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

Tag: blog tour Page 1 of 3

Opening Lines with Carol McGrath: The Silken Rose

Today I’m delighted to welcome Carol McGrath to my blog, as she goes on tour with her brand new historical novel, The Silken Rose.

Why not sit and relax for five minutes, while you enjoy a little background to this, the first of The She Wolf Trilogy – as well as the first 500 words.

Over to you Carol…

The Silken Rose is the first novel in The She Wolf Trilogy, three standalone novels about three medieval queens set during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Ailenor of Provence, Eleanor of Castile and Isabella of France were considered she wolves by later writers but they were reviled by many barons during their reigns because of the influence the exercised over their husbands. Ailenor was guilty of nepotism, Eleanor grabbed lands and built up a property empire and, as for Isabella, say no more, she simply deposed her husband and set up her son Edward III as king in his stead. Their thrilling and intriguing stories are intersected with those of three ordinary women, ordinary in rank but independent and from the merchant class. The first appears in The Silken Rose. She is an embroiderer and Rosalind’s story intersects with that of Queen Ailenor.  Enjoy the short blub and extract. The book is published on 2nd April as an e book and as a paperback on 23rd July. The audio is currently available too.

It is 1236

Ailenor of Provence, cultured and intelligent, is thirteen when she marries Henry III. She is aware of the importance of providing heirs to secure the throne. She will protect England’s throne from those who would snatch it away. She is ruthless in her dealings with Henry’s barons.

Beautiful Ailenor’s shrewd and clever Savoyard uncles can support her, until her power is threatened when Henry’s half-siblings also arrive at court.

Henry and Ailenor become embroiled in an unpopular, expensive war to protect the last English territories in France, sparking conflict with warrior knight, Simon de Montfort, the King’s seneschal. It is the final straw.

Caught in a web of treachery and deceit, ‘she-wolf’ Ailenor’s courage is tested to the limit. Can she control her destiny and protect her family?

First 500 words…

Canterbury, January 1236

The road from Dover to Canterbury was mired with mud so progress was slow. Ailenor, Princess of Provence, had never seen such weather. She tugged back the oiled canvas and peered from her long, box-like carriage into the January landscape. A collection of gaunt faces stared back; figures huddled in heavy cloaks, watching the golden lions of Savoy and Provence pass through Canterbury’s gate into the cramped lanes of the city.

Domina Willelma’s rhythmic snores competed with the splashing of hooves moving laboriously through the gateway, the roll of wheels belonging to sumpter carts, the cracking of whips and the protesting snorts of an escort of three hundred horsemen. All the way from Dover, thirteen year-old Ailenor had listened to rain rattling on the curved roof of the carriage. With a hiss, it dripped through a minute crack onto the box of hot charcoal that warmed her feet.

She let the curtain drop and withdrew into her furs. It’s so different to my golden Provençal fields on which sun shines winter and summer.

A tear slid down her cheek. She instinctively drew her mantle closer. This was not what she imagined after Richard of Cornwall, King Henry’s brother, had visited their castle of Les Baux last year and she had listened to his thrilling tales of romance. England was not the magical land she visualised when she wrote her best poem ever, set in Cornwall, verse Prince Richard admired. Nor was it the green country filled with wild flowers she dreamed of when Henry, King of England, sent for her to become his bride.

She shivered in her damp gown. She had not wanted woollen gowns and underskirts. Rather, she desired velvets, silks and satins, and the finest linen for under-garments. But after two days’ travel over the Narrow Sea and on waterlogged roads she understood the need for warmth. She was now to dwell in a land where winter never ended and summer was but a distant prayer.

The carriage jolted to a halt. Uncle William, the Bishop, thrust his head through the heavy hanging.

‘We are approaching the palace. Prepare to descend.’ He almost fell off his horse as he pushed his neck further into the carriage to waggle a long finger at Ailenor’s senior lady. ‘Waken that woman at once. Order her to tidy your dress.’ With a grunt, he withdrew before Ailenor could reply.

‘Domina Willelma, wake up.’ Ailenor gently shook her lady’s shoulder. ‘Uncle William says ‑’

‘By our sainted Lady, my child, forgive me. Why have you permitted me to sleep?’ Lady Willelma sat straight up, her dark eyes wide awake.

‘Because, dear Willelma, you have hardly slept since we left Vienne and that was three weeks ago.’

‘I’m neglecting my duty to your mother.’ Willelma opened the tassels of a velvet bag. My mother, Ailenor thought. If only she were here. She would make jests and have me laugh at it all. How can I face this awful land alone?

***

Buy Link https://tinyurl.com/ssdrk28 

Make sure you don’t miss a single stop on this amazing blog tour!

