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

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Opening Lines with Morwenna Blackwood: Cover Your Tracks

#Openinglines time is upon us once more, and this week I’ll thrilled to welcome back the fabulous  Morwenna Blackwood; friend, author, and #novelinayear alumni, to share the first 500 words of her latest publication, Cover Your Tracks.

Blurb:

It’s 1984. Newly appointed chief reporter, Simon, stands in a derelict area behind a condemned railway station. A train driver has been found, hanging.

The apparent suicide leads Simon into an investigation of class-wars, corruption, and devestating home-truths. And then he disappears.

Two decades later, Nia, the daughter he never knew he had, is trying to find out what happened to him. Will she exposed the truth, and get her life back on the rails? Or will she end up having to cover her own tracks?

FIRST 500 WORDS:

Simon, 1984.

It’s a cliché of a scene; the police officer I spoke to on the phone was right. A thick rope tied to a branch of a gnarly old tree, and dangling from its other end is a middle-aged man, dressed in jeans and a lumber shirt. On the ground a little in front of him, among fallen acorns, lies the plastic milk crate he’d kicked away when he’d reached the point of no return. Critical mass. The half-empty bottle of amber-coloured spirits by the foot of the tree must have helped him along his way.

A weird sort of detachedness comes over me as I regard the man. It occurs to me that I should be shocked, or upset, or something, but all I can think about is the fact that he’s still hanging there. Presumably, someone comes to take the body down and wheel it off to the morgue before they allow the press in, don’t they? But I keep forgetting that I’m in the South-West now. Things are different in the countryside. Usual rules don’t apply, I suppose because no one’s watching. No one cares but the locals.

My sight drifts in and out of focus as I watch the dead man swinging slightly in the cold wind, and I wonder for the umpteenth time whether I’ve made the right decision moving down here. Despite myself, I take my hat off in respect – for the dead man, or my former life, I’m not sure.

“Blimey, boy!” The policeman pronounces it bey. “You’re either made of strong stuff or you’re a serial killer in disguise!” The rotund, moustached man pulls a cigarette out of his pocket and tilts the packet in my direction. I smile and reach out to take one, but he pulls the packet back, uncertainty flitting across his face. “Actually, are you old enough, boy?”

It’s become an automatic response to laugh and make light of it when people say things like this. I expect the growing knot of seething fury I keep locked up in my stomach will give me an ulcer one day.

“Yes, I’m 21, Officer. Mr Locke wouldn’t send the YTS lad to a suicide.”

Mr Locke – Derek – is the editor – or, rather, the commander and chief – of the Eskwich Gazette, the local rag I work on now. I could have taken the job I was offered in Winchester, or even tried to make it in London. But I went for the chief reporter’s position on the Swansbourne Gazette, and moved down there, and then the Esky Gazette called me – although that doesn’t count as being headhunted, according to my father – and now I take a train and a bus here and back every day for the privilege of a few more pounds a year. I ought to get a place here in Eskwich, really, but I enjoy living in my little flat above the chippy – it’s comforting, somehow, listening to the sea, and the trains going past. It makes…

***

You can buy Cover Your Tracks from all good ebook retailers, including: Cover Your Tracks eBook : Blackwood, Morwenna: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Bio

When she was six years old, Morwenna wrote an endless story about a frog, and hasn’t stopped writing since.

She’s the author of bestselling noir psychological thrillers, The (D)Evolution of Us, Glasshouse, Underrated and Skin and Bone; and has written short stories and a collection of poetry. Morwenna has an MA in Creative Writing, and can usually be found down by the sea.

She often thinks about that frog.

Links

www.morwennablackwoodauthor.com

https://www.amazon.com/author/morwennablackwood

https://www.threads.com/morwennablackwood

https://www.instagram.com/morwennablackwood_

https://www.twitter.com/morwennablackw1

mybook.to/devolution

mybook.to/glasshousenovel

mybook.to/underrated

mybook.to/skinandbone 

***

Many thanks, Morwenna.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Tiny Taster: Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange

With Spring in full swing – and hints of summer around the corner – I thought I’d share a tiny taster from the third novel in the #MillGrange,

Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange.

Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange

BLURB

Helen Rogers has been lying to herself over her feelings for Tom since the moment they met. And for good reason; not only are they colleagues, working together with the archaeology groups at Mill Grange, but her sabbatical is almost over and she’ll soon have to return to Bath.

Tom Harris knows he’s falling in love with Helen. How could he not? She’s smart, kind and great with his son Dylan. But with his ex-wife suddenly offering him a chance to spend more time with Dylan, and the staff of Mill Grange about to host a wedding, everything else has to be put to one side. Even his feelings for a certain archaeologist.

