The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


Interview with Grace Lowrie

I’m delighted to welcome Grace Lowrie over for a cuppa and a slice of cake today- not to mention a chat about her latest book. Why not go and fetch a drink and join us..

Thank you so much for having me on your fabulous blog, Jenny!

What inspired you to write your book?

For several years I worked in a garden centre and as a garden designer; transforming other people’s outdoor spaces. It was a wonderful experience and made me aware of how the simple act of gardening can help to ground and restore people. I wanted to write a love story using the healing power of green places to bring two characters together – thus Safe With Me was born.

 

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

I wish I could say that I scrupulously researched every aspect of my story before writing it, I admire those authors who do, but the truth is I don’t have that much patience. I consciously spent time sitting writing in a greasy spoon, to get a feel for my character’s working life, but for the most part I relied on past experiences – such as working in a garden centre – and my vivid imagination. Thankfully writing fiction allows for a certain degree of artistic licence.

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

The three novels in The Wildham Series were all written in first person. They are classed as Women’s Fiction because of the darker issues covered, but I conceived the stories as romances and writing in the first person feels comfortable in that genre. My chapters alternate in POV between the two lead characters, which was both fun and challenging and will hopefully help readers to put themselves into the story.  Conversely the very first novel I started writing (and still haven’t finished) is primarily not a romance and is written in third person to give a slightly removed, overview feel. But even for my first attempt I didn’t make life easy for myself – the POV is inner limited (where the narrator can see inside just one character’s head) but the chapters alternate between four different character POVs. Perhaps it’s not surprising I still haven’t finished that book! In short; I write in whichever POV feels natural for the story I’m writing.

 Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

I’m definitely a plotter. Organised and tidy by nature, though not obsessively so, I find a certain amount of control helps keep anxiety at bay. I’m in awe of pantster authors who can just start writing without any clear idea of where they’re going or how they’ll get there – it must be like having a superpower! Before I start writing I need a firm feel for my characters and a beginning, middle and end planned out – especially the ending because I love a good twist.

What excites you the most about your book?

The powerful, almost magical, quality of a close bond forged in childhood. Safe With Me is the story of two souls finding their way back to each other against all odds.

Blurb-

How far would you go to feel safe again? 
Abandoned as children, Kat and Jamie were inseparable growing up in foster care. But their bond couldn’t protect them forever. 

From a troubled upbringing to working in a London greasy spoon, Kat’s life has never been easy. On the surface Jamie’s living the high-life, but appearances can be deceiving. 

When they unexpectedly reunite, their feelings become too intense to ignore. But as secrets come back to haunt them, are they destined to be separated once more?

***

Buy Links:

Safe With Me will be published on 22nd June 2017 and is available to pre-order:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071F2QZB7  

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071F2QZB7  

Author Bio and links:

Grace Lowrie has worked as a sculptor, prop maker and garden designer. She published her debut romance Kindred Hearts in 2015.

A lover of rock music, art nouveau design, blue cheese and grumpy ginger tomcats, Grace is also an avid reader of fiction – preferring coffee and a sinister undercurrent, over tea and chick lit. When not making prop costumes or hanging out with her favourite nephews, she continues to write stories from her Hertfordshire home.

 http://www.gracelowrie.com/blog

http://www.facebook.com/GraceLowrieWriter

http://www.twitter.com/gracelowrie1

http://www.pinterest.com/grace_lowrie

https://www.instagram.com/grace_lowrie/

https://www.goodreads.com/Grace_Lowrie

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Grace-Lowrie/e/B00UNCPYCY

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Many thanks for stopping by today Grace.

Happy reading everyone

Jenny x


Blog Tour: Exclusive extract from Skin Deep

I’m delighted to welcome talented author, and my lovely friend, Laura Wilkinson, to my site today as part of her blog tour.

Laura is here today with an exclusive extract from her brand new novel, Skin Deep.

Skin Deep Blurb:

It’s what’s inside that counts…

Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything; Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within. Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?

Taken from Part One of Skin Deep, set in Manchester in the mid-1980s

We walked about the Hulme estate and Alan took photo after photo.

‘Funny that estate also means a stately home, isn’t it? You couldn’t get much further from ornamental gardens, gilded mirrors and roaming stags. Though this place has its own kind of beauty,’ I said.

‘You think so?’ He shook his head. ‘Think I’m more traditional than you on that front.’

He took pictures of the syringes and Kit Kat foils on the stairwells – the detritus of the addict’s life – the boarded up shops, the dogs tied to bollards with string outside The Spinners pub, the old PSV club, the girls in the line for the cash point with their turned-out toes and gently curved arms, dancers-in-waiting from The Northern Ballet School, trying to be regal and graceful in the middle of all this gorgeous, vital ugliness. We stretched towards the edges of the community, noting the distinct change in character once normal society was within reach. The blocks of flats were lower, the disaffection and alienation less marked; this was a better class of slum, and the inhabitants considered themselves lucky to be outside the crescents. The sun was setting as we crossed the bridge spanning the motorway and made our way back into the bowels of the estate. In the distance, the warehouses lining the river Medlock were backlit by the dying sun.

