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

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Opening Lines with Morwenna Blackwood: Cover Your Tracks

#Openinglines time is upon us once more, and this week I’ll thrilled to welcome back the fabulous  Morwenna Blackwood; friend, author, and #novelinayear alumni, to share the first 500 words of her latest publication, Cover Your Tracks.

Blurb:

It’s 1984. Newly appointed chief reporter, Simon, stands in a derelict area behind a condemned railway station. A train driver has been found, hanging.

The apparent suicide leads Simon into an investigation of class-wars, corruption, and devestating home-truths. And then he disappears.

Two decades later, Nia, the daughter he never knew he had, is trying to find out what happened to him. Will she exposed the truth, and get her life back on the rails? Or will she end up having to cover her own tracks?

FIRST 500 WORDS:

Simon, 1984.

It’s a cliché of a scene; the police officer I spoke to on the phone was right. A thick rope tied to a branch of a gnarly old tree, and dangling from its other end is a middle-aged man, dressed in jeans and a lumber shirt. On the ground a little in front of him, among fallen acorns, lies the plastic milk crate he’d kicked away when he’d reached the point of no return. Critical mass. The half-empty bottle of amber-coloured spirits by the foot of the tree must have helped him along his way.

A weird sort of detachedness comes over me as I regard the man. It occurs to me that I should be shocked, or upset, or something, but all I can think about is the fact that he’s still hanging there. Presumably, someone comes to take the body down and wheel it off to the morgue before they allow the press in, don’t they? But I keep forgetting that I’m in the South-West now. Things are different in the countryside. Usual rules don’t apply, I suppose because no one’s watching. No one cares but the locals.

My sight drifts in and out of focus as I watch the dead man swinging slightly in the cold wind, and I wonder for the umpteenth time whether I’ve made the right decision moving down here. Despite myself, I take my hat off in respect – for the dead man, or my former life, I’m not sure.

“Blimey, boy!” The policeman pronounces it bey. “You’re either made of strong stuff or you’re a serial killer in disguise!” The rotund, moustached man pulls a cigarette out of his pocket and tilts the packet in my direction. I smile and reach out to take one, but he pulls the packet back, uncertainty flitting across his face. “Actually, are you old enough, boy?”

It’s become an automatic response to laugh and make light of it when people say things like this. I expect the growing knot of seething fury I keep locked up in my stomach will give me an ulcer one day.

“Yes, I’m 21, Officer. Mr Locke wouldn’t send the YTS lad to a suicide.”

Mr Locke – Derek – is the editor – or, rather, the commander and chief – of the Eskwich Gazette, the local rag I work on now. I could have taken the job I was offered in Winchester, or even tried to make it in London. But I went for the chief reporter’s position on the Swansbourne Gazette, and moved down there, and then the Esky Gazette called me – although that doesn’t count as being headhunted, according to my father – and now I take a train and a bus here and back every day for the privilege of a few more pounds a year. I ought to get a place here in Eskwich, really, but I enjoy living in my little flat above the chippy – it’s comforting, somehow, listening to the sea, and the trains going past. It makes…

***

You can buy Cover Your Tracks from all good ebook retailers, including: Cover Your Tracks eBook : Blackwood, Morwenna: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Bio

When she was six years old, Morwenna wrote an endless story about a frog, and hasn’t stopped writing since.

She’s the author of bestselling noir psychological thrillers, The (D)Evolution of Us, Glasshouse, Underrated and Skin and Bone; and has written short stories and a collection of poetry. Morwenna has an MA in Creative Writing, and can usually be found down by the sea.

She often thinks about that frog.

Links

www.morwennablackwoodauthor.com

https://www.amazon.com/author/morwennablackwood

https://www.threads.com/morwennablackwood

https://www.instagram.com/morwennablackwood_

https://www.twitter.com/morwennablackw1

mybook.to/devolution

mybook.to/glasshousenovel

mybook.to/underrated

mybook.to/skinandbone 

***

Many thanks, Morwenna.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

PUBLICATION DAY: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club

TODAY’S THE DAY!