As Helen’s time at Mill Grange runs short, the two are forced to consider what matters most…

Set in the beautiful Exmoor countryside, on the border of Devon and Somerset, Spring Blossoms, continues the story of Thea, Shaun, Sam, Tina, Mable and Bert – as well as Helen and Tom, who were newcomers to the house in Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange.

Here’s a tiny taster…

‘Do you honestly think I’ll need eighteen pairs of knickers? It’s the Cotswolds, not the Kalahari.’

Thea scooped the entire contents of her underwear drawer onto the bed as Shaun flung open a suitcase.

‘No, I think you’ll need thirty pairs or more, but as you only have eighteen, then pack them.’

‘Seriously?’ Thea eyed some of her older undies with suspicion. The greying fabric had been consigned to the back of the drawer to be used in emergencies only, although now she thought about it, she wasn’t sure what that emergency might be. An archaeological excavation in the middle of nowhere, perhaps?

‘You know what it’s like on a dig. Laundry facilities only happen to other people. A flushing toilet can be a luxury sometimes.’

‘Won’t the local village have a launderette?’

‘It’s the Cotswolds, Thea. The people who can afford to live there don’t need launderettes.’ Shaun winked. ‘I tend to wring out my smalls in the nearest public toilet sink or a bucket of cold water.’

Thea laughed. ‘I used to do that when I was a student on excavation.’ Stuffing every pair of socks she owned into the suitcase, she added, ‘Age has softened me!’

‘You’ve got used to manor house living, that’s what it is.’ As Shaun threw a pile of t-shirts onto the bed, he caught a glimpse of anxiety crossing Thea’s face. ‘I was…

***

You don’t have to have read Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange or Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange, to enjoy Spring Blossoms, although you’d probably get more from the story if you have.

If you would like to buy an e-copy, paperback or audio version of Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange, you can purchase a copy from all good retailers, including…

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Opening Lines with Rachel Brimble: Dressing the Countess

It’s #openinglines time!

I’m delighted to be welcoming the brilliant Rachel Brimble back to my blog, to talk about her latest novel – published this very day!

Over to you, Rachel…

Hi Jenny!

Thank you so much for having me back on your blog and the opportunity to share the first 500 words of my brand new novel Dressing the Countess, which comes out today!

Blurb 

Fans of Kristy Cambron and Mimi Matthews will adore this Victorian romance from historical fiction dynamo, Rachel Brimble.

Seamstress Rose Watson cannot believe her good fortune when she’s plucked from obscurity to work for Lady Christina, the Countess of Bath. Despite her parents’ distrust that the position will come with conditions, Rose accepts the unexpected offer. 

When she arrives at the royal residence of Henlow House, a strange sense of destiny whispers through her, and Rose cannot wait for this new adventure to begin. Although, she has Henry Ward to deal with, the handsome, risk-taking and—though she is loath to admit it—exciting royal saddler and horse trainer, who both fascinates and frustrates her in equal measure. 

Rose and Henry could not be more different…with the exception of their hunger for more.

But as they begin to trust one another, and their bond flourishes, Rose’s connection with Henry could cause her to lose her position at Henlow House, which would destroy her. Will she be forced to choose between love and ambition? Either choice will change her life irrevocably.

A captivating escape that will touch your heart and keep you turning pages with impatient hope for Rose… 

This is an historical romance set in the fictional court of the Earl and Countess of Bath and revolves around the lives and developing romance of royal seamstress Rose Watson and master saddler, Henry Ward.

The opening snippet I am sharing is the lead up to the most pivotal moment of Rose’s life. Enjoy!

Here’s the first 500 words, exactly…

Regent Street, London, March 1866

Rose Watson tightened her hold on her sketchbook and walked in a slow circle around the mannequin in front of her, her head tilted and eyes narrowed. A dart of hazy sunshine streaming through the shop window lit her work in a delicate glow, heartening Rose’s hope that the lady’s dresser—Mrs. Hayworth, who had ordered the dress—would be delighted with it. Despite her trepidation, the longer Rose stared at her creation, the more persistently a smile pulled at her lips. There could be no denying it. The dress was a triumph. Her best yet.

She lightly ran her hand over the emerald-green velvet of the embroidered bodice, her fingertips tracing the whorls and swirls of intertwined vines and the shimmering silver thread edging the butterflies’ wings as they frolicked from waist to décolletage. The jet beading on the sash, as well as trimming the cuffs and hem glinted, the delicate black overlay falling perfectly over the skirt, making the stiffness and aches Rose had suffered in her knuckles and back during the stitching worth every uncomfortable minute.

