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The Guilt Monster

Posted by on Oct 13th, 2019 in Blog, Fiction, Imagine, Jenny Kane, News, writing tips | 0 comments

This week I had the privilege of returning to the Imagine writing retreat at Northmoor House on Exmoor. As retreat co-runner and writing trouble shooter, with my Imagine business partner, Alison Knight, I enjoyed the stunning countryside that surrounds Northmoor – an unspoilt Victorian manor house. It was wonderful to be in such a peaceful place with the excellent company of a number of fellow writers- many of whom are Imagine students. On Tuesday evening we were joined by our guest speaker – novelist and all round lovely person, Kate Lord Brown. Kate gave a fabulous talk and workshop on the theme of inspirations. She also got us to think about our inner critics- including asking us to write down what they looked like. I’ve never known a writer who was without an inner critic sitting on their shoulder. Most authors I’ve met have at least some level of imposter syndrome. But I had never considered turning these ‘critics’ into beings that we could- once personified- vanquish to the far corners of our minds. As my fellow writers began to jot down descriptions of their critics, I was hit by two sensations. The first was that I don’t have an inner critic- I have an outer one- Me- and I never stop giving myself a hard time. The second realisation was that it isn’t so much criticism, as guilt. I have an inner Guilt Monster. (Deserving of the capital letters.) It’s voice never stops arguing with me… You should work harder (I work 14 hr days – I overwork- but then I love my job) You ought to be doing the job I trained for and earn a proper wage (I was never confident as a lecturer- I always assumed I knew nothing- yes, even historian me had an inner critic…) You’re too nice to make it in the cut and thrust world of book sales (I have been conned by past publishers a lot because I’m so trusting- so can’t argue with my Guilt Monster on that one) Even working as a trolley collector in the local supermarket would more than treble your hourly rate (I love my job, and I’m not into “owning stuff.”) You aren’t good enough to make it (I’ve had 16 Amazon bestsellers) I could go on…. I’m not sharing this with you to play for sympathy (I hate the poor-bugger-me syndrome that can go with this stuff), but to say how thankful I am to Kate Lord Brown for making me stop and think about this, frankly, ridiculous self-imposed, situation. I think it would be unrealistic to ask myself to lose the insecurity factor. I honestly think I need it – I need to get nervous before a gig or anxious before a workshop – it drives me on- stops me being complacent, and so keeps me primed to always work my hardest to deliver the best I can for the people who rely on me- and to write the best books I can. The Guilt Monster however, has to go. I can see him now – and it is a him (I have no idea why, it really ought to be female – I can’t even get that right!!!) He’s sort of green and has shaggy hair all over. He’s wearing a...

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Folville-ing

Posted by on Oct 6th, 2019 in Blog, crime, Fiction, Historical fiction, history, Jennifer Ash, medieval, News, The Folville Chronicles | 0 comments

I’m away on my annual trip to run the Imagine writing retreat this week. In between helping answer writing dilemma’s, restocking bathrooms with toilet toll, and advising folk on how to plot their novels, I will be continuing to work on the fourth of The Folville Chronicles. It doesn’t seem a minute since I was celebrating the launch of book three in the series, Edward’s Outlaw. In that episode of Mathilda of Twyford and the Folville family’s adventure, I took her into the heart of a murder mystery within Rockingham Castle. Book Four sees Mathilda- and her new maid Bettrys- go off in a very different direction. The Folvilles and their allies in Derbyshire, the Coterel brothers, find themselves under direct attack from the newest Justice in the area…just as a local noblewoman, Lady Isabel, has gone missing. It falls to Mathilda to find evidence against the Justice- and, if she can, track down Lady Isabel while she’s at it. As with all of the Folville novels, book four uses actual historical events as the backbone to the plot. The research alone has been SO MUCH FUN! It’s been great to get back to my historian roots for a while. You can buy Edward’s Outlaw from Amazon and all good book sellers. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07KP9LTD9/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1542666584&sr=8-2&keywords=edward%27s+outlaw https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KP9LTD9/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1542698930&sr=1-1&keywords=Edwards+Outlaw+Jennifer+Ash *** So far I’m 35,000 words into Book Four – which I can reveal is to be called ‘Outlaw Justice,’ and will be out around next September. Hopefully, by the time I’m back from the retreat-  a few more chapters written! Happy reading, Jennifer xx     Share...