Today I launch my very first #cosycrime novel.

Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club

A real labour of love, this novel is the first in a series of mysteries, led by Hari Danby and her best friend Dot.

Blurb

A brand new cosy crime series! Welcome to the Robin Hood Club!

There’s great excitement when a previously undiscovered Robin Hood ballad manuscript, Robin Hood and the Carter, turns up in the same town as the Robin Hood Club’s latest fan convention.

But the Robin Hood Club’s special guest – Harriet, “Hari”, Danby, writer and creator of the hit TV series, Return to Sherwood – can’t help thinking the discovery is rather too coincidental.

With her best friend, Dot, at her side, Hari finds herself taken out of her quiet writing life and catapulted into a world of enthusiastic fans, actors egos, and jealous fellow authors.

As the Robin Hood Club event gets underway, speculation about the new ballad grows… and then Hari notices that one of the Robin Hood Club’s most devoted followers has gone missing…

Available from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

For me this novel has been a particularly special venture for three reasons.

First of all, I love reading and writing crime fiction. The Folville Chronicles – a much darker set of crime/mystery novels – was huge fun to write. I’ve really missed creating the style of plotlines you need to weave when writing felonious fiction. So, when the idea came to me to write a cosy crime book, I was determined to go for it. (Okay, so I had the idea in 2017 – but I’ve only just had time to do anything about it!)

Secondly, this is the first time I’ve deliberately aimed to self publish a book. (All my other self published work has previously been with a publisher, and has only been self published once the rights of the story had reverted to me.) It has been a massive learning curve, and I’ve a long way to go before I fully know what I’m doing. In fact, it is safe to say the book wouldn’t have made it into the world without the expert help of both Suzanne Fox and Lucy Felthouse – their advice and formatting skills have been beyond price.

After years of working with either indie or traditional publishers, it’s been both  liberating and terrifying having to do everything myself. Yet, the experience has been fun and – hopefully – it will be rewarding. I’ll only find that out if people buy and like the story!

Finally – the most important reason of all for writing this book is simple.

My time as a writer for Robin of Sherwood will come to an end towards the end of this year.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the best television of all time (in my opinion anyway). Previous posts on this blog talk about my passion for the show, and how lucky I am to have been picked to be the main writer for the audio scripts /novelisations that have been commissioned over the past few years. (One day I might get used to the fact that I’ve been told I write like my hero – Richard Carpenter – but in all honesty, I’m never going to believe it.)

Although my work for RoS has always been undertaken for love not financial reward, it has taken centre stage in my life for a very long time. All my other work is instantly shelved every time the call comes to write – and I do not regret a second of it. How could I? I was being asked to put words – literally – into the mouths of my heroes and heroines. As I said to my friend, prouder, director, and all round nice guy, Barnaby Eaton-Jones the other day – “Robin of Sherwood is the jam in our sponge.”.

Now – with only a few stories left to write for my Robin’s (I loved them both – Loxley and Huntingdon), I have a void in my life to fill. What better way to fill that gap, than by using the experiences I gained during this heady/crazy/fun/ sometimes heart breaking/amazing, unmissable experience to write new works of fiction?

So – WELCOME TO THE ROBIN HOOD CLUB…. and yes, it will be an actual club – and you will be able to join it – but be patient, because I’ve a lot of books to write, scripts to create and – hopefully – a few more smiles to put on the faces of Robin of Sherwood fans first….

***

Manuscript Mysteries is available across ALL Amazon sites (including those shown below), as an ebook from today. A paperback version will be available very soon.

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny.

PS – If you read this novel – or any of my work – and enjoy it, please could you pop a review on Amazon. Every time a book gets a review of 4 or 5 stars, it raises my profile on Amazon and that, in turn, leads to more sales – which helps pay the bills!!

Cover Reveal: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club

After years of writing romcoms, romances, erotica, and gritty medieval crime, it has been a joy to dip my toe into the world of cosy crime!

