The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


Opening Lines: Jennifer Wilson’s Kindred Spirits

Thursday is upon us once more, which means it’s ‘Opening Lines’ blog time. This week I’m delighted to welcome Jennifer Wilson to my site to share the first 500 words of her novel, Kindred Spirits.

Introduction

In the Kindred Spirits series, we meet the ghosts of historical characters, in a range of contemporary settings. Have you ever wondered what Richard III and Anne Boleyn might have in common, what Mary, Queen of Scots is getting up to now, or what happens when the visitors leave some of the most popular attractions in the country? Well, here’s your chance…

First 500 words of Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey

Queen Elizabeth I of England was sulking. And not quietly, as the rest of the Abbey’s residents would have preferred. Despite her advancing years, she could still flounce in style, and was keen to ensure everyone knew what was annoying her this time.

“It’s so boring here!” she exclaimed, dropping gracelessly into one of the choir stalls. “Nothing ever happens.”

“She’s been to the Tower again,” whispered Catherine Knollys to her brother, but not quite quietly enough, as the queen’s friends and cousins wandered over to see what specifically had been troubling her this time.

“Yes, yes, I have. At least things happen there.”

“Our Uncle George still as entertaining as ever then?” Henry Carey tried to divert his cousin’s attention, but only made it worse.

“Naturally. He was haunting the barrel of Malmsey with Clarence, and it was hilarious, as usual. Scaring people out of their skins. That’s what we ghosts should be doing, not just loitering about discussing experiments.” She glared at where Charles Darwin and Robert Stephenson were once again in deep conversation, sitting out of the way of the early tourists starting to make their way through the great church. Without a word, Darwin glared at her, then shifted in his seat turning his back against her, much to Elizabeth’s disgust.

“We do plenty of haunting, Cousin. It’s just that, well, you know the Abbey’s never really lent itself to that.”

“No, Catherine – everyone has simply become too old and too dull over the centuries. And too weak to stand up to my wretched great-grandmother. It’s all her fault.”

Catherine and Henry shot nervous glances at each other. When Elizabeth was in one of these moods, little could be done to stop her. Even her beloved Dudley had retreated back to Warwick after witnessing one of her angrier days. Before either could speak again, their cousin had moved on, stomping through the Abbey until she found the memorial to William Pulteney, the Earl of Bath.

As though knowing what was expected, the book in the centre of the statue flicked pages in silence. It wasn’t good enough.

“See? See that? A page of a statue’s book turning. Over three thousand of us in here, seventeen monarchs, no less, as the guidebooks tell us, and that’s the best we can come up with?” Queen Elizabeth spun on her heel, turning back to the siblings. “At the Tower they have my mother removing her severed head, with my step-mother and my aunt alongside her. They have a young, robust King, leading the way forward. They have wailings and chain-rattlings and, well, everything. We have a statue, turning its page.”

By now, a crowd had grown around the Queen, noting, not for the first time, how similar she was to her great-grandmother when her temper really took hold. Fiery Tudor blood indeed.

“We’ve talked about this, Elizabeth.” The chattering and ranting was broken by the only voice which ever had any control over the wayward Queen.

“Now she’s in…

About Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey

On hallowed ground…

With over three thousand burials and memorials, including seventeen monarchs, life for the ghostly community of Westminster Abbey was never going to be a quiet one. Add in some fiery Tudor tempers, and several centuries-old feuds, and things can only go one way: chaotic.

Against the backdrop of England’s most important church, though, it isn’t all tempers and tantrums. Poets’ Corner hosts poetry battles and writing workshops, and close friendships form across the ages.

With the arrival of Mary Queen of Scots, however, battle ensues. Will Queens Mary I and Elizabeth I ever find their common ground, and lasting peace?

The bestselling Kindred Spirits series continues within the ancient walls of Westminster Abbey.

About Jennifer

Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots of childhood holidays (she since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating.

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books and available via Amazon, along with her self-published timeslip novella, The Last Plantagenet? She can be found online at her blog, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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This sounds fantastic- very much my cup of tea (or coffee in my case)

Come back next week to explore the first 500 words from a novel by Simon Farrant.

Happy reading,

Jenny x


The Story Behind Another Cup of Coffee

I’ve been thinking back to how the “Another Cup of…” series, which began with the novel, Another Cup of Coffee, first saw the light of day. It was certainly a long time in the making!