Bio

Following her first degree in English and History, Carol McGrath completed an MA in Creative Writing at The Seamus Heaney Centre, Belfast, followed by an MPhil from University of London.  Her fifth historical novel, The Silken Rose, first in The Rose Trilogy, published by the Headline Group, is set during the High Middle Ages. It features Ailenor of Provence and will be published on April 2nd 2020. Carol was the co-ordinator of the Historical Novels’ Society Conference, Oxford in September 2016.  Visit her website:

Carol’s links are all on her website: www.carolcmcgrath.co.uk

***

You can join in with Carol’s ‘virtual’ book launch tomorrow, on Twitter, from 3pm!

Many thanks fro visiting today Carol.

Good luck with your new novel and the rest of your blog tour.

Jenny x

 

 

 

 

 

Where Do My Characters Come From? by Jane Fenwick

Today I’m delighted to welcome Jane Fenwick to my site as part of her ‘Never the Twain‘ blog tour.

Over to you Jane…

Where Do My Characters Come From? by Jane Fenwick @jane_fenwick60 #neverthetwain #historicalcrimenovels #romance #victorianwhitby

I love people watching. I also love ear wigging! Put the two together and you can see how some, but not all of my characters are born. The rest I would say come from my imagination. Imaginations need feeding of course and that means I read and watch TV and films – a lot. I also daydream.

I always carry a note book about with me. (Not just any old note book however they have to be just right.)

If I’m on a train, in a bar or a coffee shop, in the queue at the supermarket – anywhere really, and I hear a particularly good conversation I jot down any interesting tid bits I overhear. I have a terrible memory so I need to jot it down straight away otherwise by the time I get home its either gone out of my head or I’ve lost the gist of it. Sometimes I hear a phrase or a single word which sparks a thought. Sometimes it is the tone of the whole conversation. Often it is a funny colloquialism or a slang term pertinent to a particular part of the country. Always be careful what you say within earshot of an author – it might end up in a book.

***

I’m a Yorkshire lass so hopefully any Yorkshire in my books comes across as authentic so that the character feels real. When I go to Northumberland for research I make notes about the accent and intonations as the accent is less familiar to me. These accents then help build the characters.

What my characters do as well as say is just as important. Watching body language, a person’s stance or a particular “tic” or gesture someone might have either consciously or unconsciously can also add realism to a character. An action can show you how a character feels without me having to tell the reader ‘she is anxious’.

One aspect of characterisation I struggle with is names. A name can mean different things to different people and getting the name right can influence the character in a big way. Also as an ex teacher I have taught a lot of “names”. I’d never have a romantic character called Wayne. Don’t ask! Add to this that obviously you cannot have a “Kylie” or a “Charlene” in a Victorian novel for obvious reasons and it can become quite restrictive finding just the right name to convey the type of person I want my reader to meet. Names then are very subjective.

However, in Never the Twain I was lucky in that there was a limited choice for my two main characters. The identical twin girls in the story are born either side of midnight as the month turns so they are not only born on different days but different months. Therefore there were only two choices; April or May or May and June. I choose the former.

Particular names are prevalent in different centuries; in Georgian times there was a proliferation of ‘George’s’ and ‘Charlotte’s’ after the king and queen and in the Victorian era there were a lot of ‘Victoria’s’ and ‘Albert’s’ for the same reason. Names also are English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish or even regional or foreign. As Never the Twain is partly set in Scotland I wanted the names of the Scottish characters to reflect this, hence Alistair. But some names are more class driven such as Effie May and Edward. Sometimes a character undergoes a name change as I begin to develop the character and realise the name is not quite working. Again I have a note book and make a note of names I think of or hear which may come in useful. I recently bought a punnet of strawberries that were produced by Sean Figgis. Expect that name to crop up in a future book!

Real people are seldom black and white and so it is with characters. People and characters are seldom all good or all bad. In Never the Twain April and May are identical twins who share some character traits but have different personalities nonetheless. I wanted my characters to be well rounded and ‘real’ therefore they are flawed and contradictory on occasions.

It can be fun getting inside someone else’s head and literally putting words in their mouths. Seeing how characters think and react to circumstances is easy once you know your character inside and out. I constantly ask myself how each character would react in a situation and once that is established it is important that they stay true to themselves and don’t suddenly behaviour totally out of character. Yet sometimes we do act out of character under difficult, unfamiliar circumstances. It is a fine line to draw. However the reader will spot if someone suddenly behaves completely erratically unless there is a very good reason. April and May’s twin bond means they have a debt of loyalty to each other but when things get tough May’s dark side manifests itself to April’s detriment.

My characters are like my babies; I watch them grow and develop, change and adapt to their environment. They lead me in all sorts of directions and turn the plot on its head sometimes. As I am a ‘punster’ not a planner I find this exciting and I hope you do too when you read Never the Twain.

Never the Twain: A twin tale of jealousy and betrayal, love and murder.

The year is 1890. The port of Whitby is heaving with sailors and where there are sailors there are brothels doing a roaring trade. Beautiful identical twins April and May are in desperate straits. They have been abandoned by their actress mother and are about to have their virginity auctioned off to the highest bidder by a notorious brothel madam.

