The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


The Path Keeper

Today N J Simmonds launches her debut novel ‘The Path Keeper’, part of her thrilling new fantasy romance series. As a romance writer myself I have always been interested in what inspires other authors to write about love. Here’s what N J Simmonds had to say…

The Path Keeper’ is much more than just a romantic tale about two young people. It has passion, suspense, drama, humour and a dash of the esoteric running through every page. You’ve been quoted as saying that the book is not a romance novel but a love story. What’s the difference?

To me there’s a big difference. When you write a traditional ‘romance novel’ you generally have two people that fall in love, you have a bunch of obstacles getting in their way and then you have a happy ending. From Cinderella to Fifty Shades of Grey and everything in between – ultimately you are following the journey of two people’s love until they reach their Happy Ever After. But ‘The Path Keeper’ isn’t just about Ella and Zac. I wanted to cover the topic of love in all its guises – unrequited love, friendship, the bond between mother and daughter, lost love, first love and of course soul mates. My writing isn’t linear, probably because my mind thinks more like a collection of crazy fireworks than a straight line, so readers dip in and out of seemingly random people’s lives – zipping back and forth from The Blitz to the 90s to the present day – until it all comes together in the end. Writing romance has a formula, writing about love has endless possibilities, because ultimately every decision we’ve ever made in our lives has been governed by love or fear…and every decision has a consequence.

 

With all the negativity in the media lately, how do you get into the happy mindset to write romance?

I love love, it’s my escape. I tend to shy away from conflict and anger, it makes me feel ill, so when I don’t want to watch the news any longer I switch on a lovey dovey film. Or I put down my newspaper and pick up a romance novel instead. The thing about love, whether you watch it, read it or write about it, is that it fills you with hope. From the teenager who longs for their first experience of true love to the old lady who is reminiscing of happier days, having someone to love and being loved in return is the best feeling ever.

As a writer you not only have to move the images from your mind to the mind of your reader, but make them feel what your characters are feeling. It’s not enough for me to have my readers follow a storyline; I want them so absorbed that they are the characters. To do this I love to watch romantic movies. One of my favourites is ‘Before Sunrise’. Not only is the dialogue so clever but it’s what isn’t said that speaks volumes. The way Jesse looks at Celine when she isn’t watching, the contradiction between what they are saying and their body language, those tiny subtle pauses, touches and unspoken words are what pulls you into the story and make you feel that all encompassing emotion. That’s what I attempt to get across in my work.

The love between your main characters Ella and Zac is very unique. How is writing fantasy romance different to regular love stories?

To be honest I didn’t approach it any differently to writing a normal love story. In fact using fantasy elements makes writing about love easier as it opens the story up to endless possibility. Being in love, especially the first time when everything is so intense and raw, is truly magical….so adding a touch of the mysterious and unexplained to it feels totally natural to me. Unlike a lot of YA fantasy romances like ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘Twilight’ my book doesn’t have vampires, werewolves or witches – it’s a lot more realistic (if you believe in the unbelievable, that is). Isn’t that what love is all about, striving for that ultimate fantasy?

Did you have to sensor yourself once you discovered that ‘The Path Keeper’ was being categorised as YA (Young Adult)?

I never wrote ‘The Path Keeper’ intending for it to be a Young Adult book. I wrote the kind of story I like to read, which just happens to have a nineteen year old girl as the main character. When my publishers said they wanted it for their YA division I was worried – there’s swear words and sex and some really adult themes – but they kept it in. Then I realised that I don’t write for children, I write for older teens. They aren’t stupid, they know about sex and F words and violence so why keep it away from them? I show love in a realistic light; hopefully I can give my younger readers a taste of what is around the corner and my older readers can be taken back to a time when life was simpler and more exciting.

What do you love the most about writing romance?

The escapism. To be a decent writer you have to do more than just choose the right words – you have to feel everything your characters feel in order to describe their emotions effectively. So I could be doing something mundane like walking to the shops or ironing but in my mind I’m imagining what the taste of Zac’s kisses are like or whether his lips are firm or soft. Likewise I may be imagining the pain of losing someone I love or being on the receiving end of an unloving mother. It can really take you to the brink and back, many a night I’ve been typing with tears splashing on to my keyboard. But I love it; the drama and the intensity – what other job gives you such a ride?

