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Monday, December 28, 2015

Best Books of the Year and What's to Come in 2016

It's been a great year. I won a prize for flash fiction, got seriously started on my editing business, released Unpredictable Worlds and received some recognition for it, released Tree/House in audiobook, spent ten gorgeous and hard-earned days in Spain, took part in Launch Lab, made it safely to my new home, and had Seven Noble Knights accepted for publication, to name just a few of the best events.

I also read quite a few good books. Which were the best?

That's really not a fair question in the year when the grand finale of a trilogy I have passionately, unreasonably adored came out.

The Map of Chaos by Félix J. Palma

Which book is best is hardly fair in light of another fact: this one is the manifestation of a historical novel I hoped would materialize some day to dramatize the life of Queen Emma for this Anglo-Saxon enthusiast.

The Price of Blood by Patricia Bracewell

So there you have it, the best novels (in my humble opinion) of 2015. The best nonfiction book was undoubtedly La nación inventada by Arsenio and Ignacio Escolar. I enjoyed this book more than I expected to (which is saying a lot) and will probably tell you more about it in future posts.

The year 2016 will see the debut of my darling Seven Noble Knights, so many of my resolutions have something to do with getting it into the limelight as much as possible. I also plan to draft the sequel this year. You didn't know Seven Noble Knights was going to have a sequel? It's a pleasant surprise for all of us! For those of you waiting patiently for more of my unusual contemporary work, I've resolved to get Awash in Talent published this year. More on that soon, for sure. In my personal life and "day job," I've got a lot to do to make this latest move make sense. In the meantime, if you need an editor for your awesome novel, call on me.

Vague as they seem, these are my professional resolutions, leaving room for the surprises that always seem to crop up.

What are your plans for 2016? Happy new year!

A selection of some of the other best books of 2015:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Along the Far Shores by Kristin Gleeson

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Mermaids in Paradise  by Lydia Millet

Raven Brought the Light by Kristin Gleeson

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

Love in Infant Monkeys by Lydia Millet

Monday, December 21, 2015

Retracing Our Steps

As you'll note in the video above, it sounds better in Spanish: Volveré sobre mis pasos. I'm going to retrace my steps. 

Since I'm in my beloved New England now, you might think the next step would be Pennsylvania, where my husband and I moved from Massachusetts in 2010 to accept a job. No, we're skipping that formality and heading straight to the unavoidable: Arizona. 

The first time we went to Arizona, there was little purposeful about it. It was a desperate move to keep us from insolvency and to help my bereaved sister-in-law. 

Looking back, we actually liked quite a bit about living there, even though while we were there, we never tired of dreaming of getting out. This time, our move to Arizona is full of purpose. I intend to reconnect with people I still know there and get some of that desert mojo that was so productive for my writing before. 

Connecting with people is the most important thing, not location. 

Other things to look forward to in Arizona:
Great Mexican food
The Tucson Festival of Books
Coyote and bobcat sightings
Et cetera...

I discovered long ago that there are no guarantees, especially where location is concerned. But here's to intentionality.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time.         —T. S. Eliot

Monday, December 14, 2015

In the Presence of Greatness

I was honored and excited to be accepted into this little thing called Launch Lab.

I can't believe it's over. I know so much now that I never expected to discover. I had a lot of information before Launch Lab, but this program gave me the tools to sort through the information and think critically about what will work for Seven Noble Knights. Today is T minus one (leap) year and one day, or 367 days before the launch date for Seven Noble Knights, so I have just about enough time to plan.

Massive added bonus: I got to meet and share in some of the joys and sorrows of some excellent authors. In Launch Lab, we talked a bit about making ourselves seem like "regular people." Yes, we do want to seem approachable. But this group was made up of anything but regular people. There were so many accolades and so much talent in the room, I'm surprised we all fit. But we did, because everyone was so down-to-earth. I'm so proud to work with them! With me in Launch Lab 2015 were:

Moderator/Expert/Consultant Lynne Griffin is the author of the novels Sea Escape (Simon & Schuster) and Life Without Summer (St. Martin’s Press), and the nonfiction parenting guide, Negotiation Generation (Penguin). She has just launched the harrowing novel Girl Sent Away and the nonfiction companion Let's Talk About It: Adolescent Mental Health. For more about Lynne’s work, visit her website, or her blog, Field Guide to Families.

