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Hibiscus Tea and Temples: Wind Across the Nile

Posted by on Aug 20th, 2018 in Blog, Fiction, Historical fiction, history | 0 comments

Today I’m delighted to welcome Chrissie Parker to my blog. I urge you to read this fascinating post all about her love of Egypt- a passion which lead her to write the novel, Wind Across the Nile. Why not pull up a chair and have a read? Over to you Chrissie… I’ve a passion for ancient history, especially when it relates to Egypt. I try to impart to people what an amazing place it is but words never seem to wholly do it justice, I always say, the only way to learn about a country is to go and see it for yourself. Tourism makes up a large percentage of Egypt’s income and in recent years tourist numbers have been lower than normal due to a variety of reasons. When I talk about Egypt I’m aware of its struggles as a country and the challenges it faces daily, but I’m more aware of what a truly incredible place it is to explore. Egypt’s filled with endless culture and history and modern day life sits neatly alongside ancient sites and monuments that are thousands of years old. Contrary to some reports Egyptian’s are friendly, accommodating people who will welcome you with open arms and make you feel at home, and now couldn’t be a better time to visit. Due to recent low tourist numbers, some sites that would usually be crowded and sometimes difficult to see, have been relatively quiet, giving visitors the chance to spend more time there and really absorb their surroundings, making them feel as though they’re the first people to have stepped into that temple or tomb for generations. We all know about the famous sites such as the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza, but there are many more wonderful places to see in Egypt. There’s the fantastic mortuary temple at Medinet Habu in Luxor, that has some of the best coloured reliefs and accounts of Egyptian life I’ve ever seen. The temple of Isis at Philae is a beautiful temple that only stands today thanks to rescue work undertaken many years ago by UNESCO that saved it from flooding and being lost forever. If you have the time you could journey to the edge of Egypt itself to gaze upon the awe inspiring Abu Simbel, home to two temples built by the greatest of Egyptian rulers, Ramses II. It’s a sight that just takes your breath away and leaves you wanting more. The list is just endless, and with so many temples, tombs and other ancient sites spread throughout the country, visitors are spoilt for choice. Egypt also has many museums that house its huge collection of ancient treasures. The largest is the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, (which is now in the process of moving to the Giza Plateau under the new name of the Grand Egyptian Museum) it contains over a hundred thousand artefacts from across Egypt as well as the impressive collection from Tutankhamun’s tomb, and items belonging to the heretic King Akenaten. If, like me, you have a penchant for the more gory side of Egyptian life you can gaze upon a well preserved collection of mummified bodies of Royalty past in the well laid out mummy room. In Luxor there are two museums, the aptly named Luxor Museum housing a multitude of treasures discovered during excavations...

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Opening Lines: Dark Words from Tracey Norman

Posted by on Aug 16th, 2018 in Blog, Fantasy, Fiction, Jenny Kane, medieval, Opening Lines Blog | 2 comments

This week ‘Opening Lines’ delves into the realms of folklore and fantasy with Tracey Norman. Friend, actress, author, expert on all things ‘witch’, and a fellow member of the Exeter Author Association, Tracey is bringing us the very beginning of her story, Dark Words. Over to you Tracey… Living not far from Dartmoor, I have a wealth of inspiration on my doorstep. When I was introduced to the reservoir, forests and stone circle of Fernworthy, something about the place spoke to me and it has become something of a retreat for me when I need space, or peace and quiet to write. Periodically, during particularly hot periods, the reservoir’s water levels drop dramatically, revealing the various hut circles and bridges which were submerged when the reservoir was built. Wandering around these rarely-seen features, I came across a boundary-type stone which appeared to have been carved with an unusual chequerboard effect. It piqued my curiosity, so I tried to find out more about it – unsuccessfully. In 2015, I was invited to contribute a story to Secret Invasion, a charity horror anthology of South West-based Lovecraftian tales raising money for MIND. I seized the opportunity to provide a backstory for the enigmatic stone. Thus was born the tale of the taciturn, sinister villagers, the stone tablets and the landscape which bound them together. I have taken several liberties with the landscape. The house and estate I describe are both fictitious and I have no idea what secrets the old quarry may contain, as it has long been flooded. The drowned village beneath the reservoir is of far greater antiquity than my story suggests and was abandoned long before the events I describe. However, if you visit Fernworthy reservoir, you can walk around its shores, you can see the (now fenced off) flooded quarry and, if the water level is sufficiently low, you may be lucky enough to spot parts of the hut circles just beyond the edge of the picnic area. A walk into the forest itself will take you to the Fernworthy stone circle and the twin circles of the Grey Wethers can be found on the open moor just beyond the forest boundary. I highly recommend visiting the reservoir at dusk and siting at one of the picnic tables at the water’s edge. As the sun sinks in the sky, watch the light glinting on the water and revel in a tranquillity my characters never knew….but beware if you hear chanting… (Dark Words has since been published in Folklore and Fairy Tales Reimagined, so it can be enjoyed with slightly less horror!) Secret Invasion is a new collection of original horror fiction set in the mystical landscape of England’s West Country, influenced by the storytelling of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. This anthology includes a Q&A with horror maestro Ramsey Campbell followed by fifteen chilling tales by writers such as Andrew Lane (Young Sherlock Holmes), Jessica Palmer (Sweet William) and Nigel Foster.   First 500 words from Dark Words Excavation fieldwork notes – 2015 – Alison Forster It was good to finally crawl into my tent at the end of another long, hot day and kick off my boots. Stripping off my socks, I flexed my toes and massaged my ankles, then stretched out on my camp bed. Half past...

