How to Tell if You’re Dating a Knight in Six Easy Questions

by Anna Klein

How does your significant other dress?

  1. Padded gambeson, metal armour, surcoat appliqued with appropriate heraldry
  2. Nice jeans, clean top, a jacket if it’s cold.
  3. A Victorian tuxedo or gown and a cape with a red lining
  4. T-shirts with offensive slogans, or pond scum.

When someone upsets you, how do they react?

  1. Swear vengeance on your behalf, then challenges them to a duel at dawn.
  2. Listens, and is supportive. Lets you take the lead on how to handle it.
  3. Their eyes go red briefly. The person that upset you is found mysteriously exsanguinated the next morning.
  4. Says it was probably your fault and then goes back to talking about themselves

What’s his face like?

  1. Rugged, strong, grown hardy by lack of modern comforts.
  2. Hair and/or facial hair is tidy, a little light moisturiser
  3. Pale, paler than you could have imagined, untouched by the rays of the sun for centuries,
  4. Green, scaly, a little moist.

Which description is most like your dates?

  1. Riding on horseback to a jousting tournament followed by a spectacular feast of eight courses, complete with mead, merry musicians and a roaring fire.
  2. A romantic dinner, a movie and then drinks with mutual friends.
  3. You are shown the magic of the night
  4. Whatever they feel like doing, really, such as catching flies with their tongue and croaking with their friends.

What is home?

  1. A castle. It’s a little draughty, but with pleasant roaring fires, paintings and a vibrant household.
  2. A modern apartment or home, cosy, handy to public transport and with a nice yard for summer parties.
  3. A castle. It’s very draughty. And dark. Lots of bats. Does anyone even live here?
  4. A pond. It’s your job to clean it.

How do you get on with the family?

  1. You haven’t met many of them. Father died in battle, siblings have been married off abroad and Mother spends all her time making tapestries of battles they have won.
  2. They make an effort to include you and are supportive of the relationship.
  3. The statues in the family mausoleum are impressive but not very good conversationalists
  4. They haven’t bothered to introduce you.

Time to tally the results!

Mostly 1 – Your lover is a knight! Handy with a sword, and always up for rescuing you, your lover may be a little stuck in the past and often away on questing business.

Mostly B – Your lover is a regular, modern day human being, and a knight-on-the-inside. The best of both worlds!

Mostly C – Your lover is a vampire! Which is pretty cool too. Time to invest in fun scarves, and who knows, maybe they used to be a knight in days past?

Mostly D – Your lover is a toad! Whether a literal green amphibian or just a jerk, you’ve probably spent enough time kissing them and waiting for royalty to show up. Time to go.


32237All’s Faire in love and war…

Connie leads a double life. During the week, she is an up-and-coming designer and dressmaker, creating sleek, elegant gowns for the wealthy elite. But come the weekend, Connie becomes Lady Constance, a member of the House Felicitous at the local Renaissance Faire, creating beautiful historical garments for herself and her friends and teaching dancing to fair attendees. Fearing loss of business should her stylish clientèle discover her extracurricular activities, Connie keeps her professional life and her faire life carefully separate. However, everything changes when she’s saved from certain death by Sir Justin: a rising star in the joust and an actual knight in shining armour.

Behind his mask as Sir Justin, Dominic is confident and charismatic, but out of his armour, his courage fails him, and to his own horror he finds himself accidentally pretending to be his own best friend. Suddenly, he is in Connie’s life as two different men: the elusive Sir Justin who courts her over the internet and from behind a suit of armour and Justin’s ‘best friend’ Dominic who hangs out at her apartment and helps her move. The lie only grows bigger and Sir Justin finds himself faced with the most frightening challenge he can imagine: extricating himself from his lie and winning Connie’s heart as his true self.

But there’s something rotten afoot at the Faire, something that threatens its future, the community that has grown there, and even Sir Justin’s life. Will Lady Constance find the courage to step up and risk everything to defend her friends, save the Faire, and rescue her knight?

The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight is available now.

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Exclusive Excerpt 2: The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight

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All’s Faire in Love and War…

Sir Justin rode onto the field, his armour managing to gleam even in the overcast light. Connie applauded thunderously, pride and possessiveness welling up inside her.

Ouch, Foxingwood, I think thou hast ruptured mine ear drum, I can but hope that Sir Justin is not stunned after that boisterous welcome,’ the Maestro said. ‘Mayhap he is, he seems to be going the wrong way—wait a moment, what’s this? It seems our knight is stopping for a meet and greet!’