Moderator/Expert/Consultant Katrin Schumann is the co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children and Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too. Current works-in-progress include a novel of psychological suspense, a book on parenting strategies that can make or break affluent children, and ongoing editorial work for editors, agents and writers. For more info, check out her website and join the conversation on Twitter: @katrinschumann

Katie Bayerl's young adult novel, A Psalm for Lost Girls, will be published by Penguin/Putnam in spring 2017. Find her online at @katiebayerl, Facebook/katiebayerl, and

Jennifer S. Brown is the author of the novel Modern Girls (NAL/Penguin, April 5, 2016), which is already getting some buzz as a most anticipated debut novel of 2016. Find her at, on Twitter @j_s_brown, and on Facebook at authorjennifersbrown. The novel is on Goodreads.

Lindsay Hatton's evocative emotional history of the West Coast's most famous aquarium, Monterey Bay, will be released by Penguin Random House in July 19, 2016. The novel is on Goodreads.

Freelance journalist and meditation instructor Rick Heller is the author of Secular Meditation: 32 Practices for Cultivating Inner Peace, Compassion, and Joy – A Guide from the Humanist Community at Harvard, which has already launched from New World Library.

Maile Hulihan is the author of the hilarious series Trinity of Bitches, the first book of which is due out in November 2016. You can find her on Twitter @MaileHulihan,, or Facebook.

Katherine Ozment's first book, Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age, will be published by HarperWave June 21, 2016. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter (@katherineozment), or her website: The book is at Goodreads.

Marian McMahon Stanley's The Immaculate will be launched by Barking Rain Press in May 2016. To learn more, visit her website, or Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter @mjs_mysteries. The novel is at Goodreads.

I have it on good authority (having heard synopses and excerpts) that each of these books is worth a read and even a pre-order. Not a bad start to a To Be Read pile.

Seven Noble Knights is also at Goodreads. It's a great idea to add it to your To Read list so you can get notifications of publication and possible giveaways.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Like to Listen?

It's here! Every audiophile's dream. Tree/House, the strange little novella that inspires everyone who reads it, now comes to you via the lively professional talent of Melissa Moran.

It's available on iTunes, Audible, and Amazon. Click on the links to find compelling audio samples.

If I may say, it's priced very reasonably for this much imagination and creative talent (the voice artist's). And yet, there are a couple of ways you can get it for no money at all.

1. Contact me (in a comment here or at Facebook or Twitter) for a free download code from Audible! I would, of course, love it if you enjoyed Tree/House in audio and left a review after using one of the limited number of codes I have available. The important thing is to enjoy it.

2. Join Audible's first month free and make sure Tree/House is the first book you download. If you love audiobooks, you'll want to keep your subscription for only $14.95 a month. That charge includes one audiobook per month and 30% off additional ones. If you remain a member in good standing for 61 days (three months) after you get Tree/House as your first download, I get a special bounty payment. This is the option for you if you love to listen to books and want to give yourself (and me) an amazing gift.

Having Tree/House brought to life in this way has been a dream come true. I've personally listened to it all and am amazed at how well it's turned out. But it has cost me a significant amount of money to produce. Like everyone I know, I work very hard for the small amount of money I earn, so this was a big decision. I hope I have some avid reader supporters to help me get back my investment. Every download helps! Really. Thank you.

If you prefer to read it and interpret it for yourself, a new edition of Tree/House is also available in many electronic and print venues.
Kindle • iBooks • Nook • Kobo • Smashwords • Inktera • Blio • Many other ebook retailers • Softcover • Softcover Indiebound • Softcover Amazon •  Softcover Barnes and Noble • Request it at your local library or bookstore

Monday, November 30, 2015

White Rhinos Used to Appear in the Colosseum!

It's true. White rhinos, the largest of all the extant species, used to live north of the equator in Africa.

These were the forebears of the northern white rhinos, who have become famous recently because there are only three left. (Their demise and one man's desperate efforts to save them are chronicled in The Last Rhinos. There are more southern white rhinos in the world.)

The ancient Romans were always on the lookout for fierce beasts for the gladiatorial arena, and the look of a rhinoceros is plenty fierce if you have no idea what you're looking at. "After the Arena" is my imagination of what it might have been like to witness a "fight" between a rhinoceros and and elephant, with a nod to The Story of Ferdinand. Strange, mysterious, and based in fact, in under four minutes. Please enjoy this narration while you await the release of Tree/House in audio.

I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving. Here's to a great December.

