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

Category: adventure Page 1 of 2

FREE WEEKEND: The Outlaw’s Ransom

FREE WEEKEND!!

17th – 19th June

From today until midday on Sunday, you can pick up the e-version of the first novel in The Folville Chronicles – The Outlaw’s Ransom – for FREE on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com!

(My thanks to Hello Books for their assistance with this promotion)

BLURB

When potter’s daughter Mathilda is kidnapped by the notorious Folville brothers as punishment for her father’s debts, she must prove her worth in order to win her freedom. With her life in the hands of the most infamous men in England, Mathilda must win the trust of the Folville’s housekeeper, Sarah, and Robert Folville himself if she has any chance of survival. Never have the teachings gleaned from the tales of Robyn Hode been so useful…

Based on the real crimes of the Folville brothers – who operated in the Midlands of England in the 1320’s and 1330’s – The Folville Chronicles are murder mystery and crime novels – which get steadily longer and darker as each book goes on. Seen through the eyes of Mathilda of Twyford – these stories have been blessed with some fabulous reviews,  including:

I was utterly enthralled by this fabulous book. Meticulous historical detail given to the reader with a beautifully light touch. The romance is heart stopping, the action compelling. Fabulous!”  Victoria Dowd (Bestselling crime writer)

What a lovely way to spend Easter Sunday, curled up under my blanket and being whisked back in time. Mathilda is a woman who isn’t afraid to say what she thinks and reveals a truth about a mystery, knowing it may cost her dearly. I truly felt as though I was at the market with her and also felt the soreness from being on a horse. A really good tale with a happy ending. Historic books are ones I love to read and I was so glad I picked this up!” Elly Ellis (Bestselling crime writer)

If you enjoy The Outlaw’s Ransom, you can find the other 3 books in the series here –

The Winter Outlaw- mybook.to/thewinteroutlaw

Edward’s Outlaw – mybook.to/EdwardsOutlaw

Outlaw Justice – mybook.to/OutlawJustice

I hope you enjoy this medieval crime/mystery!

Happy FREE reading,

Jennifer. x

PS – You can fine more free crime/mystery novels here – https://hellobooks.com/mystery

The Reluctant Investigator: Edward’s Outlaw

In the first two novels of the series, The Outlaw’s Ransom and The Winter Outlaw, Mathilda of Twyford, found herself thrust into situations where she had to get to the bottom of a crime simply to stay alive. However, in book three, Edward’s Outlaw, Mathilda’s reputation for solving mysteries sees her being asked to solve a murder by the sheriff…and she is in no position to say no…

Blurb

January 1330: England is awash with corruption. King Edward III has finally claimed the crown from his scheming mother, Queen Isabella, and is determined to clean up his kingdom.

Encouraged by his new wife, Philippa of Hainault, and her special advisor ‑ a man who knows the noble felons of England very well ‑ King Edward sends word to Roger Wennesley of Leicestershire, with orders to arrest the notorious Folville brothers… including the newly married Robert de Folville.

Robert takes his wife, Mathilda, to Rockingham Castle for her own safety, but no sooner has he left than a maid is found murdered. The dead girl looks a lot like Mathilda. Was the maid really the target ‑ or is Mathilda’s life in danger?

Asked to investigate by the county sheriff in exchange for him slowing the hunt for her husband, Mathilda soon uncovers far more than murder… including a web of deception which trails from London, to Derbyshire, and beyond…

The third thrilling instalment in Jennifer Ash’s The Folville Chronicles series.

***

Mathilda has only been married to Robert de Folville for three days, and already trouble has coming knocking at door of their home; Ashby Folville manor, Leicestershire. A warrant for the brother’s arrest sends Mathilda alone into Rockingham Castle for her own safety. Under the protection of its constable, Robert de Vere, she shelters within the castle while her husband and his brothers are on the run.

Mathilda doesn’t have time to worry about Robert for long, for within only a few days a young girl is dead and the sheriff thrusts the role of detective upon her.

Why would anyone here believe her, even if she did find the killer? The word of a woman, even one who has married into one of the most notorious households in England, is not worth much without substantial evidence. And what if she gets it wrong and accuses the wrong person? Mathilda’s terrified that she might send the wrong person to the gallows.

The pressure on Mathilda to succeed becomes even greater when she begins to wonder if Agnes, the murdered maid, was the intended victim after all. The more Mathilda thinks about it, the more she sees how easy it would have been for the killer to mistake the dead girl for her…Was Mathilda the intended target after all?

Extract

Blood hammered in Mathilda’s ears. She had tracked down killers in the past, but never by appointment. The first time had been unintentional, a task she’d stumbled upon to save her father’s honour and her freedom. The second had come with an even higher price tag. The cost of failure would have been her life.

Now, these previous successes had earned her a third attempt, and Mathilda doubted she was up to the task. In Ashby Folville she had Sarah and Adam to back her up, not to mention Robert and his brothers. Here, she was alone but for Daniel, who’d already had a myriad of household duties heaped upon him.

Would her desire to find justice for Agnes, and her equally strong curiosity to uncover what was going on in the castle, be enough to solve the crime. Or crimes?

Whatever her misgivings, Mathilda’s starting point was clear. The sheriff and his associates had not yet left the castle. She wanted to talk to each of them privately. The constable had promised her the freedom of the castle while he’d had little choice but to agree, but would he continue to extend that offer once Wennesley and his comrades had gone to recommence the search for her husband.

