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 non-erotic 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.
I love writing as Kay- she has had one hell of a ride over the last ten years, and has a fair handful of novels, novellas and short stories under her belt- but last year I decided that 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 snapped up…
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
My Cornish novel, Abi’s House, is the perfect to cheer up those dull weather days!!
And if you’re quick- you have time to read it before its sequel, Abi’s Neighbour, comes out on the 4th of May!
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
You can buy Abi’s House here- http://www.accentpress.co.uk/Book/12915/Abis-House– as well as here…
Happy reading everyone,
Where did February go? Have you got it? I could have sworn we were only halfway through the month…
Still… the plus side of the days dashing by is that it’s time for Nell Peters to pop along with her end of month round up. It’s another cracker…
Hello! Let’s start with a straw poll – hands up all those being sued by their postman, for back/shoulder injuries sustained while delivering your many sacks full of Valentine cards … Nope, me neither.
The end of February means we can take a short breather from family (ergo horribly expensive) birthdays – ten between 24/12 and 20/2. TEN! So far this year we have had two first birthdays, two ninetieths and one fortieth amongst the more run of the mill anniversaries, including two daughters-in-law who were both born on 11th January.
What are the chances? I don’t know, but it should most definitely not be allowed! During March, there are just two card-only relative birthdays, in April three close family celebrations – all lulling us into a false sense of security before May hits the bank balance right between the eyes once more. Two sons, a grandson and a niece all chose to turn up during the ‘merry’ month (although not so merry for us!), plus a whole array of other family and friends. Please remember to send food parcels and wine at that time.
A bit of a grasshopper post this month, going boing, boing, boing all over the place – so listen carefully, I will say this only once. Speaking of which, about a hundred years ago, I used to know Stuart H-C, brother of the actress (Kirsten H-C) who played that part in Allo, Allo – I wonder what he’s doing now … probably not being a grasshopper, or even going boing. He never did strike me as much of a boinger.
28th February has been a musical day over the centuries: in1728 George Frideric Handel‘s opera, Siroe, re di Persia (Siroe, King of Persia – now Iran) premiered in London, followed ninety-one years later by the first performance in Vienna of Franz Schubert‘s song, Schäfers Klageleid (Shepherd Song Suit – perhaps something gets lost in Google translation? Suite I could understand, but suit?) Poor old Franz was only thirty-one when he died (I’ve got jeans older than that!), by which time he had composed more than six hundred pieces; that’s an awful lot of bum notes and treble clefs. Also in Vienna, in 1828, Franz Grillparzer’s Ein Treuer Diener (A Faithful Servant) was first performed, but in1862 Charles Gounod bucked the trend and chose gay (can you still say that?) Paris to unleash his Grand Opera La Reine de Saba (The Queen of Sheba) upon the world. Slipping ever so slightly downmarket, the first American vaudeville theatre opened in Boston, Massachusetts in 1883.
Sticking to a musical theme for a moment, now your toes are tapping and you are discreetly la-la-ing, an awful lot of composers have been born on 28th February – step forward and take a bow Kaspar Förster (1616); Justin Morgan (1747); Juliusz Zarebski (1854); Gustave Adolph Kerker (1857); Viliam Figus (1875); John Alden Carpenter (1876); Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877); Artur Kapp (1878); Richard Heinrich Stein (1882); Roman Maciejewski (1910); Vladimir Sommer (1921); and sharing a date of birth, we have Seymour Shifrin and Stanley Glasser in 1926. Charles Bernstein rocked up in 1943, Stephen Chatman in 1950, with William Finn spoiling his poor mother’s day two years later, and Junya Nakano bringing up the rear in 1971. A cast of thousands – and a few strong candidates for this month’s weirdo name competition. I wonder if Artur Kapp has any remote connection to Andy Capp? I’m thinking anglicised name … no, perhaps not. Forget I spoke.