Five-star rated Unpredictable Worlds is now in wide release. Read this and many other rhino stories at the following venues and more:
Kindle • iBooks • Nook • Kobo • Smashwords • Inktera • Blio • Softcover • Softcover Indiebound • Softcover Amazon • Softcover Barnes and Noble

Monday, November 23, 2015

Listen to Another Flash Fiction from Unpredictable Worlds

"Clara" celebrates the Greater One-Horned or Indian rhinoceros in the Five Species Forever flash fiction series. It was inspired by a curious historical incident, described in detail by Glynis Ridley in Clara's Grand Tour, when a Dutch sea captain took a rhinoceros on tour throughout Europe (and appeared to develop a mutually affectionate relationship!).

Listen to this historically evocative tale in less than three minutes.

Five-Star rated Unpredictable Worlds is now in wide release! Read this and many other rhino stories at the following venues and more:
Kindle • Apple iBooks • Nook • Kobo • Smashwords • Inktera • Blio • Softcover • Softcover Indiebound • Softcover Amazon • Softcover Barnes and Noble

I would also like to commemorate this day as Alfonso X's birthday in Toledo, Spain, in 1221. He's still young at 794!

New audiobook coming soon!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Music to Your Literary Ears

As you know, this week (Friday) will see the release you've been waiting for of the new edition of Tree/House and Unpredictable Worlds in all formats.

But the most wonderful news has been years in the making. In 2011, a reader on Goodreads asked me if Tree/House was available in audiobook. I knew it was a great idea, but it just wasn't the right time. Now, it's the right time! Through the magic of the internet, I've been able to find the perfect narrator for Tree/House. Her name is Melissa Moran and she's hard at work finalizing the audio files now! I've heard the proofs, and I can't describe how exciting it is to hear this crazy, heartfelt story out loud. Melissa really makes the characters come to life.

The audiobook will be available very soon. It will make a great holiday gift...

Tree/House is now available in Kindle and Nook and in SoftcoverSoftcover at IndieboundSoftcover at Amazon,  Softcover at Barnes and Noble, and you can request it at your local library or bookstore. Many other ebook sites will have it on November 20. Preorders are available at Apple iBooks and Kobo. Buy it now and on November 20, it will magically appear!

At first, Unpredictable Worlds was in SoftcoverSoftcover at Indiebound,  Softcover at Amazon, and Softcover at Barnes and Noble, but only in Kindle for ebooks. Now, it's ready for you on Nook! Those amazing preorders are being taken at Apple iBooks and Kobo, so you have something downloading to your device while you're waiting for the next showing of the final Hunger Games movie on November 20. Many other retailers will have it on November 20. If you feel like shopping at your favorite ebook retailer, it will be waiting for you!

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Two-Minute Story for Your Story-Hungry Ears and New Releases

Here's another video that's meant mostly to be listened to. It's the shortest of the flash fictions in the series Five Species Forever, each of which celebrates on of the surviving species of rhinoceros.

The little rhino in this video is the cutest stuffed animal on the planet, I believe. My husband named him creatively: Rhiny. He's lived with us since before we were married and he's our favorite pet.

The black rhinoceros is the smaller of the African types and there are also fewer of them. Some 4,500 are left on the planet.

This story isn't really very fictional, unfortunately.

Enjoy! And look for the other four species soon.

As you know, I'm proud of the new edition of Tree/House. I want to disseminate it as widely as possible. On November 20, when you're not watching the final Hunger Games movies, you can have Tree House from just about any venue you like!

It's already available in Kindle and Nook and in SoftcoverSoftcover at IndieboundSoftcover at Amazon,  Softcover at Barnes and Noble, and you can already request it at your local library or bookstore. Many other ebook sites will have it on November 20. Preorders are available at Apple iBooks and Kobo. Buy it now and on November 20, it will magically appear! (I love preorders!)

I love preorders so much that I have a few of them going for the much-anticipated wide release of Unpredictable Worlds. As you know, at first it was in SoftcoverSoftcover at Indiebound,  Softcover at Amazon,  and Softcover at Barnes and Noble, but only in Kindle for ebooks. Now, it's ready for you on Nook! Those amazing preorders are being taken at Apple iBooks and Kobo, so you have something downloading to your device while you're waiting for the next showing of the final Hunger Games movie on November 20. Many other retailers will have it on November 20. If you feel like shopping at your favorite ebook retailer, it will be waiting for you!

Unpredictable Worlds contains "Safari" and many other rhinoceros stories. As you think about the holiday season and what gifts would be best for the readers in your life, please consider authors you've never tried before. At the very least, you'll be supporting a labor of love, and in the best case, you'll help your reader friend discover a new author he or she loves to read!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Collaboration Leads to Beauty

On this day of the dead, I honor some of the artists who've gone before me by posting this video.