Not sure if she was heartened or worried by Sheriff Ingram’s claim that she was unstoppable in her pursuit of felons, Mathilda wiped away the perspiration from her palms.

As she walked towards de Vere’s rooms, Mathilda forced herself to focus. Even if the arresting party remained with the constable, that didn’t mean they would be willing to answer her questions. After all, they hadn’t been there when Agnes had died, yet Mathilda couldn’t shift the uneasy feeling that it was all connected somehow. She had no logical reason for that suspicion beyond the coincidence of Isabella’s abrupt reappearance and the night-time movements of a tall, short-haired man who could have been either of the younger men on the warrant party… or someone else entirely….

***

Edwards’ Outlaw can be read as a standalone book, or as part of The Folville Chronicles.

If you’d like to read Edward’s Outlaw, – or any of The Folville Chronicles, they are available in eBook format and paperback from all good reatilers, including…

The Outlaw’s Ransom – mybook.to/theoutlawsransom

The Winter Outlaw- mybook.to/thewinteroutlaw

Edward’s Outlaw – mybook.to/EdwardsOutlaw

Outlaw Justice – mybook.to/OutlawJustice

Happy reading,

Jennifer xx

Focus on: The Winter Outlaw

Let’s focus on…

The Winter Outlaw,

Book Two of The Folville Chronicles

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.

After an attack on the household’s trusted housekeeper, it falls to Mathilda to work out who can be trusted and who can’t… With the Folvilles’ past about to trip them up, it’s going to take a level head and extreme bravery if Mathilda and Robert are ever going to make it to their Winter Solstice wedding.

The Winter Outlaw can be read as a standalone novel or as the sequel to The Outlaw’s Ransom.

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

Here’s a few of the lovely things my readers have aid about The Winter Outlaw,

“Drew me right in and I couldn’t put it down. I was surprised how much bigger this book was compared to the previous one, big bonus. A captivating story that kept me on my toes until the very end.” Amazon

“So good. I await the third book.” Amazon 

‘Great read, looking forward to reading the sequel :-)’ Amazon

“Best work of historical fiction I’ve ever read” Goodreads

Focus on: The Outlaw’s Ransom

Let’s focus on: The Outlaw’s Ransom.

The first in an exciting historical crime series, set in fourteenth century England.

Book One of The Folville Chronicles

When potter’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 using crime to rule their lands—and for using any means necessary to deliver their distinctive 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 betrothed of Robert de Folville, undertake a mission that will send her to Bakewell in Derbyshire, and the home of Nicholas Coterel, one of the most infamous men in England.

With her life in the hands of more than one dangerous brigand, Mathilda must win the trust of the Folville’s housekeeper, Sarah, and Robert Folville himself if she has any chance of survival.

Never have the teachings gleaned from the tales of Robyn Hode been so useful…

Available as an ebook or paperback from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Here are just a few of the lovely reviews for Mathilda’s first story…

“Bought it last night and finished at 2am in the morning! I had already read “Romancing Robin Hood” and liked Mathilda, so I was curious what this book would be like. Many aspects of the story were already in the other book but this is a beautiful standalone and I didn’t mind rereading parts of the story. I’m glad this is a series by the looks of it and hope the next one will be out soon. I particularly like that the women are confident but still believable characters within the medieval background. No “Kardashians in costumes” but convincing dialogues and scene descriptions. Well done!” Amazon

“I first read this story when it appeared in a lesser form as a ‘story within a story’. (Romancing Robin Hood)
I have really enjoyed reading the expanded version – complete with historical references.
Mathilda is kidnapped by local highborn landowners/outlaws as a way of ensuring her family repay a loan. Too clever for her own good she soon realises that they wish to use her to pass messages to another family – who would ever think to question a young lady, but is very quickly embroiled in the murder of a local business man….A very cleverly written medieval who dunnit.” Goodreads

“An enjoyable read with credible characters and a pacey plot. Good scene setting, I felt like I was back in medieval times. Looking forward to the next book in the series.” Amazon

“What a lovely way to spend Easter Sunday, curled up under my blanket and being whisked back in time. Mathilda is a woman who isn’t afraid to say what she thinks and reveals a truth about a mystery, knowing it may cost her dearly. I truly felt as though I was at the market with her and also felt the soreness from being on a horse. A really good tale with a happy ending. Historic books are ones I love to read and I was so glad I picked this up!” Amazon 

“I raced through The Outlaws Ransom in just a couple of sittings, it was so satisfyingly fast-paced that I found with each chapter it was a case of ‘just one more’. Mathilda is a fabulous protagonist and seemed to me to be a fitting heroine for the times. The historical accuracy and details peppered throughout the book helped the story come alive in a most enjoyable way. The Folville family is fascinating, both dastardly and multi-layered, the interaction between the brothers engaging and very human. I am greatly looking forward to the next instalment in this series.” Amazon

“An enjoyable read with credible characters and a pacey plot. Good scene setting, I felt like I was back in medieval times. Looking forward to the next book in the series.” Amazon

The Genesis of World War When by Elliot Thorpe

This week I’m delighted to be welcoming Elliot Thorpe to my place to tell us about his latest story, World War When.