On the world stage, this day in 1933 Adolf Hitler banned the German Communist Party (KPD), and not to be outdone, German President Paul von Hindenburg abolished free expression of opinion (except his own, I expect) – the slippery slope to dictatorship and WWII. But two years before war was declared, came the Hindenburg Disaster – the airship LZ (Led Zeppelin; not the rock band) 129, which was presumably named after the president who had died in 1934 while still in office, came a right royal cropper. I don’t know about you, but the thought of trusting my luck to an inflated pillow case with an engine attached doesn’t appeal too much.
The Hindenburg left Frankfurt on the evening of May 3, 1937, on the first of ten round trips between Europe and the US scheduled for its second year of commercial service – American Airlines had contracted the operators to shuttle passengers from Naval Air Station Lakehurst to Newark for connections with conventional air flights. Except for strong headwinds massively slowing progress, the Atlantic crossing was unremarkable, until the Hindenburg attempted an early-evening landing at Lakehurst on May 6. Although carrying only half its full capacity of passengers (thirty-six of seventy) and sixty-one crew of which twenty-one were trainees on the outward flight, the return flight was fully booked. Many of the passengers with tickets to Germany were planning to attend the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in London the following week – choosing to travel in comfort and style, much like an ocean liner only quicker.
As the pilot tried to dock, the Hindenburg caught fire and quickly became engulfed in flames. It had a cotton skin covered with a finish known as ‘dope’ – no, not the recreational drug or idiot person, but a plasticised lacquer that provides stiffness, protection, and a lightweight, airtight seal to woven fabrics. In its liquid forms, dope is highly flammable, but the flammability of dry dope depends upon its base constituents. One hypothesis for the cause of the accident was that when the mooring line touched the ground, a resulting spark could have ignited the dope in the skin – goodnight Vienna (which is getting a pretty good airing in this blog). Other theories favoured sabotage, even naming the crew member they held responsible, but since he’d died in the fire, the poor chap couldn’t defend himself.
Best of all, it was suggested that Adolf Hitler ordered the Hindenburg to be destroyed in retaliation for Hugo Eckener’s (former head of the Zeppelin company) anti-Nazi opinions. Whatever the cause, thirteen passengers and twenty-two air crew died, plus one ground crewman – but if you see the speed with which the craft burned, it’s nothing short of a miracle that anyone walked away.
Let’s cheer up! On this day in 2016, the 88th Academy Awards ceremony (aka the Oscars) was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles – not being much of a cinema goer, I haven’t seen any of the films nominated. My only real interest, to be honest, is to gawp at the posh frocks; not too much Primani on show as a rule, but then if you know 34.42 million people in the US alone are going to be tuned in, casting a very critical eye over your choice of clobber, you’d make a bit of an effort, I guess. Even so, some make amazing fashion faux pas in their effort to be noticed. In the unlikely event that I ever get an invitation, I think I’ll play it safe with my usual Tesco super-skinny jeans and some grotty top – to make my entrance incognito as one of the cleaners, so I don’t have to have my photo taken.
Just in case you were wondering, Spotlight won two awards, including Best Picture, and Mad Max: Fury Road won six, the biggest haul of the evening. The Revenant earned three, including Best Director for Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio. Brie Larson won Best Actress for Room, and Mark Rylance and Alicia Vikander won supporting actor Oscars for Bridge of Spies and The Danish Girl, respectively. And the Oscar for the most difficult to pronounce name goes to …
Major General Quincy Adams Gillmore was born on this day in 1825 in Black River (now Lorain County), Ohio – that’s unless you believe Wikipedia, which gives his dob as 25th Feb. But who believes Wiki-p? Call me suspicious, but I think he was named after the 6th President of the US, John Quincy Adams, who was voted in by the House of Representatives earlier in February. 1825 was the same year that the idea to store food in tin cans was patented; the first detachable shirt collar was created; the first hotel in Hawaii was opened (I wonder if it was a Travelodge?); Charles X became King of France and the Stockton to Darlington railway line was opened.