The Maestro was right. Sir Justin rode up to the barrier instead of trotting alongside it; he was walking his horse purposefully, scanning the crowd, as if he were …

It seems Sir Justin is looking for someone! Is that a rose in his hand?’

Connie’s heart skipped a beat.

Then, suddenly, Justin was in front of Connie, the smell of horse and leather and steel filling her nose. Her heart pounded as she looked up.

Lady Constance,’ Sir Justin said, his voice once again muffled behind the locked visor of his closed face helm. ‘I give you this rose as a token of my affection.’

Connie found herself grinning madly as she accepted the rose. ‘I thank my most valiant lord. But wait, sir, one moment before you go—’ Connie fumbled with the knot that held the specially made handkerchief onto her belt.

Speak up!’ someone behind her shouted.

Sir Justin, will you accept this token of my favour to carry with you today?’ Connie asked. Was the entire crowd looking at them?

I would be honoured, Lady Constance,’ Sir Justin replied as he took the handkerchief, which looked little more than a scrap in his large gauntlets. She could not see his face, but she felt like he might be grinning too. Thunderous applause and cheers broke out as he gently twitched the reins and Cleopatra moved off to take their place at the top of the lists. Maestro Contarini burst into rhapsodic commentary.

… never have we seen such gallantry, such chivalry, such perfect pageantry! Sir Justin rides like the knights of old with the token of his lady! Nowhere in the twenty-first century is there such romance as this!’

The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight is available for pre-order now, and will release 20 October 2017. One-click now!

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Exclusive Excerpt 1: The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight

32237

All’s Faire in love and war…

I’m all right,’ she tried to reassure him, wishing her voice would stop sounding so tremulous. ‘You saved my life.’

I think I might have done. Thank god I decided to take Cleopatra out before the tourney.’ With his free hand, he tried to unclasp the visor that covered his face. ‘Dammit, it’s stuck again,’ he muttered, sounding slightly muffled through the visor of his full-face helmet.

They both looked downhill—the empty horse float’s rapid descent had come to a stop at the bottom of the hill with an enormous crash, but with no one in the way. Faire officials were running from the far side of the jousting lists to look at the horse float. Another group had run down from the top of the hill. Several of them were shouting and pointing at Connie and her rescuer. The knight waved and flashed them a thumb-up sign to indicate they were all right.

I probably better go,’ he said, jerking his gauntleted fist towards the understandably panicked faire staff. ‘They’ll need some help sorting this out. Some rank amateur must have been trying to park in the wrong place.’

Thank you so much,’ Connie said, barely taking in what was going on around her. Her heart was still hammering from the fright. ‘I looked up, and that thing was falling, and I couldn’t even think. I tripped over this bloody dress—too many damn petticoats—my boots caught. I feel like a total twit.’

The knight shook his head, as much as he was able to in the restrictive enclosed helmet. ‘Don’t. You aren’t. I don’t think that dress was made for making quick escapes from runaway vehicles in, lovely though it is.’

Seeing as I made it, I can tell you for a fact ‘quick escapes’ weren’t anything I thought about having to do while wearing this dress.’

You made it? That’s awesome—I mean,’ he amended, ‘my lady is most talented. And I’ve gone and ripped it like an uncouth knave.’

You saved my life, sir. I can fix the dress. My pride, however, is pretty badly bruised. Us damsels are expected to be self-rescuing these days.’

A laugh echoed inside the knight’s helm. ‘Don’t feel bad, my lady, we have a yearly quota of damsel saving we must meet, else they revoke our right to ride in the joust, and also our right to say ‘forsooth’ and ‘verily’. In truth, it is you who have helped me.’

The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight is available for pre-order now, and will release 20 October 2017. One-click now!

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Six Terribly Unromantic Fashion Trends

by Anna Klein

Wearing crinolines and corsets and enormous silk dresses just seems so much more romantic than jeans, a t-shirt, and a cardie. On the other hand, history also has a few peculiar historical trends that are distinctly unromantic and un-swoonworthy. I’ve put together a list of the worst offenders;

  • Forehead plucking

Roughly in the time of Shakespeare, high foreheads on ladies were considered terribly sexy, so noblewomen would pluck the front of their hair to raise their hairline for a few inches. That suddenly puts eyebrow tweezing into some harsh perspective.

Rogier_van_der_Weyden_-_Portrait_of_a_Lady_-_Google_Art_Project

Portrait of a Lady, Rogier van der Weyden

  • Dress Lacing

The front-lacing dress medieval dress that we all know as ‘the sexy wench look’ were actually for the many women not lucky enough to have a maid to dress them – and who needed to be able to unlace themselves in a hurry to nurse their baby. Rich women had back-lacing dresses, maids to lace them into it, and a dedicated ‘wet nurse’ to feed their babies.