See it here.

The Cloisters is one place in America where I would live if it were possible! One of my loftiest goals is to give a reading of Seven Noble Knights in the Fuentidueña Chapel. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 19, 2015

A New Edition in Honor of the Passing of Time

I've learned a lot since I first published Tree/House. It's no longer my magnum opus—I've written two novels and participated in lots of critique groups and workshops—so I've learned a lot about writing and what it is I'm trying to say. It stands the test of time pretty well in that regard. There's not much I would change.

I've learned a lot about book formatting and merchandising. I've already made changes, the last and most important being the spiffy cover that so well captures the content for me.

I've learned a lot about editing, copyediting, and proofreading. Almost too much! When I first uploaded Tree/House, I had basic grammar and punctuation covered, but was years away from figuring out how to get an editorial job with a publishing company and even longer from purchasing my own copy of the Chicago Manual of Style. And now I'm close to having it memorized.

So I've gone back over my dear little book and excised a lot of the types of gaffes I now take out of other authors' manuscripts for a living. I've given it a new five-act structure, in a nod to Shakespeare, and I'm thrilled with how it's come out.

The new edition is available now in Kindle and in Nook, with other digital formats and a new softcover to come soon. I'll be sure to let you know.

Watch this space for an even more exciting Tree/House announcement!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Werewolf and a Serial Killer Today at Unusual Historicals 
The myth of the werewolf is found in cultures all over the world. While researching the werewolf myth in Spain, I came upon the case of Spain's first serial killer. What do these two things have in common? It's just strange enough to be true, and perfect for this scary season. Read all about it at Unusual Historicals today!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Becoming Real: A Map of Tenth-Century Spain for Seven Noble Knights

One of the first things my publisher asked for when they accepted Seven Noble Knights for publication was a map showing the locations mentioned in the novel. I had always hoped to have something like that, to orient the reader and because I love maps. I knew I wouldn't be able to cobble together anything that met my artistic standards or that was specific enough to Seven Noble Knights, so I looked for a map artist who could include everything I wanted.

Nuno Alexandre Vieira has a lot of impressive artistic credentials under his belt. He won me over when he said he was from Portugal and knew the Iberian Peninsula well.

The map is now complete. Without further ado:

It's exciting to see the places in Seven Noble Knights, to have this artifact in the real world that attests to the presence of my beloved story. It's black and white because the book won't be printed in color—that may contribute to the aged feel. The lettering was done by hand and I can't imagine anything about this map being any better. I hope the artist wins an award for it.

Now that I can imagine opening Seven Noble Knights to the first few pages and turning the book to orient this map and pore over it, the publication of the biggest project of my life is that much more real. Thanks for sharing my excitement!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ready for Launch!

The story of Seven Noble Knights was a "bestseller" in the
Middle Ages and Renaissance. Can it capture readers' hearts today? 
Seven Noble Knights has benefitted from programs at Grub Street already. Now it looks as if Grub Street could be the deciding factor in the success of its launch! I've been accepted into a program I heard about in 2014 and immediately filed away as something I would probably never get to do because it seemed so prestigious and because it's for authors with a book coming out.

I'm now an author with a book coming out! So of course I applied to the seminar of my dreams, the Launch Lab. Twelve authors with book releases in the next year (still hard to believe that's me!) get together with industry experts to plan a book launch that makes sense for their goals, personalities, books, and resources. While I've come up with a few random ideas for getting the word out about Seven Noble Knights, the number of books published each year means that someone trying to go it alone has zero chance of getting noticed. Launch Lab gives my book a fighting chance!

So I'll start now: please notice Seven Noble Knights, the best medieval epic set in Spain you will ever come across. Brave knights, beautiful ladies, and a bloody cucumber... (Maybe I'll find some people who'll commiserate with me about my struggles with using a bloody cucumber as a marketing tactic.)

I've put everything into Seven Noble Knights: blood, sweat, tears, time, international travel, vocabulary, research, sacrifice, and oh so much love. I guess it's time to put some domestic travel and money in, too. I'll be taking the train to the first meeting this very week.

Wish me luck! I'll report on what happens.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

World Rhino Day 2015

It's World Rhino Day! How are you celebrating rhinos and helping their cause?

All five species are beautiful examples of cornerstone species that mean the world to their environments. All five species are in trouble.