Alan stopped and lifted the camera, then dropped it down again. ‘The whole area was built on swampland, below the water level. They never bothered to drain it when the first lot of slums went up. In Victorian Manchester, Irish immigrants would regularly wake up to a dwelling ankle-deep in polluted river water. And when they tore those slums down they still didn’t bother to drain. Built right on top again. It’s as if the rich and powerful hope that the earth itself will swallow up the human waste dumped here.’

‘Rotten foundations?’

‘The foundations for anything need to be right, don’t they?’

I nodded. I’d not heard Alan so serious. He was angry and sad, and he moved me.

The child; human waste.

‘I found something at that party.’

He turned away from the view to look at me.

I continued. ‘I was somewhere I wasn’t meant to be.’ I told him everything I knew, or guessed, or imagined.

He shrugged. ‘It’s no secret they have a boy.’

How does Alan know this? Off-kilter Alan, who doesn’t have any friends other than me and Linda, and doesn’t seem to work, or sign on, or be connected to anyone worth knowing, let alone Mr and Mrs Super Cool of Hulme.

As it transpired Alan was not the loser I’d assumed he was. People talked to Alan; he gained their trust. When Cardie Girl had deserted him, he’d got into a conversation with the scarlet-lipped punk who’d spilt all sorts about Pru and Michael. They were junkies, rich kids from Chelsea who’d stayed on after they dropped out of university in the late seventies, later ‘working’ as artists and rebelling against the Thatcherite regime. Purportedly, they ran a small printing press and published a Marxist magazine that was distributed on campus – I’d never seen it – organised parties and marches and generally made a nuisance of themselves. I wondered how a couple of junkies managed to squeeze all this in between fixes.

‘So everyone knows they’ve got a kid. Do they know they lock him up?’

‘Not everyone. And they might not always lock him up. It might have been a one-off, you know, ’cos of the party.’

I saw the boy’s hand in my mind’s eye, dredged up the hazy image of his body. He’d been rounded, fleshy, not starved. They fed him. ‘Anyone seen him?’

‘Not many people have.’

‘No bloody wonder if they keep him locked up. It’s not right.’

‘He’s a spastic. People make fun. They keep him out of the way for protection.’

‘That does not make it right.’ I was shouting. ‘It’s wrong to trap a kid. Force them to do things they don’t want to.’ My voice cracked and I heard how strange and overblown I sounded.

‘Force them to do things they don’t want to? We don’t know that Pru and Michael do that. Diana? You OK?’

I was crying. Alan couldn’t have understood where my tears came from, but he pulled me to his chest, and I didn’t object to the stink of his armpits or smelly old jacket. At least not at the time; I complained bitterly later. Bunny made me do things I didn’t want to. She’d locked me in a wardrobe and told me she’d let me out only when I was ready to be beautiful. Having inherited my mother’s stubborn gene I’d stayed there for hours, belly griping with hunger, bladder aching. In the end I’d pissed on her shoes and I got a beating for that too.

Alan pulled a tissue from his pocket and I noticed the ring on the little finger of his left hand. It was made of white gold, I was sure, and had an expensive, handcrafted look about it. I shook my head, refusing the tissue, wondering where and how Alan had acquired such a lovely piece of jewellery. I dug a tissue from my own pocket and sniffled into it. ‘Don’t tell Linda. They’re Jim’s friends.’

‘I won’t. Look, if they lock him up, then it is definitely not right, but it might have been a one-off and even if it wasn’t I’m not sure what we can do about it,’ he said. ‘They’re the parents, we don’t even know them. It’s none of our business. You’ve got to try and forget about it.’

‘I’m not sure I can.’ I wiped my eyes and smiled weakly at him, and he pointed the camera at me.

‘You look lovely when you’re upset. Different, vulnerable. Let me take your picture.’

‘I HATE my picture being taken!’ I grimaced and turned my back on him.

‘But you were a model, a beauty queen…’ I started walking towards the crescents, his footsteps echoing on the paving slabs as he lurched after me. ‘That’s why I hate it,’ I said. ‘I spent my childhood smiling so hard my cheeks ached, my eyes watering from the glare of the flashbulbs. I’m surprised I didn’t develop epilepsy or something.’

‘I’d have thought most girls would have loved it, the attention. Linda made it sound like it was amazing.’

‘The attention wears thin after a while, and it couldn’t make up for the hours spent getting my hair and nails done when all I wanted to do was hang out with my friends, play with my Barbie dolls and other normal stuff.’ I couldn’t look at him.