Over to you Elliot…

I was involved in a book project back in the distant past of 2016, an anthology of stories and verse to commemorate the (then-upcoming) centenary of the end of the First World War. While the project went in other directions, the work I had put into my contributions I didn’t want wasted. Any writer will tell you that an author never throws away an idea! I’d toyed with any number of scenarios and plotlines and saw mileage in expanding beyond the short story remit to a full-length novel.

I’d always found both World Wars to be fascinating, extremely dark chapters in recent history that have hopefully taught us lessons. I’d never written anything directly linking to modern warfare before, although I did delve into the skirmishes between the Ottoman Turks and the Wallachians in a horror novel in 2013. That previous novel, currently out of print, took a hugely fantastical liberty with the source material – something that seemed permissible bearing in mind that the protagonists and antagonists lived in a world wholly unlike our own some 500 years ago.

The idea then of taking a slice of history that is well-known, deeply researched, intimately documented and only a handful of years falling out of living memory I have to confess gave me moments of internal conflict. I didn’t want to make light of the events between 1914 and 1918. I didn’t want to flippantly create characters that existed as unflappable heroes. Nor did I want to step on the experiences those who served had been through. But that’s the art of storytelling, to weave a fiction that is believable, to conjure up heroes who aren’t two-dimensional, to place a tale in front of a backdrop that both thrills and chills.

I did my research. I would have been daft not to – because historians at all levels would find something that I got wrong in my prose. I created a past that was recognisable, a close as I could make it to reality following said research, with healthy influences thrown in for good measure: anything from Buchan to Elton to Faulks to Meredeth to Moffatt to Mukherjee to Sapper. I wanted a world of action, intrigue, drama and romance, of excitement, danger, love and loss. Then I went off-piste: the story mutated into how the Allies had lost the Great War and what happened after.

This alternative history, as I saw it, hadn’t been truly explored before in fiction. We have countless ‘what if Hitler had won’ tales, but no one had seemed to have asked what if the Kaiser had won in 1918?

And so World War When was born: a new, exciting reinvention of the end of 1914-1918 conflict.

But then I realised I had re-ignited my own conflicts: by telling a story of how the Central Powers had stormed across Europe to raise the Kaiser’s flag atop Buckingham Palace, I was erasing all the pain and suffering that our great grandparents had gone through. Perhaps I was looking too deeply into this. My solution? I made my characters, my protagonists, question the world they were living in. Could it be better? Could it be changed? Was the Great War fought for nought? Was all the pain and suffering they had gone through prior to 1918 a waste? When one of the characters answered ‘yes’, I knew I had my novel’s hook.

World War When poses the question: What if the Allies has lost the Great War?

Find out the answer when the novel, published by AG Books, is released 22 January 2022 in paperback, hardback and on Kindle. You can buy it from Amazon and all good bookstores.

Keep reading for an exclusive extract…

The war began with two shots and it would end with one.

At least that was what Daniel Restarick hoped, waiting in the bombed-out shell of what had been a shop, judging by the strewn cans of food.

The US Army had withdrawn some hours ago, successful in pushing the German offensive back towards Metz. The air was thick with death and rain. Spirals of smoke drifted on the air of the autumn afternoon; devastated buildings forlornly lined either side of the main street. At one end, a Renault FT tank was upended in a crater, having been shelled by enemy artillery. Even at this distance, Restarick could smell the petrol settling in a pool at the bottom of the jagged hole.

He was across the street from the church—one of the few fully standing structures, as if some providence had kept it free from the conceit of humanity. He was tired but focused, the rum from his weekly ration having been spilt during the night. Patience, too, was a prerequisite of a man like him.

At twenty-nine, Restarick was considered a veteran, having seen conflict almost from the moment war broke out. Formerly of the Essex Regiment, he had been hand-picked, during the summer of 1916, by Naval Intelligence—to work in the field for the Factory or, more formally, Room 40, the predominant section in the British Admiralty that handled cryptoanalysis. Covert operations had led him here, with the knowledge that vital information and thus advantage was going to be passed to the Central Powers,. His mission was simple: prevent this by any means necessary.

If the war ended on this one shot, the euphoria and relief across the world would be his doing. It was a heady thought.

It began to rain again, thunderstorms having relented only yesterday evening, almost concurrently with the exchange of fire. Restarick hated the feeling of the cold water against his back, hated the sight of his rifle becoming obscured, hated the stinging in his eyes. Further, he wore no gloves, so the damp had a habit of making his grip more precarious on the lengthy barrel.

He wanted a cigarette but the smoke would give away his position. It would have to wait.

Wiping the sight, he scanned the rubble-strewn street before him, waiting for his quarry and thinking of his return to England, to Surrey and to what he had already lost.

He and Lita had only been married for five months when she died and they had spent very little time together as a couple, stolen moments while he was on leave. There had been no honeymoon. They’d written, of course, as much as the Army Postal Service allowed, but it was a poor replacement.  Still, she had not given any indication of unhappiness or discontent. Although, perhaps that was the role of those left behind. Just as those on the battlefield had to callously dismiss them from their minds.  Lita had worked at the Silvertown munitions factory. The previous year, she had survived an accident that had killed over seventy and injured in excess of four hundred more. Survived to perish later, in a fire in their home in Surrey; she’d been trapped as the ceiling above her collapsed, bringing the bedroom down around her. The ARP wardens and the fire brigade had been unable to save her.