 

Blurb

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…

***

As the blurb says, it took Amy thirteen years to come to her senses and sort her life out – it took me thirteen years to write how she did just that! Not that I’ve been sat puzzling at the pages everyday in all that time- far from it.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin the story of my story…

The idea for Another Cup of Coffee came to me all that time ago, but was originally only intended to be a short story for a competition. I had never written a story before beyond the requirements of school homework, although I had written poetry, some of which I’d been lucky enough to have published. The story, Getting It Back, was all about a quiet girl, who’s cut herself off from her old life after her heart had been broken, and told of how, out of the blue, a package had arrived through the post that made her look at her life afresh. That package was an old fashioned cassette tape, which had a variety of different songs recorded onto it- as was the craze in the 1980’s and early 90’s.

That short story was not well written, and quite rightly got nowhere at all. I gave up writing after that. I’d only entered the competition so that I had a project to do that would occupy my mind and keep me awake. I had a one year old at the time- and she never slept and was a pain to feed- totally the opposite of now bless her!!

So the story was shelved, and I didn’t go back to it for two years went, you guessed it- I had another child- and I remembered the story I’d written. Being the type of person who never throws anything away, I dug it back out, and in fits and bursts I turned it into a novel based on my experiences as a student, my time as an archaeologist, and a friends music obsession.

I’ll be honest- it was not a good read. So again, I shelved it.

Then, a few years later my children went to school- and as is fairly well documented, I had an idea for a very different type of story- an erotic story which I simply had to write down. The result was a persona I called Kay Jaybee. (Kay is for OVER 18’S ONLY)

Such was the unexpected success of Kay Jaybee, that I had no time to look at my first early attempt at a novel for years. I also had no confidence in it at all. I had become Kay, and Kay was good at stories that oozed kink- I wasn’t sure I could do a story that kept the pages turning without it.

It wasn’t until ‘Kay’ had a handful of novels, novellas and short stories under her belt, that I decided the time had come to prove to myself that I could do more- and so I rewrote Another Cup of Coffee– and to my surprise it was taken by a publisher.

 

So- if you fancy delving into the story of Amy, her ex boyfriend Jack, and his best friend, erotica writer and Mum, Kit (sound familiar at all?), then why not give Another Cup of Coffee a sip

You can buy Another Cup of Coffee as either a paperback or an eBook from Amazon and all good online and high street book stores, including-

http://www.bookdepository.com/Another-Cup-Coffee-Jenny-Kane/9781783751129 

Then – if you enjoy this novel- there are three seasonal follow on novella’s (available in Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection as well as standalone Kindle publications), and the novel, Another Glass of Champagne, to read afterwards!

 

 

Happy reading and coffee drinking,

Jenny xx


Opening Lines: What’s Mine by Fiona Morgan

It’s that time again!

This week’s ‘Opening Lines’ blog come from the lovely Fiona Morgan. Let’s dive into the first 500 words of What’s Mine.

Blurb

Bronagh seems to have it all; her own flat, a fantastic new job as a party planner and a blossoming romance with long-term friend Max.  Little does she know that some is plotting to take everything away from her.

Elaine, now out of work, having been replaced by Bronagh, is hell-bent on revenge.  She begins a campaign of terror, beginning with abusive text messages, which quickly escalates leading to devastating consequences.

Will Bronagh and Max’s relationship survive the turmoil that ensues? Will Elaine get the revenge she so desperately wants?

Set in Glasgow this is a powerful tale of love, hate, manipulation and control, which examines the wide-ranging consequences and damage inflicted by a callous act of revenge.

I started writing my first book Free to push myself to do something I had always wanted to do and I knew that if I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done, so I bought a pad of paper and went for it.  After finishing all the writing and editing, and Free was away being proofread, I felt there was something missing, I had lost friends, so I sat down and started again with What’s Mine.  I love writing, telling my stories and the fact that people not only read them, but are enjoying them is amazing and something I am always grateful for.

Here is the first 500 words of my new book ‘What’s Mine’, I hope you all enjoy it.

Bronagh walks from her job interview at House of Fun part planning fearing the worst, but hoping for the best. She feels she must have come across as a desperate crazy lady, and to a certain extent she is desperate. Desperate to get a start on her own wedding coordinating business.  She has decided that working as a party planner is the best way to gain experience and showcase her talents before breaking out on her own.  At twenty-five years old Bronagh is fed up working in retail shops and pubs, so after her best friend Max, noticed the job advert online and sent her the link, she knew it was time to get her plans, and hopefully her life, started.