I hope you enjoy reading about Hari Danby, her best friend, Dot (cookie maker supreme), Jez (complete with his trademark fedora) and the cast of Return to Sherwood…

Today, I can reveal the cover of Book One of The Robin Hood Club!

BLURB

A brand new cosy crime series! Welcome to the Robin Hood Club!

There’s great excitement when a previously undiscovered Robin Hood ballad manuscript, Robin Hood and the Carter, turns up in the same town as the Robin Hood Club’s latest fan convention.

But the Robin Hood Club’s special guest – Harriet, “Hari”, Danby, writer and creator of the hit TV series, Return to Sherwood – can’t help thinking the discovery is rather too coincidental.

With her best friend, Dot, at her side, Hari finds herself taken out of her quiet writing life and catapulted into a world of enthusiastic fans, actors egos, and jealous fellow authors.

As the Robin Hood Club event gets underway, speculation about the new ballad grows… and then Hari notices that one of the Robin Hood Club’s most devoted followers has gone missing…

***

If you are keen to get your copy of Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club, then pre-order links are already available for the #kindle version. The paperback will be out in May 2024.

Preorder:

Happy pre-ordering!
Jennifer x

Welcome to The Robin Hood Club

Over the past 10 years, I’ve been lucky enough to write audio stories and short novels for the fans of the 1980’s television series, Robin of Sherwood. This dream job is sadly, although not unexpectedly, coming to an end later this year.

This is absolutely the best time to call it a day; for 2024 sees the 40th anniversary of the show. To go on would risk diluting the product – and that would be a terrible thing. Love for this epic television programme – the creation of the late, great, Richard Carpenter – is as strong as ever, and I’d hate to start letting its fans down by going on too long.

Cast and crew of Robin of Sherwood – and me!

The writing of the aforesaid stories has led to me having many adventures.  Amongst these, comes the attending of a number of fabulous events, including the Robin of Sherwood fan conventions. (The Hooded Man events). I loved each and every one of them – the people, the places, the things I saw, heard, experienced… (I’m leaving that there!)

I always said these events would inspire me to write a novel one day. Well, they have – in fact, they’ve inspired an entire series.

I’m therefore delighted to be able to introduce you to The Robin Hood Club!

This new series sees the light of day for the first time on 28th April this year. A date that is special to me for two reasons – first of all, it is my eldest child’s birthday – secondly, it is Robin of Sherwood’s birthday!

A cosy crime series, the tales of Dr Harriet Danby, writer-cum-reluctant sleuth, open with a visit to Buxton in the beautiful Peak District: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club.

The cover reveal is coming soon. In the meantime, have a read of the blurb!

A brand new cosy crime series! Welcome to the Robin Hood Club!

There’s great excitement when a previously undiscovered Robin Hood ballad manuscript, Robin Hood and the Carter, turns up in the same town as the Robin Hood Club’s latest fan convention.

But the Robin Hood Club’s special guest – Harriet, “Hari”, Danby, writer and creator of the hit TV series, Return to Sherwood – can’t help thinking the discovery is rather too coincidental.

With her best friend, Dot, at her side, Hari finds herself taken out of her quiet writing life and catapulted into a world of enthusiastic fans, actors egos, and jealous fellow authors.

As the Robin Hood Club event gets underway, speculation about the new ballad grows… and then Hari notices that one of the Robin Hood Club’s most devoted followers has gone missing…

***

Not only was The Robin Hood Club influenced by my Robin of Sherwood experiences, but it was coloured by another novel of mine – Romancing Robin Hood.  This novel – which was responsible for bringing me to the attention of Barnaby Eaton-Jones, (the man behind the new audios and books), – concerns an academic called Grace Harper, who is obsessed with Robin Hood. I had always intended to expand this story and give it sequels. However, each time I tried, I accidentally killed a character – not something that happens often in a romcom. To get around this, I decided to reinvent my original idea and, so, The Robin Hood Club was born.

A happy moment with Barnaby Eaton-Jones at one of the Hooded Man Events

If you are keen to get your copy of Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club, then pre-order links are already available for the #kindle version. The paperback will be out in May 2024.

