Friday, May 13, 2016

Jill Jaynes and Knightless in Seattle

Author Jill Jaynes is with me today to talk about the present day knights who inspired KNIGHTLESS IN SEATTLE. Take it away, Jill!

Guys with Swords, sign me up!
When I started writing Knightless in Seattle, I wanted my character to meet a Knight in Shining Armor in present-day Seattle. I didn’t have far to look far to see how that could actually happen.
I have a daughter who regularly participates in LARP- Live Action Role Play. Among the people she has met are guys who like their swords. Real swords, that is. I met one of them, a perfectly normal guy you’d pass on the street and never guess spends some serious time taking  Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) classes in fencing, and is quite good at it, by the way.

Let’s face it- guys (and some of us girls) love their weapons- the bigger, the badder the better! Even though there isn’t a lot of call these days for wielding a broadsword, a mace or a pole-axe, plenty of people spend their free time learning to wield these badass weapons.

Medieval Martial Arts isn’t for sissies, and it’s not for people looking to ‘look cool’ in movies or plays. It’s serious business, and the people who teach it are dedicated to keeping alive the traditions and methods of medieval combat.

If you have always wanted to learn how to use a longsword, spear, short staff, dagger, sickle, messer (dare I ask?) or rapier, you can go sign up for classes at your local neighborhood HEMA academy, or join a club, because lucky for you, there was a huge revival of interest in this whole thing in the early 1990s. There are associations and organizations and resources available, and the internet makes it easier than ever to find them and plug in.

I did a quick search on the internet and turned up a large Southern California presence- but there are schools all over the country. And they like to hold tournaments and competitions (a big one is held in Las Vegas). Awesome!

In Los Angeles, The Academy of Arms instructors, like many self-respecting HEMA academies, teach a curriculum drawn directly from historical texts of the 14th and 16th centuries.  You should check them out, they have some great videos:

Their stated goal is “to revive these lost arts by increasing awareness and inspiring a passion for this rich period of history.” They offer both Recreational and Historical track levels of classes where you can learn to use all the badass medieval weapons you could dream of.

So if you thought (like me) that Knights didn’t exist in this day and age, then let my book, Knightless in Seattle, and HEMA prove you wrong!


Jackie thinks she is on her way to work one Saturday morning to fulfill yet another of her boss’s outrageous demands, but the love magic she doesn’t know is woven into the gloves made by her best friend sends her instead on an unexpected detour to true love.

Too bad there aren’t any knights-in-shining armor around when a girl needs one; or any other time for that matter. But maybe the one wearing chain mail will do just fine, as Lance Masters, European Martial Arts Master extraordinaire, appears out of the misty Seattle rain to push Jackie’s car into a nearby gas station after she runs out of gas. The zap of chemistry between them makes her wonder if she has met the man of her dreams, but her hopes are just as quickly dashed upon learning that her knight is only in town to attend a huge local Live Action Role Play (LARP) event taking place that weekend.

Lance Masters has made a career of building up and selling a chain of European Martial Arts studios on the east coast. When he meets Jackie, wet, bedraggled and pushing her dead-as-a-doornail car in the rain, he knows he must see her again. He’ll start with inviting her to cheer him on the next day in the multi-state European Martial Arts tournament being hosted by the LARP. But he suspects that won’t be nearly enough.


For the previous hour, Lance had put her through a strenuous workout until she mastered the self-defense move she had asked him to teach her. Now they were doing what he called "a little blade work."

As much as she appreciated the lessons, every passing minute she spent with the man only increased her attraction to him. It wasn't just his amazing body, or the impressive strength and controlled power of his movements while he had been teaching her.

It was the hunger burning in his eyes that made every glance feel like a touch, every touch tingle like a zap of electricity. Her nerve endings were sparking like loose power lines in a high wind. Her whole body hummed with the steadily building tension. She wanted him.


Bad enough that she was willing to settle for what she could get with him, even if it was only one night. She was pretty sure he wanted her, too. When was he going to kiss her, for God's sake?

Outside, rain drifted through the darkened Seattle streets, its faint patter on the windows setting a cozy music to the evening and making the room into a warm safe cocoon for the two of them.
Heat radiated from Lance's body, and the scent of clean, warm, and intently focused man enveloped Jackie, bringing a definite wobble to her knees that had nothing to do with the previous workout.
She swallowed hard, and closed her eyes to try to gather her wandering attention. "Okay, fine, Mr. Ninja Knight. Show me what I'm supposed to do."

She felt him shift his weight from foot to foot behind her, as his fingers tightened over hers on the dagger's handle.

"Slide your hand up a bit so your fingers are snug on the underside of the guard. It protects you from your opponent's weapon and keeps you from cutting yourself on your own blade."

Jackie let him adjust her hold until her fingers bumped the underside of the little dome-like shield-thing that circled the base of the blade.

"Kind of like a little safety feature," she said, while eyeing the dagger uneasily. "I get that." It still looked plenty dangerous. She didn't know how much good a narrow hand guard was going do when she was handling what looked like a machete to her.

"You're doing great," he murmured into her hair. His voice slid like silk over her senses and made her want to throw the stupid knife into the wall, grab him and have her way with him right now.

She sighed. "Okay, so let's do this. I'm about as ready as I'm gonna be." Plus, the sooner they were done with the martial arts lesson, the sooner they could get on to other, more interesting, activities.

He put his mouth against the back of her neck. "Planning on using it against me?" His voice vibrated against her skin, followed by the feel of his firm, moist lips as he trailed a line of kisses along the side of her neck. Tingles exploded all the way down to her toes.

Jackie shivered and swallowed hard, fighting for control as a haze of need swamped her vision. "Should I?" Her voice sounded husky in her own ears.

"Oh, definitely." Lance deftly took the blade from her fingers and tossed it onto a pile of clothes beside his suitcase. "Or something like this could happen." Before she knew it, he'd twirled her to face him, and was taking her mouth in a searing kiss.

Huzzah! Jackie wrapped her arms around him.

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Twitter: @jill_jaynes

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