Winner of the American Christian Fiction Writer's Carol Award for Dauntless!!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Chivalrous is Written!!!

I'm happy to share that I have typed the magical words, "The End," for book 2 in the Valiant Hearts series. And since I've been calling it Chivalrous for months, I am also happy to announce that the title has been officially approved by the publisher.

Chivalrous is the story of Gwendolyn Barnes, a tall, strong, adventurous young lady who longs to be a knight like her gallant brothers. However that isn't an option for her, not even in the Arthurian inspired Eden where she dwells. Her parents view her only as a marriage pawn, and her domineering father is determined to see her wed to a brutish man who will break her spirit. When handsome, good-hearted Allen of Ellsworth arrives in Edendale searching for his place in the world, Gwendolyn spies in him the sort of fellow she could imagine marrying. Yet fate seems determined to keep them apart. Tournaments, battles, and intrigue--along with twists and turns aplenty--await these two as they struggle to find love, identity, and their true destinies.

Chivalrous is about discerning God's plan for the future and understanding His purpose for our lives. It deals with hard questions about gender roles and abuse of authority. I'm really excited about this book. It will release in fall 2015, after about 100 rounds of editing ;)


  1. I'm so excited! It sounds like another awesome novel!

  2. Thanks, Laura :) You always make my day.

    1. Remotely related to the idea of female knights, I wonder if you might find this little story interesting.
      There was a twelfth century Byzantine Princess who wrote a history of her father's reign- in one particular passage she mentioned the wife of a Norman Nobleman (of a different group to those who conquered England)name Sichelgaita , who is said to have often accompanied her husband on campaign and donned armour.
      At one battle, when the soldiers were fleeing, Sichelgaiata, donning armour (who was said to have been very tall and muscular) reportedly grabbed a spear, and gave chase, imploring them to 'Halt! Be men!'- upon which they subsequently returned to the fray....

      Close to a female knight, I would say...even if her name is a bit of a mouthful.

    2. I worked hard to make my set up for this female knight reasonable and not to have it seem too outlandish. I have heard stories similar to the ones you mentioned, and I think they're really fun.

    3. Yes, I liked that one. Its ironic though that the Greek woman who wrote the history still considered her fellow woman a 'barbarian' on the basis of her nationality- but nonetheless seems to have grudgingly admired her bravery.

  3. Dare I say that the notion of the pretty young girl betrothed or forced to marry a evil, horrible, ugly, abusive, or in other way undesirable male-seems to me to be a cliche or trope?
    I suppose its because such a device seems to be used time and time again in stories set in this period- to the point of becoming trite.

    I've actually learned that church law from the late 1100s onwards banned forced marriage without consent, as did the legal traditions of certain countries- of course there were ways of getting past this- but I just think sometimes its a refreshing change to find a story that depicts a loving, affectionate relationship developing from an arranged marriage. It did happen sometimes!

  4. Oh my, at least three Medieval books to anticipate between March and May, yours, Melanie Dickerson's 'Huntress of Thornbeck Forest' and Edouaro Albert's second book in the Nourthumbrian Thrones series about King Oswald One almost wishes other publishers would extend the the two a year of Bethany House, but that might not allow me as much time to finish other books on the large TBR pile.

    Chivalrous sounds interesting- though- and I mean this in all charitableness and respect, without being personal at all- I do find the pretty young girl forced to marry a nasty man device a little bit overused sometimes. Maybe its just seen as more interesting than depicting a happy marriage- or typical for the time?
    I know of a few examples of arranged marriages that were happy- like Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, or William Marshall and Isabel de Clare who was nearly 30 years his junior. Theirs might make a good story too.

    Is it just me who thinks its kind of sad that unhappy marriages are seen as less interesting than the happy ones, or is it just me?

  5. Also, look for Jody Hedlund's YA medieval series with Thomas Nelson!!! I think her first book releases right around the same time as Dauntless.

    I do understand your point about arranged marriages, but I am hopeful that you will find my take on the issue fresh, triumphant, and surprisingly relevant to modern readers. Actually, although I can't explain how or why for fear of spoilers, arranged marriage is viewed in a more positive light in Dauntless.

    One thing that is part of my "Dina Sleiman" brand is happy endings. You never have to worry about a depressing ending from me, or even a terribly depressing story. Although...the essence of story is conflict. So if there is an arranged marriage and it doesn't cause any problems, that doesn't make for a story, although it could be included within a bigger story. Also, within the Christian romance genre these days, it is hard to sell any story about a married couple. Just FYI. Those are usually categorized as women's fiction, not romance, which in general is harder to sell in my opinion.

    1. Yes, I knew about that one. I have not read anything by her before, and reading an entirely new author can be something of a gamble at times. Are you acquainted with Deanna Dodson's Chastelayne Trilogy? I think they provide an interesting spin, with an arranged marriage that turns out positive, but also showing that young men could be subject so such arrangements as well as women.
      I know of only one Christian novel that covers William Marshall and Isabel de Clare's relationship, which is Swords of Heaven, by C.D.Baker- but that is not such much a Romance as much as a story about the build-up to the Magna Carta.
      As you say, most such stories are do not fall into the Romance genre (though not all are aimed specifically at women- especially some I know) and I got the conflict issue.

      It's interesting what you mentioned about the phenomena in the US- in Britain arranged marriage is only really widely known in the Asian community, and has caused some controversy with forced marriages- and the two tend to be conflated.

      Yet on the other side of the coin, C.S.Lewis made some interesting observations.... Yeah, I admit, I'm slightly obsessed with him..

  6. I haven't actually read Jody yet either, but I've heard such great things about her other books that I'm anticipating it being really good. I'm friends with DeAnna Dodson and very familiar with her books. Did you know she's now writing as Julianna Deering for Bethany? Obviously no one in America can legally force a daughter to marry, but if the girls get caught up in the mindset as well...

    1. Yes, read two of her Drew Fathering mysteries, well really read one and listened to the audiobook of the other.
      Same in Britain. Its been illegal under church law since the late twelfth century as already stated, and there are secular law codes dating back even further to the time of Canute which ban it- but the some of the cases in question involved British born girls being taken to places like Pakistan where their families might have come from for 'holidays, where British law has no jurisdiction, and being forcibly married. I believe they have had to pass a law against such things this end, so to speak, to prevent it before it happens.

      Marriage should not be forced against anyone's will, but, on the other hand, as mentioned before, I think C.S.Lewis made an interesting point.

      Basically, he raised the hypothetical scenario of a person abandoning a loving spouse and children to pursue their own happiness with someone else to demonstrate that sometimes the modern notion of everyone being entitled to romantic happiness, at the expense of everything else, could be damaging and self-centered.
      Its was an extreme example perhaps, and I'm not suggesting it relates to your work, but it is perhaps a little thought provoking.

      Anyway, I don't want to take over this thread. Congrats on finishing the book and have a nice afternoon (?) I think its about 6 hours behind in Virginia?