Max has always been kind and thoughtful towards her, plus he is absolutely gorgeous.  Bronagh would love fir him to see her in a romantic way, but he never seems to, so she has resigned herself to not being his type and accepting the fact that she will only ever be his best friend, or at least she tries to accept it.

Max is broad shouldered with sandy short hair and crystal blue eyes. He is a good bit taller than her five feet five inches.  She guessed about six foot, and always seemed to have a tall blonde on his arm, which is nothing like her. Bronagh has auburn waves, that shine like copper in the sun, freckles dusting her nose and is a curvy size twelve. She loves her curves and has never wanted to be straight up and down.

She sighs as she makes her way back to her car, a green 1999 W plate Ford Fiesta that could be temperamental at best in the cold weather. She chastises herself, remembering that she needs to stop thinking about Max in a romantic way and stop worrying about the job interview. Trying to put everything out of her mind she mutters to herself, ‘Que Sera Sera’, what will be will be, and what will be should be found out in a few days, or so David and Erin (the married couple who own House of Fun party planners) had said.

The weather that day is clear and bright for a late February afternoon and Bronagh is g;ad to see the sun after a week of rain, so much so it manages to lift her mood and gives her something to smile about. Climbing into her car she turns the key in the Fiesta’s ignition, and after the second try and a few pumps of the accelerator the car roars to life.

***

Sitting in her bright red 64 plate Audi TT, Elaine glowers at the redheaded woman that has just left David and Erin’s house. That is, was her her job the redhead had just been interviewed for and she has no right getting it, unless, Elaine thinks, the redhead was part of the plan to get her fired all along! In Elaine’s opinion they had no…

Links
https://www.facebook.com/fionamorganauthor/
https://www.twitter.com/fionamorgan79
http://www.fiona-morgan.pegasuspublishers.com/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Books-Fiona-Morgan/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A266239%2Cp_27%3AFiona%20Morgan  
***
Huge thank you Fiona- another fabulous opening sequence!
Come back next Thursday fro some opening lines from Jennifer Wilson.
Happy reading,
Jenny x

The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma Blog Tour: Opening Lines

I’m delighted to be hosting Karen King as she embarks upon a blog tour for her new rom com, The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma. Why not settle down a enjoy the very beginning of Karen’s latest publication?

Over to you Karen…

Thanks so much for inviting me over, Jenny. The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma is my third romcom for Accent Press and is mainly set in Majorca. Whenever I’m at a resort I always admire how the reps deal with the various holiday makers, the activities they do with them from poolside exercises, kids clubs and putting on shows. I was on the aeroplane once with a stag party, and they were quite raucous but seemed nice guys, so the idea of a travel rep having a holiday romance with a guy from a stag party that books into her hotel probably stemmed from these two things. The setting was definitely inspired by a trip to Majorca with my husband a couple of years ago to celebrate our third anniversary. It’s a beautiful island, and we actually took a trip to the Caves of Drach which feature in the novel. I really had fun writing this book and hope that readers love Jess and Eddie as much as I do.

Here’s a bit about the book:

Fun-loving travel rep Jess doesn’t want to be chief bridesmaid at her snooty cousin’s wedding, but it will cause a family feud if she refuses. She doesn’t want to fall in love either but when a raucous stag party arrives at her Majorcan hotel, Jess hits it off instantly with best man, Eddie. A summer romance is exactly what commitment-phobe Jess needs and, as the stag-do draws to a close, so does the holiday fling. She has no intentions of carrying on the summer fun but when Eddie turns up again, Jess is faced with a big dilemma.
Will this bridesmaid get the happy-ever-after she never knew she wanted?

The Bridesmaid Dilemma is published on 7 June, in paperback and as an ebook. You can n preorder it here:

https://tinyurl.com/y8z6k8ut

Opening Lines

Jess stretched out on the sunbed, factor fifteen and the parasol protecting her already golden skin from the heat of the afternoon sun. It was lovely to finally have the chance to relax by the pool. As usual, the morning had been full-on. She and Libby – lounging on the sunbed next to her – were in charge of the Fitness Classes and had spent two hours jumping, bending, stretching, and jogging on the spot with a group of holidaymakers. Being a holiday rep with Time of Your Life Holidays was fun but exhausting.

