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Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: Black stone, white stone


I'm not the only one who's had the worst year on record. It's nice not to be alone, but of course I'd rather have a more pleasant quality in common with so many people.


My beloved husband—my biggest fan, who never let me down, who is my definition of what it takes to be a good human being—died in late July 2016. Having to say or write that still stops me in my tracks. But it's been five months, and the best way to honor my husband is with a life that's about more than sadness. Slowly, painfully, I'm making plans and dreaming dreams again.

This year had some highs, as well, which deserve celebration.

December 2015: My husband and I moved back to Arizona with purpose and joyfulness.

March 2016: Awash in Talent was picked up by Kindle Press.

May: My husband and I had the best two weeks in Spain anyone has ever had. (We met Manolo García!) I'll have to blog about that trip in order to spread the joy even more.

June: Awash in Talent was published by Kindle Press.

July: I learned a lot about my friends and family and the power of these bonds.

December: Seven Noble Knights was published by Bagwyn Books.
I earned a modest placement as Publicity Assistant at Hawthorne Books, to start in January.

My husband (can you believe my luck!) illustrates the useful skill of
finding beauty among the thorns. April 2016 
I started this second part of the post in the middle of July, when I still believed my husband would recover and spend another 20 years with me. It's a partial translation of a 1990 song by Manolo García, "Canta por mí" (meaning "sing for my sake," "sing in my place").

S/he met the past along the way,
and looked at it and could not cry.
Between dusk and dawn,
s/he did nothing but let him/herself go.

On a peach-colored day,
when we're all free,
when we can eat rocks,
and no one is better than anyone else,
sing for me
if I'm not here.

The day is coming when we will be as pure
as a summer sky on the sea.
I'll sing for you
if you're not here.


This song is the most idealistic song I've ever heard. It's about spiritual awakening and hope for humanity. Note that the ideal day is far enough off that either the singer or the listener will no longer be with us, but not so far off that they'll both be dead.

Now that my true love is gone, we must be close to that peach-colored day. I know who I'll be singing for. In the meantime, I plan to do things that make him proud: show kindness, promote humanity, and express what inspiration comes to me through writing.

Happy 2017 to us all.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Holidays 2016

Joyous season to everyone!


Holiday Rhino knows what's good! 

and from twelve different worlds—free to download!

Happiness and lots of reading in 2017!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Lincoln Cole's Raven's Peak

Lincoln Cole's popular horror thriller Raven's Peak begins the World on Fire series.
A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven's Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she's ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.
Abigail rescues Haatim Arison from a terrifying fate and discovers that he has a family legacy in the supernatural that he knows nothing about. Now she's forced to protect him, which is easy, but also to trust him if she wants to save the townsfolk of Raven's Peak. Trust, however, is something hard to have for someone who grew up living on the knife's edge of danger.
Can they discover the cause of the town's insanity and put a stop to it before it is too late?

A world of intrigue for only $3.49, or free with Kindle Unlimited.

Lincoln Cole is a Columbus-based author who enjoys traveling and has visited many different parts of the world, including Australia and Cambodia, but always returns home to his pugamonster and wife. His love for writing was kindled at an early age through the works of Isaac Asimov and Stephen King and he enjoys telling stories to anyone who will listen.

He has won more than twelve literary awards for his novels from Reader's Favorite, Literary Classics, New Apple, and many other organizations. He has also reached the top #50 rank for all books in the Kindle store on Amazon and bestseller in many different categories.

If you would like to follow and find out what is happening with Lincoln, sign up at:

http://www.LincolnCole.net/signup

...and get two free stories!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Meet the Characters: Exclusive Interview with Gonzalo González from SEVEN NOBLE KNIGHTS

Eduardo Verastegui captures the rakishness
of young Gonzalo. 
Seven Noble Knights is coming out in only two days! Amid all the hubbub, I've somehow managed to pin down young Gonzalo González, known to his family as Gonzalico. He's recently had a busy time, too, preparing for the wedding of his uncle Ruy Blásquez to Doña Lambra, but now, in late summer 974, he's relaxing in Barbadillo with his brothers, mother, uncle, and new aunt. We sit by the fire while maids, pages, and brothers go in and out. Although he's young and a bit quick on the draw, I can tell he's a good guy.

