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A Quick Note April 15, 2013

Posted by rwf1954 in books compared to movies, books into movies, fusion jazz, historical fiction, Issa, Issa Legend, medieval period, movies based on books, music, music commentary, mystic jazz, Richard the Lionheart, Richard Warren Field, Saladin, the crusades, The Swords of Faith, third crusade, writers.
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This is a quick update for my blog followers (or any other interested visitors) who are accustomed to seeing more frequent posts from me. The posts will be a little less frequent for a few months. I am at work on getting The Sultan and the Khan ready for publication. This is the sequel to my award-winning novel The Swords of Faith. The Sultan and the Khan will also be published by Strider Nolan Media (the folks who brought you The Swords of Faith). I’m also at work on the third novel of his trilogy, The Ghosts of Baghdad, set around the time of the Fourteenth Century “Black Death.”

I am also recording tracks for my CD “The Richard Warren Field Songbook.”

The track list:

1 – Fishbowl 4:28 (original)
2 – Hotel California 6:23 (cover)
3 – Magic 6:20 (cover)
4 – Mystic Tide 4:17 (original)
5 – Up from the Skies 5:03 (cover)
6 – A Hundred Thousand Friends 5:35 (original)
7 – All Blues 9:48 (cover)
8 – Chase this Mood 4:22 (original)
9 – Black Hole Sun 5:47 (cover)
10 – Purple Haze 3:52 (cover)
11 – Shanghai Noodle Factory 6:01 (cover)
12 – Avalon 6:36 (cover)
13 – Live Your Dreams 4:14 (original)

I hope to have this ready for release later this year.

But this blog will not be without posts! Coming up during the first part of May will be my final post on the nature of music, concluding a series of posts that turned out to be a lot longer and more involved than I thought it would be. And, in mid-May, I will post a Books-Into-Movies on “The Great Gatsby”—I’ll compare the book to the new movie release and to the Robert Redford movie of 1974.

Thanks for stopping by. Drop me a line any time at rwfcom@wgn.net.

Previous “Personal Notes” Posts:

2013 – What I’ll Be Offering This Year at this Blog January 7, 2013

Posted by rwf1954 in books compared to movies, books into movies, fusion jazz, historical fiction, Issa, Issa Legend, medieval period, movies based on books, music, music commentary, mystic jazz, Richard the Lionheart, Richard Warren Field, Saladin, the crusades, The Swords of Faith, third crusade, writers.
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2012 was a year of many posts here at CreativeEccentric, living up to the impulsive name I gave to my blog in 2010. My 820th Anniversary “Third Crusade” series, pertaining to my award-winning novel The Swords of Faith, came to its conclusion, followed by a bonus Christmas post. (There will be two more intriguing bonus 820th Anniversary posts coming up early in 2013—stay tuned.) My monthly posts on the selections from my “Issa Music” CD also concluded with my recent January 1st post on Track 13, “West Meets East” (the final track on the CD). My series on the nature of music and music’s possible link between to physics and metaphysics is coming to its conclusion—I ended up with a lot more posts on this that I had foreseen. (Here’s a link to the most recent post on this subject, which has links to all the previous posts.) 2013, I suspect, will be a year of fewer posts. But with traffic multiplying as the posts multiply, readers can be assured I will continue posting on popular topics for the foreseeable future:

  1. Books-Into-Movies posts will continue—they are among the most popular pages here. There are two coming up in January—on “Anna Karenina” and on “Lincoln.” I will pick and choose these as they strike me. They may pertain to upcoming movies (and television miniseries), or to past classic movies. They will usually have a historical aspect to them.
  2. I will be posting commentaries about books written by authors I know. This will expose my readers to books they may not have heard of anywhere else, but may very well enjoy.
  3. I will be producing one, maybe two CDs in 2013. This will lead to posts about music (in addition to my concluding posts on the nature of music).

Beyond that, there is always the unexpected. Anyone who has been with me over the last the 2½ years of this blog will attest to that!

I hope everyone has a happy and productive new year and enjoys what I have to offer here, and through other creative outlets.