‘This is heaven. I could lie here all day.’

‘Me too. This week’s been so hectic. It’s going to be non-stop now the schools have broken up.’ Libby sighed. ‘Lucky you, having next weekend off. I wouldn’t mind flying back home for a few days.’

‘I’d like it a lot more if I didn’t have to be chief bridesmaid at Charlotte’s wedding,’ Jess replied. ‘That’s going to be a barrel of fun – not.’

Her first reaction when her cousin Charlotte had asked her to be chief bridesmaid was astonishment – she and Charlotte had never got on and usually tried to avoid each other.

Her second reaction had been panic. She didn’t do weddings, or frothy dresses, and she knew that Charlotte, with her obsession for perfection, would be the bridezilla from hell. She couldn’t refuse though, not when she knew how much it meant to her mum. And so, Jess had reluctantly agreed, even though she suspected that she’d only been asked because Charlotte had no sisters and precious few friends – even the other two bridesmaids were sisters of her fiancé, Russell.

‘It might not be that bad. And I bet the best man is a hunk. You know what they say about the chief bridesmaid and best man,’ Libby teased. ‘It’s compulsory for them to have a dance together and a few kisses – at the very least.’ She grinned at Jess and cocked her head to one side. ‘What’s her fella like?’

‘No idea, never met him. I haven’t seen Charlotte for years. All I know is that his name’s Russell and his work involves something to do with exports.’

‘I can’t believe your cousin doesn’t have a Facebook page. We could have a nose then, see what this Russell is like.’

‘Charlotte “doesn’t approve of society’s obsession with social media.”’ Jess made finger quotes as she said the words. It would have been a lot easier to keep in touch with Charlotte if she was on Facebook – and if she was less of a nightmare person – but as it was, wedding-related messages were coming solely through email.

‘She sounds a right barrel of laughs. So, you’ve no idea who the best man is?’

‘Mum said he’s an old school friend of Russell’s. I expect he’ll be very staid and boring. Russell will be, too. Charlotte’s boyfriends always are.’

Author Bio

Karen King writes sassy, heart-warming romance and edgy YA with a heart. ‘The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma ‘ is her third romcom for Accent Press. Her second title, ‘The Cornish Hotel by the Sea’ rose to #3 in the Amazon Bestseller Holiday Charts in the UK, #2 in Australia and was in the top hundred overall bestsellers. Her first title, I do?… or do I? has recently been published in France under the title ‘Un Fiancé Inattendu’. In addition, Accent Press have republished her earlier romance novels, ‘The Millionaire Plan’ and ‘Never Say Forever’.

Karen has also written several short stories for women’s magazine and had 120 children’s books published. She started her writing career writing scripts and articles for Jackie and other teen and children’s magazines.

She is member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists,

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

Author links

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Karen King Young Adult Books Facebook Page

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenkingauthor/?hl=en

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/3187489145

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Good luck with your new book Karen,

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x


End of the month with Nell Peters: 2 years on…

For the past two years I’ve been lucky enough to have the fabulous Nell Peters write end of the month blogs for me. Let’s see what she has in store for us as May winds to an end.

Over to you Nell…

Good morning! And how are we today?

Back again – and on the second anniversary of my guest blogs for Jenny. I’m very soon going to run out of things to rattle on about!

On this day in 1902 Australia were all out for 36 v England at Edgbaston, their lowest ever cricket score. Elsewhere, the Second Boer War ended after two years, seven months, two weeks and six days – the first having lasted but four months. The British Army was reinforced by volunteer contingents from the Empire, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Cape Colony and Natal and wisely no longer wore ‘here-I-am-feel-free-to-shoot-me’ red uniforms.

This was thanks to Lieutenant Harry Lumsden of the Corps of Guides, who was the first British officer to provide his men with practical working garments when he served in India in 1846. He had white cotton dyed with mud so that when they dried, the uniforms blended in with the surrounding landscape – this became known as khaki, Hindi for dust.