Ella’s love interest Zac is a character that no one will forget in a hurry. What makes a perfect  leading male character?

Lots of things. I guess it depends what people want from their dream guy. For me I wanted to write about someone who was far from perfect. Zac is a very complicated character. Yes he’s beautiful to look at and he adores Ella with a ferocity that can be quite suffocating at times but he’s troubled. He is torn between the life he has and the life he wants with her. He wants her in every way, but knows that he shouldn’t be with her…that makes for some very impulsive decisions that create all sorts of problems for our star crossed lovers. Saying that though, he really is gorgeous! Who doesn’t love a guy with olive skin, dark hair and bright blue eyes?

And finally, what can you tell us about the sequel ‘Son of Secrets’?

I wrote ‘The Path Keeper’ knowing that it would be the first in a series of books…I wasn’t sure if it would be a trilogy or more, but I as I began to explore the characters I realised that the story had the potential to run and run. Except ‘The Path Keeper’ doesn’t start at the beginning, it starts at the moment that Zac and Ella meet for the first time. But they have a bigger past, and we see that in the second book. We also see how they learn to live with their new lives and we find out what happens to the truly vile Sebastian. Best of all we meet Luci, one of the most exciting and original characters I have ever created. She is both petrifying and beguiling in equal measures, even I’m not sure what I think of her yet…but I’d definitely want her on my side!

The Path Keeper’ is available from all good bookshops or click here to order from Amazon. To find out more about the series and follow N J Simmonds’ writing adventures check out #thepathkeeper on social media. To read the first chapter of ‘The Path Keeper’ visit njsimmonds.com.

***

Many thanks for such a wonderful interview! Good luck with The Path Keeper.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 


Robin of Sherwood: Audio Order Time!

Quick reminder that the audio programme makers Spiteful Puppet are now taking pre-orders for 4 brand-new adventures of Robin of Sherwood on audio, with the return of the original cast and – even more excitedly – both Robins. Yes, Michael Praed is returning to the role of Robin of Loxley in two stories and Jason Connery comes back as Robert of Huntingdon in the other two stories.

 

As with last year’s audio production, work cannot go ahead with a large number of pre-orders to fund production. Spiteful Puppet are now approximately 100 orders away from doing that, with a deadline of the end of February. If we don’t manage to hit the target by then, then I’m afraid we have to halt production and refund all orders!!!

DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN!!! You’d make this author a very unhappy soul if it the episodes couldn’t be made. Yes, I am still obsessed with Robin Hood! Just one peep inside my novel, Romancing Robin Hood is enough to confirm that for you!

In case making me happy isn’t enough incentive for you to place your order this very moment- how about this…

…everyone who pre-orders their 4 episodes gets put into a draw to visit one of the recording sessions and there will also be signed scripts available to others!!! I had the sheer luck to be at the premier of last years episode- and it was AWESOME. Being at the actual recording would be even better!!

Sadly, at the current time, Spiteful Puppet can’t take orders for the CDs or the Download if you haven’t got a UK address, due to the complicated and expensive nature of the international rights issues. However, if you can find a fan friend in the UK who will buy it for you, then please do so!

So – here is that all important pre-order link: https://www.spitefulpuppet.com/shopp.php

If you have any questions re the pre-orders or Robin of Sherwood in general, I’ll be happy to pass them on, or try and answer the queries myself.

Happy listening,

Jenny xx


Pre-order news: Abi’s Neighbour

Exciting news today for anyone who has been waiting for me to hurry up and write the sequel to my Cornish romance, Abi’s House!

Abi’s Neighbour will be out on 4th May!!

Check out this wonderfully summery cover!

Here’s the Blurb!