‘You didn’t tell your mum you weren’t happy?’

It was so rude to keep my back to him, he deserved better. I turned. ‘I tried to, but she never listened. And the winning the competitions and getting jobs was nice, when I did, which wasn’t always…’

He raised his eyebrows and opened his eyes so wide I could see white all around his irises. He said, ‘You didn’t always win? No way!’

It took me a while to realise he was teasing. I smiled at my arrogance and wondered if I was losing my appeal. First Jim, now Alan. ‘Hey, we need to keep moving if we want to keep hold of your camera. It’s getting dark,’ I said, linking my arm in his, ‘muggers’ll be out soon.’

‘Today’s been great. Thanks for coming with me.’

‘My pleasure. Sorry about the outburst.’

We strode along, our long legs and broad steps carrying us home faster than most. Alan talked about using his bathroom as a dark room, and asked if I’d like to watch him develop the shots he’d taken. As we marched along the curve of the crescent I saw a figure outside number fifty: Jim. Linda would be pleased. And a lightbulb came on in my head.

Jim! He’s the way into Pru and Michael’s world, the way to the boy. Today has indeed been good.

 *** 

Buy links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B06XWKT5HM/ref=s9_acsd_simh_hd_bw_b17GB_c_x_1_w?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-4&pf_rd_r=D9ENXMEBEPB0150BR1BM&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=fd347e45-37c2-5ef7-938e-e2348b8d0a86&pf_rd_i=266239

Waterstones:

https://www.waterstones.com/book/skin-deep/laura-wilkinson/9781783758678

WHSmith: https://www.whsmith.co.uk/search/go?af=cat1%3Abooks&w=Skin+Deep+by+Laura+Wilkinson

About Laura:

Liverpool born, Laura is a taff at heart. She has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories, some of which have made the short lists of international competitions. Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. The Family Line is a family drama set in the near future, looking at identity and parenting. Her latest is Skin Deep. Alongside writing, Laura works as an editor & mentor for literary consultancies and runs workshops on aspects of craft. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including the Frome Festival, Gladfest, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands. She lives in Brighton with her husband and sons.

www.laura-wilkinson.co.uk   Twitter @ScorpioScribble Facebook: Laura Wilkinson Author Instagram: laura_wilkinsonwriter Pinterest: laura1765 Goodreads: Laura_ Wilkinson

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Thank you for sharing such a fantastic extract Laura. Good luck with the rest of your tour,- and with the gorgeous Skin Deep!

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x


Tiverton Literary Festival: 22nd-25th June

I am proud to be able to announce that the third Tiverton Literary Festival is only a few days away!

Started in 2015 by myself, Susie Griggs and Kerstin Muggeridge – I am delighted to see the festival going from strength to strength.

After two years at the helm, Kerstin and I have taken a step back to attend our families and our books (well, both actually) and the festival is now in the capable hands of Rachel Gee, Susie Griggs and Caro Bushnell.

The new team have got a fantastic line up- you will not want to miss out.

Check out the website for the full line up-

Here are a few of the events on offer…

Thursday 22nd June

7.15pm – 8.30pm.

Tiverton Library. Tickets: £5

TivLitFest Launch Event: Jane Corry in conversation with BBC journalist Simon Hall
Sunday Times bestselling psychological thriller writer Jane Corry will talk about her hit My Husband’s Wife and new book Blood Sisters with BBC South West crime correspondent Simon Hall.

Friday 23rd June

All day

Pop-up book swap @ CreaTIV Hub, Fore Street.
Pre-loved give a book, take a book event brought to you by CAG Devon Sustainable Villages.

 10am – 12 midday

Tiverton Library. Free Admission.

Author Showcase
20 authors from all over the South West all in one place, including Tiverton’s own Jenny Kane. (Ohh– me!!)  Lots of different styles and genres to suit all tastes. Come and meet some local talent and buy their books!

 

1.00 – 3.00pm

CreaTIV Hub, Fore Street. Free Admission.

Book Chat & Signing: Frank Westworth and Tyrrel Francis
Meet the authors of the Killing Sisters crime series and local combat sports drama Blood, Sweat and Tears

 

2.00 – 3.30pm.

Tiverton Library. Tickets: £15

WORKSHOP: So You Want To Be A Writer? Cathie Hartigan & Margaret James
How to give yourself the best chance of success. Have you entered competitions but got nowhere? Are those rejection letters pilling up? Read your opening paragraphs at this informal session and find out how to make your work stand out from the crowd. Come away with bags of hints and tips on how to find the best route to publication for you. Award winning writers themselves, Margaret James and Cathie Hartigan have many years of experience as creative writing teachers and competition judges. Apart from their own successful novels, they are co-authors of the #1Best Selling The Creative Writing Student’s Handbook.

