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Opening Lines by Lucy V. Hay: Do No Harm

Posted by on Sep 19th, 2019 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, crime, Fiction, Opening Lines Blog, thriller | 0 comments

Opening Lines time is upon us. This week I’m delighted to welcome bestselling author, award winning blogger, writing guru, and owner/manager of the brilliant Bang2Write website, Lucy V. Hay to my place. Lucy is sharing the first 500 words of debut dark crime/thriller, Do No Harm… BLURB Till death do us part… After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong… Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives… Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction. ‘Well written, engrossing and brilliantly unique’ – Heat. ‘Prepare to be surprised’ – Closer. ‘A claustrophobic and complex read’ – Culture Fly. ‘Sharp, confident writing’ – Peter James. ‘Original, daring and emotionally truthful’ – Paul Burston. FIRST 500 WORDS… I’m early. I regard the hotel in the wing mirror of my car. I see my own reflection  – my nostrils flaring as I take in the venue. If you’d listened to me, you could have had so much more than this. Modern build on an industrial estate? Ugh. Behind me I can see the gawdy, fluorescent signs for a chain cinema, a bowling alley, various fast-food restaurants, one of which offers an ‘all you can eat’ buffet bonanza. It’s what the Staceys and Chads like to call an ‘entertainment park’, though I cannot for one second imagine what’s so entertaining about these places. Give me a low-key, low-lit restaurant with a ludicrously expensive wine list any day. Oh no, this is no good. If it had been up to me, I would have found you somewhere far more flash to celebrate your nuptials. But that ship has sailed. For now. I might be down, as they say – but I’m not out. A group of people appear behind my car. I watch their reflections. They’re in frocks and suits – two couples, the women tottering on high heels, holding on to their men’s elbows. They must be going to your wedding. Then behind them, a tired-looking family: the man is in a shirt and tie, an incongruous pink cloth over one shoulder. He carries a sleeping baby girl in a flowery dress with an overly large bow on the back. The woman wears a trouser suit, the jacket just a smidge too small across her bust. Two little boys in bow ties run ahead of her; she holds her arms out to them as if she’s shepherding geese. A woman in a purple beautician’s tabard stops next to the wedding party. She smiles and laughs, beckoning them with her. She’s diminutive and young-looking, orange panstick caked on her pale skin. There will be a subterranean salon somewhere in the hotel’s depths. The smell of stale sweat will be masked by scented candles, vanilla or patchouli, but the tang of human musk will persist....

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Another Cup of Coffee: Amy’s Adventure Begins

Posted by on Sep 11th, 2019 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, Contemporary Romantic Fiction, Fiction, Jenny Kane, Romance | 0 comments

Another Cup of Coffee is the story of Amy Crane’s quest to get her life back on track. This is how her adventure begins…   …Once her impulsive decision to go home to England had been made, she’d barely stopped for a break in the haste to work her notice period, sort out the ending of the lease on her rented flat, and arrange somewhere to stay in London. Now that stillness was about to be forced upon her, Amy had to face the reality of what she’d done by throwing in a good job and a nice flat for no job and a rented room in a shared house in London that she’d never even seen. ‘I need coffee,’ she muttered to herself. Hoisting her tatty fabric handbag higher onto her shoulder in a bracing gesture, she headed for the café located next to the departure checkpoint. …It was only once she’d checked in at Aberdeen airport, her luggage safely stowed, that Amy finally stopped moving. Slumped on a bench, looking around at the people rushing by, she realised that this was the first time she’d been inactive for weeks. Having successfully managed to purvey her order to the Chinese-speaking assistant via a mixture of words and semaphore, Amy sat down on one of the fiendishly uncomfortable steel seats. Ignoring the unsightly build-up of used cups, half-eaten meals and spilt fizzy pop, Amy briefly allowed herself to contemplate her situation. Almost instantly her nerves regrouped in her gut, and Amy decided to put off any serious thoughts about the future until she was on the plane. That way, any possible temptations to chicken out and stay in Scotland after all would no longer be an option. Major life planning could wait. For now she would just indulge in her drink and watch the world go by. Then she’d have a wander around the meagre collection of shops, and perhaps buy a book or magazine for the flight, putting reality off for a bit longer. Unable to put off the moment, Amy picked up her backpack and headed over to the departure gate. As she passed the newsagents’ her eyes landed on a copy of one magazine in particular- it had the appropriate headline, New job, New home, New life. Amy muttered the words over and over in her head like a mantra, as she purchased the magazine fate seemed to have left for her before joining the queue of people who were also turning their back on the Granite City, for to business commitments, holidays, or in her case, for ever. During the seventy-minute flight, Amy had managed to concoct enough excuses to delay any plan of action as to what to do next for a little longer. She’d examined the flight safety card thoroughly, had uncharacteristically engaged her fellow passengers in mindless conversation, and flicked through her magazine. Amy had read the occasional relevant passage, but had been disappointed not to find an article entitled You’ve Ditched Your Life – So Now What? Now, trudging down the gloomy concourse at Heathrow to retrieve her luggage and trying to ignore the patina of perspiration on her palms, Amy was suddenly aware that someone was talking to her. ‘You OK?’ The man striding next to her spoke with a soft...

