Jenny Kane & Jennifer Ash

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

Tag: family saga

Opening Lines: Before the Flood by Kellie Butler

Thursday has arrived once more, and it’s ‘Opening Lines’ time.

This week I’m welcoming Kellie Butler to my blog with the very beginning of her new release, Before the Flood.

Over to you Kellie…

Hi, my name is Kellie Butler and I’m next up on the first 500 words blog series.  Thank you, Jenny, for hosting me on your blog!

My Laurelhurst Chronicles family saga follows the Cavert family from the beginning of the Second World War through the mid-1970s. It centers on a young Lydie Cavert, who is an adolescent when the first novel begins. My initial inspiration for this series was writing about trauma from the perspective of an adolescent that endures a lot of things we go through in life and then some. Every family has secrets, and her family certainly has a bevy full. I draw inspiration from classic film, television, literature, and historical research.

I’ve just released the second chapter in the saga!

Here’s the blurb:

Before the Flood is a beautiful, haunting celebration of the lasting bonds of family and friendship, and returns readers to the world of the Cavert family.

Fiery art student Lydie Cavert nearly has it all after putting the shadows of her uncle’s sinister legacy behind her:  great friends, a blossoming art career, and romance with the handsome but reserved Dr. Henry Bainbridge, her brother’s best friend and colleague. Her hope for peace is shattered when she returns to England to help Henry’s recovering sister Kate find her own happiness during the London Season. The sinister empire that claimed her uncle has plans for Lydia. Plans that could threaten her and Henry’s happiness by exposing secrets both would like to keep from resurfacing.

From New York City’s vibrant streets and the idyllic farmlands of Upstate New York to the cosmopolitan avenues of London and Paris, Before the Flood tells a story of the richness of family bonds, the searing heartbreak of betrayal and innocence lost, and the redeeming power of love and friendship.

***

To celebrate the release of Before the Flood, I’m offering the first 500 words:

On a crisp October day, Lydie counted the minutes till the end of a freshman class assembly at Barnard College, so she could take the subway across town to her studio: the one place where life made sense. When the assembly ended, she tugged at her cardigan as rows of glossy-haired girls in saddle shoes and heels filed out in front of her. The musty air of the auditorium mingled with the sea of perfume and it gave her a headache. She pushed through the crowd until she breathed the open air of the city. Inhaling the sweet crisp scent of rain on the wind, she hurried through the school’s gates towards the subway station.

Minutes later, she sat on a woven cane seat of a packed subway car, clutching her books with long, slender fingers. After a short ride, she exited the packed train and emerged onto a busy street, walking down the pavement until she reached  a four-story brick building with large windows. Climbing up the stairs to the top floor, she fetched her key out of her red leather bag to unlock a large metal door. She entered her sanctuary and tossed her books onto a chair before setting up her easel and palette. Releasing a heavy sigh, she unrolled her brushes before pouring linseed oil into a glass jar that sat next to her brushes.  Pondering what she would paint that day, she changed clothes behind a screen in the corner of the studio.

From next door, she could hear the wailing of a saxophone, the tinkling keys of a piano, and the gentle plucks of a bass violin as a group practiced.  It settled her soul. Emerging in an old blouse, rolled up jeans, and canvas shoes, she stretched as the late afternoon sun bathed the room and highlighted  her waves of reddish-gold hair. Pulling an old scarf from her pocket, she tied her hair up to keep it from falling in her face. Lydie stepped towards the canvas, picked up a brush, and prepared to release the doubt out of her unsettled mind.

Her doubt never began as a torrent for her. It began as tiny drops of discord. The drops pooled and formed into small trickles. Trickles into streams. Streams converged into rivers, and rivers overflowed their banks into floods. As Lydie mixed paint, she gauged that she was right before the flood stage. The only thing that brought her back from her emotions overtaking her was to let the current flow through her arm, down into her brush, and onto the canvas.

Lydie’s conscience wasn’t clear. Ever since arriving a few months ago, she’d doubted why she could escape England start over somewhere else when so many people were greater victims during the war and never got that chance. It made her feel guilty sometimes. She knew she had been close to becoming another victim of evil. An evil that wore a kind face and charming smile.