Oh, how desperate she was to know the identity of the woman who would wear it! Mrs. Hayworth had been so reticent, so discreet about her mistress, it was impossible to guess. Whoever she might be, her dimensions proved her fortunate enough to possess a perfectly proportioned figure and, although unusually tall, Rose had no doubt the woman’s height would only make her more striking. Mrs. Hayworth had shared with Rose’s father that her mistress had light-brown hair, blue eyes, an olive complexion, and a deep love of nature, especially of the world’s creatures. All details Rose had kept at the forefront of her mind while designing and making the dress.

She glanced at the wall clock and drew in a long, calming breath. Mrs. Hayworth was due at any moment for a final viewing and—fingers crossed—a concluding endorsement. If she approved…Rose closed her eyes. Please let her approve. Only then would Rose carefully remove the dress from its mannequin and prepare it for delivery.

“Oh, Rose. It’s marvelous.” Florence Davis, Rose’s friend and fellow seamstress, entered the shop from the back room and slid her arm around Rose’s waist, hugging her close. “Whoever this dress belongs to owes you a hundred thank-yous.”

Rare nerves took flight in Rose’s stomach as her confidence faltered. “Do you really believe it will meet her expectations?”

Florence laughed. “How could it not? It’s beautiful.”

“I am certainly proud of it, but…” Rose eased out of her friend’s embrace and circled the mannequin again, the heels of her shoes tapping the floorboards. “It doesn’t matter how much I believe this dress is my finest work. Not knowing who will wear it makes me uneasy. She could be anyone. Her taste a million miles from mine. Mrs. Hayworth was so very vague with her brief, leaving all to me and my imagination.”

“Which is a good sign. You have…

You can buy Dressing the Countess from all good retailers: https://geni.us/B3SPq

Bio:

Rachel lives with her husband in a small town near Bath, England.

She is the author of 30 novels and has been published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, Kensington Books and others. Her most popular series include the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy and the Shop Girl series, both published with Aria Fiction. Her latest novel, Dressing the Countess is her debut novel with Harpeth Road Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Female Entrepreneur Association and has thousands of social media followers all over the world. She is also studying for a history degree with the Open University.

To sign up for her newsletter (a guaranteed giveaway every month!), click here: https://bit.ly/3zyH7dt

Website: https://bit.ly/3wH7HQs

Twitter: https://bit.ly/3AQvK0A

Facebook: https://bit.ly/3i49GZ3

Instagram: https://bit.ly/3lTQZbF

BookBub: https://shorturl.at/nrxFJ 

Many thanks for your fabulous opening lines, Rachel.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Paperback Publication Day: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club

It’s paperback publication day for my #cosycrime novel,

Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club.

BLURB:  Book One of The Robin Hood Club Series

A brand new cosy crime series! Welcome to the Robin Hood Club!

There’s great excitement when a previously undiscovered Robin Hood ballad manuscript, Robin Hood and the Carter, turns up in the same town as the Robin Hood Club’s latest fan convention.

But the Robin Hood Club’s special guest – Harriet, “Hari”, Danby, writer and creator of the hit TV series, Return to Sherwood – can’t help thinking the discovery is rather too coincidental.

With her best friend, Dot, at her side, Hari finds herself taken out of her quiet writing life and catapulted into a world of enthusiastic fans, actors egos, and jealous fellow authors.

As the Robin Hood Club event gets underway, speculation about the new ballad grows… and then Hari notices that one of the Robin Hood Club’s most devoted followers has gone missing…

***

You don’t need to be a Robin Hood fan to enjoy this book, it’s written for all #cosycrime readers. But if you have a fondness for cosy crime, cookies, and Britain’s favourite medieval outlaw, then this is definitely the read for you!

Available in paperback, eBook format, and on Kindle Unlimited from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

I’ve been overwhelmed by the kind comments and the kind reviews the ebook version of Manuscript Mysteries has prompted.

Here are a couple of the lovely things folk have said over on Amazon.co.uk

5.0 out of 5 stars

Excellent cosy crime in a familiar setting

I really enjoyed the story, well paced, plotted and with a well hidden but believable ‘villain’ culminating in a satisfying ending. What I particularly enjoyed was how well the author captured the convention setting, having been to a few of them, it felt believable, the right mix of characters, eccentrics, celebrities and excitement these events have which made the story so relatable. Looking forward to the second book and the further development of the many interesting characters.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyable read.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 May 2024

This book was the perfect escapist read for me. I’ve always been a huge Robin of Sherwood fan. I found the combination of medieval history with a modern day narrative AND a tantalising mystery utterly absorbing. Can’t wait for the next one.