Her funeral had been a small affair. She’d left Spain as a young teenager and found her own way in life. Most of the mourners had been from Restarick’s side of the family, and a handful of officers with whom he’d served. The memory of the day itself was now obscured by the rage that had consumed him. He and Lita, however, had shared a passion for freedom, that fragile bloom, and this pushed him on, to fight against those who would crush it underfoot.

Her portrait, folded away in his pocket, served as his constant reminder.

The land surrounding the town was forest with the occasional patterns of farmland, not easily traversable by vehicle. The target, he had to assume, would arrive in the town on foot and, with both the Rue des Chanoines and Eglise Saint-Etienne mentioned in intercepted messages, the church was the most logical choice for the information exchange to take place.

In the distance, he heard the world rumble. Not thunder, that was too natural a sound. This was the result of mortar shells, ripping into bodies, into metal and into the earth some miles away. The shelling continued for a good hour or so, during which Restarick pushed his mind away from the devastation.

And there was his target, clear as day through his rifle sights. A trench coat, its large collar turned up, obscured any sign of expression or guise, a large grey woollen hat pulled low over the spy’s face. Over one shoulder, they held a khaki hold-all and it was this, Restarick knew, that held the papers he needed to intercept. On reaching the church door, the figure appeared to look around briefly, before ducking into the building.

Restarick cursed and shuffled forward on his belly, careful not to be seen. He couldn’t risk going into the church itself in case the spy wasn’t alone, though he suspected the spy would be making the exchange while out of sight. He would need to be damned fast to shoot down whoever came out of there.

He aimed for the bell tower, firing and quickly reloading. The bell tolled deeply and Restarick refocused his sights on the church door.

Then it was no longer the church door in the crosshairs. Now it was the traitor’s head.

This was it, the moment that would bring the war to an end.

Restarick quickly checked his watch and smiled to himself. 1700hrs. The Great War, 28 July 1914 to 13 September 1918.

He would be the bringer of peace.

He pulled the rifle into his shoulder, the weapon tight in his arms, and squeezed the trigger.

To be continued…

You can find all the buy links for World War When here – https://worldwarwhen.co.uk/shop/

BIO

Elliot Thorpe is a freelance writer, having previously worked for Starlog and written for the sites ‘Den of Geek’, ‘Shadowlocked’, ‘Doctor Who TV’, ‘Red Shirts Always Die’ and ‘TrekThis’, as well as for Encore, the magazine for the theatre professional.

He scripted the full cast audio drama Doctor Who – Cryptobiosis for Big Finish in 2005 and in 2013, his first novel Cold Runs the Blood was published.

He also has contributions in Seasons of War: Tales from a Time War (2015), Grave Matters (2015), Doctor Who – A Time Lord for Change (2016), The Librarian (2017), The Wretched Man (2020) and Sherlock Holmes and the Woman Who Wasn’t (2021).

For many years he enjoyed a working relationship with the West End production of The Definitive Rat Pack and in 2017 co-wrote Just Dino – A Recollection of Dean Martin with Bernard H Thorpe, which was expanded and re-released the following year as Dean Martin – Recollections. To date, three further volumes have followed: Dean Martin’s Movie Moments, Dean Martin – A Discography and For The Good Times: The Dean Martin Compendium. https://www.facebook.com/The-Dean-Martin-Association-110034111572241

He is a long-term regular columnist for the US-based magazine Search (searchmagazine.net), writes for thedoctorwhocompanion.com and co-hosts Sid & Terry’s Doctor Who Podcast on YouTube.

Please visit worldwarwhen.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/World-War-When-A-Novel-112564057994522

Author photo courtesy A E Abbottson

World War When © 2022 Elliot Thorpe

Thanks for visiting today, Elliot,

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 

Happy Birthday Outlaw Justice

Somehow, it is a whole year since the fourth novel in #TheFolvilleChronicles was published!

Continuing the story of potter’s daughter, Mathilda of Twyford, Outlaw Justice, opens in winter 1331 – and a storm is coming in the shape of Sir Richard de Willoughby.

Outlaw Justice

Blurb

England, 1331: Corrupt official, Sir Richard de Willoughby, has been appointed Justice of the Peace, with powers to hunt – and kill – those who oppose him. First on his list? The notorious Coterel brothers and their associates – the Folvilles…

The Folvilles must decide whether to flee into outlawry or take the law into their own hands – but is killing de Willoughby really the answer?

Robert de Folville is keen to dispose of the justice, but Robert’s ingenious wife, Mathilda, has a plan… one that could potentially rid them of Willoughby and yet see them escape the hangman’s noose. But these are tumultuous times and Mathilda must first put herself at great personal risk. Could the tale of a missing noblewoman, overheard by chance, be the key to solving a problem of life or death?

A gripping tale of real-life Robin Hoods, Outlaw Justice is the latest in the critically acclaimed ‘The Folville Chronicles’ series by Jennifer Ash.

Outlaw Justice

Ever since she first came to the attention of the Folville family – as a kidnap victim in The Outlaw’s Ransom- Mathilda of Twyford – has been learning that justice for the people of England comes at a high price. Often, it is those who purport to uphold the law, that break it the most…

Prologue

30th November 1331

‘Lady Isabel is safe, my Lord?’