Previous “Personal Notes” Posts:

CADD™: A Personal Confession August 24, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in creativity, historical fiction, Issa, Issa Legend, music, mystic jazz, The Swords of Faith, writers, writing.
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The Diagnosis: Creative Attention Deficit Disorder 

The Prescription: Focus™ 

Yes, I have been struggling with CADD™ for most of my life, from the time I realized I am a creative person, maybe ten years after I was born. I am pleased to have identified this condition after all this time. There is little doubt this condition has shaped who I am, how my life is gone, and most importantly, what I offer to the public. All right, so what does that mean? Let’s take a look at it.

What is CADD™?
Creative Attention Deficit Disorder refers to bouncing from one creative interest to another, splitting attention between very different creative projects. In an age of genre-fication and specialization, those with this CADD™ condition can find carving out a life in the creative spheres to be difficult. We are supposed to seek out niches, and build audiences in those niches. For example, historical fiction as a specialty for a writer is no longer enough. Historical romance or historical mystery is even better, and historical romance or mystery set during a specific period, a whole series of books, is best of all. But we CADD™ people are niche jumpers—we’re easily bored with a narrow set of interests and are impulsively drawn to where our curiosity and inspiration take us.

What is the Treatment for the CADD™ Condition?
The medicine we are told to take is called Focus™ (generic substitute -“stay on one thing, stupid”). I’ve tried taking Focus™.  I just don’t tolerate it well. Because to “focus,” I need to choose. Even now, I wouldn’t know what choice to make even if I decided to take Focus™. Do I set aside my writing? My recent novel, The Swords of Faith, won three awards, and I have completed a follow-up novel (set six years later) with clear ideas for a third, and other follow-ups. Or do I set aside my music?  My CD “Issa Music” has over 300 fans around the world on internet radio, fans on every continent except Antarctica. This fan list is growing. 

So Will I Take the Medicine Now, At Long Last, Now that I Have a Diagnosis?
You can probably tell from the previous section—I’m not going to take this medicine. As I said, I have tried it before, and it hasn’t worked for me. I am now embracing my CADD™ condition. I will work with all the energy life grants me to go in every creative direction that feels right to me. My blog reflects this—my posts are all over the place here. I am not going to beat myself up over this anymore. I ask people only to consider what I have to offer without taking into consideration my CADD™ condition, that I am not a genre-fied specialist. If my writing works for you, enjoy it. If my music works for you, enjoy it. If you like it all, that’s fantastic. (And why not?) You may come to see connections. I am one person, so connections are bound to be there. Podcast interviewer Ron Hood, of Ron’s Amazing Stories, spotted a connection and we spoke about it during his interview with me. (Ron Hood was the best-prepared, most insightful interviewer I have ever had the pleasure to encounter—check out “Ron’s Amazing Stories” for his work with me and with others.) But it is still a broad connection, not an obvious one like those who have the skill to genre-fy/specialize.

The Consequences of Untreated CADD™
So for me, CADD™ is terminal. I will never cure it; I will never recover from it; I don’t want to. What has this meant? When you won’t grab that niche and stay there, it is harder to find success in the marketplace. We live in an increasingly cluttered and decentralized world of multiple communications channels. Specialization/genre-fication allows people focused on your interest to find you through those channels. But the generalist, the “Renaissance man” (or woman), has a lot harder time reaching an audience under these circumstances.

For me, this has meant I’ve been unable to make a living with my creativity. I have perceived this in the past as the profound failure of my life. (I am not whining here—everyone has failures. My life is abundant with wonderful successes and I am fine where I am now.) This has reduced my time for creativity. But I read something recently that brought me a lot of comfort, even a smile, as I think about this. (This was in the comment section of an article on the whether social media will remain an effective marketing tool.) There are many creative people in the world. Society does not have the resources to provide a livelihood for every creative person. (In primitive societies, story-telling and music-making were not specialties. They took place in a group setting with individuals contributing to the creative activities after their tasks to sustain the group were completed.) So, society arbitrarily supports some creative people over others. In our society, the marketplace generally decides who gets that support, though academia and government grants also play a limited role. And it is not necessarily the best who get the support! That is an important consideration in looking at all this. And looking back, this is true through history. Some creative people were paid—some had other occupations to sustain them. Some creative people whose work is now considered to have stood to test of time, achieving a consensus label of greatness, died destitute while others with lesser talents thrived. So as I have said before, I’m through beating myself up over this. I accept my CADD™ and its consequences.

