Today, I have a very special guest on my blog; the fabulous K.L. Noone is here to talk about her latest release The Featherbed Puzzle. I’m scheduling this post on the actual release date, so as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m heading over to JMS Books and downloading my pre-ordered copy. Because you haven’t missed that I’m a huge fan of K.L. Noone’s writing, have you? Didn’t think so 🙂 So please, help me make her feel welcome, so she’ll consider coming back again!
I’m K.L. Noone, and Nell, being a lovely and generous human and equally lovely and generous fellow author, has agreed to let me drop by today to ramble about my newest release, The Featherbed Puzzle!
The Featherbed Puzzle is roughly 47,000 words of…well, an m/m romance retelling of “The Princess and the Pea,” in a fluffy vaguely alternate-history eighteenth century—no magic as such, but artificers, canals, clockwork, and serving dishes that stay warm!
There’s also a dark and stormy night, quite a lot of pastries, several Awful Suitors and one True Love, and at least one jigsaw puzzle. And a terrible pun or two. And many, many featherbeds, of course.
Since puzzles are something of a theme, I thought I’d share five puzzle-pieces that went into the writing of this story! Let’s see…
One – this story essentially happened because I’d just finished Magician (which, more and less noisily, had been living in my head for about ten years), and I really wanted to write something that would be, in Jane Austen’s famous turn of phrase, light and bright and sparkling—just a pure spun-sugar confection, no real angst or epic quests or family drama, just a gaggle of suitors, a “helpful” best friend, a walk or two in a rose garden, a literal mountain of fluff, and characters figuring out what they want for themselves and their future.
Two – Arthur, our prince in need of a betrothed at the beginning, can best be described as, oh, “awkward, kindhearted, and the sort of prince who does conscientious civic planning and also jigsaw puzzles for fun”. Alan, on the other hand, is more the “I swear I had a cup of tea, where did I put that, oh wait there’s a kitten sleeping in it, maybe I should design a new cat bed instead of this commissioned grandfather clock, what if she’s hungry, she can have my sandwich, also we have a kitten now” sort of person.
Three – there are a lot of literary influences in this one, but probably the biggest are Robin McKinley’s fairytale retellings, Eloisa James’s fairytale-inspired historical romances, Jane Austen’s Emma, and of course Hans Christian Andersen himself; I like to think Andersen, as that self-described “amphibious creature” who fell in love with both women and men, and who wasn’t opposed to lightly affectionate satire, would be amused.
Four – four songs on my playlist for this one: The All-American Rejects, I Wanna, Neon Trees, Mess Me Up, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Save Tonight, and, of course, Buzzcocks, Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve Fallen In Love With).
Five – as far as puzzles, the Awesome Husband and I do them for fun, in fact! The first puzzle Arthur’s working on is very similar to one we have, with the underwater theme and sunken ship, in fact…
The Featherbed Puzzle is available now, in all the usual places! I hope you enjoy!
Prince Arthur needs to get married. He’s the only heir, he’s twenty-five years old, and his mother keeps sending eligible princes and princesses his direction. Arthur’s not opposed to the idea, but so far every suitor’s been awful, and he’d like to at least like a prospective future spouse. But on one dark and stormy night, a mysterious young man in need of rescue just might be the answer Arthur’s looking for …
Alan never intended to join the ranks of Prince Arthur’s suitors. After all, Alan might technically be a prince himself, but he doesn’t use the title and he works for a living. But when a carriage accident leaves him stranded in the rain at the castle door, Alan can’t help falling for Arthur’s kind heart and lonely eyes. It’s just too bad he’s not an acceptable match …
Gay Fantasy Erotic Romance / 47,121 words
“Mother,” Arthur said patiently, “that’s the eighth princess. And the fifth prince. It’s only been two weeks.”
Queen Tatiana Amaretta Marguerite de Fleur of Starskeep set down her teacup with a tiny porcelain clink and a frown gathering between her eyes. Sunlight laced the palace’s renovated breakfast room with gold, flying like bird’s wings over blue-striped wallpaper. The paper was new and delicate and perfectly in fashion, as were the chairs and the idyllic landscape paintings and the aubergine silk of her gown. “And you’ve liked none of them. You did say you were willing to consider marriage, darling.”
“Consider,” Arthur said. “Not propose on the spot. And this last one informed me that she’d overlook my unfortunate literary tendencies because of our money. While her brother tried to put a hand on my thigh under the table at dinner.”
Tatiana considered this. “Did he say it was only about the money?”
“I want you to be happy, you know.” She reached for his hand, patted it, gave him the melting smile that charmed courtiers and diplomats into agreement. Starskeep sat at the intersection of three gently flowing trading-hub rivers, and had blossomed into a wealthy marzipan confection of a city-state, full of tulips and canals and prosperity and Tatiana’s chess-master mind behind negotiations and import-export arrangements. Arthur adored his mother, and sometimes thought it was a good thing she’d never harbored ambitions to conquer the world.
He said, “I know. And I love you, you know that. But I don’t actually need to meet every eligible person on your list in the span of a single fortnight. How long is your list, anyway?”
“Extensive,” his mother retorted without batting an eye. “And exhaustive. Darling, I want the best for you. A proper match. Someone utterly lovely. Someone with impeccable royal bloodlines. Someone who knows how to direct a household and whether the Duke of Oakenwood or the Marchioness of Vervian should have the order of precedence. Someone who brings you a dowry of gold and jewels and roses carved from rubies.”
“Wouldn’t you like rubies?” his mother inquired, with hope. “I’ve always thought one can never have too many.”
“I just thought,” Arthur said, while the sunbeam stretched out to touch the tip of his boot, “that I’d like someone I can talk to. Someone who might be interested in books. Or at least curious about…I don’t know. The world.”
“What could be more interesting than ruby roses?”
Someone who could carve roses out of gemstones would likely be interesting to talk to, at that; Arthur sighed again, but found himself smiling. His mother meant well. And he did need to start thinking about marriage, as an only son and prince and heir.
He’d managed to put it off until his twenty-fifth birthday, two weeks ago. That’d been the catalyst for the onslaught of prospective spouses, beginning the night of the birthday ball his mother’d thrown. There’d been six flattering sugar sculptures of his head, and an entire wall of rare indigo orchids.
He said, “I’ll consider whomever you invite, but no promises, all right?”
“That’s all I ask.” His mother picked up her teacup again. “That and you settling on a perfectly faultless and advantageous match, of course.”
Of course, Arthur thought. Just like that. So easy.
About K.L. Noone
K.L. Noone teaches college students about superheroes and Shakespeare by day, and in her not-so-secret identity writes romance – frequently paranormal or with fantasy elements, often LGBTQA+, and always with happy endings! She also likes cats, tea, and the sound of ocean waves. Come visit her at https://klnoone.wordpress.com/