Jenny Kane & Jennifer Ash

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

Tag: London

Opening Lines with Lynne Shelby: There She Goes

Opening Lines time is here!

This week Lynne Shelby is with me, sharing the first 500 words- exactly- of her latest romance, There She Goes.

Blurb

When aspiring actress Julie Farrell meets actor Zac Diaz, she is instantly attracted to him, but he shows no interest in her. Julie, who has yet to land her first professional acting role, can’t help wishing that her life was more like a musical, and that she could meet a handsome man who’d sweep her into his arms and tap-dance her along the street…

After early success on the stage, Zac has spent the last three years in Hollywood, but has failed to forge a film career. Now back in London, he is determined to re-establish himself as a theatre actor. Focused solely on his work, he has no time for distractions, and certainly no intention of getting entangled in a committed relationship… 

Auditioning for a new West End show, Julie and Zac act out a love scene, but will they ever share more than a stage kiss?

FIRST 500 WORDS…

On shaking legs, I took one step and then another, until I was standing directly in front of the guy. His mouth lifted in a smile, and he put his arms around me, holding me close against his hard chest. My heart started beating so furiously that I felt sure he must be able to hear it. Telling myself firmly that I could do this, that it wasn’t as if it were the first time, I tilted up my face and looked directly into his eyes. He bent his head and kissed me on the mouth, softly at first, just a brush of his lips, but then more firmly, his hands moving smoothly down my back to settle on my hips. When we came up for air, he led me to the bed and drew me down beside him. We lay facing each other on the bare mattress, our bodies pressed together, and kissed for a long time. I tried, unsuccessfully, to remember his name.

I thought, there can be few professions apart from the obvious that require you to simulate desire for a stranger on a regular basis.

The director said, ‘Cut.’

The guy stopped kissing me, and we both sat up. While the director conferred with his assistant, who’d videoed our audition, I stole a glance at my fellow actor’s profile. He was a few years older than me, I thought, in his mid- to late-twenties, and extraordinarily good-looking, with his dark hair falling over his forehead and just the right amount of stubble on his tanned face. I wondered if he might be Italian, or maybe Spanish.

‘We’ve got all we need for today,’ the director said. ‘Thank you.’

The guy (what was his name?) got off the bed and said, ‘Thank you. Good to have met you.’

I swung my legs over the side of the mattress and stood up. I tried to think of

something, anything, to say that might persuade the director to cast me, but decided that throwing myself at his feet and begging (please, please, please, give me the job. I’m an out of work actress, and my rent’s due next week) would be unprofessional. The dark-haired actor was already heading towards the door of the studio, so I echoed his ‘thank you’, snatched up my bag and coat, and hurried after him.

We’d just stepped out into the corridor when the director’s voice drifted after us quite clearly: ‘Like watching paint dry. Absolutely no sexual chemistry between those two.’ Seriously? At nine a.m. in a cold studio, it hadn’t been easy to act like a girl and boy madly in love – or in lust, as the director had put it – but until that moment, I’d thought the dark-haired guy and I had done pretty well. Apparently, I was mistaken.

The guy shut the door and rolled his eyes. I followed him across the reception area, where a crowd of actors were still waiting to audition, and out into the car park…

***

Buy link for There She Goes:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/There-She-Goes-Lynne-Shelby/dp/1786156555/ref=sr_1_1?crid=R9A40JQVD91D&keywords=there+she+goes+lynne+shelby&qid=1573928576&s=books&sprefix=There+She+Goes+lynn%2Cstripbooks%2C326&sr=1-1 

Bio

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, French Kissing, was published when it won a national writing competition. Her latest novel, There She Goes, is set in London’s Theatreland. She has worked at a variety of jobs from stable girl to child actor’s chaperone to legal administrator, but now writes full time. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre, or exploring a foreign city –  Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Athens – writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LynneShelbyWriter/

Twitter: @LynneB1

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

Website and Blog: www.lynneshelby.com

***

Many thanks for sharing your great opening lines today Lynne.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Another Cup…of Covers

My Another Cup of…series has had a revamp!

Check out the new covers!

Another Cup of Coffee

‘A wonderful piece of literature that will fill your heart with warmth… A delight from start to finish’ – Bookmark That
‘Delicious, delightful, and simply irresistible’ – Bookish Jottings

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 got completely 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 a bucket-sized cup of coffee, as she goes forth to lay the ghost of first love to rest…

Another Cup of Christmas

A novella length sequel to 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 was involved in an accident. With help from his wife, friends and the staff at the local hospital, he bounced back.

Now Pickwicks is preparing to host a special Christmas fundraiser to thank the hospital. Pickwicks waitress Megan and Nick, the ward’s administrator are put in charge to organise the whole thing. Megan and Nick’s emails start out as harmless practicality but soon turn flirtatious … Can you actually fall for someone you’ve never met?



Christmas in the Cotswolds

A novella length sequel to Another Cup of Coffee

Izzie Spencer-Harris, owner of the Cotswold Art and Craft 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 …

Christmas at the Castle

A novella length 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…

Another Glass of Champagne

A follow-up – full length novel- to the runaway success Another Cup of Coffee.

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?

***

Hope you like the new look!

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

London Hat Hunting Mission Blog Tour: Interview with Winnie Mak Tselikas

Today I’m welcoming Winnie Mak Tselikas to my site to chat a little about her brand new children’s book, London Hat Hunting Mission, as part of her fabulous blog tour.