I highly recommend this book.

 

Thanks again for all your support.

More news on The Robin Hood Club, soon.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Nothing’s Forgotten: Thank you Mr Carpenter

It never ceases to amaze me how the small things in life ultimately have the ability to have such a massive impact on us later. Often we don’t even notice it happening until we suddenly look back and see that if “this hadn’t happened, then that wouldn’t have happened….” and on the chain goes, link after link, until you find yourself where you are right now.

For me the chain began with a single link forty-ish years ago, thanks to an incredible writer: Mr Richard ‘Kip’ Carpenter. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

(With apologises to thos eof you who’ve heard this story before…)  I was a very shy teenager- self-conscious- awkward- the stereotypical wall flower. (Part of me still is!!) When I was fourteen I became ill- nothing life threatening, but exhausting. As a consequence I was unable to go to school for several months. My parents- to whom I will always be grateful- went to the nearest Radio Rentals and hired one of those new fangled video recorders so I could watch television whenever I liked during the day.

The very day they signed that rental agreement, an episode of Robin of Sherwood aired on ITV (an HTV and Goldcrest production). That episode was called Adam Bell, and was the ninth episode of the third series- I watched it over and over again.

For the first time in my life I had fallen in love.

RH books 2

Not with any of the cast as such- I fell for the legend.  It truly wasn’t the tight tights that had captured my heart – it was the story. The whole story. All of it. I wanted to know everything- EVERYTHING- that could possibly be known about Robin Hood. No film, book (nonfiction or fiction), was safe from me.

My walls disappeared under posters of RH- any posters- from Errol Flynn, to Richard Greene, to the statue up in Nottingham, to the gorgeous Ray Winstone who played Will Scarlet (Okay- you have me there- I had – still do- have a soft spot for Ray Winstone- there is such a twinkle in those eyes!!!)

The interest became an obsession (In RH not Ray Winstone). When I was better my parents took me to Sherwood- I learnt archery, I read medieval political poems and ballads- I wanted to know the truth- did he exist or didn’t he?

I did a project on RH for my A’ level History. Then I went to university and did a specialist course in Medieval Castle and Ecclesiastical Architecture…I was a medieval junky!! It seemed only natural to do a PhD on the subject- and that is exactly what I did! And all because I’d watched an episode of Robin of Sherwood.

The power of the writing, acting (and therefore casting), not to mention directing of this one show, had a massive impact on my life back then. Of course, I had no way of knowing then, how long that impact would last.

Robin Hood Statue- Nottingham

By this time (in my early twenties), I was pretty certain why the Robin Hood legend had begun- but I wanted to know who had influenced it into the form we know today, and how the real recorded crimes and daily life of the thirteenth and fourteenth century had effected those stories…

It was my PhD that taught me to write- (a tome of epic proportions that is still knocking around my old Uni library gathering dust, while e-versions of it are scattered around many American Universities, and for the really keen, an online PDF version is available…).

Rather than finish off my love of Robin Hood, my PhD polished it to perfection!!

I guess it was only a matter of time before I decided to write a novel about a Robin Hood obsessed historian. (Romancing Robin Hood) And it was all thanks to one man, Richard Carpenter, writing a television show that was so powerful, it never left my mind – and never will.

So, fast forward, 40 (ish) years on from watching that initial episode and – as many of you know – I’m now the show’s chief writer (audio scripts and novels). I have no idea how that happened – well, I do , but I can’t quite believe it!!

One thing I do believe in however, is the importance of saying thank you.

Long before I’d met anyone to do with the creating of the show – past and present – I had wanted to thank the cast, crew, and writers of Robin of Sherwood. They set me on a course that has taken me from a shy child to an adult who has learnt how to handle that shyness, and given me a career I love. It’s difficult to do this without coming across like a crazed fan or some sort of hyper fan-girl (I’m neither- just a regular fan!)- but now I have that chance.

Thank you all.

Cast and crew of Robin of Sherwood – and me! (@Kim Jones)

Sadly, I wasn’t lucky enough to meet Richard Carpenter, for he passed away sometime before I began to write – but I will always be grateful to him. His skill, his depth of character creations, his vision for what he wanted to see on the screen, have taught me so much – not to mention how much joy he brought to so many with his work. (Robin of Sherwood was just one production – Mr Carpenter did so much more; Dick Turpin, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Borrowers…. and more.)