Their fate is hanging in the balance when Captain Edward Driscoll a handsome, wealthy shipping tycoon from Glasgow saves them before they can be deflowered.

But have they exchanged one form of slavery for another?

April, reluctantly swept up in her twin’s secrets and lies unwittingly becomes embroiled in a murderous conspiracy. Is May’s jealousy stronger than the twin bond which has always connected them?

Available from:
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2mbA6hp
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2ksAaZI

Never the Twain: A dark blend of Gothic romance and murder.

Jane Fenwick lives in the market town of Settle in Yorkshire, England. She studied education at Sheffield University gaining a B.Ed (Hons) in 1989 and going on to teach primary age range children. Jane decided to try her hand at penning a novel rather than writing school reports as she has always been an avid reader, especially enjoying historical and crime fiction. She decided to combine her love of both genres to write her first historical crime novel Never the Twain. Jane has always been a lover of antiques, particularly art nouveau and art deco ceramics and turned this hobby into a business opening an antiques and collectables shop in Settle. However her time as a dealer was short lived; she spent far too much time in the sale rooms buying items that ended up in her home rather than the shop! Animal welfare is a cause close to Jane’s heart and she has been vegetarian since the age of fourteen. For the last twenty years she has been trustee of an animal charity which rescues and rehomes cats, dogs and all manner of creatures looking for a forever home. Of course several of these have been “adopted” by Jane!

Jane has always loved the sea and although she lives in the Yorkshire Dales she is particularly drawn to the North East coast of Yorkshire and Northumberland. This coastline is where she gets her inspiration for the historical crime and romance novels she writes. She can imagine how the North East ports would have looked long ago with a forest of tall masted ships crammed together in the harbours, the bustling streets congested with sailors, whalers, chandlers and sail makers. These imaginings provide the backdrop and inspire her to create the central characters and themes of her novels. As she has always loved history she finds the research particularly satisfying.

When she isn’t walking on Sandsend beach with her dog Scout, a Patterdale “Terrorist” she is to be found in her favourite coffee shop gazing out to sea and dreaming up her next plot. Jane is currently writing a historical saga series again set on the North East coast beginning in 1765. The first two books are being edited at the moment; My Constant Lady and The Turning Tides. Look out for My Constant Lady in 2020.

Find her on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook , Pinterest or Web.

GIVEAWAY! – You can take part in the Never the Twain giveaway here- 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8b9ec5be191/?

 

***

Many thanks for visiting today Jane,

Happy reading everyone.

Jenny

Opening Lines: Another Cup of Coffee

This week I thought I’d share some of my own ‘Opening Lines.’

How about Another Cup of Coffee ?

 

Another Cup of Coffee 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…

Here are the first 500 words…

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

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

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

The hectic bustle of the place had hit Amy instantly. Being brought up by parents with a serious café habit, the energy buzzing around the student coffee shop had felt both newly exhilarating and yet comfortably familiar. She’d instantly enjoyed walking anonymously through the crowds with her plastic mug and a soggy salad roll.

Sitting in the coffee shop one day, during the second week of her first term as a student archaeologist, Amy noticed two lads, whom she’d seen in her Prehistory lecture only ten minutes before, struggling to find seats. Surprising herself by inviting them to share her wobbly plastic table, Amy recalled how she’d been even more surprised when they’d accepted her offer.

With that one uncharacteristically impulsive gesture, Amy had met Paul and Rob. Those cups of strong black coffee in the overcrowded student café were only the first of many coffee stops they shared over the next three years …

The first track, which Amy remembered recording herself, was only halfway through, but her wine glass was already empty. With closed eyes Amy thought of them now. Rob was married with three small children. Paul was travelling the world, his archaeological trowel still in hand. Both were miles away. Their friendships remained, but were rather neglected on her side, she thought sadly. The sigh which escaped Amy’s lips was a resigned one, as the sound of Bryan Adams’ ‘Summer of ’69’ continued to fill the room.

Amy sighed again, but couldn’t help the hint of a smile as she remembered how the student coffee shop had only appeared to own one CD, which it had played on a continuous loop. It had quickly become traditional for Amy, Paul, and Rob to time their departure to the sound of Adams belting out the last lines of his song.

As track one of her tape died away…

***

Another Cup of Coffee is available from all good book and eBook retailers, including-

http://www.amazon.com/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee-contemporary-ebook/dp/B00EVYZC7M/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=15EFJ85882KQYAJ71KED

 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee-contemporary-ebook/dp/B00EVYZC7M/ref=pd_sim_kinc_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=12DHKX85NFP0DNJJCKDS

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

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

Publication Day: Edward’s Outlaw

It’s time to raise a glass- or a large mug of black coffee in my case.

The third book in The Folville Chronicles launches today!

Edward’s Outlaw follows hot on the heels of The Outlaw’s Ransom and The Winter Outlaw.

