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

Category: Jenny Kane Page 1 of 37

Let’s focus on: Another Cup of Coffee

Paperback cover

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…

Available from:

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

Reviews:

‘This book is definitely my cup of coffee

Gosh, where to start with this review?!

The characters: you laughed with them, cringed, hated, wanted to shout at the book because you cared so deeply. Every character had their own story, and I loved that this was intertwined with Amy’s story, waiting to see how it panned out. Big round of applause for Kane for the characters on its own.

Another Cup of Coffee itself: very realistic and a delight from start to finish. I felt like I was sitting on the outside looking in all the time, and I’d known this group of people for my entire life.

A wonderful piece of literature which will fill your heart with warmth as you get sucked in to every aspect. My heart has grown 100 sizes, much like The Grinch (too early for Christmas references?!). This could also be due to the amount of coffee I consumed due to having FOMO every time one of the characters were having coffee. Which was basically every other page (help)…

The romance aspect wasn’t too in your face, if you know what I mean? Kane tackles issues such as still being attached to someone so long after they have left, the “how am I gay if I’ve loved a woman?” question and running away from your problems.

I didn’t feel like I was reading a piece of fiction – I felt like this was a real-life story told at a dinner party around coffee, with an ending that can only be adored.

A timeless piece and one worth picking up big time.

This book is definitely my cup of coffee (sorry, I had to). Bookmark That approved. Loved!’ BookMarkThat UK

Ebook cover

‘Delicious, delightful and simply irresistible, I devoured Jenny Kane’s wonderfully romantic tale, Another Cup of Coffee, in a single sitting!

Thirteen years ago, Amy Crane had looked at her life, her family and her friends and decided that she wanted and needed a change. A fresh start where nobody knew anything about her and where she had no ties or commitments was of paramount importance, so she ran away from everyone and everything and made a new life in a new city where nobody knew the first thing about her. Amy had thought that her old life had been consigned to the past and that she needn’t be troubled or worried by the stirrings of memories of a time she would much rather forget. However, the past does have a habit of rearing its head again when one least expects it, as she discovers when an old music cassette which she has not seen since her university days turns up, bringing to the fore feelings, emotions, fears and resentments which she had thought long buried.

Digging out her walkman and listening to the soundtrack of her university days is an experience that leaves a profound effect on Amy. Realizing that she cannot continue to hide from her past, she decides to tackle her fears head on and to confront all those uncomfortable feelings which she has kept locked away for thirteen years. Amy is well aware that her decision to face her old demons is not going to be a walk in the park, but how can she achieve closure, if she continues to hide herself away?

The time has come for Amy to track down the friends she had turned her back on thirteen years ago, piece together the pieces of a life that had come to a sudden and shattering halt and uncover the reason why Jack has, after all this time, decided to send her a tape and forced her to reexamine and reevaluate her life and her relationships. Had Amy done the right thing in walking away from her relationship? Should she have fought for the one she loved? Or should she let bygones be bygones?

Armed with a bucket sized cup of coffee, will Amy manage to lay old ghosts to rest? Or will she find the answers to all the questions she has been asking herself for well over a decade?

An absorbing read which I thoroughly enjoyed, Another Cup of Coffee is an uplifting and feel-good romance about facing the past, second chances and first love that I simply couldn’t put down. Jenny Kane’s story is fast-paced, emotional, feel-good and compelling and once you start reading Another Cup of Coffee, you will find yourself completely and utterly hooked.

