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Empty Nest Syndrome and Champagne

One of the main characters in my Another Cup of… series is a writer called Kit Lambert. When we first met Kit in Another Cup of Coffee, she was making a name for herself by writing erotica. As her career progressed Kit moved into contemporary fiction, and now she has a novel publishing contract, with all the pressures of having to produce work to tight deadlines upon her.

Another Glass Of Champagne

In the final novel of the series, Another Glass of Champagne, Kit, mum of twins, and wife to bookshop owner Phil, suddenly finds herself unable to write at all, but he can’t understand why. Surely writer’s block is something that can be easily shaken off- or is just a myth invented by those who can’t be bothered to write today…or is it?

Not even sitting at her usual table in the corner of Pickwicks Coffee House, (run by her friend Peggy) is helping the words become unstuck…

 

Extract

When she got back, Kit found Peggy looking thoughtful, ‘Why have you closed your work down, honey? I usually steal a read of your latest work in progress when I think you’re not looking.’ ‘I haven’t got much done today.’

Kit mumbled. ‘It’s been a mulling things over sort of a day.’ Changing the subject, she said, ‘Scott says there are some sandwiches ready for your lunch when Megan comes back through.’

‘Good, I’m starving.’

‘Are you and Megan managing alright with only two of you on the serving team? It’s already busy, but by July it’s going to be packed between eleven and two.’

‘Actually, Scott and I were talking about that over the weekend. Would your Helena fancy giving us a hand and earning some money before she heads off to university? Where is she going again?’ Flinching slightly, and hoping Peggy hadn’t noticed, Kit said, ‘She’s aiming for Bath to do Chemistry, and Thomas’s hoping to be off to Exeter. Assuming they get their grades, that is.’

‘Of course they will. What’s Thomas going to study?’

‘History.’

‘Sounds good. So, do you think Helena will want the job? It would save me a lot of bother with adverts and stuff.’

Kit nodded. She knew exactly how much time it took to go through interviews and training staff in this place, so someone who was already familiar with Pickwicks layout would be a real advantage to Peggy. ‘I’ll ask her. Helena’s bank balance could certainly do with a top-up. Goodness knows it’s time she stood on her own two feet financially.’

Megan came back into the café and Peggy got up to go and have her lunch before another influx of customers forced her to forego her only real break of the day. As an afterthought, she turned back to Kit. ‘If you’d rather your daughter wasn’t here during the day, just say. I mean, this is your office after all!’

‘I don’t mind at all. I’ll ask her this evening, assuming she comes home She seems to live at her mates’ houses these days.’

‘Making the most of seeing her friends before she heads west, I suppose.’

Peggy waved as she disappeared into the kitchen, to what Kit hoped wasn’t a tuna sandwich, before she could see the tell-tale glint of tears fighting to form at the corner of her eyes. Cross with herself for being so emotional, Kit looked at her screen. Peggy had opened a new document and typed the words You can talk to me, you know. Love Peggy xx across the top of the page.

Kit should have known that she couldn’t hide anything from Peggy. The manageress knew her habits better than anyone, having been host to them for the past decade or so. Kit didn’t even want to guess how many cups of coffee, scones, and slices of toast she’d consumed at that table in that time. Just the thought of the amount of butter she’d spread over her early morning snacks was enough to make her feel as though her hips were expanding right there on the seat.

Making her mind up to talk to Peggy soon, she picked up her mobile and sent Helena a text, telling her about the possible employment opportunity at Pickwicks. Kit wasn’t sure if she did actually want Helena around all day while she was writing. But then, she thought, I’m not exactly writing now, am I…

***

You may be thinking that Kit sounds like a real writer you’ve come across- and you’d be right. Kit and I are pretty much the same person- but with huge exaggerations into fiction of course!! For a start, I do not have twins!

The reason behind Kit’s writers block is very personal to me at the moment. During Another Glass of Champagne, Kit’s twins are getting ready to head off to university. My own daughter has just made that leap, and I, like Kit, am finding quite hard to write at the moment. Nothing feels quite right- although there is no logical reason for that to be the case- I have more time, and yet…

My motive for giving Kit empty nest syndrome inspired word block was a pre-emptive strike on my own behalf. Perhaps it was even therapy – because I knew that I was about to go through a similar experience to Kit myself. I thought that if I tackled the issue on paper via a pretend me first, it wouldn’t be so bad in reality.