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

Posted by on Aug 14th, 2018 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, Contemporary Romantic Fiction, Fiction, Jenny Kane, News, Romance | 0 comments

I don’t know about you, but the  sudden cold winds, and constant damp mizzle in the air after so much sunshine, is making me feel rather chilly. I thought it might be nice to escape the extremes of weather for a moment to take a dip into my 2 Cornish summer reads, Abi’s House and Abi’s Neighbour.   Here’s a reminder of the Abi’s House blurb!! Newly widowed and barely thirty, Abi Carter is desperate to escape the Stepford Wives lifestyle that Luke, her late husband, had been so eager for her to live. Abi decides to fulfill a lifelong dream. As a child on holiday in Cornwall she fell in love with a cottage – the prophetically named Abbey’s House. Now she is going to see if she can find the place again, relive the happy memories and maybe even buy a place of her own nearby? On impulse Abi sets off to Cornwall, where a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Beth, like Abi, has a life-changing decision to make. Max, Beth’s best mate, is new to the village. He soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams … but things aren’t quite that simple. There’s the complicated life Abi left behind, including her late husband’s brother, Simon – a man with more than friendship on his mind… Will Abi’s house remain a dream, or will the bricks and mortar become a reality? Check this out this video about Abi’s House!!-  YouTube link https://youtu.be/VAumWAqsp58 You can buy Abi’s House from all good bookshops and retailers, including http://www.amazon.co.uk/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00UVPPWO8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711175&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane http://www.amazon.com/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00UVPPWO8/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711253&sr=1-2&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane Abi’s Neighbour Blurb- Abi Carter has finally found happiness in beautiful Cornwall, with her old tin miner’s cottage proving the perfect home. But all that’s about to change when a new neighbour moves in next door…Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. She’s obnoxious, stuck-up, and hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, she seems to have designs on Abi’s boyfriend Max…But Cassandra has her own problems. Her wealthy lawyer lover has promised to leave his wife and join her in their Cornish love nest – but something always comes up. Now, not only is Cassandra stuck on her own, miles away from her city lifestyle, but someone seems intent on sabotaging her successful business. Will she mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are the two just destined not to get along? Complete with sun, sea and adorable Labrador Sadie, Abi’s Neighbour is the fantastic new novel by bestselling author Jenny Kane. You can buy Abi’s Neighbour from all good bookshops and retailers, including-  amzn.to/2rl4Tdh  *** Happy reading everyone, Jenny xx   Share...

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Interview with Kerry Watts: Into Darkness

Posted by on Aug 13th, 2018 in Blog, crime, Fiction, Interview, Jenny Kane, thriller | 0 comments

