Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

Author: Jenny Kane Page 1 of 101

Opening Lines with Morwenna Blackwood: Cover Your Tracks

#Openinglines time is upon us once more, and this week I’ll thrilled to welcome back the fabulous  Morwenna Blackwood; friend, author, and #novelinayear alumni, to share the first 500 words of her latest publication, Cover Your Tracks.

Blurb:

It’s 1984. Newly appointed chief reporter, Simon, stands in a derelict area behind a condemned railway station. A train driver has been found, hanging.

The apparent suicide leads Simon into an investigation of class-wars, corruption, and devestating home-truths. And then he disappears.

Two decades later, Nia, the daughter he never knew he had, is trying to find out what happened to him. Will she exposed the truth, and get her life back on the rails? Or will she end up having to cover her own tracks?

FIRST 500 WORDS:

Simon, 1984.

It’s a cliché of a scene; the police officer I spoke to on the phone was right. A thick rope tied to a branch of a gnarly old tree, and dangling from its other end is a middle-aged man, dressed in jeans and a lumber shirt. On the ground a little in front of him, among fallen acorns, lies the plastic milk crate he’d kicked away when he’d reached the point of no return. Critical mass. The half-empty bottle of amber-coloured spirits by the foot of the tree must have helped him along his way.

A weird sort of detachedness comes over me as I regard the man. It occurs to me that I should be shocked, or upset, or something, but all I can think about is the fact that he’s still hanging there. Presumably, someone comes to take the body down and wheel it off to the morgue before they allow the press in, don’t they? But I keep forgetting that I’m in the South-West now. Things are different in the countryside. Usual rules don’t apply, I suppose because no one’s watching. No one cares but the locals.

My sight drifts in and out of focus as I watch the dead man swinging slightly in the cold wind, and I wonder for the umpteenth time whether I’ve made the right decision moving down here. Despite myself, I take my hat off in respect – for the dead man, or my former life, I’m not sure.

“Blimey, boy!” The policeman pronounces it bey. “You’re either made of strong stuff or you’re a serial killer in disguise!” The rotund, moustached man pulls a cigarette out of his pocket and tilts the packet in my direction. I smile and reach out to take one, but he pulls the packet back, uncertainty flitting across his face. “Actually, are you old enough, boy?”

It’s become an automatic response to laugh and make light of it when people say things like this. I expect the growing knot of seething fury I keep locked up in my stomach will give me an ulcer one day.

“Yes, I’m 21, Officer. Mr Locke wouldn’t send the YTS lad to a suicide.”

Mr Locke – Derek – is the editor – or, rather, the commander and chief – of the Eskwich Gazette, the local rag I work on now. I could have taken the job I was offered in Winchester, or even tried to make it in London. But I went for the chief reporter’s position on the Swansbourne Gazette, and moved down there, and then the Esky Gazette called me – although that doesn’t count as being headhunted, according to my father – and now I take a train and a bus here and back every day for the privilege of a few more pounds a year. I ought to get a place here in Eskwich, really, but I enjoy living in my little flat above the chippy – it’s comforting, somehow, listening to the sea, and the trains going past. It makes…

***

You can buy Cover Your Tracks from all good ebook retailers, including: Cover Your Tracks eBook : Blackwood, Morwenna: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Bio

When she was six years old, Morwenna wrote an endless story about a frog, and hasn’t stopped writing since.

She’s the author of bestselling noir psychological thrillers, The (D)Evolution of Us, Glasshouse, Underrated and Skin and Bone; and has written short stories and a collection of poetry. Morwenna has an MA in Creative Writing, and can usually be found down by the sea.

She often thinks about that frog.

Links

www.morwennablackwoodauthor.com

https://www.amazon.com/author/morwennablackwood

https://www.threads.com/morwennablackwood

https://www.instagram.com/morwennablackwood_

https://www.twitter.com/morwennablackw1

mybook.to/devolution

mybook.to/glasshousenovel

mybook.to/underrated

mybook.to/skinandbone 

***

Many thanks, Morwenna.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Summer at Sea Glass Cove: Three weeks to go

It’s only three weeks to go until the launch of my latest #feelgood novel, Summer at Sea Glass Cove, is published.

