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Monday, February 27, 2017

Book Club Magic with Divas, Sangría, and Medieval Spain

Reading makes you blossom 
The Literary Divas February meeting, which featured discussion of everyone's favorite epic of medieval Spain, Seven Noble Knights, had near perfect attendance and a special appearance by yours truly, the elusive author J. K. Knauss.

Seven Noble Knights, hurrah! 
The group has varied tastes and don't often agree on books, but luckily, everyone found something to like in Seven Noble Knights. I let the readers control the discussion, which ranged delightfully all over. I was tickled to hear comparisons to Game of Thrones and the consensus was that reading Seven Noble Knights is like being inside a movie. We discussed the pleasant challenges of a book with more than thirty characters and how long it takes to write an epic novel. We delved into the psychology of Doña Lambra, Zaida, Don Gonzalo, and Gonzalico, and agreed that Blanca Flor is more mysterious than I intended. Almanzor was a favorite character, and I got to explain that his reputation in history is terrifying, so it was thrilling to portray him in a positive light. My inspiration and years of research paid off when many readers picked up on subtle details.

I'm always surprised when readers want little ol' me to sign their books, but there was a whole lot of signing going on, too.

"The book club needed a book like this," one enthusiastic reader said. "It's well written and we all learned a lot!"

The group enjoyed an elegant selection of Spanish tapas: Mediterranean salad, paella, tortilla de patatas, bread, Manchego cheese, chorizo, Spanish olives, almonds, and sangría, with olive oil in almost everything and a delicious, colorful fruit tart for dessert.

The evening concluded with an impromptu reading of my prize-winning flash fiction, "Stairs to the Beach." The dark humor was highly appreciated.

You, too, can experience Seven Noble Knights with your book club! Check out suggestions here and contact the author if you'd like to schedule an author appearance or Skype session.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Today at Unusual Historicals: María de Padilla, Royal Mistress

Reenactors portray María de Padilla and King Pedro
in the Royal Palace in Sevilla. 
The theme this month at Unusual Historicals is "Mistresses." For my turn, it could be none but María de Padilla, whose legal status as queen was never confirmed. Nonetheless, she is more famous and beloved than many historical queens. The few facts that have come down about her make for great historical novel fodder! Read all about it at Unusual Historicals today.