The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


Opening Lines: Ward Zero by Linda Huber

The final opening lines of 2018 is being looked after by suspense writer, Linda Huber.

Over to you Linda…

Writing Ward Zero… the dead ward

I enjoyed writing this book – as an ex-physiotherapist, I loved the hospital setting, modelling Brockburn General on one of the hospitals I worked in, back in the day. I could almost smell that special hospital odour as Sarah visited foster-mum Mim in orthopaedics, and the fustiness of the cellar as she lay there later on, bound and helpless, was equally present in my nose. Ward Zero brought back a lot of happy memories.
The best bit of all, though, was deciding on the cover image. The designer produced a fabulous image of a body, swathed in a white sheet and lying on a trolley. Perfect – but was this Sarah? It looked a bit masculine to me… So we began a hilarious back and forth of cover images, the body having a different bust measurement in each. Eventually, the one the designer christened ‘version supermodel’ was voted winner, and the cover – and the book – went to print.

Here are my first five hundred words:

Prologue

Thursday, 20th July

He stared across the table in the crowded restaurant and his mouth went dry. Sarah. She was so lovely, smiling at him with shiny blonde hair just tipping her shoulders, and her blouse an exact match for the blue of her eyes. And now he would have to kill her too. It was too much to bear.

He reached for his glass, fighting to keep the ‘I’m having the greatest time ever’ expression fixed on his face. But her last remark had confirmed it – she knew way too much. And he, idiot that he was, had just made a monumental mistake. Sarah was busy with her fritters; she hadn’t realised the significance of what he’d said. But she would, and the first thing she’d do was tell that bloody policeman. It was a risk he couldn’t take. Time to switch his emotions off.

He took a deep breath, forcing himself to smile back. All he had to do was keep her busy thinking about other things, and after dessert he would suggest a quick coffee at home. His home. Once he had her safely locked up he could organise her death in peace and quiet. It shouldn’t be too difficult – he’d already had a practice run.

When Sarah was gone too, he’d be safe.

If only he’d never gone to the hospital. He hadn’t wanted things to end like this, not for one minute.

Chapter One

Two weeks earlier: Tuesday, 4th July

Sarah stepped into the arrivals hall at Manchester Airport. What a brilliant feeling – back on British soil for her first long break in two years. And she was ready for it. Teaching in Switzerland and travelling round Europe in the holidays had been exhausting, if exciting. And now – where was Mim?

A glance round the waiting crowd failed to locate her foster mother’s strawberry-blonde head, and Sarah stood still. She hadn’t spoken to Mim since last week, but they’d texted yesterday. At least… Sarah frowned. She had texted her new flight time and Mim had replied with a smiley, which, when you thought about it, wasn’t typical. Mim had the gift of the gab even when she was texting.

‘There you are! Sorry I’m late – I had to park at the back of beyond.’

Sarah spun round to see a short, very pregnant figure beaming up at her, dark curls damp on her brow. ‘Rita! You’re huge! Come here!’

A lump came into her throat as she hugged the other woman, feeling the hardness of Rita’s bump against her own body. Lucky Rita.

Rita hugged back. ‘That’s pregnancy for you. Come on, let’s get out of this rabble.’

Sarah grabbed her case and turned towards the exit. ‘You’re on. But where’s Mim?’

She couldn’t imagine what could have kept Mim away from the airport when the two of them were supposed to be setting off on their long-anticipated tour of Yorkshire that very afternoon.

Rita took her free elbow. ‘Ah. Now don’t shoot the…

***

I’m sure you can guess the 501st word!

***

Ward Zero blurb:

Horror swept through her. Had she been buried alive?
On Sarah’s first visit to see her foster mother, Mim, in Brockburn General Hospital, she is sucked into a world that isn’t what it should be.
Someone is lying, someone is stealing. And someone is killing – but who? With a grieving child to take care of, as well as Mim, Sarah has to put family first. She doesn’t see where danger lies – until it’s too late.

If you think you’re safe in a hospital, think again.

Bio:
Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in hospitals and schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Not to mention several years being a full-time mum to two boys and a rescue dog.

