Monday, May 15, 2017

Seven Noble Knights by JK Knauss



Seven Noble Knights by J.K. Knauss

J. K. Knauss’s epic of medieval Spain, Seven Noble Knights, debuted on Kindle yesterday from Bagwyn Books. You can order it here, check out the softcover (coming January 16, 2017) here, and find out all about the Grand Book Launch Blog Tour at JessicaKnauss.com.

Spain, 974. Gonzalo, a brave but hotheaded knight, unwittingly provokes tragedy at his uncle’s wedding to beautiful young noblewoman Lambra: the adored cousin of the bride dead, his teeth scattered across the riverbank. Coveting his family’s wealth and power, Lambra sends Gonzalo’s father into enemy territory to be beheaded, unleashing a revenge that devastates Castile for a generation.

A new hero, Mudarra, rises out of the ashes of Gonzalo’s once great family. Raised as a warrior in the opulence of Muslim Córdoba, Mudarra must make a grueling journey and change his religion, then chooses to take his jeweled sword to the throats of his family’s betrayers. But only when he strays from the path set for him does he find his true purpose in life.

Inspired by a lost medieval epic poem, Seven Noble Knights draws from history and legend to bring a brutal yet beautiful world to life in a gripping story of family, betrayal, and love.

“Let Seven Noble Knights welcome you to historical fiction! …it’s a rich saga populated with characters you will grow to love (and a few you will love to hate). The ancient empires of Spain are a beautiful backdrop to the struggles of humankind across all generations of all lands: romance, revenge, war, and adventure.”
—Pushcart Prize nominee Reneé Bibby, The Writers Studio



Excerpt from Part One, Chapter III: The Wedding
Young Gonzalo’s uncle, Ruy Blásquez, is receiving Doña Lambra as a bride in exchange for his service to Castile. Gonzalo isn’t at all sure Lambra should be marrying his uncle, and during the ceremony his sensations run toward the culinary.

Doña Sancha shooed her sons away from the cathedral door and drew dried herbs and flowers from pockets Gonzalo hadn’t known were inside her tunic and cloak. With a stick, she carved a large circle on the hard earth. Doña Sancha set the herbs and flowers inside the circle in a pattern with meanings she might have shared with a daughter, but were a mystery to Gonzalo.

“You’ll stand here,” she told her brother, Ruy Blásquez. “When your bride comes from that side, you’ll step inside the circle together.” She arranged her husband and sons on Ruy Blásquez’s side of the circle. Gonzalo ended up next to his uncle, so close he could hear each shallow breath he took.

Count García arrived with a full complement of knights and squires and four banners in white with red castles, as well as a fiddler and a flutist who made ready to play. So many people in the plaza must have been making the loudest ruckus since the city had been won from the Moors, but Gonzalo heard nothing.

From between the buildings at the far end of the plaza emerged forty women who walked with their hair covered to emphasize their married status. Their laughter and singing couldn’t distract Gonzalo from Doña Lambra, who tottered on their shoulders.

An heirloom beaded necklace competed with her yellow hair, shining in tight plaits on her shoulders with ornamental brass tips that looked as if they had come out of a treasure chest long ago. A mail girdle, inlaid with brass and pieces of jet at the edges, cinched her bright blue tunic from under her breastbone to down over her hips. Gonzalo shivered at the thought of the bitter touch of the matching mail sleeves, from the decorated wristlets up to her shoulders. A burgundy-colored cloak edged with three rows of golden braid was fastened over her shoulder with a gilded brooch in the shape of a lion rampant. A square cap, decorated all around with braid and gold carbuncles, looked like a royal crown. Gonzalo imagined he wasn’t at his uncle’s wedding, but that this bride had come from the farthest reaches of Christendom to marry the King of Navarra or León.

The married women set Lambra down in the middle of their ranks. She let the cloak fan out behind her unsteady stride. Her face was frozen into a grimace like the one the Virgin Mary wore as she cradled the Savior’s dead body inside the cathedral.