Going Forward
As I said, I will indulge varied creative impulses with all the energy, talent and time I have available. My website displays what I have to offer. I invite people to enjoy whatever they find appealing. At this time, I still support myself with a “day job.” But that is even winding down—I can see ahead the day when I will “retire” from that. (I will never “retire” from creative projects—that’s impossible!) Now, if I hit the market right, I would love to make a living with music, or writing, or both! But, if that doesn’t happen, I’m still at peace with my CADD™ condition.

Do you have CADD™?
I do not believe I am alone, the only person “afflicted” with this CADD™ condition! If you see yourself in these words, in my story, I invite your comments. Share your own story. Share your thinking. We are being crowded out by the genre-fiers, by the specializers. Let’s speak out for ourselves, support each other, and continue to create. Over-specialization/over-genre-fication, narrows perspectives. The world needs CADD™  people because we are more likely to bring broad perspectives, big-picture, out-of-the-box thinking, to the world. We are important. CADD™ “sufferers” unite! We have nothing to lose but our apologies for our short creative attention spans!

Previous “Personal Notes” Posts:

Comments on Pierre’s Fate in THE SWORDS OF FAITH June 4, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in books, books into movies, crusades, historical fiction, medieval period, Middle Ages, Richard the Lionheart, Richard Warren Field, Saladin, the crusades, The Swords of Faith, third crusade.
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I have gotten some static from readers about the fate of Pierre in my novel, The Swords of Faith (2010; Bronze Medal, 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards; Finalist, USA Book News Award for Best Books of 2010/Historical Fiction Category; Finalist, International Book Awards, Best Books of 2011/Historical Fiction Category). Some readers have expressed annoyance with me as to why this likable character ended up the way he did. And since he is fictional, his fate was up to me, the creator of his story. Why did I have to subject him to the fate I chose for him? (How could I do such a thing!)

Before you read further, if you have not read The Swords of Faith, a caution—I’m going to try to be cagey about what actually happens to Pierre as I write this post, but, there will certainly be clues. So, this is a “spoiler alert”—if you think you will figure this out, read this post after you’ve finished reading The Swords of Faith.

So, on the fate of Pierre—a comment first. I waited until the epilogue. The events that got me in trouble with some readers take place, technically, after the main story is over. I give readers a chance to bask in the warmth of the ending they probably prefer before introducing the ending I believed was the only credible and honest ending possible. Pierre’s ultimate fate occurs in the epilogues (as well as the fates of Saladin, Richard the Lionheart, and Pierre’s son Dawud, setting up the sequel/follow-up, The Sultan and the Khan). So, please cut me a little slack, even if you remain upset with me after reading my justification.

Now, for the justification. The character of Pierre, and his interaction with Rashid, are a triumph of religious tolerance over religious fanaticism, a triumph of the idea that there is more than one path to God for people of good will. In their micro-story, Pierre and Rashid triumph and prosper because of their acceptance of these ideas. But their micro-story happens within the macro-story of the Crusades, a time of religious intolerance and fanaticism. Pierre’s fate—not just the event itself, but the full circumstances surrounding, including the person responsible for what happens to him—is an acknowledgment that though these men have become enlightened with ideas that could lead us all to spiritual harmony and peace, in their time and as well as ours, the world at large had not adopted these ideas. Even today, we still struggle with the forces of religious fanaticism opposing the dream of religious tolerance, though as a species, I would argue humanity has progressed. For me to allow Pierre to flourish in the glow of his relationship with Rashid without any apparent consideration of the swirling turbulence around them would be naïve, and would turn The Swords of Faith into a fairy tale. The Swords of Faith also ends with a truce between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin (true to history). But it was only a truce, and the bloody clashes of the Crusades were destined to go on for another century. Worse religious-based atrocities came after the Crusades. Religious clashes go on today. The story of Pierre and Rashid is a hope of what can be achieved when humans of good will, of different faiths, accept each other and their differing approaches to God. It is a story still waiting to be told everywhere, for all of us.

Other posts about The Swords of Faith:

March 7, 2012- Eight Reasons Why THE SWORDS OF FAITH Will Make a Great Movie (or Miniseries) 

July 2, 2011- “Blog Tour” for THE SWORDS OF FAITH

July 2, 2010- Final Thoughts Before THE SWORDS OF FAITH Release

June 16, 2010- What THE SWORDS OF FAITH Says About Our Times

(There is also the entire 820th anniversary series on the “Third Crusade.” The most recent post in this series was on May 23, 2012.)

