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

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Summer at Sea Glass Cove: Three weeks to go

It’s only three weeks to go until the launch of my latest #feelgood novel, Summer at Sea Glass Cove, is published.

Set on the beautiful Jurassic Coast in Dorset, you can expect a mix of #romance, #newlife adventure, #archaeology and #friendship.

Blurb

Welcome to Sea Glass Cove!

Marine archaeologist Lauren Sunshine is used to life on the go. Her suitcase is always packed ready to explore the country’s underwater heritage so when a shipwreck is found off the Dorset coast, she is thrilled to be leading the excavation team.

Philippa Silver, ‘Phil’ to the folk of Sea Glass Cove, has devoted her life to the Museum by the Sea. But funding is tight, and despite subletting half of the museum to her best friend Jules’s sea glass shop, she fears for the museum’s future.

Phil hopes the wreck discovery could bring more visitors – but there’s a problem – the museum’s too small to house its treasures. Thankfully, new friend Lauren seems as determined as she is to save the museum.

But, when Phil’s brother Ollie catches Lauren’s eye, she begins to wonder if she has more than one reason to be interested in life at Sea Glass Cove…

***

Set in one of my favourite part of the world, writing Summer at Sea Glass Cove was an utter joy to write.

I hope you’ll enjoy it to.

Coming 6th June 2024, you can pre-order from all good bookshops, including Amazon UK and Amazon US

Here are a few of the lovely pre-release reviews my readers have posted on Netgalley

A really enjoyable story about a small village museum at risk of closure and the locals and marine archaeologists there for a dig that try to save it. Such great characters and interesting history. I found it a lovely read. Made me wish I could go sit in a snug by a fire with a pint. – Netgalley

What a unique and beautiful concept for a novel ! I’m so excited to join marine archaeologist Lauren on an adventure with Sea Glass Cove aficionado Philippa to help save the museum. – Netgalley

I am a big fan of Jenny Kane and it got better and better.. You learn a lot about marine archaeologist. You have secret love and new love. An ace pub. Corrupt councillors . .Two of my favourite characters were Arthur and Jeff. Read it  – Netgalley

***

Happy preordering,

Jenny xx

Nothing’s Forgotten: Thank you Mr Carpenter

It never ceases to amaze me how the small things in life ultimately have the ability to have such a massive impact on us later. Often we don’t even notice it happening until we suddenly look back and see that if “this hadn’t happened, then that wouldn’t have happened….” and on the chain goes, link after link, until you find yourself where you are right now.

For me the chain began with a single link forty-ish years ago, thanks to an incredible writer: Mr Richard ‘Kip’ Carpenter. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

(With apologises to thos eof you who’ve heard this story before…)  I was a very shy teenager- self-conscious- awkward- the stereotypical wall flower. (Part of me still is!!) When I was fourteen I became ill- nothing life threatening, but exhausting. As a consequence I was unable to go to school for several months. My parents- to whom I will always be grateful- went to the nearest Radio Rentals and hired one of those new fangled video recorders so I could watch television whenever I liked during the day.

The very day they signed that rental agreement, an episode of Robin of Sherwood aired on ITV (an HTV and Goldcrest production). That episode was called Adam Bell, and was the ninth episode of the third series- I watched it over and over again.

For the first time in my life I had fallen in love.

RH books 2

Not with any of the cast as such- I fell for the legend.  It truly wasn’t the tight tights that had captured my heart – 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.

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 do- have a soft spot 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! And all because I’d watched an episode of Robin of Sherwood.

The power of the writing, acting (and therefore casting), not to mention directing of this one show, had a massive impact on my life back then. Of course, I had no way of knowing then, how long that impact would last.

Robin Hood Statue- Nottingham

By this time (in my early twenties), I was pretty certain why the Robin Hood 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 effected those stories…

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, and for the really keen, an online PDF version is available…).

Rather than finish off my love of Robin Hood, my PhD polished it to perfection!!

I guess it was only a matter of time before I decided to write a novel about a Robin Hood obsessed historian. (Romancing Robin Hood) And it was all thanks to one man, Richard Carpenter, writing a television show that was so powerful, it never left my mind – and never will.

So, fast forward, 40 (ish) years on from watching that initial episode and – as many of you know – I’m now the show’s chief writer (audio scripts and novels). I have no idea how that happened – well, I do , but I can’t quite believe it!!

One thing I do believe in however, is the importance of saying thank you.

Long before I’d met anyone to do with the creating of the show – past and present – I had wanted to thank the cast, crew, and writers of Robin of Sherwood. They set me on a course that has taken me from a shy child to an adult who has learnt how to handle that shyness, and given me a career I love. It’s difficult to do this without coming across like a crazed fan or some sort of hyper fan-girl (I’m neither- just a regular fan!)- but now I have that chance.

Thank you all.

Cast and crew of Robin of Sherwood – and me! (@Kim Jones)

Sadly, I wasn’t lucky enough to meet Richard Carpenter, for he passed away sometime before I began to write – but I will always be grateful to him. His skill, his depth of character creations, his vision for what he wanted to see on the screen, have taught me so much – not to mention how much joy he brought to so many with his work. (Robin of Sherwood was just one production – Mr Carpenter did so much more; Dick Turpin, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Borrowers…. and more.)

As my time writing for Robin of Sherwood draws to an end (the 40th anniversary year is the right time to stop, so I don’t start to dilute the brand) – I am turning to a new adventure. Again, one very much inspired by my writing hero. This time, it is cosy crime – and a series of books, which will go by the subtitle of #TheRobinHoodClub.

Book One: Manuscript Mysteries at The Robin Hood Club, will be published on 28th April – the day of Robin of Sherwood’s 40th birthday.

The new enterprise is dedicated to Mr Carpenter. After all, I owe him so much.
RH- RoS 2
“Nothing’s Forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.”

Jenny

xxx

 

Happy Birthday: Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed

Bluebells Season at The Potting Shed is a year old!

Bluebells is the second book in #thepottingshed #series.

To help celebrate it’s birthday, Bluebells Season at The Potting Shed is one of Amazon’s Monthly Kindle Deals until the end of April!!

Blurb

Maddie and her sister Sabi are back at The Potting Shed, but are their troubles over?

Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed is the sequel of Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, part of a new series by #1 Kindle bestselling author, Jenny Kane, that revolves around a family-run garden centre.

Spring has arrived at The Potting Shed and things seem to finally be going Maddie’s way. Her relationship with lovable lawyer Ed is going well and the business is thriving with the help of her new friend Jo and his bright orange coffee van.

But troubles are just around the corner… The upgrade of The Potting Shed from a nursery to a garden centre is at a critical point – turning part of Maddie’s business into a building site, and just as she has to temporarily move out of her home, a major garden centre announces its grand opening only twenty miles away.

With money running out Maddie and her sister Sabi must think fast – they only have until the end of bluebell season to save The Potting Shed…

Here are the novel’s opening lines…

MARCH – Chapter One

Maddie’s breath caught in her throat as she saw the glass panel fall towards the gravel path. A vision of half of The Potting Shed’s new greenhouse roof being reduced to smithereens flashed through her mind as a workman dived forward and caught it a split second before it hit the ground.

‘I can’t watch this anymore.’ Maddie turned her sister. ‘It took us so long to decide whether we should splash out on a greenhouse for my herbs or not, I don’t want to look again until it’s up. It’s too stressful.’

Sabi gave the two men the full force of the haughty glare she reserved especially for tradesmen. ‘Let’s go inside. We’re supposed to be talking battle plans for the nursery’s expansion, and I for one could murder for a cup of tea.’

*

‘You know the greenhouse’s roof wouldn’t have smashed, don’t you?’

‘Logically, yes.’ Maddie placed the biscuit tin in the middle of the kitchen table. ‘No point in paying for reinforced glass if it’s not going to do its job, but instinct still told me it was going to break.’

‘Have you worked out which herbs you’re going to grow yet?’

‘Almost.’ Maddie glanced down as Florrie’s wet nose nudged at her hand. ‘Yes, I know you want a biscuit, but you’ve already had one, and they aren’t good for you.’ She ruffled the puppy’s black and white fur, before returning to the point. ‘I’ll start by increasing production of the herbs I already grow. All the favourites: thyme, mint, chives, parsley, and such. But I also want to produce some less common varieties too. See if I can tempt people to be braver in their tastes. Borage definitely – it’s good in a jug of Pimm’s; maybe some caraway and chervil.’

‘Not coriander and dill? I use all of those – and basil of course.’

Maddie’s eyebrows rose. ‘You mean Henry uses all of those.’

‘Yes, well, it’s hardly my fault if my husband loves to cook.’

‘You’re a lucky woman, Sabs.’ Patting her sister’s arm, Maddie selected another biscuit. ‘But I’ll leave out those particular herbs for now. They tend to bolt if you don’t keep on top of them, and as we can’t afford to employ any more staff, I want to keep things low maintenance.’

Sabi delved a hand into her massive handbag, pulled out a state-of-the-art tablet, and opened it at a list of jobs that needed doing. ‘Maybe we should have ordered a bigger greenhouse.’

‘Anything bigger wouldn’t have fitted between the first polytunnel and the path to the car park.’

‘I still can’t see why it couldn’t have been built on the scrap of land at the far side of the nursery.’

‘Light.’ Maddie bit back the temptation to ask Sabi how many times they needed to have this conversation. ‘While the rear of The Potting Shed does enjoy the sunshine, overall, it’s lighter at the front of the nursery for longer each day.’

Sabi grunted reluctant acceptance of the situation as she pulled a cookie from the tin, brushing a crumb away as it hit her tablet’s screen…

If that extract has whetted your appetite, you can order your copy of Bluebell today.

 Amazon UK, Amazon US, Kobo, Nook and Waterstones

Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed follows Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, and precedes Misty Mornings at The Potting Shed. 

Happy Reading,

Jenny x

Twenty Questions With Jenny Kane

I have been neglecting this blog a little lately, and thought I should put that right! So, I asked a friend to pretend she didn’t know me, and ask me 20 quick-fire questions she thought my readers might want to know the answers to! Yes- I know that’s a little bit mad- but I’m a writer- insanity is only ever inches away!!

  1. 1.Why have you neglected this blog lately?

The other me- Jennifer Ash – has written a new novel that is almost ready to release – so it’s been a case of juggling the final proof read, while writing the next Jenny Kane book, and catching up on all my teaching and editing obligations after a period of illness.

  1. 2. You have three versions of you – are you more like Kay Jaybee (erotica), Jennifer Ash (historical/crime) or Jenny (romance) in real life?

Jenny

  1.  Do you love coffee as much as the characters in Another Cup of Coffee?

Even more than they do!

  1. How do you take your coffee?

Black- nothing added- Americano for preference

  1. 5. How many cups do you drink a day?

Three

  1. 6. Do you really write in cafes and coffee shops?

I really do.

  1. 7.What is your favourite hot drink – apart from coffee?

Coffee is the only hot drink I like- I HATE tea, and I don’t like milk, so can’t have hot chocolate, latte etc

  1. Favourite colour?

Purple

  1. Boots, trainers, or heels?

Boots – I am not sporty, and I’d break my neck in heels. I am very clumsy!

  1. Are the characters in your books based on real people?

Most of the characters in Another Cup of Coffee, A Cornish Escape, the Mill Grange series and The Potting Shed series are based on real people.

  1. Which ones?

My lips are sealed.

  1. Spoil sport- give us a clue?

Okay, so in Another Cup of Coffee,  two of the characters are me and three of them were my best friends at University- (obviously wrote exaggerated versions of them- and they are all still my friends and totally lovely.)

The Potting Shed crew were inspired by the folk at the Old Well Garden Centre in Willand, Devon.

  1. What did you study at University?

I did an Archaeology degree, and then a Medieval History  PhD.

  1. Ohhh-  like Amy did in Another Cup of Coffee.

Yes- just like Amy did- well, the archaeology bit anyway- I think I can guess the next question!

  1. So  are you Amy?

I am a little tiny bit, but only a little bit. I am more like Kit- but not too much!!!

  1. You are known to be mad about Robin Hood – would you ever write your own version of the Robin Hood legend?

Never say never, but I’ve no plans at the moment…

  1. Is Robin of Sherwood still your favourite version of the story?

What a silly question!. YES!

  1. What would you say always surprises people when they meet you?

That I wear hearing aids. (I’m 80% deaf)

  1. Do  you prefer being Kay Jaybee- Queen of BDSM Kink-  Jenny Kane- Writer of  book chocolate – or Jennifer Ash – Robin Hood junky?

I love being all of them – it is wonderful to be able to create such different styles of work, and thus- hopefully- make more people happy when they read! (Well- that’s the plan!)

  1. You mentioned a new Jennifer Ash book – what’s that going to be about?

I can’t say yet – but it isn’t a Robin of Sherwood book (although there is another of those to come), nor is it the next Folville novel… Watch this space!!

I hope my answers made you smile! 

Thanks for dropping by!

Jenny xx

 

A Coffee Shop Habit

Okay- I admit it, I have a serious coffee shop habit! I am addicted- not just to the coffee itself- but to the cafes themselves. I just love them- all of them. From the little independent cafes, the truckers rest stops, one or two of the chains, and the coffee stops tucked away in department stores- I adore them.

I love to watch the people around me, to smile at strangers to see how they respond, to wrap my hands around a coffee mug and inhale the aroma of the drink within. For me, there is something very soothing about these places. Whether they are jammed packed and noisy, or as quiet as the proverbial grave, I simply feel at home in coffee shops.

 

It won’t surprise you to learn then, that – even before I was lucky enough to become a writer in residence in a café, and have my very own corner (with a plaque on the wall!!!), every novel I have ever written has taken shape in various different coffee shops.

From my earliest days writing children’s stories (I used to go into schools and jump around, making up tales about cows, hats, and Doctor Who- yes Doctor Who), to my erotica, my poetry (yes- I write poems as well – naughty ones), and on to my romances, each has begun life with a cup of café poured black coffee to hand.

It seemed totally natural to me therefore, that when I came to create my first non-erotic novel – Another Cup of Coffee – to make coffee shops the main places of meeting and discussion for the main characters.

The coffee shop that features most within Another Cup of Coffee is Pickwicks. Tucked away on a side street in Richmond, London, Pickwicks is run by the ever bubbly Peggy, and her husband Scott. It is here that, newly arrived in London from Scotland, Amy is to find a refuge from her troubles, a temporary job, a possible future, and a potential friend in Kit- a woman who spends her days sat in the corner of Pickwicks writing erotic stories for an American Internet company…

Blurb- Another Cup of Coffee

Thirteen years ago Amy Crane ran away from everyone and everything she knew, ending up in an unfamiliar city with no obvious past and no idea of her future. Now, though, that past has just arrived on her doorstep, in the shape of an old music cassette that Amy hasn’t seen since she was at university.

Digging out her long-neglected Walkman, Amy listens to the lyrics that soundtracked her student days. As long-buried memories are wrenched from the places in her mind where she’s kept them safely locked away for over a decade, Amy is suddenly tired of hiding.

It’s time to confront everything about her life. Time to find all the friends she left behind in England, when her heart got broken and the life she was building for herself was shattered. Time to make sense of all the feelings she’s been bottling up for all this time. And most of all, it’s time to discover why Jack has sent her tape back to her now, after all these years…

With her mantra, New life, New job, New home, playing on a continuous loop in her head, Amy gears herself up with yet another bucket-sized cup of coffee, as she goes forth to lay the ghost of first love to rest…

Here are the opening words…

Taking refuge in the kitchen, Amy placed her palms firmly onto the cool, tiled work surface, and took a couple of deep yet shaky breaths. Forcing her brain to slip back into action, she retrieved a bottle of white wine from the fridge, poured a large glassful and, squaring her shoulders, carried it through to the living room.

Perching on the edge of her sofa, her throat dry, Amy stared suspiciously at the tape for a second, before daring to pick it up and click open its stiff plastic box. Two minutes later, her hands still shaking, she closed it again with a sharp bang, and drank some wine. It took a further five minutes to gather the courage to re-open the case and place the tape into the dusty cassette compartment of her ancient stereo system. It must have been years since she’d seen a cassette, she thought, let alone listened to one. She wasn’t even sure the stereo still worked …

Swallowing another great gulp of alcohol, Amy closed her eyes and pressed Play, not at all sure she wanted to take this trip back in time …

Available from:

In eBook and paperback format from Amazon UK , Nook, Kobo, and all good book stores.

Coffee smile

Who says coffee shops are just for drinking coffee???

Happy reading,
Jenny xx

Opening Lines: Her Scandalous Suitor by Rachel Brimble

I’m welcoming my friend and fellow author, Rachel Brimble, back to my website today with the #openinglines from her brand new novel.

Thanks for hosting me today, Jenny!

I am thrilled to be here to share the Opening Lines of my latest historical romance, HER SCANDALOUS SUITOR (previously The Seduction of Emily). The novel is set in the beautiful city of Bath and follows Emily Darson and confidence trickster Will Samson as they are unexpectedly thrown together only to embark on an adventure filled with drama, intrigue & romance. Let the fun & games begin…

BLURB

Emily Darson assumed her future of propriety and privilege amid a loveless marriage was set in stone. At least, she did until confidence trickster Will Samson came into her life…

Then everything changed.

With each revelation about her fiancé and herself that Will uncovers, he also reveals a little more of who he is, what he has suffered, and the volatile vengeance that burns in his heart.

Can Emily really risk security for scandal? Loyalty for love? Only time will tell…

FIRST 500 WORDS

Will Samson stood at the back of the auction house, watching and waiting. Over two hundred people stood around him. Rather than part with their hard-earned cash, he suspected they were there hoping to catch a glimpse of one man in particular. The same man he waited for.

Mr. Nicholas Milne. One of Bath’s most eligible bachelors. Milne was a celebrity. A man written about and either admired…or feared. Will curled his hands into fists.

He was a rapist. A woman-beater. A dead man walking.

Today, Will was coming for Milne, ready or not. He lifted his hat and pushed the hair back from his face. The tension in his neck and shoulders grew worse as each second passed, and the ache in his temples throbbed mercilessly.

He turned his gaze once again to the open double doors at the back of the room. “Come on, you bastard. Where are you?”

The furor surrounding the sale of the day’s most prestigious lot, a diamond, ruby, and pearl necklace known as the Heart of Kingston, had escalated to fever pitch over the last few weeks. The auction house had taken full advantage of the waiting crowd by dragging out the suspense. What better way to heighten the nerves and hunger of bidders than to have them think the real prize—Milne—might not materialize after all?

Replacing his hat, Will slid out of sight behind a marble pillar. Discretion was key. Although confident the people of Bath were unaware of his real occupation, he daren’t run the risk of his carefully prepared disguise as a middle-class gentleman being exposed. When was a confidence trickster ever welcome at a high-class auction?

He closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall, planting the sole of his boot against the white alabaster. His mother’s beautiful face appeared behind his closed lids. She’d asked him countless times not to avenge the beating Milne had inflicted on her two years before, but the fire inside Will would not be extinguished until Milne was nothing but ashes.

Resentment and hatred swirled in his gut. The same emotions had long ago burned and scarred any love he was once capable of feeling for another. So many months of tracking Milne down, so many weeks of wanting to get his hands around his neck had left Will a shadow of his former self. Maybe once Milne was dead or behind bars, Will could start living again. He opened his eyes. But, in the meantime, he would make the man’s life a living hell until he decided how to ruin him completely. The only promise Will would keep to his mother was he wouldn’t hang by the neck for his endeavors. When the fever took her into God’s arms, Will’s heart and soul filled with the heinous intention to wreak vengeance on Milne. God only knew how many more women Milne had hurt in the months it took Will to track him from Bristol to Bath…

***

You can buy Her Scandalous Suitor from all good retailers, including: https://geni.us/yA4XqFR

BIO:

Rachel lives with her husband, two adult daughters and beloved Labrador in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of 30 novels and has been published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, Kensington Books and others. Her latest series includes the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy and the Shop Girl series, both published with Aria Fiction. She also has several single titles with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut novel with Harpeth Road Press, Dressing The Countess, will be released in May 2024.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Female Entrepreneur Association and has thousands of social media followers all over the world. She is also studying for a history degree with the Open University in her spare time…

To sign up for her newsletter (a guaranteed giveaway every month!), click here: https://bit.ly/3zyH7dt

Website: https://bit.ly/3wH7HQs

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Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Jenny Kane’s Cheese Scones: A Taste of Mill Grange

As regular readers to this blog will know, my  #MillGrange novels, feature a serious amount of scone consumption.

I’ve recently been asked to re-share my own cheese scone recipe – Sybil approved, of course!

If you’d like to bake some Sybil style cheese scones, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 55g chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 100g mature cheddar –  grated (reserve some for sprinkling on top prior to baking)
  • 100-110ml milk – plus 1 tbsp for glazing

And here’s what you do:

  1. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas mark 6
  2. Place the flour, salt, cayenne pepper and baking powder into a bowl, and stir together. (You can sift it if you like- but I can never be bothered!)
  3. Add the butter to the bowl and rub with your fingertips to make breadcrumbs.
  4. Sprinkle almost all the cheese into the breadcrumb mixture and stir in.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the milk, a little at a time, until you have a firm dough. (Do not be afraid to add a fraction more milk if required)
  6. Lightly flour a surface and push/fold the dough a few times, until it is approximately 2cm thick. Cut out the scones with a medium (about 8cm) cutter.
  7. Lightly flour a baking sheet, and place the scones on top. Glaze scones with a little milk and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  8. Bake in the oven for 15-ish mins or until cooked through.
  9. Eat with way too much butter  and enjoy without guilt.

I hope Sybil’s scones put a smile on your face!

If you’d like to read Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange, Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange,  Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange or Winter Fires at Mill Grange, to see what else the workers at Mill Grange like to eat, you can find all the buy links here.

Have a lovely weekend.

Jenny x

 

Happy Valentine’s Day: Robin Hood Style

Valentines

To celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share a little of Romancing Robin Hood– my part romance/part medieval mystery novel- with you.

Romancing Robin Hood is a contemporary romance is based on the life of Dr Grace Harper, a medieval history lecturer with a major Robin Hood obsession. So much so, that instead of writing a textbook on medieval life, Grace is secretly writing a novella about a fourteenth century girl called Mathilda, who gets mixed up with a real outlaw family of the day, the Folvilles. As you read Grace’s story, you can read the medieval mystery she is writing alongside!

The problem is, Grace is so embroiled in her work and passion for outlaws, that real life is passing her by.

RH- E Flynn

With her wedding approaching fast, Grace’s best friend Daisy can’t help wishing a similar happiness to her own for her Robin Hood loving friend…

Extract

…Daisy hadn’t grown up picturing herself floating down the aisle in an over-sequinned ivory frock, nor as a doting parent, looking after triplets and walking a black Labrador. So when, on an out-of-hours trip to the local vet’s surgery she’d met Marcus and discovered that love at first sight wasn’t a myth, it had knocked her for six.

She’d been on a late-night emergency dash to the surgery with an owl a neighbour had found injured in the road. Its wing had required a splint, and it was too big a job for only one pair of hands. Daisy had been more than a bit surprised when the locum vet had stirred some long-suppressed feeling of interest in her, and even more amazed when that feeling had been reciprocated.

It was all luck, sheer luck. Daisy had always believed that anyone meeting anybody was down to two people meeting at exactly the right place, at exactly the right time, while both feeling precisely the right amount of chemistry. The fact that any couples existed at all seemed to Daisy to be one of the greatest miracles of humanity.

She pictured Grace, tucked away in her mad little office only living in the twenty-first century on a part-time basis. Daisy had long since got used to the fact that her closest friend’s mind was more often than not placed firmly in the 1300s. Daisy wished Grace would finish her book. It had become such a part of her. Such an exclusive aim that nothing else seemed to matter very much. Even the job she used to love seemed to be a burden to her now, and Daisy sensed that Grace was beginning to resent the hours it took her away from her life’s work. Maybe if she could get her book over with – get it out of her system – then Grace would stop living in the wrong timeframe.

Daisy knew Grace appreciated that she never advised her to find a bloke, settle down, and live ‘happily ever after,’ and she was equally grateful Grace had never once suggested anything similar to her. Now she had Marcus, however, Daisy had begun to want the same contentment for her friend, and had to bite her tongue whenever they spoke on the phone; something that happened less and less these days.

Grace’s emails were getting shorter too. The long paragraphs detailing the woes of teaching students with an ever-decreasing intelligence had blunted down to, ‘You ok? I’m good. Writing sparse. See you soon. Bye G x’

The book. That in itself was a problem. Grace’s publishers and colleagues, Daisy knew, were expecting an academic tome. A textbook for future medievalists to ponder over in the university libraries of the world. And, in time, that was exactly what they were going to get, but not yet, for Grace had confided to Daisy that this wasn’t the only thing she was working on, and her textbook was coming a poor third place to work and the other book she couldn’t seem to stop herself from writing.

‘Why,’ Grace had forcefully expounded on their last meeting, ‘should I slog my guts out writing a book only a handful of bored students and obsessive freaks like myself will ever pick up, let alone read?’

As a result, Grace was writing a novel, ‘A semi-factual novel,’ she’d said, ‘a story which will tell any student what they need to know about the Folville family and their criminal activities – which bear a tremendous resemblance to the stories of a certain famous literary outlaw! – and hopefully promote interest in the subject for those who aren’t that into history without boring them to death.’

It sounded like a good idea to Daisy, but she also knew, as Grace did, that it was precisely the sort of book academics frowned upon, and she was worried about Grace’s determination to finish it. Daisy thought it would be more sensible to concentrate on one manuscript at a time, and get the dry epic that everyone was expecting out of the way first. Perhaps it would have been completed by now if Grace could focus on one project at a time, rather than it currently being a year in the preparation without a final result in sight. Daisy suspected Grace’s boss had no idea what she was really up to. After all, she was using the same lifetime of research for both manuscripts. She also had an underlying suspicion that subconsciously Grace didn’t want to finish either the textbook or the novel; that her friend was afraid to finish them. After all, what would she fill her hours with once they were done?

Daisy’s mobile began to play a tinny version of Nellie the Elephant. She hastily plopped a small black guinea pig, which she’d temporarily called Charcoal, into a run with his numerous friends, and fished her phone from her dungarees pocket.

‘Hi, Marcus.’

‘Hi honey, you OK?’

‘Just delivering the tribe to their outside quarters, then I’m off to face the horror that is dress shopping.’

Her future husband laughed, ‘You’ll be fine. You’re just a bit rusty, that’s all.’

‘Rusty! I haven’t owned a dress since I went to parties as a small child. Thirty-odd years ago!’

‘I don’t understand why you don’t go with Grace at the weekend. It would be easier together wouldn’t it?’

Daisy sighed, ‘I’d love to go with her, but I’ll never get her away from her work more than once this month, and I’ve yet to arrange a date for her to buy a bridesmaid outfit.’

‘Well, good luck, babe. I’m off to rob some bulls of their manhood.’

Daisy giggled, ‘Have fun. Oh, why did you call by the way?’

‘Just wanted to hear your voice, nothing else.’

‘Oh cute – ta.’

‘Idiot! Enjoy shopping.’

As she clicked her battered blue mobile shut and slid it back into her working clothes, Daisy thought of Grace again. Perhaps she should accidentally invite loads of single men to the wedding to tempt her friend with. The trouble was, unless they wore Lincoln Green, and carried a bow and quiver of arrows, Daisy very much doubted whether Grace would even notice they were there…

If that extract has whetted your appetite for more, Romancing Robin Hood is available in paperback, and e-formats from all good retailers- including…

Kindle –
(Available via KDP for those who subscribe)
Paperback-

 

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Jenny x

 

Opening Lines: Christmas at the Castle

It’s time for the final instalment in the Opening Lines blogs for my Another Cup of…festive specials.

Today, I’m sharing the first 500 words from Christmas at the Castle.

Kit is off to Scotland!

BLURB

When hotshot businesswoman Alice Warren is asked to organise a literary festival at beautiful Crathes Castle in Scotland, her ‘work mode’ persona means she can’t say no – even though the person asking is her ex, Cameron Hunter.

Alice broke Cameron’s heart and feels she owes him one – but her best friend Charlie isn’t going to like it. Charlie – aka famous author Erin Spence – is happy to help Alice with the festival…until she finds out that Cameron’s involved! Charlie suffered a bad case of unrequited love for Cameron, and she can’t bear the thought of seeing him again.

Caught between her own insecurities and loyalty to her friend, Charlie gets fellow author Kit Lambert to take her place. Agreeing to leave her London comfort zone – and her favourite corner in Pickwicks Café – Kit steps in. She quickly finds herself not just helping out, but hosting a major literary event, while also trying to play fairy godmother – a task which quickly gets very complicated indeed…

Readers love Jenny Kane:
‘A wonderful short story to fill your heart with warmth and really put you in the mood for Christmas

‘A feel good festive read, with Jenny Kane’s trademark coffee, friendship and gentle humour’

‘This is the perfect book for curling up on the sofa with on a winter’s afternoon. Light-hearted and feel good fun’

FIRST 500 WORDS

Chapter One

Friday November 13th

Poking her head around the door of the Gift Shop Café, Charlie gave a sigh of relief. She’d managed to arrive before Alice for once.

Selecting their usual table by the window, Charlie smiled. Just for once it was nice not to have Alice, already comfortably settled and looking perfect, watching serenely as she battled her scarf, which always managed to knot itself clumsily, and her hair, blown every which way by the wind.

Hoping this was a good omen for the discussion to come, Charlie waved a greeting to the waitress, Mel.

‘Hi, Erin, Alice isn’t here yet.’ Mel put down a large coffee on Charlie’s table, ‘I’ll bring that weird latte concoction she likes over when she arrives.’

About half of the people in Banchory knew Charlie as Erin. Ever since she’d had her first book published under the name of Erin Spencer five years ago, the local papers had made a feature of her work, and Charlie lived happily with her dual personality.

As she watched the world go by through the window, Charlie’s usual habit of filtering future plotlines through the back of her mind was replaced with wondering how to persuade Alice that they needed more people to help organise Crathes Castle’s first ever literary festival. So far it was just the two of them, and they were drowning in the number of tasks involved with making it a success rather than an embarrassing flop.

Charlie hadn’t finished rehearsing her pleas for more helpers in her head, when Alice arrived.

Waving to Mel that she needed a drink fast (the concoction that Charlie always thought of as pseudo-coffee, which consisted of a decaf coffee, soya milk, and low-sugar caramel latte syrup), Alice sat down regally and swung her long, slim, tight black denim-covered legs elegantly under the table, before pushing her designer glasses off her eyes and up into her hair, neatly pinning it away from her face. If Charlie had tried to do that without the aid of a mirror she knew there would have been tufts of her long bouncy red ringlets sticking out at all angles.

A businesswoman through and through, Alice got straight to the point. ‘Charlie, sweetie, I know you don’t like working with other people much, but if we don’t get some more help soon this festival is going to be the biggest disaster of my career.’ Without giving her stunned friend time to comment, Alice went on, ‘It’s November 13th already. Our Christmas in the Castle Literary Festival is in exactly three weeks and we need another person to help us.’

Charlie was taken aback. Even when they’d been at university together Alice had been an expert at eliciting assistance from people without them even realising that she was getting them to do what she wanted. Never before had Charlie heard her admit she needed help. Studying her friend more carefully, Charlie noticed that there were dark shadows under Alice’s eyes, hinting that…

If you’d like to see what happens next, then you can buy Christmas at the Castle from all good e-retailers or you can find it in the Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection.

mybook.to/ChristmasinCastle

mybook.to/JKChrisCollection

Happy reading everyone.

Jenny xx

 

Opening Lines: Another Cup of Christmas

For the next three weeks, I’ll be featuring my ‘Another Cup of….’ festive novellas on the ‘Opening Lines’ blog spot.

Today, I’m starting with the first 500 words from Another Cup of Christmas.

Blurb

Five years ago the staff of Pickwicks Cafe in Richmond were thrown into turmoil when their cook and part-owner, Scott, had a terrible accident. With help from his friends, his wife Peggy, and the staff at the local hospital, he made an amazing recovery. Now Pickwicks is preparing to host a special Christmas fundraiser for the hospital department that looked after Scott.

Pickwicks’ waitress Megan has been liaising with the ward’s administrator, Nick, as all the staff who helped Scott’s recovery are invited. As the problems of organising the fundraiser take up more and more of their busy lives, Megan and Nick contact each other more frequently, and their emails and phone calls start to develop from the practical into the flirty.

But can you actually fall for someone you’ve never met?

As the fundraiser draws closer, Megan is beginning to think that she had imagined all the virtual flirting between herself and Nick – he promised to arrange to meet her for real, but he hasn’t done so. Now he’s bringing someone with him to the fundraiser, and they’re just bound to be everything Megan feels she isn’t …

Join the characters of Jenny Kane’s wonderful debut Another Cup of Coffee once again for a heart-warming festive read!

Readers love Jenny Kane:
‘A lovely heart-warming tale set at Christmas and a perfect short read for in front of a blazing fire and a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate!)’

‘A great read in the run up to Christmas, highly recommended

FIRST 500 WORDS

Chapter One

December 4th 2012

Having politely escaped her third ‘So what are you doing for Christmas?’ conversation of the day, Megan Johnson was retreating back to the counter when she spotted Pickwicks’ most regular customer sit up from her work and brush a stray red hair from her eyes.

    Knowing it had been at least half an hour since Kit’s caffeine addiction had been attended to, the waitress swiped up the percolator jug and headed in her direction.

    Without bothering to ask if it was required, Megan poured the steaming liquid with practised care, before taking advantage of the lull in Christmas shopping trade, and sitting down opposite her friend. ‘Going OK?’

    Swivelling the laptop round to face Megan, Kit rubbed the back of her neck, ‘I’m sure I’ve missed something. What do you think?’

Pickwicks Festive Fundraiser!

Spoil Yourself With An Afternoon of Pickwicks’ Finest Festive Fare.

In Aid of the Royal Free Hospital’s Spinal Ward.

Saturday 22nd December from 2pm.

Deluxe Buffet And Fundraising Fun!

Tickets are ONLY £25 per person

Don’t miss out!

Book your place at Pickwicks Coffee Shop, Richmond – NOW!!

    Megan scanned the poster. ‘Oh, that’s fabulous! I thought you were writing your latest novel.’

    ‘To tell you the truth, that’s exactly what I should be doing, but Peggy asked me to do some publicity for the fundraiser and I thought I’d better get on with it. Time seems to be dissolving. It’ll be the 22nd before we know it.’

    ‘I know what you mean.’ Megan started to collect the dishes left by a couple who’d just vacated a nearby table.  ‘The next three weeks are going to fly by.’

    ‘Two and a half weeks!’

    ‘Oh, hell! Really?’

    ‘That’s why I want to get these done; otherwise everyone will be too booked up with their own celebrations to have time to come.’ Gesturing towards the kitchen, Kit asked, ‘How’s Scott doing out there, or shouldn’t I ask?’

    Megan’s permanent smile widened further across her lightly freckled face. ‘He’s amazing. I have no idea how he does it. The temperature in that kitchen is tropical, and yet Scott’s still beaming that massive toothy grin of his. I’m seriously beginning to think he is physically unable to stop cooking! Surely he must have pre-prepared as much as he can for the fundraiser by now?’

     Kit nodded. ‘He probably has, but Peggy is getting paranoid there won’t be enough food.’ Glancing around, checking that Megan wasn’t needed by a customer for a moment, Kit pointed to a fresh pile of abandoned cups. ‘If I clear those, will you have a proper read of the poster? I’m sure I’ve missed something obvious but I can’t put my finger on it?’

    Kit was already standing up and taking a tray from Megan’s hands before the waitress said, ‘On one condition.’

    ‘Which is?’

    ‘I can check my emails? I’m supposed to be liaising with the hospital about this for Peggy, but we’ve been so busy over the last few days I…’

If you’d like to read on, Another Cup of Christmas, is available from all good e-book retailers, and as part of the Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection.

mybook.to/AnotherCupofChristmas

mybook.to/JKChrisCollection

(You don’t need to have read Another Cup of Coffee to enjoy my festive stories.)

You can her me read a little from Another Cup of Christmas here- https://www.facebook.com/coffeetimesessions/videos/381433993174274

Come back next week, for the first 500 words from Christmas in the Cotswolds.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

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