Linda’s writing career began in the nineties, and since then she’s had over fifty short stories and articles published, as well as seven psychological suspense novels. Her books are set in places she knows well – Cornwall (childhood holidays), The Isle of Arran (teenage summers), Yorkshire (visiting family), as well as Bedford and Manchester (visiting friends) and her home town, Glasgow. Her latest project is a series of feel-good novellas written under her pen name, Melinda Huber.

After spending large chunks of the current decade moving house, she has now settled in a beautiful flat on the banks of Lake Constance in north-east Switzerland, where she’s working on another suspense novel.

Linda Huber’s website:  www.lindahuber.net
Universal Amazon link: getBook.at/WardZero

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaHuber19
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlindahuber/

***

Many thanks to Linda for seeing us out of 2018 in style!

See you next year!

Jenny x


A VERY BOOKISH CHRISTMAS

I just wanted to pause from the merriment to wish you…

A VERY BOOKISH CHRISTMAS!

Edward's Outlaw

Many many thanks for all your support over the last year.

I hope you are all having a truly peaceful and huggled Christmas, with extra coffee and a mince pie or three.

I will be back with you on 27th December, with another brilliant opening lines blog from Linda Huber.

Much love,

Jenny xx


Opening Lines: Finding Destiny by Katrina Hart

Our final Opening Lines before Christmas come from Katrina Hart. I’m delighted to introduce the first 500 words of Katrina’s magical adventure, Finding Destiny.

Finding Destiny’s blurb:

When eighteen year old Alex’s little sister’s pony goes missing, he sets out to look for her and finds himself in a strange gypsy camp in the middle of a forest. The pony is being cared for by a young girl called Faith. When Alex accepts a drink from Faith’s grandmother, he wakes up later to find himself transported into 2038 to a technologically-advanced, very colourful world inhabited by humans and robots. Alex soon discovers that he is now twenty, married and has a magical little baby girl. A magic he only seems to notice. He soon finds out that he will have to defend his little girl from the half-breeds with everything he has. He travels back through the magic pages of books to try and save her before it is too late and she is lost from him forever.

First 500 words

Chapter 1: Finding Destiny

“Destiny! Destiny!” I yelled, walking the dark forest alone.

Broken branches crunched beneath my feet. Black, shadowing trees loomed over me, following my every move. Owls hooted and flapped in every direction. I proceeded, calling the girlie-named pony.

I walked till my feet burned. It had been hours with no sign of Destiny, when the forest seemed to come alive before my eyes! Classical music hummed around a circle of purple gypsy tents, which surrounded a huge pink camp fire. I rubbed my tired eyes in disbelief. I opened them again and saw Destiny being cuddled lovingly by a pale girl with black hair flowing like a never-ending river. I walked over to the girl and Destiny.

“Hey miss, you found my sister’s pony.” I looked down at them both.

“Mister, she is my pony!” She held Destiny closer in a protective grip.

I was about to argue my point, but a cold hand pushed on my shoulder, stopping me.

“Grandma! He wants my pony.” The girl pointed in my direction.

“Faith, don’t point it’s rude!” The old woman scolded her like she was a child.

“Where the hell did you come from!” I shouted and jumped to look her in the face.

“My tent, just this way,” the grandma said as she walked inside her purple tent.

I followed, outraged. I just wanted my sister’s pony back.

“Enter,” the old woman croaked, coughing.

“Are you okay!” I whispered.

“Yes! Yes! Don’t worry yourself, now what can I do for you, sir?” She coughed again.

“I need my sister’s pony back. It’s her everything,” I pleaded.

“My Faith loves her too,” the old lady coughed again.

“I will do anything, I need that pony!” I tried again, staring into the old lady’s purple eyes.

Her wrinkled, transparent face and white long hair, tied in a bun tight above her head, made her look frail. She sat down behind a crystal ball. “Anything?”

I nodded.

“Let me see your future,” she coughed, rubbing her crystal ball and looking inside its clear dome.

The silence dragged on like an unspoken question in a crowded room. Sadness crossed her face.

“It’s done!” she shouted; her eyes seemed to turn black.

“Thank you.” I smiled, a little confused.