The smiling Javan rhino. About 60 individuals.
The uniquely harry Sumatran rhino. Fewer than 100.
The real-life unicorn, the Indian rhino. About 3000 individuals.
The beauty queen black rhino. About 4,500.
The gentle giant, the white rhino. About 19,000. 
In Africa, two or three rhinos are murdered every day for their horns, so these numbers, sadly, are only decreasing. I look forward to a World Rhino Day when we can celebrate without thinking about these insane facts, when humans will no longer harass rhinos, who never asked for anything from us.

Except maybe a little love.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A lovely surprise: Five-Star Review of Unpredictable Worlds

Well darn. I've had to modify the cover of Unpredictable Worlds. What terrible inconvenience has led to this drastic measure? A five-star review at Readers' Favorite (which, in truth, is the best thing in the world for a writer!).

Any review is a big deal for me. A five-star recommendation from this lovely institution includes a peachy-keen silvery sticker to put on the book's cover.

A wonderful alchemy of words and circumstances collided to find just the right reviewer. Amazingly, Carine Engelbrecht "got" the book. Read it in full here, and see two major highlights here:

For a collection of stories that stray delightfully off the beaten track of cookie cutter characters and plot lines without any roadside surprises, you can do a lot worse than venturing around inside Unpredictable Worlds: Stories by Jessica Knauss. While the stories are widely divergent, they are grouped around a series of themes that serve like hubs for the author's imagination to take off....

I enjoyed taking a trip through the author's imagination—that is exactly what Unpredictable Worlds: Stories by Jessica Knauss was, a journey of wonder. 

I'm impressed that the reviewer loves the rhino stories. I've started a rhino novel, but since I didn't know how I would find people who both love to read fiction and find out about rhinos, I abandoned that idea. This review gives me hope and the idea to maybe resurrect it as a shorter piece.

I get a particular frisson of authorial delight when the reviewer singles out some stories that never found a home before I published them in Unpredictable Worlds. Many of the stories in this book have been published elsewhere, and therefore had that outside validation any writer seeks. It's music to my heart that a reader I've never met is reading and enjoying stories that mean the world to me, but haven't made an obvious impression on anyone else before this point. Calling "Threads Woven" "a rich tapestry of creativity and character" when it's had no other feedback (other than form rejection letters)—I wonder if any reader knows how easy it is to give an author the ultimate gift. It goes to show: you never know who is going to respond to which story.

It's nothing short of wonderful that the reviewer points out the relationship between some of the stories. True interaction with my texts. I couldn't ask for more.

So here's that new cover, proudly displaying the shiny five-star badge. Plans to make the ebook available in venues other than Amazon have been in the works for a while now. Find your updates here!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Love in the Air

This weekend marked the sixth anniversary of my husband and me.

Time is such a bizarre construct. We're still newlyweds, and yet when we look at our wedding video, we appear to be children. Maybe it's because we had no idea of the adventures that awaited us. Maybe it's because our love has only grown. It seemed infinite on our wedding day, but our love is much bigger, wider, deeper, and stronger now.

True love grows and develops. It occupies the world without detracting from it.

Look out, world! One day, love will be so enormous, it will obliterate all the hate.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Price of Blood by Patricia Bracewell

I treated myself to The Price of Blood a few months ago. I say "treated" because I had high hopes and it met every one of them.

I was looking for a novel that immersed me in a time long past. You'll think your memories of this book really took place a thousand years ago.

I wanted specifically to know what it would have been like to be Queen Emma, faced with important men and Viking attacks. Bracewell's Emma is easy to sympathize with and the historical stakes are clear without it ever feeling like a textbook. I took away a vivid image of Emma and Athelstan looking out at London from the castle that I don't think comes from any film I've seen. It comes completely from Bracewell's evocative skill.

I wanted characters whose motives I could understand while the plot maintained historical authenticity. I didn't expect to be so disgusted by King Aethelred while still feeling the same political and family pressures that made him act in such outwardly bizarre ways. I didn't expect the Elgiva subplot to be so fascinating and to give the reader another female character possibly even more vibrant and true than Emma.

This novel exceeded any expectations I could have had in the way it keeps the suspense going even when the snippets from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle at the beginning of the section give away some of what's going to happen. I found Emma's big scene at the end of the novel, where she really comes into her own, so amazing as to make me want to recommend the book to every reader, everywhere. It's even more amazing now that I know the scene was the author's creation, an imagining of what must have happened in order to produce the results seen the history books.

The Price of Blood is all that I hoped a historical novel could be. It's even more impressive because it's the second in a trilogy.