Gonzalo remembered Lambra’s grin at the banquet days before, when her mouth had dripped red with juices from the roasted bull’s testicles and the sauce-engorged bread trencher. Each time she received the goblet, she had made sure to turn it so that her lips didn’t touch the same spot as Ruy Blázquez’s. She didn’t take the same precaution against Álvar Sánchez, seated on her other side. Gonzalo could hardly taste his food through a choking desire to throw his eating knife across the table into the gloating knight’s hand so it could never touch Lambra so familiarly again.

There he was now, that upstart Álvar Sánchez, wearing just as juicy a grin, so close to Doña Lambra that the obnoxious curl on the toe of his boot intruded on the magic circle.

Meet author J.K. Knauss
“What is that blasphemous behemoth doing there? Shouldn’t a member of the groom’s family stand next to the bride?” Gonzalo whispered to Gustio.

Gustio knocked his elbow into Gonzalo’s ribs. “Why? Were you hoping it would be you, little brother?” He chortled until their mother hissed at them to be silent.

Count García was addressing the crowd. “…with these deeds, Ruy Blásquez has earned as a bride my loveliest cousin, probably the most beautiful woman Castile has seen since my mother joined the Kingdom of Heaven. May they live many more years and have many loyal Castilian children.” He raised his arms, which the crowd took as a sign to cheer and shout.

Gonzalo noticed that his uncle had already moved into the circle and reached for Lambra’s hands. She was looking at Ruy Blásquez, but not with love or even curiosity. It was a look of judgment. Gonzalo tried to imagine how his uncle’s soft eyes, long nose, and weak chin fared on Lambra’s scale.

“I receive you as mine, so that you become my wife and I your husband,” Ruy Blásquez said. Gonzalo was relieved to glimpse him smiling widely, displaying his straight, white teeth to his judge in the form of a bride.

Ruy Blásquez smiled and waited, waited and smiled. Gonzalo witnessed a thousand expressions cross Lambra’s face like clouds in a stormy sky. At last, Lambra’s maid emerged from the crowd and leaned over the circle. “I receive you as mine…” she prompted so quietly that Gonzalo had to read her lips.

“I receive you as mine so that you become my… husband… and I your… wife,” said Doña Lambra, her eyes narrow. She pulled her hand away from Ruy Blásquez to wipe at her plump lips, as if the words had sullied them.

She craned her neck to look at Álvar Sánchez and Gonzalo knew she wished she had said the words to him. His heart beat faster. Then she shifted her gaze to Gonzalo. He felt as if he were smothered with the parsley, fennel, red carrot, and beet sauce from the banquet. Such was the hunger he saw in her eyes, a hunger he couldn’t help but feel, too, and which raged all the more, the more he tried to contain it. He remembered the way the bull’s testicles had flopped onto Doña Lambra’s trencher under their own weight and the way they deflated when she plunged her knife into the center of the sacs.

He stopped a startled cry in his throat.

“Long live the newlyweds!” The crowd shouted until they were the only words Gonzalo remembered ever hearing.


Get your copy today:


Monday, February 13, 2017

Jane of Manchester by JG Dow @jamestingle14

Jane of Manchester by J.G. Dow


Jane's life on the face of it isn't really too bad...she has great friends like party girl Natasha who's always up for a laugh and her close pal Polly, always there for her and of course her loving parents, but things could still be better...

Most people she knows are either married or have kids and she has been single a while now and wonders if a good man is ever to be encountered again. The single life is far from a quiet one for Jane however, as she is constantly getting dragged to night clubs and bars by Natasha and the crew as well as enduring a particularly boozy weekend away at the seaside!

Jane loves a lot about her life, disregarding rude plumbers in her flat and dealing with annoying superiors and a smug sister, but as a certain someone takes her eye, is everything about to change and get a whole lot more serious or is the single life determined to keep her captive a while longer yet...

Buy now on Kindle or read FREE on Kindle Unlimited

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N4MT8HR/

About J.G. Dow

Biography

I lived for a few years in the North of England and spent a while living in Manchester and so am fairly comfortable writing about the city.