A fabulous read that I absolutely loved, Another Cup of Coffee is a wonderful book from a talented writer I have added to my list of must-buys: Jenny Kane!’  Bookish Jottings

‘Reading Another Cup of Coffee is almost like being a fly-on-the-wall of the lives of the book’s main characters. Kane makes use of her clear writing skills by having the reader shadow Amy’s, Jack’s and Kit’s lives as they try to make sense of the changes that begin to form an iron grip around their relationships. A simple tape is all it takes to shake Amy out of her self-imposed solitude and casts the first stone in a sea of change for all involved. I found her an incredibly complex character and it’s very telling how an event can have some people bouncing back after a broken heart, whilst for others, it can alter the direction of their entire life. Jack, himself, is not so complicated. His eternal confusion over his feelings leads to a self-absorbed character that hurts the people he loves the most, albeit unintentionally.  I did like him though and found myself willing him to make the right choices. Kit was my favourite throughout. She really reminded me of a well-known writer but my lips remain sealed on whom! Although her emotions were as much of a jumbled mess as the other two, she seemed more rounded and open to the changes happening around her. The dynamics of the friendship-triangle, along with the old and new friends surrounding the trio, had a nice comfortable feeling to it. Throughout the book you are aware that feelings run extremely deep but the friends will always have each other’s backs, no matter what.  As the story moves on, you, as the reader, are privy to the realisations and resolutions that begin to form and take place, which lead to a very satisfying conclusion. I did develop a borderline caffeine addiction whilst reading this but, thanks to the great storyline, it’s totally worth it!’ BestChickLit

****

‘…The characters seem so real. It was as if I have known these characters and actually lived their story right along with them. She sure does know how to draw in a reader. I can’t wait for Jenny’s next story to come out. I am sure she is going to be a star!’ Goodreads

****

‘…A good story of real people. It has light humorous moments and piquant passages. “Another Cup of Coffee” is definitely refreshing…’ Amazon UK

****

‘The sign of a great book….I sat up until 2.00am reading Jenny Kane’s Another Cup of Coffee….’ Twitter

****

‘I couldn’t put this book down. couldn’t wait to turn the page for the next adventure into the lives of these friends. Thank you, please write more books like this, easy too read with a brilliant storyline.’ Amazon

 

Focus On: Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange

With the sun hiding here in Devon this morning, I thought it would be nice to take a little look at the first in the #MillGrange #series – Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange – to cheer us all up.

Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange

A warm-hearted, feel-good romance from Jenny Kane, a Kindle #1 bestselling author.

Thea Thomas needs to get away from her old life… and the interfering ex who won’t leave her alone. When she lands a job heading up the restoration of Mill Grange, a stunning Victorian manor in Somerset, it feels like the perfect opportunity to start afresh.

What Thea didn’t anticipate was how hostile the volunteer team, led by the formidable Mabel Hastings, would be about accepting new leadership. And with the deadline looming before the grand opening, Thea is in desperate need of more volunteers.

A broadcast appeal on the local news attracts the interest of arrogant but undeniably attractive celebrity historian Shaun Cowlson, who wants to make a TV programme about the restoration. It’s hard enough adding one more big personality to the mix – but then her ex turns up as one of the volunteers! What seemed like a dream come true is fast becoming a total disaster! Can Thea find a way to save the manor?

Available from all good bookshops, and as an ebook, from Nook, Kobo, as well as Amazon UK and Amazon US,

                                                           

Here are a few of the very kind reviews, Midsummer Dreams, has prompted.

‘… I particularly liked the book’s setting – Mill Grange is vividly drawn, the details of its renovation, the impending opening celebrations and the question mark over its future driving the overarching story. The surroundings of Exmoor are well used too – there’s that really strong sense of place that I always look for and enjoy.

The romance elements are something I equally enjoyed – both romantic threads have their unexpected twists and turns, and both are entirely satisfying (and particularly heartwarming) in the way they’re resolved.

But there’s also a fair bit of well-developed tension too – both over the future of Mill Grange and the dogged and determined pursuit by Thea’s increasingly sinister ex. And there’s one particular episode that had me on the edge of my seat, real danger particularly well handled and very well written.

And while I’m talking about the writing, I will mention how much I loved that too. The author has a style that’s very easy to read, comfortable to relax and disappear into – this was perfect summer reading, and most definitely recommended…’ Being Anne

‘Another book that feels like a cuddle from Jenny.

