On looking up at your opponents, and my intersecting occupations of pen and sword

A week from now I’ll be teaching a workshop entitled “Getting Past the Point: Rapier for the Vertically Challenged” at the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium. It will consist of tips and tricks for fighting a taller opponent, and include coached sparring.

I took up rapier by accident. About a dozen years ago I was doing research for a 17th century historical novel when I found Academie Duello, an actual school that taught actual 17th century rapier right here in Vancouver. Needless to say I was in like Flynn. Cue training montage. And talk about detours …

While I was busy learning swordfighting, creating the Mounted Combat Program, and founding a publishing house, that 17th century novel fell by the wayside. (I did however, manage to release the first book of my fantasy trilogy, Allaigna’s Song: Overture, and have the second book, Aria, due out in April). However, you can’t keep a shepherdess-turned-spy down forever, and Toinette, aka La Bergère, insisted on being written. She made her debut in Pulp Literature Issue 24, Autumn 2019, and part two of her adventures will appear in Issue 26, Spring 2020, also due out in April.

In a later adventure entitled The Queen of Swords (due out, ooh, sometime), Toinette seeks out Julie d’Aubigny, aka La Maupin, for some much needed swordplay instruction. I wrote this scene a couple of years ago, but as I was editing it last week it struck me that Julie is giving Toinette some of the very same advice I’ll be doling out next Friday at VISS.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share a preview, both of the novel, and of my workshop, in the form of an excerpt. You can find it here:

The Queen of Swords – Excerpt

Disclaimer: this is an unproofed early draft. It will endure several more revisions plus the steely eye of my amazing editor Amanda Bidnall before it’s ready for its close-up. You get to see it naked and sans make-up.

To learn some of these techniques in person, come out to the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium on Friday night. Heck, stay for the weekend. There are over two dozen amazing instructors and five tracks of workshops for martial artists of all levels, as well as audit passes for writers and other curious onlookers. And if you’d like to find out when the rest of The Queen of Swords is ready for public consumption, you can sign up to my mailing list for release updates.

Sign up for my mailing list here*

*I promise not to spam you. I’m really bad at sending out mail as frequently as I should.

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