‘I’ve seen her escorted to her mother in Lincolnshire by trusted friends. Her ravings these past few months have become intolerable. It’s not good for the children. I increasingly fear for her sanity.’

Keeping his countenance neutral, Bennett removed his master’s cloak. ‘May I be of assistance, my Lord? A drink after your journey perhaps?’

‘You may be of assistance by saying nothing of this to anyone. If King Edward were to hear of my wife’s shameful state, he might deem me unworthy of the office he so recently bestowed upon me.’

Bennett dipped his head respectfully and withdrew into the kitchen. He’d worked for Sir Richard de Willoughby long enough to know when to keep his mouth shut.

Damping down the kitchen fire for the night, absorbed in thought, the steward headed towards Lady Willoughby’s chamber. He’d seen no signs of mental instability. He’d heard no ravings. He had, however, heard a row between her and her husband earlier that day. The one and only time in her whole miserable marriage she’d stood up to her lord.

Pushing his mistress’s door open, Bennett surveyed the scene. Lady Isabel’s travelling cloak hung over the back of a chair by the window. Her hairbrush sat on her side table, and her riding boots waited patiently by the door.

A furrow formed on the steward’s forehead as he closed the chamber door, locking it securely behind him.

If you’d like to find out what happens next, Outlaw Justice it is available as both an ebook and paperback. It can be read as a standalone novel, or as part of #TheFolvilleChronicles

The Outlaw’s Ransom – mybook.to/theoutlawsransom

The Winter Outlaw- mybook.to/thewinteroutlaw

Edward’s Outlaw – mybook.to/EdwardsOutlaw

Outlaw Justice – mybook.to/OutlawJustice

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer x

Opening Lines with P.J. Reed: Bluebell

We are venturing into the world of children’s fiction in Opening Lines today. So, grab a cuppa, sit back, and channel your inner eight year old with P.J.Reed.

The Fairies of Therwen Wood is about Bluebell; the loveable, flawed but dynamic fairy, who fights evil, and grants wishes. Most of the time, she helps children with their problems like changing schools, problems with friends, being different etc without even using her magic. The Fairies of Therwen Wood is a modern fantasy adventure with a slice of steampunk.

I wrote the book as a first step into the world of fantasy for children on their fantasy journey towards J. K. Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien. I attend many fantasy comic conventions as an adult fantasy author. They are huge family occasions, and I had many parents come and ask me if my books were suitable for children. Unfortunately, the language in my adult high fantasy books is too complicated for most children. Therefore, I decided to write a children’s fantasy series, give them a book full of excitement that makes them want to read more and to take them into a magical land away from the stresses of their everyday life.

The Fairies of Therwen Wood stars Bluebell, who was my daughter’s tooth fairy. As well as giving a pound per tooth, Bluebell also used to write my daughter a letter about her exciting adventures and her battles against the evil imps, who wanted to steal their magic dust. My daughter loved these tales and still remembers them today, so I decided to use Bluebell as my inspiration when writing my children’s books.

FIRST 500 WORDS –

Bluebell woke up and smiled. She was now one of the wish fairies of Therwen Wood.

Her job was to grant wishes to boys and girls. She hoped to be asked to grant some really good wishes, like visiting a chocolate factory, or meeting pirates in the Caribbean.

Bluebell frowned and crossed her fingers, as she wished her new job would go well. She did not want to get in trouble again.

Once in training, she had been sent to grant a wish for a little boy called Peter.

He had been a very good boy helping his mother look after his new baby sister, and it was his fifth birthday, so the Office of Wishes had decided to grant Peter a wish. Peter had wished for a dragon. So, Bluebell had made a green Irish dragon appear in his bedroom.

Unfortunately, the wish had not gone well. Peter had really wanted a pet lizard and not an actual, living dragon.

The dragon had roared once and then his green cheeks and tummy had turned fiery red.

The boy had screamed and dived underneath his bed.

Bluebell had screamed and hidden behind the plastic dinosaur on his window ledge, as a stream of fire came out of the surprised dragon’s mouth. A large black hole appeared in Peter’s brand new dinosaur curtains. He had cried and Bluebell had felt very bad.

Madame Primrose, Bluebell’s wish teacher had appeared in Peter’s bedroom, wearing a fluffy pink dress and a pair of fluffy pink slippers. Madame Primrose had sent the dragon back to its cave. Then, she had cast a memory spell on the little boy, so that he would forget all about the dragon.

Madame Primrose had shouted at Bluebell for being a silly fairy and granting bad wishes. Then she had vanished in a puff of pink smoke.

Bluebell shivered. Madame Primrose was a rather angry fairy teacher. The tip of her nose went bright red when she shouted, and it had gone even redder, when Bluebell had told her about it.

‘I must remember not to grant any bad wishes today,’ said Bluebell, as she lay in her conker shell bed. It was so warm and soft that she did not want to get up.

The sun shone through the windows of her little red and white spotted toadstool house. The flowers in the pots that lined her bedroom window opened their yellow petals, yawned, and danced in the sunlight. It was a lovely, hot, summery day.

Bluebell groaned and dragged herself out of bed. She could not be late. It was her first day as an official Therwen Wood wish fairy.

