The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane

Tiverton Literary Festival: The Poetry Café

One of the biggest sell out events of last year’s Literary Festival was Paul Mortimer’s Poetry Café…this year it rides again….

poetry TIV Lit

Interview with Zara Stoneley: Country Rivals

It’s interview time today! I’m pleased to be welcoming Zara Stoneley back to my site today to chat about her latest novel, Country Rivals.. So get that kettle on, make a cuppa, and pull up a chair.

Over to you Zara…

coffee and cake

Hi Jenny, thanks for having me!

What inspired you to write your book?

The Tippermere books have been inspired by the fact that I absolutely love Cheshire, the rumours, gossip and scandal, the funny people, the mad animals and the inspiring stories. I think village communities are similar to the writing community – things can be tough at times, some people can be wonderfully supportive and some not so, but at the end of the day the highs far outweigh the lows, and people are there to celebrate the little victories with you.

‘Country Rivals’ is the third book in the series. My editor originally asked me to come up with a ‘Jilly Cooper-ish’ series, as she knew I loved the countryside, and horses and dogs often made an appearance in my books. I like to think the Tippermere books are a slightly more contemporary and ‘lighter’ take, (although I do love Jilly Cooper – and Rupert Campbell-Black made a lasting impression on me!) I never intended to include so many funny incidents, but life round here is like that – people don’t take themselves too seriously, and animals can be relied upon to cause chaos!

A lot of my plots are triggered by a ‘what if?’ In this case, the idea for my latest book ‘Country Rivals’ came from an article I read about nearby Peckforton Castle, a guest started a fire and I thought what if this happened to Lottie and threatened the business she’d built at Tipping House?

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

I think that there’s a little bit of somebody I know buried in each of my characters! Maybe it’s a habit they have, the way they gesture, things they say or do, or maybe just something that’s happened to them that sets off my imagination – but I wouldn’t dare model a character on a friend, I might get into trouble!

 Country Rivals eBook

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

For Country Rivals I had to find out a bit about Polo, a good friend of mine is involved with Cheshire Polo and took me along to a few games – which was great fun. I also talked to some people I know in the film industry. A lot of the details though are based on my own experiences of horses and village life.

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

I don’t really have a strong preference, it comes down to which serves the story best. I do love writing in first person, but sometimes (like with my Tippermere books) the story has to be told from more than one point of view and third person is the natural choice. Just seeing Lottie’s side of the story, and how events affect her, wouldn’t be enough – there are so many other characters with their own personal agendas and reasons for acting the way they do and the reader needs to be able to see the picture from different angles!

For a more personal journey, when one character is really key, then I prefer first person as the reader can get much more immersed in the journey. They can appreciate how events personally affect the character, experience their emotions and the highs and lows almost first hand.

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

A mix – I need at least a very vague outline of the whole story, including the start, end and the main conflicts, and then I plot the first quarter of the story in a bit more detail before starting to write. Generally I keep any plan fairly loose, as I think you need to allow the story and characters to develop naturally, but I do need signposts along the way. If I get bogged down, then I go back to the plan and flesh it out in more detail. I admire people who can plan things out in meticulous details with sticky notes and spreadsheets, but I’ve tried and it just isn’t me! I also envy those people who are complete pantsers and can get to the end of 100,000 words with a well-structured and paced book without tearing their hair out along the way!

What is your writing regime?

I try and write something every weekday, and sometimes work at weekends depending on what else is going on, and how close my deadline is! I always used to make a coffee and then catch up on emails and social media before starting work on my book, but I recently changed this as it was too easy to spend nearly all morning looking at cute cats on Facebook!

I read somewhere that a good idea was to write 250 words on your book before doing anything else (apart from making coffee!) and I’ve found this really works for me. So I do my 250 words, and by then the words and ideas are usually flowing so I keep going until I need a break, and then I catch up on emails. I do try and have a break around lunchtime and either go for a run (I’m new to this idea and at the staggering, breathless stage) or walk, as I’m starting to suffer from spreading bottom as well as sagging middle!

Country Rivals

‘A great treat for readers…jam-packed with sexy men and horses.’ Bestselling author Fiona Walker

Dashing eventer Rory is ready to button up his breeches and settle down. His gorgeous wife, Lottie, wants a bank balance in the black so she can protect the beautiful family estate for future generations.

But with the wedding business at Tipping House going up in flames, and rumours that it was arson not accident, Lottie begins to wonder who she can trust with her future.

Tranquil Tippermere is under siege as movies moguls and insurance investigators invade the countryside, and as events gather pace rescue plans start to look too good to be true, and intentions may not be as honourable as they seem.

As a moody, but definitely marvellous, polo player enters the fray and squares up to the eventing hero of Tippermere, does Lottie stand to lose her husband as well as her home?

You can buy ‘Country Rivals’ from Amazon or visit Zara’s website to see all buy links.

And you can grab the other Tippermere books (all the books can be read independently) here –

Stable Mates’   –    ‘Country Affairs’    –     ‘A Very Country Christmas’ (FREE!)

ZaraStoneley authorpic


Zara was born in a small village in Staffordshire, educated in Cheshire, and went on to study at Liverpool University. After a successful career as an IT consultant, she decided to follow her heart and ran a dog grooming business for several years before becoming a full-time writer.

Her fun, romantic, romps draw on her experiences of village life, and her various love affairs with dogs, cats and horses. These days if she’s not at her laptop, you can usually find her trudging across fields on foot, or sat on the back of a horse.

Zara divides her time between a country cottage in Cheshire and an apartment in Barcelona. Her most recent novels include the popular Stable Mates, Country Affairs and Country Rivals.

Find out more –

Website     Twitter    Facebook    Amazon    Pinterest


Great interview! Thanks Zara.

Happy reading,

Jenny x



MAY SALE! Another Cup of Coffee ONLY 99p/99c

What better way to celebrate the fact that the final novel in my ‘Another Cup of…’ series, Another Glass of Champagne, is coming out on 9th June, than by offering you the first in the series, Another Cup of Coffee, at a BARGAIN price!

ONLY 99p/99c

Another Cup of Coffee - New cover 2015


Thirteen years ago Amy Crane ran away from everyone and everything she knew, ending up in an unfamiliar city with no obvious past and no idea of her future. Now, though, that past has just arrived on her doorstep, in the shape of an old music cassette that Amy hasn’t seen since she was at university.
Digging out her long-neglected Walkman, Amy listens to the lyrics that sound tracked her student days. As long-buried memories are wrenched from the places in her mind where she’s kept them safely locked away for over a decade, Amy is suddenly tired of hiding.
It’s time to confront everything about her life. Time to find all the friends she left behind in England, when her heart got broken and the life she was building for herself got completely shattered. Time to make sense of all the feelings she’s been bottling up for all this time. And most of all, it’s time to discover why Jack has sent her tape back to her now, after all these years…
With her mantra, New life, New job, New home, playing on a continuous loop in her head, Amy gears herself up with yet another a bucked-sized cup of coffee, as she goes forth to lay the ghost of first love to rest…

coffee and cake

You can pick up this ‘novel’ cup of coffee, for les than a real cup of coffee via this link-


99p Jenny Kane

If you’d like to pre-order Another Glass of Champagne, you can do so here-


Happy reading,

Jenny x

Another Glass Of Champagne

My First Time: Karen King

It’s time for another in my interview series, ‘My First Time’. Today I’m delighted to welcome Karen King to talk about her earliest writing and publishing memories. Over to you Karen…

First Time

Can you remember writing the first story you actually wanted to write, rather than those you were forced to write at school? What was it about?

I’ve always loved writing and used to write a lot as a child. I often had little stories and poems published in the letters page of comics or Uncle Len’s Chipper Club page in the Birmingham Evening Mail. The very first thing I can remember having published was a poem when I was ten or eleven, about my baby brother Peter.

The very first book I wrote was about a ghost called Esmerelda. Esmerelda was annoyed when a family moved into her home, which had stood empty for years, so tried scare them away. The trouble was no matter what she did they weren’t scared. My kids loved it but publishers didn’t. I can see why now.

What was your first official publication?

An article for Jackie magazine titled ‘Beating the Dole Queue Blues’ back in the eighties. I was so chuffed to finally sell something after quite a few rejections. I wish now I’d photocopied the cheque (I think it was for £18) and framed it.

Spurred by this success I wrote more articles and photo stories for Jackie, and romance stories for Loving, Patches and Blue Jeans. Then I moved on to writing for various children’s magazines such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Barbie, Sindy and Winnie the Pooh. The children’s magazine market was exploding at that time and I sometimes wrote regularly for as many as four different magazines a month.

My first published books were three story cassette books based around Acorn Green, a children’s magazine I was writing for. I was very excited about this but there was a mix up and the three books were all published under the wrong name so it was a bit of a damp squib! I guess my first proper book was Christmas Fun, an activity book published by Scholastic. Amazingly, it was quite a good seller and I was asked to write other activity books for Scholastic.

What affect did that have on your life?

Writing for children’s magazines meant I had a regular income, which was great but it was a crazy life working to tight deadlines. I wrote all sorts of stuff; comic strips, stories, articles, pop features, quizzes – I even wrote a horoscope page and problem page. As the writer, everything started with me and I had to get my script to the office in plenty of time so the artists could get working. And this was the days before computers and email, at first anyway, so I had to get the scripts in the post. I had four young children at this time and often worked way past midnight when everyone else was sleeping, getting up again at six to meet the deadlines. I look back now and don’t know how I did it.

sapphire blue cover

Does your first published story reflect your current writing style?

I guess in a way I’ve come full circle, because my first published stories were romance stories and now I mainly write YA and romance novels. Of course there’s a lot of difference between a short story for a teen mag and a romance novel. I still write children’s books too.

My YA Sapphire Blue, an afterlife romance adventure, was published last year and I’m planning a sequel. The two main characters, Will and Sapphire, tragically die in the first chapter and are separated in the afterlife. They love each other so much they’ll do anything to find each other, including going to Red, where they encounter a lot of danger and have to deal with some creatures called Soul Catchers. I don’t want to give too much away but I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s read it without crying.

My first book for Accent Press is due out in May this year. It’s titled I Do? …or Do I? and is about a local journalist, Cassie, who is about to marry safe, reliable hot shot lawyer, Timothy but her ‘Monster in Law’ Sylvia is determined to make it the ‘wedding of the year’. When Sylvia books the exclusive ID images to take photographs of the extravagant wedding, Cassie has no idea what she’s walking into. The elusive JM who is the newest photographer employed just so happens to be Jared, Cassie’s first love and ex-fiancé, who broke off their engagement to follow his life-long dreams. So it’s very much a case of ‘will she or won’t she?’ I’ve very excited about it.

I Do

What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve been contracted to write two more books for Accent. I’ve just delivered book 2 and am now planning book 3. I’m also working on a YA and a children’s series. I like to have a lot of things on the go.

KK Head and Shoulders


Facebook Author pages:

Children’s books

Romance books

Twitter: Karen_king

Sapphire Blue Amazon link:

I Do?… or Do I?

Amazon –

Waterstones –


Many thanks for such a great interview Karen,

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

Interview with Sue Fortin: The Girl Who Lied

It’s interview time! Today it’s the lovely Sue Fortin in the hot seat. So why not pull up a chair and join us for a cuppa and a chat?

coffee and cake

What inspired you to write your book?

I’ve always been interested in anything with a mystery and a touch of romance. This particular story started off as a contemporary romance when I was undertaking a creative writing course with the London School of Journalism. Margaret James was my tutor and I clearly remember her saying, it’s all very nice but not much has happened. Not knowing how to fix it, I put it to one side and over the next four years revisited to see if I could make something happen. I’m not sure what clicked, but last year, something did and I knew what to do. It involved an enormous rewrite, but I definitely made something happen!

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

Not especially, the characters are usually a blend of people I know and my imagined acquaintances.

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

Up until this book I have written all my novels in the third person. This time, however, I have used the first person present. It just felt right for this particular character and as I experimented, the words seemed to flow very easily. I felt as if I really got to know my main character by writing this way.

TGWL final cover

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

I’m a plotter. My novels are very much plot driven as I try to put in lots of twists and turns. I have to know where the story is going otherwise I would end up writing myself into a complete muddle. I have tried to write without plotting but it’s rather scary!

What is your writing regime?

On an ideal day, I’d like to be at my desk by 9.30, having done the school run and had a swift tidy up at home – all the exciting things like loading the dishwasher and washing machine. My aim is to have a quick blast on social media. If I’m in the middle of writing, this really does have to be a quick blast, when I’m not under a deadline pressure, it’s a more leisurely activity. I try to spend most of the day writing, up until about 2.30pm when I have to get ready for school pick up, cook the tea, help with homework etc. It doesn’t always work that smoothly but I do try to stick to it.

Thanks so much for letting appear on your blog today, Jenny, it’s been great answering your questions.



Facebook Sue Fortin Author


Buy link

Sue Fortin author pic


Published by Harper Collins’ imprint Harper Impulse, Sue Fortin writes romance, mystery and suspense.

Sue’s second novel, Closing In, became a best seller in 2014 reaching number one in the Kobo Romantic Suspense chart. Her originally self-published debut novel, United States of Love, was awarded the INDIE Brag Medallion and later when published by HarperImpulse was short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award (2014). Sue was also short-listed for the Festival of Romance, New Talent Award (2013). Sue blogs regularly with the on-line writing group The Romaniacs.

Lover of cake, Dragonflies and France. Hater of calories, maths and snakes. Sue was born in Hertfordshire but had a nomadic childhood, moving often with her family, before eventually settling in West Sussex.

Sue is married with four children, all of whom patiently give her time to write but, when not behind the keyboard, she likes to spend her time with them, enjoying both the coast and the South Downs, between which they are nestled.


Many thanks for popping over to chat today Sue. Good luck with your ne novel.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x



‘Quirky Guest Post Blog Marathon’ by Virginia King: A Banquet of Consequences

I’m delighted to welcome Virginia King to my site. Today she is kicking off her ‘Quirky Guest Post Blog Marathon’ tour, with a wonderful blog- A Banquet of Consequences.

Over to you Virginia…

A Banquet of Consequences 270KB

Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences. – Robert Louis Stevenson

This metaphor is chillingly accurate when it comes to life – each human action is not without its outcomes, foreseen or unforeseen, and often there’s a collision as they all come together with a bang.

It’s the same with the characters in a novel – and the reason I used Stevenson’s quote as the epigraph to my psychological mystery The First Lie.

The First Lie ebook 200 KB

For writers, the process of playing with consequences is delicious. They may plan the outcomes before writing, but serendipity has a way of meddling with plans, or they may allow the consequences to unfold as they write, with all the unpredictability of real life.

The first step is to plant the seed. Movies are very good at this, every moment hinting at an outcome later in the film. These seeds might be:

An action

In the Grimm’s fairy tale Rumplestiltskin a series of consequences befall the young woman after her father tells the King she can spin straw into gold.

In The Secret History by Donna Tartt, the disdain the main character Richard has for his working class background makes him obsess about joining an exclusive coterie of students and lie about his past. Lies are a powerful trigger for consequences. When he’s accepted into this dysfunctional group he becomes implicated in a crime that cascades into a banquet of consequences.

A character trait

In Lawrence of Arabia, the first scene shows Lawrence putting out a lighted match with his bare fingers. When he’s asked if it hurts, he replies that it’s not whether it hurts that matters, it’s minding whether it hurts that counts. This insight into his character is crucial to understanding the last scene in the movie – Lawrence’s ‘banquet’.

Burning Match 75 KB

In Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Amy’s inability to be ‘real’ – after her parents turned her into an effigy of their children’s book character ‘Amazing Amy’ – leads to the chain of consequences that unfold.

An event

In the first scene in Hitchcock’s Vertigo, the police officer played by James Stewart is involved in a roof top pursuit which leaves him with a debilitating fear of heights. The banquet of spiralling consequences throughout the movie result from his affliction.

In one of my favourite books, The Girl in a Swing by Richard Adams, the main character Alan Desland is involved in a psychic experiment as a teenager early in the book, leaving him so shell-shocked that he suppresses his psychic gift into adulthood. But when he falls in love with the enigmatic Karin, escalating psychic clues haunt him until they finally reveal a very dark secret.

An object

Objects can be very powerful, especially in folktales and mythology. In The Lord of the Rings there would be no story and no dramatic consequences without the ring.

In the children’s book Dragonkeeper by Carole Wilkinson, a slave girl and an old dragon set out across China carrying a mysterious stone that must be protected. The stone carries all the consequences of their epic journey.

To Plan or Not to Plan

Sprinkling seeds in a manuscript – and not knowing their outcome in advance – can be serious fun. Some seeds are rich with promise. In The First Lie, my main character Selkie Moon hears a voice in a dream on page one that says: Someone is trying to kill you. I wrote the book not knowing what would happen at the end, but the warning planted the seed and drove Selkie’s journey of discovery. In The Second Path, Selkie wakes to find she’s collected seven objects in her sleep – a rock, a spoon, a message scrawled in lipstick … These objects lead her across the world like the path of crumbs in Hansel and Gretel’s forest. In my mystery-in-progress, a mysterious parcel arrives from Selkie’s great grandmother 35 years after her death … I’m writing my way towards that unpredictable banquet right now. Yum.



The First Lie by Virginia King

Someone is trying to kill you. When Selkie Moon flees Sydney to start over in Hawaii, it’s to live life on her own terms. But Life has other plans. Though she tries to dismiss the warning as just another nightmare, it soon becomes apparent that someone, or something, is stalking her. Attacked by frightening visions and mysterious compulsions, she must piece together the fragmented clues before time runs out. Virginia King effortlessly blends funky creativity and deep spirituality – with a dash of Celtic folklore – to craft a story of one woman’s fight for truth, and her discovery that the lies we tell ourselves are the most dangerous of all.


Laying Ghosts

A Free Ghost Story

Get a taste for consequences with Laying Ghosts, a modern 24-page haunted house story inspired by a Russian folktale and tangled up in a murder ballad dating back to the 1700s. It’s a standalone story but also a prequel to the Selkie Moon Mystery Series. Download your free copy

Giveaway of The First Lie

You could be one of ten lucky winners who will choose either a signed paperback or an audio book of The First Lie plus a $15 Amazon gift code. One grand prize winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift code.

Enter here:

Laying Ghosts





All Retail Links Can Be Found Via-


Virginia King Portrait by Amanda Thorson 200 KB


When a voice wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you to write a mystery series what’s a writer to do? That’s how Virginia King came to create Selkie Moon, after a massage from a strange woman with gifted hands was followed by this nocturnal message. Virginia sat down at the keyboard until Selkie Moon turned up. All she had to do was jump, the first sentence said. Soon Virginia was hooked, exploring far-flung places full of secrets where Selkie delves into psychological clues tangled up in the local mythology.

Before Selkie Moon invaded her life, Virginia had been a teacher, an unemployed ex-teacher, the author of over 50 children’s books, an audio-book producer, a workshop presenter and a prize-winning publisher. These days she lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney with her husband, where she disappears each day into Selkie Moon’s latest mystery. Bliss.


Many thanks for stopping off on your tour Virginia!!

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x


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