Set on the beautiful Jurassic Coast in Dorset, you can expect a mix of #romance, #newlife adventure, #archaeology and #friendship.

Blurb

Welcome to Sea Glass Cove!

Marine archaeologist Lauren Sunshine is used to life on the go. Her suitcase is always packed ready to explore the country’s underwater heritage so when a shipwreck is found off the Dorset coast, she is thrilled to be leading the excavation team.

Philippa Silver, ‘Phil’ to the folk of Sea Glass Cove, has devoted her life to the Museum by the Sea. But funding is tight, and despite subletting half of the museum to her best friend Jules’s sea glass shop, she fears for the museum’s future.

Phil hopes the wreck discovery could bring more visitors – but there’s a problem – the museum’s too small to house its treasures. Thankfully, new friend Lauren seems as determined as she is to save the museum.

But, when Phil’s brother Ollie catches Lauren’s eye, she begins to wonder if she has more than one reason to be interested in life at Sea Glass Cove…

***

Set in one of my favourite part of the world, writing Summer at Sea Glass Cove was an utter joy to write.

I hope you’ll enjoy it to.

Coming 6th June 2024, you can pre-order from all good bookshops, including Amazon UK and Amazon US

Here are a few of the lovely pre-release reviews my readers have posted on Netgalley

A really enjoyable story about a small village museum at risk of closure and the locals and marine archaeologists there for a dig that try to save it. Such great characters and interesting history. I found it a lovely read. Made me wish I could go sit in a snug by a fire with a pint. – Netgalley

What a unique and beautiful concept for a novel ! I’m so excited to join marine archaeologist Lauren on an adventure with Sea Glass Cove aficionado Philippa to help save the museum. – Netgalley

I am a big fan of Jenny Kane and it got better and better.. You learn a lot about marine archaeologist. You have secret love and new love. An ace pub. Corrupt councillors . .Two of my favourite characters were Arthur and Jeff. Read it  – Netgalley

***

Happy preordering,

Jenny xx

Tiny Taster: Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange

With Spring in full swing – and hints of summer around the corner – I thought I’d share a tiny taster from the third novel in the #MillGrange,

Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange.

Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange

BLURB

Helen Rogers has been lying to herself over her feelings for Tom since the moment they met. And for good reason; not only are they colleagues, working together with the archaeology groups at Mill Grange, but her sabbatical is almost over and she’ll soon have to return to Bath.

Tom Harris knows he’s falling in love with Helen. How could he not? She’s smart, kind and great with his son Dylan. But with his ex-wife suddenly offering him a chance to spend more time with Dylan, and the staff of Mill Grange about to host a wedding, everything else has to be put to one side. Even his feelings for a certain archaeologist.

As Helen’s time at Mill Grange runs short, the two are forced to consider what matters most…

Set in the beautiful Exmoor countryside, on the border of Devon and Somerset, Spring Blossoms, continues the story of Thea, Shaun, Sam, Tina, Mable and Bert – as well as Helen and Tom, who were newcomers to the house in Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange.

Here’s a tiny taster…

‘Do you honestly think I’ll need eighteen pairs of knickers? It’s the Cotswolds, not the Kalahari.’

Thea scooped the entire contents of her underwear drawer onto the bed as Shaun flung open a suitcase.

‘No, I think you’ll need thirty pairs or more, but as you only have eighteen, then pack them.’

‘Seriously?’ Thea eyed some of her older undies with suspicion. The greying fabric had been consigned to the back of the drawer to be used in emergencies only, although now she thought about it, she wasn’t sure what that emergency might be. An archaeological excavation in the middle of nowhere, perhaps?

‘You know what it’s like on a dig. Laundry facilities only happen to other people. A flushing toilet can be a luxury sometimes.’

‘Won’t the local village have a launderette?’

‘It’s the Cotswolds, Thea. The people who can afford to live there don’t need launderettes.’ Shaun winked. ‘I tend to wring out my smalls in the nearest public toilet sink or a bucket of cold water.’