It’s interview time. This week I’m chatting to Kerry Watts about her serial killer inspired story, Into Darkness What inspired you to write your book? For as long as I can remember I’ve had a bizarre fascination with serial killers. I wanted to write a book that delves into the mind and behavior of one of the most well known of these. Ted Bundy’s behavior and crimes have both intrigued and terrified me in equal measure. The character, Paul Gregory, from Into Darkness, is like Bundy in many ways. I wanted to write a book that I would like to read. What type of research did you have to do for your book? The research for Into Darkness by spending a seriously long time watching footage of interviews Bundy gave over the years before his execution. I looked for his every mannerism and movement to get an idea of what he was saying non-verbally because what he expressed verbally was in no way the whole story. Another good form of research is to interact with friends on social media to grasp how far to push the boundaries in my writing. There are some topics I would never entertain. Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why? I’m a storyteller rather than a wordsmith, so I find my default setting to be third person past narrative. It feels more natural to me. Perhaps it’s the gossip in me that makes that easy! Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow? I begin with a plot in several notebooks sometimes, but I do tend to wander because other ideas and scenarios hit me later. Characters have even died unexpectedly on me. The buzz of a new idea is so exciting and if I can’t get my hands on a notebook to scribble in it’s uncomfortable. I need to write. Writing makes happy. It’s an escape. What is your writing regime? My writing day pretty much plays out like this. My son goes to school, I make my own breakfast and usually watch something like ‘Most Haunted’ while I eat. (The temptation to binge watch it is hard to resist at times.) I then check my social media which can sometimes be hard to tear myself away from. I will promote some of my books before putting kettle on again for my 4th cup of tea. It is with this tea in hand I start the day’s writing, which is approximately 2000 words, but that target is not set in stone. I prefer to aim for 10000 words a week. Sometimes I write more. Sometimes I write less. What excites you the most about your book? The other aspect of Into Darkness that excites me is the romance element. This is book one of my DI Joe Barber series and it is in this book he meets the love of his life. No spoilers but their introduction to each other is definitely not conventional. The book does have several adult scenes, but these are necessary to evolve the relationship towards the shocking conclusion. If you were stranded on a desert island with three other people, fictional or real, who would they be and why? The first person would be my 11-year-old son for...

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Opening Lines: A Few Bad Boys by Nicole

Posted by on Aug 9th, 2018 in Blog, crime, Fiction, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog | 0 comments

Opening Lines day is here! This week’s blog takes us into the world of hard boiled crime. I’m delighted to welcome Nicole, to share the first 500 words (exactly) of her novel, A Few Bad Boys. I am thrilled to be part of the Opening Lines Blog and am introducing you to my debut crime novel, A Few Bad Boys., which I published last year.  Like so many others, I had wanted to write a book for a long as I can remember and finally I achieved it.  My next novel, Survival At Any Cost will be published later this year.  After the sudden death of my husband, I found getting back to writing very therapeutic amongst the chaos that surrounded me.  People often find me an inspiration and I encourage anyone that wants to pursue their goals, even if they are not writing related.  Since it is my birthday week, A Few Bad Boys is available for only 99p/99c until Saturday 11th August 2018. The first 500 words of A Few Bad Boys As Lucy Fratelli lay on the cold bathroom floor, her head was spinning, she knew that she could not keep doing this. Her life had to change and it had to change now. She had been in this position too many times and Rob always said sorry and that he wouldn’t do it again, but he always did. The violence had started shortly after she let him move into her house. First it was a slap, then it was a punch, then it was kicking whilst she was lying helpless on the floor. How was she going to get away from him and get him to leave her house? She had lost consciousness this time and was feeling very sick. She wasn’t sure if the feeling of sickness was due to her head injury or due to the intolerable situation she had now found herself in. She attempted to move her bruised and aching body and gradually pulled herself up, using the bath for support. She shuffled to the basin, terrified to look in the mirror. What damage had he done to her this time? Her right eye was so swollen that she couldn’t open it. Her lip was split and her ear was bleeding. A massive lump was already forming on her head. As she felt her head she realised that it was also bleeding. She lifted her top as best as she could so she could try and inspect her back. No wonder it was agony, she could see an impression of his shoe engrained on her slender body. Her ribs hurt so much that she was scared to cough and she could barely move her left arm. Bruising was already appearing on her legs and they felt like they could hardly take her weight. She tried to clean herself up a bit and hobbled to the kitchen to get a glass of water and to ponder on whether to go to the doctors or not and on how she was going to leave Rob. She also reminisced a little on how her life was pre-Rob. Lucy Fratelli was loved by everyone. She was really attractive with beautiful, thick dark hair and eyes that were so full of life. She had a family...

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Summer Wedding: Romancing Robin Hood

Posted by on Aug 4th, 2018 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, Contemporary Romantic Fiction, crime, Fiction, Historical fiction, Romance | 2 comments

Summer has arrived in the UK with style this year! What better time for a wedding? Romancing Robin Hood is a contemporary romance is based on the life of Dr Grace Harper, a medieval history lecturer with a major Robin Hood obsession. So much so, that instead of writing a textbook on medieval life, Grace is secretly writing a novella about a fourteenth century girl called Mathilda, who gets mixed up with a real outlaw family of the day, the Folvilles. (Which you can also read about within this same novel) The problem is that Grace is so embroiled in her work and passion for outlaws, that real life is passing her by. A fact that the unexpected wedding announcement of her best friend Daisy, has thrown into sharp focus… Extract from Romancing Robin Hood …Daisy hadn’t grown up picturing herself floating down the aisle in an over-sequinned ivory frock, nor as a doting parent, looking after triplets and walking a black Labrador. So when, on an out-of-hours trip to the local vet’s surgery she’d met Marcus and discovered that love at first sight wasn’t a myth, it had knocked her for six. She’d been on a late-night emergency dash to the surgery with an owl a neighbour had found injured in the road. Its wing had required a splint, and it was too big a job for only one pair of hands. Daisy had been more than a bit surprised when the locum vet had stirred some long-suppressed feeling of interest in her, and even more amazed when that feeling had been reciprocated. It was all luck, sheer luck. Daisy had always believed that anyone meeting anybody was down to two people meeting at exactly the right place, at exactly the right time, while both feeling precisely the right amount of chemistry. The fact that any couples existed at all seemed to Daisy to be one of the greatest miracles of humanity. She pictured Grace, tucked away in her mad little office only living in the twenty-first century on a part-time basis. Daisy had long since got used to the fact that her closest friend’s mind was more often than not placed firmly in the 1300s. Daisy wished Grace would finish her book. It had become such a part of her. Such an exclusive aim that nothing else seemed to matter very much. Even the job she used to love seemed to be a burden to her now, and Daisy sensed that Grace was beginning to resent the hours it took her away from her life’s work. Maybe if she could get her book over with – get it out of her system – then Grace would stop living in the wrong timeframe. Daisy knew Grace appreciated that she never advised her to find a bloke, settle down, and live ‘happily ever after,’ and she was equally grateful Grace had never once suggested anything similar to her. Now she had Marcus, however, Daisy had begun to want the same contentment for her friend, and had to bite her tongue whenever they spoke on the phone; something that happened less and less these days. Grace’s emails were getting shorter too. The long paragraphs detailing the woes of teaching students with an ever-decreasing intelligence had blunted down to, ‘You ok? I’m good. Writing sparse....

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Opening Lines: Nostra Dame by Jacqueline Evans

Posted by on Aug 2nd, 2018 in Blog, crime, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog, thriller | 1 comment

Today I’m delighted to welcome Jacqueline Evans to my blog to share the first 500 words of her book, Nostra Dame It’s time for some ‘Opening Lines.’ After drawing a blank in my search to find someone who shared a similar ability, I was inspired to write my first book.  The word ‘psychic’ is used so loosely these days and often leaves people either cringing or wanting to know more.  It saddens me that people part with their money in the hope of getting a ‘message’ from a deceased loved one at events or private sittings that promise such things.  It’s nothing like that for me; I don’t profess to speak to dead people!  The thought of being put in the same box prompted me to write my own story.  For me, the definition of psychic is precognitive, spiritual and selfless – it doesn’t come with a price tag or self-glory.  The people in my book – those that lost their lives, are very dear to my heart.  My only hope is that I told the story with dignity.…. First 500 words of Nostra Dame Chapter One – Preppy From the start it appeared as if I’d been in training; a ‘preppy’ guided by an unknown force.  As if my path had somehow been pre-determined.  A near-death experience in my mid-twenties triggered a chain of events that completely changed my course.  Not only did it give me the strength to shed years of imposed beliefs but also taught me to trust my instincts. Only then did a deeper level of empathy and understanding begin to emerge.  Over time, it seemed to turn a series of cogs, which opened me up to the supernatural and to a world far beyond the constructs of science.  A world that knew the future and one that seemed eager to want to share it.  Down to the tiniest detail, I would be given pieces of information that when put together formed a complete picture. From serious crimes to global disasters, there had been no limits to the intelligence.  It had proven so reliable that I became able to interpret the most complex murders and anticipate big changes one after the other, like on a checklist. ‘It’ knew everything about me too; what made me tick, my likes, my dislikes and my reactions before I reacted.  It appeared to pave the way, engineering every twist and turn; so many turns that it is difficult to know where to start.  Perhaps then, my first memory would be the best place. It was Christmas day, 1968.  A sparsely decorated tree stood in the corner of the cramped living room, glistening with multi-coloured lights and it felt magical.  We had sat around the table eating dinner, wearing paper hats; and afterwards my sister and I had wanted to play upstairs with our new toys. We lived in the inner city of Birmingham, in a dingy, Victorian, terraced house.  Our only form of heating had been a paraffin heater and portable electric fire.  My large bedroom, which I shared with my sister, had high ceilings, bare floorboards and no furniture, other than two single beds.  It had been so bitterly cold, that my mother had put the fire in there to take the icy chill off. Despite her warnings...