Some people had said she…

***

If you want to read more, go to http://getbook.at/beforetheflood for the paperback and Kindle editions. You can also purchase the eBook through Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and other retailers at this link: https://www.books2read.com/u/md0xRX. Thank you very much for reading!

Bio

Kellie Butler is the author of Beneath a Moonless Sky and Before the Flood. A freelance writer and paralegal, she lives in a quaint small town in the southeastern United States. She enjoys  hiking, cooking, knitting, reading, and walks with her dog, Chip. Visit her website www.kellierbutler.com to connect with her on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram) and to sign up for her newsletter.

***

Many thanks Kellie. A great opener.

Come back next week to read 500 words from James D Mortain.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Opening Lines: House of Grace by Patricia M Osborne

It’s that time again! Opening Lines is upon us once more.

This week I’m delighted to welcome Patricia M Osborne back to my site with the first 500 words of her family saga, House of Grace.

First of all, thank you, Jen, for featuring me on your blog.

House of Grace, A Family Saga is set in the 1950s and 60s and told in two parts. Part I opens in 1950 with Grace Granville as a sixteen-year-old. Fashion, friendship, and romance, play a big part. House of Grace is the first of a trilogy, ‘The Coal Miner’s Son’, the next in the series, is a work in progress.

Inspiration was derived from George Orwell’s, Road to Wigan Pier, the television series Mr Selfridge, and the television series, House of Elliott, for those older enough to remember the latter.

Blurb

It’s 1950 and all sixteen-year-old Grace Granville has ever wanted is to become a successful dress designer. She dreams of owning her own fashion house and spends her spare time sketching outfits. Her father, Lord Granville, sees this frivolous activity as nonsense and wants to groom her into a good wife for someone of his choosing…

Grace is about to leave Greenemere, a boarding school in Brighton. She’s blissfully unaware of her father’s plans when she embarks on a new adventure. The quest includes a trip to Bolton’s Palais where she meets coal miner, Jack Gilmore. Grace’s life is never the same again.

Travel with Grace through two decades as she struggles with family conflict, poverty and tragedy. Is Grace strong enough to defy Lord Granville’s wishes and find true love? Will she become a successful fashion designer? Where will she turn for help?

***

Opening lines – 500 words

I closed my sketchpad and crossed the room to the window. Seagulls flocked on the rocks, waves splashed high. I’d miss Greenemere but I was now a talented dress designer and full of dreams. One day, Grace Granville would change Britain’s vision of fashion.

The door creaked. Katy, my roommate, strolled back in. ‘Well?’

I turned around, mulling over her earlier words.

‘Well don’t just gawp.’

‘I don’t know.’

‘Come on Gracie, it’ll be fun. You can see how the other half lives.’

‘Wigan though.’ I twiddled my hair around my finger. ‘Father isn’t going to like it.’

‘It’s nineteen fifty, not the nineteen-hundreds, you know?’ She huffed. ‘Does he need to know about Wigan? It’s only for the dance. Just tell him you’re going to Bolton and that my Dad owns a cotton mill there.’

‘Maybe.’

‘Surely that should be respectable enough, even for your parents.’

It did sound thrilling. Would Father let me go? Katy was right, I didn’t need to tell him about Wigan or the dance.

‘Your parents are such snobs Gracie, best not mention Dad started off in a two-room terrace. Or that Mum was in service before she got married.’

After I finally agreed to phone my parents, Katy jumped off the bed, grabbed a small purse and waltzed into the bathroom.

‘What are you doing in there?’ I called.

‘Lippie.’

By that I assumed she meant lipstick. I’d never worn any. Would I need to? Should I be buying some? Maybe Katy would help me choose? I’d no idea what colour to get. I picked up a magazine with Bette Davis on the front cover. She was wearing bright red. Katy and I had seen her earlier in the year in All about Eve.

 

If we were going to a dance I needed to buy material to make a dress. I could see it now, a full skirt, fitted waist and belt, showing off my slim figure.

The door slammed shut as a new Katy rushed back in. What a metamorphosis. I wondered if I could change like that.

‘Dad said he’ll send his driver with the Rolls to collect us. Forgot to say, my cousin Jack can’t wait to meet you.’

