The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


Romancing Robin Hood: A Hooded Man

My timeslip novel, Romancing Robin Hood, has a special place in my heart for many reasons . It reflects a great deal of my own life within its many pages- it gave me by first taste of writing medieval fiction (the novel is part modern romance and part medieval mystery)- and it gave me a chance to doff my hat to all those who were involved in the recording and production of the ITV series, Robin of Sherwood- a formative part of my upbringing.

Here’s the blurb…

When you’re in love with a man of legend, how can anyone else match up?

Dr Grace Harper has loved the stories of Robin Hood ever since she first saw them on TV as a teenager. Now, with her fortieth birthday just around the corner, she’s a successful academic in Medieval History—but Grace is stuck in a rut.

Grace is supposed to be writing a textbook on a real-life medieval criminal gang—the Folvilles—but instead she is captivated by a novel she’s secretly writing. A medieval mystery which entwines the story of Folvilles with her long-time love of Robin Hood—and a feisty young woman named Mathilda of Twyford.

Just as she is trying to work out how Mathilda can survive being kidnapped by the Folvilles, Grace’s best friend Daisy announces she is getting married. After a whirlwind romance with a man she loves as much as the creatures in her animal shelter, Daisy has press-ganged Grace into being her bridesmaid.

Witnessing Daisy’s new-found happiness, Grace 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? Grace’s life doesn’t get any easier when she meets Dr Robert Franks—a rival academic who she is determined to dislike but finds herself being increasingly drawn to… If only he didn’t know quite so much about Robin Hood.

Suddenly, spending more time living in the past than the present doesn’t seem such a good idea..

 

Little did I know when I wrote Romancing Robin Hood that the book itself would give me a chance to thank the actors and behind the scenes team who worked on the show over 30 years ago- in person.

This weekend I am attending my second Hooded Man Event – this gathering (evey 2 yeaars) brings fans of Robin of Sherwood together- along with the stars themselves- to talk all things RH and medieval. It is a lot of fun and one of the friendliest events I have ever attended.

Last time I went- thanks to my novel-  to sell books from a stand in the corner of the room. I stood and watched the world go by in a sort of RH heaven.

This year however, I am selling 3 books- Romancing Robin Hood, The Outlaw’s Ransom and The Winter Outlaw. The latter 2 books are the direct result of comments made to me at the last event by kind readers.

I will not be staying behind the safety of my book  year – on Sunday afternoon I will be up on the main stage with  fellow writer, Tony Lees, talking about writing audio scripts for Robin of Sherwood. I am still not sure I can quite get my head around that I do that- but I do!!

And all because- four years ago- I wrote a novel called Romancing Robin Hood… I owe that novel BIG time!!

***

If you would like to read Grace’s adventure- not to mention discover what Mathilda of Twyford gets up to in fourteenth century Leicestershire- then you can buy the new look Romancing Robin Hood from all good retailers, including…

Paperback

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane/dp/1999855248/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517319761&sr=1-2&keywords=romancing+robin+hood+Jenny+Kane

Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane/dp/1999855248/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517404290&sr=1-1&keywords=Romancing+Robin+Hood+Jenny+Kane  

Kindle

So why not treat yourself to a little something to read this weekend while I am away talking to the merry men- and a couple of Robins!

Happy reading,

Jenny and Jennifer xx


Opening Lines from Charlie Laidlaw: The Things We Learn When We’re Dead

It’s that time again! ‘Opening Lines’ day is upon us. This week we are diving straight into the action with the first 500 lines from Charlie Laidlaw’s ‘The Things We Learn When We’re Dead’.

Blurb

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is a modern fairytale of love and loss.  It’s about the subtle ways in which we change, and how the small decisions that we make can have profound and unintended consequences.

On one level, the book is a simple story of a young woman’s life.  But, for those readers who want to make the connection, The Things We Learn is also a retelling of The Wizard of Oz: how a young woman in ultimately tragic circumstances comes to reassess her life and find a new beginning.

500 Words

Single is the race, single

Of men and gods;

From a single mother we both draw breath.

But a difference of power in everything

Keeps us apart;

For one is as nothing, but the brazen sky

Stays a fixed habituation for ever.