Eight Reasons Why THE SWORDS OF FAITH Will Make a Great Movie (or Miniseries) March 7, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in Berengeria, books, books into movies, crusades, Guy of Lusignan, Henry of Champagne, historical fiction, Jerusalem, Kingdom of Jerusalem, medieval period, Middle Ages, movies, movies based on books, Outremer, Philip II of France, Richard the Lionheart, Richard Warren Field, Saladin, the crusades, The Swords of Faith, third crusade.
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(The Swords of Faith is my award-winning novel about what history now calls the “Third Crusade,” the military confrontation in the Eastern Mediterranean “Holy Land” between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin.) 

  1. Action and drama revolving around two of history’s most renowned and charismatic characters, battling each other over huge stakes. Richard the Lionheart and Saladin are still two names known throughout much of the world, giving a movie based on this novel an international profile.
  2. This story has been told many times, but almost always with major factual liberties. The Swords of Faith gives a film-maker the opportunity to tell the accurate story, a compelling story not in need of embellishment.
  3. The Swords of Faith ends with a just and fair peace settlement between these two iconic men of different faiths (the accurate historical outcome), men who come to respect and honor each other despite their religious differences. This allows for an uplifting ending.
  4. The clash of religions gives the story relevance today, allowing for controversial publicity angles sure to get people talking about The Swords of Faith in many different public venues.
  5. Fictional characters combine seamlessly into the story, without any adjustments to the accurate history, but bringing a prescient poignancy to the religious-clash aspect.
  6. The novel is laid out in scenes full of dramatic action with a limited amount of narrative exposition; lots of real-time dramatic action readily transferable to film/television. (Richard Warren Comments About His Writing Style – Richard Warren Field Guest Blog Post About Modern Novel Writing)
  7. Roles attractive to high profile actor/actresses, roles that could lead to Oscar-worthy/Emmy-worthy performances.
  8. Big action scenes alongside intimate dramatic scenes offering opportunities for all sorts of technical excellence, also with the potential for Oscar/Emmy recognition.

2012 – Personal Notes: What I’m Offering This Year at this Blog, and Elsewhere January 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in Ayn Jalut, Baybars, books compared to movies, books into movies, fusion jazz, historical fiction, Hulegu Khan, Issa, Issa Legend, Mamluks, medieval period, Middle Ages, Mongols, movies based on books, mystic jazz, Richard the Lionheart, Richard Warren Field, Saladin, the crusades, The Swords of Faith, third crusade, writers.
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What to Expect at this Blog Over the Coming Year

  • Two continuing series: (1) The 820th anniversary posts commenting on key moments in the Third Crusade (the confrontation between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin during the late Twelfth Century) will continue up to October of this year when the series will end with a post commemorating the 820th anniversary of the end of the Third Crusade. Of course, this series springs from The Swords of Faith, my award-winning novel that tells the story of this event through the eyes of Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, and two fictional characters. (2) At the first of every month, I’ll offer a full-length selection from my Issa Music CD, just released this week. The music was inspired by the “Legend of Issa,” the story of Jesus making a journey to India while forming his spiritual vision. If true, this suggests a spiritual connection between East and West that goes back two thousand years. The music celebrates the idea of East blending harmoniously with West.
  • Books-Into-Movies will continue; these posts are among the most popular at my blog resulting in thousands of blog visits. I’ll look for films with a historical or big-themed angle based on a novel or non-fiction book (not a novelized movie). I’ll reach back for more classics, as I did last year with “Ben Hur.”
  • Music: Given my recent rediscovery of a passionate love for creating and playing music, I will continue offering comments on music at this blog. Some posts will discuss the poetry of lyrics like the posts about Jimi Hendrix and Yes selections. But I will expand this to comment on other musical topics. Expect some surprises here, one or two coming up soon! One topic I’ll explore will be the nature of music itself, and why humans seem almost universally to connect with it. I will be consulting help on that topic—I will comment on books addressing this subject from numerous different angles.
  • I will continue posting about physics and metaphysics as I did on August 30, 2011 and October 7, 2011.  The next post will refer to some recent reading so my reflections on this esoteric and intensely complex topic do not seem to come out of thin air!
  • And I expect to come out with some posts on completely new topics. The world is supposed to come to an end this December. I expect to survive this event and post the day after the end of the world. I look forward to many visits and comments from others who have also survived that day! We also do have an election coming up later this year in the United States. I may wade into those treacherous waters. I’ve been there before—just take a look at my Internet Column and my 1997 novel, The Election. Don’t expect me to follow any conventional approach, “left” or “right.” That’s what’s great about blogging… I’m free to set my own rules! 