Let’s get started…

What inspired you to write your book?

I am Chinese from Hong Kong and my husband is half French half Greek, we have a 3-yr old son. Having grown up in a traditional Chinese family and now having my own multicultural family gave me food for thought on my own cultural root, role as a mum, and the world I want my son to be in. I believe the world can become a better place when people can better appreciate themselves as they are and at the same time respect the differences in others. So when I found that I couldn’t find a nice black rag doll for my son easily, it inspired me to create multicultural doll characters so that children from different part of the world can be represented in toys and books.

When I first moved to London, the diversity of people I got to meet here amazed me. The idea of this story in London comes naturally when I want to write a storybook that explores cultural diversity.

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

I chose the name of one character after my Indian friend. I develop the characters base on an existing personality model, so each character has his/her own personality. For example, Lea is logical and analytical while Parth likes hands on experience.

Have you always loved hats??

I don’t love hats in particular but I find it an illustrative way to introduce cultural diversity to children on picture books. I also like to imagine everyone having a unique invisible hat that controls how we think. While each of us has a different hat, I can’t really expect other people think like I do.

What excites you the most about your book?

It excites me each time when I hear from parents or teachers that they think positively of my book. I am also happy to receive plenty of interest from schools when I approach them on an upcoming book tour around London, so the opportunities to tell the story in front of a big group of children excite me too!

Any more books on the horizon?

My plan is to make the Adventure in One Dear World a series for the dolls and Mr Globe to travel around the world! I will probably set the scene of my next book in Paris. Later on, I would like to incorporate more cultural elements such as language, food, festivals in the future books/products I develop so children can have an all round experience through the stories.

Blurb :

Four little Londoners, Hope, Jun, Lea and Parth, come from a different cultural background, are good friends living in London. They are travelling to the iconic places around the city in search of magic hats to cure Mr Globe’s headache.

 The book is illustrated with a mix of real life photographs of iconic places in London and digital illustration so children can have a vivid visual experience of London and at the same time open up their world of imagination.

Buy Link: https://onedearworld.com/products/childrensbook-london-hat-hunting-mission 

Amazon UK –https://amzn.to/2HbY6e6

***

Links:

Homepage: https://www.onedearworld.com

Bio:

Winnie Mak Tselikas is a believer in diversity. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she studied engineering, worked in commercial sales and in 2011 switched to education upon moving to London. There, she met her half-French, half-Greek husband and they had a son, who now has family in China, France, Greece, HK, the UK and the US. Winnie considers her son to be a world citizen rather than of a particular nationality or culture. Inspired by her family and London’s diversity, she founded One Dear World and created the lovely adventures of Mr. Globe and the little Londoner dolls.

Social Media Links –

www.facebook.com/onedearworld

www.twitter.com/onedearworld

www.instagram.com/onedearworld

***

(This is a Rachel’s Ransom Resources Blog Tour)

Don’t forget to catch every leg of the blog tour!

Happy reading,

Jenny x

 

A PEPPERMINT AND A MAD PARLIAMENTARIAN: Chris Chalmers

Delighted to be joined by Chris Chalmers. Today, he’ll be giving us the low down on the inspiration behind his novel, Five to One.

Over to you, Chris…

Ask what set me off on the road of writing some of my books and I’ll waffle manfully.

Ask me about Five To One, and I can give you a definite answer.

Two, to be exact. Five To One is the story of the day a helicopter crashes on London’s Clapham Common, and how it affects the lives of the people who witness it. It’s not based on fact, thank goodness — though there was a helicopter crash a couple of miles away in Vauxhall a year or two later. But it was inspired by a couple of real-life incidents.

When I wrote it I was living in a flat overlooking the south side of the Common. My desk was at the front window, with a perfect view of the spot where, in my mind’s eye, that helicopter comes down at 12.55 on a fateful, blue-sky summer day. My flat was on a corner above an estate agents, and one night  the previous year I’d been in the kitchen cooking (read: microwaving) my dinner, when I was shaken till my teeth rattled by the loudest bang I’d ever heard in my life. The entire flat shook yet it was over in an instant. I ran to the front room where the main road divided me from the Common. Down on the pavement below stood a few dazed pedestrians looking on — and the rear end of a London black cab, sticking out of the shopfront.

My first thought was that the driver had had a heart attack. He’d clearly veered off the road, across the wide pavement and through the window. Mercifully the shop was shut at the time, and no one was seriously hurt including the driver. Police, ambulance and fire engine all appeared within minutes, and the whole incident soon felt completely surreal. As did the real cause of the crash when I later found out: the taxi driver had choked on a peppermint.

Needless to say the cab was extricated, the window replaced and within a couple of days there was nothing to show it had ever happened. Life moves on, and in London it moves on pretty sharpish. But it did set me thinking about those extraordinary instances when something happens we couldn’t possibly predict. I remembered a local news story from a few years before, when a wall collapsed killing a number of passers-by; ordinary folk on their way to work, or school or the shops. People who left home that day without the slightest inkling they were never coming back. That taxi went through the window at the exact spot you’d find me half a dozen times a day, fumbling for my keys or checking if I’d brought my phone.

The other incident had happened a few years before. This one you might remember: it involved a minor politician and unseemly goings-on in the bushes of Clapham Common, in what was famously referred to as ‘a moment of madness’. Considering what politicians the world over get away with nowadays, it was pretty small stuff. But it was a big story at the time — and I remember the very odd feeling of sitting in bed one Sunday morning, opening the paper on a page-wide photo of the view from my window. It was the edge of the Common, with the sign bolted to the railings that read ‘CLAPHAM COMMON SOUTH SIDE’.