JKK: How did you end up in Barbadillo with your aunt, Doña Lambra? You killed her cousin Álvar Sánchez and, admit it, overreacted when her page threw a blood-soaked cucumber at you.

GG: Don't get me started on that bloody cucumber. But Count García ruled Álvar's death an accident, and my uncle says Lambra forgave us for everything.

JKK: She was pretty upset.

GG: Yes, Lambra can really throw a fit! But I mean, we're here with her now, so everything must be all right. We're family!

Doña Lambra in one of her rages. 

JKK: You've got quite a family. Tell me about your uncle.

GG: I've known Ruy Blásquez forever, and my brothers have known him even longer than I have. He's a great uncle. He taught me a lot of what I know about warfare.

JKK: You seemed a little impatient with him at the siege of Zamora.

GG: Well, no, if it hadn't been for the incident with the child, I would've followed my uncle's measured, considered, experienced advice—orders.

JKK: Does he seem that old to you? He's only 35.

GG: You're even older than that. Would you have left that brave child to fend off the Moorish host all by himself?

JKK: Yes, Gonzalico, everyone knows you're about as young as it gets. You were only knighted last year. But honestly, I can't imagine myself in a situation like siege of Zamora, so who knows what I would do? I might stick with my principles, like you, or I might err on the side of caution, like your uncle. How has your uncle been enjoying his time in Barbadillo?

GG: I really haven't seen much of him since we got here. I'm not sure what we're doing here, anyway. I've been pacing the entry road on sentry duty just for something to do. My uncle Ruy Blásquez stays away all day and doesn't say much in the evening. I think he's planning something big for us to do.

JKK: Any idea what it could be?

GG: Well, my uncle recently sent our father all the way to Córdoba to collect a debt from Almanzor. Ruy Blásquez might have amazing plans to make an incursion to the south. Maybe it's all leading to retaking Toledo, the ancient Visigothic capital, for Castile!

JKK: I truly hope for all the best for you and your six brothers. It's been a pleasure.

The crest of Salas de los Infantes shows 
Gonzalico and his family. 

Seven Noble Knights, the only novel with Doña Lambra and Gonzalo González, is available for preorder now. The Grand Book Launch Blog Tour has already kicked off, and be sure to attend the Facebook launch party on December 15 for fun and prizes.

Preorder links: Kindle • Indiebound Softcover• Amazon Softcover • Barnes and Noble Softcover • Add it to your To Read list at Goodreads

Please enjoy a prequel story that shows Doña Lambra's origins—how she met Justa, how she lost her parents, and how she went from spoiled girl to resentful lady and, in Seven Noble Knights, reluctant bride. It's available for free download in three formats here, and it's called "Shrouds and Stones."

Remember to throw your name into the Goodreads hat to win one of three first edition softcovers. Giveaway ends tomorrow—December 14. The softcover edition won't be released until January 16, so get it early!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Seven Noble Knights by Jessica Knauss

Seven Noble Knights

by Jessica Knauss

Giveaway ends December 14, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday, December 12, 2016

M. N. Arzú's Underneath


"A hidden gem. Truly exceptional!"
- Lincoln Cole, author of the bestselling novel Raven's Peak
"I've never read anything like it!"
- Sean Seebach, author of Autumn Dark

An injured merman is found washed up on a beach in Maine. After being brought to a special facility, doctors are at a loss for how to help him. Worse, how are they to keep him away from the eager hands of the military?
One reporter is hot on the trail of what she believes is an elaborate hoax—or the story of a lifetime. A story that has her tracking elusive clues into an ever-growing house of secrets surrounding one of the richest families in New York City.
For merfolk have been hiding in plain sight for centuries, and are now torn between sacrificing one of their own—or telling humanity the truth.