Golly, she’d never mentioned him before. Better not mention Jack to Father. I wondered what Jack was like. Probably a spotty faced, lanky lad. He’d be no threat to my chastity.

‘Katy, shall we take a trip to the market before we leave here and get some fabric so I can make us new frocks as I’ve got nothing to wear to a dance?’

‘Sounds a marvellous idea, anything particular in mind?’ she asked.

I passed my notebook from the desk. ‘Well I was thinking this? Red for me?’

‘Yes, I can see you in that. The colour will show off your dark hair.’

‘I could make yours the same design but a different colour. Soft blue to accentuate your blonde curls?’

‘Yes please.’

We were going to have an…

***

House of Grace, A Family Saga, is available to order in paperback and kindle versions via Amazon or may be ordered from all good book stores. ISBN 9780995710702

http://mybook.to/HouseofGrace

Bio

Patricia M Osborne is married with grown-up children and grandchildren. She was born in Liverpool and spent time in Bolton as a child and now lives in West Sussex. Patricia is a novelist, she also writes poetry and short fiction. Many of her poems and short stories have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. She has just finished studying for an MA in Creative Writing with University of Brighton. Her debut novel, House of Grace, was released in March 2017. Patricia is currently working on the next book in the series, ‘The Coal Miner’s Son,’ which she anticipates being published early 2019. So watch this space.

Where can you find me?

Patriciamosbornewriter.wordpress.com

Facebook: Patricia M Osborne, Writer

Twitter: PMOsborneWriter

***

Many thanks for your opening lines Patricia.

Comeback next week for some first words from Regina Timothy.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Interview with Patricia M Osborne: House of Grace

It’s interview time! So go and pop that kettle on, cut a slice of cake – and join myself and Patricia M Osborne as we chat about her latest novel, House of Grace.

What inspired you to write your book?

House of Grace, began as a screenplay for my BA dissertation. It was on completion of this project that I discovered my story had the potential to be developed further as a novel. Inspiration was derived from George Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier and television dramas Mr Selfridge, and House of Elliott.

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

I prefer to write in first person. I’ve experimented in third but I feel too detached. In first person I feel everything that my character is feeling, I am my character.

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

I do plot in so much as I need to know the beginning, middle and end of my story but these are often subject to change.

What is your writing regime?

Mornings are for marketing, critique/editing and research. My muse tends to hit me late afternoon/evening and this is when I do the most of my writing. I never target myself to a specific number of words but I like to write every day in some form or other, whether that’s novel writing, a short story, poetry or re-working old pieces.

What excites you the most about your book?

I get very excited that readers are loving my book. I still haven’t quite got a handle on that. Regarding writing the book, stepping back in time and reliving memories that I can use to write my fiction.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I spent last year as Poet in Residence at my local Victorian park as part of my MA Creative Writing course. Researching the park’s past life inspired me to compile a fictional poetry anthology, titled In a Delightful Country, which will be published later this year.

Links:

patriciamosbornewriter.wordpress.com

Facebook: Patricia M Osborne, Writer

Twitter: PMOsborneWriter

Bio:

Patricia M Osborne is married with grown-up children and grandchildren. She was born in Liverpool and spent time in Bolton as a child and now lives in West Sussex. Patricia is a novelist, she also writes poetry and short fiction. Many of her poems and short stories have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. She is studying for an MA in Creative Writing with University of Brighton. Her debut novel, House of Grace, A Family Saga, set in the 1950s/60s was released in March 2017.

***

Blurb

Blurb for House of Grace by Patricia M Osborne

It’s 1950 and all sixteen-year-old Grace Granville has ever wanted is to become a successful dress designer. She dreams of owning her own fashion house and spends her spare time sketching outfits. Her father, Lord Granville, sees this frivolous activity as nonsense and wants to groom her into a good wife for someone of his choosing…

Grace is about to leave Greenemere, a boarding school in Brighton. She’s blissfully unaware of her father’s plans when she embarks on a new adventure. The quest includes a trip to Bolton’s Palais where she meets coal miner, Jack Gilmore. Grace’s life is never the same again.