That was the moment when it dawned on me I subconsciously viewed all news — press, broadcast, and the then fledgling online variety — as fiction, or as good as. News wasn’t real; it was stuff that happened in a parallel dimension, with no relevance to me except as an intermittently engaging form of entertainment.

This news story, and later the cab that rattled me and my safe little flat to the core, were the impetus behind Five To One. It’s the story of Ian, Glory, Tony and Mari; four people going about their lives in a quiet corner of south London, when an utterly unforeseeable incident thrusts them into the spotlight and changes them forever.

The opening line of the cover blurb says that ‘Every moment starts somewhere’. And that’s how the book begins — by telling the story of each of them, from the exact moment that will ultimately lead them to be on the Common just before one o’clock that afternoon.

Here’s one of them:

Extract from the first chapter of Five To One

‘I like your radishes. They are werry nice.’

Ian looked up from the compost. He hadn’t heard the back door open. It was Agnes, the nanny to the child of the house, standing on the garden path.

He wiped his hands on his vest. Shading his eyes from the fading sunlight, his fingers framed her in an aura that seemed entirely appropriate. It reminded him of tales of shepherd boys on lonely hillsides, visited by visions of the Virgin Mary and/or a very bright light. Except that the way this particular maiden was looking him over was rather less than virginal.

He’d seen her before: through the window preparing the child’s tea, and hanging out the washing in that lacy T-shirt that exposed her belly button to the breeze. But this was the first time he’d ever heard her speak.

‘Sparkler White-Tips,’ he said, breaking a foolish silence. ‘Top variety for the soil around here.’

Agnes nodded her mane of reddish curls as she opened her hand. Inside were two healthy round roots, cleaned and trimmed and ready to eat. She rolled them deftly, one over the other, like a tennis pro preparing to serve.

‘And they are werry good for childrens. They have a lot of witamins and also iron.’

Her flat, Polish tones pronounced it eye-ron, which to Ian’s surprise he found spectacularly arousing. As if her natural cleavage and the hipbones peeping saucily over her jeans weren’t enough. He leant on his spade to disguise a sudden awkwardness in his all-weather shorts. Watched, as she cradled the pinky-red balls a moment longer. Popped one in her mouth, and crunched.

Ian Newton was forty-seven. He’d run his own gardening business for eleven years, since a long-forgotten drop in the FTSE lost him the City job he hated. He preferred fresh air and being his own boss to watching screens and fielding calls from Tokyo. His friends joked about the temptations of bored, immaculate housewives, with nothing to do between school runs but sip espresso and wait for the gardener to get his shirt off. But the fact was, he’d never strayed. As a professional, a pessimist and a coward, he automatically assumed any husband would have hit-squad connections if he so much as left a bootprint on the stair carpet. So in all his years of marriage he had never seriously considered being unfaithful, even when Carla was at her most bloodyminded.

Until now.

On a late May afternoon in the Wallaces’ back garden, when Agnes Skirowska smiled and chewed a second radish in the sunlight.

***

Half an hour later, with Jasper at his heels, Ian knocked the earth from his spade and tossed it in the van. Followed by one welly, then the other, swapping them for the moccasins he wore for driving. Another of Carla’s little rules – though God knows why he was sticking to it now …

‘In you go, fella!’

The little West Highland terrier made a mountain of climbing in the passenger door, settling for base camp in the footwell rather than striking out for the summit. By the end of an afternoon, his dog was more tired than he was. Even the earthworms that once whipped him into a snuffling frenzy had lost their allure.

Not many summers left for the old team now, thought Ian, driving with one eye on the furry bundle. Jasper was highly impractical as a gardener’s dog. His white fur showed every sticky bud and bloodied raspberry that clung beyond the canine radar. On one occasion they had narrowly avoided a collision when Ian caught sight of that noble muzzle accessorised by a jaunty feather.

But on this day he looked without seeing. His fingers quivered and his armpits gave off an aroma a little like fear. They were signs of anticipation; of a man about to break new ground without working through the consequences. As they pulled out of Luther Road, Ian ran through his imminent schedule:

Feed dog. Shower. Get changed. Set Sky Plus.

After every glance at Jasper, his eyes trailed back via the dashboard clock. Nine minutes to seven; just sixty-nine minutes to go.

They opened a fraction wider.

***

FIVE TO ONE – Blurb

Every moment starts somewhere                    

 ‘Ninety metres beneath his feet the wake from a dredger unzipped the murky satin of the Thames…’                   

 A care assistant with a secret. A gardener with an eye for more than greenfly. An estate agent and an advertising man, each facing a relationship crisis. And a pilot with nowhere to land.

At twelve fifty-five on a sunny afternoon, five lives converge in a moment of terror as a helicopter crashes on Clapham Common. It’s a day that will change them all forever — and for some, will be their last.

Winner of the Wink Publishing Debut Novel Competition

Nominated for the Polari First Book Award

 ‘A funny, often painfully honest and moving story about the absurdity of modern life and the concerns that propel us. Chalmers writes with a sensitivity and wit that recalls Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City’ – Penny Hancock, bestselling author of Tideline

 ‘A charming novel that’s cleverly structured and consistently engaging’ — Matt Cain, Editor-in-Chief, Attitude magazine

’A poignant study of genuine love in a big and fantastically diverse city’ – BytetheBook.com

 

BIO

Chris Chalmers lives in South-West London with his partner, a quite famous concert pianist. He has been the understudy on Mastermind, visited 40 different countries, and swum with iguanas. Aside from his novels, his proudest literary achievement is making Martina Navratilova ROFLAO on Twitter.