What to Expect from Me Creatively this Year

  • I have completed writing and revising (for now) The Sultan and Khan, my novel about one of the most neglected battles in world history, the battle between the Muslim Mamluks and the Mongol dynasty in September of 1260. I will work toward an announcement of when and where The Sultan and Khan will be available as details develop.
  • I’ll begin reading and research for the third novel of The Swords of Faith trilogy, The Ghosts of Baghdad. (I expect that to lead to some interesting blog posts.)
  • Look for news of some music performances this coming year as time permits me to schedule them.
  • I plan to produce a Christmas CD. I had been working on it when the end of the year caught up to me! But I have warned my family to expect to hear Christmas music during January and February as I build on the momentum I have developed late during 2011 and start building some tracks. 


Happy New Year to everyone. May 2012 be a year of joy and fulfillment, a year of great expectations realized, of love experienced and shared for all. 

Previous “Personal Notes” Posts:


Book Commentary/Review – Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman November 24, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in book review, books, crusades, historical fiction, literary commentary, medieval period, Middle Ages, Richard the Lionheart, Richard Warren Field, the crusades, The Swords of Faith, third crusade, writers.
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(Richard Warren Field wrote the award-winning novel,
The Swords of Faith. Read why this book will make a great movie.)

Sharon Kay Penman’s Lionheart tells the story of Richard the Lionheart’s mission to the Middle East to take back Jerusalem for Western Christendom, commonly referred to as the “Third Crusade.” Lionheart delivers Sharon Kay Penman’s usual attention to research—she may write in the genre of “historical fiction,” but readers can always depend on Penman’s story-telling to contain accurate history to go with whatever fiction she has added. Being closely familiar with this period because of research on my own novel, The Swords of Faith, I can attest to the accuracy of the historical detail provided.

The story begins in Sicily, not with Richard, but with Richard’s sister Joanna. Readers discover quickly that though this book is about Richard the Lionheart, his story will be told from multiple points of view. Two prominent viewpoints are Joanna’s and Richard the Lionheart’s potential future wife, Berengeria. This multiple viewpoint technique brings gusto to the legendary aspects of one of history’s most dynamic characters by giving readers the chance to witness Richard through the eyes of others.

When we think of “Crusades,” or of Richard the Lionheart fighting Muslims, we think of battles in the Middle East. But Penman has the courage to delay delivering readers to that expected setting until halfway through Lionheart, staying with the accurate history. This rewards readers with a richer, more dramatic story. Because the “Third Crusade,” for Richard the Lionheart, was much more than fighting revered Muslim Sultan Saladin for Jerusalem. Getting to the fight (and returning from it, which could be an even more dramatic story Penman will tell with her follow-up to Lionheart, Ransom) is as compelling a story as the fight itself. On his way to fight Saladin, Richard chooses between two possible wives and marries his choice, seriously alienating his main European ally. He rescues his sister, widow of the late king of Sicily, held in dubious circumstances by the successor to the throne. He rescues his sister and fiancé after a shipwreck puts them just off the coast of Cyprus, within reach of the unprincipled despot ruling the island. What Richard does next in Cyprus as a result of this confrontation will change the history of the island, and factor into his own future activities. So readers will be too caught up in the drama of Richard’s journey to be impatient for arrival at the Middle East.

Penman remains loyal to the history once the story arrives in the Middle East, again relying on the true facts of one of history’s great confrontations to provide the drama. It is hard for me to understand why writers feel they need to change the facts of Richard’s crusade—it is a great story without any help! In the hands of a skilled story-teller like Penman, intimately familiar with the time period so able to re-create for readers the physical settings, as well as the mental settings—the attitudes of the age—all that is needed is to place the characters in the events and let the story unfold. This is what Penman does, and she delivers entertainment and accurate history bundled together.

