Where Have I Been?

I haven’t been blogging much lately, but I’ve an excellent excuse–I’ve been working on a short story, set in 13th-century England, that I submitted to Amazon Shorts. It hasn’t yet been accepted for publication (from I what I’ve read, it usually takes a few weeks to hear something, and acceptance isn’t a sure thing), but I’m hopeful. The heroine, Aline le Despenser, is the mother of Hugh le Despenser the elder, and was mentioned in a scene in The Traitor’s Wife.

Amazon Shorts, if you’re not familiar with the concept, are electronic documents of 2,000 to 10,000 words that can be downloaded for 49 cents, after which they can be stored on one’s computer. They can also be printed for those who prefer not to do their reading online.

I didn’t see all that many historical fiction offerings in Amazon Shorts, though my search could hardly be called exhaustive. There are some nonfiction Shorts from some well-known historical fiction authors, notably Margaret George (on Helen of Troy) and Bernard Cornwell (an autobiographical piece).

I won’t go much into Aline’s life here, because that would spoil the story (which if not accepted by Amazon will be posted on my website), but here’s an interesting tidbit: she was daughter to one justiciar of England, wife to another, and daughter-in-law to another. Through her marriage to Roger Bigod, she became the Countess of Norfolk. A letter from her appears in Anne Crawford’s Letters of Medieval Women.

I’ve gotten to be quite interested in the thirteenth century, and am seriously considering setting a full-length novel during the Barons’ Wars. Sharon Penman, of course, set Falls the Shadow during this conflict, but with so many fascinating people living at that time, there’s still plenty of less explored territory left for the rest of us. So we shall see!

This, incidentally, is the first short story I’ve written since college. The last one, which I dearly hope I had the sense to destroy, was about a college student who picks up a guy at a laundromat. (Yes, I spent a lot of time hanging around laundromats myself in college. Yup, I too think it was a wise move to switch to historical fiction.) Its one saving grace, probably, was that it had no sex scenes.

6 thoughts on “Where Have I Been?”

  1. I’m really looking forward to reading it! I’m also very interested in the Barons’ Wars of the 1260s – you could do so much with it, for example Gilbert the Red changing sides, the future Edward I escaping with the help of Roger Mortimer, Richard of Cornwall’s son being murdered later by two of de Montfort’s sons…;)
    What side was Roger Bigod on during the Wars, or was he a bit too young then?

  2. Let us know if it is accepted. I would love to read it. Of course, I still have to read that other book that is still on my shelf…

  3. Susan Higginbotham

    Thanks, all! Roger Bigod was Aline’s second husband. He doesn’t seem to have participated in the Barons’ Wars, but Marc Morris in The Bigod Earls of Norfolk suggests that he might have leaned toward the barons’ side. He was only about 19 in 1265, though.

  4. I didn’t know about the Amazon shorts. Cool idea; too bad I can’t pay since I don’t have a credit card or paypal account. 🙁

    Amazon.de should offer the service as well, then I could pay via them.

  5. elena maria vidal

    Great idea. I have been thinking of doing that with a short novel I wrote that I can’t seem to get published.

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