Subscribe to Jessica's exclusive newsletter

Subscribe to Jessica's newsletter

* indicates required

Sunday, November 27, 2011

SSS: Excellent Wretch

Thanks so much for the great feedback last week! To keep you excited for the big news I can't yet reveal about my Tree/House, these lines come just after last week's:

* * * 

The young woman laughed out loud. “What lines?”
Franklin’s grey face faded even further to white. “Viola!” he gasped. “‘Excellent wretch!’”
“Also Othello, three: three, line 98,” said Viola.

* * *

Six sentences is not a lot in this case! I hope you enjoy them, and all these other great sentences:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Thanks so much to everyone who participated in this last yummy hop! Winners have been notified and the printed books will be in the mail Friday (sorry for the terrible timing on that!).

Loyal follower Felicidad Dulcinea won first, and chose the amazing hardcover of The Time in Between by María Dueñas.

Awesome new follower Laura Henderson was drawn second, and she chose the engrossing paperback of Amy Hatvany's Best Kept Secret.

Supercool follower Mary Preston won third, and of all her choices, she got a Kindle version of Threads Woven by yours truly.

I hope you all enjoy your prizes as much as I enjoyed giving them. Stay tuned for more chances to win prizes in later blog hops. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: The Jinx by D. F. Lamont

New author D. F. Lamont has a talent for action scenes that drew me right in to his science fiction YA tale, The Jinx. Stephen knows the exact moment his luck started turning bad because his bicycle is totaled in the first few pages. The accidents keep escalating in spectacular fashion until Stephen is in an auto accident in which his family members are seriously injured. Because he's come through with barely a scratch, Steven realizes all these bad things are happening because of him, so he runs away to protect his family. That's when things get really strange. When strange creatures stalk and attack the bus he's on, he knows he was right. Apparently rescued, Stephen awakes in a group of uniformed cult members who load him down with chaos theory with no regard to his science grade level. They clearly intend to use him in their sinister experiments, so he escapes with the help of Dedalus, a former cult member who teaches Stephen about his role in restoring balance to the universe with interesting machines and examples. The book culminates in a scene worthy of the biggest Hollywood blockbuster.

I was a little thrown off by the abrupt change between Stephen's basically normal though accident-prone world and the strange mountain he gets to by bus where the nasty creatures called Chaons pursue him with a mechanical relentlessness. But by the end of the story, I had read enough of the science to understand that even more random-seeming events are perfectly possible, even in our "normal" world. Stephen is a pleasant, everyboy character who leads us through a world in which anyone could believably become a hero.

The digital edition I received is bare-bones, with no cover, a small formatting error and a few type-o's. I'm willing to overlook that when I read for pleasure. If you're just looking for an exciting story with real science woven in expertly, then I highly recommend The Jinx.

The Jinx is available here in Kindle and paperback.

A reminder: The drawing for the Save a Turkey, Gobble a Book Blog Hop is tomorrow! Get those entries in for some truly amazing book prizes!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SSS: Shakespearean Drama

Thanks for all the encouragement last week. That's a piece I believe in and won't give up on. Hooray for love!

I have some big news about my magnum opus, Tree/House, to announce at a later date. In preparation, take a look at this emotional scene in which a seemingly random young lady has come to the door to accuse and recriminate the master of the house.

* * *

The young woman stepped inside and looked as quickly around as her furtiveness would allow, then she took Emma by both shoulders and said firmly, “You’re Professor Andrews’ new wife, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” said Emma, shaken.
“I have to say to you, then: “‘Tis not a year or two shows us a man: they are all but stomachs and we all but food. They eat us hungerly, and when they are full, they belch us!’”
She released Emma just as suddenly as she had taken hold of her, and Franklin suddenly lurched out of the Shakespeare library. “Othello, act three, scene four!”

* * *
Nothing like Shakespeare to add drama to your story! Thanks for visiting. I appreciate your comments immensely and if you have a blog, I will return the favor. The other exciting samples are here.