Abi Carter has finally found happiness in beautiful Cornwall, with her old tin miner’s cottage proving the perfect home. But all that’s about to change when a new neighbour moves in next door…

Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. She’s obnoxious, stuck-up, and hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, she seems to have designs on Abi’s boyfriend Max…But Cassandra has her own problems. Her wealthy lawyer lover has promised to leave his wife and join her in their Cornish love nest – but something always comes up. Now, not only is Cassandra stuck on her own, miles away from her city lifestyle, but someone seems intent on sabotaging her successful business. Will she mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are the two just destined not to get along?

Complete with sun, sea and adorable Labrador Sadie, Abi’s Neighbour is the fantastic new novel by bestselling author Jenny Kane.

***

You can already pre-order your copy of the paperback from Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Abis-Neighbour-Jenny-Kane/dp/178615028X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487006698&sr=1-1&keywords=abi%27s+neighbour

https://www.amazon.com/Abis-Neighbour-Jenny-Kane/dp/178615028X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487006868&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+Neighbour+by+Jenny+Kane

E-Book pre-orders can be made here –

http://amzn.to/2ldVFtd

***

Although Abi’s Neighbour is a sequel, you can read it as a standalone book – however, it’s more fun to read Abi’s House first!! Links can be found here.

Happy pre-ordering!

Jenny xx


Romantic read for St Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentines

I thought, as a Valentine treat, I’d share a romantic extract from Another Cup of Coffee with you today!

****

…Amy was nervous, more nervous than when she’d caught up with Rob on her arrival in London.

Paul was late. She examined the inside of the intricate medieval stone work opposite her. The doorway to St Martins-in-the-Fields wasn’t easy to spot, Amy had walked past it by mistake before she’d come in, and she’d been here before. Maybe the British Museum would have been a better place to meet, or the Victoria and Albert? Amy glanced at the entrance for the tenth time in as many minutes. Paul might not even recognise her; after all, it had been a long time since they’d seen each other.

Her drink was already half gone. Amy checked her phone again. No messages. Giving up, she dug into her bag, bringing out the ever present novel.

Paul had spotted Amy as soon as he’d manoeuvred his six-foot-two frame through the low stone doorway. He’d been confident she would be in the café’s furthest corner, and sure enough, there she was. Amy had always adopted a position where she could hide. As he watched her, Paul wondered if it was even something she was conscious of.

There was a coffee cup by Amy already, and the book her nose was stuck into was a paperback of the more ponderous variety of classic. Most of the girls he met these days wouldn’t even have considered picking it up.

 

She was definitely a bit slimmer than he remembered, and her hair was sleeker, tethered back into two shoulder-length bunches that made her look younger than she was. Amy hadn’t managed to get them level, and one bunch was noticeably higher than the other. Paul found he was dying to straighten them out for her.

Her clothes were the same as in the old days, though; knowing Amy, Paul thought with a grin, they might well be exactly the same. Jeans and a stripy blue jumper, probably with a T-shirt beneath, very probably a black one. The only really noticeable difference between now and then was that she was wearing knee-length boots with a wedge heel rather than trainers.

Rob was right. Essentially, Amy Crane hadn’t changed a bit.

Suddenly aware that she was being observed, Amy looked up from her book.

‘Hello!’

Her face broke into a welcoming beam. ‘I thought you might have got lost.’ She stood up and found herself smothered in a massive bear hug. Paul smelt nice; all warm and clean without the overpowering scent of the male perfumes Amy so despised.

‘Tube delays. I couldn’t get a signal down there to let you know.’ Paul felt awkward, not quite sure what to say next, having held her slightly longer than perhaps was normal for a couple of friends. He’d engineered this opportunity to get her alone, and now he was here, he was tongue-tied.

Amy unwittingly came to his rescue. ‘You getting a coffee then?’

‘Yes, sure. You want a top-up? Black I assume?’

‘Yes please.’

‘Any cake?’

‘No thanks.’

coffee cups

Amy watched Paul flirt with the Polish girl behind the counter as he placed his request. He was taller than she remembered. His black hair was still cropped very short, but it wasn’t as severe as the shaved style he’d favoured as a student. His jeans were blue rather than black, and his shirt, although crumpled, was smarter than the off-white T-shirts she’d always associated with him. Smarter. He was definitely smarter. A huge brown overcoat, which probably weighed a ton, covered the back view of him almost completely, the heels of his Doc Martens only just visible below the hem.