I went to University in Manchester many years ago and still miss the place sometimes now but have good memories!

I enjoy walks in the country and indulging in a spot of cooking now and then and write the odd story and pen the occasional poem but this is my debut novel...if anyone enjoys it, I may do another!
 
Twitter: @jamestingle14

 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Crawdad Book Blog Tour by Lisa T Cresswell


Welcome to the Crawdad Book Blog Tour!

For the whole month of January, my new contemporary young adult novel Crawdad, will be featured on the blogs of some of my besties - authors and book bloggers who support the readers and writers of  diverseYA - and I couldn't be more pleased. I hope you can visit them all and enter the giveaway.  



Here's the schedule:

Magic of the Muses - Eileen Schuh January 1
Rich in Variety January 8
Beth Fehlbaum Books January 15
CJ Burright January 22
Twinjas Book Reviews January 29



~About the Book~


Seventeen-year-old Jamil Ramos grew up on Alabama’s Gulf Coast believing his mom, Loretta, was his only living relative. She put a trumpet in his hands as a toddler and sparked his love of jazz. But when Loretta drops a bomb on Jamil from her deathbed- she’s not his mama and his daddy is still alive, living in Charleston, S.C. – his world is turned upside down.

Now, with the only mama he’s ever known gone and the Loyola University trumpet audition less than a week away, Jamil has trouble feeling his music. When his band teacher tells him to get it together, Jamil decides to hitchhike to South Carolina over to find his father and get his questions answered. All he has is a name –Leon Ramos.

Jamil relies on the kindness of the strangers he meets-a gay teen kicked out of his home, a runaway prostitute, and a street musician-as he makes his way across Florida and Georgia trying to avoid the cops along the way. But when Jamil is robbed of his most prized possession, his trumpet, his plans go anywhere but where he’d hoped. That trumpet was supposed to be his ticket for a scholarship, the only way to college his mama could give him. Lost and alone without it, Jamil wonders if finding his father is worth risking his future.

You can find Crawdad in print and e-book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads!

~About the Author~


Lisa T. Cresswell has been writing middle grade and young adult books for what seems like a mighty long time. She can never seem to make up her mind if she likes reality or fantasy, so she writes both. She also likes lemon jasmine green tea, dark chocolate almonds, and lots and lots of coffee. And of course, BOOKS. ALL THE BOOKS!! You can see all of her work at www.lisatcresswell.com 

~Enter the Giveaway~

Enter to win one of three copies of Crawdad to be given away in January!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 19, 2016

Spotlight: Cadence's Cauldron by @NPouchet

Cadence’s Cauldron, A Paranormal Romance

Author: Nicole Pouchet
ISBN: 978-0-9966062-4-0
Series Name: Elemental Myths
# in the Series: 4
Length: 50,000 words
Date of Publication: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Nicole Pouchet
Cover Artist: Ann Alger



Cadence Williamson has life all figured out. Her London jazz nightclub gives her a place to sing, friends she calls family, and enough money to pay the bills. No man is going to block her chi, especially not the shark trying to buy her out. Who cares if she’s been dreaming of doing the deed with him? Cadence’s perfect plans unravel when she develops fiery superpowers, melts her mic, and has past life visions of an evil force snuffing out the city’s population.

Trystan Tawanti may have his fun, but he’ll never allow another pretty face near his soul again. The serial entrepreneur is determined to purchase Cadence’s nightclub and turn it into a profit machine—no matter the cost to his heart or to his Incan family’s world-saving destiny. He just has to ignore those pesky empathic powers and the feelings signaling his fated mate is near.

Will Cadence and Trystan learn to trust their destiny and each other before ancient evil catches up to them to burn London down?


About the Author

Nicole Pouchet is a memoirist and a paranormal romance novelist. Books from her Elemental Myths paranormal romance series have enjoyed spots on Amazon’s Bestseller list. Layla’s Gale, A Paranormal Romance won second prize in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Additionally, Cadence’s Cauldron, A Paranormal Romance won an Honorable Mention in the 2014 RWA Pages from the Heart Romance Novel contest.