Bluebell went to her bathroom and touched the little white cloud which hung above the door. The cloud grew bigger and sparkled. Then the cloud started to rain. It was a lovely, warm, magical rain. Bluebell jumped under the cloud and the water ran over her.

On a shelf, under the bathroom window, was a row of…

BUY LINK – https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Bluebell-Fairies-Therwen-P-J-Reed

BIO

P.J. Reed

Writer of Warlocks. Destroyer of Worlds.

She is an award-winning, multi-genre author with books ranging from high fantasy, horror, to haiku. She writes the Richard Radcliffe Paranormal Investigations series and the Bad Decisions series. Reed is also the editor and chief paranormal investigator for the Exmoor Noir newsletter.

Finally, she has written a series of seasonal haiku collections – Haiku Yellow, Haiku Gold, Haiku Summer, and Haiku Ice as well as Flicker one sizzling senryu collection.

Reed lives in Devon, England with her two daughters, one rescue dog, and one feral cat called Sammy.

For more information about Reed visit one of her websites below but choose wisely!

The Dark Worlds  – https://pjreedwriting.wixsite.com/darkworlds

Poetry – https://pjreedwriting.wixsite.com/poetry

Fantasy – https://pjreedwriting.wixsite.com/fantasy

Twitter – https://twitter.com/PJReed_author

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/P.J.ReedWriting

***

Many thanks for sharing the beginning of Bluebell’s adventure with us today, Pam.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Will there ever be outlaw justice?

Continuing the story of potter’s daughter, Mathilda of Twyford, Outlaw Justice, opens in winter 1331 – and a storm is coming in the shape of Sir Richard de Willoughby.

Outlaw Justice

Blurb

England, 1331: Corrupt official, Sir Richard de Willoughby, has been appointed Justice of the Peace, with powers to hunt – and kill – those who oppose him. First on his list? The notorious Coterel brothers and their associates – the Folvilles…

The Folvilles must decide whether to flee into outlawry or take the law into their own hands – but is killing de Willoughby really the answer?

Robert de Folville is keen to dispose of the justice, but Robert’s ingenious wife, Mathilda, has a plan… one that could potentially rid them of Willoughby and yet see them escape the hangman’s noose. But these are tumultuous times and Mathilda must first put herself at great personal risk. Could the tale of a missing noblewoman, overheard by chance, be the key to solving a problem of life or death?

A gripping tale of real-life Robin Hoods, Outlaw Justice is the latest in the critically acclaimed ‘The Folville Chronicles’ series by Jennifer Ash.

Outlaw Justice

Ever since she first came to the attention of the Folville family – as a kidnap victim – Mathilda of Twyford – has been learning that justice for the people of England comes at a high price. Often, it is those who purport to uphold the law, that break it the most…

Prologue

30th November 1331

‘Lady Isabel is safe, my Lord?’

‘I’ve seen her escorted to her mother in Lincolnshire by trusted friends. Her ravings these past few months have become intolerable. It’s not good for the children. I increasingly fear for her sanity.’

Keeping his countenance neutral, Bennett removed his master’s cloak. ‘May I be of assistance, my Lord? A drink after your journey perhaps?’

‘You may be of assistance by saying nothing of this to anyone. If King Edward were to hear of my wife’s shameful state, he might deem me unworthy of the office he so recently bestowed upon me.’

Bennett dipped his head respectfully and withdrew into the kitchen. He’d worked for Sir Richard de Willoughby long enough to know when to keep his mouth shut.

Damping down the kitchen fire for the night, absorbed in thought, the steward headed towards Lady Willoughby’s chamber. He’d seen no signs of mental instability. He’d heard no ravings. He had, however, heard a row between her and her husband earlier that day. The one and only time in her whole miserable marriage she’d stood up to her lord.

Pushing his mistress’s door open, Bennett surveyed the scene. Lady Isabel’s travelling cloak hung over the back of a chair by the window. Her hairbrush sat on her side table, and her riding boots waited patiently by the door.

A furrow formed on the steward’s forehead as he closed the chamber door, locking it securely behind him.

If you’d like to find out what happens next, Outlaw Justice it is available as both an ebook and paperback. It can be read as a standalone novel, or as part of #TheFolvilleChronicles

The Outlaw’s Ransom – mybook.to/theoutlawsransom

The Winter Outlaw- mybook.to/thewinteroutlaw

Edward’s Outlaw – mybook.to/EdwardsOutlaw

Outlaw Justice – mybook.to/OutlawJustice

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer x

The Reluctant Investigator: Edward’s Outlaw

In the first two novels of the series, The Outlaw’s Ransom and The Winter Outlaw, Mathilda of Twyford (now Lady Mathilda de Folville), found herself thrust into situations where she had to get to the bottom of a crime simply to stay alive. In book three, Edward’s Outlaw, however, Mathilda’s reputation for solving mysteries sees her being asked to solve a murder by the sheriff…and she is in no position to say no…

Blurb

January 1330: England is awash with corruption. King Edward III has finally claimed the crown from his scheming mother, Queen Isabella, and is determined to clean up his kingdom.

Encouraged by his new wife, Philippa of Hainault, and her special advisor ‑ a man who knows the noble felons of England very well ‑ King Edward sends word to Roger Wennesley of Leicestershire, with orders to arrest the notorious Folville brothers… including the newly married Robert de Folville.