Edward's Outlaw

Available in both ebook and paperback formats, you can buy your copy today!

***

Here’s the blurb

January 1330: King Edward III’s England is awash with the corruption and criminal activity that his mother, Queen Isabella had turned a blind eye to- providing it was to her advantage.
Now, having claimed the Crown for his own, Edward is determined to clean up England. Encouraged by his new wife, Philippa of Hainault and her special advisor- a man who knows the noble felons of the countries Midland region very well- King Edward sends a messenger to Roger Wennesley of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire with orders to work with the county sheriff to arrest five of the Folville brothers…including the newly married Robert de Folville.
Robert takes his wife, Mathilda, to Rockingham Castle for her own safety, but no sooner has he left, when a maid is found murdered in the castle’s beautiful guest suite, the Fire Room. The dead girl looks a lot like Mathilda. Was she the target, or is Mathilda de Folville’s life in danger?
Asked to investigate by the sheriff in exchange for him deliberately taking his time in the hunt for her husband, Mathilda soon uncovers far more than murder…a web of carefully laid deception which trails from London, to Derbyshire, and beyond…

***

(Although Edward’s Outlaw can easily be read as a standalone novel, you’ll get a little more out of the story if you’ve read books one and two)

You can find out lots of information about Edwards’ Outlaw, from how it was written to what inspired it, and read an extract or two, by following the launch blog tour which begins today!

Happy reading (and blog hopping)

Jennifer x

 

 

Another Cup of Coffee: Cover Story

As the mini anniversary blog tour, celebrating 5 years since the launch of ‘Another Cup of Coffee‘ continues, I thought it would be fun to look at the cover incarnations it’s had over the years.

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…

When the paperback version of Another Cup of Coffee came out, it was a little different from the current version of the story. It had some genuine erotica snippets within it as Kit, one of the lead characters, writes erotica for a living.

This was pre- Fifty Shades- and the contemporary fiction market wasn’t keen- so out those extracts came!

At that time, the cover looked liked this.

With the rewrite, came a brand new look.

Then, more recently, it was revamp time again! This version, seems to be the most popular so far. What do you think?

The latest cover- complete with novel- is available from all good book sellers including…

in eBook format from Amazon UK and Amazon US, and paperback format from Amazon UK and Amazon US, and all good book stores.

***

Make sure you don’t miss any of the stops on my tour!

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

Opening Lines: Another Cup of Coffee

I can’t quite believe that I’m celebrating five years since the publication of Another Cup of Coffee. It seems like only yesterday that I sent the manuscript off, with very little hope of a positive reply, to my publisher. 

Today, to mark the fifth anniversary of my very first romantic comedy, I’m setting off on a blog tour (details below) and, seeing as it is Thursday, I thought I’d use this weeks ‘Opening Lines’ blog slot to share the first 500 words (exactly) of Another Cup of Coffee…

After years of only writing erotica (as Kay Jaybee) I knew it was a gamble to branch out into another genre. I wasn’t at all sure I’d be taken seriously, nor that anyone would want to take a risk on me writing stories in a very different style from what my previous readership was used to. Thankfully, my worries were unfounded, and thanks to my lovely editor, Another Cup of Coffee became the first of many contemporary rom/com novels to escape from my previously rather kinkier pen.

 

 

Here are the first 500 words…

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

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

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

The hectic bustle of the place had hit Amy instantly. Being brought up by parents with a serious café habit, the energy buzzing around the student coffee shop had felt both newly exhilarating and yet comfortably familiar. She’d instantly enjoyed walking anonymously through the crowds with her plastic mug and a soggy salad roll.

Sitting in the coffee shop one day, during the second week of her first term as a student archaeologist, Amy noticed two lads, whom she’d seen in her Prehistory lecture only ten minutes before, struggling to find seats. Surprising herself by inviting them to share her wobbly plastic table, Amy recalled how she’d been even more surprised when they’d accepted her offer.

With that one uncharacteristically impulsive gesture, Amy had met Paul and Rob. Those cups of strong black coffee in the overcrowded student café were only the first of many coffee stops they shared over the next three years …

The first track, which Amy remembered recording herself, was only halfway through, but her wine glass was already empty. With closed eyes Amy thought of them now. Rob was married with three small children. Paul was travelling the world, his archaeological trowel still in hand. Both were miles away. Their friendships remained, but were rather neglected on her side, she thought sadly. The sigh which escaped Amy’s lips was a resigned one, as the sound of Bryan Adams’ ‘Summer of ’69’ continued to fill the room.

Amy sighed again, but couldn’t help the hint of a smile as she remembered how the student coffee shop had only appeared to own one CD, which it had played on a continuous loop. It had quickly become traditional for Amy, Paul, and Rob to time their departure to the sound of Adams belting out the last lines of his song.

As track one of her tape died away…

***

Another Cup of Coffee 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…

***

If you’d like to join the birthday celebrations for Another Cup of Coffee, I’d be delighted if you could join me on my ‘Mini Anniversary Tour’- you can find all the stops here. It starts today!!

