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: hope

Opening Lines: Unbroken

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Madeleine Black to my site, with the ‘Opening Lines’ from her stunningly powerful memoir, Unbroken.

Over to you, Madeleine…

 

Unbroken is my memoir and tells my story of being gang raped at aged thirteen by two American teenagers and it follows my journey of survival, healing, forgiveness, transformation and hope.

Blurb

For many years after that night, my memories of what happened after he held the blade to my throat and threatened my life were fragmented… difficult to piece together. It was too extreme, too violent for me to understand.

Violently gang-raped when she was thirteen years old, and raped three more times before the age of eighteen, Madeleine has experienced more trauma in her life than most ever will.

Living in a state of shock and self-loathing, it took her years of struggle to confront the buried memories of that first attack and begin to undo the damage it wrought, as men continued to take advantage of her fragility in the worst possible way.

Yet, after growing up with a burden no teenager should ever have to shoulder, she found the heart to carry out the best revenge plan of all: leading a fulfilling and happy life. But the road to piecing her life back together was long and painful. For Madeleine, forgiveness was the key. True forgiveness takes genuine effort. It takes a real desire to understand those who have done us so much harm. It is the ultimate act of courage.

In Unbroken, Madeleine tells her deeply moving and empowering story, as she discovers that life is about how a person chooses to recover from adversity. We are not defined by what knocks us down – we are defined by how we get back up.

The first 500 words 

Chapter One – One Night

Author’s note: The names used in this account have been changed for personal and legal reasons.

It happened in May, 1979, in north London, where I grew up. The exact date was something I had never tried to establish. Some of what happened to me was very clear in my mind, but most details were hazy, disjointed, or gone all together. It took many years and a lot of hard work to unravel and examine all the details from that night. For decades, I shut the memories out, burying them in my mind beneath a mountain of guilt, fear, and self-preservation. And yet even though I didn’t consciously think about or remember most of the violence done to me, all of my consequent actions were shaped and influenced by it. I was 13 years old.

Like many girls I knew, the priorities of my life were pretty straightforward: friends, fun, school, and boys.  My parents were loving and supportive and most of the time I got on well with my older brother and three younger sisters. I tried to help out at home as much as possible and I kept quiet. I was a shy girl, never one to bring a lot of attention to myself. My grades were average and by all means, I was pretty “normal”. But my friend Kelly was something different all together.

Almost everyone has that one person in their class that they look up to and want to be like. For me, it was Kelly. She seemed so different from the rest of us and in many ways, she was. Her parents were divorced and I had never met anyone from a single-parent family before. Her Dad was an American, which seemed exotic at the time, and she wore makeup. She had Farrah Fawcett flicks in her hair and wore far cooler clothes than anyone else in school. She was outgoing and flirtatious with boys and was far more mature and physically developed than most girls in my class. She seemed so bold, so fearless. I was on the other end of the spectrum from Kelly. But being friends with her made me cool.

My dad was always unsure of Kelly and didn’t like our friendship for all the same reasons that I found her so intriguing. He felt she was a bad influence on me. I just thought she was fun. The fact that my dad didn’t approve of our friendship appealed to the rebel in me. I was, after all, a teenager.

Even though our family got along well, the dynamic in our home at that time was quite difficult. My mum was ill with neck and back problems and had to spend a lot of time in hospital, having operations and recuperating. When she came home she was often in her bed for weeks or even months. There was a rotation of nurses in the house looking after my mum and between my siblings, my father, and I, we did what needed to be done around the house, but it was very stressful.

Perhaps all of those…

***

Amazon link  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unbroken-Journey-Shattered-Violence-Survival/dp/1786062763

Bio

After many years of keeping quiet, Madeleine Black decided in September 2014, to share her story on The Forgiveness Project’s website and she completely underestimated what the response would be.

Many women and men got in contact and explained how reading her story gave them strength, hope, and a different perspective of what’s possible in their lives. The founder of The Forgiveness Project, Marina, often refers to the various people on her website as  “story healers” rather than “storytellers” and now she completely understood why.

In March 2015, Jessica Kingsley Publishers released a book called The Forgiveness Project: Stories for a Vengeful Age, by Marina Cantacuzino. It’s a collection of 40 stories from the TFP website, including hers and has forewords by Desmond Tutu and Alexander McCall Smith.