Robert takes his wife, Mathilda, to Rockingham Castle for her own safety, but no sooner has he left than a maid is found murdered. The dead girl looks a lot like Mathilda. Was the maid really the target ‑ or is Mathilda’s life in danger?

Asked to investigate by the county sheriff in exchange for him slowing the hunt for her husband, Mathilda soon uncovers far more than murder… including a web of deception which trails from London, to Derbyshire, and beyond…

The third thrilling instalment in Jennifer Ash’s The Folville Chronicles series.

***

Mathilda has only been married to Robert de Folville for three days, and already trouble has coming knocking at door of their home; Ashby Folville manor, Leicestershire. A warrant for the brother’s arrest sends Mathilda alone into Rockingham Castle for her own safety. Under the protection of its constable, Robert de Vere, she shelters within the castle while her husband and his brothers are on the run.

Mathilda doesn’t have time to worry about Robert for long, for within only a few days a young girl is dead and the sheriff thrusts the role of detective upon her.

Why would anyone here believe her, even if she did find the killer? The word of a woman, even one who has married into one of the most notorious households in England, is not worth much without substantial evidence. And what if she gets it wrong and accuses the wrong person? Mathilda’s terrified that she might send the wrong person to the gallows.

The pressure on Mathilda to succeed becomes even greater when she begins to wonder if Agnes, the murdered maid, was the intended victim after all. The more Mathilda thinks about it, the more she sees how easy it would have been for the killer to mistake the dead girl for her…Was Mathilda the intended target after all?

Extract

Blood hammered in Mathilda’s ears. She had tracked down killers in the past, but never by appointment. The first time had been unintentional, a task she’d stumbled upon to save her father’s honour and her freedom. The second had come with an even higher price tag. The cost of failure would have been her life.

Now, these previous successes had earned her a third attempt, and Mathilda doubted she was up to the task. In Ashby Folville she had Sarah and Adam to back her up, not to mention Robert and his brothers. Here, she was alone but for Daniel, who’d already had a myriad of household duties heaped upon him.

Would her desire to find justice for Agnes, and her equally strong curiosity to uncover what was going on in the castle, be enough to solve the crime. Or crimes?

Whatever her misgivings, Mathilda’s starting point was clear. The sheriff and his associates had not yet left the castle. She wanted to talk to each of them privately. The constable had promised her the freedom of the castle while he’d had little choice but to agree, but would he continue to extend that offer once Wennesley and his comrades had gone to recommence the search for her husband.

Not sure if she was heartened or worried by Sheriff Ingram’s claim that she was unstoppable in her pursuit of felons, Mathilda wiped away the perspiration from her palms.

As she walked towards de Vere’s rooms, Mathilda forced herself to focus. Even if the arresting party remained with the constable, that didn’t mean they would be willing to answer her questions. After all, they hadn’t been there when Agnes had died, yet Mathilda couldn’t shift the uneasy feeling that it was all connected somehow. She had no logical reason for that suspicion beyond the coincidence of Isabella’s abrupt reappearance and the night-time movements of a tall, short-haired man who could have been either of the younger men on the warrant party… or someone else entirely….

***

Edwards’ Outlaw can be read as a standalone book, or as part of The Folville Chronicles. (Book 1- The Outlaw’s Ransom– Book 2- The Winter Outlaw)

If you’d like to read Edward’s Outlaw, – or any of The Folville Chronicles, they are available in eBook format and paperback from all good reatilers, including…

The Outlaw’s Ransom – mybook.to/theoutlawsransom

The Winter Outlaw- mybook.to/thewinteroutlaw

Edward’s Outlaw – mybook.to/EdwardsOutlaw

Outlaw Justice – mybook.to/OutlawJustice

Happy reading,

Jennifer xx

Mathilda: An Unexpected Heroine

When I first created the character of Mathilda of Twyford, she was simply a character that one of my contemporary fiction heroines, Grace Harper (from Romancing Robin Hood), invented. Mathilda was a protagonist within a novel that was never supposed to be written- created by an author I’d made up.

At that time, I had no idea Mathilda was to going to escape from Grace Harper’s imagination to become a major player in a series of darker novels, which are far more crime and romance.

Mathilda of Twyford is a nineteen year old potter’s daughter, thrown into the midst of the notorious criminal family, the Folvilles – quite literally. Originally their hostage, Mathilda’s skill for finding out information – and her quick wits – quickly made her an asset that the Folville’s don’t want to give up. She has also- much to her surprise, found herself endeared to the principles of the seven brothers (well- six of them- one is just pure evil). She admires their brand of justice, which is less corrupt than the legal officials that run the country.

Not only does has Mathilda become a vital part of the Folville family, she has become their friend. And soon…if the winter outlaw can be stopped…she is destined to become much more…

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.

After an attack on the household’s trusted housekeeper, it falls to Mathilda to work out who can be trusted and who can’t… With the Folvilles’ past about to trip them up, it’s going to take a level head and extreme bravery if Mathilda and Robert are ever going to make it to their Winter Solstice wedding.