4.30 – 6pm.

Elsie May’s Cafe, Phoenix Lane.

 £7.50 per child.

Elsie May’s Magical Teatime Stories: Family Event
Magical storytelling event aimed at under 10s and their families, older children welcome too. Come in your best party clothes for interactive stories, munch on high tea, make party hats, and experience magical surprises. Perhaps a tiger will come to tea!

High teas also available for adults by arrangement.
Book via facebook.com/elsiemaystiverton or call 01884 235935

7.00 – 8.00pm.

Tiverton Library. Tickets: £5

Crime Night: Rebecca Tope, L V Hay and James D Mortain
From Cosy crime in the Cotswolds, the suspense of an unsolved death in Brighton and strange goings on in North Devon our panel has something to offer all crime fiction buffs.

Saturday 24th June

All day

Brendon Books @ CreaTIV Hub, Fore Street.

New books available from the TivLitFest Book Shop, pick up titles from participating authors.

All day

Pop-up book swap @ CreaTIV Hub, Fore Street.

Pre-loved give a book, take a book event brought to you by CAG Devon Sustainable Villages.

 All day

The Oak Room Café

will be open all day for refreshments and book chat. Coffee and a cake anyone?

Meet at 10.30am.

Tiverton Library. Free: no ticket required.

Secret Story Trail: Family event
Start the trail with Amy Sparkes reading Ellie’s Magic Wellies, then visit some secret locations for more tales from Loreley Amiti and Olli Tooley. The trail ends with Exmoor Ponies writer Victoria Eveleigh at The Oak Room from 11.45am. Come in wellies or fancy dress. Free face painting from Alannah and craft session. NB. The end of the trail is not suitable for buggies. All children to be accompanied by an adult.

Start the trail with Amy Sparkes reading Ellie’s Magic Wellies, then visit some secret locations for more tales from Loreley Amiti and Olli Tooley

Loreley Amiti

11.00am-1.00pm.

Tiverton Library. Tickets: £15.

WORKSHOP: Writing for Children – Breaking Through with Amy Sparkes
A workshop with successful children’s author Amy Sparkes whose work has been published by Scholastic, Egmont and HarperCollins.

2.00-3.30pm.

Tiverton Library. Tickets: £3

Dan Metcalf – Code Breakers Workshop (age 7-11 years): Family Event
Meet author Dan Metcalf, listen to him read one of his books from the Lottie Lipton Adventures series and try your hand at code-breaking . Great fun for children aged 7-11 years.

2.00-3.00pm.

Tiverton Castle.

Tickets: £5 including refreshments

Historical Anecdotes and Research
Conversations with M J Colewood about the Chester Bentley medieval mysteries and local historian Douglas Rice about ‘The Siege of Tiverton Castle’. Sorry no wheelchair access inside the castle.

3.45pm (approx. 1 hour).

Meet at Tiverton Castle.

Free – no ticket required.

Guided History Walk – Tiverton Civic Society
Historical walking tour. Learn about Tiverton’s merchants and wool and textile heritage. The walk will end at The Oak Room where you will have the opportunity to buy refreshments.

3.30-5.00pm.

The Oak Room. Tickets: £15.

WORKSHOP: Exploring the young adult market with Alison Knight.
The market for books written for young adults (12-18 year-olds) is growing, thanks to the popularity of authors like JK Rowling, Bella Forrest and Anthony Horowitz.  As well as creating fantasy worlds that have caught the imagination of millions of teenagers and adults alike, a wide range of YA fiction also tackles life problems head on, providing emotional support and growth for young people.  Author Alison Knight will lead a workshop looking at YA stories, with writing exercises for teens and adults who are interested in writing for this market. This session is suitable for beginners and experienced writers and anyone who wants to know more about the growing YA book market.  Bring along your favourite YA book to add to the discussion! Sorry no wheelchair access at The Oak Room.

4.30 – 6.00pm.

Elsie May’s Cafe, Phoenix Lane. 

£7.50 per child

Elsie May’s Magical Teatime Stories: Family Event
Magical storytelling event aimed at under 10s and their families, older children welcome too. Come in your best party clothes for interactive stories, munch on high tea, make party hats, and experience magical surprises. Perhaps a tiger will come to tea!

High teas also available for adults by arrangement.
Book via facebook.com/elsiemaystiverton or call 01884 235935

Judi Spiers and Christopher Biggins

7.00 – 10.30pm.

The Oak Room.

Tickets £10 (includes canapes).

TivLitFest Party with Christopher Biggins, Judi Spiers & Lucy English
Showbiz legend Christopher Biggins in conversation with Judi Piers, award winning performance poet Lucy English, acoustic vibes from local music acts. Join us at this fabulous festival fundraiser and mingle with other festival supporters. Licensed bar. Over 16s only please. Sorry no wheelchair access.