The Boers (Boer being the Afrikaans and Dutch word for farmer – I’m such a linguist!) were adept at guerrilla warfare and wore no uniform at all, so they were hard to spot amongst farming communities, where they found places to hide, horses and supplies. Brutally, the British solution to that was a ‘scorched earth’ policy of burning down or destroying farmhouses, crops etc. and rounding up the inhabitants of the countryside to be held in segregated concentration camps, often under horrific conditions. Many thousands – mostly women and children – died during their incarceration.

Ardent imperialist Cecil Rhodes didn’t live to see the British victory at the end of the war, having died a few weeks beforehand on March 26th. Rhodes was a British-born financier, statesman, and empire builder who was Prime Minister of Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. He also co-founded the now global diamond company, De Beers with Charles Rudd in 1880, so called after the De Beers brothers who originally owned the land where the diamonds were mined. Next (1887) came the purchase of the Kimberley Central Mining Company, to form De Beers Consolidated Mining Ltd.

A controversial figure even now, Rhodes also had a philanthropic side. His will gifted a large area of land on the slopes of Table Mountain to the South African nation and part of this estate became the upper campus of the University of Cape Town (my youngest sister-in-law went there!) Another area became the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, and land that wasn’t developed is now a conservation area. He also made a bequest of funds to establish the Rhodes Scholarship – the world’s first international study programme. The scholarship enabled students from territories under British rule, or formerly under British rule and from Germany to study at Rhodes’ alma mater, Oxford University. His aim was to promote leadership marked by public spirit and good character, and to ‘render war impossible’ by promoting friendship between the great powers. That worked well…

#3 son was recently headhunted by De Beers – as I write this (in advance, obvs), he has had three interviews and will have a fourth either in Mumbai or Bangkok, where he is currently based. I’m not sure he actually wants to move just yet, but it’s a bit of a diamond-encrusted feather in his cap to be sought out, I imagine. And since he travelled around SA as part of his gap year, he at least has something to talk about to fill any pregnant pauses while he’s being grilled. He had a high old time travelling (I know, because I paid his credit card bills!) – quite literally when he did the Bloukrans Bridge bungee jump. It’s one of the world’s highest at 216 metres (709 ft) above the Bloukrans River on the Garden Route. He also swam with sharks in a rather flimsy-looking cage and did a parachute jump. When he was home again, he actually told me in all seriousness that he’d have been very scared of jumping from the back of the tiny plane, if he hadn’t had a parachute on his back…

The OH was born in the UK but spent his formative years from the age of ten in Johannesburg, where he went to the Marist Brothers Independent Catholic Day School, along with one of the De Beers sons. The Marist Brothers were apparently a mean bunch with a penchant for corporal punishment at the drop of a hat, and I don’t think he’s been inside a Catholic church since he left.

In fact, churches generally give him the creeps and he has to be dragged, screaming, to weddings and funerals. In between school and uni, he was conscripted into the SA Army for two years’ National Service, where he joined the Paras and had to learn Afrikaans mighty quickly. Unfortunately, his jumping career was cut short when he fell awkwardly on an old ankle injury (motor bike accident) and spent a few weeks in hospital.

Thereafter he was sent for duty in the Townships and the Angolan Bush, where he spent his twenty-first birthday and slept through a mortar attack on the camp (not on the same day, I’m guessing). When out on patrol in the Bush, troops weren’t allowed to wash or clean their teeth lest the scent was picked up by enemy forces. Scary stuff, and a swift education in what apartheid really meant to those who weren’t lucky enough to be white and comparatively wealthy. He never really came to terms with the regime, left uni after less than a year and returned to the UK. He still has his red beret, though thankfully doesn’t wear it Frank Spencer-style.

Of course, we all know that Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, became Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt (19th Dynasty) on this day in 1279 BC, but what else has happened? Let me see … Jerusalem’s rabbi Sjabtai Tswi proclaimed himself the Messiah in 1665 – the guy must have had an ego the size of Mars: the planet, not the chocolate bar. Almost two hundred years later in 1853, Elisha Kane’s Arctic expedition left New York aboard the good ship Advance – any relation, Jenny? Kane was an American surgeon and explorer making his second trip to the Arctic, but had to abandon the icebound vessel on May 20 1855. The crew marched for eighty-three days to Upernavik, carrying their sick and wounded and remarkably lost only one man. They were saved by a handy sailing ship and Kane returned to New York on October 11 1855. The following year Kane published his two-volume Arctic Explorations, before he sadly died in Havana ten days short of his thirty-seventh birthday.