Still amazed to be an adult, Nicole has managed to center her life on raising her two small sons and being true to her family (including husband and friends). She resides in Issaquah, Washington where she is a marketing executive. Happiest near the water, Nicole spends her free hours plotting her next escape, writing, and staring at the ceiling.


Website: www.NicolePouchet.com

Social Media

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/NPouchet

Twitter: @NPouchet

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/NicolePouchet

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/NPouchet/



Excerpt


“This is a song we like to call the ‘Lullaby for Insomniacs.’” Her smile heated the warehouse, and the men at the bar with Trystan exhaled their awe as one. Their audible fascination would have been amusing if he wasn’t just as securely under her spell as them.

She sang and her words penetrated his senses. The loneliness he felt, the ever-present searching for something more clawed at him, urging him to leap from his chair and force his way to her. The pianist played his solo as she swayed her body to the rhythm. More instruments joined in. There was a whole band back there. Trystan should have cared.

All he could do was watch Cadence’s body move. Her hips drifted from side to side and the outline of each leg could be seen through the dress. He loosened his collar, discreetly removing his tie and undoing the top two buttons of his shirt.

As he rolled up his sleeves, he noticed three other men doing the same. The room was definitely getting hotter. He was turned on by the singer, and his Spidey senses proved he wasn’t the only one. At least a dozen guys leered at the songstress. Couples let their hands roam freely under cover of the tables. Several women peeled off their cardigans and layers of clothing. One sat wearing nothing but a camisole.

Cadence licked her bottom lip as she launched into her final verse.

If I could reach the lever
I would make this thing go faster
Speed through confusion
Rewrite this chapter


There was nothing confusing about the state of the people in the club. A woman to his left ran her tongue over her ruby red lips, and a nearby man pressed against her backside, whispering in her ear before caressing her knee. The man she came with whispered into her other ear, and they both smiled as he let his fingers trail over the newcomer’s hand.

They were all ready to get it on. There was no wonder. The singer was a living aphrodisiac and someone had turned up the heat. The combination of sweltering passion and pure lust set off an animalistic response in the audience.

Everyone sat silent at the end of her song, panting with arousal. Desire was at a fever pitch in the club, and Trystan wondered if an orgy would break out, or if people would adhere to societal rules. Applause began, softly at first, then thunderous as the spell weakened and people returned to their senses.

Cadence and her band bowed. The pianist and the rest of the musicians stumbled off, leaving her on the stage alone. She blinked into the spotlight, seemingly unaware of the extent of her effect on the audience. “Thank you,” she shouted over the crowd before handing the mic off to the emcee.

The emcee went on about a big-name jazz singer scheduled to perform in a few weeks. Trystan forgot to scold himself for not listening as he tossed a ten pound note toward the bartender and followed the singer to her back office...

Cadence's Cauldron is FREE to read on Kindle Unlimited and available for purchase on Kindle

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Guest Post: Diane Ryan @DianeRyanRK

Today I'm pleased to welcome Diane Ryan to the blog!


How exciting this is, being invited to guest blog! Thank you, DelSheree, for the opportunity. I’m thrilled that you’ve given me the chance to talk about my debut novel, and rescue dogs, and how the novel and rescue dogs are connected.

In 2004, I moved from rural Georgia to Southwest Virginia, packing a trunk full of old manuscripts from as far back as the early nineties. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write, but the literary landscape was quite different back then. The Big Six still dominated, Amazon wouldn’t introduce Kindle for three more years, and self-publishing was still considered vanity press. I always felt I would have a novel in print some day; I just couldn’t see a clear path to it at that time.

What I found in Southwest Virginia caused all my priorities to shift. How could I think about personal issues or writing a book when my new county of residence (population less than 45,000) killed more animals in one year than Richmond, Roanoke, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Virginia Beach combined? I formed a small rescue organization, applied for and received 501c3 nonprofit status, and bought property to house a large number of animals. I felt sure the community would support this effort.