Yet we can in greatness of mind

Or of body be like the Immortals

On the Olympics: Pindar of Thebes, ancient Greek lyric poet

 

The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.

Meditations: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

121AD – 180AD

End

At the end of her Edinburgh street, where it joined a busier road, was a security camera perched high on a metal pole.  If anyone had been watching they would have seen a slim young woman in a red dress illuminated under a streetlight.  They would have seen that she seemed agitated, her feet fluttering on the pavement’s edge, her hands raised to her face, turning this way and that, and then stepping into the road.  She seemed to be crying, unsure what she was doing.  They would have seen the approaching car and that the young woman was looking in the wrong direction.  When she did hear it, turning in mesmerised surprise, it was too late.  But perhaps nobody had been watching the CCTV screen because it was the driver of the car who called for the ambulance, a small crowd gathering, and who then tried to make the young woman comfortable – talking to her, even pushing his jacket under her head – and waited beside her until the ambulance arrived and the paramedic said that he couldn’t detect a pulse.

On the morning of her death, suicide bombers blew themselves up on London’s transport network.  Three on the Tube and one on a bus.  Dozens were dead, many more maimed.  She watched, appalled, as the news unfolded, curled on the sofa, making cups of coffee that she didn’t drink, while the sun traversed the rooftops and patterned her in shadows.  It seemed a rerun of 9/11 or Bali or Madrid; random and senseless.  That’s what angered her the most: it was carnage without fathomable purpose.  She was alone in her flat; she’d had an argument with her flatmate who had flounced off, muttering darkly and swearing loudly.  But she was used to being alone, to the silence; she welcomed that kind of solitude because it didn’t allow for distraction: it gave her the space to frown over her law books, sucking on a pencil or tapping on her keyboard.  But not today; today she wanted company: someone to share her outrage with, but she didn’t know who to phone.  Instead, she’d make another cup of coffee, set it on the table beside the sofa, and then throw it away when it was stone cold…

***

Bio

Charlie Laidlaw was born in Paisley, Scotland and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh.  He is a former national newspaper journalist and Security Service intelligence officer, now working as a marketing and PR consultant.  He is married with two grown-up children and lives near Edinburgh.

Social media

www.charlielaidlawauthor.com

T @claidlawauthor

F @charlielaidlawauthor

Buy Link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_19?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+things+we+learn+when+we%27re+dead&sprefix=the+things+we+learn%2Cstripbooks%2C149&crid=

23Q141W3424RZ 

***

Many thanks Charlie!

Come back next week to enjoy the first 500 words from one of Nell Peters’ novels.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx


A PEPPERMINT AND A MAD PARLIAMENTARIAN: Chris Chalmers

Delighted to be joined by Chris Chalmers. Today, he’ll be giving us the low down on the inspiration behind his novel, Five to One.

Over to you, Chris…

Ask what set me off on the road of writing some of my books and I’ll waffle manfully.

Ask me about Five To One, and I can give you a definite answer.

Two, to be exact. Five To One is the story of the day a helicopter crashes on London’s Clapham Common, and how it affects the lives of the people who witness it. It’s not based on fact, thank goodness — though there was a helicopter crash a couple of miles away in Vauxhall a year or two later. But it was inspired by a couple of real-life incidents.

When I wrote it I was living in a flat overlooking the south side of the Common. My desk was at the front window, with a perfect view of the spot where, in my mind’s eye, that helicopter comes down at 12.55 on a fateful, blue-sky summer day. My flat was on a corner above an estate agents, and one night  the previous year I’d been in the kitchen cooking (read: microwaving) my dinner, when I was shaken till my teeth rattled by the loudest bang I’d ever heard in my life. The entire flat shook yet it was over in an instant. I ran to the front room where the main road divided me from the Common. Down on the pavement below stood a few dazed pedestrians looking on — and the rear end of a London black cab, sticking out of the shopfront.

My first thought was that the driver had had a heart attack. He’d clearly veered off the road, across the wide pavement and through the window. Mercifully the shop was shut at the time, and no one was seriously hurt including the driver. Police, ambulance and fire engine all appeared within minutes, and the whole incident soon felt completely surreal. As did the real cause of the crash when I later found out: the taxi driver had choked on a peppermint.