Only time will tell whether my plan will work. My writing isn’t blocked at the moment- but it’s only day one of not having my daughter here. I am eating a hell of a lot of cake though…

To see what else the Pickwick’s crew are up to, then you can buy Another Glass of Champagne from all good bookshops and eBook retailers, including-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Another+Glass+of+Champagne+Jenny+Kane

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/188-7813436-7626710?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Another+Glass+of+Champagne+Jenny+Kane

***

Happy reading,

Jenny xx


End of the Month Blog: Nell’s Gone Aussie!

Is it me, or are the months just rushing by? 

Believe it or not, it’s that time again…Over to Nell!!!

G’day, cobbers. Nice of you to drop by – I’ll just throw another shrimp on the barbie and grab some tinnies from the fridge … OK, I’m feeling so much better now I’ve got that bit of blatant stereotyping out of my system. To be fair, despite my late father-in-law being born and bred in Australia, I’m pretty sure I never heard him say ‘cobber’, ‘barbie’ or ‘tinnies’. Not even a random ‘g’day’ …

Staying with the antipodeans for a mo, and jumping on the bandwagon of all the WWI hundredth anniversaries being celebrated (if that’s the right word?) between 2014 and 2018, on this 243rd day of the year in 1918, the Battle of Mont Saint-Quentin began. This was a successful assault by the Australian Corps during the Hundred Days Offensive, aka a rapid series of Allied victories starting with the Battle of Amiens. Defences were weakened by continual Aussie raids, the troops employing a process called ‘peaceful penetration’, which forced the German retreat from France to beyond the Hindenburg Line. Thereafter an armistice was declared. Call me picky, but a sentence that includes ‘raids’, ‘penetration’ and ‘retreat’ doesn’t immediately convey to me a particularly ‘peaceful’ option.

Former Melbourne lawyer Robert Menzies (which he pronounced Ming) and his funny eyebrows didn’t serve in WWI, even though he was of age, but he did authorise Australia’s entry into World War II in September 1939, when he was leader of the United Australian Party (UAP).

However, in 1941 he spent four months in England contributing to Churchill’s War Cabinet powwows, and upon his return found he had lost the party’s support – how very fickle of them. Ming resigned as Prime Minister and in time helped form the Australian Liberal Party, being elected as its inaugural leader on this day in 1945. He again took office as PM in December 1949 and stayed put until 26th January 1966 (Australia Day), when he resigned.

Born in 1940, multi-award winning Australian actor Jack Thompson celebrates his seventy-seventh birthday today. That wasn’t his name at birth, though – step forward baby John Hadley Pain. The poor little chap was just four when his mother died, leaving his merchant seaman father unable to care for him and his brother, David. He was sent to an orphanage by his aunt and from there was adopted by John and Pat Thompson – hence the change of surname. Film reviewer Peter Thompson (also my dad’s name) is his adoptive brother – I’ve never heard of him either.

The Australian version of Who Do You Think You Are? featured the actor in its first episode in 2008, discovering that his great-grandfather was Captain Thomas Pain, and his great-great uncle Alfred Lee, a prominent figure in Sydney society. Philanthropist Alfred donated the journal of Sir Joseph Banks, British naturalist and explorer, documenting Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia in the 1770s to the Mitchell Library in Sydney. Bonza!

Other actors sharing this birthday are; Richard Gere (loved Pretty Woman! 1949), Roy Castle (1932), James Coburn (1928), Buddy Hackett (1924) and Richard Basehart (1914). Although a pianist rather than actor, American Big Tiny Little (1930) earns his place on the list simply by virtue of his odd name. Using that criterion, let’s throw in Roman Emperors Caligula (scary chap! 12) and the outright winner, Commodus (161).

 

People born under the Virgo sign are typically analytical, kind, hardworking and practical. They tend to worry, are shy and don’t like to be the centre of attention, as they are modest, faithful, and quiet folk. With a tendency to be persuasive, they have a good memory* and sense of reasoning and are skilled at detailed work. Virgos are also known for their intellect and usually embrace art, literature, science, or mathematics.

Shall we plant our tootsies firmly back on British soil? In my August 2016 blog I mentioned that it was the OH’s birthday on the 31st – funnily enough, it is again this year. At least he’s consistent. (*Can I just mention here that he has a memory like a leaking sieve and is persuasive only because he is like a dog with a bone and doesn’t give up, so that others eventually lose the will to live and capitulate?) Again, it’s the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, twenty years ago now – a twentieth wedding anniversary is china, but I’m not entirely sure how that would translate to the anniversary of a death. Quite possibly in no way at all, although I’d hazard a wild guess some wannabe entrepreneur somewhere has mass-manufactured a tacky commemorative mug. Was it really two decades ago that the accident happened, opening the floodgates for conspiracy theorists everywhere – not to mention making lots of florists rich when the public en masse bought bouquets, only to leave them rotting outside Kensington Palace in a public display of grief?

