Bristol Renaissance Faire

Bristol Renaissance Faire Entrance

The Renaissance Faire, like so much else in geekdom, can be both intimidating and a whole lot of fun. Here are the three big things I wish somebody had told me before my first Renaissance Faire:

  • It will be hot. Ren Faires are usually held in July and August. Depending on the location, there may or may not be shade. Drink plenty of (non-cafeinated, non-alcoholic) fluids.
  • It will be weird (in a good way). Guys will bow and call you m’lady. Women curtsy – and flirt. Have fun with it. Join in. Pull out your best Shakespearean/British/Pirate/Celtic/Gypsy accent and play along.
  • It will be fun. You can expect plenty of shopping at any Renaissance Faire. Most Faires have at least one shop where you can buy garb, or period-esque clothing. Jewelry, swords, and handmade period crafts are all common. If shopping isn’t your idea of a good time, you can also watch the joust or the tournament events (because really, who doesn’t want to sit around on a grassy knoll watching guys with swords beating the daylights out of each other??). Some larger Faires have several stages with a diverse selection of entertainments from storytellers (yay!) to live music to more…erm….crude entertainments. If you’re into that sort of thing, check out The Mud Show at Bristol. It’s quite cringe-worthy.

A word on garb – or period-esque clothing:

I adore garb! Weirdly, I don’t think I have a single photo of myself actually in garb. It doesn’t have to be complicated:

Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I

In fact, showing up dressed as the Queen would be a huge breach of etiquette. There’s only one Queen, and she’s an actress hired by the Faire. Moving on…Most people who come to Faire in garb wear some variation of the peasant look. For women, this means one or more full skirts, a chemise (a long undershirt), and a bodice. For men, it’s even simpler. Loose-fitting pants, a poofy shirt, and a leather belt and you’re good to go. Leather boots complete the outfit.

Typical Renaissance Fair couple

Typical Renaissance Fair couple

You don’t have to come dressed up in order to have a blast at the Renaissance Faire! Check out the photo at the top of this post – most of the people are wearing modern street clothes. That’s perfectly fine. Nobody is going to think you’re out of place if you don’t have garb. Likewise, you’re unlikely to get weird looks if you show up dressed as a gypsy or a pirate!

Historical accuracy is something of a controversy. Most Faires have a specific date they are trying to recreate. The actors and vendors may even try to stick pretty closely to clothing and speech of that time period. For the average visitor, most bets are off. As long as you go for something vaguely medieval (yes, I know, it’s called a Renaissance Faire and that’s later than the medieval period), you’ll be fine. Don’t show up dressed as a Klingon. This isn’t ComicCon. 🙂



Daughter of Oreveille is the first in a 3-book series that will take you from the Faelands to colonial sugar plantations of the Caribbean. It will be publicly available on Amazon later this summer, but you can get special early access, plus notifications of Kindle free days and other special promotions by signing up for my newsletter in the sidebar. Don’t worry – I don’t have time to spam you. I’m too busy writing!

Ok, now for the fun stuff!

Thanks to the wonderfully talented Karri Klawiter, Daughter of Oreveille has a beautiful new cover!

Daughter of Oreveille

And finally, a sneak peek into Daughter of Oreveille:

* * * * *

Gabriel stared at Cordov. “You expect us to kill an innocent girl?”

Cordov shrugged. “Sometimes an innocent must die to save the world. It is the way of things.”

Brianna held her head high. “How do we know her?”

“Brianna!” Gabriel said her name in shock. “You can’t be serious.”

“I would survive the change. I have several centuries to live. You do not. Cordov was not describing my death. He was describing yours. He was telling me that what I would have to stand by, helplessly, and watch.” Brianna’s eyes were wet with tears. “We will make the girl’s death quick and painless. I will give her a sleeping potion, she will simply slide into a beautiful dream and follow it peacefully into the mists.”

Gabriel let go of Brianna’s hands. “No. We will not do this. We’ve left our home before; we can do it again. Perhaps we can go back to the Faelands before the cycle changes.”

Cordov nodded in agreement. “You could, certainly. I would be happy to escort you myself. The Council of Matriarchs has offered a generous reward to anyone who delivers the man who kidnapped the lovely Brianna D’Oreveille. I would most interested in seeing you hang for your crimes. The Sword of Oreveille will be mine.”

Brianna stood before Gabriel, silently watching as he struggled with the reality of the situation.

Cordov smiled. “I will leave you to discuss. You will find Catherine Miller in the village of Ansolm. In or near the church, unless I miss my guess.” He bowed to Brianna, who nodded out of long ingrained habit.

Brianna did not notice as Cordov left the cottage. Her attention was on Gabriel. Cordov had laid out their options with brutal honesty. They could not remain once magic left Gaeland, or Gabriel would die. They could not flee back to the Faelands, or his life was forfeit thanks to her rash decision that night so many years ago.

“We have no choice, can you not see that?” Desperation made Brianna’s voice shrill.

“What about the dark age?” Gabriel reminded her.

“What dark age?” Brianna asked. “Life is good, there is enough magic to sustain us, but not enough to frighten the humans. There is no dark age coming.”