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Opening Lines with Jon Hartless: Rise of the Petrol Queen

Posted by on Oct 3rd, 2019 in Blog, Fiction, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog, Steampunk | 1 comment

For this week’s Opening Lines, I’m delighted to welcome Jon Hartless, to my blog. Sit back and enjoy the first 500 words of his steampunk novel, Rise of the Petrol Queen; Book 2 in the Poppy Orpington Chronicles. Over to you Jon… The Poppy Orpington Chronicles is a Steampunk adventure featuring a young, working-class heroine fighting to survive in a society which dismisses her for her sex, class and disabilities. The saga was inspired by the real-life era of the Bentley Boys, 1920s motor-racing playboys who had the reputation of racing all day and partying all night. The media and public loved them, but reading up on their lives and the time they lived in, all I could see was the elitism, the unfair advantages and opportunities given to those with high birth and money, and the complete invisibility of all those who were not wealthy, titled white men. From that came Full Throttle, the first in the series, followed by the sequel Rise of the Petrol Queen. Book 3, Fall of the Petrol Queen, is almost finished, book 5 is written but nowhere near complete, while book 4 seems to have broken down somewhere…. Blurb: Poppy Orpington is going racing. With or without your approval. Following a controversial loss at the Purley Cup, Poppy Orpington and her petrol-fuelled race car, Thunderbus, are dominating the headlines. But not one article is complimentary, or even unbiased. In spite of these daily slanderous reports on her character, Poppy is determined to make something of herself. She continues racing, she starts up her own factory hoping to sell her father’s patented petrol-run cars, she buys her own house and speaks up for the down-trodden. But all the while she is still seen as just a woman. A woman unwilling to squeeze into the female mould created by men of power – and so the mould must be broken. FIRST 500 WORDS – Rise of the Petrol Queen, book 2 of the Poppy Orpington Chronicles. Preface James Henry Birkin, editor Writing this second book on Poppy Orpington has proved somewhat problematic, not least because a biography demands a traditional linear structure of cause and effect – from birth to success and from success to death. Volume I, Full Throttle, covered Poppy’s early years up to her stunning debut on the Purley racetrack, but despite her tragically curtailed life we are not yet ready to focus upon her passing. Volume II, Rise of the Petrol Queen, instead concentrates upon the months of February to November 1904 – a time encompassing Poppy’s first full season as a racing driver and also the founding of her famous car company, Thunderbolt Motors. 1904 also witnessed the first sustained outpouring of hatred toward her from the popular press, of which the worst offender was the Daily Post, founded by Lord William Wrohan to propagate his loathing of the poor, the working class, women and foreigners. Sadly, the paper still operates to the same values today. Not once have the proprietors admitted their culpability in libelling Poppy, nor have they ever admitted to the criminal actions against her by their editor of that time, Harvey McArdle. His behaviour at Poppy’s cottage has been an open secret within the newspaper industry for years, yet this volume – astonishingly – is...

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End of the Month: So long September

Posted by on Sep 30th, 2019 in Blog, End of Month, Fiction, history, Jenny Kane | 2 comments

I swear time speeds up every month! It’s time to hand my blog over to the fabulous Nell Peters…Where did September go? Hello, my sweeties! Here we are already at the end of September – yikes. The children are back at school and there is no end of Christmas tattiness infiltrating every available space in the shops – even worse, antique Slade CDs have been dusted off in preparation for their annual warble. Since around Easter, each time I log on to internet banking, they’ve been advising me to start saving for Christmas – and the Christmas Shop in Selfridges has been open for weeks, for goodness sake. Any minute now the clocks will go back an hour so we will be groping around in the dark from about 3 pm. Depressing stuff. But not so depressing as 30th September was in 1551 for a certain Japanese gentleman. A coup staged by the military faction of Japan’s Ōuchi clan forced their overlord to commit suicide, and their city was burned. Ouchy indeed. Seppuku is what we more commonly know as hara-kiri, or harakiri, the Japanese form of ritual suicide, meaning to slice the belly, or abdomen – in short, disembowelment. Mega ouchy. Originating with the samurai, it enabled men to die with honour rather than fall into the hands of their enemies and be tortured, or as a form of capital punishment for those who had committed serious offences. Similarly, it was a culturally acceptable exit for warriors who had somehow brought shame upon themselves, and later practiced by other Japanese folk to restore honour to themselves or their families. A short blade is stabbed into the belly and drawn from left to right, slicing it open – if the wound is deep enough it will sever the descending aorta (the section of the aorta which runs from chest to abdomen, the aorta being the largest artery in the body), resulting in rapid death through blood loss. Call me squeamish, but I’m pretty sure I could live with any dishonour I’d brought upon myself, given the gory alternative… But long before the emergence of the bushi (samurai class), Japanese fighters were highly trained to use swords and spears. Women learned to use naginata, kaiken, and the art of tantojutsu in battle and their training ensured protection for communities whose male contingent had toddled off to battle elsewhere. One of these women, Empress Jingū, used her skills to promote economic and social change and was the onna bugeisha (female martial artist) who led a bloodless invasion of Korea in 200 AD, after her husband Emperor Chūai, the fourteenth emperor of Japan, was killed in battle. Her image was the first of a woman to be featured on Japanese banknotes – designed to stop counterfeiting, her picture was printed on oblong paper. Ah, so. On the family front, we’ve had a couple of birthday weekends away – the first in London for the OH’s on 31st August. #4 son and his family had been to Legoland the day before and met up with us, along with #2, who lives near where we stayed. We didn’t do anything wildly exciting, but it was a good time and went some way to stave off the feelings of impending doom I tend to experience...

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Opening Lines with Richard Gould : Jack & Jill Went Down Hill

Posted by on Sep 26th, 2019 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, Contemporary Romantic Fiction, Fiction, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog, Romance | 2 comments

Opening Lines is with us once more. This week I’m welcoming fellow romance writer, Richard Gould to my place to share the first 500 words from his novel, Jack and Jill Went Down Hill.   Thank you, Jenny, for inviting me onto your blog. I write Romance. In case people haven’t noticed, there aren’t that many males writing (nor for that matter, reading) this genre. I didn’t set out to be a romantic fiction author, I just got placed there because I explore relationships, particularly second-chance ones. I use humour to describe my protagonists’ tragi-heroic journeys in pursuit of love, carrying cartloads of baggage as they struggle to balance the pressures of work, friends and families with the search for romance. Jack & Jill went Downhill starts on Freshers Big Party Night at university. With Jack falling down and Jill tumbling after him, the choice of title became obvious. When they first met, the couple shared the joke that their names matched those of the nursery rhyme, but they fail to recognise that their lives are playing out the plot.   Blurb When Jill terminates the call, she watches as Jack and Sophie walk off, holding hands just as they had done in what seems like a very distant past. Jack and Jill had experienced fireworks on the night they met – their first night at University. Despite being raised with very different backgrounds, they seem to be the perfect couple. Mutual love can be seen by everyone around them. When they graduate and are thrust into the real world, the cracks start to show. Pressure from work reduces their time together. Family struggles test their loyalties. And inner demons become visible. Jack is struggling to maintain his focus at work. Succumbing to peer pressure, the late night drinking with colleagues becomes a regular occurrence. Too regular in Jill’s opinion… Can Jill reignite the passion that seems to have withered? Or is Jack too far gone to be rescued? Should Jill walk away to save herself? Whilst dealing with her crumbling marriage, Jill’s own life begins to collapse. Despite the picture-perfect start to their relationship, it becomes clear that the cliché ‘happily ever after’ requires more than just love to make it everlasting. First 500 words… For Jack it is love at first sight. For Jill it is love at first sight. Freshers Big Party Night at university. The hall is jam-packed with several hundred first year students, alcohol-fuelled to obliterate apprehension. The pre-party big news is that predatory second and third year boys have been banned following the previous year’s behaviour which had been fully exposed in the local press. Britney blasts out of two giant speakers. A floodlit rotating silver ball, suspended from the ceiling, covers the dancers in a shower of white sparkle. Little pairing is yet apparent, this being the first evening. It’s mainly girls dancing with girls, with the boys leaning against walls or by the bar. Looking on, weighing up the talent. Jill has come along with the girls she’s met on her corridor in the hall of residence. That afternoon they’d reached the kitchen within minutes of each other and had nattered and drunk tea for an hour or so, planning their itinerary for the weekend. The party is a must do and...

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On Ghosts and History: Patrick Whitehurst

Posted by on Sep 23rd, 2019 in Blog, ghost story /gothic, Non fiction, thriller | 0 comments

Today, I’d like to welcome fellow historian, writer, and friend, Patrick Whitehurst, to my blog. Grab a coffee and put your feet up. It’s time to take five minutes out of your day to read about his journey into ghosts and history. Over to you Patrick… It’s hard to remember when I first decided to tackle a book about ghosts, particularly one that focuses on my childhood home along the central coast of California. From my earliest memories I was aware of ghostly encounters and haunted places, likely due to the sheer volumes of such stories in Monterey County. I grew up in Seaside, California, and moved to Arizona at the age of 22. From there I carried the memories of those ghostly tales with me, not to mention beat up copies of author Randall Reinstedt’s books of paranormal tales of Monterey. For a young man accustomed to such things, I was surprised to learn there were no such books in northern Arizona, though there were plenty of stories. I rectified that with a little self-published (and long out of print) book called Legends, Ghosts & Superstitions of Williams and the Grand Canyon. While I’ve learned a lot about writing since then, in both fiction and nonfiction, my love for all things paranormal has remained constant. And in early 2019, after having moved back to the California coast, I set out in earnest to explore the haunted places of Monterey County. Haunted Monterey County is a detailed love letter of sorts. It takes a journalistic look at the ghost stories, some truly terrifying, along the shores and interior of this celebrated, luxurious piece of California while at the same time offering historical insight to the area’s rich history. For me, writing about history and its connection to the paranormal was an opportunity I couldn’t resist, a chance to reminisce with my childhood self about those chilling stories I knew so well and connect it to the history I love to write about as an adult, examples of which can be found in my Images of America books. It also offered a chance to provide new stories of paranormal incidents along the central coast, as well as updating stories that have been around for some time. I’ve dedicated the book to Mr. Reinstedt as a way to thank him for opening my eyes to the strange and bizarre side of human existence. I was also lucky the book sparked the interest of California artist and fellow history fiend Paul Van de Carr, who provided a number of fantastic art pieces for the book. It’s my hope Haunted Monterey County inspires future historians and ghost hunters just as I was inspired as a child, under the bedsheets, in the dead of night, so many years ago. Haunted Monterey County is now available on pre-order from the History Press. It will be released on 30th September 2019. My website – https://patrickwhitehurst.com/ Arcadia site for the book – https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781467142359 Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Haunted-Monterey-County-America-ebook/dp/B07W62KTGJ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=haunted+monterey+county&qid=1568223709&s=gateway&sr=8-1   *** Many thanks Patrick. Fabulous blog. Happy reading everyone, Jenny x   Share...

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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 | Comments Off on Another Cup of Coffee: Amy’s Adventure Begins

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 | Comments Off on Cover Reveal Tour for SHADOWS OF HEMLOCK by K.M. POHLKAMP

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 | Comments Off on Meet The Winter Outlaw

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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