Needless to say the cab was extricated, the window replaced and within a couple of days there was nothing to show it had ever happened. Life moves on, and in London it moves on pretty sharpish. But it did set me thinking about those extraordinary instances when something happens we couldn’t possibly predict. I remembered a local news story from a few years before, when a wall collapsed killing a number of passers-by; ordinary folk on their way to work, or school or the shops. People who left home that day without the slightest inkling they were never coming back. That taxi went through the window at the exact spot you’d find me half a dozen times a day, fumbling for my keys or checking if I’d brought my phone.

The other incident had happened a few years before. This one you might remember: it involved a minor politician and unseemly goings-on in the bushes of Clapham Common, in what was famously referred to as ‘a moment of madness’. Considering what politicians the world over get away with nowadays, it was pretty small stuff. But it was a big story at the time — and I remember the very odd feeling of sitting in bed one Sunday morning, opening the paper on a page-wide photo of the view from my window. It was the edge of the Common, with the sign bolted to the railings that read ‘CLAPHAM COMMON SOUTH SIDE’.

That was the moment when it dawned on me I subconsciously viewed all news — press, broadcast, and the then fledgling online variety — as fiction, or as good as. News wasn’t real; it was stuff that happened in a parallel dimension, with no relevance to me except as an intermittently engaging form of entertainment.

This news story, and later the cab that rattled me and my safe little flat to the core, were the impetus behind Five To One. It’s the story of Ian, Glory, Tony and Mari; four people going about their lives in a quiet corner of south London, when an utterly unforeseeable incident thrusts them into the spotlight and changes them forever.

The opening line of the cover blurb says that ‘Every moment starts somewhere’. And that’s how the book begins — by telling the story of each of them, from the exact moment that will ultimately lead them to be on the Common just before one o’clock that afternoon.

Here’s one of them:

Extract from the first chapter of Five To One

‘I like your radishes. They are werry nice.’

Ian looked up from the compost. He hadn’t heard the back door open. It was Agnes, the nanny to the child of the house, standing on the garden path.

He wiped his hands on his vest. Shading his eyes from the fading sunlight, his fingers framed her in an aura that seemed entirely appropriate. It reminded him of tales of shepherd boys on lonely hillsides, visited by visions of the Virgin Mary and/or a very bright light. Except that the way this particular maiden was looking him over was rather less than virginal.

He’d seen her before: through the window preparing the child’s tea, and hanging out the washing in that lacy T-shirt that exposed her belly button to the breeze. But this was the first time he’d ever heard her speak.

‘Sparkler White-Tips,’ he said, breaking a foolish silence. ‘Top variety for the soil around here.’

Agnes nodded her mane of reddish curls as she opened her hand. Inside were two healthy round roots, cleaned and trimmed and ready to eat. She rolled them deftly, one over the other, like a tennis pro preparing to serve.

‘And they are werry good for childrens. They have a lot of witamins and also iron.’

Her flat, Polish tones pronounced it eye-ron, which to Ian’s surprise he found spectacularly arousing. As if her natural cleavage and the hipbones peeping saucily over her jeans weren’t enough. He leant on his spade to disguise a sudden awkwardness in his all-weather shorts. Watched, as she cradled the pinky-red balls a moment longer. Popped one in her mouth, and crunched.

Ian Newton was forty-seven. He’d run his own gardening business for eleven years, since a long-forgotten drop in the FTSE lost him the City job he hated. He preferred fresh air and being his own boss to watching screens and fielding calls from Tokyo. His friends joked about the temptations of bored, immaculate housewives, with nothing to do between school runs but sip espresso and wait for the gardener to get his shirt off. But the fact was, he’d never strayed. As a professional, a pessimist and a coward, he automatically assumed any husband would have hit-squad connections if he so much as left a bootprint on the stair carpet. So in all his years of marriage he had never seriously considered being unfaithful, even when Carla was at her most bloodyminded.

Until now.

On a late May afternoon in the Wallaces’ back garden, when Agnes Skirowska smiled and chewed a second radish in the sunlight.