Set against the romantic backdrop of Exmoor this book helps you escape for a few hours. We meet new friends working to restore one of Exmoor’s treasures. A lovely cast of characters had me rolling my eyes at their antics and cheering for a certain couple. Looking forward to see what else is going to happen at Mill Grange.’ Goodreads

Thea Thomas needs to get away from her old life…and the interfering ex who won’t leave her alone. When she lands a job heading up the restoration of Mill Grange, a stunning Victorian manor in Devon, it feels like the perfect opportunity to start afresh…
I hadn’t realised when picking this book that it was set in the lovely Exmoor, not too far from where I live. The various mentions of local landmarks, from Tarr Steps to Cold Harbour Mill, just added to the warm feeling I got from reading this great story… My first #jennykane read but definitely not my last.’  Goodreads

‘A lovely book set in a beautiful stately home which you can imagine yourself there as you read.’ Netgalley

‘Very enjoyable. Being part of a small team dealing with a local restoration project and volunteers made this book all the more enjoyable.  I know I have met a few Mabel’s in my life. As with all Jenny’s books she easily captures your imagination and makes you feel like you are there getting stuck in.’ Netgalley 

50 Things: Part 10

So, here we are – the final 50 Things list.

It has been so much fun putting all these lists together – reflecting on my 50 years (almost!) on this earth, and the many things I’ve done – or not done- plus a few of the things I’ve learned along the way.

As I write this, I can hear the call of my suitcases waiting to be packed for a long overdue holiday – but just before I hit the road, ready to celebrate my 50th birthday with long country walks and lots of cream teas – I’ll leave you with this…

5 TOP TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS

Write what you want to write/Love not money

Write what you want to write, not what you think you ought to write, or what other people tell you to write.

Writing is a very personal thing – it has to touch you in some way to work. If you aren’t fully engaged with what you are writing, then it won’t happen.

Your writing is yours- keep it fun!

(And don’t write to make money – you’ll be very disappointed)

Give yourself permission not to be perfect.

Perfection does not exist – and trying to find it will stop your writing in its tracks.

Get that first draft down – do not worry about how good or bad it is – just write it.

All you are doing at this point, is learning your story and getting to know you characters/location/plot.

Then, once it’s on paper, you can start to improve your story. Slowly, through the editing process and the skill of other editors, it will get better and better, until it’s ready to be released. Even then, there will be things that have been missed. While you want your words to be as good as possible – remember, we are humans, not machines.

Editing

Never skip this process. While seeking perfection too soon is a bad thing – not taking the time and trouble to edit properly will stop a good story in its tracks.

Read

The more you read, the better you’ll write.

Word repetition

We all have words we use too frequently on the page. Often, it’s simple words such as – just, long, both, still, look, smile – that we overuse.

Repeated words can slow pace and become dry on the page. Learn which words you are prone to overusing and keep a list of them. Then, once your draft is down, search through your work for them. Cut those you don’t need, or swap them for other words. (Get a good thesaurus- don’t just reply on the computer to help you find alternate words.)

Keep an extra sharp eye out for overused connectives. (Such as – and, but, because, so.) While we need these in our work – too many can slow pace. Ask yourself if you need each one, or if a full stop, comma, or an extra piece of action, would work instead.

When you do swap one word for another, make sure you read back through your sentence/paragraph, to make sure your word change hasn’t accidentally altered the context of what you were trying to say.

Finally – an extra general point. Life is not a competition. The only person you need to be better than today, is the person you were yesterday. That’s tough enough.

So – there we are – 50 Things, across 10 lists.

I hope you enjoyed reading them, as much as I enjoyed writing them.

I will leave you now, and get on with my holiday!

Jenny x

 

 

 

50 Things: Part 9

It seems fitting that my final two 50 Things lists return us to the world of writing.