Sunday 25th June

12.30 – 2.30pm.

Tiverton Town Hall. Tickets: £15

WORKSHOP: Who, what, when, where! Jenny Kane & Alison Knight
Experienced novelists Alison Knight and Jenny Kane will help you to shape four of the most vital elements for any story; be it long or short. Characters, situation, time period, and location.  For beginners and those who wish to finesse their writing technique.

2.45 – 4.00pm.

Tiverton Town Hall. Tickets: £5

Female Author Panel
Exeter Novel Prize winner Su Bristow, #1 Bestselling writer Cathie Hartigan, Jan Ellis and Alison Knight. Listen to this lively panel of women writers talk about their work and books. Refreshments available from Gin & Jam WI.

4.30 – 6.00pm.

Elsie May’s Cafe, Phoenix Lane.

£7.50 per child.

Elsie May’s Magical Teatime Stories: Family Event
Magical storytelling event aimed at under 10s and their families, older children welcome too. Come in your best party clothes for interactive stories, munch on high tea, make party hats, and experience magical surprises. Perhaps a tiger will come to tea!
High teas also available for adults by arrangement.
Book via facebook.com/elsiemaystiverton or call 01884 235935

 5.00 – 6.30pm.

Tiverton Town Hall. Tickets: £5.

Maeve Haran and Liz Fenwick in conversation with Judi Spiers
This event is sponsored by Five Cedars Health & Beauty.
International Bestseller Maeve Haran and author of sweeping Cornish sagas Liz Fenwick will be in conversation with Judi Spiers, discussing their new books An Italian Holiday and The Returning Tide. Refreshments will be available from Gin & Jam WI.

7.30-9.00pm.

Tiverton Rugby Club.

£9 in advance, £10 on the door.

Johnny Kingdom’s West Country Tales: Festival Finale
An evening with man of Exmoor Johnny Kingdom. Watch clips from his wildlife filming and listen to some West Country Tales from the very entertaining and much loved Johnny. You will also have to opportunity to buy his books, DVDs and prints and chat to the man himself! Licensed bar. Free Parking.

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All further details are on the Tiv Lit website. www.tivertonlitfest.co.uk

You can order tickets online or you can buy tickets in person from Tiverton Library or Reapers Health Food shop on Bampton Street, Tiverton.

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See you there!!

Jenny xx


Sshhh- Don’t tell anyone…but it’s okay to write erotica

Three years ago I wrote an article for the Romance Matters magazine (the Romantic Novelist Association’s magazine), entitled I Want to Write Erotica; Sshhh- Don’t Tell Anyone…

Now, three years on, and not much has changed attitude wise. That some people don’t want to read or write erotica is perfectly normal – I wouldn’t want to read or write horror. However, I’d never give someone a hard time if they did want to read or write horror.

Sadly, the same isn’t always be said for erotica. It’s OK to be relaxed about being able to write about scaring someone to death, but not OK to be relaxed about fictional people enjoying an imaginative sex life. (Obviously erotica that crosses legal boundaries is NOT welcome- and that is another story).

It never ceases to amaze me, when I’m at conferences or writer meetings, how often I’m sidled up to by other romance or contemporary fiction writers and asked in hushed tones, ‘Um, I’d um…, like to write erotica. Could you give me a few tips? You won’t tell anyone will you?’

Erotica is frequently seen as either ‘the easy option,’ ‘the poor woman’s romance’, or worse still, as seedy. The only way to combat these three misconceptions is to write the best erotica possible, and to remind ourselves that writing it is not only great fun, but nothing to be ashamed of.

Lovers of erotica have similar expectations to romance readers; a strong storyline that includes attraction, a plot twist with obstacles to overcome before the leading characters ultimately get together. In erotica however, you have the freedom to delve further into the emotions involved; moving from the feelings of the heart, to our basest desires.

The sexual content of any erotic story must be integral to the plot from the beginning. In recent months there has been a temptation to take previously written romances and add sex scenes at will.  This “erotica sells so let’s shove in some kink” policy rarely makes for a satisfying read.

No erotic story should include a sex scene that doesn’t move the story forward. Gratuitous sex rarely enhances the reading experience; nor does it add weight to the plot. If you want sex for the sake of sex then read porn. (Which, I’m pleased to say is of a slightly higher quality than it used to be.)

Erotica done well is far from the easy option. Having said that, it is easy to write erotica badly. Amazon is littered with low grade Fifty Shades copyists and authors who have had one successful erotic story, and then have rewritten it over and over again; changing only the characters names and location each time. That policy might make you money- but at the cost of quality and professional pride.

The beauty of writing romance is that you can leave what goes on in your characters private moments behind closed doors. Conversely, the joy of erotica is that you can open those doors, and create stories that push both your own and your reader’s boundaries, by writing words you’d probably never say, about things you’d probably never do.

