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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


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


Romancing it medieval style

Romancing Robin Hood is a contemporary romance all about history lecturer Dr Grace Harper- a woman nuts about Robin Hood (especially the 1980’s television show, Robin of Sherwood).

Not only does Romancing Robin Hood tell the story of Grace’s fight to find time for love in her own busy work filled life, it also contains a secondary story – a medieval mystery that Grace is writing.

history-of-ashby-folville

In the story Grace is writing, her fourteenth century protagonist, Mathilda, is getting to know the real life outlaw family- the Folville’s- rather better than she would have liked. As well as living with them, Mathilda suddenly finds herself under a very frightening type of suspicion.

RRH- new 2015

Here’s an extract from Mathilda’s story as Grace sits and writes it…

Mathilda thought she was used to darkness, but the dim candlelight of the comfortable small room she shared at home with her brothers was nothing like this. The sheer density of this darkness seemed to envelop her, physically gliding over Mathilda’s clammy goose-pimpled skin. This was an extreme blackness that coated her, making her breathless, as if it was stealthfully compressing her lungs and squeezing the life from her.

Unable to see the floor, Mathilda presumed, as she pressed her naked foot against it and damp oozed between her toes, that the suspiciously soft surface she was sat on was moss, which in a room neglected for years had been allowed it to form a cushion on the stone floor. It was a theory backed up by the smell of mould and general filthiness which hung in the air.

Trying not to think about how long she was going to be left in this windowless cell, Mathilda stretched out her arms and bravely felt for the extent of the walls, hoping she wasn’t about to touch something other than cold stone. The child’s voice that lingered at the back of her mind, even though she was a woman of nineteen, was telling her – screaming at her – that there might be bodies in here, still clapped in irons, abandoned and rotting. Mathilda battled the voice down; knowing it that would do her no good at all. Her father had always congratulated Mathilda on her level headedness, and now it was being put to the test. She was determined not to let him down now.

Placing the very tips of her fingers against the wall behind her, she felt her way around. It was wet. Trickles of water had found a way in from somewhere, giving the walls the same slimy covering as the floor. Mathilda traced the outline of the rough stone wall, keeping her feet exactly where they were. In seconds her fingers came to a corner, and twisting at the waist, she managed to plot her prison from one side of the heavy wooden door to the other, without doing more than extending the span of her arms.

Mathilda decided the room could be no more than five feet square, although it must be about six foot tall. Her own five-foot frame had stumbled down a step when she’d been pushed into the cell, and her head was at least a foot clear of the ceiling. The bleak eerie silence was eating away at her determination to be brave, and the cold brought her suppressed fear to the fore. Suddenly the shivering Mathilda had stoically ignored overtook her, and there was nothing she could do but let it invade her small slim body.

Wrapping her thin arms around her chest, she pulled up her hood, hugged her grey woollen surcoat tighter about her shoulders, and sent an unspoken prayer of thanks up to Our Lady for the fact that her legs were covered.

She’d been helping her two brothers, Matthew and Oswin, to catch fish in the deeper water beyond the second of Twyford’s fords when the men had come. Mathilda had been wearing an old pair of Matthew’s hose, although no stockings or shoes. She thought of her warm footwear, discarded earlier with such merry abandon. A forgotten, neglected pile on the river bank; thrown haphazardly beneath a tree in her eagerness to get them off and join the boys in their work. It was one of the only tasks their father gave them that could have been considered fun.

Mathilda closed her eyes, angry as the tears she’d forbidden herself to shed defied her stubborn will and came anyway. With them came weariness. It consumed her, forcing her to sink onto the rotten floor. Water dripped into her long, lank red hair. The tussle of capture had loosened its neatly woven plait, and now it hung awkwardly, half in and half out of its bindings, like a badly strapped sheaf of strawberry corn.

She tried not to start blaming her father, but it was difficult not to. Why hadn’t he told her he’d borrowed money from the Folvilles? It was an insane thing to do. Only the most desperate … Mathilda stopped her thoughts in their tracks. They were disloyal and pointless…

…Does Mathilda seem miserable and scared enough? Grace wasn’t sure she’d laid the horror of the situation on thick enough. On the other hand, she didn’t want to drown her potential readers in suffering-related adjectives.

No, on reflection it was fine; certainly good enough to leave and come back to on the next read through. She glanced at the clock at the corner of the computer screen. How the hell had it got to eight thirty already? Grace’s stomach rumbled, making her think of poor Mathilda in her solitary prison.

Switching off her computer, Grace crammed all her notes into her bag so she could read over them at home, and headed out of her office. Walking down the Queen’s Road, which led from the university to her small home in Leicester’s Clarendon Park region, Grace decided it was way too hot, even at this time of the evening, to stand in the kitchen and attempt, and probably fail, to cook something edible, so she’d grab a takeaway.

Grateful it wasn’t term time, so she didn’t have to endure the banter of the students who were also waiting for associated plastic boxes of Chinese food, Grace speedily walked home, and without bothering to transfer her chicken chow mein to another dish, grabbed a fork, kicked off her shoes, and settled herself down with her manuscript…

***

Romancing Robin Hood – 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

Available in e-format and paperback.

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

Nook link- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/romancing-robin-hood-jenny-kane/1121088562?ean=9781783754267

***

Since I wrote this medieval sub plot to the main romance of the modern part of Romancing Robin Hood, I have rewritten it, expanded it, and re-released it as a separate novella – The Outlaws’ Ransom. This means you have a choice of how to read the story of Mathilda of Twyford.

You can buy The Outlaw’s Ransom here- http://amzn.to/2dr5ZPo

Happy reading everyone!

Jenny Kane xx


Kate Griffin talks Kitty Peck!

Forgive me a small fan girl moment.

I can’t quite believe I have Kate Griffin on my blog today. Her Kitty Peck series is just brilliant. Not a single word is wasted throughout. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I wish I’d written these books myself!

And what’s more, having had the pleasure of meeting Kate at the Tiverton Literary Festival last year, I can tell you she is a lovely person as well- with great taste in Thai food.

Why not grab a cuppa- possibly with cake- put your feet up for a few minutes, and have a read.

Over to you Kate…

First a big thank you to Jenny for inviting me to contribute and also a huge thank for responding to my Kitty Peck books so enthusiastically. As she also delves into the shady corners of history, her appreciation means a great deal!

Writing a novel is a bit like mountaineering. Admittedly, climbing Mount Everest is a lot more dangerous than sitting in your pyjamas and eating Hobnobs while tapping away at a laptop, but  bear with me because there are definite parallels.

When the going’s good you manage to cover a vast distance in a surprisingly short space of time but on a rough day it doesn’t matter how long you slog away – head down against the wind, digging your crampons into the crumbling ice underfoot – nothing comes right.

Hours can pass and then when you finally look up, snow-blind from the glaring whiteness of the empty screen in front of you, it’s soul-destroying to find that you’ve hardly gone anywhere at all.

Even your ‘footsteps’ – those few feeble paragraphs you managed to hack out – have probably been deleted as you became increasingly dejected, disoriented and unsure which way to go.

It’s as if snow has fallen on your tracks, obliterating every trace of your progress.

Whiteout.

On grim days like this a mountaineer stops, pitches camp, brews up something hot and strong and takes cover until the blizzard has passed.

In writing terms, ‘pitching camp’ means admitting temporary defeat. When nothing comes together, it’s best to switch off your computer (or close your notebook if you’re a long-hander) and do something else, preferably something that makes you happy.

A break usually clears the head and clears the way.

But even then, once you’ve gathered your strength, consulted your charts and stepped boldly back on the trail, the way to the summit can still be treacherous and deceptive.

Sometimes you’re so busy concentrating on reaching those far glittering peaks that you don’t notice the bottomless crevasse yawning in front of you. By this I mean the gaping hole in the plot that you never realised was there until you tried to marshal your characters across the final glacier and en-route to the sunlit upland ending of your story.

One minute it was all going so well; the next you have no alternative but to find another route to your neatly planned conclusion.

Sometimes it can take days to retrace your steps to chart a new way forward or around the chasm. In particularly hazardous conditions you might even have to go right back to the beginning, re-stock your supplies and start out again.

More fortunately, just occasionally when you find yourself teetering on the brink of a deep dark void, inspiration strikes and you find exactly the right piece of equipment in your rucksack to enable you to perform a miraculous leap to safety.

By ‘equipment’ I mean your plot or your characters. It’s amazing how helpful and inventive they can be when you put your mind to it!

Then again, your characters can also be difficult, dangerous travelling companions, particularly the pesky independent ones who refuse to listen to your strict instructions and insist on going off by themselves, getting totally lost in the craggy, uncharted landscape – ie, the parts of your story that you never had any intention of writing. All it takes is to allow a character to wander a few steps off the track you’ve planned and that’s it. They can be missing for days!

By the time you realise what they’ve gone and done, it usually takes a major search party (aka a complete re-write) to locate them and bring them back to the trail.

At testing times like these many writers would be thrilled to see a St Bernard lolloping to the rescue with a giant barrel of brandy hanging round its neck. (Or, in my case, gin).

Now, I’m horribly aware that I’ve pushed my mountaineering metaphor to the limit of human endurance, but there’s one last comparison I’d like to make, and for me it’s very relevant.

Kate Griffin with Michael Jecks, Ruth Ware & Chris Ewan at Tiverton Lit Festival

This week, I’m about to embark on the fourth instalment of my Kitty Peck mystery series, published by Faber and Faber.

