The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


Opening Lines: Dark Words from Tracey Norman

This week ‘Opening Lines’ delves into the realms of folklore and fantasy with Tracey Norman.

Friend, actress, author, expert on all things ‘witch’, and a fellow member of the Exeter Author Association, Tracey is bringing us the very beginning of her story, Dark Words.

Over to you Tracey…

Living not far from Dartmoor, I have a wealth of inspiration on my doorstep. When I was introduced to the reservoir, forests and stone circle of Fernworthy, something about the place spoke to me and it has become something of a retreat for me when I need space, or peace and quiet to write.

Periodically, during particularly hot periods, the reservoir’s water levels drop dramatically, revealing the various hut circles and bridges which were submerged when the reservoir was built. Wandering around these rarely-seen features, I came across a boundary-type stone which appeared to have been carved with an unusual chequerboard effect. It piqued my curiosity, so I tried to find out more about it – unsuccessfully.

In 2015, I was invited to contribute a story to Secret Invasion, a charity horror anthology of South West-based Lovecraftian tales raising money for MIND. I seized the opportunity to provide a backstory for the enigmatic stone. Thus was born the tale of the taciturn, sinister villagers, the stone tablets and the landscape which bound them together.

I have taken several liberties with the landscape. The house and estate I describe are both fictitious and I have no idea what secrets the old quarry may contain, as it has long been flooded. The drowned village beneath the reservoir is of far greater antiquity than my story suggests and was abandoned long before the events I describe.

However, if you visit Fernworthy reservoir, you can walk around its shores, you can see the (now fenced off) flooded quarry and, if the water level is sufficiently low, you may be lucky enough to spot parts of the hut circles just beyond the edge of the picnic area. A walk into the forest itself will take you to the Fernworthy stone circle and the twin circles of the Grey Wethers can be found on the open moor just beyond the forest boundary.

I highly recommend visiting the reservoir at dusk and siting at one of the picnic tables at the water’s edge. As the sun sinks in the sky, watch the light glinting on the water and revel in a tranquillity my characters never knew….but beware if you hear chanting…

(Dark Words has since been published in Folklore and Fairy Tales Reimagined, so it can be enjoyed with slightly less horror!)

Secret Invasion is a new collection of original horror fiction set in the mystical landscape of England’s West Country, influenced by the storytelling of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. This anthology includes a Q&A with horror maestro Ramsey Campbell followed by fifteen chilling tales by writers such as Andrew Lane (Young Sherlock Holmes), Jessica Palmer (Sweet William) and Nigel Foster.

 

First 500 words from Dark Words

Excavation fieldwork notes – 2015 – Alison Forster

It was good to finally crawl into my tent at the end of another long, hot day and kick off my boots. Stripping off my socks, I flexed my toes and massaged my ankles, then stretched out on my camp bed. Half past five. An hour until dinner. Plenty of time to go over the day’s notes and perhaps pop along to the finds tent to see how the cleaning and preservation was going.

I took my notebook from the large, upturned cardboard box next to the camp bed, which served as a rather flimsy table. Flipping through the pages of today’s notes, I started reading, pausing now and then to roll onto my side so I could annotate the page or make a note to myself for the following day. I wondered what other treasures were lying hidden beneath Dartmoor’s gorse and heather, just waiting for us to uncover and bring them back into the light.

The excavation was progressing very well. We had been extremely fortunate with both the weather and our finds. I still couldn’t quite believe that I was directing an excavation which had uncovered a previously unknown stone circle on the moor. It was undoubtedly the find of my career. Thank God I had decided against early retirement when the museum offered.

My planning finished, I sat up and took a swig from the water bottle on the ‘table’. I shoved my boots out of the way under the camp bed and put on trainers, then headed over to the finds tent to see how the team were getting on.

Much of what we had found were potsherds, with a few flint blades and one or two shell beads. I stopped to have a quick chat with each of the four students working on the artefacts, then, satisfied that everything was in order, I went to the mess tent and helped set up the meal.

Our mealtimes were generally noisy, chaotic affairs, but now that the stone circle’s significance had sunk in, everyone was hugely enthusiastic and motivated. I could hear discussions all around me about its possible ritual use and comparisons between it and the other stone circles not far away. Personally, I was very keen to find out if there was any connection between this new circle, the twin circles of Grey Wethers and the Fernworthy circle with its stone row and burial mounds. The thought of being able to identify an ancient ritual centre, with the attendant research, academic papers and perhaps a book, which would keep me in paid work for some time, was so enticing that it was almost palpable. I ate my food with as much gusto as my colleagues and students that night, flushed with our incredible good luck and determined to do whatever it took to secure funding for follow-up work next season.

