There will be jousting.
And sexy rogues.
And stand-up knights with brogues.
The generous Ms. Miles is giving away a free copy of One Knight Only to one lucky commenter!
Let us waste no more time with introductions…welcome, Michelle! Can you tell us a little about your new book, One Knight Only?
One Knight Only is set during a jousting tournament in the Middle Ages. It’s the story of Maggie, a woman from the present day, and Finn, a Scottish Knight with a gambling problem. It also has some paranormal elements that were a lot of fun to mix into the story.
Here’s the blurb:
A snarky Faery princess, a Scottish knight with a gambling problem, and a murderous earl all add up to one thing: Trouble. Maggie’s medieval education never prepared her for life in the Middle Ages!
Do-gooder Maggie Chase throws her thesis out the window when she wakes up in the arms of a hot Scottish knight. When she realizes she’s somehow ended up back in time, she embraces the persona of Lady Margaret. But she may be in over her head when she realizes she has to keep the sexy knight alive during a jousting tournament in order to get back to her own time.
Sir Finian “Finn” McCullough is a gambling man and owes a very large debt to an evil earl who is after his family estate. When the beautiful and outgoing Maggie arrives in his bed, he can’t remember tupping her the night before and thinks she’s a spy for one of his neighboring clans. He intends to find her kinsman and return her safely but he can’t resist her charms, her smart mouth or her sex appeal. Instead he keeps her close, taking her with him to an important jousting tournament—one he has to win or lose his castle forever.
What’s your favorite moment in this novel?
There are so many! I had so much fun writing the entire book that it’s hard to pick just one. Maggie has a lot of funny dialogue with Elyne (the Fae princess). Plus Elyne butts heads with Finn because she thinks he killed her love, Derron, on purpose during a joust. There are two scenes I really like: when Maggie jousts in Finn’s place (you’ll have to read the book to see how she ends up in the saddle) and when Finn is in the gambling tent playing cards.
What do you like about the time travel genre?
I like the idea of taking a modern character and sending them back in time to experience the wonders of the past. I’ve done it more than once – the Ranson & Fortune series with Samhain is a time travel.
Are there paranormal or magical elements in OKO besides the time travel?
Oh yes! I have a Fae princess, Elyne, who uses magic to alter time and other things. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. She’s in love with a Fae knight who is jousting and masquerading as a human. But Elyne’s use of magic in the human world is strictly forbidden by Fae law and she gets in trouble with Mom, the Queen of Faery.
What was the most interesting thing you learned while researching this novel?
Aside from jousting itself, I did a lot of research on games in the Middle Ages. Specifically card games and dice games. Hazard is the predecessor of Craps. Playing cards were actually introduced to the Western Anglo world in the mid-1300s. The suit system we know today was adapted by the French in the fifteenth century and referred to as a French deck. Other regions had their own suits (e.g. Germany, Italy, Spain). Some of the earlier suits had cups, swords, coins, and batons; others had animals, flowers, etc.
In what ways are you like Maggie, the heroine of OKO?
Oh, that’s a hard one. I think there’s a little bit of me in every character. With Maggie, it’s her stubbornness. She’s a do-gooder who wants to help everyone and she won’t let anyone, not even an evil Earl, stand in her way.
If you could travel back in time to experience one event in history, where and when would you go?
Just one? Hm. Queen Elizabeth I’s coronation, to see the beginning of her reign, which I think would be awesome!.
Derron the seductive rogue or Finn the honorable knight — if you were going to get to spend a night with one of these characters from OKO, which one would you choose?
Ooo! That’s hard! But I love all things Scottish and that includes beefy men with a brogue. Finn wins this one. (Poor Derron.)
You’ve been writing a lot of contemporary romance (the uber-sexy Coffeehouse Chronicles, for example). Is OKO your first paranormal romance release?
I have a time travel series with Samhain Publishing—the Adventures of Ransom and Fortune. The first book is A BEND IN TIME. When hit man Dane Fortune was hired to kill Skye Ransom, he never counted on her leading him on a game of cat and mouse through time…or that he’d just as soon kiss her as kill her. He chases Skye Ransom, who knows she’s his next target, but she inadvertently transports herself back in time—with Dane.
I’m also one of eleven authors in the ENTANGLED paranormal anthology. All proceeds are going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, so I’m very excited I was asked to be part of something for such a great cause.
How did you get involved in that project?
My good friend, Misty Evans, asked me one day if I would be interested in doing a short story for a paranormal anthology releasing around Halloween. Of course I said yes! It was also a great way to give back to a community that writers don’t often have an opportunity to give back to. All the proceeds from the sales of the anthology go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The book is for sale through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Smashwords, All Romance Ebooks, and other online distributors. So far, we’ve sold over a thousand copies and I hope there are a thousand more to come. My short story is SINFULLY SWEET and is the story of a witch who bakes a little magic into her cupcakes.
Do you take a different approach when writing contemporary romance vs writing paranormals?
I think I take a different approach to each and every book. They all come about in a different way. Some I just start writing because a character showed up in my head and demanded attention. Others start with the seed of an idea (“I’d like to write a book about INSERT SUBJECT HERE”). And still others start with a snippet of dialogue that nags at me until I start writing.
What was the first paranormal romance you ever read? What paranormal romance authors have influenced you?
Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series was the first paranormals I ever read which are all time travels and—surprise!—Scottish romances. So she’s definitely influenced me and I devoured her Fever series. Plus I enjoy reading Sharie Kohler/Sophie Jordan, Gena Showalter, Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kim Harrison. I also read a lot of fantasy. Authors I like: George R. R. Martin, Patricia A. McKillip, Terry Goodkind.
Are you planning a sequel to OKO, and if so, do you mind giving us a preview?
Yes, I’ve already planned out the next book which will be about Elyne and Derron. It picks up where ONE KNIGHT ONLY leaves off with Elyne in some hot water with her mother, the Queen of Faery, over Elyne using magic in the human realm. Her mother is making an example of her and sends her off to Fae prison, where she’s stripped of her powers and left to think about her actions and the consequences.
Meanwhile, Queen Maeve has asked Sir Derron to go in search of his missing father, Guardian and Lord of the Sword of Light. The sword is also missing, causing the queen much concern. She bides him to bring them both back and Derron readily accepts the challenge. But not without busting Elyne out of prison first. I have lots of fun things planned for this one that includes dragons, dark Fae kings, and kick-ass Elvish warriors.
ONE KNIGHT ONLY EXCERPT:
“Who are you? How did you send me back in time?”
“I am Fae royalty, a princess of the Otherworld—you humans call it Faery—and you’re nothing but a gnat on the map of the world.”
“Fae?” Dawning began. “You seriously can’t mean Faery?” Then snorted. “You’re telling me you’re part of the Tuatha dé Danaan? Yeah, as if.”
“Believe it, human.” The Fae princess glared at her, a hint of an Irish lilt coming out in her speech now. “I’m a direct descendant of the Daughters of Danu, the royal bloodline who protects all Fae magic and those within the Otherworld realm.”
“If you’re Fae, then how old are you?”
“Older than time itself,” Elyne said. “Older than you can comprehend. I’ve seen your past, your present and even your future. A future you could not imagine.”
“So you just snapped your fingers and poof here I am.” Maggie snapped her fingers to enunciate her point.
“No, I did not snap my fingers.” Elyne snapped her fingers back. “It took a lot of effort to sift the sands of time and put you here, where you certainly do not belong.”
“Did you wave your magic wand? This fairy tale—sorry, no pun—just keeps getting better and better.”
Maggie giggled and perched on the edge of the bed. She could believe in standing stones that possessed a certain magical ability on certain days of the year such as Beltane and Samhain. In fact, she did believe in them. But magic? Magic wasn’t real. It belonged in bedtime stories. The ones Dad used to read her before she’d fall into blissful slumber as she dreamed of fair princesses in towers and sugarplums that danced in her head.
“You would be wise not to mock me, human, or I can make your life a living hell while you’re here in what you refer to as the Middle Ages. I am a princess and you will address me as such.”
“I know history, your highness,” Maggie said, thumbing at herself. “I’ve spent the last six years studying it and I’ve never heard of the Fae meddling in ‘human’ affairs. It’s not history. It’s myth and legend.”
Elyne took a step toward her, standing toe to toe. “History,” she hissed. “Not myth. Not legend. History. My history and I’ll thank you not to mock it, or me.”
Touchy, isn’t she? Maggie held up her hands in surrender. “Sorry.”
Elyne crossed her arms, giving Maggie a superior look. “It happens among you lesser folk. At any rate, your knowledge should come in handy where you’re going.”
“And where am I going?”
“Like Finn said. To tourney. Middleham, England, if you must know. South of the Scottish border. It’s about a week’s ride from here.”
“You can’t make me do anything.”
Maggie’s eyes narrowed as she looked at the blonde-haloed wispy woman. She didn’t look all that tough. In fact, she looked nothing more than a servant girl. Perhaps she was playing an elaborate hoax on her.
Or somewhere in her sleep-deprived mind, her imagination had run amok.
Elyne laughed, a surprising bellow of a chortle from the pit of her lungs. “You silly human. You think you have so much control.” She punctuated the sentence with a lift of her head, looking down her straight, pointy nose at Maggie as though she were nothing more than pond scum. She leaned forward, her voice dropping to a dangerous level. “You have no control of your own destinies. You are nothing but simple fools.”
A pounding on the door made them both jump. “Lassie?” It was Finn, his voice muffled through the thick chamber door.
Maggie huffed out a breath. “Not ready yet,” she called, hoping to stall.
“You best be in the next few minutes or I’ll be dressing you myself.”
Maggie tried not to think of his hands on her trying to dress her. It sent too many erotic images through her fertile imagination. She held her breath, waiting for him to boom through the door again but he must have left since all fell silent. She turned back to Elyne.
“Send me back.”
“As I said, I cannot. Not until tournament is over.”
“And what if I can’t keep Finn alive? Then what?”
“Then…well… Then that’s on your pretty head, isn’t it?”
Michelle Miles found her love of writing buried in the fantasy books of Patricia A. McKillip and the beautiful romances of Victoria Holt. It wasn’t until her high school years she decided to take up the pen and try her hand at writing. She created faraway lands, space adventures, and even princesses who just wanted to be saved. Never learning to plot, she always believed that jumping in feet first was the way to go and has since become a self-proclaimed Pantser, writing sexy contemporaries and sizzling paranormal and sweeping fantasy.
A Native Texan, she loves hockey, football, baseball, drinking coffee, cross-stitching, and shopping for shoes and Coach handbags. You can read her daily antics at her blog, Ye Olde Inkwell. Michelle is also a regular contributor to Pop Culture Divas and Plotting Princesses.