Kitty’s world is a version of London in the early 1880s. The setting will be familiar to anyone who loves Conan Doyle’s wonderful Sherlock Holmes stories. Kitty’s London, specifically Limehouse, is a place where menace lurks in the swirling mist rising from the Thames and where the rumble of a hackney carriage generally bodes ill. Kitty is the youthful proprietress of three tawdry music halls, but she is also more, much more.

By the end of the year I hope that Kitty and I will have gone on one last journey together.  At the moment, we’re both at base camp. Around 400 snow-blank pages lie ahead and I have to find a way to guide us across that vast and virgin expanse.

I know exactly where we’re going. If I shield my eyes and squint into the far distance I can see the sparkling summit – our final destination.

I’ve spent the last few months planning and researching. I’ve worked out the route and packed essentials for the journey (well, Hobnobs and gin) but, as I explained above, you can never be quite sure what might crop up on the way.

Now as I stare at all that whiteness ahead, I have to admit that I’m excited… and slightly terrified.

 

If you’d like to catch up, the first two books in the Kitty Peck series have just been released as a single ebook:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kitty-Peck-Mysteries-Murders-Ill-Fortune-ebook/dp/B01M8G7QL2

The third book in the series, Kitty Peck and the Daughter of Sorrow, will be published in summer this year:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kitty-Peck-Daughter-Sorrow/dp/0571315208

***

What a wonderful blog. Like many writers, I totally equate with the feelings of terror you have described! However, having read the Kitty Peck books to date, I can tell you, you have nothing to worry about!

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 

 

 


Robin Hood: A Very Mini Medieval and Tudor Ballad History

I admit it- I had a lot of fun writing my novel, Romancing Robin Hood and my novella The Outlaw’s Ransom. Each project gave me the chance to take a self indulgent trip down memory lane, and dig out all my PhD notes on the ballad history behind the Robin Hood legend. Although Romancing Robin Hood is a modern contemporary romance, it also contains a second story- a medieval mystery which has more than a hint of the Robin Hood’s about it.

The earliest balladeers sang tales of Robin Hood long before they were written down, and audiences through history have all had different ideas of what Robin Hood was like in word, action, and appearance. Every writer, film maker, and poet ever since the first tales were spoken, has adapted the outlaw figure to fit their own imagination.

Lytell Geste

The Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode

 

The earliest mention found (to date), of the name Robin Hood appears in the poem The Vision of Piers Plowman, which was written by William Langland in c.1377.

A long ballad, Piers Plowman was a protest against the harsh conditions endured by the poor in the Fourteen Century. Not only did it mention Robin Hood, but makes reference to he outlaw gang, the Folvilles, who research suggests were an influence on those whose exploits wrote the Robin Hood ballads.

 

“And some ryde and to recovere that unrightfully was wonne:

He wised hem wynne it ayein wightnesses of handes,

And fecchen it from false men with Folvyles lawes.”

The Folville family were incredibly dangerous, influential, and had great impact on the Midlands of the UK in the Fourteenth Century. I’ll be introducing this family of brothers to you properly very soon; for they are something of an obsession for historian Dr Grace Harper- the lead character in Romancing Robin Hood.

RH and the monk

Robin Hood and the Monk

 

In 1450 the earliest single short ballad, Robin Hood and the Monk, was committed to paper, but it wasn’t until 1510 that the original story (Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode), was recorded in its entirety.

With the arrival of the printing press in Tudor and Elizabethan times, all of the most popular stories we recognise today were recorded for prosperity. Some of these stories had medieval roots, but many were were brand new pieces. The Tudor audience was as keen for fresh tales containing their favourite heroes as we are today. These ‘new’ tales included Robin Hood and Gisborne (c.1500) and Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar (c.1550) – who became known as Friar Tuck.

The Tudors loved the stories of Robin Hood. He was more popular then than he is now. Tudor documents are littered with mentions of Robin Hood’s all over Britain. For example-

– in 1497 Roger Marshall called himself Robin Hood, and lead a riot of 200 men in Staffordshire.

– in 1509, ten Robin Hood plays were banned in Exeter by the city council, as they had become a public nuisance.

Robin Hood’s most famous Tudor fan was Henry VIII himself. In fact, apart from hunting, eating, and getting married, Henry’s favourite hobby was acting. Sometimes he dressed up as Robin Hood. The king would wear a mask, and his audience had to pretend they didn’t know it was him, and had to look surprised when he revealed his true identity at the end of the play.

In 1510 Henry VIII and eleven of his nobles dressed as Robin Hood and broke into the Queen’s private rooms, apparently giving her the fright of her life! (Up to that point anyway!)

Thank you for letting me share a little of my Robin Hood passion with you today.

Romancing Robin Hood is available now on Nook, Kobo, Kindle and in paperback from all good retailers, including-

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

The Outlaw’s Ransom is available as a Kindle download – (published under the name Jennifer Ash, this novella was previously published as the medieval part of the Romancing Robin Hood novel mentioned above.)

http://amzn.to/2dr5ZPo

Happy reading,

Jenny xx


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