The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


End of the Month: Cheerio June with Nell Peters

June seems to be all but over? Anyone notice that happen? Nope? Nor me..I was probably in a dark corner somewhere writing a book…

Everyone ready? Got coffee, tea and cake? Great, let’s hand over to Nell. 

Morning all – I trust this finds you in fine fettle?

If it’s OK with Jenny, we’ll dive straight in shall we?

Two American professional wrestlers were born on this day in 1891. Frank Simmons Leavitt was born in New York City to parents, John McKenney and Henrietta (née Decker) Leavitt. He tried out various wrestling names for size: Soldier Leavitt (when he was on active duty both at the Mexican border and in France), Hell’s Kitchen Bill-Bill and Stone Mountain, before adopting Man Mountain Dean after meeting his wife, Doris Dean. I don’t know about mountainous, but at 5’11” and 310lbs, he wasn’t a small guy… As well as his wrestling career, he worked as a stunt double, appeared as himself in five films and studied journalism at the University of Georgia. He died of a heart attack, aged sixty-one.

Sharing his date of birth was Robert Herman Julius Friedrich, born in Wisconsin. Friedrich began wrestling at the age of fourteen using the ring name Ed Lewis but was subsequently known as the rather more sinister Ed Strangler Lewis after a match in France where he applied a sleeper hold, and the French, who were unfamiliar with the manoeuvre, thought he was strangling his opponent. Call me picky, but that doesn’t sound very sporting. A four-time World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, he semi-retired in 1935 but returned to the ring seven years later, despite being legally blind from trachoma. It was another five years before he fully retired from the professional circuit aged fifty-seven, and he died destitute in New York in 1966. Ah bless.

Two more American wrestlers were born on June 30th – in 1985 Cody Garrett Runnels (now known as Cody Rhodes, or The American Nightmare) checked into Marietta, Georgia. He followed in his father – Virgil Riley Runnels Junior, better known as The American Dream (I see what they did there!) or Dusty Rhodes – and his older half-brother Goldust’s footsteps, into the professional ranks of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE). Cody’s godfather, Terry Wayne Allan is a retired pro wrestler who fought under the name of Magnum TA – so, it seems an aptitude for the sport and coming up with creative ring names are family traits.

Incidentally, Cody is also an ‘occasional’ actor (whatever that means – maybe he appears annually as the Easter Bunny, the Grim Reaper on Halloween, or even Poldark’s shirt?) and this wrestling/acting combination, with a bit of modelling thrown in, has also been embraced by one Victoria Elizabeth Crawford (ring name Alicia Fox), born on this day in 1986 in Florida. She is the longest tenured WWE female performer, having been with the company since 2006.

Step into the ring – the boxing type this time – heavyweight fighter, ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior, which he denounced as his slave name) who defeated Joe Bugner in Malaysia on 30th June 1975. Presumably he floated like a butterfly, stung like a bee?

Clay’s name change came about when he converted to Islam, as did Michael Gerard Tyson, who will need fifty-two candles for his cake today. He’s of course better known as Mike Tyson, alias ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’. (By coincidence, I am known en famille as ‘The Baddest Cook on the Planet.’) One of his several dubious claims to fame was when he was disqualified during a World Boxing Association championship rematch in 1997, for biting Evander Holyfield’s ear – now that’s definitely not sporting! He has a bit of a dodgy history in his personal life too, but we won’t go into that here, as it’s a family show. It was during one of his banged-up spells that he converted to Islam – that’s OK then.

Another sportsman who has spent time on the Very Naughty Step is former National Football League running back, OJ (Orenthal James) Simpson, whose pre-trial hearing for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman began this day in 1994. Unless you’ve been living on Mars for the last twenty-odd years, you will know that Simpson was found Not Guilty by a criminal trial jury, but was subsequently deemed responsible for both deaths by a unanimous jury deliberating a civil lawsuit, filed by the Brown and Goldman families in 1997. They were awarded compensatory and punitive damages totalling $33.5 million (not far short of $52 million now), but have received only a tiny percentage of that.