Another Cup of Coffee is available from all good book and eBook retailers, including-

http://www.amazon.com/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee-contemporary-ebook/dp/B00EVYZC7M/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=15EFJ85882KQYAJ71KED

 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee-contemporary-ebook/dp/B00EVYZC7M/ref=pd_sim_kinc_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=12DHKX85NFP0DNJJCKDS

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

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

Blog Tour: Dakota Son

I’m delighted to welcome Mary Ramsey to my place today, as part of the blog tour for her YA novel, “Dakota Son.” 

Over to you Mary…

Dakota Sun is a novel that will make readers, laugh, cry, and encouraged to do more for the people they love.“- Ella Vincent, Pacific Book Review.

Although, throughout Dakota Son, there are many instances one of people standing up the ones they love, my favorites is the friendship and compassion displayed by London Sharp. The idea of a reality star turned supermodel was inspired by Kendall Jenner, with the name ‘London’ coming from London Breed, San Francisco’s first female African-American mayor.

London is a role model by virtue of her family’s wealth, and her hard earned fame.  But  it is by choice that she is also the kind of person that is everyone’s best friend.

When North Dakota native Sean Foster makes it to California he is convinced by his wife Jen, to try for the LA dream. He is signed by a small time agent and sent on a once in a life time casting call. But despite his strong, sexy features Sean has been living with the struggles of cystic fibrosis all of his life.

His confidence is put to the test, as his body is scrutinized by the panel of judges.  But despite this being their first meeting London takes on the role of the mentor, older sister- the kind of person who can make the worst situation a little less stressful- The type of person who makes the world a better place.

Excerpt

I wasn’t even sure how to dress. I simply threw on a tank top and dark jeans, assuming I needed to look like a veteran model that didn’t care what people thought.

Nineteen-year-old London looked like a ballerina with her long black hair in a tight bun. She sat on a panel with her mother Linda, a middle-aged Italian woman with blonde hair and a fake looking tan, and Sofia, a marketing representative from the company launching the makeup line. When it was my turn, I made the sign of the cross before approaching. I handed over my envelope of Jen’s photos.

“Oh look, we have mail,” Linda laughed. “I know Angelina sent you, but at least have the professionalism to invest in an actual portfolio.”

I figured she meant a book, or at least a binder. Or maybe a binder would have looked just as amateur. “I’m sorry, Ms. Sharp.”

I need to cough. Dear Lord, if you can hear me, please calm my lungs.

Linda looked me up and down. “What is that girl trying to pull? You’re not eighteen. You have the look of someone at least twenty-five.”

I wasn’t sure what to say. Linda reminded me of Jen’s mother, so easily able to knock the chatter out of me. “I’ve always looked old for my age.”

“Tell us something about you,” London said, looking at my headshot.

Her smile was kind. Before the audition I’d done a quick internet search on her, since I don’t exactly follow fashion. I knew her four sisters married celebrities and built their stardom on tabloid rumors. London was different. She was an artist in her own right—a model, but also, according to Vogue magazine, a creative visionary of her generation.

I looked at London’s face, focusing on her kindness. “I’m originally from North Dakota.”

“Is that a PICC line?” Linda cut in.

Here it comes. I went into a coughing attack in front of London Sharp. This is so humiliating! I wanted to run, but my chest hurt so badly

I needed to find somewhere to sit.

Linda snorted. “Please exit to the right.”

“Are you okay, do you need water?” It was London.

“You want to… know something about me? I’ve battled cystic fibrosis my entire life.”

She helped me to my feet. “Sean, you’re stunning. You have a beauty that will inspire.”

Linda’s expression suddenly turned sickly sweet. “Do you have a girlfriend?”

I nodded. “I’m making plans to marry the mother of my child.”

Linda rolled her eyes, looking to her daughter. “That’s the end of it, right? The sexy sick boy is not available to be your arm candy. Let’s move on.”

London flipped her mother off. Linda blinked in shock and Sofia suddenly felt the need to busy herself with a bunch of papers, twisting her chair around to sift them on her lap. I thought she did a good job keeping her laughter totally silent.

London turned back to me. “Come back on the sixth, bring a swimsuit.”

“Seriously?” I was damn near ready to cry—it was just about the first time ever that the coughing hadn’t screwed things up for me. “Thanks… for the opportunity.”

Blurb

Sean Foster has lived with cystic fibrosis his entire life. He falls in love with Jen, a girl with a dark, emotionally painful past. Living with chronic illness, Sean knows a little something about overcoming pain. But when he meets her family, his courage will be put to the test.

Jen’s father, Diego, is a disabled military veteran. He is being mentally and physically abused by his wife, due to his role in the death of Jen’s brother.

Sean must find a way to save Diego, to help him see that there are people who truly care. From Sean’s sister Sara, who views Diego as a heroic father figure. To Remy, Sean’s holistic nurse with a talent for healing wounded souls.