You’ll find him on Facebook @chrischalmersnovelist, on Twitter @CCsw19, and at www.chrischalmers.net

BUY LINK, paperback and ebook: (THE EBOOK IS ONLY 99p FOR THE WHOLE OF MAY)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Five-One-Chris-Chalmers-ebook/dp/B0727VVSVH/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

***

Many thanks for coming by today Chris- great stuff.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 

 

Another Cup of Coffee: Once upon a time…

Once upon a time I didn’t make a decision.

I didn’t run away from England to Scotland after my heart had been broken – but I almost did.

Many years later I began to wonder what would have happened if I had made that decision…and the result of that pondering became Another Cup of Coffee.

Re-edited and with a brand new cover, this novel will always been a lot to me. It is the ultimate ‘what if?’

 

 

 Blurb

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 lines from Another Cup of Coffee to whet your appetite…

July 2006

 

Shrugging off her khaki jacket, Amy bent to pick up the pile of post that lay waiting on her doormat. As her hand reached to retrieve the small brown package half-buried beneath some junk mail, Amy froze. She knew that handwriting. She also had a funny feeling that she knew what was going to be inside.

But why return it now, after all these years?

The poorly wrapped parcel broke open as her fingers fumbled at the sticky tape, and a music cassette fell into her hands. The cover was unmarked, just as it had been when he’d taken it from her. Amy stared in disbelief, the blood draining from her already pale face. She remembered recording at least two songs onto it herself. Maybe there were more now.

Amy’s brother had given her the blank tape as she’d been climbing into their parents’ car, ready to be driven away to start her new life as a student. She hadn’t seen Mike since he’d moved to Australia not long afterwards, but she could still picture his face clearly as he’d passed over the unusual gift. ‘To record your musical memories along the way,’ he’d said with a grin. Back then Amy had had every intention to fill her gift with each musical memory associated with her student life, but the reality of actually living through those experiences had left her with little time to record more than a couple of tracks.

Flustered, Amy shook the torn packaging in her hunt for a note of explanation. A small white envelope fell to the floor. Jack’s familiar spidery scrawl stretched across its front.

Dearest Amy. Please listen to the tape BEFORE you open this. The letter will explain afterwards. J x

With a feeling that she was outside of what was happening, detached, as if she was a spectre floating above herself, Amy walked into her tiny living room and put the tape down on her coffee table, as gingerly as if it was an unexploded bomb.

What was on it now? She knew she couldn’t avoid this unexpected intrusion for long – but, on the other hand, a brief delay in order to clear her head suddenly felt essential.

Taking refuge in the kitchen, Amy placed her palms 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, before daring to pick it up and click open its stiff plastic box. Two minutes later, her hands trembling, 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 shut her eyes and pressed Play, not at all sure she wanted to take this trip back in time …

You can buy Another Cup of Coffee as either a paperback or an eBook from Amazon and all good online and high street book stores

***

Happy reading,

Jenny

Guest Post from Tim Walker: Postcards from London

Today I’m delighted to be able to welcome Tim Walker to my site. A successful independent author and former journalist, Tim is sharing a short story from his new collection, Postcards from London. All I’ll say is- this is a must read for any Beatles fan!

So pop the kettle on, put your feet up for five minutes, and indulge a few moments of reading pleasure.

***

Blurb to Postcards of London

The city of London is the star of this collection of fifteen engaging stories from author Tim Walker. Drawing on the vivid history of the city where he has both lived and worked, Postcards from London celebrates the magnificently multifaceted metropolis that is home to 8.8 million people.

Imagine Iron Age fishermen, open-mouthed to see Roman galleys, rowed by slaves, dropping anchor at their village – a place the Romans would turn into the port and fortified town of Londinium. These Romans were the first of many men of vision who would come to shape the city we see today.

London’s long and complex history almost defies imagination, but the author has conjured citizens from many familiar eras, and some yet to be imagined. Turn over these picture postcards to explore his city through a collage of human dramas told in a range of genres. See the tumult of these imagined lives spotlighted at moments in London’s past, present and, who knows, perhaps its future.

 

Let it Be

A flash fiction postcard in Postcards from London by Tim Walker…

A bright, chilly January morning in 1969 saw Brian on the West End beat. Rounding the corner into Savile Row, he found a small crowd gathering outside Apple Records, the headquarters of world-famous pop group, The Beatles. First bobby on the scene, he asked a young man what was going on.

“We’ve heard a rumour that The Beatles are going to play on the rooftop,” the excited youth said.

PC Brian Smith radioed it in, and was told to enter the building and wait for further instructions. He squeezed past busy roadies carrying equipment up three steps and into the narrow front door of what was a large grey stone converted townhouse – glancing at a row of framed gold records on the walls before his eyes settled on the receptionist. Her pretty face, heavily made-up with Mary Quant mascara on long lashes framed by a lacquered brown bob, wore a pensive look. She hesitated before confirming that the band would be giving a brief performance of their new songs on the rooftop.

“Can I see the manager please?” Brian asked, showing initiative.

“Would that be the Apple General Manager or the manager of The Beatles?” she asked, holding a white phone to her neck.