Erotica is nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of. But, like any other genre, it is only something you should write it if you want to- not because you think it’ll help sell your books. Trust me- it wont.

Above all, the golden rule of writing erotica is that it’s your audience’s imagination you need to turn on- anything else you turn on is merely a bonus!

Happy writing,

Jenny  (a.k.a Kay Jaybee – over 18’s only)

 

 

 

 

 

 


Happy First Birthday: Another Glass of Champagne

I can’t quite believe that a year has gone by since Another Glass of Champagne– the last part of my Another Cup of…series – was published! Since then I’ve had my first Jennifer Ash novella published (The Outlaw’s Ransom), and my second Cornish novel, Abi’s Neighbour released, and I’ve written the novel, The Winter Outlaw, for Jennifer Ash. (Out in the winter)

AGOC

The original novel, Another Cup of Coffee novel was intended to be a one. Based in and around the Pickwick’s Coffee Shop, it revolved around the adventures of waitress Amy and erotica writer Kit. To my amazement, three Christmas novellas followed. The first two mini-novels (Another Cup of Christmas and Christmas in the Cotswolds) told former art student, Megan’s story, while the final seasonal outing took Kit up to a literary festival in Aberdeenshire. (Christmas in the Castle)

While Another Cup of Coffee very much involved the figure of bad-boy Jack alongside Kit and Amy, he had never had a novel that focused on him more than the other characters – until  Another Glass of Champagne.

The novel opens with, after an absence of a few years from his friend’s lives, Jack is heading back to London, with new opportunities, a new skill set, a determination to avoid romance at all costs, and fresh adventures well within his grasp- all of which could be celebrated with a glass of champagne.

The trouble is, knowing Jack, he might well mess it all up…

Blurb

A warm-hearted, contemporary tale about a group of friends living in a small corner of busy London, by bestselling author Jenny Kane.

Fortysomething Amy is shocked and delighted to discover she s expecting a baby not to mention terrified! Amy wants best friend Jack to be godfather, but he hasn’t been heard from in months. When Jack finally reappears, he s full of good intentions but his new business plan could spell disaster for the beloved Pickwicks Coffee Shop, and ruin a number of old friendships…

Meanwhile his love life is as complicated as ever and yet when he swears off men for good, Jack meets someone who makes him rethink his priorities…but is it too late for a fresh start?

 Author Kit has problems of her own: just when her career has started to take off, she finds herself unable to write and there s a deadline looming, plus two headstrong kids to see through their difficult teenage years…will she be able to cope?

 

Jack washes away another disaster!

Jack washes away another disaster!

Extract

Staring out of the train window, Jack exhaled a long, slow breath. Was this how Amy had felt when she had first come to Richmond after her years of self-imposed exile in Scotland? Sort of excited, but absolutely terrified at the same time? 

Jack wondered if, once he’d worked up the courage to go and see her, Amy would notice the parallels between their situations. A smile crossed his face. However she reacted, she would forgive him for not being in touch over the past few years. Amy always forgave him. For everything.

In his mind, he’d left Richmond for a good reason. Although he knew Amy accepted he’d needed to leave, he was less sure she understood why – which was why he’d decided to break off even phone and email contact with her. It was also why he hadn’t told any of his friends where he was; just to see if that helped.

It wasn’t that Jack wasn’t happy for Amy and Paul to be living the fairytale, but the fact that they were together, while he was still alone, was sometimes hard to take – especially when he knew Amy’s love could have been his if only he’d been prepared to risk it all those years ago. This nagging thought – one he accepted was utterly ridiculous, as he knew that he’d never have been able to ignore his sexuality, even for Amy – made him a rather less kind human being than he would have liked. He knew that until he could get past feeling he was missing out on something that all his friends took for granted, they were better off without him and the chip on his shoulder. Amy would understand, he was sure. Kit, on the other hand, might not be as understanding…

Jack’s smile disappeared. Years ago, back when they were dating, Kit would have forgiven him anything – but since Amy had come back into his life, and both women had become good friends in their own right, Kit had become much stronger. Jack had learnt that Kit had always hated how he could make her doubt her strength and resilience. These days she was so much more equipped to deal with him and his bullshit – and he knew it.

Perhaps he shouldn’t be coming back. After all, he knew he was as emotionally messed-up as ever – but he had to go somewhere, and anyway, whether he wanted to admit it or not, he’d been getting homesick.  Plus he’d had to get away from Kent…

Opening his eyes, Jack sighed as the train’s sudden slowing announced that they were arriving at St Pancras. Here he was again. Back in London, fleeing from yet another cock-up in his love life, and with nowhere to call home. He wished he hadn’t so rashly sold his place in Mortlake – he’d got far less than it was worth, too, in his haste to make a clean break.  