How come she hadn’t noticed how attractive he was back then? Amy felt taken aback at the alien notion, and abruptly pushed the idea away. Yet that hug …

Amy reined in and dismissed her wild flight of fancy as Paul returned with their refreshments. After they’d covered a wide range of comfortable reminiscences and laughed heartily at their past selves, Amy brought the conversation back up-to-date.

‘So, is anyone special waiting for you back on site?’

Paul pushed his cup aside. ‘No. No one’s twiddling their trowel and pining for my return.’

‘That’s not like you.’

Paul regarded Amy as if she was nuts. ‘I’m not stuck in a timewarp, Amy. I’m thirty-four. That pretty much makes me the father figure. I’m the oldest guy on site by at least five years. It’s the twenty-something’s that have the trowel-twiddlers waiting for them these days.’

‘But surely …’ Amy was genuinely shocked. She was so sure that things would have been just as she’d left them. ‘You must meet heaps of nice people.’

‘Sure I do. I have many friends, both male and female, right across the world.’

Amy wasn’t quite sure why she pushed further, ‘But no one special?’

‘Not since uni.’ Paul sighed, not sure if he was ready to go where this conversation might take them.

‘Uni?’ Amy couldn’t believe it. This was Paul. The guy every girl had wanted to date back then. Well, every girl bar her. Yet none of the string of young women he’d dated had ever lasted more than a fortnight, and for the life of her, Amy couldn’t remember if Paul had especially liked any of them. ‘Who was that then? You never said at the time.’

Paul hesitated, before taking the easy way out, ‘You never met her. Let’s go and explore. Gallery, museum, or a walk in the park?’

Amy was disappointed by his answer, but accepted it for now. She looked at her watch; it had already gone one. ‘How about we nip into the National Portrait Gallery, have a quick mooch around and then grab a bit of lunch.’

‘Good idea, is there a good café in there?’

‘Two; but the Portrait Restaurant is fantastic, you get views right across London. I went in with my friend Kit before Christmas.’ Amy paused. ‘It’s a bit expensive though. We could go into the Lounge area, that’s better price-wise, although maybe we shouldn’t …’ Uncertainty took hold, as Amy’s words trailed off.

Paul intercepted her rambling, ‘Amy, this is my treat.’

‘But archaeologists earn crap money.’ Amy blushed as she blurted out the sentence.

‘Oh thanks!’ Paul laughed at her, ‘Although, I can’t argue. However, I have news on that front. Come on, I have heaps to tell you yet. Show me these amazing views of yours, and tell me about your new friends.’

They were in luck. After a companionable hour soaking in the diverse art work, they found a two-seater table available at the very edge of the lounge bar. After purchasing a glass of white wine each, they sat in silence for a moment, staring at the world through the window. It was all there. London. Everything the tourist could hope to see in one complete eyeful. St Paul’s, the Eye, Big Ben. Everything.

‘It quite takes the breath away Amy. All that history.’

Without turning from the view, Amy ran through their personal history as she replied. ‘I knew you’d appreciate it.’

The waiter came over and took their order for two bowls of wild mushroom soup and homemade bread, before leaving them to soak up the panorama. Amy was the first to break the silence, ‘You were going to tell me something?’

‘Ah, right,’ he put down his own glass and sat back in his seat, ‘I will, but first I want to know if you saw sense and took the management post you were offered?’

‘I did,’ Amy took a draft of alcohol, ‘thanks to you.’

‘Me?’

‘You helped me clarify a few things. I was so sure I had been set up, I felt feeling manipulated, but you made me see it wasn’t really like that.’

‘Of course it wasn’t.’

‘My friends were just trying to do their best for me.’

Paul was pleased, ‘Good. I’m glad. Now I can press ahead with my plans.’

Amy was intrigued, and more than a little impatient, ‘Tell me then!’