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Cover Reveal Tour for SHADOWS OF HEMLOCK by K.M. POHLKAMP

Posted by on Sep 6th, 2019 in Blog, Fiction, Historical fiction, history, Romance | 0 comments

Today I’m delighted to be part of the cover reveal tour for K. M. Pohlkamp’s forthcoming release, Shadows of Hemlock. This novel, the sequel  to the Historical Novel Society’s Editors’ Choice Selection, Apricots and Wolfsbane, will be out this coming November. And here it is… Blurb:   Regret is a bitter poison. In a desperate grasp for prestige, Aselin Gavrell betrayed her master to the execution block for the advantage of the onyx pendant now around her neck. Shelter from her master’s crimes comes with an unwanted allegiance and a list of innocents to murder. But the Guild of poison assassins will not be so easily pacified and charge Aselin to develop an antidote as retribution for her betrayal. Unprepared for the independence she craved, Aselin is forced to seek aid from a fickle contact who wants only one means of payment: a ruby ring with a mare’s head. To save herself from her master’s fate, Aselin must navigate a growing list of debtors eager to toss her aside and confront her guilt in this fast-paced tale of growth and redemption in Tudor England.   Shadows of Hemlok is produced by Filles Vertes Publishing (Facebook: @FVpublishing; Twitter: @FillesVertesPub; Instagram: @fillesvertespub; website: www.fillesvertespublishing.com  Bio: K.M. Pohlkamp is a blessed wife to the love of her life, proud mother of two young children, and a Mission Control flight controller. A Cheesehead by birth, she now resides in Texas for her day job and writes to maintain her sanity. Her other hobbies include ballet and piano. K.M. has come a long way from the wallpaper and cardboard books she created as a child. Her debut novel, Apricots and Wolfsbane, was published October 2017 and was designated an Editors’ Choice Selection by the Historical Novel Society, among other accolades. She can be found at www.kmpohlkamp.com or @KMPohlkamp.   Share...

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Meet The Winter Outlaw

Posted by on Sep 3rd, 2019 in Blog, crime, Fiction, Historical fiction, Jennifer Ash, medieval, News, Romance | 0 comments