“Erm, both, if I may… Emily.” He said stiffly, leaning forward to read her name on a green Apple badge.

She punched some numbers on her switchboard and spoke in a quiet voice. “A police officer would like to see you.”

Brian gazed over her head at pictures of his music heroes, the Fab Four. The smell of weed drifted into the room from what looked like the post room behind reception. Emily, seeing him sniff the air, hurriedly pushed shut the door.

“Mr Taylor, the GM, will see you in his office. You’ll have to walk up the stairs, I’m afraid, as there’s no lift. All the way to the fourth floor, left at the top of the stairs.”

Brian thanked her and followed a film crew carrying camera equipment and tripods up the narrow staircase. His radio crackled into life and he stepped into the first floor corridor to improve reception. His CO told him he had no report of permission being granted to hold a public performance on the rooftop, but was unsure if they would be breaking any laws by doing so in their own building, unless it was so loud that it caused a disturbance.

“Find out what you can and report back,” he said tersely. “I’m sending more bobbies for crowd control outside the building.”

Brian looked about him and saw the name ‘John’ on an office door. He pushed the door open and found himself looking at John Lennon, sat with his feet on a desk, leaning back in a swivel chair, smoking a joint.

“Oh, hell, is this a raid?” he asked, looking momentarily startled as he saw Brian’s uniform.

“Erm, no, Mr Lennon. I’m just here to find out about this concert on the roof. Would you mind telling me what it’s all about?”

John pointed to a chair and sat up, squeezing the lit end of his joint and throwing it in a bin.

“Sorry about that, Officer…?”

“PC Brian Smith,” he said, easing himself into a leather armchair, cradling his helmet in his arms. “Oh, don’t worry about that, I’m a big fan, you know.”

“Glad to hear it,” John said, leaning over the desk to shake his hand. “We’ve just decided to play some of our latest tunes for our next album on the roof and make a promo film, if you know what I mean?”

“Erm, yes, but if you make too much noise you’ll disturb the other businesses in the area and we’re bound to get complaints. My boss tells me you’ve not notified the police, and a crowd is already gathering in the street, so maybe…”

John got to his feet and put his arm around Brian’s shoulders. “Look, PC Brian, it’s just a few songs and won’t take long. Why don’t you come up onto the roof and watch? Honest, we won’t make that much noise. You see, the wind will carry our music away into the ether.”

John guided Brian up the stairs, collecting the other Beatles as he went.

“You see, Brian, each of us has our own floor, because we can’t stand the sight of each other after ten years together, ain’t that right Ringo?”

The mop-topped drummer grinned sheepishly as John gathered each group member as they made their way to the roof. Once up there, Brian saw the instruments and speakers set up on a wooden platform, and the camera crew buzzing around their equipment.

“We’re nearly ready, John,” said a smartly-dressed man who looked like he was in charge. He smiled at Brian and held out his hand. “Hi, I’m George Martin. Why don’t you come over here with me? We’ll be starting in a few minutes.”

Brian’s radio crackled and he heard his CO saying, “They’ve barricaded the door, we can’t get in, what’s happening, Smith?”

“I can’t hear you sir, I’ll try to move to get a better reception.” He grinned at George Martin and clipped his radio onto his belt, turning the sound dial down.

After a brief soundcheck, The Beatles started playing. Brian looked down to the street below and saw the crowd had built up considerably, as workers on their lunch break began to converge on the building. Brian knew it would only be a matter of time before his colleagues gained entry. In fact, he had listened with great enthusiasm to five songs before the first of the officers barged their way onto the roof. Turning to George Martin, Brian asked, “How much time do you need?”

Martin smiled and replied, “We’re almost through. Thanks for your support. About ten minutes should do it.”

Brian pushed his way to a burly sergeant and said, “I’ve told them to wind it up, Sarge. Just a few more minutes.” The sergeant glared at him but said nothing. The Beatles were playing a third take of ‘Get Back’ and Paul, seeing that their time was up, cheekily changed the lyrics – “You’ve been playing on the roof again, and you know your Momma doesn’t like it, she’s gonna have you arrested.”

At the end of the song, John cheekily said, “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we’ve passed the audition.”

Brian turned to George Martin who thanked him and shook his hand.

“What will the album be called?” Brian asked.

“Not sure yet – it’ll either be ‘Get Back’ or ‘Let it Be’,” Martin replied.

Brian filed downstairs behind the line of policemen. He would stick to his story that he had negotiated a swift end to the impromptu gig. It was a memory that he would carry forward – much more than another drinking-out story – it was a sense that he had been part of something special that somehow crowned the swinging sixties, and that he was one of the very few privileged people to witness it. That it was to be The Beatles’ last ever performance made it more of a poignant landmark in his London life. It left him with a sense of belonging; a sense of pride; a sense of location on the continuum of history.

***

Author Bio-

Tim is an independent author and former journalist based near Windsor in Berkshire, UK.

Born in Hong Kong, he grew up in Liverpool and studied in South Wales, before gravitating to London where he working in newspaper publishing for ten years. In the mid-90s he went to Zambia in Africa to do publishing-related voluntary work. Following this, he stayed on and set up his own publishing and marketing business, before returning to the UK in 2009.

The River Thames was the inspiration for his first book, an anthology of short stories Thames Valley Tales published in July 2015. This collection of fifteen contemporary stories combines modern themes with the rich history and legend associated with towns and places along the Thames Valley.