Tree/House, as always, is available here and here. And here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Review of the Sailing Italy Series and More Free Stuff

If you look at my books on Goodreads, you'll see a new review of my silly little Sail To Italy and Sail From Italy:

I was lucky to get an advanced reader's copy of this book and I'm likewise lucky to be very familiar with Knauss' work. Even though I was off the radar and left this up as a current read for a while, the truth was I blazed through it in a few days. Like many of her short stories, this longer Sail to Italy and Sail from Italy is a whimsical and magical tale that will remind you of your childhood fairy tales--but with empowered and intelligent female protagonists, instead of passive princesses. 

The lighthearted nature of the story also makes it totally appropriate for a younger audience, so don't hesitate to share it with the teenagers in your life. After all, youth today deserve better fairy tales than we were told.

As you might have gathered from the text, I know the reviewer personally. She is an incredibly talented writer and I'm tremendously flattered by her words. What's with the star rating, though? They're not Michelin stars, honey! ;) But really, thank you very much.

I've also recently learned that my target audience for this book is actually women over 75 years of age. They have seemed to enjoy it more than any of the younger readers I've tested. That presents a problem, as the only marketing capabilities I currently have are internet-based, and, well, I really don't know that many septuagenarians who go online regularly. If you see this post and have an idea, please share it with me!

In the meantime, anyone who promises to write a review can receive a free copy of this book through the end of the year. Just write to acedrexpublishing at yahoo dot com. Wow! Free stuff!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Hooray! The next hop is here!

I've been gobbling up some really great books in spite of everything else, and I'd like to share with you.

All prizes are a choice of three amazing items:

1. A beautifully-designed hardback copy of the new historical novel The Time in Between by María Dueñas. See my review of this treasure here. OR,

2. A new paperback copy of the amazing contemporary novel Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany. See my review of this heart-wrencher here. OR,

3. The choice of any digital book in mobi or epub formats from the incomparable Açedrex Publishing. Choices in English are available here, y en español aquí. This option includes all of my published work -- not to sway your choice.

First prize winner gets to pick first, and so on. I expect to choose four winners.

Don't forget to vist all the other great blogs in this hop! The official link is here.


Join the site if you haven't already (and become a Truly Awesome Person!), like my author page, like Açedrex Publishing, or become my fan (not friend, sorry) on (search for Jessica Knauss). Most importantly, comment on this post indicating whether you have done any of these other things. Each action counts as one entry. Good luck!


1) HAVE FUN!!!


3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, November 14, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
    THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, November 21, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
    Winners will be drawn and posted November 22nd! ***




***Authors & Book Pages have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***

Six Sentence Sunday: Terse Romance

Image courtesy The Daily Green, 2007

Today -- two years, two months since I got married -- I'm hoping for some feedback on a piece of microfiction. It honors the tribulations of a couple who never lose sight of the importance of being together (in honor of my husband, of course). Are you convinced of the love in these six? This is the most effusive passage, because to me, real love is so sacred, it's hard to put words to it, especially without sounding trite. The man is rowing a boat through the couple's flooded town while it's still raining, and the woman is using a pail to lessen the bilge.

* * *

We progressed down the river-like street past rooftops that appeared to be sinking. My shoulders developed a grinding pain, as if they were on fire. I couldn’t stand the thought that Herbert might feel the same pain, so I set my jaw against it, abandoned the bailout and sat on the bench next to him.
“If I stop rowing, my love,” he said, “it will be too hard to start again.”
I put my hands over his on the oars. I loved the way the incessant droplets scuttled straight down his nose and lingered at the tip for a full second before releasing their grip.

* * *

Thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate your comments more than you'll ever know and I'm sure to vist your six in return. Visit all the amazing excerpts here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Today: The Time in Between by María Dueñas

Every once in a while, a long novel takes me on an emotional roller coaster, and I enjoy every minute. The Time in Between by María Dueñas is one of those novels. On only page 142, the main character can summarize her life thus: "I'd stopped being a humble dressmaker and transformed myself successively into a whole heap of different women. A civil service candidate, heiress of a major industrialist, globe-trotting lover to a scoundrel, hopeful aspirant to run an Argentine company, frustrated mother of an unborn child, a woman suspected of fraud and theft in debt up to her eyebrows, and a gunrunner camouflaged as an innocent local woman." As I progressed through the years and extraordinary events in the main character Sira's timeline, I would blithely update anyone who would listen about what kind of mess or adventure she'd stumbled into now.

Sira is an ordinary girl with whom the reader can sympathize strongly, but she comes of age in a turbulent time and place: Spain in the 1930's. From her humble perspective, her only talent is sewing. She is distracted from her calling by a man who unwittingly sets the stage for her to regain her financial security and self esteem by becoming the most fashionable seamstress in Tetouan in Spanish Morocco. There, she meets rich and posh clientele and becomes friends with the lover of the most important man in the Spanish Protectorate, Colonel Beigbeder. Through plausible vicissitudes, her friends rescue her mother from war-torn Madrid, only to send Sira back there in the guise of a Moroccan seamstress who encodes messages about her Nazi customers to British Secret Intelligence in her dress patterns. Surprise visits from her past launch her into her most dangerous mission yet, where she can prove her abilities as a spy. The mission reunites her with the Englishman she loves, but can't allow herself to trust with her secret life.

Sira's naivete throughout most of the first part is not only accurate for her historical context, but also allowed Dueñas to insert just the right balance of that historical context for the reader without ever being dry or overbearing. Overall, it's a balanced, factual approach while still showing the way the events may have impacted the lives of real people. The one place it goes wrong is around Chapter 35, when the narrative gets away from Sira to detail the anguish of Beigbeder when he returns to a not-so-friendly Madrid. This could have been handled differently or taken out all together without taking away from information necessary to understand the story.

I would have liked to read this in the original Spanish, but the translation is well done. Only occasionally did it seem a little too literal, and with so much going on, that sin was easy to overlook. The character Rosalinda Fox's multilingual mishmash presents a special challenge to the translator and Daniel Hahn does a decent job scrambling languages while making her dialogue intelligible to the reader.

The original title, El tiempo entre costuras (literally, "The Time Between Stitches") is more relatable to the story. The reader in English doesn't find out what The Time in Between refers to until the very last line. While the end of the book is a relevant reflection of what has gone before, I can't help thinking there must be a more catchy title to go with this amazing journey.

This is the cover from the Advanced Reader's Copy I received, which I believe was created especially for the book. It beautifully captures Sira in one of those quiet but life-changing moments she has so often throughout the narrative, complete with her antique scissors and a view of Spanish Morocco in the 1930's out her window. (The rainbow on the fabric is an unintended effect from my camera flash.) The new, official cover is based on a painting done long before the book was published. Overall, the book is gorgeously designed, with Moroccan postcards on the endpapers and photos of emblematic monuments from the most important city in each part at the beginning of the section. It's a great investment in an object that is both history and literature embodied.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: Post Halloween Chills

Thanks so much for all the encouragement last week for the final snippet from my work-in-progress, The Seven Noble Knights of Lara. I'm working on it very hard for NaNoWriMo, so the dream of finishing it some day is getting that much closer to reality.

Today, still imbued with Halloween spirit, I thought I'd remind everyone about the first paranormal story I ever published. You can read the whole thing here.

* * * 

We were at the gates of the cemetery. The moon was shining down on us, illuminating our fear and superstition. I peered past the tall monuments to important families, looking for the place where Edelmira had been laid to rest that morning. “It’s that way,” I said. “Let’s go.” But none of us moved.

* * *

Thanks for stopping by and don't miss the other great excerpts at Six Sentence Sunday!