So – list number 9 is…

5 THINGS I WISH I’D KNOW BEFORE I BECAME A WRITER

It’s a job!

Some people , no matter how many hours they see you put in, or how many books you sell (or not), will have serious trouble accepting that being a writer is a job. They equate you working from home or in a cafe (or wherever), as you enjoying a time consuming hobby. This – in their eyes- means you are free to be interrupted all the time, to have time off at will, and always there to do them the odd favour.

I have distant relatives that still tell me I need to get a ‘proper job’ and ask if I’m ever going to ‘make it’ (Making it meaning being famous or having a book adapted into a TV show or film.) I wish I’d known just how frustrating that was before I started!

Long hours

It is often said that writers are never off work. And it’s true – if we aren’t writing, we are thinking about writing. Everything in the world is potential inspiration.

Having said that – how long we work is down to our deadlines, publishers deadlines, editors deadlines and the fact that, the more books we have the more income we make. Once a writer’s faithful readers have all read their latest book, to keep the income flowing, you need to write another one – the cycle of supply and demand is there as it would be for any kind of product production job.

Personally- and I am aware I’m a workaholic – I work about 65 hours a week – often more. Weekends are rare. This isn’t a complaint – I love my job. It is however, a warning – to be successful, the hours need to be put it.  Imagine you are setting up a business – you are self-employed, and to make the business float, you need to work hard and long. It’s exactly the same for a writer.

It’s addictive

There is no drug on earth like making people happy with words. Sharing a story with someone is very special. And, when a good review comes in, or an editor/publisher/agent like your work- the rush is amazing. I have been a slave to the addiction for nearly 18 years.

Once you’re on the rollercoaster, it’s very hard to get off- or even slow down.

People can be cruel

I mentioned the joy of good reviews – but the pain of the bad ones can take a hell of a lot of getting over. While one nice review will make you happy for an hour or so – a bad one will niggle for days- weeks even.

Obviously, we can’t expect everyone to like out work – this means poor reviews. That’s part of the job. What isn’t great, is when reviewers award a one or two star review because the book arrived in poor packaging (Do I package the books? Nope) – or because they accidentally ordered the wrong book. (Go to a book shop instead if you can’t manage making online sales).

Worse still, are the reviews that attack the writer, rather than critically assessing the book. I’ve been called some horrendous things over the years by people who have no idea who I am, or what I’m like. Assumptions are made and opinions are freely shared – in a very unhelpful/hurtful way. Authors are humans- that can be forgotten all too often.

In short – if you have nothing good or helpful (sometimes poor reviews can help- as long as they are constructive) to say – say nothing.

Ups and Downs

I’ll be honest – there are as many low periods as high periods. But the ups are so good, that if you are destined to write, you’ll press on regardless. Only a thick skin and a burning desire to write will get you through the rejections, the broken promises and the number of times things that ‘almost’- but then ‘don’t’ happen.

Having said that, when you get a ‘yes’ – when a publisher calls you back, when an agent accepts you, when a box of your own books arrives through the post – whether they can via self-publishing or a traditional publisher – the feeling is like no other.

When someone tells you, you made them laugh, smile, cry (in a good way), or generally made them happy – that’s so special.

Back when I was Kay, I would receive messages of thanks – I’d saved a marriage or improved a relationship, via my erotica – now that’s amazing.

These are the ups I hang on for – the moments that keep my fingers tapping at the keyboard.

 

And so- one more list to go before I hit 50… 

Jenny x

 

50 THINGS: Part 8

Over the past (almost) 50 years, I’ve been lucky enough to have had some seriously exciting adventures. Choosing the 5 that have impacted my life the most is rather difficult- but I’ll give it a go.

5 ADVENTURES I’VE ENJOYED/SURVIVED

Archaeological wanderings

As many of my regular readers will know, I had no intention of being a writer when I was younger. I was going to be an authority on Robin Hood or an archaeologist. In the end – through sheer hard work and bloody-mindedness – I (for a few years at least), became both.