Travel with Grace through two decades as she struggles with family conflict, poverty and tragedy. Is Grace strong enough to defy Lord Granville’s wishes and find true love? Will she become a successful fashion designer? Where will she turn for help?

House of Grace, A Family Saga is available to order in paperback and kindle versions via Amazon:

http://mybook.to/HouseofGrace

***

Extract

House of Grace

Part 1

Chapter 1

 

I closed my sketchpad and crossed the room to the window. Seagulls flocked on the rocks, waves splashed high. I’d miss Greenemere but I was now a talented dress designer and full of dreams. One day, Grace Granville would change Britain’s vision of fashion.

The door creaked. Katy, my roommate, strolled back in. ‘Well?’

I turned around, mulling over her earlier words.

‘Well don’t just gawp.’

‘I don’t know.’

‘Come on Gracie, it’ll be fun. You can see how the other half lives.’

‘Wigan though.’ I twiddled my hair around my finger. ‘Father isn’t going to like it.’

‘It’s nineteen fifty, not the nineteen-hundreds, you know?’ She huffed. ‘Does he need to know about Wigan? It’s only for the dance. Just tell him you’re going to Bolton and that my Dad owns a cotton mill there.’

‘Maybe.’

‘Surely that should be respectable enough, even for your parents.’

It did sound thrilling. Would Father let me go? Katy was right, I didn’t need to tell him about Wigan or the dance.

‘Your parents are such snobs Gracie, best not mention Dad started off in a two-room terrace. Or that Mum was in service before she got married.’

After I finally agreed to phone my parents, Katy jumped off the bed, grabbed a small purse and waltzed into the bathroom.

‘What are you doing in there?’ I called.

‘Lippie.’

By that I assumed she meant lipstick. I’d never worn any. Would I need to? Should I be buying some? Maybe Katy would help me choose? I’d no idea what colour to get. I picked up a magazine with Bette Davis on the front cover. She was wearing bright red. Katy and I had seen her earlier in the year in All about Eve.

If we were going to a dance I needed to buy material to make a dress. I could see it now, a full skirt, fitted waist and belt, showing off my slim figure.

The door slammed shut as a new Katy rushed back in. What a metamorphosis. I wondered if I could change like that.

‘Dad said he’ll send his driver with the Rolls to collect us. Forgot to say, my cousin Jack can’t wait to meet you.’

Golly, she’d never mentioned him before. Better not mention Jack to Father. I wondered what Jack was like. Probably a spotty faced, lanky lad. He’d be no threat to my chastity…

***

 Many thanks for visiting today Patricia- wonderful interview.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

Guest Post from T S Harvey: A Writing Life

It’s always good to have a first time visitor to my blog, and today I’m delighted to welcome the lovely T S Harvey, to give us a potted history of her books and her life!

The Author

I was always an avid reader as a child and English always my favourite subject at school. In addition to my writing I’m a breeder and exhibitor of pedigree dogs, having won Best of Breed at Crufts in 2011 with my English Toy Terrier, Ch. Kadaz Authentic (or Hattie as we knew her).

I’ve appeared on several quiz shows over the past ten years and won The Weakest Link in 2005. My mum recently took part in Bargain Hunt and this should be aired later in the year.

TJ Book on sale in Pontyclun book shop

The Books

The Tin Man        

My first completed novel was a family saga sent in Texas in 1946, coming right through to present day. This was self-published through Createspace and has just undergone a make-over so to speak and the revised version is once again available on Amazon.

Written in the first person and narrated by Michael, it follows his life through its ups and downs, from being orphaned at 4 years old, experiencing abuse at the hands of the matron and staff at the Children’s home, his joy at being fostered and becoming a ‘brother’ and ultimately a carer to his foster sister.

TJ Book Cover - The Tin Man

In time I plan to write prequels to The Tin Man from the perspective of several of the characters in this book, including Carl Ryan, the Tin Man of the title.