Underneath is a story about finding one's place in the world. How far would you go to protect the people you love most?
All this for only $2.99, or free with Kindle Unlimited.
M.N. Arzu was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and fell in love with books at age 9, when her oldest sister translated The Chronicles of Narnia for her. Those books would set her on a journey of literature and other languages that continues till this day.

She graduated as a graphic designer, and she now feeds her creative world with equal measures of fantasy and science fiction, always seeking adventures in other realms.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Seven Noble Knights by Jessica Knauss

Seven Noble Knights

by Jessica Knauss

Giveaway ends December 14, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Thursday, December 8, 2016

H. B. Moore's Slave Queen

H.B. Moore's popular and well-reviewed thriller, Slave Queen, continues the Omar Zagouri series, combining the ancient world with today's mysteries.
Special Agent Omar Zagouri’s latest case is his most dangerous—and his most personal yet. The discovery of secret sixteenth-century letters unveils a plot between the sultan Suleyman and his chief wife, Roxelane, to change the course of the Ottoman Empire. A descendent of Roxelane, Zagouri learns he has an enemy whose revenge has been centuries in the making.
Targeted by an antiquities collector who’s also descended from a chief rival for the ancient throne, Zagouri soon uncovers a modern-day conspiracy that threatens the lives of his family and the security of a nation.
To expose the plot, Zagouri must team up with Naim, the son of his nemesis, who heads an international black-market operation that may have ties to the killings. From ancient Constantinople to the present-day Middle East, Zagouri is on a collision course with history. Time is running out to solve a royal mystery and stop a ruthless killer—one who has Zagouri’s name on his hit list.

All this excitement for only $1.99—or free with Kindle Unlimited!


Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen historical novels and thrillers, written under pen name H.B. Moore. She writes women's fiction, romance and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore. This can all be confusing, so her kids just call her Mom. Heather attended Cairo American College in Egypt, the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in Utah.

Please join Heather's email list at: HBMoore.com/contact
Blog: MyWritersLair.blogspot.com
Website: HBMoore.com
Twitter: @heatherbmoore
Facebook: Fans of H.B. Moore



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Seven Noble Knights by Jessica Knauss

Seven Noble Knights

by Jessica Knauss

Giveaway ends December 14, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday, December 5, 2016

Violently Happy

Prepare to get your medieval on!
Seven Noble Knights is on its way! 
Seven Noble Knights is coming out in only ten days! It's available for Kindle preorder now! The Grand Book Launch Blog Tour has already kicked off, and be sure to attend the Facebook launch party on December 15 for fun and prizes!

The Seven Noble Knights release is giving me emotions so intense, you might call them violent.

The end of a productive three-part discussion on violence in storytelling by David Blixt came at an a propos time, in the aftermath of the Red Wedding episode of the Game of Thrones series. It's well argued—check it out!

I've never been sure why I was so strongly drawn to the story that is the basis for Seven Noble Knights. It's violent, and I've never enjoyed stories that showcase violence for its own sake. So, it became my mission to present the violence in a way that would affect the reader deeply at the same time that it examines the conflict from both sides and humanizes the villains. Conflict is necessary for story, and a good story will show the conflict in all its subtlety and let the reader decide what it really means.

After all, this is not a new story. It's already been told, in quite a few different ways, so there's no point in retelling it unless I add value in the form of sympathetic characters with believable motives and emotions.

I began by trying to understand why the woman who motivated the biggest violent act in the entire book—Doña Lambra—was moved to such outrageous and unbecoming behavior. Because I started with her, I fell in love with her, and deeply confused my beta readers and some people who read my first attempts at query letters and a synopsis. I also loved the proper "good guys" in the book, but the fondness I had for writing about Lambra skewed readers' perceptions of the González family in the wrong direction and failed to prepare them for the meaning of the gore to come. I've done a lot of editing to resolve this and think I've ended up with a complex balance of characteristics and perceptions in both camps. Anyone can write a good hero, but a good villain is the mark of the great writer I want to be.

It's an epic story and I hope I've given each character the attention he or she deserves.

Anyway, if you liked or understood or enjoyed being devastated by the Red Wedding, Seven Noble Knights has incidents that I hope affect the reader in a similar fashion.