In 1861, on the same day that the Mint in New Orleans was decommissioned, General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was given command of the Confederate Alexandria Line. I mention that only because Beauregard is a name that always makes me smile, though I’ve no idea why. But since he’s popped up here, let me tell you that he was a prominent general during the American Civil War and had several nicknames, including Little Napoleon, Little Frenchman – he was born in Louisiana and didn’t learn to speak English until he went to school in New York, aged twelve – and Felix. Felix? In April 1865, it was Beauregard and his commander, General Joseph E Johnston, who convinced President Jefferson Davis and the remaining cabinet members that the war should end. After the military, he held two posts as an executive on the railroads and used his civil engineering knowledge to patent the design for a cable car in 1869.

The oldest recorded bride, one Minnie Munro aged 102, wed Dudley Reid 83, at Point Clare, New South Wales in Australia on 31st May 1991 – that’s what you call a toy boy – telling reporters they planned to make the most of the time they would have together. As children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gathered for the ceremony in the gardens of the couple’s home at Orana Nursing Village, widow Minnie proudly showed off her antique amethyst engagement ring and said, ‘He’s been waiting for me a long time and I am pretty old you know, so I decided to say yes.’ The couple met four years previously at a health centre in nearby Woy Woy. So good they named it twice?

It was not such a happy occasion on this day in 2007, when actress Billie Piper and radio DJ Chris Evans divorced after six years of marriage. Billie was born Leian Paul Piper to parents Paul Victor Piper and Mandy Kane Kent (another Kane?!) and is a singer, dancer and actress who played Rose Tyler in Doctor Who from 2005-6. Perhaps attracted by the fact they share the same middle name, she didn’t hang around and married actor Laurence Paul Fox (Hathaway in Lewis) on 31st December 2007. By marriage she became sister-in-law to Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd) who was newly wed to Laurence’s sister, Lydia. Alas, Billie headed to the divorce courts again – also in May, but the 12th – after eight years and two children.

Two Walters were born on this day – Walt Whitman (so called because his father was also Walter), American poet, essayist, and journalist in 1819, and artist Walter Richard Sickert, born in Munich in 1860. When he was eight, the family moved to England and were granted citizenship. Although he was the son and grandson of painters, he initially wanted to be an actor and appeared in small parts with Sir Henry Irving’s theatre company, before going to the Slade School to study art in 1881. After less than a year he left to become a pupil of Whistler, whose influence can be seen in his early work.

In his late twenties, Sickert took a keen interest in the crimes of Jack the Ripper. He believed he had lodged in a room used by the serial killer, having been told this by his landlady, who suspected a previous lodger. He produced a painting of the dark, melancholy room entitled Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom which now hangs in Manchester Art Gallery. Author Patricia Cornwell wrote a book in 2002 called Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper – Case Closed in which she names Walter Sickert as Jack. Not wholly original, as Jean Overton Fuller wrote Sickert and the Ripper Crimes in 1990, making the same claim. However in a 2004 article on Sickert, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography dismissed any allegation that he was Jack the Ripper as ‘fantasy’. So, ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to decide for yourselves. Or not.

Meanwhile, I’m off in my Tardis to wrong rights and generally make a nuisance of myself. See you in June, perhaps?

Thanks, Jenny and toodles, all!

NP

Once again- a HUGE thank you for such an excellent blog – and for the previous 23 fabulous blogs!! Very much appreciated. It is no co-incidence that the last day of the month sees more visitors to my web site than any other.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 

 

 

 

 


Opening Lines Blog: Rachel Ennis’s Second Chances

It’s Thursday! So, go and pop your feet up for five minutes. It’s time to enjoy some more ‘Opening Lines,’

This week Rachel Ennis (otherwise known as Jane Pollard), is sharing the beginning of her Cornish Mystery, Second Chances.

For this series I have drawn on my experiences of village life though never using real people as characters. For the mysteries Jess Trevanion is asked to solve I had a wonderful time researching historical events such as ‘coffin ship’ runs to Murmansk during the first World War (‘Fallen Hero’); the aftermath of an underwater collision by a nuclear sub (‘The Loner’); intrigue and tragedy at the Congress of Vienna just before the Battle of Waterloo (‘Moving On’)  and the dangerous secret work undertaken by Cornish fishermen during WW2 (‘Silver Linings’)  None of the villagers who asked Jess to compile a family tree knew of the secrets buried in their pasts. But shocking revelations also brought new understanding.

The first 500 words of ‘Second Chances’

Jess hurried from the kitchen to answer the door. She didn’t recognise the knock. It wasn’t Elsie or Viv. They would have leaned in and called to her: Elsie to ask if she had a minute, and Viv wanting to know if she was decent.

Smiling at the thought, Jess wiped damp hands on her apron and opened the door.

‘Fiona!’

‘I hope this isn’t – You’re not in the middle of something?’

‘Washing up. I’ve been baking. That always means a pile of dishes.’ Fiona had insisted Rob buy her a dishwasher, saying she had more than enough to do without spending hours at the sink. Pushing the thought away, Jess stepped back, opening the door wider. ‘Come in.’

As Fiona stepped inside, wiping her feet on the mat, Jess returned to the kitchen and reached for the kettle. ‘Cup of tea?’

Fiona hesitated.

‘Or how about hot chocolate? There’s coffee, only instant though.’

Jess saw Fiona suppress a shudder. Rob had shared his amusement at Fiona’s attachment to the coffee machine they had been given as a wedding present, with a tray of pods for every occasion and time of day. Used to snatching a mouthful of cold, scummy hospital coffee between patients, he was grateful for anything he was able to finish while it was still hot.

‘Tea would be fine, thank you.’

‘Why don’t you sit down?’ Jess indicated the sofa. She noticed that beneath expertly applied makeup her daughter-in-law’s face was drawn. ‘The kettle’s just boiled so it won’t take a moment.’

Fiona took off her belted camel coat and unwound the pale pink pashmina looped loosely round her throat. Beneath it she wore a rose cashmere roll-neck over a black A-line skirt and black mid-heeled boots. Jess could not fault her taste or style. Even the way she sat was elegant. And yet she looked pinched and cold, and had definitely lost weight.

Jess took down cups and saucers, poured milk into a matching jug and put four date, cherry and almond cookies on a plate, then carried the laden tray to the low table. She opened the woodburner and added two more apple logs to the glowing embers, then sat down opposite Fiona.

She remained silent while pouring the tea and adding milk. Handing one cup and saucer to Fiona, she picked up the other, took a cookie from the plate and made herself comfortable.

Knees together, feet to one side, Fiona sipped. The cup rattled as she replaced it on the saucer. ‘This isn’t easy…’

Jess bit into her cookie and waited.

Fiona sat up straighter and took a breath but her gaze remained fixed on her cup. ‘My… situation has changed. I was misled and made a bad decision. I deeply regret it, but it’s in the past.’

Jess took a mouthful of tea, picturing Fiona rehearsing those words, or others like them, during her drive here. Guilt pricked. Was she being too harsh? She recalled Rob’s features, haggard with stress and …

Blurb for ‘Second Chances’

Having rekindled their relationship, historical investigator Jess Trevanion is looking forward to spending more time with partner Tom Peters. She’s also got a new historical puzzle to solve: the mysterious family background of the local Reskilly clan.

Tom and Jess bond over their love of the sea but it isn’t all smooth sailing. They are forced to abandon a boat trip when they come across an old friend in dire straits ‑ an event which has serious repercussions. Meanwhile, a shock encounter with her daughter-in-law makes Jess worry for her son’s future ‑ and she isn’t the only one with unexpected goings-on in her personal life. Her friends Mor, Viv, and Annie have momentous news of their own, and Polvellan will never be the same again.

A combination of Jess’s historical discoveries and the ups and downs in the lives of her and her friends lead her to make a decision she’s been putting off ‑ but will she make the right choice this time? 

Buy Link:     http://amzn.to/2oWLJ9L

https://www.facebook.com/PolvellanCornishMysteries/

https://twitter.com/JJacksonAuthor

 

Bio:    Writing as Dana James, Jane Jackson, and Rachel Ennis, Jane has been a professional author for over thirty-five years and shortlisted for four major awards. Happily married to a Cornishman, with children and grandchildren, she has lived in Cornwall all her life finding inspiration for her books in the county’s scenery, history and people.  ‘Second Chances’ is her 38th published book.

***

Wow- 38 books! That is amazing. Well done Rachel/Jane/Dana!!

I hope you enjoyed that. Next week Fiona Morgan will be here with 500 words.

See you then.

Jenny x

 

 


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