  • No Knickers

It turns out the earliest ancestor of lady’s knickers didn’t become commonplace until the early 19th century. Before then, most women just went breezy under their skirts. In fact, it wasn’t even until the 1920s that knickers gained a centre seam – up until then, it was split up the middle! There are historical examples from around the world of things like knickers being worn by very rich women, or courtesans, but it was considered very unladylike and inappropriate…because they were thought to be trousers, and those were only for men!

1900s-edwardian-knickers-pantaloons-underwear-women

Edwardian undergarments. Image source.

  • Underpants Shirt

Men didn’t get off easy in the historical underpants arena either. They had very long shirts they tucked in between their legs before putting on their hose and that was underpants.

  • Padded Bellies

These days it feels like everything is about eating less and getting smaller, while historically, men showed off their wealth by wearing doublets with a built-in belly to make themselves look larger and therefore obviously capable of affording lots of food.

  • 7cc814abd2d047cf879230b4a5665d76

    Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Image Source

    The Codpiece

Men’s hose was originally just the two legs tied at the waist, with no centre bit. This was fine when tunics were down to the knee but as the hemlines for the tunic rose higher and higher, pretty quickly the crotch area was left covered with nothing but a flimsy piece of linen from the underpants shirt. That’s when they invented the codpiece, originally a triangle of fabric they laced in between the two legs of hose, before it turned into elaborate fabric representations of the goods underneath. Fun fact: They also used to keep their coin purse inside the codpiece to try and put off pickpockets!

So here’s to zippers, knickers, and non-crotch based cash storage. Maybe that t-shirt and jeans lacks a certain romance, but I’m glad for clothes I can dress myself in! Well, most days – I can’t be the only woman that’s been excited about a smart new office dress only to spend twenty minutes doing contortions trying to do the zip up in the back. No? Just me?


32237All’s Faire in love and war…

Connie leads a double life. During the week, she is an up-and-coming designer and dressmaker, creating sleek, elegant gowns for the wealthy elite. But come the weekend, Connie becomes Lady Constance, a member of the House Felicitous at the local Renaissance Faire, creating beautiful historical garments for herself and her friends and teaching dancing to fair attendees. Fearing loss of business should her stylish clientèle discover her extracurricular activities, Connie keeps her professional life and her faire life carefully separate. However, everything changes when she’s saved from certain death by Sir Justin: a rising star in the joust and an actual knight in shining armour.

Behind his mask as Sir Justin, Dominic is confident and charismatic, but out of his armour, his courage fails him, and to his own horror he finds himself accidentally pretending to be his own best friend. Suddenly, he is in Connie’s life as two different men: the elusive Sir Justin who courts her over the internet and from behind a suit of armour and Justin’s ‘best friend’ Dominic who hangs out at her apartment and helps her move. The lie only grows bigger and Sir Justin finds himself faced with the most frightening challenge he can imagine: extricating himself from his lie and winning Connie’s heart as his true self.

But there’s something rotten afoot at the Faire, something that threatens its future, the community that has grown there, and even Sir Justin’s life. Will Lady Constance find the courage to step up and risk everything to defend her friends, save the Faire, and rescue her knight?

The Modern Woman’s Guide to Finding a Knight is available for pre-order now!

iBooks, Booktopia, Nook, Kobo, Google, Amazon AU, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Friday Five: Amanda Knight

2796Author: Amanda Knight
First Published with Escape: April 2017
Favourite Romance Trope: I do love the redemption trope… can’t go past a good military/protector one either!
Ideal Hero: a man strong of mind and body, and who displays honour, integrity and loyalty in action and thoughts – he is a man of his word, knows what he will and won’t stand for, and doesn’t waver, unless it is to protect someone he loves. He has well developed EQ and IQ, and has a non-arrogant self-confidence. He is fiercely protective of those he loves, intensely passionate and if ever he can give his heart (I do love a bit of a tortured hero!) it will be deeply and a one time only thing! My perfect hero also loves a strong, smart woman who makes him want to be the best man he can (even if it takes him a while to realise it!) someone who can push his buttons, make him ask the hard questions of himself, and have him always want to get back to her when they’re apart… above and beyond anyone, and anywhere else.
Ideal Heroine: She is a strong, smart women who also has a vulnerable side (that isn’t evident at first.) There’s something about her that allows others to feel safe. My ideal Heroine isn’t perfect, but can hold her own amongst her peers (with men and women), but doesn’t see it as a male/female thing, simply a ‘person’ thing to be the best she can be. She doesn’t let anyone treat her any less than she deserves, no matter the circumstances. She holds people accountable for their actions, and also allows him to redeem their mistakes, with their dignity still intact. She’s gutsy without being reckless, and has the courage, the tenacity to do what needs to be done, even when she is terrified. She can say she’s sorry, and admit to her mistakes. She’s not afraid to be real.
Latest Book: Situation Critical

What came first: the plot or the characters? What did you find more difficult to write?