‘As I said, I’m no spring chicken on the excavation circuit. If I’m not actually running the dig, then I’m at least responsible for a good part of it.’

‘That’s great. Your CV must be excellent. You always were the only one who could tell an ordinary stone from a Neolithic axe-head.’

Paul smiled in acknowledgement, ‘I’ve seen the world Amy. I’ve found and seen all sorts of marvellous things. Written thousands of reports, drawn a million diagrams, been cited in heaps of books, but I’ve had enough.’

Amy was startled. ‘But Paul, it’s your life!’

‘Yes, it is. But I’m fast heading towards my forties, Amy. I have, as I’ve said, friends everywhere, but no one waits for me when I do get home. Only my parents miss me if a dig is extended at the last minute. It’s just not enough anymore.’

Like me, Amy thought. There’s no one at home, not for me anyway. ‘So, what will you do?’

Paul returned his gaze to the view; the people below looked tiny as they scuttled about, oblivious to the fact that they were being observed. ‘Is it nice living in London?’

‘Bit expensive I guess, and a touch overwhelming sometimes, but I like it.’ Amy began to nibble at the soft granary bread which a waiter had placed in the centre of their table.

‘Rob loves it, and I guess Jack does. I suppose the night life suits him.’ Paul verbally pounced as Amy reddened at the mention of Jack’s name, ‘What is it? What’s he done to you now?’

‘Nothing.’ Amy put up a hand, ‘Really, nothing. I’ll tell you all about it later. Go on with what you were telling me about London. Are you coming here to work? Are you?’ Amy felt as if she was on tenterhooks as she waited for his answer.

She seemed so eager; Paul felt more hopeful than he had dared allow himself to before. ‘I have the chance to. I wanted to know what you thought.’

‘And what Rob thinks, of course,’ Amy added.

‘Oh yes, and Rob.’ …

***

hearts

If you fancy finding what finds out next, or how much had to happened before Amy and Paul caught up with each other after years of being apart, you can buy Another Cup of Coffee as an e-book or a paperback from all good retailers including…

Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee-contemporary-ebook/dp/B00EVYZC7M/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=15EFJ85882KQYAJ71KED

 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee-contemporary-ebook/dp/B00EVYZC7M/ref=pd_sim_kinc_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=12DHKX85NFP0DNJJCKDS
Book Depository – http://www.bookdepository.com/Another-Cup-Coffee-Jenny-Kane/9781783751129
Accent – http://www.accentpress.co.uk/Book/10056/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee
***

I hope you’re being treated well on this day of romance and snuggles.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Jenny xx


Poetical twists and turns: Trina J. Stacey

I’m delighted to welcome friend and fellow Devon writer, Trina J. Stacey, to my blog today to share some thoughts and a little poetry.

Over to you Trina…

Thanks for inviting me over to your place today Jenny.

I grew up on a farm in mid Devon, UK, then left home at 18 to pursue a normal career and eventually discovered it wasn’t for me. At the age of 40, further to living in various parts of the UK and 11 years in Perth, Australia, I heeded the call to return home and now reside in Tiverton with my young family.

After several years of sporadically journaling my thoughts, feelings and emotions and attempting to process them, they began to form themselves into poems. This took my simple logical brain somewhat by surprise yet I also had a hunch that my outpourings weren’t meant just for me, so began sharing a few on social media. The responses I received gave me ample confirmation that others were connecting with them too.

Apparently I can now call myself a poet and author, something I am both embracing and still coming to terms with. I am also a spiritual life coach and not least a mother of two highly energetic (spirited) children!

The many twists and turns of my life and consequent spiritual development journey form the basis for the insights that I now share through my poems and in my books Join the Spiritual Dots, Join the Spiritual Dots Goes Deeper and 100 Nuggets of Inspiration.

The poems are not intended to be literary masterpieces indeed this is not their purpose. They are authentic, simple and inspiring verses that are accessible to everyone.

 

I meet many writers and poets who have had a long-term love of words. I am a late-developer (in many ways!) and actually believe that what triggered the unlocking of this more creative aspect of myself was a big life challenge I faced during my mid-thirties. At this time I lost everything in a financial sense. It was a very traumatic time in many ways, but somehow I maintained a strong-belief in something greater at play leading me on, a feeling deep within that there was a bigger role for me to fulfil, inspiring me to simply keep on keeping on in spite of everything that was occurring in my outer world. I am now in immense gratitude for this deeply humbling and life-changing event which prompted me to completely re-define what being successful meant to me. As a result I made a firm commitment to myself to keep following my heart and focus on doing what I love.

….

Love Change (from the book Join the Spiritual Dots)

The fear of change is all around, it’s everywhere we go

People hold on to the past, to what they think they know

What lies around the corner may be different than the now

We want to control the outcome and to figure out the How

What we really fear is the path ahead that’s unknown

Yet our future is being determined by the seeds already sown

So by continuing in fear, what are we trying to create?

Why not let this way of thinking go? Choose a different fate

What’s the point of having worries? Most don’t even come about

Let’s not water those fears further, let them think that there’s a drought

And, What if something magical was on its way to you?

But by holding on to fear, you prevent it from coming true

Could we choose to form a new belief? Decide to embrace change

Expect the unexpected, the exciting and the strange

Be open to a miracle, believe they can be real

Imagine the impossible and how that would make us feel

Let go of rules, how things should be and live in such a way

That it would be unusual if change wasn’t part of our day

To evolve is vital for all of life, so why would we choose to fear?

An important part of ourselves, our reason for being here

…..

My books are available on Amazon in both paperback and e-book formats:

www.bit.ly/trinajstacey

You can also find me on:

Facebook www.facebook.com/jointhespiritualdots

Twitter: www.twitter.com/trinajstacey

Web www.trinastacey.com

***

Great stuff! Thanks Trina.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx


Robin of Sherwood is coming back: Are you listening?

Robin of Sherwood is coming back: Are you listening?

Yes- you are reading this correctly, my favourite show of all time, that classic of the 1980’s- Robin of Sherwood- is making a comeback – on audio!!

Last year my blog was awash with the excitement of a one-off audio episode of Robin of Sherwood starring Jason Connery as Robin, and the rest of the original 1980’s cast. That episode, The Knight’s of the Apocalypse, was a runaway success – and so the boys are getting back together again- as well as the gorgeous Judi Trott as Marian of course!

Audio programme makers Spiteful Puppet are now taking pre-orders for 4 brand-new adventures of Robin of Sherwood on audio, with the return of the original cast and – even more excitedly – both Robins. Yes, Michael Praed is returning to the role of Robin of Loxley in two stories and Jason Connery comes back as Robert of Huntingdon in the other two stories.

As with last year’s audio production, work cannot go ahead with a large number of pre-orders to fund production. Spiteful Puppet are now approximately 100 orders away from doing that, with a deadline of the end of February. If we don’t manage to hit the target by then, then I’m afraid we have to halt production and refund all orders!!!

DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN!!! You’d make this author a very unhappy soul if it the episodes couldn’t be made. Yes, I am still obsessed with Robin Hood! Just one peep inside my novel, Romancing Robin Hood is enough to confirm that for you!

In case making me happy isn’t enough incentive for you to place your order this very moment- how about this…

…everyone who pre-orders their 4 episodes gets put into a draw to visit one of the recording sessions and there will also be signed scripts available to others!!! I had the sheer luck to be at the premier of last years episode- and it was AWESOME. Being at the actual recording would be even better!!

Sadly, at the current time, Spiteful Puppet can’t take orders for the CDs or the Download if you haven’t got a UK address, due to the complicated and expensive nature of the international rights issues. However, if you can find a fan friend in the UK who will buy it for you, then please do so!

So – here is that all important pre-order link: https://www.spitefulpuppet.com/shopp.php

Robin of Sherwood has been a major part of my life since I was 14 – I can believe I’m getting the chance to hear new episodes now I’m in my 40’s!!!

If you have any questions re the pre-orders or Robin of Sherwood in general, I’ll be happy to pass them on, or try and answer the queries myself.

Happy listening,

Jenny xx


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