I was wrong.

Attitudes toward rescue are hostile in Appalachia. Animal welfare ideals step on too many toes. Between backyard breeders, a dearth of local low cost spay/neuter options, and a local government that wants no attention called to their problems, a small, home-based rescue can forget finding the support it needs to operate. Especially a rescue with a Director who doesn’t hesitate to push community buttons over issues like dogs on chains, dogs locked in hot cars, sterilization, and vaccines.

Earlier this year, after my rescue received no donations for more than a month, I faced a bleak evening without a scrap to feed thirty hungry dogs. It was a turning point for me. I realized I’d have to be more resourceful. Time to drag out those dusty old manuscripts and maybe sell a few books here and there. I picked the manuscript I felt was closest to being publication-ready, called on some old friends from my workshopping days, and after some grueling, late night revision marathons, sent out a handful of advance review copies to a select group of people.

Critical reception to the novel “Talking To Luke,” surpassed all my expectations. An Amazon Vine Voice reviewer rated it “five stars,” called it “groundbreaking,” and used words like “polished,” and “high impact.” One of my favorite indie authors posted a picture of himself on Facebook while he was reading the Kindle version and said, “It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. And I read A LOT.”

What do you do with this kind of feedback? I’ll tell you what you do—you get serious in a hurry and start figuring out ways to increase discoverability on a much larger scale! Even so, looking back over the last few weeks, I think I did as much as I could on a nonexistent budget. Formulas exist for meteoric book launches, but for an unknown author with a debut novel and no major publishing house behind it, perhaps the best one can hope for is a slow, steady climb in sales as more people discover the book.

I don’t regret being an indie author. It truly is by choice. At one time, I did have agent interest in the manuscript for “Talking To Luke.” It’s possible that had I sent any query letters this year, I might have additional interest. Who knows. I just couldn’t stomach the process. Print On Demand is no longer considered vanity press, and both CreateSpace and KDP offer quality products and service. Would I ever consider traditional publishing? Sure I would—but it isn’t the brass ring for me, and I just don’t have time to chase it right now. Too many Appalachian dogs need help.

For at least the entire year of 2016, one hundred percent of proceeds from this novel will go toward Appalachian animal rescue. This will fund transport of animals from oversaturated, high kill regions like Southwest Virginia to no-kill areas of New England (like the entire state of New Hampshire.) I also hope we can fund some “save in place” rescue efforts, which would provide funding for owners to keep their pets when they otherwise might have to surrender them to a shelter. This might involve sterilization and other vetting, the building of fences and buying of dog houses, and paying pet deposits for rental property so that people can take their animals with them when they move.

“Talking To Luke” is the first book in a series, but it can also stand alone. I’m told it’s considered “paranormal romance,” but I’m uncomfortable with that label. Is it paranormal? You bet it is! Is it a romance? Well—it’s a relationship story…and there’s a whole lot of sizzle. The sequel will involve the same character ensemble, but will be more of a paranormal thriller. Is there such a genre? I never set out to write crossover fiction or flip any tropes. These things just happened as the story unfolded organically.

Nothing else I’ve ever written has contained even the slightest hint of paranormal. Even this novel has themes that are more realistic than fantastical—with a couple of glaring exceptions. I can’t guarantee I’ll write anything else in the genre once this series is finished, but then again, I might!

Grab a copy of "Talking to Luke" HERE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Diane Ryan is a pseudonym for a very real person living and writing in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. She is married with two grown children and more pets than good sense dictates. Her heartfelt passion is saving animals. In the past, she has rescued horses and wildlife, but currently focuses on dogs imperiled by cultural indifference toward animals in Appalachian communities. She is the Executive Director of a 501c3 rescue that regularly transports unwanted dogs from areas of shelter overcrowding to regions of high demand, where No Kill methods are firmly established. Her organization is a member of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies and a Best Friends Network Partner.


https://www.facebook.com/authordianeryan
https://www.facebook.com/tazewellanimalrescuecoalition/
Twitter: @DianeRyanRK