There were several Tube connections to Richmond Jack could have chosen to see his old friends straight away, but as he stood in the bustling station, he found himself unable to move a step further.  It wasn’t like him to be assailed by doubt, but this time it was different. Whatever he did, he always managed to upset people. He never meant to; usually he never even saw his offences coming.

On this occasion however, he knew that if he was going to go ahead with his latest plan and really make it work, he was going to cause trouble for some of his friends…

***

If you’d like to find out if Jack finally finds the man of his dreams, and how his latest escapade impacts on the lives of the Pickwicks crew, then you can buy Another Glass of Champagne from all good bookshops and from online 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 

***

I never dreamed that I’d end up writing five stories about the comings and goings of the folk who frequented the Pickwicks Coffee Shop in Richmond, London. I’m so glad I did though. I loved every second of writing that series. The characters became my friends- I still miss them!

So, from my own café corner in distant Devon, I’m raising a cuppa to Another Glass of Champagne! Happy birthday happy book!

Happy reading,

Jenny x


Wedding Thinking: Romancing Robin Hood

As many of you will know, I spend the majority of my writing time in the corner of a café in a small town in Devon. The shop next door but one to the café is one of those establishments that seems to change hands at least once a year. Recently it opened as a wedding dress retailer. At the moment it has some beautiful pseudo-medieval dresses making up the window display- and they got me thinking about the wedding in my part modern/part medieval novel, Romancing Robin Hood.

That in turn got me thinking about my forthcoming medieval novel, The Winter Outlaw…but more about that later…

RRH- new 2015

Romancing Robin Hood is a contemporary romance is based on the life of Dr Grace Harper, a medieval history lecturer with a major Robin Hood obsession. So much so, that instead of writing a textbook on medieval life, Grace is secretly writing a novella about a fourteenth century girl called Mathilda, who gets mixed up with a real outlaw family of the day, the Folvilles. (Which you can also read within my novel!)

Blurb

Dr Grace Harper has loved the stories of Robin Hood ever since she first saw them on TV as a girl. Now, with her fortieth birthday just around the corner, she’s a successful academic in Medieval History, with a tenured position at a top university.

But Grace is in a bit of a rut. She’s supposed to be writing a textbook on a real-life medieval gang of high-class criminals – the Folvilles – but she keeps being drawn into the world of the novel she’s secretly writing – a novel which entwines the Folvilles with her long-time love of Robin Hood – and a feisty young girl named Mathilda, who is the key to a medieval mystery…

Meanwhile, Grace’s best friend Daisy – who’s as keen on animals as Grace is on the Merry Men – is unexpectedly getting married, and a reluctant Grace is press-ganged into being her bridesmaid. As Grace sees Daisy’s new-found happiness, she starts to re-evaluate her own life. Is her devotion to a man who may or may not have lived hundreds of years ago really a substitute for a real-life hero of her own? It doesn’t get any easier when she meets Dr Robert Franks – a rival academic who Grace is determined to dislike but finds herself being increasingly drawn to…

***

The problem with Grace, is that she is always so embroiled in her work and passion for outlaws, that real life is passing her by.

With the wedding of Grace’s best friend, Daisy, approaching fast, she can’t help wishing for some personal happiness herself…

summer wedding

Extract

…Daisy hadn’t grown up picturing herself floating down the aisle in an over-sequinned ivory frock, nor as a doting parent, looking after triplets and walking a black Labrador. So when, on an out-of-hours trip to the local vet’s surgery she’d met Marcus and discovered that love at first sight wasn’t a myth, it had knocked her for six.

She’d been on a late-night emergency dash to the surgery with an owl a neighbour had found injured in the road. Its wing had required a splint, and it was too big a job for only one pair of hands. Daisy had been more than a bit surprised when the locum vet had stirred some long-suppressed feeling of interest in her, and even more amazed when that feeling had been reciprocated.

It was all luck, sheer luck. Daisy had always believed that anyone meeting anybody was down to two people meeting at exactly the right place, at exactly the right time, while both feeling precisely the right amount of chemistry. The fact that any couples existed at all seemed to Daisy to be one of the greatest miracles of humanity.

She pictured Grace, tucked away in her mad little office only living in the twenty-first century on a part-time basis. Daisy had long since got used to the fact that her closest friend’s mind was more often than not placed firmly in the 1300s. Daisy wished Grace would finish her book. It had become such a part of her. Such an exclusive aim that nothing else seemed to matter very much. Even the job she used to love seemed to be a burden to her now, and Daisy sensed that Grace was beginning to resent the hours it took her away from her life’s work. Maybe if she could get her book over with – get it out of her system – then Grace would stop living in the wrong timeframe.