The Maj Gen must have been something of a Smarty Pants because he graduated top of his class at the US Military Academy at West Point in 1849, and received a commission in the Corps of Engineers. He helped build forts until 1852, taught at West Point from 1852 to 1856, and was the head of the Engineer Agency in New York City from 1856 to 1861, when the American Civil War began. He was noted for his actions in the Union Army victory at Fort Pulaski, where his modern rifled artillery pounded the fort’s exterior stone walls – an action that essentially rendered stone fortifications obsolete – and he earned an international reputation as an organizer of siege operations, helping to revolutionize the use of naval gunnery. Not much of a pacifist, then.
Four racing drivers born on this day are Belgian Eric Bachelart (1961), Brazilian Ingo Hoffmann (1953), and Italian-America terrible twins Mario Andretti and his much lesser-known brother Aldo (1940), who gave up his fledgling career after a serious accident in 1959. Rising from a background of extreme poverty in Europe and moving to the States when very young, the boys really lived the American Dream – as well as every schoolboy’s dream of driving a racing car. Speeding like a lunatic must either have been learned behaviour or in the genes, because both Mario’s son, Michael and grandson Marco, also became racing drivers.
Who remembers mention of Stuart H-C at the beginning of this twaddle-fest? OK, you get a prize. His dad, Miles (known as Bill) was a test driver/mechanic on the team of racing driver Tommy Sopwith, whose own father – also Thomas – was the aviation pioneer who built the Sopwith Camel aircraft in 1916/17. (My paternal grandfather probably flew one as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during WWI.) Ironically, Miles H-C was tragically killed in a road traffic accident when his children were very young, and they grew up not really remembering him. But at least he was driving an E Type Jaguar when he crashed, as Kirsten once said.
Unlike the aforementioned Andretti brothers, Benjamin Siegel (nickname Bugsy, ergo a definite contender for the weirdo name contest) – born in Brooklyn on this day in 1906 – wasn’t so keen on doing an honest day’s work to get ahead. A gangster with the Luciano crime family, he was one of the most infamous and feared gangsters of his day and a driving force behind the development of the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. Nowadays, the tacky area is packed with casinos and hotels – fourteen of the world’s twenty-five largest hotels (by room count) are on the Strip, with a total of over 62,000 rooms. That’s a lot of beds to make.
Bugsy’s career met a premature end in June 1947, when he had an argument with a bullet and the bullet won – those who live by the sword … And on that point (snigger) I’m gone – thanks again for having me, Jenny!
Always welcome hun – another wonderful blog! Thank you xx
Exciting news today for anyone who has been waiting for me to hurry up and write the sequel to my Cornish romance, Abi’s House!
Abi’s Neighbour will be out on 4th May!!
Check out this wonderfully summery cover!
Here’s the Blurb!
Abi Carter has finally found happiness in beautiful Cornwall, with her old tin miner’s cottage proving the perfect home. 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. She’s obnoxious, stuck-up, and hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, she seems to have designs on Abi’s boyfriend Max…But Cassandra has her own problems. Her wealthy lawyer lover has promised to leave his wife and join her in their Cornish love nest – but something always comes up. Now, not only is Cassandra stuck on her own, miles away from her city lifestyle, but someone seems intent on sabotaging her successful business. Will she mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are the two just destined not to get along?
Complete with sun, sea and adorable Labrador Sadie, Abi’s Neighbour is the fantastic new novel by bestselling author Jenny Kane.
You can already pre-order your copy of the paperback from Amazon.
E-Book pre-orders can be made here –
Although Abi’s Neighbour is a sequel, you can read it as a standalone book – however, it’s more fun to read Abi’s House first!! Links can be found here.
I thought, as a Valentine treat, I’d share a romantic extract from Another Cup of Coffee with you today!
…Amy was nervous, more nervous than when she’d caught up with Rob on her arrival in London.
Paul was late. She examined the inside of the intricate medieval stone work opposite her. The doorway to St Martins-in-the-Fields wasn’t easy to spot, Amy had walked past it by mistake before she’d come in, and she’d been here before. Maybe the British Museum would have been a better place to meet, or the Victoria and Albert? Amy glanced at the entrance for the tenth time in as many minutes. Paul might not even recognise her; after all, it had been a long time since they’d seen each other.
Her drink was already half gone. Amy checked her phone again. No messages. Giving up, she dug into her bag, bringing out the ever present novel.