Preorder:

More news soon…
Jennifer xxx
(Photos @Kim Jones)

Tiny Taster: Outlaw Justice

Continuing the story of potter’s daughter, Mathilda of Twyford, Outlaw Justice, opens in winter 1331.

All appears to be calm, but it is soon clear that a storm is coming – in the shape of Sir Richard de Willoughby.

Outlaw Justice

Blurb

England, 1331: Corrupt official, Sir Richard de Willoughby, has been appointed Justice of the Peace, with powers to hunt – and kill – those who oppose him. First on his list? The notorious Coterel brothers and their associates – the Folvilles…

The Folvilles must decide whether to flee into outlawry or take the law into their own hands – but is killing de Willoughby really the answer?

Robert de Folville is keen to dispose of the justice, but Robert’s ingenious wife, Mathilda, has a plan… one that could potentially rid them of Willoughby and yet see them escape the hangman’s noose. But these are tumultuous times and Mathilda must first put herself at great personal risk. Could the tale of a missing noblewoman, overheard by chance, be the key to solving a problem of life or death?

A gripping tale of real-life Robin Hoods, Outlaw Justice is the latest in the critically acclaimed ‘The Folville Chronicles’ series by Jennifer Ash.

Ever since she first came to the attention of the Folville family – as a kidnap victim – Mathilda of Twyford – has been learning that justice for the people of England comes at a high price. The harshest lesson of all, being that, it is often those who purport to uphold the law, that break it the most.

Here’s a tiny taster from Outlaw Justice…

Prologue

30th November 1331

‘Lady Isabel is safe, my Lord?’

‘I’ve seen her escorted to her mother in Lincolnshire by trusted friends. Her ravings these past few months have become intolerable. It’s not good for the children. I increasingly fear for her sanity.’

Keeping his countenance neutral, Bennett removed his master’s cloak. ‘May I be of assistance, my Lord? A drink after your journey perhaps?’

‘You may be of assistance by saying nothing of this to anyone. If King Edward were to hear of my wife’s shameful state, he might deem me unworthy of the office he so recently bestowed upon me.’

Bennett dipped his head respectfully and withdrew into the kitchen. He’d worked for Sir Richard de Willoughby long enough to know when to keep his mouth shut.

Damping down the kitchen fire for the night, absorbed in thought, the steward headed towards Lady Willoughby’s chamber. He’d seen no signs of mental instability. He’d heard no ravings. He had, however, heard a row between her and her husband earlier that day. The one and only time in her whole miserable marriage she’d stood up to her lord.

Pushing his mistress’s door open, Bennett surveyed the scene. Lady Isabel’s travelling cloak hung over the back of a chair by the window. Her hairbrush sat on her side table, and her riding boots waited patiently by the door.

A furrow formed on the steward’s forehead as he closed the chamber door, locking it securely behind him…

If you’d like to find out what happens next, Outlaw Justice it is available as both an ebook and paperback. It can be read as a standalone novel, or as part of #TheFolvilleChronicles

The Outlaw’s Ransom – mybook.to/theoutlawsransom

The Winter Outlaw- mybook.to/thewinteroutlaw

Edward’s Outlaw – mybook.to/EdwardsOutlaw

Outlaw Justice – mybook.to/OutlawJustice

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer x

A Tiny Taster: The Outlaw’s Ransom

This week I’m sharing a ‘Tiny Taster’

from the first of #TheFolvilleChronicles with you: The Outlaw’s Ransom

Blurb

When potter’s daughter Mathilda is kidnapped by the notorious Folville brothers as punishment for her father’s debts, she fears for her life. Although of noble birth, the Folvilles are infamous throughout the county for using crime to rule their lands—and for using any means necessary to deliver their distinctive brand of ‘justice’.

Mathilda must prove her worth to the Folvilles in order to win her freedom. To do so, she must go against her instincts and, disguised as the betrothed of Robert de Folville, undertake a mission that will send her to Bakewell in Derbyshire, and the home of Nicholas Coterel, one of the most infamous men in England.

