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

Category: crime Page 1 of 21

10 years of Romancing Robin Hood!

Unbelievably, it is 10 YEARS, since the first edition of my part contemporary romance / part medieval crime novel, Romancing Robin Hood was published!

Since that time, it has been through two incarnations, with two different publishers.

At first it looked like this…

At the moment, it looks like this!

Will the cover change again? Quite possibly, for my previous publisher has retired from the business, and I’m on the hunt for a new one…so who knows! In the meantime, Romancing Robin Hood, is available – with the above cover – as a self published tale.

Here’s the 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 all good retailers, including : Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Romancing Robin Hood is a contemporary romance about history lecturer Dr Grace Harper, who is passionate about Robin Hood and the historical outlaws that may have inspired him. Not only does this novel tell the story of Grace’s fight to find time for romance in her busy work filled life, it also contains a secondary story about the fourteenth century criminal gang Grace is researching- the Folvilles. This family, based in Ashby-Folville in Leicestershire, were a group I researched in-depth as a student many moons ago.

In the novella she is writing, Grace’s fourteenth century protagonist Mathilda is getting to know the Folville family rather better than she would have liked. As well as living with them, she suddenly finds herself under a very frightening type of suspicion. I rather enjoyed weaving this sub plot around the main romance of the modern part of Romancing Robin Hood. This was the first time I’d ever written any sort of crime, and I’d had no idea killing someone off could be so much fun!! It was rather like doing a jigsaw from in the inside out, while having no idea where the corners are! I loved it so much, that it led to me writing all four of the #FolvilleChronicle novels.

In fact, the writing of Romancing Robin Hood has led me on many an adventure; none of which I saw coming. It was this novel that inspired Barnaby Eaton-Jones to invite me to the Hooded Man event in 2016 to sell my books – this celebration of all things Robin of Sherwood,  changed my life forever. After the success of my sales and the wonderful feedback from the guests there,  I was invited to have a go at writing audio books and novels for the ongoing series; a series which just happened to be my favourite of all time.

Now, 8 years later, here we are celebrating the show’s 40th anniversary, and I’m still writing scripts and books for the fans to enjoy. And I love it!!!

Not only that, but my many visits to Robin Hood events and conventions have led me to begin a brand new series of #cosycrime novels- the first being Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club.

Manuscript Mysteries at the Robin Hood Club

I had no idea, when I wrote Romancing Robin Hood, that it would take me so far from being a romcom writer. While I still love writing romcoms and romances, I am now also a crime writer, a cosy crime writer, and audio script writer and more…

Best of all – I’m a happy writer.

Thank you to everyone for their ongoing support!!

Jenny xx

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

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

PUBLICATION DAY: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club

TODAY’S THE DAY!

Today I launch my very first #cosycrime novel.

Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club

A real labour of love, this novel is the first in a series of mysteries, led by Hari Danby and her best friend Dot.

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…

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

For me this novel has been a particularly special venture for three reasons.

First of all, I love reading and writing crime fiction. The Folville Chronicles – a much darker set of crime/mystery novels – was huge fun to write. I’ve really missed creating the style of plotlines you need to weave when writing felonious fiction. So, when the idea came to me to write a cosy crime book, I was determined to go for it. (Okay, so I had the idea in 2017 – but I’ve only just had time to do anything about it!)

Secondly, this is the first time I’ve deliberately aimed to self publish a book. (All my other self published work has previously been with a publisher, and has only been self published once the rights of the story had reverted to me.) It has been a massive learning curve, and I’ve a long way to go before I fully know what I’m doing. In fact, it is safe to say the book wouldn’t have made it into the world without the expert help of both Suzanne Fox and Lucy Felthouse – their advice and formatting skills have been beyond price.

After years of working with either indie or traditional publishers, it’s been both  liberating and terrifying having to do everything myself. Yet, the experience has been fun and – hopefully – it will be rewarding. I’ll only find that out if people buy and like the story!

Finally – the most important reason of all for writing this book is simple.

My time as a writer for Robin of Sherwood will come to an end towards the end of this year.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the best television of all time (in my opinion anyway). Previous posts on this blog talk about my passion for the show, and how lucky I am to have been picked to be the main writer for the audio scripts /novelisations that have been commissioned over the past few years. (One day I might get used to the fact that I’ve been told I write like my hero – Richard Carpenter – but in all honesty, I’m never going to believe it.)