“Da told me once, if the cycles do not turn when they’re meant to, a dark age descends. Wars, famine, drought, and disease all converge.” Gabriel explained.

“I doubt that one couple meeting – or not – is enough to throw the world into war and famine and disease.” Brianna pointed out.

“Those are the legends.” Gabriel insisted.

“They are just legends.” Brianna countered. “In the morning, I am going to Ansolm to find this Catherine Miller.” She stood taller, reminding Gabriel – and herself – that she was, in fact, a woman of the Fae and accustomed to doing as she wished.

“Do not harm the girl.” Gabriel commanded.

Brianna raised her eyebrows in surprise. Even in Gaeland, Gabriel did not often presume to tell her what to do.

“I will do what I must.” She countered.

* * * * *

As promised, I’ve started a new flash fiction serial story! The King is Called Home is a modern fairy tale. After you read it, I’d love your feedback. One of the fun things about a serial story is that it really does change and evolve as the weeks go by, and sometimes those changes come as a result of reader comments.

Megan tossed in her bed, unable to sleep. She usually slept well when she visited Castle Scardaugh for the Gathering. Every summer, anyone in Corlaund with even a hint of royal blood descended upon the old feudal palace for two weeks to take part in the festivities. The media loved it, of course, and tourists filled the villages and hotels for miles around to get a glimpse of Europe’s last feudal government in action.


Castle Scardaugh

Castle Scardaugh, site of the annual Gathering.

This year’s Gathering started, as every Gathering for 800 years, with a state dinner designed to give minor nobility their annual opportunity to feel important. Some simply toasted the king and encouraged others to do the same, reminding the gathered nobles that the strength of Corlaund lie in its loyalty. Others gave lengthy rants on the myriad problems of the kingdom. Megan let her mind wander back to the first opening feasts in the grand hall at Scardaugh. How different they must have been, before Corlaund became quite so civilized. She noticed this year, the speeches seemed much more strident than usual. Even meaningless toasts to the king’s health were delivered with the force of a dueling challenge.


At least the speeches and toasts would only last as long as the meal. Once the final course was cleared away, everyone would drift across the corridor to the ballroom to dance, and try to work off the mountain of calories they just consumed. Megan glanced to the head table as her father, the Duke of Boderlund, stood to deliver his toast. Brian, nineteen and intensely handsome, sat just to the right of his father, Niall, King of Corlaund. Brian caught her eye and grinned, glancing toward the ballroom. Megan nodded slightly, unable to keep herself from smiling, despite her father’s dire warnings. Megan hadn’t been paying attention to exactly what he was warning the assembly against, but she had picked up that it had something to do with complaining or disloyalty or something. Megan took a bite of perfectly seasoned roast beef and let her mind wander to the ballroom, where she would spend the better half of the evening.


It was well past 1:00 am by the time Megan finally returned to her room, bathed, and climbed into the ancient four-post bed. The castle had been renovated several times over the centuries, but she was glad that many of these pieces had remained the same, even if it meant having custom mattresses made. She tried to soothe herself to sleep, reliving the moments she had spent with Brian this evening, but somehow even he had seemed a little tense. She would try to talk to him about it tomorrow, if she could get a quiet moment.


Tomorrow would be even more important than today – at noon, the assembled lords would carry out the ancient ceremony of fealty to the King. This year she would attend as well, and when her father knelt to swear loyalty to the King, Brian would step forward and offer Megan his hand. She would take his hand and step forward to stand beside him, and the betrothal they had whispered about for two years would be official. She took several deep breaths to calm herself. She had to keep her composure tomorrow, however excited she was. She only wished her betrothal didn’t mean another interminably long meal with the nobles. At least tomorrow night she would be seated next to Brian instead of halfway across the dining hall.


Megan was still trying to find sleep when she heard a soft knock on her door. She climbed out of the enormous bed, pulled on a robe, and peeked into the hallway. Brian stood in her doorway with Ian MacDuff watching the hallway behind him.


“Get dressed – quietly.” Brian told her. “Traveling clothes, as plain as you’ve got.”


“What’s going on?” Megan asked, shaking the light sleep from her head.


“Do you trust me?” The Crown Prince of Corlaund asked her.


“I love you. Of course I trust you.” She answered without hesitation.


“Several of the nobles tried to kill my father tonight. MacDuff has orders to get me out of the country so the line of succession is safe. And I’m not leaving without you. My father’s enemies know I’d come out of whatever hole MacDuff hides me in the moment they threatened you. Will you come, or do we stay here and fight them?”


Megan looked at MacDuff. She had known the man since she was a child, and not once had he so much as let his breakfast get cold over rumors of treason and enemies at the door. Yet here he was, pacing the hallway, while her soon-to-be betrothed lay their futures – perhaps even the future of the kingdom – at her feet.


“I will go wherever you go.”


Brian smiled and kissed his bride-to-be, until the man-at-arms gruffly reminded them that time was not on their side. As the young couple left the palace that night, they gave little thought to what life would lie ahead.

I hope you like the beginning of The King is Called Home – and I’d love your feedback in the comments! I’ll post the next installment next Monday, but if you’d like to read it on Friday afternoon, sign up for the newsletter. Subscribers get new installments early 🙂

On to Part 2