As I’m on my travels at the moment, I thought I’d leave you a little something to read from The Folville Chronicles – Book Two The Winter Outlaw . Blurb 1329:  It is the dead of winter. The notorious Folville brothers are on edge. There are rumours of an unknown outlaw terrorising the Leicestershire countryside—a man who has designs on the Folville family’s criminal connections. Determined to stop this usurper in his tracks, Robert Folville unearths a man hiding in one of Ashby-Folville’s sheep shelters. A steward from far-off West Markham in Nottinghamshire, the cold, hungry Adam Calvin claims he knows nothing of any threat to the Folville family. He has troubles of his own, for he is being pursued by vengeful sheriff, Edmund de Cressy, for a crime he did not commit. Mathilda of Twyford, newly betrothed to Robert de Folville, believes Adam’s story, but with rumours about a vendetta against the family growing, the Folville brothers are suspicious of every stranger. *** Here’s the prologue to whet your appetite… Prologue: Winter 1329 Adam Calvin’s vision blurred as his eyes streamed in the cold. His breath came in wheezing puffs. He needed to rest, but he daren’t. Not yet. It was only as the vague outline of a cluster of homes and workshops came into view in the distance that he realised where his legs had been taking him. Slowing his pace, but not stopping, Adam risked a glance over his shoulder. He’d expected to see dogs, horses and men chasing him, but there was nothing. No one. Scanning the scene ahead, making sure he wasn’t running into trouble as well as away from it, Adam exhaled heavily and aimed for a building he hoped was still standing. The last time he’d visited the tiny village of Walesby there had been an old grain store on its outskirts. Built too close to the point where the frequently flooding Rivers Maun and Meden merged, the grain store had paid the price of a poor location. Long since abandoned in favour of a superior bake house, it was a perfect temporary hiding place for a man on the run. Adam had no breath left with which to sigh for relief when he saw the neglected grain store. Uttering a prayer of thanks to Our Lady for the fact the building hadn’t been pulled down, he lifted the worn latch. He eased his way into the damp space, which was stuffed with rotting sacks containing all manner of rubbish. Scrabbling awkwardly over the first few rows of musty sacks, Adam made himself a man-sized gap at the back of the room. Sinking down as far as he could, hoping both the sacks and the dark would shield him long enough for his cramped limbs to rest, he did his best to ignore the putrid stench and allowed his mind to catch up on events. Only a few hours ago everything in Adam’s life had been as it should be. He’d been fast asleep in his cot in the small private room his status as steward to Lord John de Markham gave him. Had given him. Adam wasn’t sure what time it had been when he’d been shaken to his senses from sleep by Ulric, the kitchen boy. He suspected it hadn’t...

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Opening Lines with Chris Chalmers: Dinner At The Happy Skeleton

Posted by on Aug 29th, 2019 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, Fiction, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog, Romance | 3 comments

This week’s opening lines features the latest novel by Chris Chalmers. I have to say, Dinner at the Happy Skeleton, sounds a hell of a lot of fun! Over to you Chris… Dinner At The Happy Skeleton – The Blurb: Dan is the kind of gay man for whom the Noughties might have been named. Warm, witty and serially promiscuous, his heart melts at the sight of a chocolate brown Labrador — but with men it’s a different matter. He’s thirty-nine and as single as ever, not counting the couple he just met online. An arrangement that looks oddly like it’s going somewhere, until Dan gets fired from his job in advertising. With time-out and a payoff in his pocket, summer presents a world of possibilities; just as the memories surface of the ex he blames for the thinly-veiled chaos of his life. From London to Ljubljana, a yen for closure sets Dan on the trail of the man who fed his ego into a shredder. Through an eerie encounter at the home of the Olympiad and a sleepover at the Dutch Embassy, run-ins with a fading porn star and the celestial manifestation of Margaret Thatcher, he ultimately confronts his past. Until, with his Big Four-O rapidly approaching, destiny beckons from where he least expects it. ‘In Dan, Chris Chalmers has created his most appealing protagonist yet … An eye-opening, always entertaining romp through modern sexual mores, with a sweet beating heart of true feeling at its core.’ SUZI FEAY, literary journalist YOU MIGHT AS WELL ASK THE DONALD… If you’re planning a late summer getaway, here’s a suggestion for a poolside page-turner with a difference. Literary critic and Booker Prize nominee Philip Hensher called Dinner At The Happy Skeleton, ‘the perfect novel for a sunny afternoon. Full of charm and vim and sauce…’ And unless it’s the last white-chocolate Magnum in the shop, I’m not about to argue with him about anything. Expect mid-life crises, bed-hopping, fun and adventures off the tourist trail, as Dan the out-of-work advertising man blows his latest redundancy cheque on a hedonistic summer of self discovery. What begins as the chance to take time out from his career turns into a quest to trace the ex that serial-singleton Dan blames for the smouldering ruins of his love-life. Working on the principle that asking any author for an objective view of their novel is like asking Donald Trump to recommend a skyscraper, I’ll say no more. Try the first 500 words of Dinner At The Happy Skeleton for yourself. And if you like them, get in quick because the ebook is 99p till the end of August. I call that sauce for your sun-lounger and a bargain to boot. FIRST 500 WORDS… CHAPTER ONE I love waking up next to Jack. He is five foot five, comedy small, so not what you’d call any of my types. But his skin is naturally smooth as a baby’s; a bonus in a man of thirty-four. I nuzzle his head under my chin and try not to think of the spider-legs running amok over my own shoulders. The red lights on his ceiling say 07:18. Another seven minutes till we are officially behind schedule. ‘I need a slash,’ he growls, in a voice cracked by dawn. ‘Do Thunderbird Four,’ I say. ‘If...