“My pleasure.” She coughed, handing me a blue drink in a clear glass. “Please drink, it will bring you good luck on your way home. It’s a tradition, you know,” she said.

I didn’t want to seem rude, so I drained the glass. My head spun and everything became unfocused.

 

I fought to see through the darkness. Crying, and the smell of hay surrounded me.

“Hello! Who’s there? Where am I?” I whispered, following the cries of what sounded like a girl being murdered.

“Hello!” I yelled over her cries. I feared for us both. A light danced on of its own accord. Straw was everywhere. Pink, blue and red horses wandered about, leaving their stalls empty. The barn looked steel, unlike anything I had seen…

***

Buy Links

Amazon Ebook link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Destiny-Katrina-Hart-ebook/dp/B00U1WUFSE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1520346362&sr=8-2&keywords=Finding+Destiny

Amazon Paperback Link : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Destiny-Katrina-Hart/dp/1543052487/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1520346362&sr=8-2

Bio

My name is Katrina Hart but my friends call me Katie. I live in the East of England with my family, my two cats–Holly and Smokey–and our dog, Jessie. They are a nutty bunch but I love them all the same.

I have always had a passion for reading. I could easily spend a whole lifetime engrossed in a good book. In my twenties I joined an online writing class where I fell in love with writing my own stories.

Since I started writing I have discovered a new love for quotes. A quote that really inspired me was from Toni Morrison. Toni said: “If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

I came across this quote whilst I was studying. It was one of the many things that inspired me to begin writing Finding Destiny, my first novel.

In addition to Finding Destiny, I’ve written a number of other stories, including Love in Little Snow, The Flower Angel and The Naked Sleepwalker’s Christmas.

Social Media

I also have a blog, where I talk about books I’ve enjoyed, my writing–including the occasional free short story–and anything else that interests me. I’d love it if you visited! The address is: http://katrinamarie25.wordpress.com.

I’m also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Katrina-Hart-1785712648319624/

Twitter @KatrinaHart2015

***

Many thanks for coming by today Katrina.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x


From modern romance to medieval crime

Moving from writing modern contemporary women’s fiction and romantic comedies to creating medieval murder mysteries isn’t necessarily the most obvious career move for a writer to make. For me however, it felt like a natural progression.

I love writing my stories of Cornish romance and coffee shop based friendship dramas as Jenny Kane. In fact, it was when I was writing my modern chick flick romance, Romancing Robin Hood, that I found I was accidentally writing a medieval mystery at the same time.

Within Romancing Robin Hood, the lead character, Grace Harper, is writing a medieval adventure. It hadn’t been my intention to tell the story Grace was writing alongside her own adventure- but that’s what ended up happening. So, when you read Romancing Robin Hood, not only do you read, Robin Hood lover, Grace’s, modern tale, but you read the murder mystery she is writing as well. It just goes to prove that writers have very little control over their characters. Grace told me to write her novel for her- and so I did!

That novel (which is within Romancing Robin Hood) was separately published as The Outlaw’s Ransom, the story of Mathilda of Twyford and her encounter with a criminal gang in Fourteenth century Leicestershire. Even more surprising to me than the fact I was suddenly writing medieval crime fiction, was that Mathilda wasn’t going to be content with just one story of her own. She wanted a whole series all to herself! So, The Folville Chronicles was born.

The Outlaw’s Ransom, which is only a short novel, was followed by the rather longer novel, The Winter Outlaw– and that in turn has now been succeeded by Edward’s Outlaw– where I got seriously involved in the writing and simply couldn’t stop! Mathilda was so busy solving the given crime, that I hadn’t noticed just how long this story was going to be! So far, every new Folville Chronicle has been almost double the size of the one before!

Edward's Outlaw

While The Folville Chronicles are medieval murder mysteries- with plenty of other crime going on in the background- I haven’t strayed too far from my romantic fiction roots. Mathilda and Robert de Folville don’t have the most straight forward of starts on their life together…and they aren’t the only ones destined to end up together….

***

If you’d like to read any of the stories mentioned above, the links to my books, romance and otherwise, are available via the menu links at the top of the page, or by clicking on the titles of each mentioned book within this post.

