The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


Currently Browsing: Jennifer Ash

Coming Soon from Jennifer Ash/Jenny Kane…

It is with great pleasure that I can announce that my medieval crime novels have a brand new home.

I am proud to say that my historical side will be represented by Littwitz Press.

The first of my books to be published by Littwitz Press is actually a re-publication.

Romancing Robin Hood – part modern romance/part medieval mystery – has had a re-edit and a face lift. What do you think of this amazing cover?

I was honoured when Nicola Cornick, Chair of the Romantic Novelist Association (not to mention a brilliant historical fiction writer), enjoyed reading Romancing Robin Hood so much that she agreed to endorse my book. Check out that wonderful quote you can see on the cover!

The quote Nicola provided is actually much longer…the full version can be seen on the back of the book…but you’ll have to wait until you’ve purchased it to see it in its entirety!

If you didn’t read Romancing Robin Hood in its first edition form (now unavailable), then you won’t know that this novel was the result of my love of all things ‘Robin Hood’…or should I say… out of my obsession with Robin Hood. Not that I’m like Dr Grace Harper -the protagonist in this novel… Well, not much anyway… (Umm….)

Within Romancing Robin Hood– as the above blurb suggests- there is a secondary story- a medieval mystery. Like before, that story is going to be released soon as a standalone book called The Outlaw’s Ransom. So if modern romance is not for you, but you want to read the historical part, then soon you’ll be able to do just that!

If you do like contemporary fiction however; if you remember 1980’s television fondly- especially Robin of Sherwood – or if you simply like guinea pigs and some light hearted RomCom reading…then keep an eye open for the Romancing Robin Hood buy links. (Coming very soon)

What a great way to start the year.

Happy reading,

Jenny (Jennifer)

PS. The sequel to the medieval half of the story (which follows on from both the crime part of Romancing Robin Hood and The Outlaw’s Ransom) will be out soon too!

 

 

 

 


2017-2018: New stories and new adventures

Happy New Year!

Here we are again then- another brand new year. A list of potential new year’s resolutions considered- and dismissed- and a determination that this year will be very much better than the one just past are whizzing around our collective minds.

It has to be said that 2017 was an eventful year. My naughty side (Kay Jaybee) had a novella out in January 2017, and then began the process of re-editing all her old novels. Meanwhile, in May my Jenny Kane side saw her second Cornish romance, Abi’s Neighbour, hit the world.

One of the highlights of 2017 has to have been when the amazing Katie Fforde endorsed my work in contemporary fiction, by providing a fantastic quote to be printed on the cover of Abi’s Neighbour. Having been a Katie Fforde fan for many years, this truly was a magic moment for me.

The publication of Abi’s Neighbour, and it’s previously published sister novel, Abi’s House, led to me being invited to the Penzance Literary festival in July. I had so much fun! Not only did I get to sit on a panel with the lovely Liz Fenwick and Teresa Benison, but I was also invited to teach a Life-writing masterclass.

Teresa Beniton, Jenny Kane, Liz Fenwick

A major change came to my writing life in 2017 with the setting up of Imagine – a creative writing workshop business I set up with my friend and fellow author, Alison Knight.  Although we’ve only been in operation since last Spring, we’ve built up a regular following at our classes, and expansion across SW England (and beyond) is afoot.

Not only do we teach group workshops, but we provide one-one classes, and this March we are running our first writing retreat on Exmoor in the stunning Victorian manor of Northmoor. If you want to have a look at all our Imagine information you can find it here- www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk 

This decision to set up a creative writing business was something I’d been considering for some time. In 2017, with so many publishers either failing or cutting back on their lines, it felt that the time was right to add another string to my bow…and talking of bowstrings…

I was extremely luck last year to be asked to write a couple of audio scripts for the brand new series of Robin of Sherwood. As a life long fan of the show, it was particularly wonderful to be able to put words into the mouths of my favourite characters!

Produced by Spiteful Puppet- these new audio tales- narrated by original cast embers- are available now!! https://spitefulpuppet.com/product-category/robin-of-sherwood/  With luck- if enough copies are sold- then I’ll be thinking up some more Robin of Sherwood stories in the future!

photo by Kim Jones

Of course, you can’t have the ups without the downs, and 2017 saw the medieval crime novels I’d promised you, take a step back from publication. The publisher they were lined up with decided to streamline, and not take on any new historical fiction. This meant I had to find a new home for my Jennifer Ash work. While this was a little frustrating, I am delighted to say that a new home for my work has now been found!