In 2016 he published his first novel, a near-future/dystopian thriller Devil Gate Dawn and is currently writing an historical fiction series, A Light in the Dark Ages. The first two parts, Abandoned! (a novella) and Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (a novel) are now available from Amazon in e-book and paperback formats. Part Three, Uther’s Destiny, should follow in early 2018.

In January 2017 he published a children’s book, co-written with his 12-year-old daughter Cathy, called The Adventures of Charly Holmes in e-book format. The paperback was published by Xlibris Publishers in February 2017. In September 2017 he published his second collection of short stories, Postcards from London.

Author website: http://timwalkerwrites.co.uk

Author Central: http://Author.to/timwalkerwrites

Twitter: http://twitter.com/timwalker1666

Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/timwalkerwrites

 

Book Links:

Postcards from London: http://myBook.to/PostcardsFromLondon

Abandoned: http://myBook.to/Abandoned

Ambrosius: Last of the Romans: http://myBook.to/Ambrosius

Devil Gate Dawn: http://myBook.to/DevilGateDawn

Thames Valley Tales: http://myBook.to/ThamesValleyTales

The Adventures of Charly Holmes: http://myBook.to/CharlyHolmes1

***

Many thanks to Tim for such a great story. Wishing you much success with your new book.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

Writing with a coffee cup to hand

I’ve been blogging a lot about my forthcoming novel, Abi’s Neighbour lately. This weekend however, I’m turning my thoughts away from my Abi Carter collection, to my coffee drinker obsessed – the Another Cup of…series.

And that got me thinking about my coffee shop habit.

Okay- I admit it, I am addicted- not just to the caffeine- but also to the coffee and teashops where I can drink it.

I just love cafes- all of 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, with myself as the only coffee swiller in residence, I simply feel at home in cafes.

Coffee - The Courtyard- Wiv

It won’t surprise you to learn then, that every novel I have ever written has taken shape in various coffee shops up and down the UK. I can’t write at home, with the distractions of ironing and dusting, so I pen all my words at cafe tables. There is even a plaque on the wall of my cafe, denoting where I write! It seemed totally natural to me therefore, that when it came to creating my first non-erotic stories, that I wrote the coffee shop based, Another Cup of… series, which begins with Another Cup of Coffee– goes seasonal with  Another Cup of Christmas, Christmas in the Cotswolds, and Christmas at the Castle, before heading back to Richmond in London for Another Glass of Champagne.

 

Another Cup of Coffee Blurb-

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…

 

The coffee shop that features most within Another Cup of Coffee is called Pickwicks, a café tucked away in a corner of Richmond, run by the ever bubbly Peggy, and her husband Scott. It is there that, newly arrived in London from Scotland, Amy Crane finds a refuge from her troubles, a temporary job, a possible future, and a potential friend in Kit.

Based on the best bits of all my favourite cafes, Pickwicks is a place I really wish existed outside of the realms of my imagination!! I’d love to have a cuppa there.

***

If you’d like to read Another Cup of Coffee, you can buy it from all good bookshops, as well as from…

http://www.amazon.com/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee-contemporary-ebook/dp/B00EVYZC7M/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=15EFJ85882KQYAJ71KED

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee-contemporary-ebook/dp/B00EVYZC7M/ref=pd_sim_kinc_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=12DHKX85NFP0DNJJCKDS 

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Kate Griffin talks Kitty Peck!

Forgive me a small fan girl moment.

I can’t quite believe I have Kate Griffin on my blog today. Her Kitty Peck series is just brilliant. Not a single word is wasted throughout. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I wish I’d written these books myself!

And what’s more, having had the pleasure of meeting Kate at the Tiverton Literary Festival last year, I can tell you she is a lovely person as well- with great taste in Thai food.

Why not grab a cuppa- possibly with cake- put your feet up for a few minutes, and have a read.

Over to you Kate…

First a big thank you to Jenny for inviting me to contribute and also a huge thank for responding to my Kitty Peck books so enthusiastically. As she also delves into the shady corners of history, her appreciation means a great deal!

Writing a novel is a bit like mountaineering. Admittedly, climbing Mount Everest is a lot more dangerous than sitting in your pyjamas and eating Hobnobs while tapping away at a laptop, but  bear with me because there are definite parallels.

When the going’s good you manage to cover a vast distance in a surprisingly short space of time but on a rough day it doesn’t matter how long you slog away – head down against the wind, digging your crampons into the crumbling ice underfoot – nothing comes right.

Hours can pass and then when you finally look up, snow-blind from the glaring whiteness of the empty screen in front of you, it’s soul-destroying to find that you’ve hardly gone anywhere at all.

Even your ‘footsteps’ – those few feeble paragraphs you managed to hack out – have probably been deleted as you became increasingly dejected, disoriented and unsure which way to go.

It’s as if snow has fallen on your tracks, obliterating every trace of your progress.

Whiteout.

On grim days like this a mountaineer stops, pitches camp, brews up something hot and strong and takes cover until the blizzard has passed.

In writing terms, ‘pitching camp’ means admitting temporary defeat. When nothing comes together, it’s best to switch off your computer (or close your notebook if you’re a long-hander) and do something else, preferably something that makes you happy.

A break usually clears the head and clears the way.

But even then, once you’ve gathered your strength, consulted your charts and stepped boldly back on the trail, the way to the summit can still be treacherous and deceptive.

