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

Tag: editing

Improving the recipe: a slice of lemon cake

In May of this year I started to write a brand new contemporary fiction novel. Normally I would have finished it long ago, but what with writing a novel as Jennifer Ash and starting Imagine, as well, I have been rather slower with my Jenny Kane words this year.

However, I am delighted to say that I have now reached the redrafting stage of my next novel, which goes by the working title of Lemon Cake, Espresso, and Thigh Boots.

Redrafting is rather like improving a recipe. I’m adding in an extra spoonful of words here and there, taking out excess sugar, and removing the overdose of fat (well commas actually).

Set in and around both the Roman Baths, Bath and the New York Central Public Library in the USA, this novel will have a little more in the way of spice than my previous JK novels- although not enough for it to warrant an over 18’s only sticker!

Roman Baths

Playful and fun, this story deals with the problems that go hand in hand with consciously deciding to live with two personalities…something I might just know something about.

There will – of course- be coffee involved. Espresso in this case- plus a serious- and I do mean serious- lemon cake craving.

I shall say no more about the plotline for now.

When will it be finished?

Watch this space…

Happy reading,

Jenny xxx


The Importance of Instant Impact

There are many rules in the construction of good story. One of the most important is the art of instant impact- the art of capturing the attention of your readers/potential readers as quickly as possible.

Take your lead from the balladeers and the storytellers of history. If they didn’t impress the audience who gathered to hear their tales by the end of the second line they’d uttered, then they wouldn’t earn enough money to eat that night.

writing woman

For the modern writer this lesson is a good one. There are so many books in the world that, if you don’t take a firm grip of your reader’s imagination within the first two or three paragraphs (if not sentences), then the chances of you selling your work is automatically harder. If not impossible. Editors and agents read hundreds of first paragraphs each month. If you don’t engage them straight away they won’t read more than a few pages. Consequently, every single word you have written after page four is in danger of being nothing but a waste of time.

ripping paper

Here are a few ways to create instant impact and grab that elusive audience- and hopefully keep them grabbed!

Start with some powerful first line dialogue. Something that makes you want to know what follows, and why what is being said, is being said. Such as…

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” – (Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier)

Add immediate tension by starting in the thick of the action. Such as…

Dr Clouston could barely keep himself on the seat. The wheels of his carriage kept cracking over humps and puddles, breaking the night’s silence as they rode frantically towards Dundee.  –  (The Strings Murder, Oscar de Muriel)

Build a scene on paper that draws the reader in so much, that they want to be there- or that leaves them feeling relieved that they aren’t.  Such as…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” – (A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens)

Start with a sentence that makes sense- but makes the reader need to keep going to find out what on earth is going on. Such as…

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – (1984, George Orwell)

Begin with an intriguing recollection. A situation that your novel will later explain. Such as…

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” – (One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez)

Keep calm and write on

Happy writing,

Jenny x




Novel Progress 11: Almost there….

The end is in sight…

From the initial notes in my notebook, through to the first draft, edit, re-edits, editors proofs, and now- with the pre-order option available on Amazon, I am at the penultimate stage of the production line for my latest novel- Another Glass of Champagne.

Stage 11 is triple checking the typeset proofs.


However hard a writer or editor works, there will always be errors in a novel. How can there not be when there are (usually) over 90,000 words involved? It’s impossible to catch every single typo- although I wish we could! Checking through the typeset version of our work is the very last chance to spot those errors.

I’m about halfway through at the moment, and have found about a dozen little mistakes- misplaced comma, a ‘be’ where there should be a ‘me,’ etc…


Once I’ve read the typeset then that’s it- there is nothing I can do! My novel is out of my hands. It is a weird feeling-  to no longer have control over all the words my imagination conjured up for my fingers to reproduce on my laptop screen. It is also a touch frustrating, because I know that somehow, during the printing process, new mistakes will appear that have nothing to do with me or my editor. The computer involved with printing will just ‘correct things.’ It happens- and we have to accept it- but it is annoying!

However! Printer errors aside, this is an exciting time- because the only stage left is number twelve – publication!

Roll on 9th June!! I can’t wait to see the final episode of Amy, Kit, Jack, Peggy and Megan’s story reach the world.


If you’d like to pre-order the book/download, then you can via all Amazon sites, including-

Happy reading,

Jenny x



Novel Progress 9: Not quite finished….but…

You may remember that early last year, I wrote a series of blogs about the progress of the novel I was writing at the time- Another Glass of Champagne.

I finished the series with the warning that- although the novel was written- it wasn’t actually complete.

Since I wrote that last ‘Novel Progress’ blog, I have edited and published Abi’s House, and written and published Christmas at the Castle…the book trade stops for no man!!

But now- all these months later- it’s time to turn my attention back to the final novel in the ‘Another Cup of ‘ series- and I’m currently neck deep in the publishing edits for Another Glass of Champagne- which I am delighted to say, will be released this coming June!


When any writer gets an editor’s edits back on their manuscript it is a rather nerve wracking experience. The first fear is that your editor will have hated your story! Then, you have to brace yourself for the list of suggestions for changes your editor will have made- then you have to take the bravest step of all, and open up the document to see how many red marks there are across your lovingly crafted lines.


I have to admit, I am very lucky. I have one of those rare editors that actually does their job properly, and double and triple checks everything. Bless him- this time he had to grapple with my novel’s timeline in a very detailed way. As I have added 3 Christmas novellas into the time gap between the release of Another Cup of Coffee, and Another Glass of Champagne, far more years have passed than I had originally planned. So all the characters are rather older now than I had written them to be!

Fear not- adjustments have been made- and the coffee is once again flowing at Pickwicks Coffee House in Richmond…and perhaps the odd glass of champagne…

If you’ll excuse me I’d better crack on. This is only round one of the editors edits…the polishing process of this novel continues…

Happy reading,

Jenny x


Novel Progress 5: Novel Interrupted

Here I am, sat at my desk in the corner of my local café with only a third of Another Glass of Champagne left to write, and yet that is not what is occupying my time this week.

Last year I drafted the Cornish romance novel, Abi’s House – and as regular readers of this blog will know, it is now available for pre-order. However- Abi’s House isn’t actually finished yet!

This week I have closed the Another Glass…file and reopened Abi’s House so that I can tackle the edits; polish it, perfect it, and generally make sure it is as good as myself and my lovely editor, Greg, can make it for you.

Abi's House_edited-1

This ‘two novels at once’ technique of writing is fairly standard, and ensures that an author always has one book brewing, just as another is about to come out. The final tackling of the publisher’s edits, proofing, and (in my case at least), making sure the dyslexia hasn’t messed things up too much, is always a rewarding process. It’s also an extremely useful reminder for me- for six months has passed since I wrote Abi’ House, and I’ve written a novella and three quarters of a novel since then- I have to confess, some of the plot had already left my mind, and came as a nice surprise to me- I hope it does to you when the novel is released on the 13th June!

Another Glass of Champagne_edited-1

Next week however, I’ll be back to the Pickwicks crew…and believe me, the sooner the better, because I’ve left poor Amy at a very inconvenient moment – for her at least…

Happy reading,

Jenny xx




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