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Opening Lines with Jane Risdon: Undercover Crime Shorts

Posted by on Aug 22nd, 2019 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, crime, Fiction, Opening Lines Blog | 7 comments

For this week’s Opening Lines, I’m delighted to welcome a great friend to my blog, the fabulous author, Jane Risdon. Over to you Jane… Hi Jenny, Thanks for asking me back to your fab Opening Lines which I enjoy reading so much and contributing towards. My 500 Opening Lines come from the opening story in my very first collection of short crime stories under one cover for the first time: Undercover: Crime Shorts Undercover: Crime Shorts features seven short stories which satisfy most fans of crime fiction and its sub-genres (not my words but those of a reviewer) and it was hard to put the collection together when you consider I have over one hundred short stories from which to choose. These stories are designed to keep you on the edge of your seat and to be read during a train/bus journey perhaps or before bed. When you want read something you can finish in under an hour with more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction. I was so pleasantly surprised when upon release the collection shot into the Amazon Best-seller ratings at #18 in the UK and #333 in the USA – the first day!  Sadly, it coincided with me being in Facebook jail for a week at the same time, so promoting was a nightmare. I have no idea of which crime I was being convicted, but they have their own rules. I chose Sweet Sable – The Red Siren, as my opening chapter in the book. It is set in Hollywood in 1939 at the height of the night-club age, when clubs were where singers got to show off their talents and where they stood a chance of hooking a ‘Sugar Daddy,’ and ‘Stage Door Johnnies,’ were on the hunt for a conquest and a quick lay. A Great Grandfather was a ‘Stage Door Johnnie,’ in London, back in the day – my inspiration comes from so many sources! Back to my story: The Mafia has a hold on Las Vegas and Hollywood and nearly everyone is in hock to them one way and another, even politicians. Corruption is rife in 1939. Sable is a nightclub singer with another string to her bow and she uses her good looks, her sexy voice, and diva performances to snare rich men whose egos need stroking – this is how she makes her ‘additional’ living; snaring, hooking, and then stinging her male lovers – enriching herself by blackmailing them and adding to her ‘retirement fund.’ If any play rough, well, she can play rough too… Before she is about to go on stage with the nightclub’s resident band she has a visit to pay and we meet her as she breaks into the offices of one of her ‘marks,’ before rushing back to prepare for her performance. I’ve used Hollywood for this story because it ties into some research I had to undertake a while back when writing another Hollywood-based story about the apparent suicide of an up-and-coming young starlet. It’s called Cue Murder, and features in an anthology I contributed towards – Cons, Dames and G-Men published by Stab in the Dark Crime Writers. I used my husband’s late, great aunt, movie actress Elizabeth Risdon, for my research into the era of the silver screen in the late...

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How to Write Short Stories by Ashley Lister

Posted by on Aug 20th, 2019 in Blog, Fiction, Imagine, News, Non fiction, writing tips | Comments Off on How to Write Short Stories by Ashley Lister

I’m honoured to have the brilliant Ashley Lister with me today, to talk about his forthcoming creative writing book, How to Write Short Stories. I’ve had the pleasure of being taught by Ashley – and having taught him in return. He is a wonderful writer, poet, creative writing lecturer, and a right good chap… Over to you Ashley… To my mind, short stories are different from any other kind of writing. Not only is the short story shorter than the novel, but the novel is allowed to ramble and take the reader on digressions. A short story can’t get away with that. If we’re reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, we’re reading a story where every word must count. There is no scope for the main character to have thoughts on the weather, local politics, or the imagined shoe sizes of indigenous otters. The main character can’t take a trip to B&Q and study wallpaper swatches in the hope of redecorating. Every syllable in the short story needs to stay focused on the purpose of that narrative. Poetry shares this specificity of restrained vocabulary, where every syllable is vital to the message being conveyed. But poetry is invariably shorter, and to my mind, unlike short stories, good poetry usually has a rhyme such as the one below: There was an old woman from Hyde Who ate rotten apples and died The apples fermented Inside the lamented And made cider, inside her insides. All of which is my way of saying that the short story is unlike any other form of literature out there. I say this with fondness in my voice because I genuinely love the short story. I’ve written hundreds of short stories; I’ve obtained a PhD based on a thesis I wrote about short stories; and now I’ve published a book explaining how to write short stories. How to Write Short Stories and Get Them Published is the essential guide to writing short fiction. It takes the aspiring writer from their initial idea through to potential outlets for publication and pitching proposals to publishers. Along the journey this guide considers the most important aspects of creative writing, such as character, plot, point of view, description and dialogue. All of these areas are illustrated with examples of classic fiction, and accompanied by exercises that will help every writer hone their natural skill and talent into the ability to craft compelling short stories. How to Write Short Stories and Get Them Published is due out in December of 2019. It’s published by Little Brown and you can pre-order your copy using this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1472143787/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_fpDlDbM5CS66H Today, because my good friend Jenny invited me to write a blog post about my forthcoming book, I thought it would be prudent to share five tips for short story writing. Read good stories. Read people who know what they’re doing with a pen. If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you’re already familiar with the writing of Jenny Kane/Jennifer Ash: read her books and watch how she demonstrates her mastery of the craft. There is a balance between description and action. There is a strong use of character and dialogue. Watch how she does this, make notes, and try to emulate this sophisticated style of writing. Read rubbish stories. Like a lot...

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Robin Hood and The Outlaw’s Ransom

Posted by on Aug 16th, 2019 in Blog, crime, Fiction, Historical fiction, Jennifer Ash, medieval, Romance | Comments Off on Robin Hood and The Outlaw’s Ransom

The Outlaw’s Ransom was my very first title under the name of Jennifer Ash. Blurb The first in an exciting new series by acclaimed author Jenny Kane writing as Jennifer Ash. When craftsman’s daughter Mathilda is kidnapped by the notorious Folville brothers, as punishment for her father’s debts, she fears for her life.  Although of noble birth, the Folvilles are infamous throughout the county for disregarding the law – and for using any means necessary to deliver their brand of ‘justice’. Mathilda must prove her worth to the Folvilles in order to win her freedom. To do so she must go against her instincts and, disguised as the paramour of the enigmatic Robert de Folville, undertake a mission that will take her far from home and put her life in the hands of a dangerous brigand – and that’s just the start of things… The Outlaw’s Ransom (which originally saw life as part of my contemporary fiction/medieval mystery timeslip novel, Romancing Robin Hood), is a book that’s very close to my heart.  Anyone who follows this blog will know that it is my love of all things Robin Hood which led to me researching the real life criminal gang, the Folville brothers, and considering how they might have been influenced by the outlaw ballads that would have been circulating at the time. It was interesting to be able to give, what I imagine, the Folville family’s perspective on the Robin Hood stories might be. Extract …Eustace de Folville continued, ‘You know something of us, Mathilda, from living in these parts. And, I have no doubt, my dear brother has explained to you our beliefs on maintaining our lands and beyond, keeping a weather eye on the dealings of all men in this hundred.’ Mathilda bit her tongue in an effort to remain demurely mute, trying to concentrate on what Eustace was saying and not on the unknown fate of her younger brother. ‘He has also, I believe, told you of his fascination with stories,’ Eustace gave Robert a blunt stare; leaving Mathilda to wonder whether it was his brother’s passion for the minstrels’ tales, or the fact he’d shared that belief and interest with a mere chattel, that Eustace disapproved of. ‘The balladeers have become obsessed of late with the injustices of this land. Often rightly so. Naturally the fabled Robyn Hode has become a hero. An ordinary man who breaks the law, and yet somehow remains good and faithful in the eyes of the Church, is bound to be favoured. In years past such a character’s popularity would have been unthinkable, but these days, well …’ Eustace began to pace in front of the fire, reminding Mathilda of how his brother had moved earlier, ‘Now we are empowered by the young King, the Earl of Huntingdon, and Sheriff Ingram, to keep these lands safe and well run, and by God and Our Lady we’ll do it, even if we have to sweep some capricious damned souls to an earlier hell than they were expecting along the way.’ Eustace was shouting now, but not at her. His voice had adopted a hectoring passion, and Mathilda resolved that she would never willingly disappoint this man; it would be too dangerous. ‘Many of the complaints of crimes and infringements that reach my family’s...

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Opening Lines with Kellie Butler: The Broken Tree

Posted by on Aug 15th, 2019 in Blog, Fiction, Historical fiction, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog | 2 comments

It’s Opening Lines time again. This week I’m delighted to welcome Kellie Butler, with the first 500 words from her brand new novel, The Broken Tree.   Hi, my name is Kellie Butler and I’m back again for another installment of the first 500 words from my new book The Broken Tree. Thanks so much for having me back, Jenny! The  Laurelhurst Chronicles family saga follows the Cavert family from the beginning of the Second World War through the mid-1970s. It centers on siblings  Lydie Cavert and her brother Edward. My initial inspiration for this series was writing about trauma from the perspective of an adolescent that endures a lot of things we go through in life and then some. Every family has secrets, and her family certainly has a bevy full. I draw inspiration from classic film, television, literature, and historical research. For the third installment in the series, I was initially inspired by a camping story a friend of mine from Lancashire told me about lightning striking a tree up on Pendle Hill. It reminded me of a story I had heard long ago of a tree holding the curse of a young boy who was shunned by his community for the practice of divination, even though he had made his community wealthy. If the tree ever broke or fell, the curse would come alive. It inspired me to research the Lancashire Witch Trials and craft a story of how events from those times during the summer of 1612 would affect the Cavert family in the late 1950’s. Here’s the blurb of this captivating story of love, loss, and betrayal. An anxious homecoming. A three-hundred-year-old curse. A betrayal that threatens to tear the Cavert and Bainbridge families apart. Welcome home to Laurelhurst. Lancashire, Summer 1959. Fifteen years ago, Lydie Cavert Bainbridge left the dark memories of her youth at Laurelhurst Manor behind her. Now thirty-two, an expectant Lydie returns with her family of five with two goals: to protect her children from her horrific experience at Laurelhurst and to spend a peaceful summer before the arrival of her fourth child. When Lydie comes across an ancient oak tree split in the middle on the edge of the estate, an old secret from three hundred years ago involving an enemy is revealed, along with  specters of the past she had hoped to leave behind. As the tree casts a shadow upon the house and loyalties are tested, Lydie must choose between the love she holds for her family and the love for her brother. Can the Cavert family stay together, or will splinter like the tree found on the moors? *** First 500 words… On a balmy June afternoon in 1959, the waters of Morecambe Bay shimmered in the sun. Yet underneath the surface, danger lurked for any unfortunate person who might have misjudged the swift currents and shifting sands, as five of Lancashire’s rivers emptied into the bay. Lydie had relayed to her husband, Henry, the stories she had heard in school of fishermen who had perilously misjudged the sands and lost their lives in search of a bountiful catch of cockles. She had warned him on their way towards the beach not to venture too far from the shore, as some areas of the bay contained...

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Romancing Robin Hood: A tasty taster

Posted by on Aug 9th, 2019 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, Contemporary Romantic Fiction, crime, Fiction, Historical fiction, Romance | Comments Off on Romancing Robin Hood: A tasty taster

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 read within this same novel) Grace is so embroiled in her work and her 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,...

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