes forever.

He was suddenly jolted back to the other time he and Edward believed Lancaster had been vanquished, and, as was their wont, his thoughts returned to King Henry and his untimely demise. Lancastrian Henry VI, son of the great victor of Agincourt and Edward’s predecessor, had played a part in Richard’s life since he’d been in swaddling bands, Richard recalled. He sat up, pushing black thoughts back into hell, and reached for his book of hours—the very one given him as a gift by Henry when Richard was but a lad. How I wish I had listened to your advice, your grace, and never agreed to wear a crown. He groaned. Sweet Jesu, how has it come to this, he asked himself yet again. 

Paging idly through the prayer book, the gold and silver of the illuminations glinting in the candlelight, he indulged in pondering his life and began to wish he could return to the days when the worst of his troubles was being called the runt of York’s litter. It all seemed so long ago…

Purchase THIS SON OF YORK on Amazon (will be released November 10)

Connect with Anne