As my time writing for Robin of Sherwood draws to an end (the 40th anniversary year is the right time to stop, so I don’t start to dilute the brand) – I am turning to a new adventure. Again, one very much inspired by my writing hero. This time, it is cosy crime – and a series of books, which will go by the subtitle of #TheRobinHoodClub.

Book One: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club, will be published on 28th April – the day of Robin of Sherwood’s 40th birthday.

The new enterprise is dedicated to Mr Carpenter. After all, I owe him so much.
RH- RoS 2
“Nothing’s Forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.”

Jenny

xxx

 

Welcome to The Robin Hood Club

Over the past 10 years, I’ve been lucky enough to write audio stories and short novels for the fans of the 1980’s television series, Robin of Sherwood. This dream job is sadly, although not unexpectedly, coming to an end later this year.

This is absolutely the best time to call it a day; for 2024 sees the 40th anniversary of the show. To go on would risk diluting the product – and that would be a terrible thing. Love for this epic television programme – the creation of the late, great, Richard Carpenter – is as strong as ever, and I’d hate to start letting its fans down by going on too long.

Cast and crew of Robin of Sherwood – and me!

The writing of the aforesaid stories has led to me having many adventures.  Amongst these, comes the attending of a number of fabulous events, including the Robin of Sherwood fan conventions. (The Hooded Man events). I loved each and every one of them – the people, the places, the things I saw, heard, experienced… (I’m leaving that there!)

I always said these events would inspire me to write a novel one day. Well, they have – in fact, they’ve inspired an entire series.

I’m therefore delighted to be able to introduce you to The Robin Hood Club!

This new series sees the light of day for the first time on 28th April this year. A date that is special to me for two reasons – first of all, it is my eldest child’s birthday – secondly, it is Robin of Sherwood’s birthday!

A cosy crime series, the tales of Dr Harriet Danby, writer-cum-reluctant sleuth, open with a visit to Buxton in the beautiful Peak District: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club.

The cover reveal is coming soon. In the meantime, have a read of the blurb!

A brand new cosy crime series! Welcome to the Robin Hood Club!

There’s great excitement when a previously undiscovered Robin Hood ballad manuscript, Robin Hood and the Carter, turns up in the same town as the Robin Hood Club’s latest fan convention.

But the Robin Hood Club’s special guest – Harriet, “Hari”, Danby, writer and creator of the hit TV series, Return to Sherwood – can’t help thinking the discovery is rather too coincidental.

With her best friend, Dot, at her side, Hari finds herself taken out of her quiet writing life and catapulted into a world of enthusiastic fans, actors egos, and jealous fellow authors.

As the Robin Hood Club event gets underway, speculation about the new ballad grows… and then Hari notices that one of the Robin Hood Club’s most devoted followers has gone missing…

***

Not only was The Robin Hood Club influenced by my Robin of Sherwood experiences, but it was coloured by another novel of mine – Romancing Robin Hood.  This novel – which was responsible for bringing me to the attention of Barnaby Eaton-Jones, (the man behind the new audios and books), – concerns an academic called Grace Harper, who is obsessed with Robin Hood. I had always intended to expand this story and give it sequels. However, each time I tried, I accidentally killed a character – not something that happens often in a romcom. To get around this, I decided to reinvent my original idea and, so, The Robin Hood Club was born.

A happy moment with Barnaby Eaton-Jones at one of the Hooded Man Events

If you are keen to get your copy of Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club, then pre-order links are already available for the #kindle version. The paperback will be out in May 2024.

Preorder:

More news soon…
Jennifer xxx
(Photos @Kim Jones)

Twenty Questions With Jenny Kane

I have been neglecting this blog a little lately, and thought I should put that right! So, I asked a friend to pretend she didn’t know me, and ask me 20 quick-fire questions she thought my readers might want to know the answers to! Yes- I know that’s a little bit mad- but I’m a writer- insanity is only ever inches away!!

  1. 1.Why have you neglected this blog lately?

The other me- Jennifer Ash – has written a new novel that is almost ready to release – so it’s been a case of juggling the final proof read, while writing the next Jenny Kane book, and catching up on all my teaching and editing obligations after a period of illness.

  1. 2. You have three versions of you – are you more like Kay Jaybee (erotica), Jennifer Ash (historical/crime) or Jenny (romance) in real life?

Jenny

  1.  Do you love coffee as much as the characters in Another Cup of Coffee?

Even more than they do!

  1. How do you take your coffee?

Black- nothing added- Americano for preference

  1. 5. How many cups do you drink a day?

Three

  1. 6. Do you really write in cafes and coffee shops?

I really do.

