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

Tag: Celia J Anderson

Guest Post from Celia J Anderson: Moondancing Blog Tour

Today Celia J Anderson returns to my blog as part of her latest blog tour. Why not grab a cuppa, put your feet up for five minutes, and read all about Celia’s new book, Moondancing.

Over to you Celia…


You’re probably reading this on the day after Moondancing jumped out of Amazon’s shelves and became part of the real world. If yesterday felt like Christmas for it, today is its Boxing Day. This fourth book – and my first, initially disastrous attempt to be a writer – is the one that took the longest to write, and took in a whole load of worry, pain and also fun in the process. Life’s been something of a roller coaster for me over the last few years. The loss of both parents and my husband have been character-building, I guess (although with hindsight I might have chosen a smaller character and a bit less angst) but my new marriage gave me the nudge to get on with life and to get this book finished at last.


So, after many, many edits and rewrites, here it is. Initially called ‘Something for Molly’, then renamed ‘Start Again’, it’s now got its final title. Moondancing is a prequel to my earlier book, Little Boxes, and in it we see Molly in the earlier days of her marriage. Her much-loved children are a handful and she often finds herself wanting to shake her husband, Jake. I hope you enjoy the final product and if you haven’t already, have the chance to read Little Boxes to see what happens next!



Driving along the narrow country lanes into town, Jake’s anger develops into a huge black cloud of self-pity. Why did Molly have to go off the rails on a school night when they’ve both got a hard day at work to get through?

He sighs heavily, feeling the snatched bowl of Weetabix beginning to churn in his stomach. Being a foreman at the brewery is a steady job, even if it’s not that exciting, but he needs to be alert to do it properly. It’s not his dream job – not even close – but it pays the mortgage. Last night’s broken sleep was as bad as the early days with teething babies. Jake doesn’t need this. He loves Molly and his four kids, his home, his allotment and his prize-winning leeks; in that order, usually. He likes to cook, if somebody else has done the shopping and if he can use his home-grown vegetables.

He looks after his pride and joy carefully – an ageing Range Rover, temperamental but solid. At weekends, he gives a hand with the cleaning, if he’s not at work or on the allotment. In all his thirty-nine years he’s never really wanted more than a quiet life. Is he demanding? Jake thinks not.

The September morning sunshine is breaking through the mist, but Jake’s mood darkens even more as he drives along the winding lanes to Hopton. The early rays warm the freshly-cut grass along the verge, the evocative smell bringing unwelcome memories of a time, years ago, when he lay in the wild meadow at the edge of the sports field, trying to persuade Molly to let him see her new bra.

‘Honestly, Moll, you can’t get pregnant just by taking off your PE shirt,’ he’d said hopefully. Molly’s aertex PE shirt was all that lay between Jake and the wonderful lace and wire construction that kept her chest in order, but there was no way she was letting him do more than stroke the bare skin of her back.

‘Look, it’s all right for you, no one calls you a slag if you let them feel your… you-know-whats…’

‘But I haven’t got any you-know-whats.’

‘Don’t be pedantic.’

‘How can I be pedantic, I don’t know what it means? Anyway, I only want to give them a bit of a rub – over your bra, not even under it.’ He’d shuddered at the wonderful thought of actually being allowed underneath a girl’s bra.

Jake sighs as a sharp pang of nostalgia for such simple times brings a lump to his throat. The radio plays Eva Cassidy – a heartbreaking song about leaving in autumn, leaves turning, and all manner of other sad stuff. Can the day get any worse?


Together since their teens, Molly and Jake have four children, a house in a sleepy village and jobs that bore them to distraction. Their marriage is an accident waiting to happen. When Nick arrives in Mayfield, young, disturbed and in desperate need of mother-love, Molly doesn’t realise that he will be the catalyst that blows everything apart. Add a headmaster whose wife doesn’t understand him and Molly’s unpredictable, frustrated best friend to the mix, and the blue touch paper has been well and truly lit.