***

Half an hour later, with Jasper at his heels, Ian knocked the earth from his spade and tossed it in the van. Followed by one welly, then the other, swapping them for the moccasins he wore for driving. Another of Carla’s little rules – though God knows why he was sticking to it now …

‘In you go, fella!’

The little West Highland terrier made a mountain of climbing in the passenger door, settling for base camp in the footwell rather than striking out for the summit. By the end of an afternoon, his dog was more tired than he was. Even the earthworms that once whipped him into a snuffling frenzy had lost their allure.

Not many summers left for the old team now, thought Ian, driving with one eye on the furry bundle. Jasper was highly impractical as a gardener’s dog. His white fur showed every sticky bud and bloodied raspberry that clung beyond the canine radar. On one occasion they had narrowly avoided a collision when Ian caught sight of that noble muzzle accessorised by a jaunty feather.

But on this day he looked without seeing. His fingers quivered and his armpits gave off an aroma a little like fear. They were signs of anticipation; of a man about to break new ground without working through the consequences. As they pulled out of Luther Road, Ian ran through his imminent schedule:

Feed dog. Shower. Get changed. Set Sky Plus.

After every glance at Jasper, his eyes trailed back via the dashboard clock. Nine minutes to seven; just sixty-nine minutes to go.

They opened a fraction wider.

***

FIVE TO ONE – Blurb

Every moment starts somewhere                    

 ‘Ninety metres beneath his feet the wake from a dredger unzipped the murky satin of the Thames…’                   

 A care assistant with a secret. A gardener with an eye for more than greenfly. An estate agent and an advertising man, each facing a relationship crisis. And a pilot with nowhere to land.

At twelve fifty-five on a sunny afternoon, five lives converge in a moment of terror as a helicopter crashes on Clapham Common. It’s a day that will change them all forever — and for some, will be their last.

Winner of the Wink Publishing Debut Novel Competition

Nominated for the Polari First Book Award

 ‘A funny, often painfully honest and moving story about the absurdity of modern life and the concerns that propel us. Chalmers writes with a sensitivity and wit that recalls Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City’ – Penny Hancock, bestselling author of Tideline

 ‘A charming novel that’s cleverly structured and consistently engaging’ — Matt Cain, Editor-in-Chief, Attitude magazine

’A poignant study of genuine love in a big and fantastically diverse city’ – BytetheBook.com

 

BIO

Chris Chalmers lives in South-West London with his partner, a quite famous concert pianist. He has been the understudy on Mastermind, visited 40 different countries, and swum with iguanas. Aside from his novels, his proudest literary achievement is making Martina Navratilova ROFLAO on Twitter.

You’ll find him on Facebook @chrischalmersnovelist, on Twitter @CCsw19, and at www.chrischalmers.net

BUY LINK, paperback and ebook: (THE EBOOK IS ONLY 99p FOR THE WHOLE OF MAY)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Five-One-Chris-Chalmers-ebook/dp/B0727VVSVH/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

***

Many thanks for coming by today Chris- great stuff.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 

 


Abi’s House: Accidentally Romantic

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.  

 

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

 


The Parliament House Books: John Mayer

We ae taking a step into the world of John Mayer today, with a look at his series, The Parliament House Books.

Why not grab yourself a cuppa, put your feet up and settle down for a read?

Over to you John…

Firstly, please allow me to say how refreshing it is not to be answering the same questions as I normally do for these things.

Well, I’m John Mayer and I write The Parliament House Books. Why? The honest answer is that having lost the community into which I was born and then lost the one where I grew up, both to City Hall ordered demolition I hoped I would find that sense of community in Parliament House; which contains the Scottish Faculty of Advocates. I didn’t. Instead, I found what Lord McEwan called ‘a nest of vipers’. So, in what I think is typical form for me, I created the community I wanted to live amongst. You might say that creating The Parliament House Books was, for me, a kind of necessity. It’s certainly a community I enjoy being amongst.

During my twenty years as an Advocate in the Supreme Courts of Scotland, having written legal text books, journal articles and been published in non-fiction hardback, I thought I could simply start writing fiction. I figured that I had many transferrable skills. After all, when writing complicated legal arguments, you only get one chance to get it right in court. So, having been very successful in my written practise and being very persuasive in oral argument, I’d be an immediate success with The Parliament House Books. Right? Wrong!