Novels I've Read in 2015: 
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Along the Far Shores by Kristin Gleeson

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

A Kiss at Kihali by Ruth Harris

Mermaids in Paradise  by Lydia Millet

Raven Brought the Light by Kristin Gleeson

The Price of Blood by Patricia Bracewell

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

Love in Infant Monkeys by Lydia Millet

The Map of Chaos by Félix J. Palma

Monday, August 31, 2015

Wild About Harapan: Sumatran Rhino News

Last October, I was seized with a desire to go to Cincinnati. It's the site of the last Sumatran rhino in the Western Hemisphere, you see, so if I didn't drag my husband on an autumn road trip, neither of us would probably ever see a Sumatran rhino. I had a feeling he would be headed back to the nature reserve where all his living relatives reside. And now it appears I was right. It's the right decision for him. Such a sweet rhino shouldn't be alone. But oh, how we'll miss him. Safe travels, Harapan!

There was also bad news for Sumatran rhinos this week, the kind of news that shakes one's faith in humanity and makes on wonder what it's all about. Previously, we could say that Harapan's relatives had a small enclave in Malaysia as well as their main home in Indonesia. That spread is no more. The Sumatran rhinoceros has been declared extinct in Malaysia because of human greed. The species is utterly dependent on the population living in Indonesia now. It's hard to even say how many are left at this point.

On the brighter side, Harapan's new home hasn't had a poaching incident in years because of aggressive protections in place. He and his species have a fighting chance. It's far from time to give up.

Monday, August 24, 2015

How Not to Be a Potential Client

Now that I freelance for a living, my life depends on developing good relationships with clients. Far be it from me to complain about any potential client's behavior, but I need to share this one with the wider world because it's representative of what freelance editors encounter every day. I've changed some of the details to protect the identity of the person who sent me this message via one of the freelancing sites I belong to.
I am shopping around for an editor to go over the final draft of my [genre I work with] novel before I sent [sic] it to print. I need someone who is very detail-oriented to double check for typos, grammar mistakes, etc. Are you available to take on a project this week? My goal is to have the edits done by next Monday. Also, what do you typically charge for a project that is just under 100,000 words?

Let me dissect the flaws in this all too average message so that if you're ever in the market for an editor or proofreader, you can do better. Correspondence to potential editors is one more place you can make a good or bad impression, one more chance to put your best foot forward as a writer.

I am shopping around for an editor to go over the final draft of my [genre I work with] novel ...

The opening is off-putting because of the phrase "shopping around." Yes, freelancers are aware clients do this, but if this person had written something along the lines of "I saw that you like to edit novels in this genre," it would have been a point for them rather than against. It would have shown that the client had read my preferences and may also have done some (highly advisable) research into the books I've edited in the past. Such research benefits both of us because it makes it more likely that you'll find the right fit, which results in a good working relationship and satisfactory results.

I need someone who is very detail-oriented to double check for typos, grammar mistakes, etc. 

It's great that they give some sense of the work they'd like done, but the "double check" sentence makes me suspicious that this person doesn't really know what services they need, and the "etc" doesn't help that impression. Ideally, before you approach your researched editors, you need the following elements in place: 1. A completed book. 2. Someone (preferably many people) whose opinion you trust to read the book. 3. A list of issues your trusted readers found that you can't correct on your own. Editing the book as much as you can by yourself will save you time and money. Knowing the specifics of what you need will make for a better estimate process, saving time, money, and heartache.

Are you available to take on a project this week? My goal is to have the edits done by next Monday. 

What's the rush? Most editors have many projects going on at once and scheduling each project is a superhuman act to begin with. Much as we might like to help, we can't throw our other projects a week off schedule without serious consideration and, ideally, previous notice. It takes time to find tiny errors. This client was expecting someone to find all the needles in 100,000 bits of hay in just a little more than six days. Why the need to get the book to the printer so quickly? Please don't leave your copyediting and proofreading needs as the last hurried step in a production crunch. It stresses everyone out and creates opportunities for the mistakes we're all trying to avoid.

Also, what do you typically charge for a project that is just under 100,000 words?

The last question is inappropriate, since rates are explained on all the freelance sites I belong to. 100,000 words in a week would qualify as a rush job, which is far from typical. How can I know that I would charge typical rates for this book when I haven't seen a sample? A better approach would have been: "Please take a look at the attached sample and let me know your best quote for this last-minute rush job."

Every human interaction is an opportunity to prove you are a thoughtful, considerate human being as well as a professional. Remember that even when you reach out to someone online, there is a human being very similar to you, with their own issues and concerns, on the other end.