Daisy knew Grace appreciated that she never advised her to find a bloke, settle down, and live ‘happily ever after,’ and she was equally grateful Grace had never once suggested anything similar to her. Now she had Marcus, however, Daisy had begun to want the same contentment for her friend, and had to bite her tongue whenever they spoke on the phone; something that happened less and less these days.

Grace’s emails were getting shorter too. The long paragraphs detailing the woes of teaching students with an ever-decreasing intelligence had blunted down to, ‘You ok? I’m good. Writing sparse. See you soon. Bye G x’

The book. That in itself was a problem. Grace’s publishers and colleagues, Daisy knew, were expecting an academic tome. A textbook for future medievalists to ponder over in the university libraries of the world. And, in time, that was exactly what they were going to get, but not yet, for Grace had confided to Daisy that this wasn’t the only thing she was working on, and her textbook was coming a poor third place to work and the other book she couldn’t seem to stop herself from writing.

‘Why,’ Grace had forcefully expounded on their last meeting, ‘should I slog my guts out writing a book only a handful of bored students and obsessive freaks like myself will ever pick up, let alone read?’

As a result, Grace was writing a novel, ‘A semi-factual novel,’ she’d said, ‘a story which will tell any student what they need to know about the Folville family and their criminal activities – which bear a tremendous resemblance to the stories of a certain famous literary outlaw! – and hopefully promote interest in the subject for those who aren’t that into history without boring them to death.’

It sounded like a good idea to Daisy, but she also knew, as Grace did, that it was precisely the sort of book academics frowned upon, and she was worried about Grace’s determination to finish it. Daisy thought it would be more sensible to concentrate on one manuscript at a time, and get the dry epic that everyone was expecting out of the way first. Perhaps it would have been completed by now if Grace could focus on one project at a time, rather than it currently being a year in the preparation without a final result in sight. Daisy suspected Grace’s boss had no idea what she was really up to. After all, she was using the same lifetime of research for both manuscripts. She also had an underlying suspicion that subconsciously Grace didn’t want to finish either the textbook or the novel; that her friend was afraid to finish them. After all, what would she fill her hours with once they were done?

Daisy’s mobile began to play a tinny version of Nellie the Elephant. She hastily plopped a small black guinea pig, which she’d temporarily called Charcoal, into a run with his numerous friends, and fished her phone from her dungarees pocket.

‘Hi, Marcus.’

‘Hi honey, you OK?’

‘Just delivering the tribe to their outside quarters, then I’m off to face the horror that is dress shopping.’

Her future husband laughed, ‘You’ll be fine. You’re just a bit rusty, that’s all.’

‘Rusty! I haven’t owned a dress since I went to parties as a small child. Thirty-odd years ago!’

‘I don’t understand why you don’t go with Grace at the weekend. It would be easier together wouldn’t it?’

Daisy sighed, ‘I’d love to go with her, but I’ll never get her away from her work more than once this month, and I’ve yet to arrange a date for her to buy a bridesmaid outfit.’

‘Well, good luck, babe. I’m off to rob some bulls of their manhood.’

Daisy giggled, ‘Have fun. Oh, why did you call by the way?’

‘Just wanted to hear your voice, nothing else.’

‘Oh cute – ta.’

‘Idiot! Enjoy shopping.’

As she clicked her battered blue mobile shut and slid it back into her working clothes, Daisy thought of Grace again. Perhaps she should accidentally invite loads of single men to the wedding to tempt her friend with. The trouble was, unless they wore Lincoln Green, and carried a bow and quiver of arrows, Daisy very much doubted whether Grace would even notice they were there…

RH- RoS 2

***

As I said above- it isn’t just Romancing Robin Hood that came to mind when I saw the historically inspired wedding dresses in the shop window.

In a few weeks time I will finish the publisher’s edits for my second Jennifer Ash novel, The Winter Outlaw. This story continues from where we left the medieval mystery solver, Mathilda of Twyford (that Grace invented in Romancing Robin Hood), telling you what happens after Mathilda settles herself into life in the Folville family household. (Mathilda’s story is told without Grace Harper’s accompanying story in The Outlaw’s Ransom) There may – or may not- be a wedding….

Buy Links for Romancing Robin Hood – E-book and paperback

Amazon UK- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00M4838S2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407428558&sr=8-1&keywords=romancing+robin+hood

Amazon.com- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00M4838S2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407428558&sr=8-1&keywords=romancing+robin+hood

***

Buy Links for The Outlaw’s Ransom – E-book only

Amazon.co.uk – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outlaws-Ransom-Jennifer-Ash-ebook/dp/B01LZDKPQM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1475660907&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Outlaw%27s+Ransom+Jennifer+Ash

Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Outlaws-Ransom-Jennifer-Ash-ebook/dp/B01LZDKPQM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475660990&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Outlaw%27s+Ransom+Jennifer+Ash

Happy reading,

Jenny x


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