Four Seasons:

The first book in the four part series is Winter of Discontent

TJ Book cover 2

The initial inspiration for the Four Seasons series came from my daughters and my eldest grand-daughter. Having successfully self-published my first novel they asked me to write something in the Young Adult / Supernatural genre which was more on the lines of the sort of books that they read. I gave a lot of thought to the content / characters that I would like to ‘work’ with and came to the conclusion that there was no point going down the Vampire route as that has been done so often, and in many cases so well, that I didn’t want to find myself competing with the likes of Stephenie Meyer for bookcase space. Having decided to go with Warlock / Witches as the framework for the story I also decided not to go with the fantasy options, dragons, goblins and the like. Having finely honed the genre and direction, I did a lot of research online into Witch folklore and some of the results it produced gave me some really useful ideas, many of which I employed in the storyline.

The second book in the series is Spring of Fools which is due out on the 9th April.

Spring of Fools, book cover 2

The Content

Covens:

The Moirai: These were a powerful group of witches, along with the Grenae, said to exist in medieval times. This helped give me some background ideas as well as some future plot lines.

Segans / Kintarians: In folklore these are also powerful groups of Warlocks. The Kintarian is said to be a shape shifter which also provided me with further inspiration for the characters that appear in this book and in the forthcoming, Four Seasons: Spring of Fools; Book 2 in the series.

Character Names:

Having already inspired me to write in this genre I decided to name my lead female character, Sarah, after my eldest grand-daughter.

I wanted to choose names for male leads that would sit comfortably in European countries as the history of the characters goes way back. Having chosen Erik (I felt it sounded cooler with a ‘K’ and more European) as the main male lead I then had to find a surname. Enter Google translate. I’d decided that his family history would be rooted in / around Germany so I Googled ‘Magic’ and ta dah… Zauber.

TJ Book cover 1

‘Physical’ Content:

I made a conscious decision before I started to write this book that I would include some references of a sexual nature as even though the basis of the story is supernatural the characters could quite easily be the girl or boy you sit next to in History. Given that, it made sense that students at the age Sarah and Erik are, would talk about, and in many cases, participate in sexual activity. None of it is written for shock value; however, Book 2 moves it up a notch which I think is believable given the difficulties and frustrations of the characters in this book.

‘Guest stars’:

I consider myself blessed for having a couple of celebrities willing to lend their name to some of the story lines in this book. I’ve been friends with Jamie Afro’s mom, Jeanne, for some years now and when I needed a Rock Singer for a side story I approached her to ask him if he’d mind if I used him rather than invent one. Jeanne knew I wouldn’t take any cheap shots and Jamie was happy to oblige. There is another section in the story that called for a singer in the US so I approached one of my favourites, Broadway star Telly Leung. Telly was happy for me to use his name providing I sent him a draft of the content for his approval, which I did, and he sent me a lovely message of support back wishing me luck in finding a publisher. He also sent a note of congratulations when I told him that Accent Press had picked it up.

TJ Book signing at Pontyclun book fair

Writer’s block:

I was lucky enough not to have any periods when the story didn’t flow for me. I think a lot of that is down to my style of writing.   I often change direction in my story telling but I always know where my story ends. I look at this as my ‘Writers GPS’. It is like punching in the end destination for me; as long as I know where I’m headed I can cope with the detours on route.

I sometimes need to give myself a bit of a kick to get started but once I do I commit to getting it finished above everything else going on in my life. I think I’d be concerned that if I did call a halt for any reason then I might not pick it up again. This happened to me back in 1987 when I first started to write. I had to stop to do some research, which was a lot harder back then without the internet, and when I couldn’t find what I was looking for, and couldn’t find another direction for the story without it, I just stopped. Hopefully, one day, I’ll pick it back up and start again; but not until I’ve completed this series!

Marketing:

I’ve been fortunate to secure several marketing opportunities. Being asked to talk at my old comprehensive school was a real highlight. I’ve done several book signing events, a few appearances on Cannock Radio and a slot on BBC WM Afternoon Show on 9th April.

I was invited to be interviewed for Cuppa TV (BIG Centre TV) – Regional Lifestyle programme with host Monica Price. This aired on 23rd March and I’m hoping to get a copy to link to my Facebook and Twitter pages soon.

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/julie.baldwin.9028

Twitter – @TSHarveyOfficial
Buy links are:
(All books are also available on Amazon.com)
****
Many thank for visiting today!
Happy reading,
Jenny x

 

 

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