I didn’t watch Diana’s funeral on TV, although I have seen various clips of it over the years, most poignantly her two young sons following her coffin under the gaze of a worldwide audience. In contrast to all the pomp and ceremony that accompanied Diana’s day, I have recently organised a funeral on the other end of the scale – an occasion as low key as possible, to minimise my mother’s confusion when we buried my father; the aforementioned Peter Thompson. My mother has vascular dementia (as did my father) and is basically away with the fairies. Lucky her.

Because he had no religious conviction whatsoever, we opted for a graveside ceremony only in order to shorten proceedings. Overcoming pronounced differences in height, my sons and niece were pallbearers of a coffin decorated with Spitfires – although Peter wasn’t a pilot, his father was during WWI (not flying Spitfires, obvs – Sopwith Camels, I believe) and it was most likely his influence that fired an interest in vintage aircraft in his youngest son, who had quite an impressive collection of dust-attracting models. On the coffin lid sat a single red rose (donations to charity in lieu of flowers) and a battered old trilby that my father insisted on wearing to annoy the grandchildren, having a whole shelf of much newer/smarter hats in his wardrobe.

Instead of a priest or celebrant, we used the services of the Conductor; he was part of the funeral director’s staff, in charge of the proceedings and making sure everything ran smoothly. It was him who read out a short eulogy and tributes written by the grandchildren – he didn’t look at all like Mr Conductor of Thomas the Tank Engine fame. Well, not much. When it was over, we all adjourned to a local hotel for some much-needed alcoholic refreshment and buffet food – not a stale sausage roll to be seen – and in a final act of symbolism, each grandchild launched a black star helium balloon skyward from the car park. This may have given pilots taking off from Heathrow one or two worrying moments.

I was talking over the garden fence to neighbour David recently – his mother died a few weeks before my father, and he so rightly observed that there’s nothing like a death/funeral to bring out the very worst in people. No horror story I could relate beats the behaviour of his step-father, who refused to let David and his sister into their family home, after his wife died. He also arranged an alternative, rival wake to David’s, following the funeral that David organised and paid for, and – most bizarre of all – ordered from the florist an ostentatious wreath spelling out HUSBAND, to ride along with the coffin! Huh?

That should surely be termed a grave offence – so sorry! Nowt so strange as folk, as they say. Those shenanigans are pretty hard to top, so I won’t try and I’ll say toodles, until we meet again.

NP

www.Author.to/nellpeters

Huge thanks as ever hun. Fun, thought provoking, moving and- as an added bonus- a history lesson. Love it.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 


The Story Behind Another Cup of Coffee

I’ve been thinking back to how the series, which began with the novel, Another Cup of Coffee, first saw the light of day. It was certainly a long time in the making!

 

Blurb

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 soundtracked 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 was 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 bucket-sized cup of coffee, as she goes forth to lay the ghost of first love to rest…

***

As the blurb says, it took Amy thirteen years to come to her senses and sort her life out – it took me thirteen years to write how she did just that! Not that I’ve been sat puzzling at the pages everyday in all that time- far from it.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin the story of my story…

The idea for Another Cup of Coffee came to me all that time ago, but was originally only intended to be a short story for a competition. I had never written a story before beyond the requirements of school homework, although I had written poetry, some of which I’d been lucky enough to have published. The story, Getting It Back, was all about a quiet girl, who’s cut herself off from her old life after her heart had been broken, and told of how, out of the blue, a package had arrived through the post that made her look at her life afresh. That package was an old fashioned cassette tape, which had a variety of different songs recorded onto it- as was the craze in the 1980’s and early 90’s.

That short story was not well written, and quite rightly got nowhere at all. I gave up writing after that. I’d only entered the competition so that I had a project to do that would occupy my mind and keep me awake. I had a one year old at the time- and she never slept and was a pain to feed- totally the opposite of now bless her!!

So the story was shelved, and I didn’t go back to it for two years went, you guessed it- I had another child- and I remembered the story I’d written. Being the type of person who never throws anything away, I dug it back out, and in fits and bursts I turned it into a novel based on my experiences as a student, my time as an archaeologist, and a friends music obsession.

I’ll be honest- it was not a good read. So again, I shelved it.

Then, a few years later my children went to school- and as is fairly well documented, I had an idea for a very different type of story- an erotic story which I simply had to write down. The result was a persona I called Kay Jaybee.

Such was the unexpected success of Kay Jaybee, that I had no time to look at my first early attempt at a novel for years. I also had no confidence in it at all. I had become Kay, and Kay was good at stories that oozed kink- I wasn’t sure I could do a story that kept the pages turning without it.