  1. 7.What is your favourite hot drink – apart from coffee?

Coffee is the only hot drink I like- I HATE tea, and I don’t like milk, so can’t have hot chocolate, latte etc

  1. Favourite colour?

Purple

  1. Boots, trainers, or heels?

Boots – I am not sporty, and I’d break my neck in heels. I am very clumsy!

  1. Are the characters in your books based on real people?

Most of the characters in Another Cup of Coffee, A Cornish Escape, the Mill Grange series and The Potting Shed series are based on real people.

  1. Which ones?

My lips are sealed.

  1. Spoil sport- give us a clue?

Okay, so in Another Cup of Coffee,  two of the characters are me and three of them were my best friends at University- (obviously wrote exaggerated versions of them- and they are all still my friends and totally lovely.)

The Potting Shed crew were inspired by the folk at the Old Well Garden Centre in Willand, Devon.

  1. What did you study at University?

I did an Archaeology degree, and then a Medieval History  PhD.

  1. Ohhh-  like Amy did in Another Cup of Coffee.

Yes- just like Amy did- well, the archaeology bit anyway- I think I can guess the next question!

  1. So  are you Amy?

I am a little tiny bit, but only a little bit. I am more like Kit- but not too much!!!

  1. You are known to be mad about Robin Hood – would you ever write your own version of the Robin Hood legend?

Never say never, but I’ve no plans at the moment…

  1. Is Robin of Sherwood still your favourite version of the story?

What a silly question!. YES!

  1. What would you say always surprises people when they meet you?

That I wear hearing aids. (I’m 80% deaf)

  1. Do  you prefer being Kay Jaybee- Queen of BDSM Kink-  Jenny Kane- Writer of  book chocolate – or Jennifer Ash – Robin Hood junky?

I love being all of them – it is wonderful to be able to create such different styles of work, and thus- hopefully- make more people happy when they read! (Well- that’s the plan!)

  1. You mentioned a new Jennifer Ash book – what’s that going to be about?

I can’t say yet – but it isn’t a Robin of Sherwood book (although there is another of those to come), nor is it the next Folville novel… Watch this space!!

I hope my answers made you smile! 

Thanks for dropping by!

Jenny xx

 

A Coffee Shop Habit

Okay- I admit it, I have a serious coffee shop habit! I am addicted- not just to the coffee itself- but to the cafes themselves. I just love them- all of them. From the little independent cafes, the truckers rest stops, one or two of the chains, and the coffee stops tucked away in department stores- I adore them.

I love to watch the people around me, to smile at strangers to see how they respond, to wrap my hands around a coffee mug and inhale the aroma of the drink within. For me, there is something very soothing about these places. Whether they are jammed packed and noisy, or as quiet as the proverbial grave, I simply feel at home in coffee shops.

 

It won’t surprise you to learn then, that – even before I was lucky enough to become a writer in residence in a café, and have my very own corner (with a plaque on the wall!!!), every novel I have ever written has taken shape in various different coffee shops.

From my earliest days writing children’s stories (I used to go into schools and jump around, making up tales about cows, hats, and Doctor Who- yes Doctor Who), to my erotica, my poetry (yes- I write poems as well – naughty ones), and on to my romances, each has begun life with a cup of café poured black coffee to hand.

It seemed totally natural to me therefore, that when I came to create my first non-erotic novel – Another Cup of Coffee – to make coffee shops the main places of meeting and discussion for the main characters.

The coffee shop that features most within Another Cup of Coffee is Pickwicks. Tucked away on a side street in Richmond, London, Pickwicks is run by the ever bubbly Peggy, and her husband Scott. It is here that, newly arrived in London from Scotland, Amy is to find a refuge from her troubles, a temporary job, a possible future, and a potential friend in Kit- a woman who spends her days sat in the corner of Pickwicks writing erotic stories for an American Internet company…

Blurb- Another Cup of Coffee

Thirteen years ago Amy Crane ran away from everyone and everything she knew, ending up in an unfamiliar city with no obvious past and no idea of her future. Now, though, that past has just arrived on her doorstep, in the shape of an old music cassette that Amy hasn’t seen since she was at university.

Digging out her long-neglected Walkman, Amy listens to the lyrics that soundtracked her student days. As long-buried memories are wrenched from the places in her mind where she’s kept them safely locked away for over a decade, Amy is suddenly tired of hiding.