The sharing of her story also opened many doors for her in ways she never imagined and after that the invitations started to pour in.

Her memoir, Unbroken, was published by John Blake Books on April 4th 2017

Twitter www.twitter.com/madblack65

Facebook www.facebook.com/madeleineblackunbroken

Instagram www.instagram.com/madblack65

Website www.madeleineblack.co.uk

***

Many thanks to Madeleine for sharing her powerful first 500 words with us today. 

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

 

 

 

Opening Lines: Full Circle by Regina Timothy

Opening Lines time is here!

This week I’m delighted to welcome Regina Timothy to my blog with the first 500 words of her contemporary novel, Full Circle.

Blurb

Eight years after the 9/11 attacks, Samia-Al-Sayyid an Iraqi immigrant is living a quiet life in New York City after she fled her home to avoid imminent death.

She works hard for her cold, heartless, high-strung boss, loves her seventeen-years-old-son, and cherishes the close friendship she has formed with her best friend Susan.

Nothing can go wrong, or so she thinks – until the estranged brother she left back in Iraqi shows up on her door step. Then she finds herself in a cab, on her way to the hospital to identify her son, a terror suspect who has blown the city, and with it her boss’ husband, and her best friend’s son. With everything lost, she is forced to flee to Iraq where she confronts her past. Will she make peace with her past? Can she get forgiveness for all the damage she has caused?

Full Circle is a contemporary fiction tale of friendship, family, and hope. It explores the devastation of loss, the great capacity to forgive and the lengths our loved ones will go to protect us.

Here are the first 500 words (exactly)

15th November 2001

Three months had passed. Three months since Samia received her last paycheck. Three months since the attack that robbed her of the little haven she had created for herself and her ten-year-old son, Aazim. Three months since she stood in her old employer’s study and with horror saw the twin towers crumble into nothing, and with them Mercy’s only daughter Carol.

She could picture that day in her mind like it was yesterday. Tuesday, 11th September 2001. It had been a beautiful sunny morning when Samia rode the elevator to the sixth floor of her employer’s apartment building in Greenwich Village on 42 West 9th Street.

But all that changed the minute she stepped into Mercy’s home office and found her pacing up and down the floor, phone in hand. “Carol, Carol can you hear me?” she yelled over the phone. She glanced at Samia as she placed the coffeepot on the table and motioned her to stay. She covered the mouthpiece with her hand and whispered, “Something’s happened to Carol.”

“What?” Samia asked as her heartbeat quickening. Her eyes fell on a photo of Carol on Mercy’s desk. It was the same photo Samia had in her living room along with hers and Aazim’s; a headshot taken in an open field on a windy day, her wheat-colored hair mussed, and a gentle smile playing on her cherry lips as her sea blue eyes looked straight into the camera.

Samia turned to Mercy, who walked up to the phone base and put the call on speaker. Her heart thumped painfully in her chest, and she felt icy cold fear coursing through her veins.

“Baby, can you hear me?” Mercy’s voice crackled with emotion.

“Yeah,” Carol answered. She coughed and sputtered for a few minutes. “Something has happened, Mom; something is wrong.” Carol stammered. “I… I don’t know what, but there is rubble and dust everywhere. The ceiling above us fell in. I don’t know what is happening.”

“Stay calm, everything will be okay,” Mercy said as she paced in front of the large window overlooking the balcony opposite the desk. “Where are you now?”

“I’m in an office under a desk,” Carol responded before another bout of coughing took over.

“Are you hurt?”

“I… I don’t think so; let me check.” Silenced ensued before she came on again. “No, I’m not hurt.” They heard a groan and movement. “Help!” Carol shouted. “Somebody help me! Mom, I think someone’s out there. I’ll go see, hold on.”

“Okay, baby, just be careful,” Mercy replied. She stopped in front of the telephone listening to Carol shuffle things out of her way and crawl from under the desk. “Oh my God!” Carol exclaimed. Mercy stared at Samia, who stood frozen on the other side of the desk as they waited for Carol’s voice.

“Oh my God!” They heard Carol’s voice again.

“What’s wrong?” Mercy froze.