OJ did go to jail, however; in 2007, he was convicted of multiple felonies, including use of a deadly weapon to commit kidnapping, burglary and armed robbery. Yikes! He was sentenced to a minimum nine, maximum thirty-three years (how does that work?) in Lovelock Correctional Centre, Nevada and was released on parole on 1st October 2017.

Who keeps up with the Kardashians? The late patriarch Robert K was part of his friend OJ’s defence team during the 90s murder trial. Although he had let his licence to practice law lapse before the case came to court to concentrate on business interests, he reactivated it to sit in as a volunteer assistant on the legal ‘dream team’. I’ve never seen the reality programme (I’m more of a Come Dine with Me fan tbh – love the voiceover) so had to research it (though I drew the line at actually watching!) – there’s a cast of thousands!

There appear to be six offspring – some are Ks and some are Jenners, on account of mum Kris’s two marriages, the first to Robert and the second to Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner. All five daughters have names beginning with K like their mum (or mom) and the only son, Rob was obviously named after his dad – lucky escape, as he could have ended up as a Kayne … oh wait, they have one of those by marriage. The show apparently focuses on the personal and professional lives of the Kardashian–Jenner ‘blended’ family, though what any of them actually do I’ve no idea and frankly don’t care. For me, the most surprising thing is that the programme has run for nearly eleven years. Seriously?

Enough of tinsel town. In 1971 Ohio became the 38th US state to approve the lowering of the voting age to eighteen (1970 in the UK), thus ratifying the 26th amendment. (I will refrain from mentioning here that the prefrontal cortex, which amongst other things assesses and judges consequences of decisions made, is nowhere near mature at eighteen, being the last area of the brain to fully develop.)

This was on the same day that the crew of Russian space mission Soyuz 11 were found dead upon their return to Earth – the only people to die in space.  In the early hours, the Soviet Union prepared to welcome its three latest cosmonaut heroes after a record-breaking mission; Georgi Dobrovolski, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev had spent more than twenty-three days in orbit, and also occupied the world’s first space station.

The parachute of Soyuz 11’s descent module was spotted and helicopters touched down for would-be rescuers to make their way to the spacecraft, still superheated and charred from re-entry. Nikolai Kamanin, commander of the cosmonaut team, and veteran cosmonaut Alexei Yeliseyev, waited more than an hour for news of a successful recovery, only to hear three numbers: 1-1-1, which translated as the entire crew being dead. The subsequent investigation determined that an air vent had been jerked open during the separation of the orbital and descent modules and that all three men had been dead for some time from suffocation. How dreadfully sad.

Happily, safety in space travel has much improved and UK astronaut, Tim Peake became the first Briton to join a European Space Agency mission in December 2015, when he blasted into orbit aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He spent six months on the International Space Station (ISS) and during that time the 44-year-old former helicopter test pilot took part in more than two hundred and fifty experiments. He also ran the London Marathon on a treadmill and engaged more than a million schoolchildren with educational activities – I thought he was brilliant. One of the highlights of Peake’s time in space was a space walk with Nasa astronaut Tim Kopra. While their repair work on the outside of the station was a success, mission controllers cut the walk short after Kopra noticed water leaking into his helmet. Peake will return for another stint on the space station, probably in 2019.

At the beginning of this month, the latest successful ISS mission was completed when a Soyuz capsule carrying Russian Anton Shkaplerov, American Scott Tingle and Japanese Norishige Kanai floated down to Earth after more than five months, landing in Kazakhstan. Footage from within the ISS had shown Shkaplerov practicing with a football, which he was reportedly going to take back to Moscow for the opening game of the World Cup.

Back on terra firma, on the last day of June 1984, Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott (known as Pierre) Trudeau officially stepped down as Liberal (15th) Prime Minister of Canada after serving two separate terms for a total of fifteen years. He was a charismatic personality described as a ‘swinging young bachelor’ when first elected in 1968 – even though he was almost forty-nine – and dated Barbra Streisand. However, he married much younger TV presenter Margaret Sinclair in March 1971 and they had three sons, the oldest being Justin, current PM. He and middle son, Alexandre (aka Sacha) were both born on Christmas Day, in 1971 and 1973 respectively, poor things – as #4 son (born on Christmas Eve) says, you have to wait all year and everything comes at once. The third Trudeau son, Michel was born in October 1975, but was tragically killed aged only twenty-three in a skiing accident. His body was never found.

Nothing to do with June 30th, but Michel Trudeau’s lost-forever body reminded me of Harold Edward Holt, ditto. I came across him a few years ago when I was researching for a book, never having heard of him beforehand. Harold was Liberal (17th) Prime Minister of Australia from January 1966 until his disappearance in December 1967 when he got caught in a rip current, swimming at Cheviot Beach, Victoria.

Although he was a strong swimmer, he had injured his shoulder at the time, but that didn’t stop the conspiracy theorists coming up with such gems as he was abducted by aliens, faked his own death to run off with his mistress, was assassinated by the CIA or (my favourite!) had been whisked away by a Chinese submarine so that he could defect. Holt was big pals with the US President at the time, Democrat Lyndon B Johnson (in contrast to his frosty relationship with UK Labour PM Harold Wilson, whose widow, Mary died earlier this month aged 102!) and supported the American presence in Vietnam, pledging ‘All the way with LBJ’. It wasn’t until 2005 that an inquest ruled Holt’s death as accidental drowning.

Staying Down Under, I’ll just mention here that Olivia Newton John married  businessman, John Easterling on this day in 2008 in Florida – that’s exactly thirty-three years after Cher married singer-songwriter Gregg Allman, having divorced Sonny Bono four days earlier. And the beat goes on…

Toodles!

NP

***

Another epic end of the month blog! Thanks so much Nell.

See you next time for our mutual birthday month!!

Happy reading,

Jenny xx


Opening Lines: Jane Risdon’s Renza’s Diary (Only One Woman)

I am delighted to welcome the lovely Jane Risdon to my blog, with her ‘Opening Lines’ from Only One Woman.

Written in tandem with Christina Jones, Jane is sharing the first 500 words from her part of the story, Renza’s Diary.

Over to you Jane… 

It is 1968 and Renza is about to go to Germany with her family, joining her father who is working there with the MoD. She’s facing 3 years overseas and isn’t happy. Scott and his band, Narnia’s Children, move next door to her. They are over from the Channel Islands to tour and record their first single. It is love at first sight but it is short-lived. Vowing undying love and secretly becoming engaged, Renza leaves for Germany within weeks, Scott believes the band will be in Germany soon and they can meet up. Renza promises to come back to England as often as she can. Narnia’s Children tour up and down the country and one night they take the stage at St. Barnaby’s Hall where he sets eyes on Stella who has only days to live, she is convinced. Set in the UK music scene of the late 1960’s Only One Woman is sheer nostalgia: the music, fashions, the changing society of the Swinging Sixties, the Cold War, and so much more – a love triangle set in Europe, the Mediterranean, Jersey and England in the grooviest decade of the 20th century by Christina Jones and Jane Risdon.

First 500 words from Renza’s Diary (Only One Woman)

May 24th 1968 – late

What a flipping nightmare of an evening. I really thought I’d never get home in one piece. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Someone up there hates me I’m sure.

If only Selina hadn’t lost her handbag at the Top Rank, I’d have caught the last bus back from Reading and I would’ve been home on time. Instead I’d gone back with the others to look for it – thankfully it had been handed in at the cloakroom and nothing was missing. Luckily I had just enough money for the train, which I’d had to run for. Selina’s dad took the others home in his brand new car as arranged, and there wasn’t room for me as well. I reckon he could’ve taken me but Yvette refused to let me sit on her lap in the front, in case I ripped her Mary Quant stockings. Sometimes I really want to do her a mischief.

They’ve got to do something about our local station, it’s just too creepy for words. Steam from the train almost suffocated me as I crossed the bridge to the exit on the opposite platform; all very ‘Brief Encounter’ I remember thinking, in an effort to stop my mind wandering off into ‘Hitchcock-land.’ Talk about cough myself silly, and my eyes stung something rotten as I tried to find my way in the pitch black; the two over-head lamps didn’t help much, they should do something about those flipping lights, I could’ve broken my neck, or even worse, tripped over in my new pink kitten heels and broken one of them.

I slowly took the steps down to the lane beside the station, glancing around me all the while – I admit it, I was a little freaked out. It’s always deserted, and you can never be too careful. Not long ago a dangerous prisoner escaped from the nearby asylum and hid in the waiting room for days before being recaptured. Hardly anyone uses the station since the cut-backs by that old idiot, Beeching, and the trains are a bit hit and miss since they messed with the timetable, so the convict was able to wait for his twisted ankle to mend without much danger of discovery. For all I knew, another Jack the Ripper could’ve be lurking in there waiting for me to pass, that’d just be my flaming luck.

I was in so much trouble. Forty minutes later than agreed. She’d never believe me about the bag, but no other excuse came to mind as I walked down the lane. I was going to be so dead.

Oh God!

I had such a fright. Something or someone, made a noise behind me, so I stopped and listened, but I really felt like running. Some sort of night creature, silly girl, I decided as I walked on. But there it was again. Was someone behind me?

I turned and peered into the pitch dark – I’m still shaking as I write this…

***

Author Jane Risdon
 
http://wp.me/2dg55
http://www.facebook.com/JaneRisdon2 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00I3GJ2Y8
http://www.accentpress.co.uk/jane-risdon
 

https://twitter.com/Jane_Risdon

 
Only One Woman Accent Press
http://amzn.to/2x1UIdr
 
Only One Woman Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella/

 

***

Many thanks Jane.

Don’t forget to come back next week for 500 words from Elizabeth Ducie.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 

 


The Prosecco Effect by Cheri Davies

I’m delighted to welcome Cheri Davies to my site today to share an extract from The Prosecco Effect.

Why not grab a drink- possibly a prosecco – and have a read?

Blurb

Can love shine brighter than a super trouper spotlight for Felicity and Orlando?

Felicity Joy is a fallen star: axed from the leading role in a TV drama and jilted at the altar, her life is a mess. A six month theatrical tour of Italy offers escape: a chance to rebuild her career, mend her broken heart and indulge in her favourite cuisine.

Orlando Locatelli is an Italian restaurateur superstar. But his family are trouble – his theatre director father has a penchant for his leading ladies.

Damaged by secrets and with careers their number one priority, Felicity and Orlando aren’t looking for love. But when they meet, the attraction is instant.

Will theirs be a brief encounter or can they overcome their fears to be together forever?

An uplifting, sweet romance set in Italy and the glamorous world of show business – a perfect holiday read

Here’s an extract…

They ate in companionable silence; Susi’s proposition swirling around Felicity’s head, competing with the memory of the sexy waiter, wondering if he’d come back to top up their drinks. He never did, which was probably just as well, Felicity reasoned.

Susi paid the bill and they prepared to leave. ‘Think I’ll pop into the little girls’ room before I go. Call me as soon as you’ve decided, darling. End of the week deadline. And say, yes, for Pete’s sake.’

Susi kissed the air either side of Felicity’s cheeks and went. Felicity pulled her old parka back on, climbed the stairs to the exit, noting a hole in her leggings at the knee. Even before she had fully stepped out onto the pavement, camera bulbs starting flashing.

‘Fliss, Fliss, darlin’. Got a minute?’

‘Hello, gorgeous, give us a smile now!’ The yells and jeers cut through the air. Elbows jostled and shoulders shunted Felicity from side to side. Instinctively, she raised her forearm to cover her face and began to shout, ‘No comment.’

How the hell did they know I was here?

And then one question cut through the rest: ‘Fliss! How’d you feel about Rafe’s forthcoming fatherhood? Did you know she was pregnant when they married?’

Felicity dropped her arm and stared at the journalists. The crowd was smaller than it seemed, a bit pathetic really.

‘How does it feel to find out they were seeing each other for months before you guys broke up?’ another hollered, a short man with a shiny head and thick rimmed glasses.

There was silence. It felt like minutes, though it could only have been seconds. Felicity stared at the rabid faces. ‘I didn’t know,’ she whispered and the yelling seemed to grow yet louder as lights started flashing again and everything came flooding back: the hurt, the humiliation, the confusion, the loneliness. Felicity started to shake and tried to push her way through the little throng, holding onto her wig for fear it might come off. She scuttled along the pavement, the paparazzi sliding alongside, like a Roman legion in battle formation, cameras like shields, determined to march on for the kill. Felicity wanted to scream. Instead, dizzy with wine and fear, she ploughed on.

She stumbled. The dark pavement rose before her eyes, pigeon droppings and encrusted gum zoomed towards her. She put out her hand to break her fall but before she could meet the unforgiving ground, a powerful hand grasped her wrist, heaved her upright and pulled her down a side street. Heart hammering at her ribcage, hand held tight in her rescuer’s, Felicity ran on through the alleyway, weaving this way and that, led by the shadowy form in front of her.

The swell of paparazzi faded and Felicity’s pace slowed, as did her saviour’s. He stopped abruptly and glanced to his right. Felicity was certain it was the waiter who’d served her and Susi earlier. She was about to thank him when the noise of the journalists drew louder again. Without missing a beat, the waiter yanked open a metal door to their right and pushed Felicity inside. Once inside himself, he slammed it shut, plunging them into darkness.

The Prosecco Effect is currently on sale for ONLY 99p 

You can buy The Prosecco Effect from https://www.amazon.co.uk/Prosecco-Effect-heart-warming-glamorous-business-ebook/dp/B07D6V754H

Bio

Cheri Davies is a mother to ginger boys and author of the new novel The Prosecco Effect. A former actor, Cheri loves to write romance and intrigue set in the glamorous world of show business. The Prosecco Effect is the first book in the Stage Door series, following the adventures of Felicity Joy and Orlando Locatelli in Italy. Cheri has published four novels and numerous short stories in another guise. An unsporty girl, Cheri surprised herself, and many others, when she broke the school long jump record aged 12. It was the first time she’d jumped – competitively.

http://cheridaviesbooks.wordpress.com

***

Don’t miss your chance to snap up this story at its current bargain price of 99p!

Happy reading,

Jenny xx


Competition: Name a character in Edward’s Outlaw!

Book Three of The Folville Chronicles is almost fully drafted.

Continuing the story of potter’s daughter, Mathilda of Twyford, Edward’s Outlaw, takes her away from Ashby-Folville manor and into the dark shadows of Rockingham Castle…a well known haunt of felons on the run from the law…

Before I can finish my story however, I need your help.

Help me find a female name for one of my characters.

This is your chance to have your name, a favourite name or a loved one’s name, featured in a novel.

Should the name you suggest be chosen, then, not only will it be used in the book, but Edwards’ Outlaw will also be dedicated to you.

I’d love you to pick a name for me!

Remember that the book is set in the fourteenth century- so no Kylie’s or Chardonnay’s please. Otherwise, all you need to do is leave your chosen female name on this thread (via my publisher’s Facebook event page)

https://www.facebook.com/events/387647131739270/

In the meantime, why not have a peep at Books’ One and Two…

Good luck!!

The competition closes on 30th June.

Jennifer xx

 


Opening Lines: Simon Farrant’s Famously Ordinary

Opening Line’s blog day is upon us.

Today, Simon Farrant is joining me to share the first 500 words from his very first novella, Famously Ordinary.

Over to you Simon…

 

Hello! I’m Simon Farrant, and this is my submission for the great 500 words blog. I haven’t heard of this concept before and I think it is intriguing. I hope that you enjoy the excerpt!

My book is called Famously Ordinary about a man called James Dean!

Many years ago I met a young man called James Dean while I worked in a mobile phone shop. I wondered what it would be like to have the name of a famous person. Of course, being British, I didn’t ask him.

Fast forward to last year, and I started to write stories. The young man came back to mind; I wanted to write a horror short story for an anthology. As it happened, the anthology never came about. This was good news for me in an unexpected way because a year later I rejigged the story and this novella was born.

I hope that you enjoy it!

The Blurb:

‘James Dean is an ordinary man with a famous name. But when he sees his father die in a traumatic car crash, something in James’ subconscious snaps with lethal consequences.

Caught in the perfect storm of grief and anger, James has blood on his hands. With the famous name weighing heavily on his subconscious mind, will his conscious mind be able to save him from himself?‘

***

The First 500 words:

James Dean hated his name.

Several times a week he thought about why he didn’t have a regular name. James blamed his father; he more than likely took charge of naming him. Like most things in his parents’ relationship, his father liked to think he was ‘the man of the house’ and dominated all the decisions. He decided what companies to use for utilities, and everything else. Denise sometimes asked to be more involved, but she got nowhere.

Dean Dean, his father, was hung up on his name, but unlike his son, he tried to not let it show to the outside world. Being from an older generation, it wasn’t the done thing to let your emotions shine through. James survived school and college unscathed; youthful ignorance meant most of the kids didn’t connect to the movie star, and those who did thought having the same name as a famous person was cool. Still, he had a lot to be happy and content about. James had a nice job in the same warehouse his father worked in that paid well, a nice car he had chosen because it was what he wanted rather than just being what he was able to afford after scraping the money together to buy it, and a nice detached house with an integral garage. He could buy nice new clothes as and when he wanted, which he was grateful for because he didn’t like to wear the same clothes repeatedly. Nice. Such a small word, James thought, but damning by faint praise.

James believed his life was normal, like other successful people. Yet he aspired to be something more. His mind was always on fast forward, daydreaming. He was fascinated by the adverts on television for the RAF Reserves. That looked extraordinary; he just needed a push in that direction. He hoped Dean would dare him to apply and say he thought James wasn’t cut out for it just so he could prove him wrong.

To entertain himself when he saw someone on the street, he would often invent a story about them for a few minutes. These stories were detailed, and they came to life in his imagination when he saw them play out in his mind’s eye.

Facebook didn’t yet have a group for ‘Normal People with a Famous Name’. Maybe no one wanted to start one for fear of the unknown and the inevitable ribbings, or maybe because they just wanted to keep a low profile.  Perhaps they didn’t even pay their moniker any attention at all. Maybe James needed to see a psychiatrist to help him with his problems, but he was in denial that his mind was a swirling pit with unseen depths. In his daydream world, which he was sure was created by having the hated name, the characters he created were normal people with the curse of stupid famous names. James had always been bitter, even as a schoolboy. He hid behind a mask of fake smiles…

***

Buy Link:

Mybook.to/famouslyordinary

My social links:

Facebook.com/simonfarrantofficial

Twitter – @asfarrant

Email – simon@farrantfiction.com

Bio:

It is true, what they say; you never know where life is going to take you.

I’m lucky enough to have had a diverse experience of life thus far.
Back in 1975, yeah I’m ancient, I was born in Doncaster; a town in South Yorkshire, England. I’m proud of my Yorkshire roots.

Over the following few decades, I lived in various places. I went to university in Derby and gained a HND and a BA (Hons). Since then, I lived and worked in a few more places before finding the love of my life.
We moved in together, got married and had three kids. What an adventure; it started almost fifteen years ago. Since then, I am proud to have served as a Special Constable. I wanted to join up full time, but life had another plan. At the time, I was working for a major national supermarket as a HGV (large truck) driver, which I did for over a decade. I became ill, I think it was during 2011, but the illness never went away. Now I am disabled with various chronic illnesses, which resulted in my losing my job about four years ago.
I did wonder where life would take me next.
Mark Nye, a superb writer and a friend, asked for submissions for an anthology. I wrote a short story called Famously Ordinary. To my delight, Mark told me it was a good story. By then, I had caught the writing bug!
The anthology was never actually published, so I made it into this novella, which, I feel, is a much better story.

***

Many thanks Simon,

Good luck with your first publication.

Don’t forget to come back for Jane Risdon’s first 500 words next week.

Happy reading,

Jenny. xx

 


« Previous Entries Next Entries »


The Romance Reviews
© 2018 Jenny Kane | Site Designed and Maintained by Writer Marketing Services