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer- or should that be Jenny?

xx

 

 


Opening Lines: Just Sam by Kristy Brown

This week I’m sharing the opening lines from the YA romance, Just Sam.

Many thanks to Kristy Brown for visiting today with her first 500 words.

Over to you Kristy…

“Just Sam.” Is A YA Contemporary romance about a girl who dreams of becoming the next big tennis champion. She suffers a huge loss at a young age, which totally knocks her confidence. We follow Sam on her journey to  believing in herself again. Although she’s into tennis, the reader doesn’t have to be. Sam thinks life is out to get her and her heart is broken, so she feels like she’s in an epic tennis match against life itself. She has to trust in love again and open up her heart.

Blurb – Just Sam

All Sam dreams of is being the next big tennis champion.

But when she suffers a great loss at such a young age, she finds it hard to believe in herself.

She becomes so scared of losing people that she hides her feelings to protect her heart.

Will she ever let anyone close enough to truly love her?

She never realised, her toughest match would be against life itself.

The first 500 words…

1: The Secret Club

I remember watching my first Wimbledon grand slam with mum. I could only have been around four or five, but I knew it was something special. The look on her face was one of pure joy as she sat on the edge of her chair, completely engrossed. Of course, I didn’t understand any of the rules or the weird scoring system, thirty- love and what on earth was a deuce? But as I watched my mother becoming bright red in the face, yelling at the TV and jumping up and down, I knew I wanted to join in with her happiness. I understood that this game was something that she loved.  I remember it like it was yesterday. The way she turned from the screen and smiled at me so widely, that I knew right then, that I too wanted a piece of this special thing called ‘tennis’.

For the next few years we’d sit together and watch the magic of Wimbledon. I waited for it, like I waited for Christmas. Two weeks in a year when my mum became almost giddy and more importantly for me, it was ‘our’ time, our unbreakable thing that no one could ever intrude upon, our little club for two.

Each year, she’d try to explain the rules and stuff to me and as I got a few tournaments under my belt, I finally started to get it. The game took on a whole new meaning when I knew that ‘love’ equalled zero and ‘deuce’ meant forty – all. It was like I’d cracked long division; I’d finally got the tennis code. I became a member of a very elite club and in my head, I was as clever as my mum, cleverer than my perfect sister.

I asked if I could join a tennis club, which seemed to please mum no end. After some ringing around, she found a suitable one just twenty minutes away by car. She asked my sister Claire if she’d also like to come along. I recall holding my breath for the entire thirty seconds that it took her to decide. She, to my utter delight, decided she’d rather hang out at the shops with her friends, which was what she did whenever she wasn’t in school or in bed. Mum told me that teens needed a lot of sleep, but to me, she was just lazy. This meant I got to keep Mum all to myself, at least on a Saturday morning anyway. After every visit, we’d stop at Maccies for a sneaky cheeseburger — another secret for just us.

I was nervous at first. I was eight years old and all the kids there seemed to already know each other and play amazingly well. I never thought I’d match up to any of them.

After my first session, I ran off the court in floods of tears. In my head, I’d believed myself to be the best player ever, because I’d played a few games in…

***

Buy links

https://www.amazon.com/Just-Sam-Kristy-Brown-ebook/dp/B079WYMBQ8

https://www.amazon.com/Just-Sam-Kristy-Brown/dp/1980337527/ref=la_B079YTT7Q2_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520339617&sr=1-1

Bio

Kristy Brown lives in England with her husband and two sons. She trained as an actress and has a degree in Contemporary Arts. After her first child was born she began writing a short story whilst he took a nap. That was the beginning of the “Kiera’s Quest” teen fantasy series, which is published by ‘Muse It Up Publishing.’
Kristy then went on to write “Summer’s End,” a YA Paranormal romance series, which will also be published with Muse It Up Publishing.
“Just Sam,” is a YA/ Teen contemporary romance book set loosely in the world of tennis.
Kristy is currently editing her YA modern retelling of Cinderella, “Cinderfella.” She is also writing the third book in the “Summer’s End” series and has many more stories in mind, yet not enough time in the day!