Penman avoids a major temptation other storytellers have succumbed to when telling this story.  These two iconic historical figures never met face-to-face. For over a year they were locked in an intense military and diplomatic struggle with lives and the future of their faiths on the line. It is tempting to try to heighten the intensity of this story, of this personal rivalry, by putting these two men face-to-face. But history did not put them face-to-face, and neither does Penman. The resolution of their head-to-head battle takes extraordinary twists and turns without a personal meeting between the two. This includes harrowing battles with Richard’s life in jeopardy, life-threatening illnesses at inopportune times, negotiations that take peculiar diversions no author of fiction would dare to invent, and even a bizarre assassination that thwarts a potential negotiated peace. Through all this, Penman takes us through the events as experienced by Richard the Lionheart, and by those around him, including his sister and his new wife, struggling for Richard’s attention through these history-making events. This guarantees maximum entertainment even for those familiar with the events.

Sharon Kay Penman leaves us at a logical stopping point, the resolution of Richard’s conflict with Saladin. All Richard the Lionheart has to do now is get home. That, as I mentioned earlier, will be much easier said than done.

Lionheart is definitive reading on the topic of Richard the Lionheart during this part of his life.  It is entertaining while maintaining historical accuracy, a difficult task to accomplish, a task accomplished well by a master of her craft.

Now for Some Personal Comments
I would be a fool not to mention that my award-winning novel The Swords of Faith, released about a year before Penman’s Lionheart, tells the story of the events of this same “Third Crusade” that is the subject of Lionheart. With that mention comes the question of why readers should ever consider reading The Swords of Faith now that Lionheart, written by a master historical novelist of this particular time period, is available. The answer is simple. The story is handled completely differently in The Swords of Faith. In fact, these two books complement each other. Readers enthralled with this story will enjoy my alternative approach to the same history. And not an alternative approach to the facts—I share Penman’s choice to stay with the actual history. As I have indicated in this post, the real history needs no embellishment. But my interest in the story is not a biographical interest but an interest in the religious confrontation. So I do not offer nearly as much detail about Richard the Lionheart and those around him, choosing instead to offer Saladin’s point of view, as well as providing the points of view of two fictional characters who experience these events through the prisms of their own religious orientations.

Other comments concerning Lionheart and The Swords of Faith:

  • Stylistic comparison—there are two big differences between the story-telling style of Sharon Kay Penman and my style in The Swords of Faith. Penman uses a lot more narrative exposition, so provides a great deal more narrative detail. My style utilizes episodes/scenes, with as little narrative exposition as possible. (This is a deliberate choice, used in writing on subjects as varied as The Swords of Faith, Dying to Heal, and my 1997 novel, The Election. (I comment in detail on this style choice at my web site and at Lisa Yarde’s blog.) This is not to imply that one approach is better—I would not want to be seen as even hinting at that idea when comparing myself to a well-respected and successful author. But the styles are different, and readers interested in the subject can enjoy a fresh take on the material.
  • As I have previously indicated, Lionheart is a richly detailed biographical novel, fair and accurate, about one of the most intriguing characters in history, and one the best-known and most familiar even now. The Swords of Faith addresses the same events with an eye toward religious fanaticism and the impact it has on historical and fictional characters of the era. A theme of The Swords of Faith is that the less fanatic the behavior of the main characters, including Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, the more successful they are thriving and achieving their own goals. True even then, as we certainly see it is true now.
  • Is The Swords of Faith more historically accurate than Lionheart? No. Is it as accurate as Lionheart? The honest answer again is no. Is The Swords of Faith more historically accurate than most of the historical fiction written about this, including recent films (“Kingdom of Heaven” comes to mind)? Yes, and this includes the classic Sir Walter Scott novel The Talisman, though in fairness to Scott, he was not attempting to be historically accurate. There is no doubt that Sharon Kay Penman has a lot more patience with research than I do, combing through primary sources, some difficult and/or expensive to acquire. She could certainly provide informative lectures to scholars on this era. This depth of research allows her to take to task Steven Runciman, a writer of one of the most acclaimed histories of “the Crusades,” for his treatment of the slaughter of the Acre hostages. My research relies on the work of people like Runciman, as well as scholars and historians Penman cites in her bibliography.
  • I’ve had the pleasure of exchanging some e-mails with Ms. Penman, some as she worked on Lionheart. She asked if I was going to continue to write about this era. She mentioned how she feels “at home” in the 12th Century. I admire her dedication and mastery of this era (as do her legions of readers). But the events attracted me because of the clash of religions. I’m off to a new century—a few generations later in The Sultan and the Khan. (And I won’t stay there long either.)
  • Did I enjoy being sandwiched between two novels offered by mainstream publishers on the same subject? The Swords of Faith was released one month after Shadow of the Swords by Kamran Pasha, and about a year before Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman. (I have previously written about Shadow of the Swords.) That’s fine. They’re all companions, taking three very different approaches to the material. The more interest generated in the characters and their stories, the better.
  • And I may bump into Conn Iggulden as his Mongol novels reach the third generation of the Genghis Khan dynasty. That’s fine too. Again, I’m certain our approaches to the material will be way different. 

So I hope an interest in Lionheart generates an interest in The Swords of Faith, and vice versa. It’s an entertaining time of history—Richard the Lionheart, and Saladin, are intriguing people to read about, and to write about! 

Lionheart - Sharon Kay Penman

Lionheart - Sharon Kay Penman

“Blog Tour” for THE SWORDS OF FAITH July 2, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in blog tour, books, crusades, historical fiction, history, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, the crusades, third crusade.
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It’s been a year since The Swords of Faith was released by Strider Nolan Media. (Thank you again, Michael Katz, for deciding to publish my novel.) As I work on the sequel to The Swords of Faith (The Sultan and the Khan—I’ll have an update on my progress on that book later this month), I have put together a “blog tour” that addresses subjects related to The Swords of Faith, now an award-winning novel (bronze medal from the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the Historical Fiction/Military-War category) about what history calls the “Third Crusade,” the confrontation between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. Four stops on this “blog tour” are confirmed:

July 4 – Nan Hawthorne’s Booking History. “Why Write About the Crusades?”

July 8 – Historical Novel Review. A discussion of writers critique groups. (A real practical help to me as I created THE SWORDS OF FAITH.)

July 13 – History Undressed. “Was Richard the Lionheart Gay?”

July 16 – Getting Medieval. A discussion of the increasing presence of genres, particularly as it relates to historical fiction.


July 20 – All Things Historical Fiction. The Case for Richard the Lionheart.

(I’m still working on some other exciting posts for later in the month which I will announce by updating this post at my blog, and on Facebook, as they are confirmed.)


Happy 85th birthday, Mom. It’s the second birthday we are commemorating without you. Somewhere, somehow, you are enjoying The Swords of Faith and the attention it has received. We all miss you a lot.

Dying to Heal, a Novel: A Personal Note from a Co-Author June 22, 2011

Posted by rwf1954 in Alan Fluger, alternative medicine, chiropractic, chiropractors, health care system, Richard Warren Field.
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I have been blessed with great health. (Yes, I just knocked on wood at about five different places.) I have courted it—no doubt. I’ve exercised my entire life, and am conscious of what I eat, indulging in unhealthy guilty pleasures in moderation. But as I move through my 50s, and approach my 60s, health is becoming an issue. My right knee will not let me exercise the way I used to. The doctor has been telling me to drop about fifteen to twenty pounds that won’t come off, and that my cholesterol and blood pressure are borderline—out comes his prescription pad.

“Middle age” has arrived. Time for the drugs? I have spent most of my adult life resisting medications. In my 20s, when I broke my thumb playing softball, the orthopedist whipped out his prescription pad. “What’s that for?” I asked. “Pain.” I told him to put the pad away. There wasn’t near enough pain for heavy drugs. I don’t even drink. The last time I indulged in any sort of herbal stimulation was back in the mid-1980s, and that was only once or twice since the mid-1970s. I stopped taking even simple pain relievers about fifteen years ago. I wasn’t going on heavy drugs without a fight. I used diet and lifestyle changes to bring those dangerous numbers down (though they keep changing the “acceptable” numbers for cholesterol). I’m still not on those drugs, still fighting them off, still refusing to be one of those people with a seven compartment plastic pill dispenser, one for each day of the week.