It wasn’t until ‘Kay’ had a handful of novels, novellas and short stories under her belt, that I decided the time had come to prove to myself that I could do more- and so I rewrote Another Cup of Coffee– and to my surprise it was taken by a publisher.

So- if you fancy delving into the story of Amy, her ex boyfriend Jack, and his best friend, erotica writer and Mum, Kit (sound familiar at all?), then why not give Another Cup of Coffee a sip

You can buy Another Cup of Coffee as either a paperback or an eBook from Amazon and all good online and high street book stores

Amazon UK- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Another-Cup-Coffee-Jenny-Kane/dp/1783751126/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377605533&sr=8-1&keywords=another+cup+of+coffee

Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/Another-Cup-Coffee-Jenny-Kane/dp/1783751126/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377605667&sr=8-1&keywords=another+cup+of+coffee+jenny+kane

Then of course- if you enjoy this novel- there are three seasonal follow on novella’s (available in Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection as well as standalone Kindle publications), and the novel, Another Glass of Champagne, to read afterwards!

Another Glass Of Champagne

***

Happy reading,

Jenny


Abi’s House: Cornish Romance

My Cornish novel, Abi’s House, was never meant to be a romance. I hadn’t noticed it was until after I’d written it. Yet, within this tale of friendship and self discovery there lies a good old fashioned love story. 

Abi's House_edited-1

Here’s a reminder of the Abi’s House blurb!!

Newly widowed at barely thirty, Abi Carter is desperate to escape the Stepford Wives-style life that Luke, her late husband, had been so keen for her to live.

Abi decides to fulfil a lifelong dream. As a child on holiday in a Cornwall as a child she fell in love with a cottage – the prophetically named Abbey’s House. Now she is going to see if she can find the place again, relive the happy memories … maybe even buy a place of her own nearby?

On impulse Abi sets off to Cornwall, where a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Beth, like Abi, has a life-changing decision to make. Max, Beth’s best mate, is new to the village. He soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams … but things aren’t quite that simple. There’s the complicated life Abi left behind, including her late husband’s brother, Simon – a man with more than friendship on his mind … Will Abi’s house remain a dream, or will the bricks and mortar become a reality?

Check this out this video about Abi’s House!!-  YouTube link https://youtu.be/VAumWAqsp58

So if you love the Cornish countryside, a touch of romance, a story with twists and turns- and a cute Labrador…then this is the book for you!

You can buy Abi’s House from all good bookshops and via online retailers, including…

Kindle

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00UVPPWO8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711175&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane

http://www.amazon.com/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00UVPPWO8/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711253&sr=1-2&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane

Paperback

http://www.amazon.com/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane/dp/1783753285/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711253&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane/dp/1783753285/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711343&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane

The sequel to Abi’s House, Abi’s Neighbour, is also contains a love story- but this time it’s the older generation having all the fun!

Here’s the blurb to Abi’s Neighbour- 

Abi Carter has finally found happiness. Living in her perfect tin miner’s cottage, she has good friends and a gorgeous boyfriend, Max. Life is good. But all that’s about to change when a new neighbour moves in next door.

Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. Obnoxious and stuck-up, Cassandra hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, it looks like she has her sights set on Max.

But Cassandra has problems of her own. Not only is her wealthy married lawyer putting off joining her in their Cornish love nest, but now someone seems intent on sabotaging her business.

Will Cassandra mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are they destined never to get along?

Complete with sun, sea and a gorgeous Cornwall setting, Abi’s Neighbour is the PERFECT summer escape.

***

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

 


Carol Mcgrath’s Blog Tour: Historical Fact into Fiction and ‘The Woman in the Shadows’.

I’m delighted to welcome Carol McGrath today as part of her blog tour for her brand new release, The Woman in the Shadows.

Over to you Carol…

Historical Fact into Fiction and ‘The Woman in the Shadows’.

Thank you, Jenny, for hosting the second hop on The Woman in the Shadows Blog Tour.

There has always been an expectation for writers of Historical Fiction to provide the reading public with Historical Fact. In fact, the best we generally can do is provide convincing glimpses of the personalities we write, their conflicts and their world. In other words the reader often wants to accept everything written by historical novelists as ‘truth.’

I came to History very young, encouraged by television serials and novels by writers such as Jean Plaidy. I lived it and believed it all, though these writers never claimed to be Historians. We do not write the ‘truth’, nor do Historians much of the time either, but we do attempt, if we are any good, to recreate a believable historical world for the reader. We research, but we incorporate the research into the fabric of the historical lives we recreate. Our aim is to tell a good story and put flesh on the bones of history. We resurrect dead people and give them renewed life. We do not tell the ‘truth’ about these personalities, certainly not consistently, but we try to speculate in an informed way so that we come up with stories and characters that are plausible.