At the end of the evening, after the cider had started flowing slightly more slowly and half the

Bio

I am a professional actress and voice artist who has always been a storyteller, whether on stage, in front of a keyboard or behind part of my extensive collection of notebooks and pens. Living not far from Dartmoor, I have a wealth of subject matter on my doorstep. My first short story (written under the pen name Anna Norman and published in the Lovecraft-inspired Secret Invasion, a charity anthology in aid of MIND, in 2015), is based on the landscape and artefacts in and around Dartmoor’s Fernworthy Reservoir, one of my favourite places.

In 2016, I accidentally became a playwright, having decided to do something meaningful with the Honours degree in History I achieved from The Open University in 2015. The result was a one-act play, WITCH, which examines the human story behind accusations of witchcraft, focusing on the social conditions and interactions which led to such accusations. It was based on depositions from the 1687 trial of a Lyme Regis housewife. The play, in which I perform alongside my colleagues from our company Circle of Spears Productions, enjoyed a very successful debut season in 2016 in the library at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle (where better to perform a play about witch trials?!) and since then, has gone on to enjoy further success in a number of venues across Devon, with a lengthy list of performances in 2017. It is currently being booked by universities as Theatre in Education.

I have been lucky enough to secure a contract with Troy Books in Cornwall for a book based on the research I originally undertook to write WITCH – it will look at the various issues raised in the play, expand on them and examine how theatre may be used to preserve our social history whilst simultaneously making it more accessible.

I published my first children’s book in 2017. Written for my daughter in 2010, when she was three, Sammy’s Saturday Job has finally been released as a Kindle ebook.  It follows the tale of a little dragon who wants to be a firefighter. She gets a chance to help out, but it doesn’t go well and she needs to work out how to put things right. It encourages children to persevere and to think creatively about helping others. It also promotes inclusiveness by showing that being different doesn’t mean that you have nothing to offer.

Publishing this particular story means a great deal to me because the three year-old I wrote it for became a ten year-old who sat down with me and helped me to work out what illustrations I should draw for it and where they should go.  I can’t think of a better editing assistant.

Currently, as well as my WITCH non-fiction, I am working on a High Fantasy novel which tells the first instalment in the back-story of a character I created for a Dungeons & Dragons campaign I was involved in. Sometimes, a character will really capture your imagination and this is certainly the case with my feisty, independent elf Aamena. I am hoping that the book will be out in late 2018.

Social Media links

Facebook – www.facebook.com/TraceyNormansWITCHbook

www.facebook.com/TraceyNormanAuthor

Twitter – @WITCHplayCoS and @fireeyeschron

Websites – www.traceynormanswitch.com   and   www.thefireeyeschronicles.co.uk

Buy links

Secret Invasion (in aid of MIND): https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/secretinvasion

Folklore and Fairy Tales Reimagined: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07728RXWS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

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Many thanks to Tracey for popping by!

See you next week!

Happy reading,

Jenny xx


Abi’s House and Abi’s Neighbour: Time for a warming read

I don’t know about you, but the  sudden cold winds, and constant damp mizzle in the air after so much sunshine, is making me feel rather chilly.

I thought it might be nice to escape the extremes of weather for a moment to take a dip into my 2 Cornish summer reads, Abi’s House and Abi’s Neighbour.

 

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

Newly widowed and barely thirty, Abi Carter is desperate to escape the Stepford Wives lifestyle that Luke, her late husband, had been so eager for her to live.
Abi decides to fulfill a lifelong dream. As a child on holiday in Cornwall 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 and 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 from all good bookshops and retailers, including

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

Abi’s Neighbour 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 buy Abi’s Neighbour from all good bookshops and retailers, including-  amzn.to/2rl4Tdh 

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Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

 


Interview with Kerry Watts: Into Darkness

It’s interview time. This week I’m chatting to Kerry Watts about her serial killer inspired story, Into Darkness

What inspired you to write your book?

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a bizarre fascination with serial killers. I wanted to write a book that delves into the mind and behavior of one of the most well known of these. Ted Bundy’s behavior and crimes have both intrigued and terrified me in equal measure. The character, Paul Gregory, from Into Darkness, is like Bundy in many ways. I wanted to write a book that I would like to read.