My years as an archaeologist- working out of the University of Leicester – sent me all over the place. The three stand out digs being on Lindisfarne (an island just off the Northumbrian coast.), Caerwent in Wales, and Lepti Minus in North Africa.

In these places, respectively,  was part of a team uncovering an Anglo Saxon farmstead, a Roman city (specifically the forum), and a Romano African city (the bathhouse and mausoleum).

The memories from these three excavations alone could fill a novel – in fact those of you who have read my work will know that those characters with an archaeological leaning, often recall the digs I’ve been on myself.

It isn’t just the amazing fines (or lack of in the case of Lindisfarne) that stand out my mind. It’s the camaraderie of a dig site situation – the fun alongside the hard work. I will never forget watching the sunset and rise over Lindisfarne castle with my best mate at uni – Brendon. (You are missed!)

I’ll never forget the snake that appeared out of the trench I was digging in Lepti Minus- making me shoot back from the dig site with some speed! Nor will I forget the local children who – poor as church mice- still had the biggest smiles and the kindest hearts.

And how could I forget, my weeks in Wales with no toilets or washing facilities bar a tiny roadside public loo and washbasin…the Ritz it wasn’t! To say we all smelt slightly is to underplay the situation! Luckily, a local swimming baths took pity on us, and let us use their showers for 50p each.

Writing a novel

For me this was a massive deal (as it is for everyone). I’d had 40 short stories published, but the idea of a novel was so daunting. I was convinced that I’d never make up enough worthwhile words to create a whole story.

I rewrote that first novel so many times, I can’t even remember how long it took me- but it was a real adventure in the true sense of the word. Ups, downs, disappointments, moments of joy and then – finally, the moment I’d dreamt of came – a box of books arrived at my front door – and I’d written every word within. I’m not given to outward displays of emotion, but that day I was a tumult of laughter and tears of disbelief.

I didn’t think there would be another book after that – I truly thought no one would buy it, and that would be it. The only reason I kept going was because kind people, like yourself, read my books – so thank you.

And the title of my first full length novel? Well, that was called The Fifth Floor – it is extremely “adult”, and was written by my “erotic side” – Kay Jaybee. (Please only take a peep at it, if you are over 18 and very broad minded.)

Bringing up my children

What greater adventure is there than raising children? Terrifying, exciting, worrying, heartwarming, joyous, wonderful, rewarding and utterly exhausting.

My daughter and my son  – now adults – are incredible, kind, clever, and huge fun to be with.

I would not change a thing.

My first erotica event

Never has ‘eye opening’ been a more apt description of a situation.

Olympia, London: ‘Eroticon’ – a massive venue full of traders from all walks of erotic life. I was there, with my good friend Kd Grace, to sell our erotic novels with our former publisher, Xcite.  I had no idea what to expect – although I suspected it would all be rather pink and neon.

I was right about the pink and neon – but wow- what an amazing set of people. Never have I been among so many folk so utterly at peace with themselves. The phrase ‘being comfortable in your own skin’ actually meant something there.  No one was pretending – no one was hiding who they were or what they liked (within the context of the event) – and so there was an air of honesty about the entire event. It was joyous, fun and I will never forget it.

It was here – to my lasting amazement – that  I was targeted up by a modelling studio- leading to a few photographic adventures as well!

I won’t go into the things I saw at my various erotic gigs, as that would not fit into a ‘Jenny blog’ – but I am sure you can draw your own conclusions. Suffice to say, I’ve never been to an erotica event that hasn’t been welcoming, fun and – in all things – kind.

Meeting my heroes

As many of you know, I’m lucky enough to write scripts and novels for the original cast of the 1980’s show, Robin of Sherwood.

If this wasn’t adventure enough (and my word it is a rollercoaster of a job!), it was the meeting of the actors and crew of the show that lightened up my teenage years that will forever stay with me.