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End of the Month: July in a Nutshell

Posted by on Jul 31st, 2018 in Blog, End of Month, Fiction, history, Jenny Kane, News, Non fiction | 5 comments

Another month has zipped by, and so Nell Peters is here with her popular roundup of events. A belated happy birthday to Nell (who shares the same birthday as me), and thanks, as ever, for another fab post. Over to you… Good day! Both Jenny and I are a year older since we last met, and while the Football World Cup didn’t actually come home, sales of waistcoats rocketed. That’s July in a nutshell and I’m not even going to mention tennis or Donald Trump … Someone celebrating their birthday this fine day is JK (Joanne Kathleen, as I’m sure you all know) Rowling, who clocks up fifty-three years. The Harry Potter series of books hit the shelves in June 1997, with publication of HP and the Philosopher’s Stone, and the last (seventh), HP and the Deathly Hallows was released in July 2007. Rowling’s imagined biography for her main character saw him born on 31st July 1980 in Godric’s Hollow, whereas the actor Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry P (again, as you all know – I have a talent for stating the obvious), was born in Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, London – where sons #2, 3 and 4 were born – on 23rd July 1989, about nine weeks after #3. I’m sure if Daniel’s mother had known then the significance of the last day of the month, she’d have held on. In keeping with the 31/7 theme, the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne, with contributions by JKR, was published worldwide at midnight on this day two years ago. And what do you give the woman who can have anything she wants for her birthday? I like to think at least one of her friends will give her some tasteful Harry Pottery. I’m so sorry … A name caught my eye as I was researching people born on 31st July and immediately appealed to my pathetic sense of humour – take a posthumous bow Arthur (John) Daley; not the ducker and diver, but an American sports writer and journalist born in New York City in 1904. He wrote for The New York Times (his only employer) for almost fifty years, producing over 10,000 columns with an estimated twenty million words – and in 1956 was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his troubles. He reported on the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and when he was chosen to repeat that role in Berlin in 1936, he became the first Times correspondent to be sent overseas for a sports assignment. In later years, he covered the Olympics in Rome, Tokyo, Mexico City and Munich. Daley lived in Old Greenwich, Connecticut with his wife, Betty and their four children, two of whom followed in his footsteps to become journalists on the Times. He died of a heart attack on January 3rd 1974, as he was walking to work, and is buried in the ambitiously-named Gate of Heaven Cemetery, New York. Poor old Arthur didn’t make the Montreal Olympics in 1976, but I did. I managed to miss all of the long, hot summer that cooked the UK that year, but Montreal summers are always hot, with crippling degrees of humidity because the city is a series of islands. Being around three months pregnant and very sickly, I quite...

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The One That I Want Blog Tour: Opening Lines

Posted by on Jul 28th, 2018 in Blog, Contemporary fiction, Contemporary Romantic Fiction, Fiction, Jenny Kane, Opening Lines Blog, Romance | 2 comments