Sometimes you’re so busy concentrating on reaching those far glittering peaks that you don’t notice the bottomless crevasse yawning in front of you. By this I mean the gaping hole in the plot that you never realised was there until you tried to marshal your characters across the final glacier and en-route to the sunlit upland ending of your story.

One minute it was all going so well; the next you have no alternative but to find another route to your neatly planned conclusion.

Sometimes it can take days to retrace your steps to chart a new way forward or around the chasm. In particularly hazardous conditions you might even have to go right back to the beginning, re-stock your supplies and start out again.

More fortunately, just occasionally when you find yourself teetering on the brink of a deep dark void, inspiration strikes and you find exactly the right piece of equipment in your rucksack to enable you to perform a miraculous leap to safety.

By ‘equipment’ I mean your plot or your characters. It’s amazing how helpful and inventive they can be when you put your mind to it!

Then again, your characters can also be difficult, dangerous travelling companions, particularly the pesky independent ones who refuse to listen to your strict instructions and insist on going off by themselves, getting totally lost in the craggy, uncharted landscape – ie, the parts of your story that you never had any intention of writing. All it takes is to allow a character to wander a few steps off the track you’ve planned and that’s it. They can be missing for days!

By the time you realise what they’ve gone and done, it usually takes a major search party (aka a complete re-write) to locate them and bring them back to the trail.

At testing times like these many writers would be thrilled to see a St Bernard lolloping to the rescue with a giant barrel of brandy hanging round its neck. (Or, in my case, gin).

Now, I’m horribly aware that I’ve pushed my mountaineering metaphor to the limit of human endurance, but there’s one last comparison I’d like to make, and for me it’s very relevant.

Kate Griffin with Michael Jecks, Ruth Ware & Chris Ewan at Tiverton Lit Festival

This week, I’m about to embark on the fourth instalment of my Kitty Peck mystery series, published by Faber and Faber.

Kitty’s world is a version of London in the early 1880s. The setting will be familiar to anyone who loves Conan Doyle’s wonderful Sherlock Holmes stories. Kitty’s London, specifically Limehouse, is a place where menace lurks in the swirling mist rising from the Thames and where the rumble of a hackney carriage generally bodes ill. Kitty is the youthful proprietress of three tawdry music halls, but she is also more, much more.

By the end of the year I hope that Kitty and I will have gone on one last journey together.  At the moment, we’re both at base camp. Around 400 snow-blank pages lie ahead and I have to find a way to guide us across that vast and virgin expanse.

I know exactly where we’re going. If I shield my eyes and squint into the far distance I can see the sparkling summit – our final destination.

I’ve spent the last few months planning and researching. I’ve worked out the route and packed essentials for the journey (well, Hobnobs and gin) but, as I explained above, you can never be quite sure what might crop up on the way.

Now as I stare at all that whiteness ahead, I have to admit that I’m excited… and slightly terrified.

 

If you’d like to catch up, the first two books in the Kitty Peck series have just been released as a single ebook:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kitty-Peck-Mysteries-Murders-Ill-Fortune-ebook/dp/B01M8G7QL2

The third book in the series, Kitty Peck and the Daughter of Sorrow, will be published in summer this year:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kitty-Peck-Daughter-Sorrow/dp/0571315208

***

What a wonderful blog. Like many writers, I totally equate with the feelings of terror you have described! However, having read the Kitty Peck books to date, I can tell you, you have nothing to worry about!

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 

 

 

Interview with Carol Cooper: Hampstead Fever

It’s interview time again, and today I’m pleased to have the lovely Carol Cooper dropping by for coffee and cake. Why not take five minutes to join us?

 coffee and cake

What inspired you to write your book?

I wanted to write the kind of novel that I enjoy reading myself, with a diverse cast of characters, each one complex and flawed, with problems and dreams that people can identify with. Chef Dan, for instance, is on the up, with a new job in a trendy Hampstead bistro. But his partner Laure is wrapped up in their young son and has no time for him. You can tell that’ll lead to trouble.

Do you model any of your characters on people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

In Hampstead Fever, as in my first novel, I’ve used my imagination to create the characters. But I’ve been inspired by real people, including the patients I look after in my other life as a doctor. I’d be lying if I said anything else. Writers can’t help being influenced by what’s around them, just like everyone one. It was a lightbulb moment when I learned that everything you ever see, hear, or experience creates new connections between brain cells. Basically, daily life subtly changes the anatomy of your brain. The only characters who are modelled on real people are Laure’s aunts, who are like my own great-aunts, two wonderful individuals who seemed to be crying out to be put in a book. They’re no longer with us, so they can’t read my book.

 Hampstead Fever FINAL EBOOK COVER

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

I used the internet to look up details like bus routes to make sure characters are going home in the right direction, and I’ve checked which songs hit the charts when. That’s important for Sanjay, who loves music. I also hung around Hampstead village a lot, which is no hardship because I live nearby and it’s a lovely area. There’s a lot I didn’t need to look up, like the medical details that appear in part of the story. That’s stuff I knew already.

Which point of view do you prefer to write in, and why?

The third person, but it‘s a deep and intimate third person. Hampstead Fever evolves from each of the six main characters’ viewpoint, and each scene takes you right into the mind and heart of that one person. I think I write multi-viewpoint fiction because for most of my working life I’ve tried getting inside other people’s heads. As a GP, every ten minutes I see someone with a new story and a different perspective.

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

A bit of both. I like to have the gist before I begin, but then the characters grow and take over, telling lies, jumping into bed with the wrong people, and generally getting into trouble that I hadn’t anticipated.