With her life in the hands of more than one dangerous brigand, Mathilda must win the trust of the Folville’s housekeeper, Sarah, and Robert Folville himself if she has any chance of survival.

Never have the teachings gleaned from the tales of Robyn Hode been so useful…

Tiny Taster:

Mathilda thought she was used to the dark, but the night-time gloom of the small room she shared with her brothers at home was nothing like this. The sheer density of this darkness enveloped her, physically gliding over her clammy skin. It made her breathless, as if it was trying to squeeze the life from her.

As moisture oozed between her naked toes, she presumed that the suspiciously soft surface she crouched on was moss, which had grown to form a damp cushion on the stone floor. It was a theory backed up by the smell of mould and general filthiness which hung in the air.

Trying not to think about how long she was going to be left in this windowless cell, Mathilda stretched her arms out to either side, and bravely felt for the extent of the walls, hoping she wasn’t about to touch something other than cold stone. The child’s voice that lingered at the back of her mind, even though she was a woman of nineteen, was telling her – screaming at her – that there might be bodies in here, secured in rusted irons, abandoned and rotting. She battled the voice down. Thinking like that would do her no good at all. Her father had always congratulated his only daughter on her level-headedness, and now it was being so thoroughly put to the test, she was determined not to let him down.

Stretching her fingers into the blackness, Mathilda placed the tips of her fingers against the wall behind her. It was wet. Trickles of water had found a way in from somewhere, giving the walls the same slimy covering as the floor.

Continuing to trace the outline of the rough stone wall, Mathilda kept her feet exactly where they were. In seconds her fingertips came to a corner, and by twisting at the waist, she quickly managed to plot her prison from one side of the heavy wooden door to the other. The dungeon could be no more than five feet square, although it must be about six feet tall. Her own five-foot frame had stumbled down a step when she’d been pushed into the cell, and her head was at least a foot clear of the ceiling. The bleak eerie silence was eating away at Mathilda’s determination to be brave, and the cold brought her suppressed fear to the fore. Suddenly the shivering she had stoically ignored overtook her, and there was nothing she could do but let it invade her…

You can buy The Outlaw’s Ransom for your Kindle or as a paperback from-

Kindle-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07B3TNRYN/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519759895&sr=8-1&keywords=the+outlaw%27s+ransom

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B3TNRYN/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519760741&sr=8-1&keywords=the+outlaw%27s+ransom

Paperback-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outlaws-Ransom-Folville-Chronicles/dp/1999855264/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520007697&sr=1-2&keywords=the+outlaw%27s+ransom

https://www.amazon.com/Outlaws-Ransom-Folville-Chronicles/dp/1999855264/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520007771&sr=1-1&keywords=the+outlaw%27s+ransom

(Please note that if you have read Romancing Robin Hood by Jenny Kane and Jennifer Ash- then you will already be familiar with the story with The Outlaw’s Ransom)

Happy reading,

Jen xx

Tiny Taster: Outlaw Justice

Continuing the story of potter’s daughter, Mathilda of Twyford, Outlaw Justice, opens in winter 1331.

All appears to be calm, but it is soon clear that a storm is coming – in the shape of Sir Richard de Willoughby.

Outlaw Justice

Blurb

England, 1331: Corrupt official, Sir Richard de Willoughby, has been appointed Justice of the Peace, with powers to hunt – and kill – those who oppose him. First on his list? The notorious Coterel brothers and their associates – the Folvilles…

The Folvilles must decide whether to flee into outlawry or take the law into their own hands – but is killing de Willoughby really the answer?

Robert de Folville is keen to dispose of the justice, but Robert’s ingenious wife, Mathilda, has a plan… one that could potentially rid them of Willoughby and yet see them escape the hangman’s noose. But these are tumultuous times and Mathilda must first put herself at great personal risk. Could the tale of a missing noblewoman, overheard by chance, be the key to solving a problem of life or death?