“It’s horrible, it’s just… I think I saw a person’s hand. And there is a gaping hole in…

***

You can buy Full Circle from all good retailers, including- http://amzn.to/2EdNl5L

Bio

Regina lives in a picturesque village in Kenya where she enjoys amazing landscapes, exotic wildlife, and beautiful sunsets and sunrises. She always had active imagination. By chance, she started blogging in 2010, which rekindled her love for writing and telling stories. When not writing she enjoys watching classic movies (she’s a movie buff), going to the theater and auto shows.

You can join her on the following platforms:

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17539626.Regina_Timothy

Librarythings – https://www.librarything.com/profile/Regina-Timothy

Twitter – https://twitter.com/gina_wann

Blog – http://reginatimothy.wordpress.com 

***

Thanks for your great opener Regina.

Don’t forget to come back next week for some words from Chris Chalmers.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Coming VERY Soon: Abi’s House

It seems so long ago since I first put pen to paper, and drafted the initial outline for my new novel, Abi’s House. Yet, at the same time, it feels as if no time at all has passed, and suddenly here we are, with only days to go until my Cornish adventure of life, friendship, love and hope is launched onto the e-selves and bookshop shelves of the nation!!

Abi's House_edited-1

Here’s the blurb!

Newly widowed at barely thirty, Abi Carter is desperate to escape the Stepford Wives-style life that Luke, her late husband, had been so keen for her to live.

Abi decides to fulfil a lifelong dream. As a child on holiday in a Cornwall she fell in love with a cottage – the prophetically named Abbey’s House. Now she is going to see if she can find the place again, relive the happy memories … maybe even buy a place of her own nearby?

On impulse Abi sets off to Cornwall, where a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Beth, like Abi, has a life-changing decision to make. Max, Beth’s best mate, is new to the village. He soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams … but things aren’t quite that simple. There’s the complicated life Abi left behind, including her late husband’s brother, Simon – a man with more than friendship on his mind … Will Abi’s house remain a dream, or will the bricks and mortar become a reality?

****

I’ve been extremely lucky to have already received some great 5 star pre-release reviews for Abi’s House

Pre-release reviews

“When Abi is suddenly widowed at 30 years old she realises that she has become a shell – modelled into the wife her dead husband wanted her to be and not the person she wants to be.

Feeling suffocated in Surrey by the ‘lifestyle’ and her In Laws Abi up sticks and heads to Cornwall to find Abbey House – a place her family found years before whilst on holiday. Once in Sennan Abi quickly makes new friends and soon realises she has found the one place she wants to call home.

Jenny’s style of writing is wonderful.  You can feel the sand in your toes, the gentle waves lapping at your feet, the sun and the wind and smell the Fish and Chips!  It was whilst reading this book that I realised I really missed a good old fashioned pub garden – we just don’t have them where I live.  Jenny’s stories always draw me in, I get so engrossed in and involved with the characters.  It’s like you are there.  I want to live in a Jenny Kane book!

It is over a week since I read the book and I just loved it so much…I feel like I have lost some friends since I finished reading it….”

***

Reading a Jenny Kane book is like opening a journal by a much loved friend. I’m spirited away into a world of warm, friendly and interesting people. To places that I not only want to visit but actually live in. Shops, cafés and pubs that I want to be my locals and life that I want to experience and be a part of. Abi’s House gives you all of these feelings and left me with a huge smile on my face and a glowing in my heart. More of this wonderfulness please!!”

***

So why not escape with Abi Carter into the beautiful Penwith corner of Cornwall? Let the sea breeze calm you, the fish and chips sustain you, and the adventure unfold…

Could this be Abi's House?

Could this be Abi’s House?

Published by Accent House June 13th 2015 (Kindle) and June 19th 2015 (Paperback) –

http://www.accentpress.co.uk/Book/12915/Abis-House

Pre-order links-

Kindle

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00UVPPWO8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711175&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane

http://www.amazon.com/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00UVPPWO8/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711253&sr=1-2&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane


Paperback

http://www.amazon.com/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane/dp/1783753285/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711253&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Abis-House-Jenny-Kane/dp/1783753285/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426711343&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+House+Jenny+Kane

***

Happy reading everyone!!

Jenny xx

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