I’ve been busy, busy, busy. The third novel in my historical series, The Golden Redepennings, is on prerelease, and due for publication on 22 May, so it seemed a good time to update my visual branding across cyberspace (well, across the blogosphere, Twitter, Pinterest, and FaceBook). They’re all similar to the blog banner above, but with the elements in slightly different places.
Not content with adding one extra job to an over-long list, I also finally resurrected my personal book shop, so I could sell my own books directly from my website. The new release will be up there a week before it is available anywhere else. Another masthead, plus an overhaul of every book so far, plus learning a new computer interface.
This while I’m writing my next novella for the Authors of Main Street. (Due to the publisher next week. Yikes!) And also flat out in the day job and recovering from a car accident that wrote off the car. (I walked away from the crash, and am fine. A little bruised in body and rumpled in spirit. My poor little car.)
And managing the recovery from a cyber attack on a website I help manage.
Somebody is an idiot, and I think it is me.
Ah well. Let me tell you about the new release.
The Realm of Silence
(Book 3 in the Golden Redepennings series)
Rescue her daughter, destroy her dragons, defeat his demons, go back to his lonely life. How hard can it be?
“I like not only to be loved, but also to be told I am loved… the realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave.” George Eliot
When Susan Cunningham’s daughter disappears from school, her pleasant life as a fashionable, dashing, and respectable widow is shattered. Amy is reported to be chasing a French spy up the Great North Road, and when Susan sets out in pursuit she is forced to accept help from the last person she wants: her childhood friend and adult nemesis, Gil Rutledge.
Gil Rutledge has loved Susan since she was ten and he a boy of twelve. He is determined to oblige her by rescuing her daughter. And if close proximity allows them to rekindle their old friendship, even better. He has no right to ask for more.
Gil and Susan must overcome danger, mystery, ghosts from the past, and their own pride before their journey is complete.
Preorder links and more information: http://judeknightauthor.com/books/the-realm-of-silence/
(This scene stars my heroine’s daughter, who has been kidnapped)
The room was small and mostly bare, but for a litter of broken furniture in one corner and some straw that might once have been a pallet in another. No windows. No exit besides the door that Finlay blocked.
“Did you think to offer her food and drink?” Griffin asked. “Here, let me do it.”
Offered was the wrong word. He taunted her with them, insisting that she beg, and mocking her when she refused.
“She’ll be properly grateful for something by the time we get back, Finlay, won’t she?” he said to the horrible man, who stopped laughing at his companion’s antics for long enough to leer at her. “I could think of several ways th’ wee whore could make it worth our while to feed her.”
Griffin slid a cold gaze from her toes to the tip of her hair and back again, and his lip curled. “You’d have to kill her after. Her family would turn this place inside out and flay you alive.”
“Proper folks, are they?” Finlay reached out a hand to stroke Amy’s cheek and she turned away, eyes narrowed. She held herself rigid, refusing to let her revulsion and fear rule her reactions.
Griffin struck the man’s hand down. “Generals and lords and such. Fit only to manure the land with their blood, and so they will when the revolution comes. In the meantime, leave the girl alone. I need her for the exchange. Maybe later.”
“Just a taste,” Finlay suggested. “I havena ever had a lady-born.”
“After the revolution, they’ll be selling themselves in the street, same as any whore. We have more important things to do.”
Finlay reluctantly backed out of the cellar, taking one of the candles, and Griffin took another. “You have one candle, lady-born. Make it last, because I won’t be back for some time.”
She wanted to say something defiant, but her throat was so tight she could only croak, and he laughed as he left, shutting the huge heavy door behind him.
Amy lifted her hand from where she had hidden it in her skirt, keen to examine the papers she had stolen from Griffin’s pocket. Letters—from what she could see, quite innocuous. But she’d heard too many stories of codes to believe it, and perhaps these would help stop whatever Mr Griffin had in mind. “Next month,” he had told Finlay, more than once.
She smirked, just a little. Picking pockets was clearly not a skill the villain expected from a lady-born. The game had been inspired by stories from her not-quite-uncle David Wakefield, the items she carefully lifted returned to the household members from whom she had purloined them. This time, it was in earnest. Perhaps in these letters she had a clue to what the man was waiting for.
By the time she had searched every bit of the room except the pile of straw, which she feared might contain rats or even spiders, Amy was beginning to wish she had not refused the bread and cheese. And she should certainly have accepted something to drink. She could feel the beginnings of a headache as she was parched from the inside out.
The candle was a quarter shorter than when she started. She should blow it out to save it, but she had no way of lighting it again, and the rustling in the straw reinforced her antipathy to being alone in the dark.
She could not afford to stand here frozen. She had to move the straw, rustling or not. If there was a way out other than the door, that was the only place it could be. Amelia Cunningham, do you want to wait until that horrid man comes back?
The thought galvanised her into action. From the tangle of broken furniture, she picked out the ladder-back of a chair and a long broom handle—tools to move the straw, and weapons to protect herself, if she could find no way out.
But she was hopeful. If she was right about her general location, under this tavern cellar would be another cellar or even another house. Perhaps even a whole street. Parts of Old Town Edinburgh had been built upon the town of the past, each new incarnation rising over the still living bones of earlier dwellings, where whole communities continued to live and do business deep beneath the bustling upper world.
And the rats must come from somewhere.
Testing her theory, she bashed at the straw with her makeshift tools, flinching away when a particularly panicked rodent scrambled straight for her. But it got itself turned around and burrowed back into the straw, disappearing in seconds.
The straw was still and silent. Tentatively, carefully, she pulled chunks of straw from the pile, growing bolder as no ratty inhabitants appeared to dispute ownership with her. It took several minutes to spread the heap far enough to uncover the trapdoor that lay beneath, one corner rotted away. That’s where the rats were getting in. That’s where she needed to go.