Amazon author page –https://www.amazon.com/Kristy-Brown/e/B079YTT7Q2/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1 

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5290332.Kristy_Brown

Twitter- https://twitter.com/KBrownauthor 

***

Thanks ever so much Kristy.

Happy reading everyone,

Come back next week for some more opening lines.

Jenny xx


Dead trees and Xmas gifts

Today I’m welcoming historical fiction novelist, Tom Williams, back to my site with a pre-Christmas message!

Over to you Tom…

Yet again, the news is telling us that paper books are very much here to stay. Honestly, they never went away and, equally honestly, e-book’s have become well established and they’re not going to go away either. It’s a non-story, presumably raising its head particularly at this time of year because with Christmas coming we remember that people still buy books as gifts.

It’s weird, this idea that e-books versus paper is like one of the great divides of human-kind, like Mods vs Rockers, Mac vs PC, Corrie vs East-Enders.

I’m a huge e-book fan. I read mainly on an iPad. It lets me carry lots of books with me. It allows me to highlight and make notes on them. (I know some people do that on paper, but I was brought up to see that as vandalism and I still feel uncomfortable with it.) I don’t lose my place. And it’s massively cheaper and easier to get new books. (Given the amount of 19th century reading I do, it’s often the only remotely realistic way to get hold of obscure out-of-print Victorian volumes.) So am I a paper-hating child of new technology? Hardly.

This is the biggest bookcase in the house, but far from the only one.

Practically every room in the house has at least some books propped up in it somewhere (not the bathroom – the steam makes the paper soggy). Paper books are attractive. It’s easier, sometimes, to browse a shelf full of books than to find something useful in an e-library. E-books are easier to search when you know what you want, but they can be frustrating when you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for. Paper books allow more opportunities for serendipitous discoveries. The original inspiration for Cawnpore was a book I picked up browsing through someone else’s (paper) library, stuck indoors on a wet day. If I’d had an e-reader with me, I’d probably never have come across it.

Bookshops can be very frustrating in their selection of stock. (Try asking for one of my books – or pretty well anything published by a smaller press – at Waterstones and prepare to be told that they can’t get it for you.) But the shelves of temptingly displayed volumes can draw you to books you would never otherwise have discovered.

Paper books can be lent to friends or passed on when they’re finished with. They do, indeed, furnish a room. Old textbooks remind us of our student years, an autographed volume of a special meeting. Most of all, as ‘Super Thursday’ reminds us, paper books can be gifted in a way that e-books cannot. A paper book says that you want to share something you have enjoyed, or that you have thought about the interests and enthusiasms of your friend and sought out a book that matches them. The transfer of digital data from computer to computer does not, for some reason, carry the emotional resonance of the gift of a physical book.

All my books are available in paperback as well as on Kindle. Most good publishers try to produce paper copies, if only for their authors to display proudly on their bookcases. (Second shelf down on the extreme right if you’re checking the photo.) All authors I have ever met want to see their words on paper. It’s odd because, in this digital age, the paperback is probably the first time I’ve seen my book printed out in its entirety. Still, there they are. And you can buy them, and give them to your friends.

Pay attention to that last bit. Buy one for yourself and give others to your friends. And keep a couple spare, for those last-minute gifts.  And remember, a book is for life, not just for Christmas.

Important note

This was a public information announcement on behalf of all writers everywhere. However, I do draw your attention to the fact that paperback copies of all my books cost £5.99 or less. They are available in North America too (though with different covers) and you can buy them on Amazon or through Simon & Schuster.

Details of all my books are on my website (http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk). There is lots to read there (and pretty pictures) so do drop by.

Bio

Tom Williams used to write books for business, but he gave it all up to write things that are more fun. His spy stories set in the Napoleonic Wars feature James Burke, who was a real person, though we can’t guarantee that all his adventures were exactly as described. He was a spy, after all, so many of the details are unknown.

Tom also writes about colonialism in the age of Empire.

When he’s not writing Tom spends far too much time dancing tango.

Tom has a website at http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk and a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomWilliams/ and he tweets as @TomCW99.

***

Many thanks Tom,

Happy reading (and Christmas) everyone,

Jenny x


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