It's coming out this week, December 15! I hope you've been enjoying the blog tour. Be sure to come by the Facebook launch party on December 15 for fun and prizes!

Remember to put your name in to win one of three first edition softcovers.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Seven Noble Knights by Jessica Knauss

Seven Noble Knights

by Jessica Knauss

Giveaway ends December 14, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Kristy Tate's The Little White Christmas Lie


Today Kristy Tate keeps our Christmas spirit high with her popular The Little White Christmas Lie.

Carson Trent doesn't know that the beautiful Millie Cruise who literally falls into his lap on the morning train is really Camille Harper, a rock star of the romance industry.

Millie doesn't know she is headed for Carson's grandmother's picture perfect inn in a quaint New England town.


Neither Carson or Millie know that their lives are about to spin out of control thanks to a patch of black ice, a cow, and a little white Christmas lie.


The Little White Christmas Lie is available for only 99 cents, or free with Kindle Unlimited. Make it a part of your holiday traditions!



Kristy lives in Southern Orange County with her husband, son, and her Schnauzer, Grendel. She studied English Literature at Brigham Young University and at BYU’s international center in London. She is an award-winning and Amazon bestselling author.




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Seven Noble Knights by Jessica Knauss

Seven Noble Knights

by Jessica Knauss

Giveaway ends December 14, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Thursday, December 1, 2016

20+ Reasons to Read Seven Noble Knights: Grand Book Launch Blog Tour


Seven Noble Knights is debuting in style with a blog tour with so many stops, you may never have clicked so much before to find out so many great historical tidbits. Be sure to check the list for the stops with giveaways and awesome prizes.

We're just getting started. Stop by for more and more joy as the day gets closer! 

Links will go live on the specified date. Thanks for hopping with Seven Noble Knights


Excerpt Thursday at Unusual Historicals with a deliciously tense wedding scene and win a free softcover or ebook! 

Author Interview & Book Giveaway at Unusual Historicals: Learn some of the intimate details of the novel and win a free softcover or ebook! 

"How the Seven Noble Knights Survived One Millennium ... and Counting" with Author Kristin Gleeson: A story so good, you can't tell it just once! 


20 Questions with Author Sheri Queen: What's my writing process? What do I have in my fantasy refrigerator?

Author Feature with Author M. N. Arzú: Some of the fantastic things that go on in medieval Spain.

“Every Hero Needs a Sidekick: Mudarra and Yusuf” with Author Cara McKinnon: My hero and his best friend.

10 Questions in 10 Words with Author Linda Sands: Seven Noble Knights as well as Boston, The Invisible Library, and a sweet roll with Nutella.

“Places Tell a Story” with Author Andi Adams: For readers who love photos!


Author Highlight with Author H. B. Moore: The thrills of historical research. 


“Vengeful Ladies and Bloody Cucumbers: J. K. Knauss on Seven Noble Knights with Author J. L. Gribble and the pivotal bloody cucumber scene! 

“J. K. Knauss Interviews Mudarra González ibn Zaida, Hero of Seven Noble Knights” at History Imagined with the shocking ending of a medieval game of chess.


A sinfully delicious medieval wedding excerpt at The Edible Bookshelf


January 14 from 7 pm to 9 pm EST, 4 pm to 6 pm PST

Chat with the author and win original prizes!


Writing Superheroes with Author Maria Grace



May 3, 2017: J. K. Knauss will give a reading of Seven Noble Knights and do a book signing at the Harvard Book Store. See you in Massachusetts!


Meet The Characters


The World of Seven Noble Knights

"Shrouds and Stones" is a free prequel story, a companion to Seven Noble Knights that describes the "origin story" of the villainess, Doña Lambra. Enjoy it in your choice of three formats for free. 





Now through December 31, get "Faded Threads: Cantiga 341," a short story set in medieval France that will make you glad you're not the tailor's wife, free in your choice of three formats






Thanks for entering the Goodreads giveaway. Congratulations to the winners!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Winter Solstice, Just in Time for Your Burgeoning Holiday Spirit

As Seven Noble Knights draws near, I hope you fans of contemporary paranormal shenanigans haven't felt left out. Just in time for that little glimmer of holiday joy that rises up from your belly and takes residence in your heart, many awesome Kindle Press authors bring you Winter Solstice.

Whether you like to read Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror, Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense, or Literature, Winter Solstice has you covered. Twelve original stories by masterful authors will get you into the holiday spirit.


In my contribution, "Awash in Christmas Spirit," super-Talented Beth from Awash in Talent finally gets to tell the reader about things from her point of view. She's super enthusiastic to spend her first Christmas in Providence with her family, although her sister, Emily, doesn't make it easy to spread the cheer.

All this and eleven other fun, exciting, even scary stories for the low low price of $0! Yup, this wonderful book is our gift to you this holiday season.

Get it for free at AmazonKoboInstafreebie, or anywhere you like! Get all the latest about the authors at Lincoln Cole's page.

And this just in! Awash in Talent (Kindle edition) is participating in a special promotion and will cost only 99 cents for the entire month of December!

If what you really like is historical fiction filled with violence and romance, be sure to enter for your chance to win one of three softcover first editions of Seven Noble Knights!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Seven Noble Knights by Jessica Knauss

Seven Noble Knights

by Jessica Knauss

Giveaway ends December 14, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday, November 28, 2016

Meet the Character: Blanca Flor

Who is so beautiful and kind that she could melt even the most hardened warrior's heart?

There are several characters in Seven Noble Knights who began as a throwaway phrase in the source material. An important character named Yusuf came about because Mudarra needed a guide through Christian Spain, and as we saw last week, Justa blossomed out of Doña Lambra having "a single maid" at one point in the story. They both took on their own story arcs, which seemed to develop independent of my intentions, but fit into the novel so beautifully, they look planned.

Blanca Flor, however, is all mine. The epic poem states that Ruy Blásquez and Doña Lambra had no issue, but what if the case was more that after the terrible things their parents did, no one wanted to be associated with them, especially by blood ties? When I write the sequel to Seven Noble Knights, that tension will feature throughout.

Doña Lambra, raging mad by Ayal Pinkus 
I took Blanca Flor's name from other medieval poems and her personality from the questions: What would Doña Lambra and Ruy Blásquez's daughter have been like? Would she be kindhearted in imitation of Justa, who really raises her, or would the hatred between her parents and the world sour her?

Personally, when I think of a female between 14 and 20 years old, I don't see a fully grown woman, but in the tenth century, that was the age of maturity. So I took inspiration for Blanca Flor's look from her mother.

Then I made a sketch with words to evoke when I described her for the first time. It's hard to see pencil in the scan, but here it is:


I was going for the beauty of the mother, but full of kindness.

Here's how the description ended up, from the point of view of Mudarra:

He ducked behind the tree trunk, from where he observed a being who radiated so much brightness he hardly dared to keep watching her, and yet he couldn’t look away. As he stared, he distinguished two long braids the color of gold thread that pulled the hood from her head and whipped from side to side and front to back as the girl-woman changed her gait to suit her mood. Her mantle flew away from her body with each step like the wings of a giant bird taking flight. At her neck, an underdress of a fine, almost transparent fabric protected her fair skin from her tunic's blue wool. The skirt, covered in embroidered whorls, danced stiffly atop soft leather boots. Somewhere below the rapturous feelings the female caused in him, Mudarra thought he would visit a cobbler and have similar boots made for himself. She distractedly passed the empty bucket from one soft-looking mitten to the other as she meandered toward the riverbank. He had never laid eyes on anything like her.

We'll see a lot more of her in the sequel! 

Subscribers to my newsletter will get a truly special treat in December: a prequel short story that shows the defining moment when Doña Lambra went bad, told from the naive point of view of her foster sister and maid, Justa. It's exclusive: no one else will ever have access to this most illuminating story! 



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Seven Noble Knights by Jessica Knauss

Seven Noble Knights

by Jessica Knauss

Giveaway ends December 14, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway