The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


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Blowing the Dust Off: Nell Peter’s By Any Other Name

It’s Day 2 of my Blowing the Dust Off series. Today we are in the company of Nell Peters (she of the end of the month blogging epics). She is taking a peak at her first crime novel By Any Other Name.

Go grab a cuppa, sit down, and enjoy…

 

Hi Jenny – is it the end of the month already? Oh no, different gig – I’m here to waffle on about one of my backlist masterpieces! Silly me …

It was on (Friday) 25th April 2014, that I received an email from Greg Rees, then an editor at Accent, telling me he’d finished the complete MS of By Any Other Name and wanted to publish it – as he read through, he’d been flabbergasted not once, but twice apparently. Go me! The offer came as a huge surprise, since when he’d liked the original three chapter submission and asked for the rest, I’d rather dismissed the possibility of things going any further – I expected to receive yet another ‘not right for our list at this time’ or ‘I just don’t love it enough’ type rejection. I’ve had enough of those to metaphorically paper a medium-sized room, although funnily enough, none for that particular book, as I’d only just finished writing it. When I say ‘just finished writing’ I mean the final two thirds of a crime novel started so long ago I can’t actually put a date on it – except that it was just after Queen Victoria died.

The first third of BAON had to be rewritten too from memory, after #3 son managed to crash my PC spectacularly and send all my files spiralling into cyber space, without hope of retrieval – and I had no back-up, nada! Rookie mistake … I dipped into the rewrite now and again over the years, in between writing other stuff, and eventually got to the bit where everything had disappeared in a puff of ether. Then I had to actually start thinking how the plot would evolve and finish the thing – it actually took on a whole different outline to my original mental blueprint.

However, that Friday the excitement and anticipation of publication had to take a back seat very quickly, because the following day was GD Isla-Rose’s first birthday – and she was having a big party, for which I’d promised to make a pink princess fairy castle cake, plus oodles of buffet food. I mentioned the cake making to Greg and he very helpfully sent a link to an M&S creation that would have been perfect, except for the seven day waiting period. Damn! So, into the kitchen toddled the least domesticated female since Lizzie Borden’s stepmother served up that putrefied mutton …

Isla is #4 son’s (now) older daughter and he rocked up to, erm, help with the cake. By the time we’d finished many hours later, all book publication thoughts had left the building and the kitchen had suffered a snow blizzard, covered in flour and icing sugar (as were we!) But we were reasonably pleased/relieved at the result. Happy to report that of the too many people packed into their tiny house, nobody died of food poisoning from the party fodder and a good time was had by all.

The next week, my contract arrived, but before I could sign it (against the advice of the Society of Authors, I might add) my father was taken ill in Twickenham and I had to speed off to his bedside, via long distance trains and a tube strike. Dad was fine, of course – he’s a life-long hypochondriac, but even they become genuinely ill sometimes, and at eighty-nine it was a bit risky to ignore his protestations. I eventually managed to extract myself from his sick bay and return to my lap top in Norfolk to begin the process of whipping the MS into pristine shape for November release.

When the big day arrived, it was something of an anti-climax. There had been no pre-order, ARCs, trumpet or whistle blowing prior to the launch and apart from me posting on social media, the day passed unheralded with me gawping at the lap top. I joined some FB groups to get myself ‘out there’ – from one day to the next I went from being a no-group bod to belonging to four, and rising.

Once your book finally hits the cyber shelves, even as a very unsatisfactory print on demand, reviews are eagerly awaited and after a couple of weeks or so, one landed on Amazon for BAON – a 1*! At that time Accent used to put new releases on a freebie offer for a limited time to encourage sales and ‘Patsy’ (her name is ingrained in my memory forever!), I noticed, made a habit of grabbing any freebie going and rubbishing it, after reading just a few pages. If you have a healthy clutch of reviews, you can weather a low rating, but when it’s the first it takes ages to up your average, which is frankly depressing.

By Any Other Name is a genre-crossing crime novel and admittedly a bit Marmite. There are similarities to I Let You Go in that the plot stands on its head at about two thirds of the way through – it’s difficult to say much more, so why not read the blurb:

A summer job to die for – and people do.

Emily Kelly can’t believe her luck when she is employed as temporary companion to Sir Gerald Ffinche and falls in love with his son, Richard.

However, it’s obvious their happiness isn’t shared by all, when one tragedy is quickly followed by another; and as the body count mounts, subtle clues are left to incriminate Emily and destroy her relationship.

Police involved seem incapable of exposing the real culprit; perhaps a family member, one of the household staff, or someone else close to the Ffinches?

No one is above suspicion, and no one is safe until a psychopath is unmasked – or thereafter.

With a shoal of red herrings and a plot that turns quickly from almost-cosy to taut psychological thriller, this is an enthralling, chilling read that will appeal to those who relish the unpredictability of Clare Mackintosh.

    ‘Twists abound as love blossoms amongst the dead bodies in a genre-crossing novel with a dark undertow all its own.’

Marika Cobbold, best-selling author.

     Fancy reading an excerpt? Be my guest:

Chapter One

As Emily rushed around, scooping up all the stuff she needed to take to work, an advertisement in the local free paper caught her attention:

Footloose and Versatile Female, Aged under 35 years.

Must be free July and August. Telephone in complete confidence …’

Not much to go on, but what could possibly be worse than painting red crescent smiles on toy clowns’ faces day in, day out, until September, she asked herself. Exactly. She ripped out the bottom half of the page, folded it roughly and shoved it in her bag, before heading out the door at speed.

She’d recently finished the first year of a degree course in Psychology, passing all assignments with flying colours and notching up the requisite number of credits to enable her to continue – much to her tutors’ blatant amazement, her attendance record having won no awards. But without visible (or invisible) means of support, Emily had to take a holiday job in a local toy factory just to survive until the next loan cheque arrived on the doormat. Though the work was mind-numbingly awful, it was all she could get; she hadn’t been there long and for the third time in as many days, was about to miss the last bus that would deliver her to her paint pot on time.

She forgot all about the ad until lunchtime, when she was sitting eating crisps with Doreen and some of the other women who worked in the paint section.

‘What do you think about this, Dor?’ she asked, waving the scrap of paper under her nose.

Doreen adjusted her half-moon glasses and scrutinised the print. ‘Well, if I was ten years younger…’

‘And the rest!’ scoffed Peroxide Pam, who was reading over Doreen’s shoulder, gnashing her Wrigley’s for all to see and hear.

Doreen pursed her lips, ignoring Pam, ‘As I was saying, if I was ten years younger, Em, I’d apply for it meself – what have you got to lose?’

The arrival of Mr Spinks, their line supervisor, put an end to any further debate.

‘Come, come now ladies. Idle chatter won’t get the baby bathed – not in a month of Sundays.’ Spinks was a short, round man – a regular sleaze ball, who vastly overestimated his levels of charisma and importance. ‘The lunch break is finished – now back to your work stations, quick as you can.’ He clapped raw sausage fingers together, the effort of movement making his chins wobble.

She took a moment to suck the last traces of nicotine from her roll-up and stubbed it out on the handy ‘No Smoking’ sign provided – which meant the others left without her and she found herself alone in the locker room, with Spinks blocking the exit. Damn!

‘Well, if it isn’t Miss Smarty Pants…’ he was getting a little too close for comfort, ‘I don’t know why you think you are so much cleverer than the rest of us – just because you managed to cheat your way into university, that doesn’t make you any better than me…’ His damp breath was making her hair frizz and she wanted to get away from his horrible disrobing gaze.

Thank goodness, Doreen’s antennae were on top form. She reappeared at the end of the dingy corridor, ‘There you are, Em. I wondered where you’d got to – mustn’t waste company time, now must we?’ She smiled ingratiatingly at Spinks, who jumped back from Emily as though she had broken out in seeping plague boils.

He scowled, ‘Very good, Mrs Mason, that’s the Dunkirk spirit. Carry on, now.’

She started to follow Doreen, changed her mind and spun around to face him once more, ‘Actually, Mr Spinks, I’m working here during the vacs to earn money – that’s why everyone works here isn’t it, to earn money? I don’t think of myself as any better or any worse than anyone else – including you.’ She felt Doreen’s sharp tug at her elbow, ‘And the name is Kelly, Emily Kelly – not Smarty Pants. She left last week, I believe.’ Then she allowed herself to be dragged away.

Spinks stalked off in the opposite direction, gargantuan buttocks flubbing together and one arm held awkwardly behind his back, like Prince Charles. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know,’ he called over his shoulder.

‘Wazzock,’ hissed Doreen, not too loudly, ‘don’t you take no notice of him, Em, Mrs Spinks is probably keeping him on tight rations in the bedroom department.’ She inclined her head and winked a blue-shadowed crêpe eyelid.

‘I’m amazed there is a Mrs Spinks.’ Emily suffered a gruesome mind’s eye flash of him in the nude – even his spare tyres had spare tyres – which sent shivers up and down her neurological pathways.

‘Oh yeah, right under the thumb he is,’ Doreen was one of those people who seemed to know everything about everybody.

‘Does she have a Seeing Eye Dog and a white stick?’

Doreen shrugged, ‘Never met the woman in person, but I saw them out shopping on a Saturday once. She’s one of them scrawny, mean-looking women – probably a terrible nag. And Spinks never brings her along to the Christmas parties.’

‘Lucky escape for her, I imagine?’ Emily scoffed.

She looked genuinely shocked, ‘You must be joking! It’s the social event of the year round here.’ Emily made a mental note never to sink that low. ‘Okay, Miss Smarty Pants – time we was getting back to our work of national importance.’

Back at the production line, plastic clowns were standing all in a row, waiting for her to make them look happy and appealing and well worth their outrageous price tag. Doreen hitched up her weighty boobs with equally weighty forearms and waddled off to her seat, her lumpy backside straining to be free of the tight brown overall. As always, she was anxious to catch the beginning of The Archers – which was the highlight of her day.

Not being a fan of radio drama, Emily loaded her paintbrush with crimson gloop and settled down to switch off from life in the sweatshop and daydream her way through to clocking-off time. Johnny Depp featured regularly in her fantasy world and that afternoon, she was guest of honour at his sumptuous mansion, high in the Hollywood Hills. Dearest Johnny couldn’t do enough for her, waiting on her hand and foot as she soaked up the Californian sun at the side of his turquoise infinity pool, sipping vintage champagne through a sparkly straw.

Her imagination took a detour to that interesting advertisement and the possible scenarios it might throw up. Was it possible a terminally ill Adonis was searching for someone like her to sooth his fevered brow, during his final, tragic weeks? As a reward for her unstinting care, he would bequeath to her all his money, plus a controlling share portfolio in a selection of designer dress and shoe shops. Or could it be an eccentric zillionaire sought a beautiful, lithe young woman (such as Emily, obviously) to work an hour a day on his very own Caribbean Island? Naturally, her allotted tasks wouldn’t be too taxing – perhaps grooming the Guinea pig twice a week, arranging vases of exotic flowers to his satisfaction, pouring just the right amount of expensive, scented bath oil into his hot tub; that sort of thing.

If you’d like to read more, here’s the international link.

http://mybook.to/BAON

Toodles.

Nell Peters

***

Thanks Nell – fabulous blog as ever.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see which book Marie Laval is going to share with us.

Happy reading,

Jenny x


The Outlaw’s Ransom: Extract

outlaws-ransom-5-star

This winter sees the release of the follow up novel to The Outlaw’s Ransom,;The Winter Outlaw– in the meantime, here’s a reminder of what happens in The Outlaw’s Ransom…

Blurb

The first in an exciting new series by acclaimed author Jenny Kane writing as Jennifer Ash.

When craftsman’s daughter Mathilda is kidnapped by the notorious Folville brothers, as punishment for her father’s debts, she fears for her life.  Although of noble birth, the Folvilles are infamous throughout the county for disregarding the law – and for using any means necessary to deliver their brand of ‘justice’.

Mathilda must prove her worth to the Folvilles in order to win her freedom. To do so she must go against her instincts and, disguised as the paramour of the enigmatic Robert de Folville, undertake a mission that will take her far from home and put her life in the hands of a dangerous brigand – and that’s just the start of things…

A thrilling tale of medieval mystery and romance – and with a nod to the tales of Robin Hood – The Outlaw’s Ransom is perfect for fans of C.J. Sansom and Jean Plaidy.

The Outlaw's RansomThe Outlaw’s Ransom (which originally saw life as part of my contemporary fiction/medieval mystery timeslip novel, Romancing Robin Hood), is a book that’s very close to my heart.  Anyone who follows this blog will know that it is my love of all things Robin Hood which led to me researching the real life criminal gang, the Folville brothers, and considering how they might have been influenced by the outlaw ballads that would have been circulating at the time.

It was interesting to be able to give, what I imagine, the Folville family’s perspective on the Robin Hood stories might be.

rh-and-the-monk

Extract

…Eustace de Folville continued, ‘You know something of us, Mathilda, from living in these parts. And, I have no doubt, my dear brother has explained to you our beliefs on maintaining our lands and beyond, keeping a weather eye on the dealings of all men in this hundred.’

Mathilda bit her tongue in an effort to remain demurely mute, trying to concentrate on what Eustace was saying and not on the unknown fate of her younger brother.

‘He has also, I believe, told you of his fascination with stories,’ Eustace gave Robert a blunt stare; leaving Mathilda to wonder whether it was his brother’s passion for the minstrels’ tales, or the fact he’d shared that belief and interest with a mere chattel, that Eustace disapproved of.

‘The balladeers have become obsessed of late with the injustices of this land. Often rightly so. Naturally the fabled Robyn Hode has become a hero. An ordinary man who breaks the law, and yet somehow remains good and faithful in the eyes of the Church, is bound to be favoured. In years past such a character’s popularity would have been unthinkable, but these days, well …’

Eustace began to pace in front of the fire, reminding Mathilda of how his brother had moved earlier, ‘Now we are empowered by the young King, the Earl of Huntingdon, and Sheriff Ingram, to keep these lands safe and well run, and by God and Our Lady we’ll do it, even if we have to sweep some capricious damned souls to an earlier hell than they were expecting along the way.’

Eustace was shouting now, but not at her. His voice had adopted a hectoring passion, and Mathilda resolved that she would never willingly disappoint this man; it would be too dangerous.

‘Many of the complaints of crimes and infringements that reach my family’s ears are not accurate. Far more felonies are alleged out of spite or personal grievance than are ever actually committed. We require more eyes and ears, girl. Accurate, unbiased eyes and ears.

‘The sheriff of this county is not a bad man. No worse than the rest anyway; but Ingram is sorely stretched. He has not only this shire, but Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire within his writ. The man cannot be everywhere at once. No man can.

‘We are believed to have a band of criminals under our control, Mathilda. This is not true. I’m no Hode, although I am lucky to have the respect of the immediate population, and although I know that respect is because they go in fear of me, I’d rather have that than no respect at all. Hode’s principles I embrace, as I do other outlaw heroes’ who have flouted a law more corrupt than they are. Those such as Gamelyn can give a man a good example to follow. What was it he declared, Robert, to the Justice at his false trial?’

Moving into the light of the table, Robert thought for a second before reeling off a verse he’d probably known by heart since childhood, ‘Come from the seat of justice: all too oft Hast thou polluted law’s clear stream with wrong; Too oft hast taken reward against the poor; Too oft hast lent thine aid to villainy, And given judgment ’gainst the innocent. Come down and meet thine own meed at the bar, While I, in thy place, give more rightful doom And see that justice dwells in law for once.’

Eustace nodded to his brother, who’d already shrunk back into the shadows of the nearest wall, ‘I do not have such a band at my beck and call, Mathilda. When I need help I have to pay for it.’

***

The values that – in my mind at least- the Folville brothers see in the stories of Robin Hood form an important undying theme to this tale- and to Mathilda of Twyford they will make the difference between life and death…

lytell-geste

If you’d like to read my first medieval mystery, then The Outlaw’s Ransom is available for your Kindle here –

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outlaws-Ransom-Jennifer-Ash-ebook/dp/B01LZDKPQM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1475660907&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Outlaw%27s+Ransom+Jennifer+Ash

https://www.amazon.com/Outlaws-Ransom-Jennifer-Ash-ebook/dp/B01LZDKPQM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475660990&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Outlaw%27s+Ransom+Jennifer+Ash

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer (aka Jenny!!) xx

 


Nell Peters: End of the Month Blog. Caretaking for Jenny in July

Hello! It’s just us this month as Jenny has been foolish enough to go on holiday and leave me in charge for a day – so come on in; the world is our bucket of jellied eels. Urgh. Talking about eels, I recently had a slightly bizarre conversation with someone who told me that eels really mess up fishing tackle if they are caught on a rod and line – their slime gloops all over the place as they struggle to get free and it royally gums up the works. With that unsavoury image lurking, let’s move on, shall we?

July is the seventh month of the year (Wiki very helpfully qualifies this as falling between June and August for the benefit of any Martians who happen to be swotting up on earth months) in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and the fourth month to have thirty-one days. The Roman Senate renamed Quintilis as July in honour of their general, Gaius Julius Caesar, it being his birth month. I wonder if that was before or after the unfortunate ‘Et tu, Brute?’ incident on the Ides of March, when JC should have worn his Kevlar toga? But all you really need to know is that the most important day in July falls on the thirteenth, when Jenny and I celebrate our birthdays. You forgot again, didn’t you? Tsk.

This is on average the warmest month in most of the northern hemisphere (coldest in the south), kicking off the second half of the year after the longest day in June. ‘Dog Days’, or the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer, begin early on when the hot, sultry weather starts – in theory, at least. Spring lambs, born in late winter or early spring, are usually sold before July 1st.

July is also traditionally known as ‘fence month’ or the closed season for deer in England. Trinity Term (sitting of the English High Court of Justice), ends on the 31st, and the elections of the Japanese House of Councillors, replacing half its seats, are held every three years – the latest in 2016. In Ancient Rome the festival of Poplifugia was celebrated on July 5th, and Ludi Apollinares began on July 13th, lasting for several days, although these dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar. Don’t really know why I mentioned them then…

I mentioned the High Court a few lines back; last July – Friday 9th, I believe – #3 son and I went to the funeral of an old neighbour in Chiswick, a brilliant man called Dr John Anthony Roberts CBE QC DCL FCI.Arb, a High Court Judge, whose biography is quite fascinating.

We met one Sunday morning when I was teaching #3 son (it’s always him, isn’t it?) – aged about two – to ride his tricycle down the pavement of our quiet road, because the gardens were tiny and he kept riding into walls. I’m pleased to report his spatial awareness has improved with age and (to my knowledge) he’s never driven any of the flash cars he’s so fond of into a wall, or anything else.

Unfortunately, that day the little chap got a bit carried away with his peddling and crashed into the wheel of Dr Roberts’ parked Rolls Royce, which he was cleaning – trees lining the road bore huge purple berries which the birds gobbled greedily, and when nature took its course, all the cars got covered with toxic purple poo, which was the devil to get off without destroying the paint job. No damage was done to the Roller *breathes huge sigh of relief and cancels remortgage application* and there began an unusual friendship between the two of them that lasted more than a quarter of a century.

John’s great grandfather, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and became the first President of Liberia. His grandfather, John Anthony Roberts (Snr.), born in Liberia, was a cable engineer who worked in Brazil, America and England, between 1891 and 1892. John was born in Sierra Leone in May 1928 to John Anthony Roberts (Jnr. – this is starting to get confusing)), a Brazilian – his mother (whose name I can’t find) was born in Sierra Leone, a descendant of liberated Africans who chose to return after the Slave Trade was abolished. That’s some heritage.

He came to the law relatively late – he was a civil servant in Sierra Leone before coming to the UK to join the RAF, where he qualified as an accountant before joining aircrew, and then returned to Sierra Leone to work in Air Traffic Control (at the invitation of the PM!) Back to the UK with a wife (Eulette, a midwife at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, where #3 was born) and son (Anthony John Roberts, thank goodness!) in tow. It was while he was again working as a Civil Servant here between 1964 and 1969 that he studied law part-time and got his degree. But if you want to practice as a barrister you need to join Chambers as a pupil for a year as general dogsbody earning a pittance to earn your wig, so to speak. After an unsuccessful search for a place, he was told he stood no chance whatsoever, because he was a) black and b) almost twice as old as the average pupil – so what did he do when he hit one of #3’s brick walls? He set up his own Chambers and over the years took on barristers and pupils of all colours and creeds. Oh, and women, who at that time would have found it even harder to gain a place than an older black man.

#3 did his work experience at those Chambers as a mini-Pupil and rather liked the life – especially when two of the younger barristers took him to the West Country for a day trip in an E-type Jag to collect some court papers. Have they never heard of the post or couriers? In the end, he didn’t read law, even though he had a place waiting for him post degree in Chambers. His choice and he now leads a rather enviable life flying around the world.

Before I move on, let me list just a few of Dr John Anthony Roberts’ achievements:

  • The first known person of African ancestry to be the Head of his Chambers in England and Wales.
  • The first person of African ancestry to be made a QC in England and Wales.
  • The first person of African ancestry to be made a Recorder of the Crown Court in England and Wales.
  • The first person of African ancestry to be appointed by the British Government to dependent territories as a High Court Judge of the Supreme Courts of the British Virgin Islands, and Anguilla, British West Indies.
  • The first Head of Chambers to accept seven female barristers at one time in 1975. A record during that era.

Phew! Lovely man with a huge personality and a huge laugh.

This was as far as I got with Jenny’s July blog before my father died unexpectedly.

Normal service will be resumed in August. Allegedly.

Toodles.

NP

www.Author.to/nellpeters

 

 

 

 


Summer Wedding: Romancing Robin Hood

To celebrate the paperback version of Romancing Robin Hood being available at the new price of £7.99,  I thought I’d share a little taster of what lays hidden within its modern/medieval pages.

RRH- new 2015

Romancing Robin Hood is a contemporary romance is based on the life of Dr Grace Harper, a medieval history lecturer with a major Robin Hood obsession. So much so, that instead of writing a textbook on medieval life, Grace is secretly writing a novella about a fourteenth century girl called Mathilda, who gets mixed up with a real outlaw family of the day, the Folvilles. (Which you can also read about within this same novel)

The problem is that Grace is so embroiled in her work and passion for outlaws, that real life is passing her by. A fact that the unexpected wedding announcement of her best friend Daisy, has thrown into sharp focus…

summer wedding

Extract

…Daisy hadn’t grown up picturing herself floating down the aisle in an over-sequinned ivory frock, nor as a doting parent, looking after triplets and walking a black Labrador. So when, on an out-of-hours trip to the local vet’s surgery she’d met Marcus and discovered that love at first sight wasn’t a myth, it had knocked her for six.

She’d been on a late-night emergency dash to the surgery with an owl a neighbour had found injured in the road. Its wing had required a splint, and it was too big a job for only one pair of hands. Daisy had been more than a bit surprised when the locum vet had stirred some long-suppressed feeling of interest in her, and even more amazed when that feeling had been reciprocated.

It was all luck, sheer luck. Daisy had always believed that anyone meeting anybody was down to two people meeting at exactly the right place, at exactly the right time, while both feeling precisely the right amount of chemistry. The fact that any couples existed at all seemed to Daisy to be one of the greatest miracles of humanity.

She pictured Grace, tucked away in her mad little office only living in the twenty-first century on a part-time basis. Daisy had long since got used to the fact that her closest friend’s mind was more often than not placed firmly in the 1300s. Daisy wished Grace would finish her book. It had become such a part of her. Such an exclusive aim that nothing else seemed to matter very much. Even the job she used to love seemed to be a burden to her now, and Daisy sensed that Grace was beginning to resent the hours it took her away from her life’s work. Maybe if she could get her book over with – get it out of her system – then Grace would stop living in the wrong timeframe.

Daisy knew Grace appreciated that she never advised her to find a bloke, settle down, and live ‘happily ever after,’ and she was equally grateful Grace had never once suggested anything similar to her. Now she had Marcus, however, Daisy had begun to want the same contentment for her friend, and had to bite her tongue whenever they spoke on the phone; something that happened less and less these days.

Grace’s emails were getting shorter too. The long paragraphs detailing the woes of teaching students with an ever-decreasing intelligence had blunted down to, ‘You ok? I’m good. Writing sparse. See you soon. Bye G x’

The book. That in itself was a problem. Grace’s publishers and colleagues, Daisy knew, were expecting an academic tome. A textbook for future medievalists to ponder over in the university libraries of the world. And, in time, that was exactly what they were going to get, but not yet, for Grace had confided to Daisy that this wasn’t the only thing she was working on, and her textbook was coming a poor third place to work and the other book she couldn’t seem to stop herself from writing.

‘Why,’ Grace had forcefully expounded on their last meeting, ‘should I slog my guts out writing a book only a handful of bored students and obsessive freaks like myself will ever pick up, let alone read?’

As a result, Grace was writing a novel, ‘A semi-factual novel,’ she’d said, ‘a story which will tell any student what they need to know about the Folville family and their criminal activities – which bear a tremendous resemblance to the stories of a certain famous literary outlaw! – and hopefully promote interest in the subject for those who aren’t that into history without boring them to death.’

It sounded like a good idea to Daisy, but she also knew, as Grace did, that it was precisely the sort of book academics frowned upon, and she was worried about Grace’s determination to finish it. Daisy thought it would be more sensible to concentrate on one manuscript at a time, and get the dry epic that everyone was expecting out of the way first. Perhaps it would have been completed by now if Grace could focus on one project at a time, rather than it currently being a year in the preparation without a final result in sight. Daisy suspected Grace’s boss had no idea what she was really up to. After all, she was using the same lifetime of research for both manuscripts. She also had an underlying suspicion that subconsciously Grace didn’t want to finish either the textbook or the novel; that her friend was afraid to finish them. After all, what would she fill her hours with once they were done?

Daisy’s mobile began to play a tinny version of Nellie the Elephant. She hastily plopped a small black guinea pig, which she’d temporarily called Charcoal, into a run with his numerous friends, and fished her phone from her dungarees pocket.

‘Hi, Marcus.’

‘Hi honey, you OK?’

‘Just delivering the tribe to their outside quarters, then I’m off to face the horror that is dress shopping.’

Her future husband laughed, ‘You’ll be fine. You’re just a bit rusty, that’s all.’

‘Rusty! I haven’t owned a dress since I went to parties as a small child. Thirty-odd years ago!’

‘I don’t understand why you don’t go with Grace at the weekend. It would be easier together wouldn’t it?’

Daisy sighed, ‘I’d love to go with her, but I’ll never get her away from her work more than once this month, and I’ve yet to arrange a date for her to buy a bridesmaid outfit.’

‘Well, good luck, babe. I’m off to rob some bulls of their manhood.’

Daisy giggled, ‘Have fun. Oh, why did you call by the way?’

‘Just wanted to hear your voice, nothing else.’

‘Oh cute – ta.’

‘Idiot! Enjoy shopping.’

As she clicked her battered blue mobile shut and slid it back into her working clothes, Daisy thought of Grace again. Perhaps she should accidentally invite loads of single men to the wedding to tempt her friend with. The trouble was, unless they wore Lincoln Green, and carried a bow and quiver of arrows, Daisy very much doubted whether Grace would even notice they were there…

RH- RoS 2

Blurb

Dr Grace Harper has loved the stories of Robin Hood ever since she first saw them on TV as a girl. Now, with her fortieth birthday just around the corner, she’s a successful academic in Medieval History, with a tenured position at a top university.

But Grace is in a bit of a rut. She’s supposed to be writing a textbook on a real-life medieval gang of high-class criminals – the Folvilles – but she keeps being drawn into the world of the novel she’s secretly writing – a novel which entwines the Folvilles with her long-time love of Robin Hood – and a feisty young girl named Mathilda, who is the key to a medieval mystery…

Meanwhile, Grace’s best friend Daisy – who’s as keen on animals as Grace is on the Merry Men – is unexpectedly getting married, and a reluctant Grace is press-ganged into being her bridesmaid. As Grace sees Daisy’s new-found happiness, she starts to re-evaluate her own life. Is her devotion to a man who may or may not have lived hundreds of years ago really a substitute for a real-life hero of her own? It doesn’t get any easier when she meets Dr Robert Franks – a rival academic who Grace is determined to dislike but finds herself being increasingly drawn to…

Buy Links Romancing Robin Hood is available from all good paperback and e-retailers.

Amazon UK- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00M4838S2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407428558&sr=8-1&keywords=romancing+robin+hood

Amazon.com- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00M4838S2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407428558&sr=8-1&keywords=romancing+robin+hood 

Kobo link – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/romancing-robin-hood

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Happy reading,

Jenny x


Birthday Perks

There are many advantages to having (yet another) birthday…This is what I’m telling myself as I wake up on my 45th birthday in a state of bewilderment that I’ve got this far through my life without anyone telling me I’m doing it wrong.

I will be honest- the idea of being 45 does not fill my with joy. On the other hand, not reaching 45 would have one hell of a lot worse, and so I’ll go with it- although it had better be a damn site better to me than 44 was!

A lot went wrong when I was 44 –  book deal promises died, publishers dissolved into the ether, writing promises were broken, and so on….On the other hand (again)…out of these professional ashes came Imagine… The creative writing business I am co-managing with the lovely Alison Knight.

It has already been so much fun- and we’ve had some fantastic adventures sourcing potential retreat venues, appearing on BBC Radio Wiltshire, teaching from Penzance to Chippenham, and lots of places in between. My highlight so far…

Carefully easing out the memories of a class of dementia sufferers who all want to get their life stories on paper before it’s too late. Humbling.

This last year has seen me embark upon my first literary tour, taking Abi’s Neighbour on a trip around the South West, ending up in Cornwall, where it is set, amongst the rocks of Penzance, and the yellow sands of Sennen.

Outside of my working life- my eldest daughter left compulsory education, has recently won a prize at the Royal Institution of Science for outstanding work in biology, and is about to head off to university. Meanwhile by youngest daughter has just won a scholarship to Maths school over the Summer, as well as an award for academic excellence in Statistics – not to mention a 2nd Dan Black Belt in mixed martial arts (Don’t mess with daughter number 2!!) I think you can say I’m a proud Mum.

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As if to offset the extra wrinkles and gradual general in-toning, a birthday does bring with it some perks.

I get to stay in bed and write this rather than go to the café to write this! I’m going to take part of the day off so that I can explore a little of the beautiful Exmoor countryside, and- it my nostrils don’t deceive me, and I’m not hallucinating the aroma coming from the kitchen, later there will be cake…

If you like a bit of a saucy read, I can also offer you a little pressie- in the shape of my Kay Jaybee novella, Wednesday on Thursday– which is FREE on Amazon this week (over 18’s ONLY)

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see if the postman has been, and to pull on my walking shoes. If I’m a good girl they might just walk me in the direction of a scone or two…

Happy reading,

Jenny x

 

 

 


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