Romancing Robin Hood, The Outlaw’s Ransom, and The Winter Outlaw will all be out in the near future- and I’m already hard at work writing Edward’s Outlaw, for release in the Winter. Watch out for a very special announcement about that later in the week…

And what of my contemporary women’s fiction? Well- my next Jenny Kane novel is complete- watch this space…

***

2017 saw many new adventures (I’d never written a script before in my life for a start!)- I wonder what new adventures 2018 holds?

I hope you all have a very happy and exciting 2018.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 


Robin of Sherwood Audios: Available Now

A couple of weeks ago, with great excitement, I announced that I had written an audio story for ITV’s 1980’s television show, Robin of Sherwood.

Those of you who follow this blog will know precisely how much that opportunity would mean to me. Not only have I been a lifelong lover of all things Robin Hood, but I have spent many years researching the history behind the legend.

It is with even greater pleasure therefore, that I can let you in on a secret.

I didn’t just write one Robin of Sherwood story – I wrote two.

The first- The Waterford Boy– has been brilliantly narrated by Judi Trott- (a.k.a Marion of Leaford). It tells the story of a simple lad, Alwin of Waterford, who has the misfortune of crossing Guy of Gisborne’s path.

Photo copyright- Kim Jones

The second story – Mathilda’s Legacy -is a slight departure from the Robin of Sherwood episodes which have been written before. Mathilda’s Legacy tells the story of how David, Earl of Huntingdon met his wife- Mathilda, third daughter to the Earl of Chester – mother to Robert of Huntingdon.

photo by Kim Jones

Narrated by the fabulous Michael Craig, (a.k.a Earl of Huntingdon), this extra story was a joy to write. Who wouldn’t want to introduce the world to Robin Hood’s mother? Oh- and there’s a pesky ‘would be’ Sheriff of Nottingham knocking about as well.

You can now buy these audio downloads- as well as 2 other amazing stories from Spiteful Puppet for only £5.99 each-

The Waterford Boy– “Robin is angered by the Sheriff’s new people tax… but his rage is nothing compared to that of Will Scarlet when he hears Alwin mutter the name, D’Marelle.  For Will and the recruiter have met before… many years ago…”

Mathilda’s Legacy– “David realised why his offspring behaved in the way he did. After all, Robert of Huntingdon was Mathilda’s son. He was her legacy.  The moment couldn’t be put off any longer. It was time to tell his son the story of how the Earl had met Robert’s mother…”

And don’t forget….

The Templar’s Promise, read by Phil Rose – “On the run and desperate for help, Brother Michael offers Robin and the outlaws the chance to secure a fortune in gold.  If Robin is to get his hands on it, he must face betrayal and an enemy who is every inch his match…”

and

The Blood That Binds, read by Nickolas Grace – “The Hooded Man will face an adversary who is playing a long game, one that will see Herne’s son fulfil a destiny and set blood against blood in more ways than one…”

***

What more could any Robin Hood fan want for Christmas?

So check out Spiteful Puppet here for all the download links- https://spitefulpuppet.com/product-category/robin-of-sherwood/

Happy downloading…

Jen x


Guest Post from Tracey Norman: Thinking magic

Today I’m delighted to welcome fellow Exeter Author Association member and friend, Tracey Norman, to my site. Tracey is an actress, audio book narrator and writer…and there isn’t much she doesn’t know about witches. Why not grab a coffee and have a read…

Hi Jenny – and thank you for inviting me to talk about my writing!

I’ve written stories and poetry since I was very young, but it is only in the last couple of years that I have finally taken the plunge and decided to actually do something with my work. That all started in 2015, when I was invited to contribute a short story to Secret Invasion, a Lovecraftian-themed horror anthology which was being put together to raise money for MIND. I wasn’t hugely knowledgeable about Lovecraft’s work, so I decided to marry what I did know with my deep love of history. Thus, Dark Words was born.

The story is told from two perspectives, one modern-day and one from the 1930s, as an archaeologist works on a site on Dartmoor and accidentally uncovers not only a dark and horrific secret, but also why an entire village was drowned beneath a reservoir in the late 1930s. It takes as its inspiration the terrible mind control of “Asenath Waite” from Lovecraft’s The Thing on the Doorstep and the various artefacts which lie unseen and quiet beneath the waters of the Fernworthy Reservoir, not far from Chagford in Devon. Having spoken to a few archaeologists and curators about the submerged bridges, hut circles and boundary markers, I found that no one really knows much about the village – so in Dark Words, I have given it my own back story, as well as explaining why so much archaeology should be lost beneath the waters of a reservoir. Believe me, it was for the best….

The normally submerged, Fernworthy clapper and medieval pack bridge

I’m delighted to say that Dark Words has been accepted in another anthology, Fairy Tales and Folklore Reimagined, which is due out shortly from Between the Lines, a publisher in Minneapolis.

Something happened in 2016 which changed my perception of my writing forever. I accidentally became a playwright. In 2015, some friends and I had started Circle of Spears Productions, a professional audio production house and theatre company. Our initial focus had been on gathering authors and working with them to turn their books into audio. I thought it would be good if I could write something for us to perform for a summer season to build up the theatre side. Again, I wanted to blend my love of history into my writing, so I kicked a few ideas around and eventually hit upon the idea of preserving a moment in history by using the actual words spoken by those involved. I decided to try to use the words from a witch trial. This began a wonderful relationship with the fabulous team at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall, who were incredibly supportive and helpful right from the outset and who introduced me to the woman who has since become an obsession for me.

Gimmerton case paper

In Lyme Regis, Dorset, in 1687, a woman named Deanes Gimmerton went on trial for witchcraft. Hers is one of the most complete written records of an English witch trial. The papers consist of four pages of witness evidence from one of her ‘victims’, his parents and the mother of a second ‘victim’, who had actually died two years previously as a result of being ‘bewitched’. What fascinated me the most, however, was the fact that the accusation had arisen after Deanes shared a pipe of tobacco with her young victim. A simple, everyday action that she probably didn’t think twice about and yet which had such staggering consequences.

My play WITCH tells Deanes Gimmerton’s story using three fictitious characters – Margery Scrope, the accused, Thomas Latimer, her accuser and Sir William Tyrell, the landowner-magistrate who has to evaluate the accusation to see if it should proceed to trial. However, as there was so little of Deanes herself in the papers – no indication of a plea or a verdict – I needed to research more widely to build Margery’s character and she ultimately became an amalgamation of the experiences of Deanes and about seven other women.

Tyrell, Margery and Latimer

WITCH was originally intended to run for a summer season at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic (and a more fitting venue I cannot imagine). However, over the course of the summer of 2016, something changed. At our second performance, we were asked if we used it as Theatre In Education and this resulted in our first school booking. Since its premiere in July 2016, we have performed WITCH 54 times and have dates booked for 2018 already. WITCH has become its own entity and that, I think, is because it tells not just Deanes’s story, but the story of all the women – and men – like her, who found themselves accused of witchcraft as a result of some ordinary, everyday action like sharing a pipe of tobacco.

I am delighted to have been given a contract by Troy Books in Cornwall to expand on the research I did for WITCH and write a book about it. I have been looking further into Deanes’s story to try to find out what happened to her, but she is frustratingly invisible in the historical record. As I write  this, I have just ordered a couple of documents from the National Archive, where I am spending the day on Friday of this week, to try to find some mention of Deanes in the legal records of 1687 and hopefully discover her fate. I am incredibly excited at the prospect of seeing the original court documents in the flesh, but as Deanes has been a huge part of my life for so long, I know that it will also be an incredibly emotional moment for me if the information I am seeking is actually in those documents.

So what leads on from witch trials? Well, for me, it was dragons. I have always been a rather eclectic writer and am totally unable to stick to just one subject or genre, so I followed WITCH by self-publishing a story I wrote for my daughter when she was about three years old. She is now ten, so it was about time something happened to this particular story! Sammy’s Saturday Job is the tale of a little dragon who desperately wants to be a firefighter, but when she finally gets the chance, everything goes wrong. She has to think creatively and persevere in order to put things right and save the day.

And now? Well, now it’s elves. And more dragons. The dragons haven’t appeared yet, but it’s high fantasy, so it won’t be long before they show up. At the moment, though, I am having some difficulty in persuading my elves to stick to the chapter plan. As someone who, in the past, just sat down and wrote with no plan anywhere in sight, the fact that I actually took the time to plot an entire book is nothing short of miraculous, so the elves really do need to get with the programme.

This is the first in a projected series of books about a young elf who turns her back on the life her influential family has mapped out for her and follows her as she travels the length of the Empire in which she lives, learning new skills and trying to find a place where she belongs. The central character is my gaming alter ego, who, again, has been with me for a long time and whose back story I really wanted to explore. However, when I was planning the first book, The Battle for Dragonheart, I realised that it was not her story that I needed to tell, but her mother’s. Then, as I started that story, I realised that it wasn’t her mother’s story, either – not entirely. A completely new character made herself known and Dragonheart, the first of The Fire-Eyes Chronicles, is her story.

I would have loved to be able to take part in this year’s NaNo, but unfortunately, I have to grab my writing time whenever and wherever I can in between everything else I do, so the chances of me reaching 50, 000 words in a month is, sadly, highly unlikely. However, I do have the advantage of being a member of the Exeter Authors Association, which provides me with plenty of opportunities to discuss my writing with other authors and the 2018 programme of events we have put together will certainly encourage me to ensure that Dragonheart is finished sooner rather than later. There are a number of books to plot in the Fire-Eyes series, as well as a bunch of rather interesting (non-sparkly) vampires waiting in the wings and periodically trying to grab my attention. It looks like 2018 will be a very busy year….