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

The research for Into Darkness by spending a seriously long time watching footage of interviews Bundy gave over the years before his execution. I looked for his every mannerism and movement to get an idea of what he was saying non-verbally because what he expressed verbally was in no way the whole story. Another good form of research is to interact with friends on social media to grasp how far to push the boundaries in my writing. There are some topics I would never entertain.

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

I’m a storyteller rather than a wordsmith, so I find my default setting to be third person past narrative. It feels more natural to me. Perhaps it’s the gossip in me that makes that easy!

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

I begin with a plot in several notebooks sometimes, but I do tend to wander because other ideas and scenarios hit me later. Characters have even died unexpectedly on me. The buzz of a new idea is so exciting and if I can’t get my hands on a notebook to scribble in it’s uncomfortable. I need to write. Writing makes happy. It’s an escape.

What is your writing regime?

My writing day pretty much plays out like this. My son goes to school, I make my own breakfast and usually watch something like ‘Most Haunted’ while I eat. (The temptation to binge watch it is hard to resist at times.) I then check my social media which can sometimes be hard to tear myself away from. I will promote some of my books before putting kettle on again for my 4th cup of tea. It is with this tea in hand I start the day’s writing, which is approximately 2000 words, but that target is not set in stone. I prefer to aim for 10000 words a week. Sometimes I write more. Sometimes I write less.

What excites you the most about your book?

The other aspect of Into Darkness that excites me is the romance element. This is book one of my DI Joe Barber series and it is in this book he meets the love of his life. No spoilers but their introduction to each other is definitely not conventional. The book does have several adult scenes, but these are necessary to evolve the relationship towards the shocking conclusion.

If you were stranded on a desert island with three other people, fictional or real, who would they be and why?

The first person would be my 11-year-old son for sure. He has the craziest sense of humour and personality. He is a young actor and gaining a following on Instagram, so he could post our exploits on the island I’m sure. The second person would be the character Dexter Morgan because he is the best fictional character ever created. I guess my fascination for serial killers makes him appeal to me. The final person would not be a person but a horse. The race horse Secretariat. Being able to spend time in his company would be awesome as my other obsession is horse racing.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I have a secret! I write erotic romance fiction under a pen name. Ssh! I also once tried acting but found it wasn’t for me. Film totally bombed anyway!

Links

http://mybook.to/intodarkness

twitter.com/@Denmanisfab

https://www.facebook.com/KerryWattsAuthor/

http://kerrywatts.simplesite.com/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kerry-Watts/e/B01F7D6T5E/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Bio

Kerry Watts was born and raised in Perth and can still be found living in rural Perthshire with her family. She also shares her home with an elderly Border Collie named Misty, a hamster named Buttercup and Domino, her orange Rex house rabbit who is more trouble than a naughty puppy.

She was inspired to pick up a pen and begin scribbling after reading Isla Dewar’s novel, Giving up on ordinary, when she devoured it and thought ‘I quite fancy doing that’ – so she did. She’s been writing for over twenty years but only began sharing her work two years ago. Writers who have inspired her since have been Jeff Lindsay, the creator of her favourite fictional character, Dexter Morgan and Stephen King. She listens to loud nineteen eighties rock when she is writing and for that she is unashamed. She loves Heart, Vixen and Richard Marx among others and wonders where the skinny rock chick she once was went to. She loves going to comedy gigs and binge watching episodes of her favourite shows on Netflix. She also loves dunking digestive biscuits in a sweet tasty brew.

She once tried her hand at acting but it wasn’t for her. She prefers to create the characters rather than be them. When she’s not writing she loves spending time on her other passions which are Rescue dogs and Horseracing. She has been involved with a couple of dog rescue charities over the years and is a passionate advocate of the adoption of unwanted dogs. Racehorses stir her soul and the sight of a thoroughbred thundering down the track at over forty miles an hour brings a lump to her throat and tears to her eyes. One day she is going to buy a Racehorse and call him Dexter King.

Her years as a psychiatric nurse and her experiences there often find a place in her books. Forensic psychiatry being her main field of interest. She loves to push the boundaries of the nature versus nurture debate. She wants her readers to question their previous perceptions of what and who is good and evil.

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Many thanks for dropping by today, Kerry,

Happy reading,

Jenny x

 

 

 


Opening Lines: A Few Bad Boys by Nicole

Opening Lines day is here! This week’s blog takes us into the world of hard boiled crime.

I’m delighted to welcome Nicole, to share the first 500 words (exactly) of her novel, A Few Bad Boys.

I am thrilled to be part of the Opening Lines Blog and am introducing you to my debut crime novel, A Few Bad Boys., which I published last year.  Like so many others, I had wanted to write a book for a long as I can remember and finally I achieved it.  My next novel, Survival At Any Cost will be published later this year.  After the sudden death of my husband, I found getting back to writing very therapeutic amongst the chaos that surrounded me.  People often find me an inspiration and I encourage anyone that wants to pursue their goals, even if they are not writing related.  Since it is my birthday week, A Few Bad Boys is available for only 99p/99c until Saturday 11th August 2018.

The first 500 words of A Few Bad Boys

As Lucy Fratelli lay on the cold bathroom floor, her head was spinning, she knew that she could not keep doing this. Her life had to change and it had to change now. She had been in this position too many times and Rob always said sorry and that he wouldn’t do it again, but he always did. The violence had started shortly after she let him move into her house. First it was a slap, then it was a punch, then it was kicking whilst she was lying helpless on the floor. How was she going to get away from him and get him to leave her house? She had lost consciousness this time and was feeling very sick. She wasn’t sure if the feeling of sickness was due to her head injury or due to the intolerable situation she had now found herself in.

She attempted to move her bruised and aching body and gradually pulled herself up, using the bath for support. She shuffled to the basin, terrified to look in the mirror. What damage had he done to her this time? Her right eye was so swollen that she couldn’t open it. Her lip was split and her ear was bleeding. A massive lump was already forming on her head. As she felt her head she realised that it was also bleeding. She lifted her top as best as she could so she could try and inspect her back. No wonder it was agony, she could see an impression of his shoe engrained on her slender body. Her ribs hurt so much that she was scared to cough and she could barely move her left arm. Bruising was already appearing on her legs and they felt like they could hardly take her weight. She tried to clean herself up a bit and hobbled to the kitchen to get a glass of water and to ponder on whether to go to the doctors or not and on how she was going to leave Rob.

She also reminisced a little on how her life was pre-Rob. Lucy Fratelli was loved by everyone. She was really attractive with beautiful, thick dark hair and eyes that were so full of life. She had a family that adored her and brilliant friends. She had been so full of confidence, ambition and determination and inspired others; that was before Rob started to shatter her world. Why had she let him move in with her? He had turned her into a shadow of her former self. He was a control freak. Lucy knew all this and inside she knew that she had to free herself of him. She felt so lonely and ashamed. Many times she had wanted to confide in her best friend, Julie, about what was going on but she knew that her reaction would be to tell her father, Terry Fratelli, and then there would be murder. Terry would never allow anyone to hurt his family and if they did

Blurb

Lucy Fratelli is the girl who has everything – beauty, brains, her own apartment, a close family and friends. Unfortunately, she is hiding a secret from her family and her best friend, Julie. Lucy knows that she can tell her family and Julie anything but she also knows that if they find out her secret, there will be hell to pay.
Terry Fratelli, Lucy’s father, is a gangster and lives for his family. He will do anything to make them happy and protect them at all costs. When Lucy’s secret is revealed he will stop at nothing to keep her safe.

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If you like hard boiled crime this is right up your street!

Amazon.co.uk link

Amazon.com link

 Don’t forget that ‘A Few Bad Boys’ is available for only 99p/99c until Saturday 11th August 2018.

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Nicole was born in London but moved to Spain in 2000.  She has two children, James and Phoenix, who have been her driving force behind her completing her debut novel, A Few Bad Boys.  Prior to having children she worked for Karren Brady, which added to her determination to succeed in all goals.

Nicole has wanted to write a book for as long as she can remember, and although she has written articles and helped others with their writing, it is only last year that she finally completed and published her debut novel, A Few Bad Boys. Although the journey to becoming published has been long and difficult, she is overjoyed that she has managed it, but understands that there is a lot more work to do.

Nicole is a firm believer in living life to the full but also living a balanced life.

Nicole is currently working on her second novel, Survival At Any Cost and has a regular blog.

Goodreads link

Instagram Nicole

Facebook Nicole

Webpage Nicoletheauthor

Jolsclub

Many thanks to Nicole, for popping by today with her fabulous words. 

Happy reading,

Jenny x


Summer Wedding: Romancing Robin Hood

Summer has arrived in the UK with style this year! What better time for a wedding?

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 about within this same novel)

The problem is that Grace is so embroiled in her work and passion for outlaws, that real life is passing her by. A fact that the unexpected wedding announcement of her best friend Daisy, has thrown into sharp focus…

Extract from Romancing Robin Hood

…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

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…

Buy Links Romancing Robin Hood is available from all good paperback and e-retailers.

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Happy reading,

Jenny x


Opening Lines: Nostra Dame by Jacqueline Evans

Today I’m delighted to welcome Jacqueline Evans to my blog to share the first 500 words of her book, Nostra Dame

It’s time for some ‘Opening Lines.’

After drawing a blank in my search to find someone who shared a similar ability, I was inspired to write my first book.  The word ‘psychic’ is used so loosely these days and often leaves people either cringing or wanting to know more.  It saddens me that people part with their money in the hope of getting a ‘message’ from a deceased loved one at events or private sittings that promise such things.  It’s nothing like that for me; I don’t profess to speak to dead people!  The thought of being put in the same box prompted me to write my own story.  For me, the definition of psychic is precognitive, spiritual and selfless – it doesn’t come with a price tag or self-glory.  The people in my book – those that lost their lives, are very dear to my heart.  My only hope is that I told the story with dignity.….

First 500 words of Nostra Dame

Chapter One – Preppy

From the start it appeared as if I’d been in training; a ‘preppy’ guided by an unknown force.  As if my path had somehow been pre-determined.  A near-death experience in my mid-twenties triggered a chain of events that completely changed my course.  Not only did it give me the strength to shed years of imposed beliefs but also taught me to trust my instincts.

Only then did a deeper level of empathy and understanding begin to emerge.  Over time, it seemed to turn a series of cogs, which opened me up to the supernatural and to a world far beyond the constructs of science.  A world that knew the future and one that seemed eager to want to share it.  Down to the tiniest detail, I would be given pieces of information that when put together formed a complete picture.

From serious crimes to global disasters, there had been no limits to the intelligence.  It had proven so reliable that I became able to interpret the most complex murders and anticipate big changes one after the other, like on a checklist.

‘It’ knew everything about me too; what made me tick, my likes, my dislikes and my reactions before I reacted.  It appeared to pave the way, engineering every twist and turn; so many turns that it is difficult to know where to start.  Perhaps then, my first memory would be the best place.

It was Christmas day, 1968.  A sparsely decorated tree stood in the corner of the cramped living room, glistening with multi-coloured lights and it felt magical.  We had sat around the table eating dinner, wearing paper hats; and afterwards my sister and I had wanted to play upstairs with our new toys.

We lived in the inner city of Birmingham, in a dingy, Victorian, terraced house.  Our only form of heating had been a paraffin heater and portable electric fire.  My large bedroom, which I shared with my sister, had high ceilings, bare floorboards and no furniture, other than two single beds.  It had been so bitterly cold, that my mother had put the fire in there to take the icy chill off.

Despite her warnings not to go anywhere near it, I couldn’t resist its warm glow and had stood closer than I should have.  The ribbon on my dress had dangled on the red-hot bars and in seconds, flames lashed around my head.  My sister’s screams had thankfully alerted my father, who flew into the room, rolled me in a blanket and took me straight to hospital.  I was just two and nine months, though remember it like it was yesterday.

It had been the reason for us moving to another house which had been far more modern, albeit still urban.  My sister, Diana was two years older and my brother, Stewart was five years older than me.

My dad worked long hours as a lorry driver, whilst my mom stayed at home looking after us.  She had been relentless in keeping us…

***

Nostra Dame, the true story of a woman trying to make sense of a mysterious world. Suppressing what came naturally for most of my early years; a pivotal moment in my mid-twenties opened a door to what lay dormant. The depth of knowledge that ensued began to snowball, leading me to predict global events and high-profile murder investigations. Each piece of information imparted in fractals, like pieces to a puzzle; and it was down to me, to put the pieces together

UK: http://amzn.to/2u5Dazq

US: http://amzn.to/2iQIdh8

Jacqueline was born in the 1960’s and grew up in Birmingham, where she still lives today with her youngest son. From an early age, she became an avid reader and always dreamt of one day becoming a writer. For many years Jacqueline worked in a bank, doing a job that she enjoyed but left to raise her two sons; a move she has never regretted. She loves spending time with family, cooking hearty meals, sewing and gardening. Above all, she likes nothing more than to escape to a quiet corner to read her favourite kind of books; crime-fiction and psychological thrillers. Currently she is working on her second, non-fiction book and excitedly awaiting the arrival of her first granddaughter.

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***

Many thanks Jacqueline.

Don’t forget to join me next week to read some words from Nicole Dunsford Evans.

Happy reading,

Jenny x


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