It’s always different for me… but for Situation Critical – a character came first! My initial inspiration was for Finnegan, and then, the skeleton of a plot came to life which in turn inspired Nate, then Beth and lastly my villain, Lawson. I find the plot points the most tricky to write, because I usually know my characters, and have an idea of where they’re going… it’s just figuring out the vehicle I am creating to get there, it sometimes doesn’t come to me as quickly as I’d like!

Where do you like to write? How do you write?

Where do I like to write… hmm, ideally, it would be in either a cabin in the mountains, where it is perennially winter, with an open fire and endless piping hot tea (during the day) and a good shiraz (in the evening!) OR in an Hampton-esque modest home with huge verandahs and luscious lounges, close to the ocean… also in winter with the beverage preferences as per the cabin! But seriously…

Writing Space (Amanda Knight)

I write in my office, at my desk (where I can close the door when the family are home) or at the dining table (big windows, lots of light) when there’s no one else around. I also write on the train heading into work (that’s usually scribbling ideas in my notebook), at the library when my home is just too busy for concentration, and sometimes, at my local café where the comings and goings become a little like white noise, that somehow helps me immerse in the words. Although, once, I had a fellow guest tap me on the shoulder, and ask if I was alright – I’d been writing a scene where my villain killed someone, and it seems my facial expressions whilst doing so were a little alarming! Perhaps public writing isn’t such a good plan?!

Can you give any advice to aspiring authors out there? And/or what is some of the best writing advice you have received?

My advice for aspiring authors: Keep. Going. Don’t. Stop. I keep this picture on my wall… (the two men digging in the diamond mine) because I have experienced the ‘almost there’ so many times before Situation Critical was accepted. If you want it bad enough, if you persevere, keep honing your craft… listen to feedback, continue to learn, work out how it all ‘works’ best for you, your voice, your circumstances, and do it all with respect and dignity for both yourself and those you’re working with… success will come. I truly believe that! Also, behave like a published author no matter where you are on your journey… be kind to people, build your networks, be gracious.

What drew you to contemporary romance?

What draws me to writing contemporary romance? In essence, I think it is the hope that romance inspires in the reader. I love the possibility, that we as writers, can maybe encourage someone to take that step, make that call, seek that help, follow that dream – and truly make a difference to their lives. I think as writers, we have the gift of being able to show that people can be in bad circumstances and still remain good souls. That people can overcome the most hideous adversities… that someone can be broken, bitter and incapable of giving or receiving love… but when the right person comes into their lives, anything is possible, and hearts and souls can mend… I believe that a deep and soul stirring love is the most glorious of feelings, and that kindness, and the gift of caring for another being, allowing them to be ‘good enough’ no matter how bruised and broken they appear at first, brings rewards that cannot be measured… and as writers, we have the wonderful opportunity to capture all of this, and share it, within the pages of a book.

What are your favourite books/authors to read (maybe pick 3)? Romance or otherwise? What draws you to those books?

I have quite an eclectic taste in books. I don’t actually have a distinct favourite genre… Outside of the works of my author friends, I’ve a number of books by Honey Brown, JT Ellison and Sandra Brown, as well as Diana Gabaldon, JR Ward, Liane Moriarty and Emily Giffin… amongst SOOO many others. I have a very special place on my shelves for authors D’Arcy Niland, Ruth Park and Dymphna Cusack – Australian authors who greatly inspired me when I was younger, and first started writing seriously.

What draws me to a book? If I read a review or blurb that interests me, or have been recommended a book (and it generally interests me), I’ll give it a whirl (I am partial to investigating a book due to liking its cover too!) Once I’m inside the pages, I’ll keep reading if the characters weave their way into my heart, or have me asking questions I want to know the answers to, quickly. I also like to see evidence of the development potential of the character within the first chapter or two… especially the characters I want to dislike but can’t quite, yet. I love clever mystery/suspense/intrigue plots, with enough setting that I can hear, see, smell where I am. Sharp witty or heart-wrenching dialogue grabs me, as does triumph of the human spirit stories such as The Help, To Kill A Mockingbird and The Book Thief.