You can find out more about WITCH at www.traceynormanswitch.com

WITCH’s Twitter handle is @WITCHplayCoS

You can buy the audio play of WITCH from www.circleofspears.com/store

You can also follow me on Facebook – @TraceyNormanWITCHbook and @TraceyNormanauthor

Secret Invasion is available as a print on demand, with all proceeds going to MIND – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/secretinvasion

Sammy’s Saturday Job is available as an ebook and a paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sammys-Saturday-Job-Tracey-Norman-ebook/dp/B0736DL7KP

 ***

Thank you ever so much Tracey- fabulous blog.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 

 

 

 

 


13 years and counting: a rethink and a retreat

Over the past few weeks I have been very busy rethinking how I run my writing life.

I have been working as a professional author for 13 years this month- unlucky for some perhaps. I will be honest- it has felt pretty unlucky at times this year. A great many changes have assailed me over recent months, and it has taken some serious thought as to how to keep going – or even if I should keep going.

However, thanks to my family, my incredible friends, a great deal of writerly advice, and an amazing weekend at the Scotswrite17 conference in Glasgow, I can now see a way forward- and normal service will be resumed very soon.

When I say normal service, what I actually mean is normal-ish. I have decided that I will no longer be working 14 hour days , with only 10 days holiday a year, and only weekend mornings off work during the week. No more than 10 hours a day will be worked from now on (yes- I know- that won’t always happen- but my intentions are good), no work on a Saturday, and I will take at least 2 weeks off a yr. Luxury!!!

I need to take more walks- have more adventures- see more people- and as a result- I will have more stories to write about later.

As many of you know, I have recently started a new business with my lovely friend Alison Knight – this being an entrepreneur type is hard work, but very rewarding. Our creative writing workshop business, Imagine, has taken off in ways we never imagined (pun intended!) I never dreamt I’d be teaching dementia sufferers how to write stories- nor that I’d have to turn people away from my classes because the tickets were sold out and there was no more room to sit. I feel honoured to say the least.

This change of focus, away from writing 3 novels a year, down to writing one and a half novels and teaching, has done me a lot of good already. And that is just the start of the changes afoot.

Those of you who have kindly been following my work for some years, will know that my career began at Kay Jaybee (over 18’s erotica). For the time being, Kay Jaybee is having a writing break. All her old work is being re-edited, revamped and- over the next two years- will reappear looking all lovely and shiny, ready for a brand new readership.

My Jennifer Ash side meanwhile, is beginning to gather pace. I am currently awaiting the republication of The Outlaw’s Ransom– and the brand new publication of The Winter Outlaw– watch this space…At the moment neither volume is available- but it won’t be long until they are. I am also doing some other work as Jennifer…but for now my lips are sealed on that..

So that leaves Jenny…All of Jenny’s books are still available- so if you fancy a Cornish romance or a coffee shop adventure, then I’m your girl! I am working on a new novel as Jenny- which is a little different…again I will simply tease you by saying, I’ll keep you informed…

All these teasers…So what can I tell you?

Well..Imagine is proud to present its first writing retreat! Fancy escaping onto Exmoor next March to write, dream, chat writing, maybe take a class or two, and meet guest speaker, Kate Griffin (writer of brilliant Victorian crime mysteries for Faber Faber), and generally enjoy chill out time? Then book your place soon to take advantage of our 10% off Early bird discount!

All details for the Northmoor Manor retreat can be found here- Imagine

I can also tell you that I am travelling the country doing more writer talks- so if you want to book a writer talk or a workshop- just let me know and I’ll see what I can do! I can be contacted via imaginecreativewriting@gmail.com

Fleet street photographer Richard Lappas had no idea what he was getting into – K Y Eden, Tracey Norman, myself (with P J Reed taking this pic)

I have been lucky enough to become a member of the Exeter Author Association- and so far I’ve had many adventures! Today’s author photo shoot was so much fun- I’m still giggling. I was balanced on a very precarious bridge for some time…just prior to hugging a very lichen cover tree…photos soon! The next Exeter Author Event is the Bampton Charter festival on 26th October – Bampton, Devon. Do come along and see us selling our books, reading, running mini workshops, and generally making folk smile.

Having listed all that – and forgive the indulgence- it has helped me get things straight in my own head- I’d better go and get on with it all. I’ve only worked 9 hours today , so not breaking my own rules just yet!

Perhaps my thirteenth year in the business isn’t so bad after all…

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 

 

 


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