Today I am delighted to be hosting the latest leg of Lynne Shelby’s blog tour for her brand new novel, The One That I Want. To help celebrate her release, Lynne is sharing the first 500 words (exactly) of her novel, in the style of one of my ‘Opening Lines’ blogs. Over to you Lynne! I’ve always been fascinated by theatre and film – my ideal night out is a trip to see a West End play or musical – and my new novel, ‘The One That I Want,’ is set in the world of showbusiness. In the book, Lucy Ashford, my heroine, is unexpectedly swept up into a celebrity lifestyle… Here’s the first 500 words: The front doorbell rang, and went on ringing. I sighed. My brother must have forgotten his key again. Still clutching the spoon with which I’d been stirring the bolognaise sauce, I went out of the kitchen and along the narrow hallway. A glance at my reflection in the hall mirror showed me that my face looked much as it always did, if a little pale. Reassured that none of my family would suspect I’d been crying, I opened the front door. A fairy-tale princess, wearing a long white dress embroidered with a scattering of green leaves, was standing on the doorstep. I started in surprise, and then, for the first time that day, I smiled. ‘Lucy?’ The princess was staring at me. ‘Hi, Cassie,’ I said. ‘Lucy! Oh, it’s so lovely to see you.’ The star of The Adventures of Princess Snowdrop flung her arms around me. It was only with difficulty that I manage managed to avoid smearing bolognaise sauce all over her voluminous white skirts. ‘It’s great to see you again too,’ I said. ‘It must be – what? At least twelve years. Of course, I’ve seen you on TV since then.’ Cassie laughed, and reached up to straighten the crown of white flowers that perched somewhat precariously on top of her blonde curls. She’d grown up extraordinarily beautiful. It was no wonder that Prince Oak and Prince Ash obeyed her every whim. ‘I’ve been doing a Snowdrop publicity gig just a few miles from here,’ she said, ‘and I decided to take a detour on my way back to London and pay you all a visit. May I come in? If it’s convenient.’ ‘Oh… That’s what you always used to say…’ For a moment, it was as though we were children again, Cassie walking home from school with me and my stepfather, taking a turn at pushing my brother in his buggy, and when we reached our gate, asking very politely if she might come in, if it was convenient… Back then, it had never occurred to me to wonder why she spent so little time in her own family home, across the road from ours. Suddenly, my throat felt a little tight. ‘Come in Cassie,’ I said. ‘Everyone except me is at work right now, but they’ll be home very soon, and I know they’d love to see you.’ ‘I’ll just speak to my driver.’ ‘You have a driver?’ For the first time, I noticed the white limo with the blacked-out windows parked in the road outside. Cassie darted along our garden path and spoke to someone inside the car,...

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Opening Lines: Perception & Illusion by Catherine Kullmann

Posted by on Jul 26th, 2018 in Blog, Fiction, Historical fiction, Opening Lines Blog, Romance | 0 comments

It’s Thursday! That means ‘Opening Lines’ day is upon us. This week I’m handing over to Catherine Kullmann to share the first 500 words of her Regency period novel, Perception and illusion. Over to you Catherine… Thank you for hosting me on Opening Lines, Jenny. About me, very briefly; I was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, I moved to Germany where I lived for twenty-five years before returning to Ireland. I have worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. I am married and have three adult sons and two grandchildren. It was only after I took early retirement that I was able to fulfil my long-cherished ambition to write fiction. My books are set in the extended Regency period, a fascinating time when the foundations of our modern world were laid but also when male/female double standards reigned supreme. Married women had literally no rights, their very being or legal existence being suspended during marriage. Historical fiction opens a window to the past that helps us understand and value the present and I particularly enjoy the challenge of having my characters behave authentically in their period while making their actions and decisions plausible and sympathetic to today’s readers. My novels are generally triggered by “what if?”, “what next?”, or “what happened then?” I always want to know what comes after the first happy end. Perception & Illusion begins with a classic damsel in destress scenario. But what happens when two people who hardly know each other marry? Falling in love is easy; building a trusting, true relationship is not so simple, especially when life, as it tends to, gets in the way of love. Matrimonial Maps charting the perils and pitfalls of the course of true love were popular in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I have taken the chapter headings for Perception & Illusion from the legend of a nineteenth century matrimonial map published in Ireland by lithographers Callaghan Bros. Cork. They throw an interesting light on how ‘inclination’ and ‘amour’ were viewed at the time. Perception & Illusion: Does a fairy-tale ending always guarantee Happy Ever After? England 1814: Brought up by her late grandparents after the death of her mother, Lallie Grey is unaware that she is their heiress. When her father realises that he will soon lose control of his daughter’s income, he conspires to marry her off to his crony, Frederick Malvin in exchange for a share of her capital. But Lallie has fallen in love with Hugo Tamrisk, heir to one of the oldest titles in England. When Hugo not only comes to her aid as she flees the arranged marriage, but later proposes to her, all Lallie’s dreams have come true. She readily agrees to marry him at once. But past events casts long shadows. Hugo resents the interest his three elder sisters take in his new wife and thinks they have turned her against him. And then there is his former mistress, Sabina, Lady Albright. As Lallie finds her feet in the ton, the newly-weds are caught up in a comedy of errors that threatens their future happiness. She begins to wonder if he has regrets and he cannot understand her new reserve. A perfect storm of confusion and...

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