Paul had spotted Amy as soon as he’d manoeuvred his six-foot-two frame through the low stone doorway. He’d been confident she would be in the café’s furthest corner, and sure enough, there she was. Amy had always adopted a position where she could hide. As he watched her, Paul wondered if it was even something she was conscious of.
There was a coffee cup by Amy already, and the book her nose was stuck into was a paperback of the more ponderous variety of classic. Most of the girls he met these days wouldn’t even have considered picking it up.
She was definitely a bit slimmer than he remembered, and her hair was sleeker, tethered back into two shoulder-length bunches that made her look younger than she was. Amy hadn’t managed to get them level, and one bunch was noticeably higher than the other. Paul found he was dying to straighten them out for her.
Her clothes were the same as in the old days, though; knowing Amy, Paul thought with a grin, they might well be exactly the same. Jeans and a stripy blue jumper, probably with a T-shirt beneath, very probably a black one. The only really noticeable difference between now and then was that she was wearing knee-length boots with a wedge heel rather than trainers.
Rob was right. Essentially, Amy Crane hadn’t changed a bit.
Suddenly aware that she was being observed, Amy looked up from her book.
Her face broke into a welcoming beam. ‘I thought you might have got lost.’ She stood up and found herself smothered in a massive bear hug. Paul smelt nice; all warm and clean without the overpowering scent of the male perfumes Amy so despised.
‘Tube delays. I couldn’t get a signal down there to let you know.’ Paul felt awkward, not quite sure what to say next, having held her slightly longer than perhaps was normal for a couple of friends. He’d engineered this opportunity to get her alone, and now he was here, he was tongue-tied.
Amy unwittingly came to his rescue. ‘You getting a coffee then?’
‘Yes, sure. You want a top-up? Black I assume?’
Amy watched Paul flirt with the Polish girl behind the counter as he placed his request. He was taller than she remembered. His black hair was still cropped very short, but it wasn’t as severe as the shaved style he’d favoured as a student. His jeans were blue rather than black, and his shirt, although crumpled, was smarter than the off-white T-shirts she’d always associated with him. Smarter. He was definitely smarter. A huge brown overcoat, which probably weighed a ton, covered the back view of him almost completely, the heels of his Doc Martens only just visible below the hem.
How come she hadn’t noticed how attractive he was back then? Amy felt taken aback at the alien notion, and abruptly pushed the idea away. Yet that hug …
Amy reined in and dismissed her wild flight of fancy as Paul returned with their refreshments. After they’d covered a wide range of comfortable reminiscences and laughed heartily at their past selves, Amy brought the conversation back up-to-date.
‘So, is anyone special waiting for you back on site?’
Paul pushed his cup aside. ‘No. No one’s twiddling their trowel and pining for my return.’
‘That’s not like you.’
Paul regarded Amy as if she was nuts. ‘I’m not stuck in a timewarp, Amy. I’m thirty-four. That pretty much makes me the father figure. I’m the oldest guy on site by at least five years. It’s the twenty-something’s that have the trowel-twiddlers waiting for them these days.’
‘But surely …’ Amy was genuinely shocked. She was so sure that things would have been just as she’d left them. ‘You must meet heaps of nice people.’
‘Sure I do. I have many friends, both male and female, right across the world.’
Amy wasn’t quite sure why she pushed further, ‘But no one special?’
‘Not since uni.’ Paul sighed, not sure if he was ready to go where this conversation might take them.
‘Uni?’ Amy couldn’t believe it. This was Paul. The guy every girl had wanted to date back then. Well, every girl bar her. Yet none of the string of young women he’d dated had ever lasted more than a fortnight, and for the life of her, Amy couldn’t remember if Paul had especially liked any of them. ‘Who was that then? You never said at the time.’
Paul hesitated, before taking the easy way out, ‘You never met her. Let’s go and explore. Gallery, museum, or a walk in the park?’
Amy was disappointed by his answer, but accepted it for now. She looked at her watch; it had already gone one. ‘How about we nip into the National Portrait Gallery, have a quick mooch around and then grab a bit of lunch.’
‘Good idea, is there a good café in there?’
‘Two; but the Portrait Restaurant is fantastic, you get views right across London. I went in with my friend Kit before Christmas.’ Amy paused. ‘It’s a bit expensive though. We could go into the Lounge area, that’s better price-wise, although maybe we shouldn’t …’ Uncertainty took hold, as Amy’s words trailed off.
Paul intercepted her rambling, ‘Amy, this is my treat.’
‘But archaeologists earn crap money.’ Amy blushed as she blurted out the sentence.
‘Oh thanks!’ Paul laughed at her, ‘Although, I can’t argue. However, I have news on that front. Come on, I have heaps to tell you yet. Show me these amazing views of yours, and tell me about your new friends.’
They were in luck. After a companionable hour soaking in the diverse art work, they found a two-seater table available at the very edge of the lounge bar. After purchasing a glass of white wine each, they sat in silence for a moment, staring at the world through the window. It was all there. London. Everything the tourist could hope to see in one complete eyeful. St Paul’s, the Eye, Big Ben. Everything.
‘It quite takes the breath away Amy. All that history.’
Without turning from the view, Amy ran through their personal history as she replied. ‘I knew you’d appreciate it.’
The waiter came over and took their order for two bowls of wild mushroom soup and homemade bread, before leaving them to soak up the panorama. Amy was the first to break the silence, ‘You were going to tell me something?’
‘Ah, right,’ he put down his own glass and sat back in his seat, ‘I will, but first I want to know if you saw sense and took the management post you were offered?’
‘I did,’ Amy took a draft of alcohol, ‘thanks to you.’
‘You helped me clarify a few things. I was so sure I had been set up, I felt feeling manipulated, but you made me see it wasn’t really like that.’
‘Of course it wasn’t.’
‘My friends were just trying to do their best for me.’
Paul was pleased, ‘Good. I’m glad. Now I can press ahead with my plans.’
Amy was intrigued, and more than a little impatient, ‘Tell me then!’
‘As I said, I’m no spring chicken on the excavation circuit. If I’m not actually running the dig, then I’m at least responsible for a good part of it.’
‘That’s great. Your CV must be excellent. You always were the only one who could tell an ordinary stone from a Neolithic axe-head.’
Paul smiled in acknowledgement, ‘I’ve seen the world Amy. I’ve found and seen all sorts of marvellous things. Written thousands of reports, drawn a million diagrams, been cited in heaps of books, but I’ve had enough.’
Amy was startled. ‘But Paul, it’s your life!’
‘Yes, it is. But I’m fast heading towards my forties, Amy. I have, as I’ve said, friends everywhere, but no one waits for me when I do get home. Only my parents miss me if a dig is extended at the last minute. It’s just not enough anymore.’
Like me, Amy thought. There’s no one at home, not for me anyway. ‘So, what will you do?’
Paul returned his gaze to the view; the people below looked tiny as they scuttled about, oblivious to the fact that they were being observed. ‘Is it nice living in London?’
‘Bit expensive I guess, and a touch overwhelming sometimes, but I like it.’ Amy began to nibble at the soft granary bread which a waiter had placed in the centre of their table.
‘Rob loves it, and I guess Jack does. I suppose the night life suits him.’ Paul verbally pounced as Amy reddened at the mention of Jack’s name, ‘What is it? What’s he done to you now?’
‘Nothing.’ Amy put up a hand, ‘Really, nothing. I’ll tell you all about it later. Go on with what you were telling me about London. Are you coming here to work? Are you?’ Amy felt as if she was on tenterhooks as she waited for his answer.
She seemed so eager; Paul felt more hopeful than he had dared allow himself to before. ‘I have the chance to. I wanted to know what you thought.’
‘And what Rob thinks, of course,’ Amy added.
‘Oh yes, and Rob.’ …
If you fancy finding what finds out next, or how much had to happened before Amy and Paul caught up with each other after years of being apart, you can buy Another Cup of Coffee as an e-book or a paperback from all good retailers including…
I hope you’re being treated well on this day of romance and snuggles.
Happy Valentine’s Day,