I’m not the world’s most confident person, and rather shy to say the least – so when I first went to a Hooded Man event I was a bag of nerves. I only had one relevant book to sell at the time – Romancing Robin Hood. I was sure no one would come to talk to me when they had the entire cast of Robin of Sherwood to hang out with – but how wrong I was!

The first visitor to my stand was Jason Connery – the Hooded Man himself! I’d like to report that I said something witty – but I didn’t. I was totally tongue tied and probably went bright red! (I’ve made up for that since I got to know him a little bit!)

Both cast and crew were welcoming and encouraging – which is just as well, seeing as I now work for them!

However, it was the audience at the HM event that first changed my writing direction. Without their encouragement, The Folville Chronicles would never have been written. So thank you folks. You’re all amazing.

So, we have two more lists to go before I hit 50 on the 13th July… See you soon.

Jenny x

50 Things: Part 5

Continuing my ’50 Things’ lists today, I’m admitting to a few things that – despite being 50 in nine days – I have never done.

5 THINGS I’VE NEVER DONE

I’ve never been drunk

This is partly for medical reasons – but mostly because I’m a massive self-control freak! While I’m happy for anyone around me to do whatever they like – I keep a very tight rein on my own behaviour. In short- I don’t know how to ‘let go’ – never have had.  I have a sneaky feeling the world isn’t ready for a drunk me anyway!

And – if I’m honest, I don’t feel as if I’ve missed anything!

I’ve never had nail varnish on my toes

I rarely wear makeup (unless I’m modelling). I honestly can’t see where people find the time to put it on! When it comes to making my feet look pretty – frankly, it’s a lost cause!

I’ve never worn perfume

I’m allergic to manufactured or unnatural scents. I sneeze my head off. Walking through any chemist or department stores cosmetics section is a minefield of potential disaster!

I’ve never had my ears pierced

Never seen the appeal of someone putting holes in my ears.

I never passed my Maths GCSE

But it’s not for the want of trying! I retook this swine of an exam 5 times- and got a ‘D’ every time. It was always going to be something go a lost cause – I’m hopeless with numbers. We simply do not get on. The only time it has really made a difference to my life is that it limited my university choices. However, once the ones I wanted to apply for knew I’d done GCSE Archaeology (I did an archeology degree), they simply flapped away the need for a maths GCSE.

It is a constant surprise to me that both of my children are excellent at maths. My son is so good at it, he went to a specialised Maths school for his A’ levels- and is now training to be an engineer!

Assuming you aren’t shaking your head in despair- pop back tomorrow to discover my top 5 movies…

Jenny x

Autumn Leaves Goes Audio

Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange is now available as an audio book!

This means you can now listen to book one, Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange, and book two of the #MillGrange #series, as well as reading them.

Blurb

‘I am a big fan of Jenny Kane’ Katie Fforde.

At Mill Grange, the work – and the fun – never stops! As autumn brings coolness and colour, change is in the air for all at the manor…

Sam Philips’ time in the forces changed him forever. Supported by his friends, Sam is keen to help make beautiful Mill Grange a safe retreat for injured army personnel… but his crippling claustrophobia means Sam is living in a tent on the grounds! Enlisting the help of charming village stalwarts Bert and Mabel Hastings, Tina Martins is determined to find a way to help him conquer his fears. But why does she feel like he is keeping a secret?

After discovering evidence of a Roman fortlet on the manor’s grounds, Thea Thomas is thrilled at the chance to return to her archaeological roots and lead the excavation. She spent the summer with handsome celebrity archaeologist Shaun Cowlson – but now he’s off filming his Landscape Treasures show in Cornwall, and Thea can’t help but miss his company. Especially as someone else is vying for his attention…

Available from Nook, Kobo, as well as Amazon UK and Amazon US  in paperback, ebook, and audio formats.