Accompanied by a mysterious, supernatural, presence, it will fall to Sean to play the hero. All while navigating a life with chronic illness, and chasing his dreams in California.

Available from:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dakota-Son-Mary-Ramsey-ebook/dp/B07DR9YNBH/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dakota-Son-Mary-Ramsey-ebook/dp/B07DR9YNBH/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dakota-son-mary-ramsey/1128896239?ean=9781546233077

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mary_Ramsey_Dakota_Son?id=BFtgDwAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dakota-son

Author bio

Mary Ramsey is a blogger, artist, and writer. She served in the United States Air Force and has a BA degree in Cinema. Although she was born in California, her work in the military took her all over the world including the diverse Midwest, from the beautiful landscapes of the Dakotas to the small towns of Wisconsin.

She has always had a fondness for unique superheroes; underrepresented minorities, LGBTQ, abuse victims, and so on. She loves an inspiring story that will make her cry.  Her favorite movie will always be 13th Warrior.

https://dourdan.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/pisforpearl

https://www.deviantart.com/dourdan

 

*****

DON’T MISS THE GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/mary-ramsey/

Use the Rafflecopter to enter for your chance to win one of two Amazon or iTunes gift cards.

Here’s the link-  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8b9ec5be187/?

GOOD LUCK!!

***

Happy reading everyone.

Jenny x

The One That I Want Blog Tour: Opening Lines

Today I am delighted to be hosting the latest leg of Lynne Shelby’s blog tour for her brand new novel, The One That I Want.

To help celebrate her release, Lynne is sharing the first 500 words (exactly) of her novel, in the style of one of my ‘Opening Lines’ blogs.

Over to you Lynne!

I’ve always been fascinated by theatre and film – my ideal night out is a trip to see a West End play or musical – and my new novel, ‘The One That I Want,’ is set in the world of showbusiness. In the book, Lucy Ashford, my heroine, is unexpectedly swept up into a celebrity lifestyle…

Here’s the first 500 words:

The front doorbell rang, and went on ringing. I sighed. My brother must have forgotten his key again. Still clutching the spoon with which I’d been stirring the bolognaise sauce, I went out of the kitchen and along the narrow hallway. A glance at my reflection in the hall mirror showed me that my face looked much as it always did, if a little pale. Reassured that none of my family would suspect I’d been crying, I opened the front door.

A fairy-tale princess, wearing a long white dress embroidered with a scattering of green leaves, was standing on the doorstep. I started in surprise, and then, for the first time that day, I smiled.

‘Lucy?’ The princess was staring at me.

‘Hi, Cassie,’ I said.

‘Lucy! Oh, it’s so lovely to see you.’ The star of The Adventures of Princess Snowdrop flung her arms around me. It was only with difficulty that I manage managed to avoid smearing bolognaise sauce all over her voluminous white skirts.

‘It’s great to see you again too,’ I said. ‘It must be – what? At least twelve years. Of course, I’ve seen you on TV since then.’

Cassie laughed, and reached up to straighten the crown of white flowers that perched somewhat precariously on top of her blonde curls. She’d grown up extraordinarily beautiful. It was no wonder that Prince Oak and Prince Ash obeyed her every whim.

‘I’ve been doing a Snowdrop publicity gig just a few miles from here,’ she said, ‘and I decided to take a detour on my way back to London and pay you all a visit. May I come in? If it’s convenient.’

‘Oh… That’s what you always used to say…’ For a moment, it was as though we were children again, Cassie walking home from school with me and my stepfather, taking a turn at pushing my brother in his buggy, and when we reached our gate, asking very politely if she might come in, if it was convenient… Back then, it had never occurred to me to wonder why she spent so little time in her own family home, across the road from ours. Suddenly, my throat felt a little tight.

‘Come in Cassie,’ I said. ‘Everyone except me is at work right now, but they’ll be home very soon, and I know they’d love to see you.’

‘I’ll just speak to my driver.’

‘You have a driver?’ For the first time, I noticed the white limo with the blacked-out windows parked in the road outside. Cassie darted along our garden path and spoke to someone inside the car, which then drove off.

‘I’ve told him to amuse himself for a couple of hours,’ she said. ‘I’ll phone him when I want picking up.’

Cassie Clarke is a TV star now, I thought. Of course she has a limo and a driver. I stood aside to let her into the hall, and she headed straight for the kitchen.

‘Oh, it’s just the same.’ Her gaze travelled….

Blurb:

When Lucy Ashford lands a top job at a leading theatrical agency in London, work mixes with pleasure, as she literally falls into the arms of Hollywood heartthrob Daniel Miller. Handsome, charming and irresistible, Daniel is just what unlucky-in-love Lucy needs, and she is quickly drawn into his glittering celebrity lifestyle. But can she tame the A-list bad boy or is she just one more girl in Daniel s long line of conquests? And then there’s up-and-coming actor Owen Somers, fiercely talented but as yet uncast in a starring role. After she takes him onto the agency s books, Owen and Lucy s friendship slowly grows. If she looks closely, Lucy’s leading man might be right before her very eyes…

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-That-I-Want-ebook/dp/B07D2FGCX1/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1526906516&sr=8-1

Bio:

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, ‘French Kissing’ won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition. She has done a variety of jobs from stable girl to child actor’s chaperone to legal administrator, but now writes full time. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city – Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Reykjavik – writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.lynneshelby.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LynneShelbyWriter

Twitter: @LynneB1

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

***

Many thanks Lynne. Have a fabulous blog tour.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 

 

 

An Artisan Lovestyle: A Few of Our Favourite Things

Today I’m delighted to be hosting Kiltie Jackson on my blog today as part of her blog tour.

Why not get comfortable, put your feet up and listen in as good friends Sukie and Elsa get chatty…

Good morning Readers, I hope you are all well.

Today, I am joined by Sukie and Elsa – the leading ladies from ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’ and ‘An Artisan Lovestyle’.

Sukie and Elsa have been best friends since they first met at the age of seven. This does not necessarily mean they share the same views and so I thought I would ask them a few questions to see how they ‘rock ‘n’ roll’!

Ladies, what is your favourite Animal?

Sukie – Cats! Definitely cats! I do love all animals but my two boys, Tony and Adam, are the best. They are my world and I adore them.

Elsa – Dogs! Definitely dogs! Like Sukie, I also adore all animals but my dog Puddle is very loving and he has helped me through some very hard times.

What about TV shows? Do you watch much TV?

Elsa – I enjoy crime dramas. NCIS is a must-see and I’m also rather partial to CSI too. The New York one was my favourite. I’m not really one for watching soaps – they’re far too morose.

Sukie – I love The Big Bang Theory! Sheldon Cooper totally rocks! He’s amazing. My other must see is Outlander. All those men in kilts… Bring them on!

Elsa – Oh yes, I agree! Outlander is fantastic. Give me a bit of Jamie Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser any day!

Sukie – As you can see, Elsa’s a fan! (laughs)

Now tell me about your favourite films.

Elsa – (groans) Seriously? Did you have to ask that one?

Sukie – (laughing) My favourite film is The Sound of Music and Elsa has grown up being bored silly over my obsession with it. I finally got to visit Salzburg a few years ago and it is the most wonderful place on earth. I love it!

Elsa – Bored doesn’t even begin to cover it! (She rolls her eyes!) My personal favourite is Love Actually. The way Richard Curtis managed to weave all the stories together is fabulous. It always makes me smile. I can watch it any time, not just at Christmas.

Ok, I think we shall move swiftly onto your favourite meal?

Sukie – Pasta! Anything Italian works for me although pasta based is my number one choice. When I visited Venice, I had the pleasure of eating freshly made pasta in a small, outdoor, sunlit, courtyard and it was quite an experience.

Elsa – Chinese food! It has been since I was a kid. I have tried a number of different dishes but I confess I always end up going back to Sweet and Sour Chicken. Not the balls in batter, they’re bleugh! (She pulls a face.) No, I much prefer the chicken cooked in the sauce. My local restaurant calls it Cantonese style.

And do you both do desserts?

Sukie – I have to confess that I am a bit of an ice-cream fiend! My favourite is rum ‘n’ raisin but I will eat most flavours. Even in the middle of winter, I will still eat it!

Elsa – My preference is hot, dense puddings with lots of thick, yellow custard. My all-time favourite is apple crumble although I don’t have it very often. Too much effort is needed to burn off all those calories.

Sukie, you’ve mentioned both Salzburg and Venice – are these your favourite holiday destinations? What about you Elsa, where do you like to go?

Elsa – (looks pointedly at Sukie) Keep it short!

Sukie – (throws her head back in laughter) Salzburg is my destination of choice. Everything about it makes me smile and I am more than a little fond of it.

Elsa – Wow! Is that all you’re going to say?

Sukie – I can add more if you like?

Elsa – No, you’re good! MY favourite place is somewhere I’ve not yet been. I really want to visit Paris. It has such a long, artistic history and it is home to so many wonderful works of art – both painted and sculpted. I would need at least a month, I think, to see everything I want to see.

Snow or Sand?

Sukie – Snow!

Elsa – Sand!

(They both laugh.)

Sukie – How on earth are we friends? We hardly share any likes?

Boy Bands or Rock Bands?

Sukie – Oh, rock bands all the way for me! I’m very much a Green Day fan along with Royal Blood, Within Temptation and the Foo Fighters.

Elsa – I was very much into the boy band The Astons, and then Pete Wallace when he went solo, but I have to concur with Sukie that rock bands are better.

Sukie – We finally agree on something.

(The ladies throw a high five.)

So, to change the vibe a bit – what about breakfast cereal?

Sukie – Toast. I’m not into cereals. I much prefer a couple of slices of wholemeal with butter and some lime marmalade.

Elsa – I don’t eat in the mornings. A few strong coffees until about 10.30 am when I will have a muesli bar or something similar.

And lastly, to finish off, your favourite item of clothing?

Sukie – Hmmm… That’s a tough one. I’m not really a clothing kind of person… I suppose it would have to be my vintage 1950’s dress. It’s scarlet linen with a lovely, full, ballerina skirt. I don’t get to wear it often but, when I do, I always feel very dressed up.

Elsa – I’ve always preferred designer clothes and I confess to having a wardrobe full of the top names but, the item of clothing which is most special to me, is a long, Doctor Who style scarf that my grandmother knitted for my mother many years ago. I believe it was Tom Baker who was the Doctor at the time and my mum had a thing about his scarf so my gran made one for her. It’s very long – especially on me coz I’m quite small – but it is great for keeping warm when I’m walking the dog in the winter. I guess it’s a sort of family heirloom.

Ladies, thank you so much for being here today and for answering my questions.

Sukie & Elsa – Thank you for having us as your guests.

***

Blurb- An Artisan Lovestyle

Are you ‘living’ your life or just living your life?

Elsa Clairmont was widowed barely five years after marrying her childhood sweetheart. She has struggled to come to terms with the loss and, six years later, has almost ceased to live herself. She does just enough to get by.

Danny Delaney is the ultimate ‘Mr Nice Guy’. He’s kind, caring and sweet. A talented artist in his teens, his abusive mother ruined his career in art and he turned his back on his exceptional gift. Now, he does just enough to get by.

On New Year’s Eve, both Danny and Elsa die in unrelated accidents.

Thanks to some poker playing shenanigans, Elsa’s husband Harry, and Danny’s old Art teacher, William, manage to orchestrate a deal with Death that allows Danny and Elsa to live for one more year on the condition they both agree 
to complete three tasks.

They have until the last chime of Big Ben on the 31st December to fulfil their quests.

If they succeed, they stay in the world of the living.

If they should fail however…

‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is a story of personal growth and self-discovery as two people find themselves forced to make overdue changes in their lives, changes in other people’s lives, and all with the added challenge of finding true love before their time runs out.

Will they do it?  Can they do it? After all, it’s a matter of Life or Death…

Purchase Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07D23TM38

***

GIVEAWAY

Win a £40 / $40 Amazon Voucher (Open Internationally)

Enter via this link- http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494104/?

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

***

BIO

Kiltie grew up in Glasgow in Scotland,
This is a very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life.

When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then, after several years of obtaining

interesting experiences – which are finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands.  Kiltie currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one grumpy husband.
Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having

plenty of moggies, there are no towers!

The cats kindly allow her and Mr Mogs to share their house on the condition

they keep paying the mortgage!

She loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles.
She really dislikes going to the gym!

Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job and write her

stories for a living.

Kiltie’s debut novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’, was released in September 2017

 and won a “Chill With A Book – Reader Award” in December 2017.
She first began writing her debut novel eleven years before it was released

but shelved it as she didn’t think it was very good.
In November 2016 when, having read more on a best-selling author who had begun her own career

as a self-published author, she was inspired to revisit the unfinished manuscript

and finally finish what she had started.
Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing.
‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is the second book in the Lovestyle Series. Work is due to begin on book three (not yet titled but also part of the Lovestyle Series)
in the Summer of 2018.
She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file

(it’s costing a fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!)

The ideas still keep on coming.
Kiltie now lives her life around the following three quotes:
“I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!”
“Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?”
“Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”

Website www.kiltiejackson.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kiltiejackson

Twitter – https://twitter.com/KiltieJackson 

***

Many thanks for visiting today Kiltie,

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

Blog Tour: Proof Positive

I love having guests visit. I especially enjoy it when those guests are not just people I respect greatly, but friends as well. Lucy V Hay falls into both those categories. Her YA book, Proof Positive, has recently been released into the world via Littwitz Press. 

Proof Positive (Intersection Series Book 1)

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Lizzie finds herself pregnant: she’s literally days away from her exam results and university beckons around the corner. The bright Lizzie has big plans, but can she have the life she wanted, with a baby in tow? What will her family and friends say? And what will the baby’s father choose to do: stay out of it, or stand by her?

An exciting “What if…” journey in the style of “Run Lola Run” and “Sliding Doors”.

Purchase Link – http://mybook.to/ProofPositive

Author Bio – Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts.  Lucy’s also the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS. Her debut crime novel, THE OTHER TWIN, is now out with Orenda Books and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspapers, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine. Check out all her books, HERE.

Social Media Links –

***

If you enjoy teen fiction then you need to read this book. If you don’t enjoy teen fiction- you still need to read this book. I have – and felt every frustrated, tense, joyous, heart rending, angry, gleeful moment along with Lizzie and her parents, family and friends.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

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