I went through two editors and a couple of thousand pounds in trying to learn. What I discovered was that – as the Chinese say about lawyers – if you started in London and laid all the editors in the world end to end, they’d never reach a conclusion. So I took what I thought were the best bits of their advice and just began to write just for myself. I quickly learned that, as with giving love and affection, if you try too hard, it comes out wrongly. You firstly have to feel that honest deep-down feeling and then find a way of bringing it to the surface. Then comes the difficult bit: imparting it in a way that makes the receiver feel that your passion is offered solely for them. That private feeling of connection between author and reader is what makes people keep turning pages.

 

As I’ve deepened and developed my writing skills, I’ve also learned something of vital importance. That is never to think that my words are chiselled in stone. As I’ve become a better writer, I’ve gone back to the three prequels and the first novel in the series and re-written certain parts. I like that Amazon gives those who’ve bought an earlier edition the chance to get the later one free. I’ve had people write to me and say they were in tears when reading the changes. That’s the phenomenon I was talking about earlier: the private connection between author and reader. It’s very intimate and thus very delicate. It’s a privilege to connect with readers to that depth.

Well, I guess it’s time to talk about the characters who populate the pages of The Parliament House Books. Despite Brogan McLane being a Glaswegian like me, and despite being an Advocate in Parliament House, he as the central character, isn’t me. McLane’s blood brother, Big Joe Mularkey, is also fictional; though he is based on someone whom I know very well. Some characters however, are real, though I lost touch with them many years ago. There is a real Tucker Queen and a real Arab. In the second novel The Order, I had permission to use a real character who is a young blue-haired beauty whose abilities with all things digital are second to none. There is a character which I very much enjoy writing and which is real. I say which and not whom because the character is a place and not a person: it’s the Calton Bar. I see the Calton Bar as the focal point of the community called The Calton in Glasgow. It’s – to coin a phrase from the 90s – a place where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. Many reviewers have said the price of the book is worth paying just for the parts in that Bar.

I once wrote elsewhere that ‘Justice is not automatic. It usually has to be won and often hard won.’ That is not perhaps how we’d like the world to be, but it’s certainly how it is. It is the purpose of lawyers and courts to bring that justice to those to whom it rightfully belongs. When that purity of purpose is usurped, then injustice arrives on the coldest of all possible cold winds. That wind rips through people’s lives and often kills them. I’ve seen it happen many times. On the first morning of a court case that may have taken four or more years to get to the door of the court, clients often said to me ‘Well Mr Mayer, do you think we’ll get our justice?’ I’d have to remind them of what I said at the beginning of their case: ‘If you want justice, the church is down the street. Here in Parliament House you get your legal warrior against their legal warrior. Now keep calm and let me do battle.’

Court battles where the judge favours one side, the behind-the-scenes wriggling of The Crown Prosecution Office, the way old school ranks can close in the blink of an eye, the way personal agendas often take precedence over sworn oaths, all lead to injustice and despair. There’s plenty of injustice to be found in The Parliament House Books, but there’s a brighter side too. Especially that camaraderie found in the Calton Bar amongst people who’ve known and trusted each other all their lives. And of course, there’s the joy of winning when you’ve been on the side of the righteous.

I hope you enjoy your visits to my world called The Parliament House Books.

***

The Trust   

Amazon.com   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0 756K8X5P      http://tinyurl.com/yd3p7q dg

Amazon.co.uk  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp /B0756K8X5P

The Bones      

Amazon.com   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01 N7DKA2Q   http://tinyurl.com/y7c4rso y

 Amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/ B01N7DKA2Q   

The Order      

Amazon.com   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B 013YKCAV4   http://tinyurl.com/y8xabkm w

Amazon co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/Orde r-Urban-Scottish-Crime-Parliam ent-ebook/dp/B013YKCAV4

The Trial       

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00 SYZRN12  OR  http://tinyurl.com/ydbkojj t

Amazon.co.uk  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0 0SYZRN12

The Prequels

The Cross       

Amazon.com               https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00 Y4GRAUE