With the summer holidays not far away, why not relax back on the beach, in the car, or as you go for a walk, and listen to the scone and bacon sandwich fueled adventures of the  #MillGrange team.

Happy listening,

Jenny x

50 Things: Parts 2 & 3

I’m thinking likes and dislikes today.

First off:

5 THINGS I LOVE (apart from my family and friends!)

Walking in the countryside

Preferably over moorland or through woods – I simply love to pack up some coffee and biscuits and pop on my walking boots.

I rarely have time off, and I’m useless at resting, so walking time in the fabulous UK countryside is my main way to escape reality (or fiction).

Robin Hood

Hardly a surprise to find this on my list! My passion for all things Robin Hood has been part of my life since I was 14 years old – and I can’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.

Rewriting

I’ll be honest – I don’t enjoy writing very much. I slog my way through every first draft. When it comes to the rewriting process however, it’s a different matter. I love redrafting my work – that magical process of improving each sentence and making every word work hard for its right to be there.  It’s both challenging and satisfying.

Eating Out

I love going to cafes and restaurants. Even though I sit in a cafe corner every day, I never get bored of the experience. Whether it’s just for a cuppa, or for a scone and coffee, or a three course dinner – I simply adore the process – and all the people watching that goes with the environment! (I’m also quite keen on other people doing the cooking and clearing up!)

Weekend reading time

Time off is a bit of a luxury for me, so for the past few years – in order to enforce some down time on myself – I put aside one hour each Saturday and Sunday where all I do is sit and read (and drink coffee). It is pure bliss to enjoy words I haven’t written.

5 THINGS I DISLIKE

‘May I reach out to you’ or ‘I’m just reaching out to you…’

UG! Every time I hear those words I have the instant urge to have a wash. There is something horribly clammy about them – and ever so slightly creepy. (Not to mention needy.)

So please, NEVER reach out to me. You can ask for my help, my time or my advice. You can visit me, email me and talk to me – but PLEASE do not reach out to me.

Laziness

I simply don’t get it.  How can people not do things, because they can’t be bothered?

(This is different from resting or being unable to do things)

Humiliation humour

Humiliation forms a big part of TV and social media culture these days – and I hate it. Laughing at someone who is being humiliated is just cruel. Don’t even get me started on humiliation in general.

Loud noises – especially shouting and music

I dislike loud noise.  I don’t understand people why shout rather than talk (outside of extreme anger or fear).

Sometimes, when I’m sat in my cafe corner, I have groups on nearby tables (usually women), talking at each other, rather than having a conversation. They each talk louder and louder, until they are all basically shouting – while no one actually listens to a word anyone else is saying. It drive me nuts – they are inches from each other, and they’re shouting.

Oh – and I don’t want to hear other people’s music either!

Yes – I’m turning into a grumpy old woman!

So – that’s likes and dislikes – I’ll be back some with some more ‘5 things’ lists.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

 

 

COVER REVEAL: Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed

Not long ago I had the pleasure of sharing the cover for my forthcoming novel with you.

Frost Falls at The Potting Shed

Published on Oct 27th, Frost Falls, is the first novel in a new series of books based in Devon.

Now I can announce that:

Book two – Bluebell Seasons at The Potting Shed is also complete.

Today, I’m delighted to be able to give you a super early peep of that cover as well!

Out on March 30th 2023 – Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed continues the story of Maddie Willand and her sister Sabi, and their gardening nursery, The Potting Shed.

I’ll say no more for now, as I’d hate to give away a spoiler! BUT – if you want to get ahead of the game and preorder it on Amazon now you can!

If you’d like to pre-order Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, you can do so at all bookshops and online retailers – many of the relevant links can be found here.

Many thanks to the team at Aria for all their hard work on this new series.

I hope you love these covers as much as I do. 

Happy preordering,

Jenny xx

 

 

50 Things: Part 1

As I approach my 50th birthday, I’ve decided to share 50 different thoughts, tips, snippets from my life – plus some general dos and don’ts, moans and groans – in list form.