Here I am, bucking medical advice, going on personal instincts. After all, blood pressure medicine is almost a family tradition. But there are times in life when the right person appears at the right time—years before would have been too soon to appreciate, and years later would have been too late. That person for me is Dr. Alan Fluger, Doctor of Chiropractic. Our association started off as a friendship. Rick and Carrie meeting with Alan and Marian for dinners, sharing stories about family and work—and about health. I popped off about my struggles to stay off the drugs. Little did I understand at the time that my friend Dr. Fluger heals people, and most importantly maintains their health, without drugs. That is his life’s work. Before knowing Dr. Fluger, I thought of chiropractors as people who took care of auto accident victims, doing hocus-pocus on their necks and backs, and billing insurance companies for it. But my anti-heavy prescription drug rants resonated with Alan, and he approached me to collaborate on a novel.

To write the novel that would become Dying to Heal, I had to learn about chiropractic. What I learned amazed me. Here is an approach to health that emphasizes maintaining health as opposed to attacking illnesses when they arrive. Yes, a healthy spine is the essence of the discipline. But chiropractic has expanded to include all sorts of non-intrusive natural health maintenance and remedies. I got treated myself—my whole family started going. My teenage children were never required to go—they wanted to go because they experienced the benefits.

So I learned about chiropractic, and Alan and I crafted a novel that took a key character on a journey from so-called “mainstream medicine” to so-called “alternative medicine.” As part of the effort, I researched the current health-care system—yes, the system that is now such a hot political issue. We melded information about chiropractic care with comments about the entire system. Preventative care is cheaper and healthier. If we can we engage the free market with health care, people will opt for the preventative care. The “alternative” will become the “mainstream.” (These ideas are offered in detail in an essay co-written by Dr. Fluger and me: “An Overlooked Answer to Our Healthcare Dilemma”). Dying to Heal offers the ideas with the entertainment of story.

This is a project I never would have chosen for myself. I used to comment that the health-care system was not an issue I felt much passion about. Now thanks to my own personal journey, and Dr. Fluger’s key place in that journey, I do feel passionate about it!  Non-intrusive care first.  Harmonize the system with that approach. That passion is reflected in Dying to Heal. There are armies of competent, dedicated chiropractors “dying to heal” the population (and to maintain their health). And when drugs and surgery are overused, patients are sometimes also “dying” when trying “to heal.”

Dying to Heal, a Novel

Dying to Heal, a Novel

Some Personal Notes October 26, 2010

Posted by rwf1954 in 1260, Ayn Jalut, historical fiction, Mamluks, medieval period, Mongols, Richard the Lionheart, Richard Warren Field, Saladin, the crusades, third crusade.
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Yes, sometimes a blog is used for some personal news. Well, writing news and personal news. I haven’t often used mine that way. But, I just recently posted “Opportunity in Adversity: A Personal Note,” and let’s face it, the Magic the Cat posts, and the late Marie post, are a personal indulgence. So, here’s a little Richard Warren Field news:

  • The The Swords of Faith has been chosen as a finalist by the USA Book News for Best Books of 2010 in the Historical Fiction Category. Thanks, folks over at USA Book News!
  • This week marks the completion of the first draft of The Sultan and the Khan, another epic-scope novel, the follow-up to The Swords of Faith. I have a lot of work to do on the revision, but the basic book is in place. Dawud, that little guy born to Pierre and Atiya in The Swords of Faith, is a seventy year old man in The Sultan and the Khan, and is a character link between the two books. He goes through a lot between the end of The Swords of Faith and the beginning of The Sultan and the Khan, trying to navigate the conflicts raging in the Eastern Mediterranean/Middle East. But this is nothing compared to what he will experience between early 1258 and late 1260. This time it’s not just Christian “crusaders” against Muslims. Mongols, Muslims and Christians mix in bizarre ways, leading to the historically crucial Battle of Ayn Jalut in September of 1260.
  • My laryngitis condition is much improved. I have gone from having no function of the left side of my voicebox to a “bowing” of the left vocal cords, meaning I have some function. I can carry a tune again—raspy, unlistenable in public—but I can get musical notes to sound from my vocal cords. I hope to have a full recovery by the end of the year at the latest.

Coming soon? Some book commentaries, and other surprises. In the meantime, feel free to visit my Books-Into-Movies Blog.