Writing about Elizabeth Cromwell was a huge challenge, my greatest to date. Much is known about her infamous husband, Henry VIII’s minister during the 1530s who found a solution to The King’s Great Matter, engineered Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon and his remarriage to Anne Boleyn. Thomas Cromwell closed monasteries and lined the King’s pockets with rich pickings, and then he brought Anne Boleyn down along with a group of her devoted courtiers, including her brother. What was Elizabeth Cromwell’s marriage really like? What was marriage to such a man? Who was Elizabeth Cromwell?

The events of the 1530s occur outside the remit of The Woman in the Shadows. Elizabeth Cromwell sadly died in 1529. All that is known about her is that she had been married before, had no living children from that marriage and came from a family involved in the cloth trade. We know a little about her mother, father, brother and sister. We know that she was well-off and was raised in Putney, as had been Thomas. The Cromwells owned a fulling mill, a brewery, land on which Walter Cromwell grazed sheep, a smithy and a brewery and pub. Walter Cromwell, the father, was not poor though he may well have been a drunk. Both Thomas and Elizabeth hailed from a trading middling class.

To bring Elizabeth to the page, I took these scant facts and padded them out. I used my knowledge of Thomas Cromwell’s early life, researching in primary and secondary source material. He had returned to England by 1513 after a period in France, Italy and Flanders. He married Elizabeth circa 1514. They had three children by 1520. Thomas was a cloth-man and a self-taught lawyer who worked for The Merchant Adventurers. By 1518 he was involved in land transactions for Cardinal Wolsey, possibly introduced by a relative to Wolsey. He was also, by 1522, drawing closer to court.

I had to look at this world from Elizabeth’s perspective, not that of a twenty-first century woman. I had to know and understand this world with all its warts and delights, misogamy, cruelty, bad smells and wonderful fragrances, its cut-throat poverty and rich merchants, colourful pageants and Saints’ Days. I had to consider the New Learning, Humanism,  that interested the Cromwells and their close friends.

Researching the Cloth Trade was fascinating too. Could Elizabeth have inherited her first husband’s business interests? Could she have been a cloth merchant? Widows could marry as they wished, so could she have married Thomas for love? He never remarried after her death, but could he have had an affair? I did find possible evidence of one, in that he referred to a possible daughter in a will he wrote in the early 1530s, a girl, Jane, who dwelled near Chester and was born around 1520. Did Elizabeth possess emotions as we have them today and if so did they play out differently to the way we react to betrayal in marriage nowadays?  These are a few of the questions I consider in the novel.

I hope I have succeeded in bringing Elizabeth out of the shadows and given her a renewed life, at least in fiction. I hope I have made us think about Thomas Cromwell as he may have been during the years of their marriage and before he climbed the greasy pole of ambition within the Tudor Court. Most of all, if you read it, I hope that you enjoy reading The Woman in the Shadows. Without you there would not be a book.

***

Buy Link

http://tinyurl.com/y85r2zkf 

Social Links

https://www.facebook.com/daughtersofhastings

http://scribbling-inthemargins.blogspot.gr/

http://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

http://pinterest.com/carol0275/

www.carolcmcgrath.co.uk

Follow me on Twitter @carolmcgrath

 

Bio

Carol McGrath has an MA in Creative Writing from The Seamus Heaney Centre, Queens University Belfast, followed by an MPhil in Creative Writing from University of London. The Handfasted Wife, first in a trilogy about the royal women of 1066 was shortlisted for the RoNAs in 2014. The Swan-Daughter and The Betrothed Sister complete this best-selling trilogy. The Woman in the Shadows, a novel that considers Henry VIII’s statesman, Thomas Cromwell, through the eyes of Elizabeth his wife, will be published on August 4th, 2017. Carol is working on a new medieval Trilogy, The Rose Trilogy, set in the High Middle Ages.  It subject matter is three linked medieval queens, sometimes considered ‘She Wolves’. She speaks at events and conferences on the subject of medieval women, writing Historical Fiction, The Bayeux Tapestry, and Fabrics, Tapestry and Embroidery as incorporated into fiction. Carol was the co-ordinator of the Historical Novels Association Conference, Oxford in September 2016 and reviews for the HNS.  Find Carol on her website:

www.carolcmcgrath.co.uk.

***

Many thanks for visiting on your tour today Carol. Good luck with your new book. Happy touring!

Jenny xx

 


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