My favourite part of reading is immersing in other lives, moments, and sometimes, historical events… I love the notion (and believe to my core) that words change lives… even if it’s only momentarily… and when I read a book that captures me, the entire world outside the pages doesn’t exist… pure escapism!

So I read in your bio that you have some adorable pets… do they hinder or help you when you write?

Bonnie’s a constant, no drama, positive presence whenever I am writing… so good to have around! Definitely a ‘helper’ when I’m writing!

Vincent - superior and aloof (Amanda Knight)

As to my cat – well, he’s no Bonnie, but not really a hindrance! He’s a standoffish, super superior and very vocal Blue Point Ragdoll named Vincent… or as he’s known most of the time around here, Puddy. He’s not super snuggly or friendly, and mostly only hangs out with me if his belly or nature is calling! He will meow out a near sentence, with tone and intense stares if he needs feeding, or wants to be on the other side of whatever door he’s closest to! He rules Bonnie with a cat 1-2 slap and a ear flattened glare if she’s too overzealous when he’s deemed it a suitable activity to come out and hang with (near!) her. Interestingly though, when Bonnie was away a few days at the vet, he spent a lot of time walking in circles around her bed, and bowls, did a lot of meowing, and slept in her bed (actually, that’s a norm – poor dog sleeps on the floor, whilst the cat sprawls out in her bed!) – he was clearly missing her! Maybe he cares about others after all?!


31096

A taut debut novel about a wounded soldier, a courageous doctor, and a dog in desperate need of a rescue

Soldier, surgeon, traitor, dog…

When Sergeant Nate Calloway is carried into the field hospital with no memory of how he got there or where the other members of his unit are,  Australian army surgeon, Captain Beth Harper cares only about repairing his broken body. But it’s clear that something went terribly wrong on the other side of the wire, and as Nate slowly recovers, he becomes more and more anxious to return to duty, go back into the field, and rescue his friends, his unit, and the bomb detection dog that he loves.

The only way Nate can be released to active duty is if a doctor agrees to accompany him, and Beth surprises everyone by volunteering. Her role is to monitor Nate and take him right back to hospital the instant that his health deteriorates enough to put their rescue operation at risk. But as she stays close, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to his courage, his determination, and his commitment to his fellow soldiers.

Instead of a straightforward recovery, however, Nate and Beth soon realise they’ve stumbled on a tangled web of deceit and danger, and the enemy is no longer outside the wire. He is one of their own, a traitor, and he has them in his scope.

 

Feed Your Reader: Small Towns and Second Chances

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He’ll never come back to stay, unless someone asks him to…

Funerals can bring people together who are best kept apart. Ethan Foster, home to mourn his sister-in-law, finds himself as unwelcome as ever in the town that once meant the world to him. For more than a decade he’s been saddled with a bad reputation – a drunk, a deserter – and he’s lived with it, will keep living with it, because the only way to clear his name is to share his secrets. But the secrets are not his to tell and their telling would destroy the family he loves and the woman he’s never forgiven himself for leaving behind.

Samantha O’Hara once loved freely, but now she doesn’t. Now she leaves before she’s left and keeps her vulnerabilities tucked away. But when Ethan Foster walks back into town, finally looking at her the way she always wanted him to, she finds her hard-won armour developing chinks. She can’t – won’t – have anything to do with any reinvention Ethan is going through. But maybe this isn’t a new Ethan… Maybe he’s the same Ethan she fell in love with all those years ago.

And maybe, just maybe, this time their love will be strong enough to make him stay.

*Originally published as Ask Me To Stay. This edition is expanded and revised.

“this book has something for everyone: love, family, conflict, acceptance and forgiveness” – Goodreads

“You need to read this book” – Goodreads

 

Available from your favourite e-tailer: Booktopia, Amazon AU, Amazon US, Amazon UK, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Google

June Blooms New Titles – New Releases Today!

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The award-winning Chieftain series continues in a new, full-length novel about duty, determination and the power of love to heal all wounds.


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From Anna Clifton comes a sweet, emotional, beautiful romance about a man whose life has been derailed and the unexpected woman who can help him get it back on track.


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He’d been an outcast his whole life, but it never mattered with her by his side. Then she betrayed him in the worst way possible, and he will have his revenge.


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Lisa Ireland, a brilliant new voice in rural romance, invites you to Linden Gully and the wedding of the year…