I’m diving straight in today with –

5 THINGS THIS WRITER COULDN’T DO WITHOUT

Luck

This should never be underestimated. And while you can make your own luck to some extent, (by working hard and paying attention to the world around you so you are aware of the opportunities out there), pure chance can make a huge difference to life.

Of course – luck isn’t always good, and I’ve had my fair share of bad luck – but often it’s a positive thing.

My first piece of luck came when I was 3 days old – I was dying – there was nothing that could be done. My father – a truly wonderful man for so many reasons – wouldn’t give up, and went from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, until he found someone willing to do something – anything – to try and save me. As luck would have it, a locum – fresh out of training – had heard of an experimental drug that might help me. To cut a long story short, he got hold of some and risked his whole career to administer it. If he hadn’t I’d not be here. I have no idea who he was- but THANK YOU!

Anyway- to back to the writing…

My first piece of good luck in the writing world came at the very beginning of my career. Without it, I would not have become a writer.

As many regular readers of this blog will recall – I wrote my first short story, almost 18 years ago, on a serviette in a cafe. The need to write that day was a whim that came from nowhere- and to this day, I don’t know where the idea for that (erotic) story came from.  At the tender age of 33, it was the first story I’d written since school. I only sent it off to a short story publisher to stop a friend from nagging me to do something with it. It didn’t cross my mind that the story would be taken. But it was.

If another editor, rather than the fabulous Violet Blue, had read it, they might not have liked it – if I’d picked a different anthology to sub to, then it may not have got anywhere. I knew nothing of the business at all –  I’d employed the eenie-meenie-miney-mo technique when it came to picking who to send the story to.

Yet – luck was on my side – and suddenly, thanks to my story ‘Jen and Tim’ and Cleis Press, who published the very adult collection, Lips Like Sugar – I suddenly had a brand new – and very unexpected – hobby. Six months later, it had become a career.

Another example of luck came not long after the publication of my part crime/part romcom novel, Romancing Robin Hood. If it hadn’t been picked up by a random Amazon advertising hit due to a mistake by my publishers, it wouldn’t have been noticed by the team relaunching the 1980’s TV series,  Robin of Sherwood  – they wouldn’t have looked at the novel and discovered my fascination with the series  – and so wouldn’t have invited me to their convention- and so I wouldn’t have been asked to try to write for them.

One or two more miracles later, and now I’m their chief writer. (Thank you Barnaby Eaton-Jones, The Carpenter Estate and Spiteful Puppet)

My family and friends

It’s quite simple – I couldn’t do this without my family and friends help, support and love.

The people I love are amazing. Enough said.

An insane, nonstop imagination

I’ve always had a nonstop imagination. Long before I had ideas about writing for a living, I was a day- dreamer.  This was a survival instinct thing throughout my childhood. I was forever working out escape scenarios from the bullies at school – and that developed into me working out every conceivable way anything could go wrong for the rest of my life! I generally know how to cope with problems when they arrive, because I’ve worried about them in advance.

This forever asking questions of every situation now serves me very well when I’m constructing plotlines. I use it to ask myself how every character would behave and every point of conflict would pan out.

I have so many ideas for novels, scripts and short stories, that there is a queue of stories awaiting my attention at all times – each clamouring for their turn to see the light. I dread the day my ideas dry up!

Coffee – black (Strong – none of this Mellow Birds cobblers)

My fuel. Without it I simply don’t operate.

Readers

My lovely readers – THANK YOU ALL.

Without the people who take the time to read my stories, I’m simply a person who plays with words.

Over the last 17 (almost 18) years, I’ve developed a solid fan base/ readership for all three of my pen names – and I appreciate each and every one of them.

 

SO – that’s the first list done! That means there are nine more to come!

You have been warned!

Jen xx

 

 

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