It’s time to confront everything about her life. Time to find all the friends she left behind in England, when her heart got broken and the life she was building for herself was shattered. Time to make sense of all the feelings she’s been bottling up for all this time. And most of all, it’s time to discover why Jack has sent her tape back to her now, after all these years…

With her mantra, New life, New job, New home, playing on a continuous loop in her head, Amy gears herself up with yet another bucket-sized cup of coffee, as she goes forth to lay the ghost of first love to rest…

Here are the opening words…

Taking refuge in the kitchen, Amy placed her palms firmly onto the cool, tiled work surface, and took a couple of deep yet shaky breaths. Forcing her brain to slip back into action, she retrieved a bottle of white wine from the fridge, poured a large glassful and, squaring her shoulders, carried it through to the living room.

Perching on the edge of her sofa, her throat dry, Amy stared suspiciously at the tape for a second, before daring to pick it up and click open its stiff plastic box. Two minutes later, her hands still shaking, she closed it again with a sharp bang, and drank some wine. It took a further five minutes to gather the courage to re-open the case and place the tape into the dusty cassette compartment of her ancient stereo system. It must have been years since she’d seen a cassette, she thought, let alone listened to one. She wasn’t even sure the stereo still worked …

Swallowing another great gulp of alcohol, Amy closed her eyes and pressed Play, not at all sure she wanted to take this trip back in time …

Available from:

In eBook and paperback format from Amazon UK , Nook, Kobo, and all good book stores.

Coffee smile

Who says coffee shops are just for drinking coffee???

Happy reading,
Jenny xx

The Clarks Factory Girls at War: Blog Tour

I’m delighted to be hosting one leg of May Ellis’s #blogtour for her brand new #saga ,

The Clarks Factory Girls at War.

BLURB: The Clarks Factory Girls at War

Can love blossom in times of trouble?

Life-long friends Louisa, Jeannie and Kate are following in the footsteps of their families, working at the Clarks shoe factory.

But when Britain declares war on Germany, the Somerset village of Street is shaken to its core. The Clarks factory is at the heart of life in the village, but the Clark family are Quakers and pacifists. Before long, there are fierce debates amongst the workers and tensions between those who oppose the war and those who believe the village men should go to fight.

Each of the girls must decide her own position but as brothers and sweethearts leave for France, Louisa is relieved that her sweetheart Mattie, a Quaker, who won’t be signing up. But she’ll soon find that they face fierce opposition at home as well as across the Channel.

Will the girls’ friendship be enough to keep them together, as everything around them falls apart?

A heartwarming and gripping new saga series perfect for fans of Elaine Everest and Rosie Clarke.

My Review

This is the first novel in a new series of sagas, written by May Ellis, for Boldwood Books.

Set in and around the Clarks shoe making factory in Street, Somerset, England, the reader is quickly drawn into the world of three young women – Louisa, Jeannie and Kate. It is 1914, and war has just been declared.

Wartime brings new challenges as the friends face abrupt changes in their home and working lives. With their private dreams of romance and fun in jeopardy, the girls are fearful for the countries future, the fate of their brothers, other family members, and friends who are heading off to fight. A situation made even more uncertain by their employers, the Clarks family, who, as Quakers, are vehemently against the hostilities.

Will the Clark’s men by arrested if they refuse to fight? Will the Clarks family welcome back those factory men who chose to go and fight, once the war is over and they come home again? If, they come home.

At a time when it was the norm for women to give their wages to their fathers rather than keep their hard earned money themselves; when they were raised with no other expectation than to find husbands and have families of their own, The Clarks Factory Girls at War takes Lousia, Jeannie and Kate on a three separate, but interconnected, journeys from girlhood to womanhood. We learn how they cope – or struggle to cope – with what life throws at them and their families, friends and factory colleagues.

This is a lovely story of hope, friendship, and the joy and heartbreak of romantic aspirations…

Purchase Link – https://mybook.to/clarksfactorysocial

Author Bio –

May Ellis is an historical saga author published by Boldwood Books. She lives in a house on a road named after a Clarks shoe, on the site of a former boot and shoe factory, so it was inevitable that this writer would want to write about the people who worked for Clarks in days gone by. The first in her series, The Clarks Factory Girls at War, is available from 9th March 2024.

She also writes gritty dramas set in the 1960s and 70s as Alison Knight, which are published by Darkstroke Books.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alison.knight.942

(This blog forms part of a Rachel’s Random Resources #blogtour.)

ONLY 99p Romancing Robin Hood

From today, until 11th March, you can purchase the #kindle version of Romancing Robin Hood for ONLY 99 pence.

67% OFF!!!

Blurb

When you’re in love with a man of legend, how can anyone else match up?

Dr Grace Harper has loved the stories of Robin Hood ever since she first saw them on TV as a teenager. Now, with her fortieth birthday just around the corner, she’s a successful academic in Medieval History—but Grace is stuck in a rut.