Although my work for RoS has always been undertaken for love not financial reward, it has taken centre stage in my life for a very long time. All my other work is instantly shelved every time the call comes to write – and I do not regret a second of it. How could I? I was being asked to put words – literally – into the mouths of my heroes and heroines. As I said to my friend, prouder, director, and all round nice guy, Barnaby Eaton-Jones the other day – “Robin of Sherwood is the jam in our sponge.”.

Now – with only a few stories left to write for my Robin’s (I loved them both – Loxley and Huntingdon), I have a void in my life to fill. What better way to fill that gap, than by using the experiences I gained during this heady/crazy/fun/ sometimes heart breaking/amazing, unmissable experience to write new works of fiction?

So – WELCOME TO THE ROBIN HOOD CLUB…. and yes, it will be an actual club – and you will be able to join it – but be patient, because I’ve a lot of books to write, scripts to create and – hopefully – a few more smiles to put on the faces of Robin of Sherwood fans first….

***

Manuscript Mysteries is available across ALL Amazon sites (including those shown below), as an ebook from today. A paperback version will be available very soon.

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny.

PS – If you read this novel – or any of my work – and enjoy it, please could you pop a review on Amazon. Every time a book gets a review of 4 or 5 stars, it raises my profile on Amazon and that, in turn, leads to more sales – which helps pay the bills!!

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

 

Cover Reveal: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club

After years of writing romcoms, romances, erotica, and gritty medieval crime, it has been a joy to dip my toe into the world of cosy crime!

I hope you enjoy reading about Hari Danby, her best friend, Dot (cookie maker supreme), Jez (complete with his trademark fedora) and the cast of Return to Sherwood…

Today, I can reveal the cover of Book One of The Robin Hood Club!

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…

***

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:

Happy pre-ordering!
Jennifer x

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)

Happy Valentine’s Day: Robin Hood Style

Valentines

To celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share a little of Romancing Robin Hood– my part romance/part medieval mystery novel- with you.

Romancing Robin Hood is a contemporary romance is based on the life of Dr Grace Harper, a medieval history lecturer with a major Robin Hood obsession. So much so, that instead of writing a textbook on medieval life, Grace is secretly writing a novella about a fourteenth century girl called Mathilda, who gets mixed up with a real outlaw family of the day, the Folvilles. As you read Grace’s story, you can read the medieval mystery she is writing alongside!

The problem is, Grace is so embroiled in her work and passion for outlaws, that real life is passing her by.

RH- E Flynn

With her wedding approaching fast, Grace’s best friend Daisy can’t help wishing a similar happiness to her own for her Robin Hood loving friend…

Extract

…Daisy hadn’t grown up picturing herself floating down the aisle in an over-sequinned ivory frock, nor as a doting parent, looking after triplets and walking a black Labrador. So when, on an out-of-hours trip to the local vet’s surgery she’d met Marcus and discovered that love at first sight wasn’t a myth, it had knocked her for six.

She’d been on a late-night emergency dash to the surgery with an owl a neighbour had found injured in the road. Its wing had required a splint, and it was too big a job for only one pair of hands. Daisy had been more than a bit surprised when the locum vet had stirred some long-suppressed feeling of interest in her, and even more amazed when that feeling had been reciprocated.

It was all luck, sheer luck. Daisy had always believed that anyone meeting anybody was down to two people meeting at exactly the right place, at exactly the right time, while both feeling precisely the right amount of chemistry. The fact that any couples existed at all seemed to Daisy to be one of the greatest miracles of humanity.

She pictured Grace, tucked away in her mad little office only living in the twenty-first century on a part-time basis. Daisy had long since got used to the fact that her closest friend’s mind was more often than not placed firmly in the 1300s. Daisy wished Grace would finish her book. It had become such a part of her. Such an exclusive aim that nothing else seemed to matter very much. Even the job she used to love seemed to be a burden to her now, and Daisy sensed that Grace was beginning to resent the hours it took her away from her life’s work. Maybe if she could get her book over with – get it out of her system – then Grace would stop living in the wrong timeframe.

