There is something about the Winter Solstice that always makes me think of King Arthur. Maybe it’s watching the Disney movie Sword in the Stone a few too many times as young Arthur pulls the sword during the Yule/Christmas jousting tournament.
When I began writing A Winter Knight’s Vigil, I almost immediately knew that the coven would be celebrating an Arthurian-themed Winter Solstice. For me, the struggle to be a good and ethical leader also brings up the story of King Arthur. For me, the essence of being a knight is being true and ethical, being of service. In fact–the root meaning of the word “knight” means, to serve. It’s one reason why I took it as my own last name.
I don’t believe that someone has to run around in armor to be a knight. I believe that any person who finds themselves on the path of the seeker, the path of the hero’s journey…the path to trying to be a better person, an ethical person, a person fighting to help others and do the right thing, is taking on that role of being a knight.
A Winter Knight’s Vigil takes place in the modern era. A group of friends who also are in a coven rent some cabins out in the woods to spend the Winter Solstice together. It’s a retreat weekend; they are getting away from their regular lives. Yet it’s also an intensive weekend, in that they are each working to do deeply introspective work by exploring the archetype of King Arthur and of Knighthood.
The Winter Solstice is sometimes called the Longest Night. Can you imagine what it was like thousands of years ago when the nights kept getting longer? Can you imagine huddling by the fire and wondering if the long summer days would ever return? If maybe this was the year that the nights just kept getting longer?
The longest night is a good time for a vigil–for a night of self-reflection. Tristan and Amber both have to look into the mirror…reflect on their lives, and look at their own path to being the hero, the knight. They have to look at who they are and what’s the right thing to do. Their small group of friends has an agreement that they won’t engage in romantic entanglements with anyone else in the coven in order to avoid the interpersonal dynamics that can break apart really small groups.
Ultimately, Amber and Tristan find that they can’t resist one another, that they can’t betray themselves and their feelings. Things between them get hotter and hotter until they can’t stand it any more.
I have to say that the thought of a roaring fire and a big pillow-top bed and some really fierce, pent-up nookie sounds like a pretty good winter fantasy to me! Particularly with Tristan in his Utilikilt.
But, though they can’t ignore their feelings for each other, nor is it acceptable to them to betray the trust of the group they’ve made commitments to, so they have to face some of the consequences of their actions. Being a knight and being in service to something larger than just yourself isn’t always easy.
Maybe that’s why I like the story of King Arthur so much. It’s not what we do when things are easy that define us. It’s the choices we make when times are tough, when our back is against the wall, that define our ethics, our values, our honor.
Usually in my fiction I’m writing about heroes on quests with swords or magical powers, but I think that Tristan and Amber are both knights that the modern reader can relate to. They each are facing the same struggles that anyone else today might face.
The essence of that hero’s journey is that moment in the silence of your own heart when you have to look into the mirror, look at who you are, look at the “sword” in your hand, and decide if you’re going to do the honorable thing or the self-serving thing.
And how do you balance that with honoring and protecting the one you’ve fallen in love with? I think we all struggle with things like this. Every one of us, at one point, will have to make a tough decision. And it’s those moments that make us the hero.
For whatever reason, the snow makes me think of swords and knights in armor, of vigils and honor and heroism. I don’t think I’d have it any other way.
A Winter Knight’s Vigil is an erotic contemporary romance.
Sexy, kilt-wearing Tristan has captured Amber’s attention on many occasions. But as members of the Kingsword coven, which has strict rules about intimate relationships inside the circle, dating him is out of the question.
When the coven heads to a secluded woodland cabin to celebrate the Winter Solstice, Amber finds herself closer than ever to Tristan. As the Longest Night approaches and their group’s ritual workings intensify, the pair realizes that they can no longer hide from their feelings.
Just as King Arthur held vigil before being knighted, Tristan and Amber face their shadows—and the realization that one or both of them might have to leave the coven. Or can they be together without breaking their honor?
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