Subscribe to Jessica's exclusive newsletter

Subscribe to Jessica's newsletter

* indicates required

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Enlarging the Family: Tree/House and Unpredictable Worlds Now Available in Portuguese

It is my great pleasure to announce the ebook release of Casa na Árvore and Mundos Imprevisíveis, two of my most imaginative books, in Portuguese! 

My writing is heavily influenced by magical realism, which is an important literary trend all over Latin America. So I'm thrilled that Tree/House and Unpredictable Worlds are now available in the two dominant languages of Latin America, Spanish and now beautiful, poetic Portuguese. 

I've done 500 days of Duolingo in Portuguese and taken a fantastic trip through northern Portugal with a Spaniard. My skills in this marvelous language leave something to be desired.

But they've been translated by two up-and-coming translators, and I trust that these stories are just as complex and thought-provoking in Portuguese. 

More information about Casa na Árvore here.

More information about Mundos Imprevisíveis here. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Burning Questions about The Atwells Avenue Anomaly Answered

The Atwells Avenue Anomaly is a short science fantasy read that really gets people talking! In this video, I answer a few reader comments about my new release. 

You'll hear about a portal to another universe, see a couple of beautiful illustrations, and dream about an infinite library! 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Amazing Book Debuts in Three Languages to Honor the Most Bookish King in the Year of His 800th Birthday with Cover Reveals

November 23, 2021, marks eight hundred years since King Alfonso X, el Sabio, came into the world. He earned his sobriquet, which means "the Wise," or "the Learned," by encouraging scientific developments that influenced astronomers for centuries, and setting his workshop to writing histories and the incomparably wonderful Cantigas de Santa Maria, among other projects. 

In addition to the ten happy, miraculous stories in Our Lady's Troubadour, I'm going to publish a companion volume, a novella based on the plot of Cantiga 5, Empress of Misfortune. The scope of Empress Beatriz's thrilling adventures simply would not fit in with the other stories, so she's going it alone, and will appear this fall shortly before Our Lady's Troubadour

The cover image, which my newsletter subscribers got a first look at in June, is just a taste of the masterpiece medieval illustrations I'm including with the story. 

My newsletter subscribers will have the chance to receive this harrowing tale of resilience and the redemption of innocence for free

Las conmemoraciones alfonsinas siguen con la edición de mi libro de crítica literaria en español con el título La ley y el orden en la España medieval. Traducido por un joven promesa, Diego Alejandro Parrilla, este libro investiga el punto de vista del rey a través de las Cantigas de Santa María y su obra legislativa para pasar un rato en el mundo idealizado que el rey deseaba que fuera la Castilla del siglo XIII. 

(The celebrations of Alfonso X continue with the well-timed appearance of my nonfiction examination of his worldview, Law and Order in Medieval Spain, in Spanish as La ley y el orden en la España medieval.) 

"That's still only two languages," you say.

Never fear, the third comes with the spectacular news that Seven Noble Knights is being released in Italian from Vintage Editores. I don't speak Italian, but if that's your reading language of choice, an epic story of family, love, and revenge in the exotic locations of medieval Spain await you! It will be available in September, which feels right because Settembre = Sette nobili cavalieri

As you know, Seven Noble Knights is based on texts found in Alfonso X's history book Estoria de Espanna. My 2021 is all about Alfonso X! Eight hundred years of studiousness, baby! 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Announcing Our Lady's Troubadour, Historical Fiction from My Heart, with Cover Reveal

I've been pounding away at the keyboard, seriously. You can hardly see the letters anymore, my nails have been scraping them off so much! This has been almost all to bring you a book that's really important to me: Our Lady's Troubadour and Other Miraculous Tales from the Cantigas de Santa Maria in Honor of Alfonso X, el Sabio. 

Alfonso X is my favorite king because he has a reputation for loving learning. His legacy includes histories, astronomy, legislation, and his masterwork, the Cantigas de Santa Maria, which is the largest collection of Marian miracles ever set to music. They survive in four deluxe manuscripts that emphasize how important these songs were to the king. 

November 23, 2021, marks 800 years since the birth of Alfonso X. There are a few conferences, concerts, and plays scheduled in places such as Toledo and Sevilla, but for a while there, the pandemic made it seem none of that would be possible. So I ramped up a project I'd started years ago, adapting some of the stories from the Cantigas into a short story collection. 

With a last push during confinement (lockdown), and the go-ahead from my publisher, Encircle Publications, years of love, devotion, writing, and editing, have resulted in Our Lady's Troubadour, ten short stories set in an ideal medieval Spain with problems and perils, but always happy endings. It will release on November 17, 2021, in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. 

November 17 was the birthday of my beloved husband, Stanley, so I'm touched to be able to add that small tribute to this project that's so important to me. 

The cover is based on one of the miniatures in the most important Cantigas codex. In it, Alfonso X himself points out to St. Mary and attendant saints and an angel all the wonderful ways he's sung her praises. Alfonso is shown to have direct access to St. Mary many times in the Cantigas, and this (unorthodox, bordering heretical) close relationship is unique in medieval European art. I always love something wonderful that much more if it's unique. 

More about this joyful new book coming soon!

Este tributo desde el fondo de mi corazón sale el mismo día 17 de noviembre en castellano con el título de Trovador de Santa María. El 3 de diciembre, habrá en Zamora una presentación del libro con música, y con un poco de suerte, también en Toledo.

(This heartfelt tribute will appear simultaneously in Spanish as Trovador de Santa Maria, and I'm planning an in-person book launch in my medieval city of Zamora, hopefully with an appearance to follow in Toledo.) 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Announcing The Atwells Avenue Anomaly with Cover Reveal

The act of writing is very important in Awash in Talent, which is a novel made up of a journal required by a therapist, a young firestarter's secret diary, and a psychic therapist's case log. As I was finishing up the second section, Waterfire, I had an idea to explain where the manuscripts from that world populated with Talented people and those envious of them came from. I was going to frame the novel with the story of a down-on-his-luck Brown University professor stumbling onto a portal to another universe. In the end, I didn't use that text, but there may be a reference to a certain house on Atwells Ave in Providence at the end of Awash in Talent that has its origin in that idea. 

That idea, in turn, came about because of the long drop awaiting anyone walking out this door on Atwells Avenue in Providence, Rhode Island. I took this photo way back in 2008. 

In 2017, after Awash in Talent had been published, I took up the story of the dumb-luck professor in Providence as a kind of lifeline during the first year after my beloved husband passed away. The first part was well-received at the Tin House Summer Workshop that year, but it wasn't yet complete. 

Four years later, the story has become a novella that undermines every expectation a reader might have, The Atwells Avenue Anomaly

Here's the description and a first look at the cover (my newsletter subscribers got the first look):

A lonely English professor falls for a physics genius. His only chance to be with her might be in an alternate universe populated by flipper-footed birds and cats covered in rose petals. It's not only the low atmospheric oxygen that makes them lightheaded. 

When the happy couple is separated by chance, the physics genius must raise their brainy daughter with no other humans to ask for advice. Are scientific curiosity and the memory of love enough for mother and daughter to create their own world?

In this unique novella, the author of Awash in Talent and Unpredictable Worlds brings you a fast science fantasy read about isolation and belonging the editors of Hybrid Fiction have called "sweet, imaginative," and "engaging." 

The Atwells Avenue Anomaly will appear in ebook and paperback in August with exclusive illustrations by Shirley MacKenzie. Catch a small glimpse of the artistic wonders below. 

"Something of Monumental Proportions" by Shirley MacKenzie, 2021
Part of The Atwells Avenue Anomaly series. 

The Atwells Avenue Anomaly will debut at a low price so my devoted readers can save a few dollars. Don't miss it! Preorder here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

My First Unboxing Video for the First Hardcover Edition of Any of My Books!

 I never really imagined Seven Noble Knights would come out in hardcover. 

It used to be that every top-tier new book release would be available only in hardcover for sometimes a whole year. "I'm waiting for the paperback," could be heard in the houses of frugal readers. After the advent of ebooks, even a paperback is a luxury, and hardcovers have lost their financial relevance. 

You can never have too many copies. 

Except for those wonderful collectors who prefer the solid feel of a hardcover book in their hands. And except for libraries. As I mention in the video, I was a catalogue librarian for a sweet time in my life, so I know all too well the steps involved in acquiring a book for the stacks. A paperback will not last the same way a hardcover will, and there are many steps in the decision about what to do with a paperback. A quality hardcover like this takes all of that headache away. 

And my goodness, does it ever look good on a shelf! 

Thanks so much to Encircle Publications for making this wonderful phenomenon a reality. 

I'm going to look into the financial practicality of doing a giveaway to my loyal readers, so look out for that! 

Amazon | ABE Books | Alibris | Barnes and Noble | Better World Books | Book Depository | Encircle Publications | Indiebound  Indiebound hardcover | Your favorite indie bookstore

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Loads of News for Everyone's Favorite Month, March!

 I'm going to jump right in with all the bookish gossip.

The fine folks at Encircle Publications surprised me by releasing Seven Noble Knights in hardcover! This initiative to encourage library purchases makes me very proud. I honestly never dreamed that in this day and age, I would be the author of a book in hardcover.

If hardcover is your preferred format, Seven Noble Knights is discounted at Amazon. If you prefer to support your local bookstore, try Indiebound or for the human touch (taking all pandemic precautions, of course). 

I'm working overtime on my next medieval project. It's a short story collection with no unhappy endings, and it's guaranteed to be released in time for November 23, 2021. (Hint, hint.) More on this passion project very soon. Sign up for the newsletter to get the dirt before anyone else! 

You read this blog because you know here will you find unpredictable stories that will entertain you anytime you have a moment. Great news in that regard! I'm now on the writers' platform Vocal, and I already have my first story up! 

"The Bloody Landing: Or, Reginald and Me" starts out as a thriller and quickly moves into an impossible love story. I let myself fantasize about a lot of cash and a Moleskine notebook, and this is the result. Reader response has been very positive, always asking for more, but there was a word limit! 

It's free to read, and if you scroll all the way down, I will get paid eventually, so feel free to share with your friends. If you're feeling very generous, Vocal has even made it easy to leave a direct tip, but don't feel obliged. Just your visit makes me incredibly happy. 

In other news, Awash in Talent is on sale in Kindle for only 99 cents this week only, March 4 through 10. This quirky, engaging fantasy is "better than X-Men" and will have you questioning everything at the end.

To celebrate the sale, I've released a slightly out-of-season short companion story for free!

"Awash in Christmas Spirit" is the first chance to see into the point of view of multi-Talented Beth, who's pivotal in every story in Awash in Talent. No one has more Christmas spirit than Beth! The magic of Christmas in Rhode Island seems undeniable to everyone but her surly sister, Emily. 

Get it in .mobi, .epub, or .pdf for free at ProlificWorks, or in .epub (still free) at these exclusive retailers. And check my Vocal profile. It will likely make an appearance there. 

I hope you enjoy these writings from the bottom of my heart. More great stuff coming soon!