Daisy knew Grace appreciated that she never advised her to find a bloke, settle down, and live ‘happily ever after,’ and she was equally grateful Grace had never once suggested anything similar to her. Now she had Marcus, however, Daisy had begun to want the same contentment for her friend, and had to bite her tongue whenever they spoke on the phone; something that happened less and less these days.

Grace’s emails were getting shorter too. The long paragraphs detailing the woes of teaching students with an ever-decreasing intelligence had blunted down to, ‘You ok? I’m good. Writing sparse. See you soon. Bye G x’

The book. That in itself was a problem. Grace’s publishers and colleagues, Daisy knew, were expecting an academic tome. A textbook for future medievalists to ponder over in the university libraries of the world. And, in time, that was exactly what they were going to get, but not yet, for Grace had confided to Daisy that this wasn’t the only thing she was working on, and her textbook was coming a poor third place to work and the other book she couldn’t seem to stop herself from writing.

‘Why,’ Grace had forcefully expounded on their last meeting, ‘should I slog my guts out writing a book only a handful of bored students and obsessive freaks like myself will ever pick up, let alone read?’

As a result, Grace was writing a novel, ‘A semi-factual novel,’ she’d said, ‘a story which will tell any student what they need to know about the Folville family and their criminal activities – which bear a tremendous resemblance to the stories of a certain famous literary outlaw! – and hopefully promote interest in the subject for those who aren’t that into history without boring them to death.’

It sounded like a good idea to Daisy, but she also knew, as Grace did, that it was precisely the sort of book academics frowned upon, and she was worried about Grace’s determination to finish it. Daisy thought it would be more sensible to concentrate on one manuscript at a time, and get the dry epic that everyone was expecting out of the way first. Perhaps it would have been completed by now if Grace could focus on one project at a time, rather than it currently being a year in the preparation without a final result in sight. Daisy suspected Grace’s boss had no idea what she was really up to. After all, she was using the same lifetime of research for both manuscripts. She also had an underlying suspicion that subconsciously Grace didn’t want to finish either the textbook or the novel; that her friend was afraid to finish them. After all, what would she fill her hours with once they were done?

Daisy’s mobile began to play a tinny version of Nellie the Elephant. She hastily plopped a small black guinea pig, which she’d temporarily called Charcoal, into a run with his numerous friends, and fished her phone from her dungarees pocket.

‘Hi, Marcus.’

‘Hi honey, you OK?’

‘Just delivering the tribe to their outside quarters, then I’m off to face the horror that is dress shopping.’

Her future husband laughed, ‘You’ll be fine. You’re just a bit rusty, that’s all.’

‘Rusty! I haven’t owned a dress since I went to parties as a small child. Thirty-odd years ago!’

‘I don’t understand why you don’t go with Grace at the weekend. It would be easier together wouldn’t it?’

Daisy sighed, ‘I’d love to go with her, but I’ll never get her away from her work more than once this month, and I’ve yet to arrange a date for her to buy a bridesmaid outfit.’

‘Well, good luck, babe. I’m off to rob some bulls of their manhood.’

Daisy giggled, ‘Have fun. Oh, why did you call by the way?’

‘Just wanted to hear your voice, nothing else.’

‘Oh cute – ta.’

‘Idiot! Enjoy shopping.’

As she clicked her battered blue mobile shut and slid it back into her working clothes, Daisy thought of Grace again. Perhaps she should accidentally invite loads of single men to the wedding to tempt her friend with. The trouble was, unless they wore Lincoln Green, and carried a bow and quiver of arrows, Daisy very much doubted whether Grace would even notice they were there…

If that extract has whetted your appetite for more, Romancing Robin Hood is available in paperback, and e-formats from all good retailers- including…

Kindle –
(Available via KDP for those who subscribe)
Paperback-

 

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Jenny x

 

Tiny Taster: Outlaw Justice

Continuing the story of potter’s daughter, Mathilda of Twyford, Outlaw Justice, opens in winter 1331.

All appears to be calm, but it is soon clear that 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.

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. The harshest lesson of all, being that, it is often those who purport to uphold the law, that break it the most.

Here’s a tiny taster from Outlaw Justice…

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

Tiny Taster: Edward’s Outlaw

It’s time for another ‘Tiny Taster’.

This week it’s the turn of the third novel in #TheFolvilleChronicles – 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…

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 retailers, 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

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