The Winter Outlaw is the sequel to The Outlaw’s Ransom

(You don’t need to have read The Outlaw’s Ransom to enjoy The Winter Outlaw)

One of the things I like best about, Mathilda, is that she stops to think before she acts – unlike the brother’s she is helping! Here’s an extract from The Winter Outlaw to whet your appetite. An unwanted messenger has delivered bad news to the household- a ruthless outlaw is in the area…

… Robert de Folville rose to see if his steward, Owen, had returned, but Mathilda put out a hand to stop him.

‘There’s something else.’

Robert frowned. ‘What do you mean?’

‘Someone has been taking food from the store in the night.’

‘What?’ Robert’s shout echoed through the room ‘Why didn’t you say?’

‘Are you going to stay calm long enough for me to tell you; because I don’t think it has anything to do with what happened to Sarah, nor with the messenger. Yet it occurs to me that the soul it does concern is in danger of becoming a scapegoat for whatever else is going on around here.’

‘What in Our Lady’s name are you talking about Mathilda? I think you’d better start from the beginning.’

The afternoon of Sarah’s attack, Mathilda reported, she had been working late in the kitchen, making a thin broth to tempt the housekeeper with once she’d come to her wits. She thought she’d heard something moving outside. The yard had already been secured against the early winter night, so the slight shuffling sound had alerted her attention.

When Mathilda had gone to investigate, there had been no sign of anyone. On entering the stores however she’d discovered that a few apples had been knocked over. As she’d looked around she had wondered if everything else that should have been there, was there. Nothing was obviously missing, so she had assumed all she’d heard was the fall of badly balanced fruit. The following evening, though, she’d listened out on purpose, and again heard the soft shuffle of something that sounded very much like feet. Waiting until the noise had passed, her heart beating fast, Mathilda had gone to check, and found that two apples were missing.

At the time, she explained, she’d decided not to say anything to Robert, as he was already in a fury about Sarah’s attack, and thinking that only the very desperate or very stupid would steal from the Folvilles, Mathilda had been convinced that someone with a score to settle against the family would have caused as much damage as possible, not just scrumped a few apples.

Convinced her instinct was correct, and that the minor theft from the store was nothing to do with Sarah’s attack, Mathilda had kept her suspicions to herself.

‘I decided to test my theory before I accused an innocent man of theft. So the following night I baked three extra loaves of bread, making a distinctive cross pattern in the top. I sprinkled them with flour and crept out into the store to leave them as tempting bait.’

Mathilda had spoken into the flames of the fire as she relayed what had happened until that moment. Now she squarely faced her future husband, ‘I checked that Sarah was alright. Then I waited until the household was asleep, before hiding at the back of the store.’

Robert sighed. ‘I ought to be angry. I am angry; yet at the same time… well, let’s just say I’m sure you were born to be a member of this household.’

Touched and surprised by her future husband’s calm acceptance of what she’d done, Mathilda took up her story again, ‘The more I thought about it, and the fact that no damage had been done and only a tiny amount of food had been taken, convinced me that this thief isn’t greedy. This is a person who needs to eat. This is a question of survival, and having found a good supply of unguarded food, they dived in and out at speed, taking what they could consume instantly, and hopefully, what won’t be missed. I thought however, that the lure of fresh bread last night would be too hard for him to resist.’

‘Last night!’ This time Robert did shout, but Mathilda held up her hand placating him.

‘Yes, last night. I crouched behind the barrels of cider. I didn’t have to wait long. That was when I knew I should have told you, my Lord. I was anxious, and your comforting presence was missed. Especially when a shadowy figure sidled into the store. I could hardly even hear his breathing. This person had learnt to be careful.’

‘Get to the crux, woman!’ Robert barked in exasperation.

‘The man hesitated in the doorway. He hadn’t expected the loaves. His hand hovered over them for ages while his eyes stayed on the apples he’d evidently returned for. I guess he was weighing up if he could hope the missing loaf would be blamed on theft by a dog or some such.

‘In the end I got fed up with waiting for him to do something. He was just stood there, staring longingly at the bread. So, without showing myself, I spoke to him.’

‘Saying what? And I hope you truly did keep to the shadows that time!’

‘I did, my Lord. I said, “You must be extremely hungry to invade this particular household.” He ran to the door straight away, but I called after him. I said, “Enjoy the bread, I made it for you.” That’s when he stopped and turned to where I was crouched.

‘He asked me why I’d baked for him. I told him only a desperate man steals from a Folville, so he must be truly in dire need of food. He stuttered, “A Folville…?”, then he ran. I doubt he’ll be back. He had no idea this was your manor, Robert, I’m sure of it. Which means this man is not connected with today’s loathsome messenger.’

‘Why in the name of all that is Holy didn’t you tell me? Why so reckless? Honestly, woman!’

‘I was going to tell you this morning, but our conversation was interrupted.’

Incensed that someone had dared steal from them, Robert threw his tankard of ale at the fire. ‘There was a time when the Folville name was enough to keep the thieves away. Is the state of the country so bad that I have to employ a guard dog?’…

***

I hope you enjoyed that. It is so hard to share an extract that won’t give too much away!

Buy Links-

The Folville Chronicles

The Outlaw’s Ransom – mybook.to/theoutlawsransom

The Winter Outlaw- mybook.to/thewinteroutlaw

Edward’s Outlaw – mybook.to/EdwardsOutlaw

Outlaw Justice – mybook.to/OutlawJustice

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén