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

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Opening Lines: The Allotment Girls by Kate Thompson

It’s time for this weeks “Opening Lines” blog!

This week I’m delighted to welcome Kate Thompson to my site to share the first 500 words (precisely) of The Allotment Girls…

During the Second World War, life in the iconic Bryant & May match factory is grimy and tough. Annie, Rose, Pearl and Millie carry on making matches for the British Army, with bombs raining down around them.

Inspired by the Dig for Victory campaign, Annie persuades the owners to start Bryant & May allotment in the factory grounds. With plenty of sweat and toil, the girls eventually carve out a corner of the yard into a green plot full of life and colour.  In the darkest of times, the girls find their allotment a tranquil, happy escape. Using pierced dustbin lids to sieve through the shrapnel and debris, they bring about a powerful change, not just in the factory, but their own lives. As the war rages on, the garden becomes a place of community, friendship – and deceit. As the garden thrives and grows, so do the girls’ secrets . . .

Prologue

January 1897

It must be said, nowhere does a funeral quite like the East End. This one, taking place on a bitter Monday in January, quite surpassed anything the poor folk of the parish of Bethnal Green had ever before seen. Even in the depths of his guilt, he had to acknowledge this fact.

The entire funeral route was lined with thousands of people, a respectful crowd largely, all dressed in their best clothes and washed for the occasion. The sea of black bonnets, shawls and caps was chequered with the odd cluster of bright colour from the hats of assembled factory girls.

Even the weather had put on its funeral best, with scrawls of black cloud dirtying the sky and a rattling wind hammering the windows like fists. The police had been deployed in great numbers, but their presence was not required, he noted, as he tried to blend into the sea of faces.

He had never seen so many people before, sitting on walls, clinging to gas lamps and perched on sills, all craning their necks for a better view.

‘Almost be worth being burnt to have such a handsome turnout,’ muttered a man in the crowd next to him, before his wife slapped him into silence. ‘Wash your mouth out,’ she hissed. ‘The cortège is coming.’

A hush fell over the crowd. A painful lump lodged in his throat as the first notes of ‘Dead March in Saul’ drifted over the cobbles. The cortège was led by the Wapping Gas Workers’ brass band, the dramatic clash of their instru­ments driving deep into his heart.

And then came the bodies. A mixture of horror and awe settled over the crowd. For once, no one was looking at the lavish wreaths or the magnificent black horses, resplendent in their rich purple plumes and velvets. All eyes were fixed only on the coffins, growing gradually smaller in size as they passed by.

‘Just children,’ wept the woman next to him, pressing a broad black handkerchief to her mouth in dismay. But to him they had names, and he murmured them quietly, like an undercover priest, as each coffin filed past.

Eliza, fifteen. Mary, twelve. Alfred, ten. Beatrice, nine. John, seven. Margaret, five. Marie, three.

By the time baby Emily’s body passed him, he could no longer hold back his anguish, and a strange cry escaped him. In comparison to her parents’ coffins, Emily’s seemed absurdly small, and he longed to reach out and cradle her, to save her the journey into the cold, dark earth.

But they were already gone, one step closer to the closing scene of the mass burial that would be discussed in every public house in the borough for months to come.

And then came the mourners. And how! Conveyances of all descriptions, filled with anyone who had a connection to the dead. Mourning carriages, hansom cabs, broughams and even three omnibuses, willing to take passengers, mainly women it had to be said, to the final resting place.

 ***

The Allotment Girls is available now: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Allotment-Girls-Kate-Thompson/dp/1509822259/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520333328&sr=8-1&keywords=the+allotment+girls

Paperback can also be purchased at Sainsburys, WHSmith and other retailers.

Connect with Kate:

@Katethompson380

www.katethompsonmedia.co.uk 

Many thanks Kate. Great stuff.

Come back next week to read the first 500 words from a noel by Linda MacDonald

Happy reading,

Jenny x

OUT NOW ON KINDLE: The Outlaws’ Ransom

The Outlaw’s Ransom is OUT NOW on KINDLE!!

Every single book I am lucky enough to have published means a lot to me. Writers talk about ‘putting something of themselves’ into their work – and it’s true. For the months while we are writing a story, we live it- breathe it- sweat over it- and become part of it. This book however- which will become a series of 5 novels called The Folville Chronicles– has a special place in my heart.

For a start, it was inspired by my love of the stories of Robin Hood – but it isn’t about him. It’s about a family who took crime as their way of life in the Fourteenth Century- the Folvilles. The parallels between their real lives and the stories of Robin Hood have not gone unnoticed by historians- including myself. I studied the Folvilles in depth for five years back in the 1990’s- and I knew then that they had a story worth telling.

Writing a novel about the Folville brothers was only a distant dream back then. I had never written anything other than essays and research papers- 24 years later things are rather different… I now have one or two novels under my belt. It wasn’t until I wrote Romancing Robin Hood however, that I felt brave enough to have a go at writing a medieval crime series. Something I was encouraged in by the good folk I met at the last Hooded Man Event in 2016 (A conference/event for Robin of Sherwood fans), where I was selling my earlier novels.

Here’s the blurb…

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

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

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

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

Those of you who have read Romancing Robin Hood, will already recognise The Outlaw’s Ransom. It is the same tale of Mathilda of Twyford that appears within my Jenny Kane novel. However- it has been expanded slightly, with more history added in. The story I must stress- IS THE SAME. If you want a new Mathilda story you will not have to wait long- Book Two of The Folville Chronicles- The Winter Outlaw– will be out next month.

***

Here is that all important KINDLE buy link-

The Outlaw’s Ransom will also be out in paperback very soon.

Happy reading,

Jen xx

Romancing Robin Hood: Kindle and Paperback

After the excitement of yesterday’s launch, I’m delighted to be able to announce that the Kindle version of Romancing Robin Hood is now available along with the paperback version. Members of Kindle Unlimited will also have access to my novel.

Here’s the blurb…

When you’re in love with a man of legend, how can anyone else match up?

Dr Grace Harper has loved the stories of Robin Hood ever since she first saw them on TV as a teenager. Now, with her fortieth birthday just around the corner, she’s a successful academic in Medieval History—but Grace is stuck in a rut.

Grace is supposed to be writing a textbook on a real-life medieval criminal gang—the Folvilles—but instead she is captivated by a novel she’s secretly writing. A medieval mystery which entwines the story of Folvilles with her long-time love of Robin Hood—and a feisty young woman named Mathilda of Twyford.

Just as she is trying to work out how Mathilda can survive being kidnapped by the Folvilles, Grace’s best friend Daisy announces she is getting married. After a whirlwind romance with a man she loves as much as the creatures in her animal shelter, Daisy has press-ganged Grace into being her bridesmaid.

Witnessing Daisy’s new-found happiness, Grace starts to re-evaluate her own life. Is her devotion to a man who may or may not have lived hundreds of years ago really a substitute for a real-life hero of her own? Grace’s life doesn’t get any easier when she meets Dr Robert Franks—a rival academic who she is determined to dislike but finds herself being increasingly drawn to… If only he didn’t know quite so much about Robin Hood.

Suddenly, spending more time living in the past than the present doesn’t seem such a good idea..

If you would like to read Grace’s adventure- not to mention discover what Mathilda of Twyford gets up to in fourteenth century Leicestershire- then you can buy the new look Romancing Robin Hood from all good retailers, including…

Paperback

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane/dp/1999855248/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517319761&sr=1-2&keywords=romancing+robin+hood+Jenny+Kane

Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane/dp/1999855248/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517404290&sr=1-1&keywords=Romancing+Robin+Hood+Jenny+Kane  

Kindle

So why not treat yourself to a little something to read this weekend!

Happy reading,

Jenny and Jennifer xx

Coffee at Christmas: Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection

It’s been some time now since I wrote these seasonal coffee shop specials, Another Cup of Christmas, Christmas in the Cotswolds, and Christmas at the Castle. It’s been fun looking back over the stories of my past. The longer the period of time between writing and now, the more it feels like reading the words that someone else has created. I often have to remind myself that these stories are actually mine!

 

Blurb

The Jenny Kane Christmas Collection combines all three seasonal shorts from Jenny’s best-selling Another Cup of … series in one festive anthology.

In ‘Another Cup of Christmas’, we return to Pickwicks Coffee House in London, the setting for Jenny’s bestselling novel Another Cup of Coffee. Together with old friends Kit, Amy, Scott and Peggy, we meet new waitress Megan, who’s in charge of organising a charity event for the local hospital. Is romance as well as seasonal goodwill in the air?

‘Christmas in the Cotswolds’ sees Megan, now an established face at Pickwicks, travelling to the beautiful Cotswold countryside after an emergency call from her friend Izzie. Can Megan help Izzie pull off the perfect Christmas at her Arts and Crafts Centre – and save the business from disaster?

Kit Lambert, Pickwicks’ writer-in-residence, takes centre stage in ‘Christmas at the Castle’. Already nervous about appearing at her very first literary festival, in the grounds of a magnificent Scottish castle at Christmas time, Kit suddenly finds herself co-organising the whole thing – and trying to repair old friendships – with the deadline fast approaching…

***

 

You can buy these three books together or you can buy them individually by following the following links.

Another Cup of Christmas

Christmas in the Cotswolds

Christmas at the Castle

And if you fancy the paperback, then you can buy that here-

Happy Christmas clicking!!

Jenny xx

Gorgeous new coffee read covers

To my delight, I’ve been given brand new covers for my ‘Another Cup of…’ series just in time for Christmas!

Take a look at these beauties!

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…

Available from:

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

Another Cup of Christmas is a festive sequel to Jenny Kane’s fantastic debut romance, Another Cup of Coffee.

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 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 …

Available from:

In eBook format from Amazon UK and Amazon US 

A festive sequel to Another Cup of Christmas

Izzie Spencer-Harris, owner of the Cotswold Art and Crafts Centre, is due to host the prestigious Cotswold Choir’s annual Christmas carol concert in her beautiful converted church. Or at least she was, until a storm smashed a hole right through the chancel roof.

Days from Christmas, Izzie suddenly finds herself up to her neck in DIY, with her last dodgy workman having walked off the job. She does the only thing she can … calls in her best friend Megan to help.

Leaving Peggy and Scott to run Pickwicks Café in her absence, Megan heads to the Cotswolds for Christmas. Within minutes of her arrival, she finds herself hunting down anyone willing to take on extra work so close to Christmas. It seems the only person available to help is Joseph Parker – a carpenter who, while admittedly gorgeous, seems to have ulterior motives for everything he does …

With Izzie’s bossy mother, Lady Spencer-Harris, causing her problems at every turn, an accident at work causing yet more delays, and the date for the concert drawing ever nearer, it’s going to take a lot more than Mrs Vickers’ powerful mulled wine to make sure everything is all right on the night …

Available from:

Available in eBook format from Amazon UK and Amazon.com.

Christmas at the Castle is a seasonal treat from Jenny Kane, featuring much-loved characters from her bestselling novel Another Cup of Coffee.

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…

Available from:

Available in eBook format – Amazon UK and Amazon US.

All 3 of the Christmas novellas from this series are also available in a boxed set- Amazon UK and Amazon US  

A warm-hearted, contemporary tale about a group of friends living in a small corner of busy London, by bestselling author Jenny Kane.

Fortysomething Amy is shocked and delighted to discover she’s expecting a baby – not to mention terrified! Amy wants best friend Jack to be godfather, but he hasn’t been heard from in months.

When Jack finally reappears, he’s full of good intentions – but his new business plan could spell disaster for the beloved Pickwicks Coffee Shop, and ruin a number of old friendships… Meanwhile his love life is as complicated as ever – and yet when he swears off men for good, Jack meets someone who makes him rethink his priorities…but is it too late for a fresh start?

Author Kit has problems of her own: just when her career has started to take off, she finds herself unable to write – and there’s a deadline looming, plus two headstrong kids to see through their difficult teenage years…will she be able to cope?

A follow-up to the runaway success Another Cup of Coffee.

Available from: Amazon UK and Amazon US.

***

I hope you like the series’ new look as much as I do.

Don’t forget, all these books are available in paperback as well (as a combined paperback for the Christmas novellas). They will be given the new covers as well once the next reprint comes around.

I have a very soft spot for the ‘Another Cup of…‘ collection. The story is based a lot on my own life, and everyone in it is real! I’ll say no more…

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 

Interview with Sarah Dahl: Monk

 I’m delighted to welcome Sarah Dahl back to my site to enjoy a cuppa and a chat about her latest historical romance (with spice); Monk.

Why not grab a slice of cake and join is?

What inspired you to write your book?

It has never been clearer than in this case: “Monk” was created out of mild frustration and the question “What if?”. There’s this scene in the first series of History Channel’s Vikings where Ragnar brings home an attractive young monk, Athelstan, who makes the couple curious. They enter his room and ask him to join them in bed. The audience doesn’t get to know if that is a test of Ragnar’s, to check if the “new man in the house” will be a threat to his marriage. Or if they just want to have their own version of fun with the man of God who seems so stressed out by their love-making. We know the Vikings had a very relaxed attitude towards phyical aspects, including sex. The scenario is not too far-fetched. But: in the series, the monk shies away. The atmosphere is sizzling and tense, you literally hold your breath before he answers “no, I can’t” – although you see his eyes and body saying the opposite. That didn’t leave my mind. I wondered if the producers were shying away from his “yes” out of realistic thinking or just Hollywood-esk prudery. We couldn’t know then how the monk’s answer would affect the coming plotlines.

But from that day I pondered the question “What if the monk had said yes? He wanted to. The temptation was too much, he was overwhelmed. He was close to a “yes”. But was it realistic? I thought: Heck, I can do this. I’ll write what would have happened, and make it just as sizzling …

So I did my very own version of a monk being seduced by his Viking captors.

Do you model any of your characters after people you know?

In this case: see above. I bluntly admit to stealing the main characters’ basics from the series, then made them my own people in my own story and setting. I go very much deeper into their minds and world views. All three, Yngvarr, his wife Runa, and the monk Alistair, are very vivid and accessible on several levels. So concerning your question:

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

I went bold and brave with this one, and made it three points of view. Which is a first, for such a relatively short piece. This way, readers can dive into every character separately and feel with them, make it a tight and direct experience. Eliminate the guessing and questions. You can’t do that with TV-series’ characters, whose feelings and thoughts are guess-work after all. But in “Monk” I play with the three views and how the actions unfolding affect every one of the three – and ultimately change them.

Yes, it’s carnal, but also: very emotional, a revelation, a turmoil, life-changing. All three of them hand themselves over to the situation and come out differently, not having anticipated what this “game” would do to them. So maybe I modelled my characters after what inspired me, but I very much made them my own material and went deep with them. Through their shy monk –  despite him being very much at their mercy – my Vikings are suddenly not so fierce and confident anymore 😉

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

This is especially funny for “Monk”. I’m quite solid concerning Viking research and reality and am very aware of staying realistic and true to the period in every detail. To then be extra-sure I always give the stories to my researcher-friend, John, who then double-checks for any flaws that distort the reality of the era. I was very sure that by now I’m firm enough, and he won’t find anything major, but then came the discussion of “the rope”, haha. He said no sane Viking would just cut the rope that lay around the captives neck. They used iron collars, for one, and then would never cut a valuable rope when freeing the slave. It would be a strange act to destroy the thing. My problem was that the Viking should scare the monk a little with the swift movement of the knife, make him flinch and graze his Adam’s apple; make him aware that he is, from now on, at their mercy. It should break the confident gaze of the captive and display the mortal danger he is in. There’s so much to that brief moment! But could that work with iron collars the Viking would have to fiddle with? Would him forcing these open in slow motion have the same effect for monk and readers as a fast-moved knife? Surely not. My monk would have impatiently rolled his eyes at some point, haha. So: even though my researcher was right, technically, I overruled his verdict and stuck with my fast and threatening knife-movement. I needed to shock the monk, not bore him to death before the real action had even started 😉

Links:

Author homepage and buy links: https://sarah-dahl.com/book/monk

Publisher Pronoun with buy links: https://books.pronoun.com/sarahdahl

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16341241.Sarah_Dahl

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sarahdahl13

Twitter: @sarahdahl13

Bio:

Sarah Dahl lives on the edge of the rural German Eifel and writes historical fiction (novels and short stories) primarily set in the Viking age. She also works as an editor, translates, and coaches new writers in German and English. She is interested in everyday life in bygone centuries and the human stories that may have occurred behind the hard, historical facts. Her author page is: sarah-dahl.com 

***

Many thanks Sarah for dropping by today hun. Good luck with your new story.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Guest post by Jon Hartless: How not to start a novel

Today I’m delighted to welcome author Jon Hartless, hot on the heels of the publication of his latest book, Full Throttle.

Over to you Jon…

About four or five years ago, I had an idea. That idea was “Let’s write a steampunk motor racing story inspired by the era of the Bentley Boys.”

For those who don’t know, Steampunk is usually set in an alternative nineteenth century timeline in which technology had advanced to a greater degree than in reality, but the idea is flexible so please don’t feel that this definition is the only one. The Bentley Boys were very famous racing car drivers of the 1920s, beloved by the media for their wealth, social status, and derring-do racing lifestyle. This was at a time when most people still couldn’t even afford a car, never mind race one, and as such I thought the world of motor racing would be a perfect symbol for the gulf between the rich and the poor.

As ideas go, this one had quite a lot encoded within it. To begin with, this was to be a dirty, grubby Steampunk world, not a bright, shining version. Despite the presence of cutting-edge technology, my story would only feature glimpses of it, for only the wealthy elite would be able to afford it. This was to be a world very like ours, in which opportunity only exists for the rich and well-connected while everyone else is presented with the illusion of opportunity, a practice very familiar to us today.

And within this world we would focus on a young girl condemned to a life of poverty – material and intellectual – because of her working class background, her gender, and also her disability – she only has one arm, owing to a birth defect, and a weak knee from the same cause. But fortunately for her, her father has a small workshop and a secret project; a petrol engine designed specifically for motor racing. And there it was; an intelligent heroine named Poppy Orpington and a petrol-fuelled monster of a car called Thunderbus would rise up to challenge the racing elite and the social order, to smash conventions apart. Every piece slotted neatly into place.

And having thought of this, and having practically the whole thing in my mind, I then abandoned it to rewrite the core concept.  For no reason at all. Other than I was a complete prawn. For some reason I just lost faith in it and thought I’ll never get it accepted. Instead, I reimagined it as a book for young children, with large pictures on every page, where Poppy is a girl of about 8, whose eccentric father makes a car and they go off racing, towing a caravan behind them.

I then binned that idea and thought of making it a bit more “pulp”; in this version, Poppy – now a grown woman without any birth defect – is heading home from work one evening and is accosted by a sinister man who offers her 50 quid for something called Thunderbus. She has no idea what he’s talking about, and walks on. Then another man pops up and offers her 100 quid. Then two more agents appear and offer 250, and when again she refuses they attack her and try to take her prisoner. Poppy promptly goes Mrs Peel on their arses (old TV reference) and escapes. Back home she finds a letter from a solicitor saying very sorry, your father has died, and you have inherited everything; a small workshop, several debts, and something called Thunderbus.

So, Poppy visits the solicitor who gives her the keys to the workshop and says he has no idea what Thunderbus is. Poppy visits, the workshop, (and is probably attacked again by yet more sinister men), and finds that Thunderbus is a sort of small armoured tank with advanced weapons of the sort that has never been seen before and which will change the face of warfare, hence the many ominous agents want to get their hands on it and have killed her father in the attempt…

And at that point I gave up on that version, though it did briefly rise vampire-like with a new take, in that I thought; what if Poppy’s father knows it will take him about 15 years to make Thunderbus because of the complexity of doing it all alone, plus he knows that super-strength will be required to pilot the tank, and he looks at his baby daughter, asleep in her crib, and lops her arm off, thereafter telling her it is a birth defect and bringing her up to obey him in everything? The action would then jump forward to Poppy as a teen girl, worshiping her father as she has been brainwashed by him, and using her mechanical arm to use Thunderbus as her father commands, blowing up a bank here or a military installation there. The story would have then been of her ‘awakening’ as she realises the Mephistophelian nature of her father and rebels against him. But that idea died a death also. Thankfully.

And so, after all that, I finally thought, “hang on, what was wrong with the racing idea that practically wrote itself?” I went back to that, and the rest was plain sailing. Except for about thirty thousand rewrites and almost one hundred rejections. But these are a writer’s usual problems, or at least they are my usually problems, and finally the book was accepted and published, and here it is. If there is any point to this blog, I suppose it is have faith in a good idea. Or don’t be afraid to change it, if need be. Or something.

I hope you enjoy the book. A lot of torment went into creating it, never mind writing it…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Full-Throttle-Jon-Hartless/dp/1786154579/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1504447643&sr=1-1&keywords=jon+hartless

https://www.facebook.com/jonhartlessauthor/

Full Throttle Extract:

PREFACE

By James Birkin, Editor.

Today, Poppy Orpington is hardly remembered at all. Some do know that she was a famous racing driver, though only a minority of these are aware that her first car was called Thunderbus, not Thunderbolt, a mistake arising from her later company of that name. Others wrongly dismiss her as the first of the modern celebrities, working the media for fame and money, while a few will gleefully recall libellous newspaper reports of harlotry in a Parisian bawdy house whenever her name is mentioned.

Most, however, are familiar only with her stained reputation from the Great War – a reputation, I maintain, that is thoroughly undeserved. However, I must not get ahead of myself. I shall explore everything in the right order and put Poppy in the context of her era. Her exoneration, should you wish to grant it, must be given at the right time and with a full understanding of Poppy’s character.

This, then, is the beginning of the testimony, taken from diaries, letters and personal contemporaneous interviews. Some may complain that my shaping of this material into a narrative rather than an academic account will diminish the authenticity of the work; I contest that Poppy’s biography is so dramatic in tone, and so rich in style, that it pulled itself naturally into this shape.

Nonetheless, a few disclaimers should be noted. Memory is fragile, and it is unsurprising to see the manner in which events can be transposed, altered and generally misunderstood. Please be assured that I have researched all areas as closely as possible and that everything in this book actually took place, though not necessarily in the order given.

Also, the spoken language at that time was rather more formal than today, especially amongst the upper classes and the well-educated, and this has driven me to lightly edit certain conversations between Poppy, Simeon, Helena and their contemporaries. Please be assured that I have endeavoured to keep the pith of each exchange, sacrificing the semi-archaic speech patterns only for the sake of lucidity.

The reader may ask just why I have devoted so much time to the Orpington archive of diaries, letters and more. Does it really matter what happened to an almost forgotten woman over a century ago? In my opinion, and simply put; yes. Poppy’s life has many parallels today, while her eventual fate in the early years of the twentieth century could – tragically – easily happen again. I will accordingly interpose a series of editor’s notes on those aspects of Poppy’s life that I feel are relevant to us. I shall endeavour to keep these interjections to a minimum, however, as they serve to illuminate rather than to distract.

Join me, then, as we travel back to when motor sport was still open to amateurs – albeit only wealthy amateurs – who could race their own cars side-by-side with the professionals of the day. Back when the sport still boasted heroic individuality rather than corporate wrangling over fuel consumption and weight limits. Back when cars were designed by hand and built by imagination, and were as much for the public road as the racetrack, unlike today’s machine-designed racing vehicles that have no function outside the sport and no individuality within it.

So, let us return to an age which is now regarded as a lost era of romance and rugged individualism, but which was also characterised by gross inequality, a rigid social order, casual violence toward women and unthinking submission toward authority. And let us never forget that the past is golden only when viewed from afar.

***

Bio

Jon Hartless was born in the seventies, which is rather long time ago. Full Throttle is his first novel with a traditional publisher.

Jon Hartless

Many thanks Jon, sounds great.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny. xx

Interviewing Abi Carter: ABI’S HOUSE IS ONLY 99P/99C

I am delighted to announce that for the next 5 days you can buy Abi’s House on Kindle for

ONLY 99p/99c!

This special Amazon/Accent deal is to celebrate the forthcoming release of Abi’s Neighbour, the sequel to Abi’s House, on 4th May. (Both books can be read as standalone stories)

Kindle – for ONLY 99p/99c until 1st MAY!!!

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

I thought it might be a good idea, for those of you who haven’t come across Abi Carter before, for me to ask her a few questions…

Why did you want to move to Sennen Cove in Cornwall?

I fell in love with Cornwall on childhood holidays with my parents and my brother, Ollie. When I was eight we went to Sennen and Sennen Cove. There was a small stone end terrace there that was called Abbey’s House. Because my name is Abi, my parents used to joke that it should be my house. It was that which made me want to move to that area – and maybe see the house again.

What do you do for a living?

I’m a children’s picture book illustrator for a publisher called Genie.

How old are you- if you don’t mind me asking?

I’m in my twenties- rather later twenties than I’d like!

High heels or trainers?

Trainers! Or boots. Flat shoes anyway. I’m hopeless at balancing on heels!

Favourite season?

Oh that’s tricky now I’m in Cornwall. When I was stuck in snobs-ville in Surrey, I used to look forward to winter so that I had an excuse for hibernating in my house and not coming out. In Cornwall however, every season has its attractions. Perhaps early autumn would have my vote though. That moment when things are quieter as most tourist have gone, and the sun is still hanging around enough t have long cliff walks and the occasional paddle in the sea.

Last of all – most important – Coffee or tea?

Tea- sorry, I know you’d rather I liked coffee!

I’ll forgive you, Abi- but only because you have been such a great character to write about!

***

Blurb- Abi’s House

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 as a child 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?

***

Here’s a reminder of those bargain BUY LINKS

Kindle – for ONLY 99p/99c until 1at MAY!!!

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

If you prefer a paperback, you can buy them (at the usual RRP) from-
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

And don’t forget, you can also pre-order Abi’s Neighbour now!

Pre-order buy links-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Abis-Neighbour-Jenny-Kane/dp/178615028X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487006698&sr=1-1&keywords=abi%27s+neighbour

https://www.amazon.com/Abis-Neighbour-Jenny-Kane/dp/178615028X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487006868&sr=1-1&keywords=Abi%27s+Neighbour+by+Jenny+Kane

Happy reading everyone!

Jenny xx

 

Seeking Perfection

It is with great pleasure that I welcome Caroline MacCallum to my site today. Caroline is here to give us a delicious taster of her very first romance novel, Seeking Perfection, so grab a cuppa and settle down for a read.

Over to you Caroline…

Seeking Perfection

By Caroline MacCallum

Thank you for hosting me today, it’s great to be here. Since completing a creative writing course several years ago I’ve enjoyed immersing myself in my imagination and the world of romantic fiction. Seeking Perfection is my second novel and tells the tale of a personal shopper who has grand plans to become a bridal wear designer. It’s full of sassy characters, hilarious exploits and of course a gorgeous hero. Here’s a bit more about it, and just so you know, it’s available for pre-order at the super-low price of just 99c/99p.

Back Cover Information

Emily Beach has a passion for wedding dresses—not wearing them, but designing them. She’s hitched her wagon to the stars and has grand plans to become the brand brides rush to when seeking perfection on their big day.

Until that happens, she’s working at a swanky London boutique. Her days are a whirlwind of wealthy, eccentric customers, and crazy, sex-mad colleagues. When dashing yachting-mogul millionaire, Henry, sets his sights on her, she gets a taste of the finer things in life, as he sails straight into her heart.

But does Henry really understand her need for independence, and her fierce determination to make it on her own? And did he ever really know her if he thinks she wants him to pull strings to get her on the first rung of the ladder? With the meddling of her wacky, energetic friends, she soon finds the answers to all of these questions, but are they the answers she wants?

Excerpt from Chapter One…

“There’s so much sex around here.”

“I beg your pardon?” Emily Beach wondered if she’d heard her new colleague correctly.

“Sex, so much. Here. It’s in the air.” Ralph flung his arms up and waggled his fingers. “Think of it as sparkling dust. Whoever it lands on wants to get laid or is getting laid. Can you handle that?”

Sparkling sex dust? What the hell kind of place have I come to? “Well…I guess so.”

“Good, you’ll fit right in then. That’s your desk over there. We haven’t got much space, but we’ve made the best of it. Go and get settled.” He slammed his hands onto his waist, cocked his hips and grinned. “Oh, and welcome to On Trend. May your time here be truly happy, prosperous and utterly satisfying, darling.”

“Er, thank you.”

“I’ve got to dash, so sorry.” Ralph glanced at his rose-gold watch. “I have a nine o’clock; don’t you just hate them? Inconsiderate wealthy people make me sick. Shouldn’t they all be in bed sleeping off champagne hangovers, or polishing their private jets?” He blew Emily a kiss, then strutted away, his neon-blue crocodile shoes tapping on the wooden floor.

Emily watched him leave.

Is he for real?

Head spinning from the fast-paced encounter, she turned and saw the only free desk was the one nestled in the corner of the fourth-floor office. It was next to a window, and past several chimney pots she could just make out the tips of the trees in Hyde Park. The only trouble was, the desk was flooded with white-hot sunlight. Soon she’d have damp patches on the underarms of her silky navy-blue blouse—which was a shame, as she’d spent a considerable amount of time planning the perfect outfit for her first day and she hadn’t intended on looking like she was stomping through the rainforest.

She set her faithful black leather Gucci bag on the desk and shrugged out of her blazer. Luckily, the window had a latch, so she reached upwards, opened it and let in a cool breeze.

“Hey, you must be Emily.”

A pretty girl with a long, curly blonde hair, heavy makeup and wearing a candy-pink and white striped dress smiled at her.

“Yes, hi.”

“So glad you’re here, I can’t begin to tell you. I’m Sandy, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you, Sandy.”
Sandy perched on the side of the desk in front of Emily’s and folded her  arms. The action pushed her ample breasts upwards, almost to overspill point. “I’ve been saying to Matt for yonks that we need another personal shopper. It’s all well and good having cashiers, stock managers and those people who do the sums at the end of the month, but it’s personal shoppers that sell the big-name stuff. We’re the fashionistas, we give the customers not just what they need, but what they want, we rake in the big bucks and we do it with flair and style.”

“Yes, I suppose so.” Emily paused. “And I’m glad you did—persuade him to take on more staff, that is. I was ready for a change.”

“Oh, why’s that then?”

Emily shrugged. “I’d been at Harrods for two years, it was time to move on—and to be honest, the hours here will suit me better.” Dropping ten hours a week meant Emily would have a couple of mornings to work on her own designs. They were beginning to sell now she’d set up a website showcasing her work, and word of mouth was spreading, but she didn’t mention this fact to Sandy.

“Ooh, la, la, Harrods! Is it really a den of bitching and incest?” Sandy rubbed her hands together and widened her eyes.

Emily laughed. “No, not at all, it’s very professional. A wonderful place to work.”

“And for monumental shopping sprees,” Sandy said. “So what department were you based in?”

“Bridal, but I went to women’s wear if they were short, and I did men’s suits for a while too.”

“There’s no shortage of men here looking for cool clothes to wear to the races, on their yachts, or to wow in the boardroom whilst haggling over their billions.” Sandy sighed. “Shame most of them are too old, ugly or fat to make the clothes hang like they should. It’s like dressing up a pork pie sometimes— no amount of garnish is going to disguise that artery-clogging layer of lardy gloop around the centre.”

Emily held in a shocked gasp. Sandy was obviously, like Ralph, the sort of person to just say it how it was. Already she couldn’t wait to tell her best friend Lynne all about her first day, and she’d only been on the premises ten minutes. “I guess as long as they feel good. That’s the main thing.”

“Oh yes, they always feel good when I’ve finished with them. I’m the queen of flattery. I could make a sloth feel like Naomi Campbell and a platypus feel like David bloody Gandy.”

Emily giggled. The office time at On Trend was going to be entertaining if nothing else. It may only have an eighth of the floor space that Harrods had, but still, it would make up for it in the shock factor.

***

Pre-Order now for just 99c/99p

Amazon

Amazon UK

About Caroline MacCallum

Caroline lives in the UK and uses her many years working as a nurse for inspiration when it comes to creating characters. She enjoyed walking her dog, cooking and painting when she has time. Look out for her YA novel Gabriel’s Angel which has a swathe of 5* reviews.

WEBSITE

***

Thank you for such a great sneak peek of your novel! I wish you every success.

Happy reading,

Jenny xxx

Polishing the Baubles and Brewing the Mulled Wine: Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection

With the release date for my Pickwick’s coffee shop seasonal trilogy, Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection, fast approaching (November 17th), I’ve been taking the opportunity to take a final read through the three books that make up the collection – Another Cup of Christmas, Christmas at the Cotswolds, and Christmas at the Castle.

It’s been some time now since I wrote the first two seasonal coffee shop specials, and a good 18 months since writing the story of a Scottish Literary Festival at Crathes Castle in, Christmas at the Castle. It’s been fun looking back over the stories of my past. The longer the period of time between writing and now, the more it feels like reading the words that someone else has created. I often have to remind myself that these stories are actually mine!

jennykanes-christmas-collection-pre

Like all writers, I never feel as though my books are good enough, so it has been nice being able to read them through, and give them that extra buff up! I have been, as it were, polishing the festive baubles along with Peggy at Pickwicks, and brewing up the mulled wine, like Mrs Vickers in the Cotswolds!

During the publication process there are always things that get missed – the odd word that I’ve got muddled and not noticed because my brain has read the wrong word as the right word! Then there is the occasional madly placed comma that the printing system has decided to add into my work just for fun, and so on. Having a chance to eliminate the errors made the first time round is most satisfying! Not that these errors were huge- but imperfections in my work drive me crackers. (Especially when they are often my fault!)

jennykaneschristmascollection200

Blurb

The Jenny Kane Christmas Collection combines all three seasonal shorts from Jenny’s best-selling Another Cup of … series in one festive anthology.

In ‘Another Cup of Christmas’, we return to Pickwicks Coffee House in London, the setting for Jenny’s bestselling novel Another Cup of Coffee. Together with old friends Kit, Amy, Scott and Peggy, we meet new waitress Megan, who’s in charge of organising a charity event for the local hospital. Is romance as well as seasonal goodwill in the air?

‘Christmas in the Cotswolds’ sees Megan, now an established face at Pickwicks, travelling to the beautiful Cotswold countryside after an emergency call from her friend Izzie. Can Megan help Izzie pull off the perfect Christmas at her Arts and Crafts Centre – and save the business from disaster?

Kit Lambert, Pickwicks’ writer-in-residence, takes centre stage in ‘Christmas at the Castle’. Already nervous about appearing at her very first literary festival, in the grounds of a magnificent Scottish castle at Christmas time, Kit suddenly finds herself co-organising the whole thing – and trying to repair old friendships – with the deadline fast approaching…

***

One of the things that struck me when I was re-reading my work is that it’s far more life affirming, fun, and full of friendship than I’d realised. Oh, and it’s brimming over with coffee!!!

ACOChristmas- New 2015CITC- New cover 2015Christmas at the Castle

Available in paperback from 17th November- you can pre-order the collection on Kindle here now-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jenny-Kanes-Christmas-Collection-Short-ebook/dp/B01M0ICD7A/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1474386377&sr=8-2&keywords=jenny+kane%27s+christmas+collection

https://www.amazon.com/Jenny-Kanes-Christmas-Collection-Short-ebook/dp/B01M0ICD7A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474387008&sr=8-1&keywords=jenny+kane%27s+christmas+collection

Or you can buy each of the stories on Kindle individually – all the links are available below

Another Cup of Christmas

Christmas in the Cotswolds

Christmas at the Castle

Happy Christmas clicking!!

Jenny xx

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