A gripping tale of real-life Robin Hoods, Outlaw Justice is the latest in the critically acclaimed ‘The Folville Chronicles’ series by Jennifer Ash.

Ever since she first came to the attention of the Folville family – as a kidnap victim – Mathilda of Twyford – has been learning that justice for the people of England comes at a high price. The harshest lesson of all, being that, it is often those who purport to uphold the law, that break it the most.

Here’s a tiny taster from Outlaw Justice…

Prologue

30th November 1331

‘Lady Isabel is safe, my Lord?’

‘I’ve seen her escorted to her mother in Lincolnshire by trusted friends. Her ravings these past few months have become intolerable. It’s not good for the children. I increasingly fear for her sanity.’

Keeping his countenance neutral, Bennett removed his master’s cloak. ‘May I be of assistance, my Lord? A drink after your journey perhaps?’

‘You may be of assistance by saying nothing of this to anyone. If King Edward were to hear of my wife’s shameful state, he might deem me unworthy of the office he so recently bestowed upon me.’

Bennett dipped his head respectfully and withdrew into the kitchen. He’d worked for Sir Richard de Willoughby long enough to know when to keep his mouth shut.

Damping down the kitchen fire for the night, absorbed in thought, the steward headed towards Lady Willoughby’s chamber. He’d seen no signs of mental instability. He’d heard no ravings. He had, however, heard a row between her and her husband earlier that day. The one and only time in her whole miserable marriage she’d stood up to her lord.

Pushing his mistress’s door open, Bennett surveyed the scene. Lady Isabel’s travelling cloak hung over the back of a chair by the window. Her hairbrush sat on her side table, and her riding boots waited patiently by the door.

A furrow formed on the steward’s forehead as he closed the chamber door, locking it securely behind him…

If you’d like to find out what happens next, Outlaw Justice it is available as both an ebook and paperback. It can be read as a standalone novel, or as part of #TheFolvilleChronicles

The Outlaw’s Ransom – mybook.to/theoutlawsransom

The Winter Outlaw- mybook.to/thewinteroutlaw

Edward’s Outlaw – mybook.to/EdwardsOutlaw

Outlaw Justice – mybook.to/OutlawJustice

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer x

HAPPY CHRISTMAS

I would like to wish you each and every one of you…

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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

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

Jenny xx

 

 

 

Thank you Robin Hood

It is said that everyone has one book in them. This isn’t the case with me- so far I’ve taken part in the creation of over 200 books. Having said that however, one book always needed to be released from my imagination – and that book was Romancing Robin Hood.

This novel sat in my mind for decades, just waiting for the moment to be right.

So, why did this book need writing more than any of the others?

Many many many years ago, when I was a teenager, I was a bit- shall we say unusual? I suspect the words ‘odd’ and ‘eccentric’ would be more accurate, but I’ll let you make your own mind up on that!!!

I never did the pop or film star crush thing. Never had pictures of Duran Duran or Wham on my wall. Adam Ant didn’t look up at me from my pencil case, and I did not wake up to see a life sized poster of Morrissey’s backside complete with gladioli (or whatever flower it was) sticking out of his backside!!

Nor was I into the Pac Man craze (I am so giving my age away here!), and the background to Manic Minor drove me nuts! I didn’t buy Jackie, or indulge in spending my money on Cosmopolitan.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like music or playing the odd game of tennis on the Atari- but I had a different sort of fascination.

RH- RoS 2

Cast of Robin of Sherwood

Robin Hood!!

I know what you’re thinking- you’re thinking that I had a crush on Jason Connery or Michael Praed- but nope. Sorry- neither of those lovely boys are my type at all.

It all started because I was ill for ages and ages when I was 14. I missed a lot of school. But as always in life, timing is everything- and I was saved by an instant and unshakeable love for the series of Robin of Sherwood that was being aired on ITV at the time. It was the third series- I hadn’t seen either of the first two. (I have now- lots!) As I was at home so much, my parents rented one of those new- fangled video recorders from Radio Rentals so I could record stuff and watch it when I liked. (Thanks Mum and Dad- still grateful for that!!)

The VCR arrived the same day as the episode of Robin of Sherwood called Adam Bell was aired- I recorded it and watched it 8 times the next day- and then again, and again and again. Now- over 20 years later- I can still quote the script!! (Okay- that’s nothing to be proud of- see- I’m a bit odd!!)

It wasn’t the tight tights that had captured my heart though- it was the story. The whole story. All of it. I wanted to know everything- EVERYTHING- that could possibly be known about Robin Hood. No film, book (nonfiction or fiction), was safe from me.

RH- E Flynn

Errol Flynn- The Adventures of Robin Hood

 

My walls disappeared under posters of RH- any posters- from Errol Flynn, to Richard Greene, to the statue up in Nottingham, to the gorgeous Ray Winstone who played Will Scarlet (Okay- you have me there- I had – still have  – a ‘thing’ for Ray Winstone- there is such a twinkle in those eyes!!!)

The interest became an obsession (In RH not Ray Winstone). When I was better my parents took me to Sherwood- I learnt archery, I read medieval political poems and ballads- I wanted to know the truth- did he exist or didn’t he?

I did a project on RH for my A’ level History. Then I went to university and did a specialist course in Medieval Castle and Ecclesiastical Architecture…I was a medieval junky!! It seemed only natural to do a PhD on the subject- and that is exactly what I did!

Robin Hood Statue- Nottingham

Robin Hood Statue- Nottingham

By this time of course, I was pretty certain how and why the RH legend had begun- but I wanted to know who had influenced it into the form we know today, and how the real recorded crimes and daily life of the thirteenth and fourteenth century had affected those stories… (forget thinking RH was around with Richard I or King John- it ain’t happening!!)

It was my PhD that taught me to write- (a tome of epic proportions that is still knocking around my old Uni library gathering dust, while e-versions of it are scattered around many American Universities). Rather than finish off my love of RH- my PhD polished it to perfection!! (Although nothing could make me like the latest BBC series or the Russell Crowe or Taron Egerton films.)

I guess it was only a matter of time before I decided to write a novel about a Robin Hood obsessed historian.

Blurb-

Dr Grace Harper has loved the stories of Robin Hood ever since she first saw them on TV as a girl. Now, with her fortieth birthday just around the corner, she’s a successful academic in Medieval History, with a tenured position at a top university.

But Grace is in a bit of a rut. She’s supposed to be writing a textbook on a real-life medieval gang of high-class criminals – the Folvilles – but she keeps being drawn into the world of the novel she’s secretly writing – a novel which entwines the Folvilles with her long-time love of Robin Hood – and a feisty young girl named Mathilda, who is the key to a medieval mystery…

Meanwhile, Grace’s best friend Daisy – who’s as keen on animals as Grace is on the Merry Men – is unexpectedly getting married, and a reluctant Grace is press-ganged into being her bridesmaid. As Grace sees Daisy’s new-found happiness, she starts to re-evaluate her own life. Is her devotion to a man who may or may not have lived hundreds of years ago really a substitute for a real-life hero of her own? It doesn’t get any easier when she meets Dr Robert Franks – a rival academic who Grace is determined to dislike but finds herself being increasingly drawn to.

You can buy this crime/romance/modern/medieval novel from all good retailers, including-

Amazon – mybook.to/Romancing

 

My Robin Hood writing – unbeknownst to me at the time – was far from over.  Not only did Romancing Robin Hood lead to me writing four crime novels, The Folville Chronicles, by some miracle, thanks to the success of Romancing Robin Hood, I was asked to help write the new audio stories for Robin of Sherwood, thirty years after the series ended.

Under the name, Jennifer Ash, I’ve written a fair number of those new stories now – and I still can’t believe my luck!

I never dreamt when I was fourteen years old, how my life would come full circle! Here I am, writing words for my favourite TV show of all time!! Magic!!

You can find all of the ‘new’ Robin of Sherwood audio episodes and books here.

I’ll leave you in peace now, while I nip off to do some more Robin Hood thinking…

Happy reading

Jenny

xxx

 

 

 

Opening Lines: The Outlaw’s Ransom

As I’m fresh (okay, not fresh – more like totally knackered with no voice), from the latest Hooded Man event – celebrating all things Robin of Sherwood – it seems fitting to share the opening lines from The Outlaw’s Ransom. This – the first in #TheFolvilleChronicles – was inspired by my love of the show.

 

Here’s the blurb to The Outlaw’s Ransom-

When potter’s daughter Mathilda is kidnapped by the notorious Folville brothers as punishment for her father’s debts, she fears for her life. Although of noble birth, the Folvilles are infamous throughout the county for using crime to rule their lands—and for using any means necessary to deliver their distinctive brand of ‘justice’.

Mathilda must prove her worth to the Folvilles in order to win her freedom. To do so, she must go against her instincts and, disguised as the betrothed of Robert de Folville, undertake a mission that will send her to Bakewell in Derbyshire, and the home of Nicholas Coterel, one of the most infamous men in England.

With her life in the hands of more than one dangerous brigand, Mathilda must win the trust of the Folville’s housekeeper, Sarah, and Robert Folville himself if she has any chance of survival.

Never have the teachings gleaned from the tales of Robyn Hode been so useful…

Mathilda thought she was used to the dark, but the night-time gloom of the small room she shared with her brothers at home was nothing like this. The sheer density of this darkness enveloped her, physically gliding over her clammy skin. It made her breathless, as if it was trying to squeeze the life from her.

As moisture oozed between her naked toes, she presumed that the suspiciously soft surface she crouched on was moss, which had grown to form a damp cushion on the stone floor. It was a theory backed up by the smell of mould and general filthiness which hung in the air.

Trying not to think about how long she was going to be left in this windowless cell, Mathilda stretched her arms out to either side, and bravely felt for the extent of the walls, hoping she wasn’t about to touch something other than cold stone. The child’s voice that lingered at the back of her mind, even though she was a woman of nineteen, was telling her – screaming at her – that there might be bodies in here, secured in rusted irons, abandoned and rotting. She battled the voice down. Thinking like that would do her no good at all. Her father had always congratulated his only daughter on her level-headedness, and now it was being so thoroughly put to the test, she was determined not to let him down.

Stretching her fingers into the blackness, Mathilda placed the tips of her fingers against the wall behind her. It was wet. Trickles of water had found a way in from somewhere, giving the walls the same slimy covering as the floor.

Continuing to trace the outline of the rough stone wall, Mathilda kept her feet exactly where they were. In seconds her fingertips came to a corner, and by twisting at the waist, she quickly managed to plot her prison from one side of the heavy wooden door to the other. The dungeon could be no more than five feet square, although it must be about six feet tall. Her own five-foot frame had stumbled down a step when she’d been pushed into the cell, and her head was at least a foot clear of the ceiling. The bleak eerie silence was eating away at Mathilda’s determination to be brave, and the cold brought her suppressed fear to the fore. Suddenly the shivering she had stoically ignored overtook her, and there was nothing she could do but let it invade her…

You can buy The Outlaw’s Ransom for your Kindle or as a paperback from-

Kindle-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07B3TNRYN/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519759895&sr=8-1&keywords=the+outlaw%27s+ransom

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B3TNRYN/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519760741&sr=8-1&keywords=the+outlaw%27s+ransom

Paperback-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outlaws-Ransom-Folville-Chronicles/dp/1999855264/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520007697&sr=1-2&keywords=the+outlaw%27s+ransom

https://www.amazon.com/Outlaws-Ransom-Folville-Chronicles/dp/1999855264/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520007771&sr=1-1&keywords=the+outlaw%27s+ransom

(Please note that if you have read Romancing Robin Hood by Jenny Kane and Jennifer Ash- then you will already be familiar with the story with The Outlaw’s Ransom)

Happy reading,

Jen xx

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