Grace is supposed to be writing a textbook on a real-life medieval criminal gang—the Folvilles—but instead she is captivated by a novel she’s secretly writing. A medieval mystery which entwines the story of Folvilles with her long-time love of Robin Hood—and a feisty young woman named Mathilda of Twyford.

Just as she is trying to work out how Mathilda can survive being kidnapped by the Folvilles, Grace’s best friend Daisy announces she is getting married. After a whirlwind romance with a man she loves as much as the creatures in her animal shelter, Daisy has press-ganged Grace into being her bridesmaid.

Witnessing Daisy’s new-found happiness, Grace starts to re-evaluate her own life. Is her devotion to a man who may or may not have lived hundreds of years ago really a substitute for a real-life hero of her own? Grace’s life doesn’t get any easier when she meets Dr Robert Franks—a rival academic who she is determined to dislike but finds herself being increasingly drawn to… If only he didn’t know quite so much about Robin Hood.

Suddenly, spending more time living in the past than the present doesn’t seem such a good idea…

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

Here are a few of the lovely things people have said about Romancing Robin Hood:

“As a scholar of the Robin Hood legend, this novel is right up my street. (Watling St. – where 14th century highwaymen lurk.) The main part of the novel follows medieval historian Dr. Grace Harper . As Grace’s best friend is getting married, Grace discovers a romance of her own. But outside of academic, Grace is writing historical fiction based on the real-life 14th century crime family – The Folvilles. (Jenny Kane in her Jennifer Ash persona has spun this off element into a superb series.) Amazon.com

“I normally don’t really read romance novels but the historical part around the legends of Robin Hood made me curious. I wasn’t disappointed: loveable characters that I could identify with, funny and a very personal feeling to it. Thoroughly enjoyed it.” Amazon UK

“I had always wanted to read a Jenny Kane book. so I was thrilled to bits when I won a signed copy of Romancing Robin Hood. It was a brilliant book and I would recommend it if you are thinking of trying Jenny Kane for the first time.” Amazon UK

“I love Jenny Kane’s books and this one is no exception. Grace is such an engaging character, so in love with her hero, Robin Hood, that she almost misses the hero right under her nose. The pacey plot and sparkling dialogue held me right to the end. A recommended read for all romance lovers out there.” Amazon UK 

“As a massive fan of all things Robin Hood I was intrigued by this book. I am not a big romance fan but this story was absorbing and witty. A lovely twist on historical and fiction. I look forward to reading more by this lovely lady who I happen to of met at a Robin Hood convention.” Amazon UK

“This book had my heart from the start – how I loved Robin of Sherwood back in the 80’s!  Grace is stuck in the middle ages – well not really – but she might as well be – living, breathing, teaching and ever so slightly obsessed by one of the great British stories – Robin Hood.  I loved the idea of having the book Grace is writing in the story – I was just as keen to see this story wrapped up as I was the modern day romance…” Amazon UK

“Lovely engaging take on an old, old story. Terrific heroine and very intelligently written dual narrative. I loved it.” Carol McGrath (Best selling historical fiction author)

“This was one of the most original romances I’ve read. I just loved the addition of the mini medieval crime story within Grace’s quest to find a love in the modern world – a love to rival her affection for her outlaw heroes of literature and TV!” Amazon UK

“I really, really, really liked this story! In the beginning I wasn’t so sure about all the hoping back and forth from Dr Grace Harpers story to on of her own she is writing. I ended up wanting more of each. Jenny would tease us a little with one then tease us a little more with the other. Grace is a REALLY BIG Robin Hood fan and her life is revolved around him. She is supposed to be writing a textbook for her college but she is coming up with her own novel instead and of course you know what it is going to be about. One sad thing about Grace is that she compares everyman she meets to Robin. Is she ever going to find a man like him? Well she just might in this story but things do get a little hairy. How will it end you ask? Sorry I can’t tell you but I DEFINITLY recommend you read this story. Go on a little medieval journey with Grace to see what kind of Robin Hood story she comes up with. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed. I received this book as a gift from the author.” Amazon UK

“…Jenny Kane must have spent so much time on her research. I loved Grace’s story. I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen between her and Robert. Robert understands her love for Robin Hood and her academic passion and it was great to see her with a potential soulmate. Mathilda’s story is really good as well. There’s a bit of mystery combined with a lot of politics and some romance. It’s a great mix… fast paced story that has a few unexpected twists.” ajbookreviewclub

Happy bargain hunting!

Jenny x

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