Buy Links:


Author Bio:

Celia J Anderson teaches English in a small South Derbyshire town and dreams of living by the sea. Having her previous books published (Sweet Proposal, with Piatkus Entice and Little Boxes and Living the Dream with Tirgearr) has whetted her appetite for the author’s life, but at the moment she is juggling her love of junior drama and writing classes, reading thrillers and drinking too much wine/eating too much cake while she keeps on top of the marking pile. One day…






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:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Many thanks for stopping by on your tour Celia. Good luck with your new book.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx



Blog Tour: Celia J Anderson- The Importance of Writing Buddies

It’s lovely to be here on the second day of my blog tour celebrating the launch of Living the Dream and talking about the importance of writing buddies. This is my third book (fourth if you count the anthology with The Romaniacs) and every time I say that I have to skip round the room a few laps to calm down.


It only seems like five minutes since I met the other Romaniacs (Sue Fortin, Laura E James, Debbie Fuller-White, Vanessa Savage, Lucie Wheeler, Jan Brigden and Catherine Miller) at the 2011 Festival of Romance in Watford. Since then we’ve propped each other up through numerous writing and life hiccups, made each other laugh until we cry, howled at each others’ rejection slips and celebrated all the milestones in our new lives as ‘proper writers’.

celia's friends

The best advice I could ever give to anyone who’s at the beginning of this journey is to get yourself a gang like these ladies. We were all unpublished when we met, and none of us could have predicted what happened next. There have been competition wins, awards, publishing contracts, wine by the bucketful and so much cake you could build a bridge over the channel. But it’s the laughs that have kept us going. On your own you’re in danger off taking the bad times to heart and beating yourself with a big stick. Together, naff as it sounds, we are strong.



I rummaged in the drawer for a plaster to put on my bleeding toe and imagined my husband lying on a hospital slab – cold, lifeless, and waiting for the knife. We locked glances as he swung the mirror round again, my wide green eyes meeting the familiar blue and beady gaze head on. I watched as he tossed back his curls. They were long, grey, and slightly greasy. I wondered how soon medical science could be persuaded to have his body.

‘I need to go,’ I muttered, looking away before he could see the depth of my loathing and the treacherous angry tears that were starting to prickle my eyelids. ‘We’ve got a heavy day today.’

‘Actually, Vita, you did manage to get that message across. You’ve been wittering about it for the last week. Why don’t you just come right out with the truth? You’re bored with your job and you’re jealous because I can work from home, aren’t you?’

Work? When was the last time any of that had happened in this house? Not this month, for sure. I took a deep breath. I badly wanted to get a few things off my chest but a morning row always makes my day go sour, however good it feels to shout at Ronan.

‘No, that’s not the problem – you’re putting words into my mouth again. It’s just that it’s going to be a really long day. We’ve all three got back-to-back counselling sessions, Jack and Fliss are just as busy as me, so I won’t be home until at least seven o’clock. Could you maybe sort dinner out tonight?’ I tried not to sound grovelling, but heard myself adding, ‘Please?’

‘Bloody hell, you want me to cook again? What’s it going to be?’

‘Anything you like. There’s nothing in the fridge, and the freezer’s practically empty, too.’

‘I can’t believe you’re asking me to go shopping, especially after what happened last time. I haven’t been able to go back into Sainsbury’s since…’ He shuddered and raised the volume a notch. ‘You know I’ve got a deadline for my edits. The books don’t write themselves, you know. They say crime doesn’t pay, and crime fiction certainly doesn’t.’

This was an old joke of Ronan’s and I didn’t even try to force a smile as he continued, ‘You’re not trying to tell me that your job’s enough to make ends meet if I don’t churn the books out? Why can’t you go out in your lunch hour?’

‘I’m not getting one today. Jack had to cover for me on Friday while I went to the bank to see about the loan. Fliss said it was okay but I’ve got to pay the time back.’

‘Right, so basically you’re blaming me for making you lose your lunch break? Because we need a top-up loan?’

‘No, I…’

‘Actually, Vita, if you didn’t spend so much on clothes, we might be able to manage.’

I felt my jaw drop. That was so unfair. I have never been preoccupied with the way I look. Dressing in low-key clothes for work helps people to relax, and my hair’s tied back in a ponytail most of the time. A pair of black framed spectacles helps. I put them on if I’m seeing clients who might reckon I look too dizzy and blond to be a counsellor – no-one knows they’re plain glass. Ronan used to like me to go out in tight jeans and little crop tops, but he never seems to notice what I put on lately. I faced up to him, all five feet two inches of me.

‘When did I last spend money on things for myself?’

He snorted and rolled his eyes. ‘Well, that’s obvious. I always think it’s a shame when a woman lets herself go.’

‘Hey, come on. Either I splash out on clothes or I don’t bother with how I look. You can’t have it both ways, Ronan.’

‘Oh, you think you’re so clever, don’t you, Vita? Sooooo sharp.’

I could feel myself building up for the sort of explosion that would blow us apart once and for all. Breathe, Vita, breathe, I told myself. There’s no time for a showdown today even if I would love to shout and rant at the chauvinist pig with his endless jibes and digs. More and more lately I’ve been biting my tongue – swallowing the fierce responses I want to fire back at him. Arguing with my husband is pointless. He always wins. But then again, nobody can have a winning streak that lasts forever, can they?



When dreams and reality crash and mingle, escape can be the hardest challenge of all.

Longing to get away from her troubled marriage, the opportunity to cross America by train seems like a dream come true for Vita Craythorne. But charismatic travel agent Moriarty Miles has other ideas; by replacing her friend Jack on the trip, Vita has unwittingly set herself up as a guinea pig for Moriarty’s mind-blowing and potentially dangerous new virtual-holiday project. His idea is to give clients the holiday of a lifetime without ever having to leave the comfort of their favourite chair. It’s exciting. It’s innovative. It could be just what Vita needs. That is, if she can avoid becoming trapped inside her own, miraculous dream world.

Here are my buy links:


Author Bio:

Celia J Anderson is passionate about writing, cake, wine and long walks in the Quantock hills or on random beaches. She is very proud to be the assistant head at a Catholic primary school in the Midlands and divides her time between walking off the cake, inventing imaginary worlds and teaching English and drama.


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:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you for visiting today Celia! I wish you a very successful tour.

Don’t forget to enter that giveaway everyone!

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Guest Post from Celia J Anderson: Starting Again

I’m delighted to welcome Celia J Anderson back to my site today on Day 7 of her blog tour, celebrating her brand new novel, Little Boxes.

Over to you Celia…

Today’s theme is starting again. In Little Boxes, Molly is faced with the challenge of making a new life and getting to grips (in more ways than one) with a brand new man. Tom knows he’s the right one for Molly, but she finds it very hard to leave her past behind.

Little Boxes by Celia J Anderson - 200

Here’s the story of my own fresh start:

The man stood in the doorway of the restaurant. Breakfast time in San Francisco – crisp winter sunshine, trays of fresh fruit, snowy linen cloths and a woman by his side, for a change. He had left England under a thick blanket of snow, the February skies mournful and grey. Here, the cold was sparkling, clean and energising and the Golden Gate Bridge soared high over the sea. Following him to a table by the wide window overlooking the bay, the woman said ‘I’m sorry; I’m not very hungry, are you?’

He smiled, picking up one of the enormous menus. ‘No, but that’s not a problem – we’ll just order the smallest thing we can find. What about French toast and fruit; is that ok? Do you like French toast?’ Signalling to the waiter, he realised with a stab of alarm that he knew next to nothing about her.

‘I like everything! It’s just that I still get a weird lump in my throat sometimes when I try to eat, even after all these months. And this week, coming over here to a strange place, especially to go to Matt’s wedding – well, it’s hard, isn’t it?’

The man nodded. He’d never talked about his grief to anyone before, ‘Sometimes I just feel guilty for still being alive, to be able to eat great food and drink chilled wine and see the sunset, and go out walking.’

‘And go to new places, and meet people, and make new friends…’ she agreed. Her eyes were suddenly full of tears and the man blinked in sympathy. There was a silence, and he tentatively reached for her hand. ‘I know, it’s a bugger, isn’t it?’

The waiter brought their order and they laughed, breaking the tension. The plates were so loaded that the toast spilled over the edges, and the enormous slices of watermelon dwarfed the heaps of strawberries and kiwi. He looked at her and felt a sharp pang when he saw green eyes instead of blue. He didn’t know that she was seeing blue eyes when she had half expected green.

‘So much for a light breakfast,’ he said.

Later, as they wandered along the boardwalk, a street trader stopped them in their tracks, holding out a handful of black t-shirts hopefully. The man shook his head, ‘Sorry, we don’t need anything today.’

‘Hey, you got no choice, dude – you gotta pay the forfeit.’


‘That’s what I said, didn’t I? You’re out here, in the most beautiful bay in the world, on the most romantic day of the year, and you ain’t holdin’ the lady’s hand. That’ll be ten dollars, and the t-shirt’s free.’

The man and the woman exchanged sheepish glances, both blushing. ‘But…I don’t really know her,’ he stuttered.

‘Yeah, right – who you tryin’ to kid? Gimme the ten dollars, and you got a deal.’

Grinning, the man dug out a note from his wallet, and handed the t-shirt to the woman. ‘Happy Valentine’s Day,’ he said.

They were married in December, 2008. Neither of them ever wore the t-shirt.



After the day of the capsized chair, Tom began to feel seriously disappointed if he didn’t bump into Molly at least once a week. Sometimes she waved, but usually she was too preoccupied with trying to hold on to Max.

Tom thought she was absolutely beautiful. He often wondered what sort of man would be lucky enough to live with his Lady in Red. Maybe she was married to someone who worked away, or had a job with unsociable hours? Or maybe she was on her own with the children, struggling to make ends meet? He speculated as he painted, watching for Molly out of the corner of his eye, ready to look busy whenever she appeared, but aware of her every move.

But then one day in June, just when Tom had decided that Molly must be a single parent waiting for a new partner to come along and sweep her off her feet, Tom spotted Theo, Hattie and Max walking along the promenade with a gangly, spiky-haired man. He was urging them forwards with quick movements of his hands, frowning at Theo who stuck her tongue out at him and hissed something under her breath. They all laughed at this, and Tom heard the man shout, ‘Theo – your mum’ll go mad when she hears what you just said.’

‘But you won’t tell, will you, Daddy?’ said the little boy, catching hold of the man’s hand and swinging it to get his attention.

‘No, don’t, Dad – she didn’t mean it. She’s in enough trouble already this week,’ Hattie chipped in.

‘Well, whose fault’s that? She should never have got that tattoo. You knew how your mum felt about it, didn’t you, Theo? After last time, I thought you’d have had more sense.’

‘It’s only a little dragonfly. She loves dragonflies. I didn’t think she’d mind.’

The man sniffed. ‘Come on, Mum’ll be waiting for us at the restaurant by now so we can eat together for once. She won’t like being kept hanging around, will she?’

Tom hadn’t painted that day, but had been sitting looking out over the sea thinking about the future. He turned his wheelchair and kept within earshot of the family, feeling uncomfortably like a stalker but following at a discreet distance until they came to a doorway under a striped awning.


Suddenly bereaved, Molly White realises that she has never really known her feisty husband Jake when random boxes begin to appear through the post, each one containing a tantalising clue to the secrets of Jake and Molly’s past. Someone who knows them both well, for reasons of their own, has planned a trail of discovery. The clues seem to be designed to change Molly’s life completely, leading her around Britain and then onwards to rural France and deepest Bavaria.

Meanwhile, waiting in the wings is Tom, a charismatic artist who runs a gallery in the same town. Strong, independent and wheelchair-bound from the age of fifteen, he leads a solitary life and has no idea how devastatingly attractive he is to women. When Tom meets curvy, beautiful and funny Molly, he knows that she is his dream woman, but she seems way out of his orbit until the boxes start to weave their spell and the two of them are thrown right out of their comfort zones.

Little Boxes is a story of love in a variety of guises – mother-love, unrequited passion, infatuation and the shadow-love held in memories that refuse to go away.

Buy links:


Author Bio:

Celia J Anderson spends most of her spare time writing in as many different genres as possible, including children’s fiction. In her other life, she’s Assistant Headteacher at a small Catholic primary school in the Midlands and loves teaching literature (now comfortingly called English again but still the best subject in the world.)

She tried a variety of random jobs before discovering that the careers advisor at secondary school was right, including running crèches, childminding, teaching children to ride bikes (having omitted to mention she couldn’t do it herself) and a stint in mental health care. All these were ideal preparation for the classroom and provided huge amounts of copy for the books that were to come.

Celia enjoys cooking and eating in equal measures, and thinks life without wine would be a sad thing indeed. She is married, with two grown up daughters who have defected to the seaside. One day she plans to scoop up husband and cats and join them there.



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Many thanks for dropping by today Celia.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx 



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