 Amazon.co.uk            https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B 00Y4GRAUE

The Cycle         

Amazon.com            https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0 0XVOGI5S

Amazon.co.uk          https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cycl e-second-prequel-Parliament-Ho use-ebook/dp/B00XVOGI5S

The Boots

Amazon.com           https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00 YBSXB76

Amazon.co.uk         https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B 00YBSXB76

All Three Prequels

Amazon.com    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06 VSSQBKM  OR  http://tinyurl.com/yaqbkco w

Amazon.co.uk  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B 06VSSQBKM

BIO

John Mayer was born in Glasgow, Scotland, a war-zone where violence and poverty reigned. In 1963 when he heard The Beatles on Radio Caroline, he decided to change his life. Aged 14 he left school because, in his opinion, he wasn’t being taught. For the next year, in all weathers, he cycled 9 miles to and 9 miles from the Mitchell Library in central Glasgow where he devoured books of all kinds and began to understand what more the world had to offer. He became an Apprentice engineer, and soon was teaching men twice his age. In the early 1970s his love of music led him to set up as a Record Producer. He built his own record company trading in 14 countries. After a disheartening court battle with global giants, he left the business world and went back into further education at the University of Edinburgh, becoming an Advocate in the Supreme Courts of Scotland. There he acted for the downtrodden and desperate as well as Greenpeace International. His specialism was in fighting international child abduction.

John has written non-fiction, legal texts and articles; broadcast to tens of millions of people on US and UK radio, appeared on TV and in print media.  Since retiring from the Law, John has enjoyed using his years of very colourful experience to create The Parliament House Books series.

The Trial is the first full length novel in this series. Set in Edinburgh and Glasgow, it is more than a nod to Franz Kafka’s book of the same title. The Trial sees crusading Scottish Advocate, Brogan McLane, fight injustices so casually delivered by Low Life in High Places in the Old Town.

WEBSITE                         https://parliamenthousebooks. weebly.com/

TWITTER URL                 https://twitter.com/johnmay erauthor

FACEBOOK                     https://www.facebook.com/thep arliamenthousebooks/?fref=ts

JOHN MAYER AUTHOR PAGE     https://www.amazon.com/author /jmayer

Author page on Goodreads   http://tinyurl.com/glay5ou

***

Many thanks, John.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 


Opening Lines: Helen Pollard’s The Little French Guesthouse

It’s that time again! I must confess I look forward to my Thursday ‘Opening Lines’ blog spot more and more each week. 

Today, I’m delighted to be joined by Helen Pollard, who has the first 500 words (exactly) from The Little French Guesthouse to share. with us

Over to you Helen…

The Little French Guesthouse tells the story of Emmy, whose relationship with her boyfriend is getting stale. She decides on a quiet holiday in France so they can reconnect … but it doesn’t turn out as she had planned. Emmy handles it all with humour and rediscovered inner strength, and what starts out as a holiday becomes a journey of self-discovery, with mishaps, hope, friendship and down-to-earth humour all playing a part along the way.

I’d had the opening scene for The Little French Guesthouse in my mind for years, but I wasn’t writing at the time. Then, one summer, we were on holiday in a gîte in France, and I suddenly thought, ‘This is it! This is where that scene takes place!’ Once I could picture the setting in my mind, I just had to get that opening scene down on paper, so I started writing again . . . and the creative floodgates reopened. In my imagination, I developed the setting into a guesthouse with gîtes and gardens, and the imaginary local town in the book, Pierre-la-Fontaine, is loosely based on a real town that we visited several times and loved.

The fact that the publisher wanted the book to become a series was a wonderful opportunity for me to follow Emmy’s ups and downs further. It also allowed me to explore some of the secondary characters in more detail, and it meant that Emmy and thereby the reader could discover even more lovely places in the Loire region of France!

Opening Lines: The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard

I wish I could tell you it happened like it does in the movies. You know the kind of thing. The heroine standing proud, oozing restrained fury. The audience’s satisfaction as she delivers a reverberating slap across her lover’s face. Her dramatic but dignified exit from the screen.

Believe me, there was nothing dignified about it. All I did was stand there shaking, rage and adrenalin coursing through my body like rabid greyhounds, my mouth flapping open and shut as I tried to find the words. Any words. Even a simple sound of outrage would have sufficed, but all I managed was a pathetic squeak.

‘Emmy, it’s not what it looks like,’ Nathan spluttered, but of course it couldn’t be anything other than what it looked like. My view as I stumbled through the door had been graphically explicit. Even he must have known how lame he sounded. Grappling for dignity and his belt, he tried again. ‘We were… I mean, I didn’t expect you to…’

I launched into a wronged-woman tirade as though someone had handed me a bad soap script.

‘No, I bet you didn’t expect me to…’ An alarm bell clanged dimly at the back of my brain, but I ignored it. ‘How could you? You cheating bastard! I can’t believe you…’ The clanging grew louder and more insistent, moving to the front of my consciousness. ‘Shit!’ With a guilty jolt, I remembered why I’d come all the way up here in the first place. ‘Gloria, you need to call an ambulance. I think Rupert’s having a heart attack.’

‘What?’ Adjusting her dress, Gloria greeted this sudden change of subject with bewilderment.

‘Rupert. Your husband, remember? Heart attack. Ambulance.’ I gave her bangled arm a nudge to see if her brain was still functioning or whether sex with my boyfriend was more spectacular than I gave him credit for.

‘Ohmygod. Ohmygod.’ The message finally got through to her lust-addled brain cells. ‘Where is he?’

‘Kitchen.’ I headed for the stairs, my mind thankfully back on the emergency at hand and pushing visions of Nathan and Gloria romping on the roof terrace to the rear of my consciousness. For now, remarkably, there were more important things to worry about.

‘What do you mean, a heart attack?’ Gloria shouted after me. ‘Why the hell didn’t you call an ambulance?’

‘I tried, but then I realised I didn’t know the number, and besides, my French isn’t good enough,’ I called over my shoulder. ‘I thought it would be quicker to get you to do it. I had no idea you’d be so busy.’

‘Ohmygod, Emmy. He could be dead by now!’

She was right – he could be dead by now – but when we reached the kitchen, to my immense relief, Rupert was still conscious and sitting propped against the wall the way I’d left him. I’d done my best, but I hadn’t expected to lose precious moments with the melodrama upstairs. I couldn’t imagine how I would have felt if…

***

Blurb:

Sun, croissants and fine wine. Nothing can spoil the perfect holiday. Or can it?

When Emmy Jamieson arrives at La Cour des Roses, a beautiful guesthouse in the French countryside, she can’t wait to spend two weeks relaxing with boyfriend Nathan. Their relationship needs a little TLC and Emmy is certain this holiday will do the trick. But they’ve barely unpacked before he scarpers with Gloria, the guesthouse owner’s cougar wife.

Rupert, the ailing guesthouse owner, is shell-shocked. Feeling somewhat responsible, and rather generous after a bottle (or so) of wine, heartbroken Emmy offers to help. Changing sheets in the gîtes will help keep her mind off her misery.

Thrust into the heart of the local community, Emmy suddenly finds herself surrounded by new friends. And with sizzling hot gardener Ryan and the infuriating (if gorgeous) accountant Alain providing welcome distractions, Nathan is fast becoming a distant memory.

Fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, feeding the hens in the warm evening light; Emmy starts to feel quite at home. But it would be madness to walk away from her friends, family, and everything she’s ever worked for, to take a chance on a place she fell for on holiday – wouldn’t it?

Buy links:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1Lcc8U4

Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/1T1m7BO

iBooks:          https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-little-french-guesthouse/id1095841746?mt=11

Author bio:

As a child, Helen had a vivid imagination fuelled by her love of reading, so she started to create her own stories in a notebook.

She still prefers fictional worlds to real life, believes characterisation is the key to a successful book, and enjoys infusing her writing with humour and heart.

Helen is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors.

Find Helen at:

 Website & blog:  http://helenpollardwrites.wordpress.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/HelenPollardWrites

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/helenpollard147

***

Many thanks Helen- great stuff.

Don’t forget to come back next week for more opening lines!

Happy reading, 

Jenny xx


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