Thea laughed. ‘I used to do that when I was a student on excavation.’ Stuffing every pair of socks she owned into the suitcase, she added, ‘Age has softened me!’

‘You’ve got used to manor house living, that’s what it is.’ As Shaun threw a pile of t-shirts onto the bed, he caught a glimpse of anxiety crossing Thea’s face. ‘I was…

***

You don’t have to have read Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange or Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange, to enjoy Spring Blossoms, although you’d probably get more from the story if you have.

If you would like to buy an e-copy, paperback or audio version of Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange, you can purchase a copy from all good retailers, including…

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Opening Lines with Rachel Brimble: Dressing the Countess

It’s #openinglines time!

I’m delighted to be welcoming the brilliant Rachel Brimble back to my blog, to talk about her latest novel – published this very day!

Over to you, Rachel…

Hi Jenny!

Thank you so much for having me back on your blog and the opportunity to share the first 500 words of my brand new novel Dressing the Countess, which comes out today!

Blurb 

Fans of Kristy Cambron and Mimi Matthews will adore this Victorian romance from historical fiction dynamo, Rachel Brimble.

Seamstress Rose Watson cannot believe her good fortune when she’s plucked from obscurity to work for Lady Christina, the Countess of Bath. Despite her parents’ distrust that the position will come with conditions, Rose accepts the unexpected offer. 

When she arrives at the royal residence of Henlow House, a strange sense of destiny whispers through her, and Rose cannot wait for this new adventure to begin. Although, she has Henry Ward to deal with, the handsome, risk-taking and—though she is loath to admit it—exciting royal saddler and horse trainer, who both fascinates and frustrates her in equal measure. 

Rose and Henry could not be more different…with the exception of their hunger for more.

But as they begin to trust one another, and their bond flourishes, Rose’s connection with Henry could cause her to lose her position at Henlow House, which would destroy her. Will she be forced to choose between love and ambition? Either choice will change her life irrevocably.

A captivating escape that will touch your heart and keep you turning pages with impatient hope for Rose… 

This is an historical romance set in the fictional court of the Earl and Countess of Bath and revolves around the lives and developing romance of royal seamstress Rose Watson and master saddler, Henry Ward.

The opening snippet I am sharing is the lead up to the most pivotal moment of Rose’s life. Enjoy!

Here’s the first 500 words, exactly…

Regent Street, London, March 1866

Rose Watson tightened her hold on her sketchbook and walked in a slow circle around the mannequin in front of her, her head tilted and eyes narrowed. A dart of hazy sunshine streaming through the shop window lit her work in a delicate glow, heartening Rose’s hope that the lady’s dresser—Mrs. Hayworth, who had ordered the dress—would be delighted with it. Despite her trepidation, the longer Rose stared at her creation, the more persistently a smile pulled at her lips. There could be no denying it. The dress was a triumph. Her best yet.

She lightly ran her hand over the emerald-green velvet of the embroidered bodice, her fingertips tracing the whorls and swirls of intertwined vines and the shimmering silver thread edging the butterflies’ wings as they frolicked from waist to décolletage. The jet beading on the sash, as well as trimming the cuffs and hem glinted, the delicate black overlay falling perfectly over the skirt, making the stiffness and aches Rose had suffered in her knuckles and back during the stitching worth every uncomfortable minute.

Oh, how desperate she was to know the identity of the woman who would wear it! Mrs. Hayworth had been so reticent, so discreet about her mistress, it was impossible to guess. Whoever she might be, her dimensions proved her fortunate enough to possess a perfectly proportioned figure and, although unusually tall, Rose had no doubt the woman’s height would only make her more striking. Mrs. Hayworth had shared with Rose’s father that her mistress had light-brown hair, blue eyes, an olive complexion, and a deep love of nature, especially of the world’s creatures. All details Rose had kept at the forefront of her mind while designing and making the dress.

She glanced at the wall clock and drew in a long, calming breath. Mrs. Hayworth was due at any moment for a final viewing and—fingers crossed—a concluding endorsement. If she approved…Rose closed her eyes. Please let her approve. Only then would Rose carefully remove the dress from its mannequin and prepare it for delivery.

“Oh, Rose. It’s marvelous.” Florence Davis, Rose’s friend and fellow seamstress, entered the shop from the back room and slid her arm around Rose’s waist, hugging her close. “Whoever this dress belongs to owes you a hundred thank-yous.”

Rare nerves took flight in Rose’s stomach as her confidence faltered. “Do you really believe it will meet her expectations?”

Florence laughed. “How could it not? It’s beautiful.”

“I am certainly proud of it, but…” Rose eased out of her friend’s embrace and circled the mannequin again, the heels of her shoes tapping the floorboards. “It doesn’t matter how much I believe this dress is my finest work. Not knowing who will wear it makes me uneasy. She could be anyone. Her taste a million miles from mine. Mrs. Hayworth was so very vague with her brief, leaving all to me and my imagination.”

“Which is a good sign. You have…

You can buy Dressing the Countess from all good retailers: https://geni.us/B3SPq

Bio:

Rachel lives with her husband in a small town near Bath, England.

She is the author of 30 novels and has been published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, Kensington Books and others. Her most popular series include the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy and the Shop Girl series, both published with Aria Fiction. Her latest novel, Dressing the Countess is her debut novel with Harpeth Road Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Female Entrepreneur Association and has thousands of social media followers all over the world. She is also studying for a history degree with the Open University.

To sign up for her newsletter (a guaranteed giveaway every month!), click here: https://bit.ly/3zyH7dt

Website: https://bit.ly/3wH7HQs

Twitter: https://bit.ly/3AQvK0A

Facebook: https://bit.ly/3i49GZ3

Instagram: https://bit.ly/3lTQZbF

BookBub: https://shorturl.at/nrxFJ 

Many thanks for your fabulous opening lines, Rachel.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Paperback Publication Day: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club

It’s paperback publication day for my #cosycrime novel,

Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club.

BLURB:  Book One of The Robin Hood Club Series

A brand new cosy crime series! Welcome to the Robin Hood Club!

There’s great excitement when a previously undiscovered Robin Hood ballad manuscript, Robin Hood and the Carter, turns up in the same town as the Robin Hood Club’s latest fan convention.

But the Robin Hood Club’s special guest – Harriet, “Hari”, Danby, writer and creator of the hit TV series, Return to Sherwood – can’t help thinking the discovery is rather too coincidental.

With her best friend, Dot, at her side, Hari finds herself taken out of her quiet writing life and catapulted into a world of enthusiastic fans, actors egos, and jealous fellow authors.

As the Robin Hood Club event gets underway, speculation about the new ballad grows… and then Hari notices that one of the Robin Hood Club’s most devoted followers has gone missing…

***

You don’t need to be a Robin Hood fan to enjoy this book, it’s written for all #cosycrime readers. But if you have a fondness for cosy crime, cookies, and Britain’s favourite medieval outlaw, then this is definitely the read for you!

Available in paperback, eBook format, and on Kindle Unlimited from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

I’ve been overwhelmed by the kind comments and the kind reviews the ebook version of Manuscript Mysteries has prompted.

Here are a couple of the lovely things folk have said over on Amazon.co.uk

5.0 out of 5 stars

Excellent cosy crime in a familiar setting

I really enjoyed the story, well paced, plotted and with a well hidden but believable ‘villain’ culminating in a satisfying ending. What I particularly enjoyed was how well the author captured the convention setting, having been to a few of them, it felt believable, the right mix of characters, eccentrics, celebrities and excitement these events have which made the story so relatable. Looking forward to the second book and the further development of the many interesting characters.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyable read.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 May 2024

This book was the perfect escapist read for me. I’ve always been a huge Robin of Sherwood fan. I found the combination of medieval history with a modern day narrative AND a tantalising mystery utterly absorbing. Can’t wait for the next one.

I highly recommend this book.

 

Thanks again for all your support.

More news on The Robin Hood Club, soon.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

PUBLICATION DAY: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club

TODAY’S THE DAY!

Today I launch my very first #cosycrime novel.

Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club

A real labour of love, this novel is the first in a series of mysteries, led by Hari Danby and her best friend Dot.

Blurb

A brand new cosy crime series! Welcome to the Robin Hood Club!

There’s great excitement when a previously undiscovered Robin Hood ballad manuscript, Robin Hood and the Carter, turns up in the same town as the Robin Hood Club’s latest fan convention.

But the Robin Hood Club’s special guest – Harriet, “Hari”, Danby, writer and creator of the hit TV series, Return to Sherwood – can’t help thinking the discovery is rather too coincidental.

With her best friend, Dot, at her side, Hari finds herself taken out of her quiet writing life and catapulted into a world of enthusiastic fans, actors egos, and jealous fellow authors.

As the Robin Hood Club event gets underway, speculation about the new ballad grows… and then Hari notices that one of the Robin Hood Club’s most devoted followers has gone missing…

Available from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

For me this novel has been a particularly special venture for three reasons.

First of all, I love reading and writing crime fiction. The Folville Chronicles – a much darker set of crime/mystery novels – was huge fun to write. I’ve really missed creating the style of plotlines you need to weave when writing felonious fiction. So, when the idea came to me to write a cosy crime book, I was determined to go for it. (Okay, so I had the idea in 2017 – but I’ve only just had time to do anything about it!)

Secondly, this is the first time I’ve deliberately aimed to self publish a book. (All my other self published work has previously been with a publisher, and has only been self published once the rights of the story had reverted to me.) It has been a massive learning curve, and I’ve a long way to go before I fully know what I’m doing. In fact, it is safe to say the book wouldn’t have made it into the world without the expert help of both Suzanne Fox and Lucy Felthouse – their advice and formatting skills have been beyond price.

After years of working with either indie or traditional publishers, it’s been both  liberating and terrifying having to do everything myself. Yet, the experience has been fun and – hopefully – it will be rewarding. I’ll only find that out if people buy and like the story!

Finally – the most important reason of all for writing this book is simple.

My time as a writer for Robin of Sherwood will come to an end towards the end of this year.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the best television of all time (in my opinion anyway). Previous posts on this blog talk about my passion for the show, and how lucky I am to have been picked to be the main writer for the audio scripts /novelisations that have been commissioned over the past few years. (One day I might get used to the fact that I’ve been told I write like my hero – Richard Carpenter – but in all honesty, I’m never going to believe it.)

Although my work for RoS has always been undertaken for love not financial reward, it has taken centre stage in my life for a very long time. All my other work is instantly shelved every time the call comes to write – and I do not regret a second of it. How could I? I was being asked to put words – literally – into the mouths of my heroes and heroines. As I said to my friend, prouder, director, and all round nice guy, Barnaby Eaton-Jones the other day – “Robin of Sherwood is the jam in our sponge.”.

Now – with only a few stories left to write for my Robin’s (I loved them both – Loxley and Huntingdon), I have a void in my life to fill. What better way to fill that gap, than by using the experiences I gained during this heady/crazy/fun/ sometimes heart breaking/amazing, unmissable experience to write new works of fiction?

So – WELCOME TO THE ROBIN HOOD CLUB…. and yes, it will be an actual club – and you will be able to join it – but be patient, because I’ve a lot of books to write, scripts to create and – hopefully – a few more smiles to put on the faces of Robin of Sherwood fans first….

***

Manuscript Mysteries is available across ALL Amazon sites (including those shown below), as an ebook from today. A paperback version will be available very soon.

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny.

PS – If you read this novel – or any of my work – and enjoy it, please could you pop a review on Amazon. Every time a book gets a review of 4 or 5 stars, it raises my profile on Amazon and that, in turn, leads to more sales – which helps pay the bills!!

Opening Lines: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood

My very first #cosycrime novel is out on 28th April!

Today I’m sharing the #openinglines to Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood.

BLURB

A brand new cosy crime series! Welcome to the Robin Hood Club!

There’s great excitement when a previously undiscovered Robin Hood ballad manuscript, Robin Hood and the Carter, turns up in the same town as the Robin Hood Club’s latest fan convention.

But the Robin Hood Club’s special guest – Harriet, “Hari”, Danby, writer and creator of the hit TV series, Return to Sherwood – can’t help thinking the discovery is rather too coincidental.

With her best friend, Dot, at her side, Hari finds herself taken out of her quiet writing life and catapulted into a world of enthusiastic fans, actors egos, and jealous fellow authors.

As the Robin Hood Club event gets underway, speculation about the new ballad grows… and then Hari notices that one of the Robin Hood Club’s most devoted followers has gone missing…

Manuscript Mysteries at the Robin Hood Club

HERE ARE THE FIRST 500 WORDS

Prologue: April 28th

Found: Previously undiscovered Robin Hood Ballad…

Dr Harriet Danby, known to her friends as Hari, hovered her hand over the computer mouse. Telling herself that the notification on the Medieval Scholars Facebook page was bound to be spam, Hari clicked on the post anyway. Mentally crossing her fingers, hoping she hadn’t just unleashed a social media virus upon her laptop, Hari’s jaw dropped as she read the press release that filled her screen.

Two minutes later she picked up the telephone. The call had barely connected before, not bothering with a hello, she blurted out, ‘Neil, have you seen…’

‘Harriet! I was about to call you.’

Detecting an edge of excitement in her former university professor’s voice, Hari said, ‘You’ve seen the report then?’

‘I have.’

‘A new Robin Hood ballad!’

Neil cleared his throat, just managing to keep his enthusiasm in check. ‘It would be nice if it was genuine, but if it does turn out to be a hoax, it’ll still give us something new to talk about at the Robin Hood Club convention. You are coming, aren’t you?’

 

The emailed invitation sat open on Hari’s laptop.

The Robin Hood Club: 28th – 30th May.

Dear Dr Harriet Danby,

You are invited (along with a guest of your choice), to this three-day event at the beautiful Harmen Hotel, Buxton, within the stunning Peak District, Derbyshire.

As the writer and creator of the hit television series – Return to Sherwood – we’d be delighted if you could join us for this fans’ convention to celebrate your amazing show. We would love it if you would agree to be interviewed by myself, Jeremiah Barnes, about your work and passion for all things Robin Hood.

I can confirm that your leading lady – Scarlett Hann – and your leading man – Lee Stoneman – have already agreed to attend.

You’ll find a rough outline of the convention timetable attached to this message. A more detailed running order of events will be available nearer the time.

Please email your response at your earliest convenience.

Yours,

Jeremiah Barnes

Hari opened the attachment and took a ragged breath as she found herself face to face with an invitation to a medieval banquet on the Saturday evening and (worse) a disco on the Sunday evening and (worse still) an interview before all the guests as the “Headline Event” on the Monday.

Why do they want me as the featured speaker when the stars of the show will be there?

Averting her gaze from the laptop screen, she picked up a framed photograph of herself, Scarlett Hann and Lee Stoneman – known to millions as Mathilda of Sherwood and Will Scathlock. It had been taken during the filming of the first episode of Return to Sherwood.

‘I suppose if you two are attending, it would be odd if I wasn’t there.’ She focused her gaze on her leading man’s grey eyes. ‘And who knows, Lee, you might even acknowledge my existence as a human being this time.’

Returning to the laptop,…

If the opening lines have whetted your appetite, you can preorder your copy of the first #therobinhoodclub mysteries, here:

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Nothing’s Forgotten: Thank you Mr Carpenter

It never ceases to amaze me how the small things in life ultimately have the ability to have such a massive impact on us later. Often we don’t even notice it happening until we suddenly look back and see that if “this hadn’t happened, then that wouldn’t have happened….” and on the chain goes, link after link, until you find yourself where you are right now.

For me the chain began with a single link forty-ish years ago, thanks to an incredible writer: Mr Richard ‘Kip’ Carpenter. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

(With apologises to thos eof you who’ve heard this story before…)  I was a very shy teenager- self-conscious- awkward- the stereotypical wall flower. (Part of me still is!!) When I was fourteen I became ill- nothing life threatening, but exhausting. As a consequence I was unable to go to school for several months. My parents- to whom I will always be grateful- went to the nearest Radio Rentals and hired one of those new fangled video recorders so I could watch television whenever I liked during the day.

The very day they signed that rental agreement, an episode of Robin of Sherwood aired on ITV (an HTV and Goldcrest production). That episode was called Adam Bell, and was the ninth episode of the third series- I watched it over and over again.

For the first time in my life I had fallen in love.

RH books 2

Not with any of the cast as such- I fell for the legend.  It truly wasn’t the tight tights that had captured my heart – it was the story. The whole story. All of it. I wanted to know everything- EVERYTHING- that could possibly be known about Robin Hood. No film, book (nonfiction or fiction), was safe from me.

My walls disappeared under posters of RH- any posters- from Errol Flynn, to Richard Greene, to the statue up in Nottingham, to the gorgeous Ray Winstone who played Will Scarlet (Okay- you have me there- I had – still do- have a soft spot for Ray Winstone- there is such a twinkle in those eyes!!!)

The interest became an obsession (In RH not Ray Winstone). When I was better my parents took me to Sherwood- I learnt archery, I read medieval political poems and ballads- I wanted to know the truth- did he exist or didn’t he?

I did a project on RH for my A’ level History. Then I went to university and did a specialist course in Medieval Castle and Ecclesiastical Architecture…I was a medieval junky!! It seemed only natural to do a PhD on the subject- and that is exactly what I did! And all because I’d watched an episode of Robin of Sherwood.

The power of the writing, acting (and therefore casting), not to mention directing of this one show, had a massive impact on my life back then. Of course, I had no way of knowing then, how long that impact would last.

Robin Hood Statue- Nottingham

By this time (in my early twenties), I was pretty certain why the Robin Hood legend had begun- but I wanted to know who had influenced it into the form we know today, and how the real recorded crimes and daily life of the thirteenth and fourteenth century had effected those stories…

It was my PhD that taught me to write- (a tome of epic proportions that is still knocking around my old Uni library gathering dust, while e-versions of it are scattered around many American Universities, and for the really keen, an online PDF version is available…).

Rather than finish off my love of Robin Hood, my PhD polished it to perfection!!

I guess it was only a matter of time before I decided to write a novel about a Robin Hood obsessed historian. (Romancing Robin Hood) And it was all thanks to one man, Richard Carpenter, writing a television show that was so powerful, it never left my mind – and never will.

So, fast forward, 40 (ish) years on from watching that initial episode and – as many of you know – I’m now the show’s chief writer (audio scripts and novels). I have no idea how that happened – well, I do , but I can’t quite believe it!!

One thing I do believe in however, is the importance of saying thank you.

Long before I’d met anyone to do with the creating of the show – past and present – I had wanted to thank the cast, crew, and writers of Robin of Sherwood. They set me on a course that has taken me from a shy child to an adult who has learnt how to handle that shyness, and given me a career I love. It’s difficult to do this without coming across like a crazed fan or some sort of hyper fan-girl (I’m neither- just a regular fan!)- but now I have that chance.

Thank you all.

Cast and crew of Robin of Sherwood – and me! (@Kim Jones)

Sadly, I wasn’t lucky enough to meet Richard Carpenter, for he passed away sometime before I began to write – but I will always be grateful to him. His skill, his depth of character creations, his vision for what he wanted to see on the screen, have taught me so much – not to mention how much joy he brought to so many with his work. (Robin of Sherwood was just one production – Mr Carpenter did so much more; Dick Turpin, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Borrowers…. and more.)

As my time writing for Robin of Sherwood draws to an end (the 40th anniversary year is the right time to stop, so I don’t start to dilute the brand) – I am turning to a new adventure. Again, one very much inspired by my writing hero. This time, it is cosy crime – and a series of books, which will go by the subtitle of #TheRobinHoodClub.

Book One: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club, will be published on 28th April – the day of Robin of Sherwood’s 40th birthday.

The new enterprise is dedicated to Mr Carpenter. After all, I owe him so much.
RH- RoS 2
“Nothing’s Forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.”

Jenny

xxx

 

Sea glass, sunshine, archaeology and romance cookies; Robin Hood, cookies, fandom and crime… and

After a rather slow start to 2024 (I’ve not been too well – I won’t bore you with the details!), the pace has accelerated somewhat over the last two weeks.

Not only is the first of many of the stories I’ve written to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of Robin of Sherwood now available for you to order, but my two newest novels are also at the #preorder stage!

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The first, Summer at Sea Glass Cove,  is a classic Jenny Kane number…

Set in, and around Lyme Regis, Dorset, this standalone #romcom was inspired by my love of archaeology, museums, the seaside and chess pieces…

Welcome to Sea Glass Cove!

Marine archaeologist Lauren Sunshine is used to life on the go. Her suitcase is always packed ready to explore the country’s underwater heritage so when a shipwreck is found off the Dorset coast, she is thrilled to be leading the excavation team.

Philippa Silver, ‘Phil’ to the folk of Sea Glass Cove, has devoted her life to the Museum by the Sea. But funding is tight, and despite subletting half of the museum to her best friend Jules’s sea glass shop, she fears for the museum’s future.

Phil hopes the wreck discovery could bring more visitors – but there’s a problem – the museum’s too small to house its treasures. Thankfully, new friend Lauren seems as determined as she is to save the museum.

But, when Phil’s brother Ollie catches Lauren’s eye, she begins to wonder if she has more than one reason to be interested in life at Sea Glass Cove…

Coming 6th June 2024 – Pre-order from Amazon UK and Amazon US

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The second novel, Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club, is my first #cosycrime story – but not my last!

Inspired by my many adventures as a medieval historian, writer of Robin Hood fiction, and lover of crime fiction generally, I’ve had this story planned in my head for the last three years. It feels wonderful to have finally got it ready to hit the world on 28th April.

Welcome to The Robin Hood Club…

Manuscript Mysteries at the Robin Hood Club

Book One of The Robin Hood Club Series

There’s great excitement when a previously undiscovered Robin Hood ballad manuscript, Robin Hood and the Carter, turns up in the same town as the Robin Hood Club’s latest fan convention.

But the Robin Hood Club’s special guest – Harriet, “Hari”, Danby, writer and creator of the hit TV series, Return to Sherwood – can’t help thinking the discovery is rather too coincidental.

With her best friend, Dot, at her side, Hari finds herself taken out of her quiet writing life and catapulted into a world of enthusiastic fans, actors egos, and jealous fellow authors.

As the Robin Hood Club event gets underway, speculation about the new ballad grows… and then Hari notices that one of the Robin Hood Club’s most devoted followers has gone missing…

Preorder is available from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

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Happy preordering,

I’ll leave you in a peace now, and go and crack on with writing the next two books…

Jen xx

Cover Reveal: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club

After years of writing romcoms, romances, erotica, and gritty medieval crime, it has been a joy to dip my toe into the world of cosy crime!

I hope you enjoy reading about Hari Danby, her best friend, Dot (cookie maker supreme), Jez (complete with his trademark fedora) and the cast of Return to Sherwood…

Today, I can reveal the cover of Book One of The Robin Hood Club!

BLURB

A brand new cosy crime series! Welcome to the Robin Hood Club!

There’s great excitement when a previously undiscovered Robin Hood ballad manuscript, Robin Hood and the Carter, turns up in the same town as the Robin Hood Club’s latest fan convention.

But the Robin Hood Club’s special guest – Harriet, “Hari”, Danby, writer and creator of the hit TV series, Return to Sherwood – can’t help thinking the discovery is rather too coincidental.

With her best friend, Dot, at her side, Hari finds herself taken out of her quiet writing life and catapulted into a world of enthusiastic fans, actors egos, and jealous fellow authors.

As the Robin Hood Club event gets underway, speculation about the new ballad grows… and then Hari notices that one of the Robin Hood Club’s most devoted followers has gone missing…

***

If you are keen to get your copy of Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club, then pre-order links are already available for the #kindle version. The paperback will be out in May 2024.

Preorder:

Happy pre-ordering!
Jennifer x

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