If you were stranded on a desert island with three other people, fictional or real, who would they be and why?

Rick Stein to supply me with fish and seafood dishes, Barack Obama for brilliant conversation, and hairdresser Nicky Clarke to make my hair look great.

Amazon link for Hampstead Fever http://mybook.to/HF

***

Carol has a Goodreads running for Hampstead Fever until 3rd Sept- check it out here-

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30284643-hampstead-fever

***

Blog http://pillsandpillowtalk.com

Twitter @DrCarolCooper

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

There’s more about all my books on my Amazon author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dr-Carol-Cooper/e/B005C2ZZ10

Carol Cooper

Bio: Carol is a journalist, author and doctor. She graduated in medicine from Cambridge University. To support her studies, she worked at supermarket checkouts, walked dogs, typed manuscripts in Russian, and made men’s trousers to measure.

After a string of non-fiction books, including an award-winning textbook, she turned to fiction with her debut novel One Night at the Jacaranda. She is president of the Guild of Health Writers and has three amazing grown-up sons. Like her fictional characters, she lives in Hampstead and Cambridge. Unlike them, she remarried in 2013. She likes a happy ending.

***

Thank you ever so much Carol. A fantastic interview!

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 

Guest Post from Neil Griffiths: Hidden London

I have a fascinating blog for you today from fellow author, Neil Griffiths. Why not grab a cuppa, pop your feet up for a few minutes, and have a read.

Neil’s book, Isabella’s Heiress, is out now.

Over to you Neil…

coffee and cake

At 2 King Edward Street in the City of London, just opposite Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Merrill Lynch Bank of America have their UK headquarters. This is a matter of public record. You can see it on Google Maps, travel past it in a cab or just take a gentle stroll through the gardens of Christchurch Greyfriars next door.

What is less well known is that below the Merrill Lynch Financial Centre (or the MLFC as it is more commonly known) there is a walkway that allows you to take in the Roman ruins that were discovered there whilst the building was being constructed in the late nineties and early two thousands. It is neatly floodlit with soft lighting and has a glass roof which doubles as part of the reception floor. From above, there is a glass and steel barrier which allows guests and employees to look down and take in the ancient works.

The ruins are a small segment of the London Wall and are part of a much larger structure which ran for two miles in a semi-circle from Holborn, in the west, to Tower Hill, in the east. They are a symbol of a City of London that often gets forgotten in a world where, to many people, the City is more representative of the financial industry and all the recent history that goes with that. The truth here, though, is that there is a much older and more colourful history, under the pavements and around the corner, than is first realised.

Not far from the MLFC is Gresham Street, where you can find the Guildhall. A Guildhall has stood at this location for several hundred years. Again, what is less well known is that there is a ring of black bricks in the courtyard that has to be crossed by anybody that wishes to enter the Guildhall proper. These represent the perimeter of the Roman amphitheatre that was discovered when the Guildhall art gallery was being redeveloped in 1985 and is now directly below the main courtyard. This amphitheatre dates from the first century AD and was the Wembley Stadium of its day, holding up to seven thousand spectators who would watch the gladiators and animals battle it out. Should anybody wish to see it there is a visitors centre directly below the Guildhall Art Gallery which allows access to the remains of the amphitheatre during the working day and at the weekend.

9781909477759-Perfect_Isabllea Heiress.indd

When I was a child I can remember being brought to the City of London by my parents, on a Sunday, and thinking that it was quite dowdy and downbeat. This was in the early eighties and was a few years before the financial markets went through the Big Bang of 1986. Once that event took place American banks started to flock to London, to take advantage of the loosening of financial regulations, and encountered a problem that was not immediately obvious at the start. The complete lack of any suitable property to house the incoming banks. This was solved by a building boom that started in the City then headed east toward Tower Hamlets where the new business district of Canary Wharf was created. Whilst the builders in Canary Wharf succeeded only in digging up unexploded World War 2 bombs, the builders in the City found themselves being increasingly hamstrung by the amount of ancient foundations and cemeteries that kept coming to the fore as they dug down to prepare the ground for the next skyscraper. On each occasion work would have to stop and the site was handed over to archaeologists before it could recommence. Bad news for the contractors, good news for the archaeologists or anyone else who had an interest in old London (unless of course the cemetery that got unearthed turned out to be a plague pit. I’m guessing you’d probably want to cover those back up pretty sharpish.)

But it’s not just the subterranean parts of London that have survived the test of time. At 111 Cannon Street, almost opposite the station of the same name, is a small grille in a wall. Behind that grille is kept the London Stone which is commonly thought to have been the point from which the distances of all the journeys to and from London were measured. There are no solid records as to when it was first placed in the centre of Cannon Street but it is thought that this could be anytime from the Roman era to 1100 AD.

It was discovering things like this that inspired my thinking when it came to writing my debut novel, Isabella’s Heiress. The thought that there is a secret world beneath and around us that is, if not completely invisible then hidden in plain site, gave rise to any number of ‘what if’s’ and ultimately brought about the idea of a woman who finds herself in a dark, hidden version of London after she has died in an accident. The history of the City of London allowed me to imagine a world where a parallel city could exist next to the one we live in now and then play with the story of a metropolis that has been around for two millennia.

But the truth, I think, is that whatever we choose to create as writers and consume as readers, sometimes there is nothing more strange and outlandish than reality. So I’ll leave you with this little fact. If you ever visit Greenwich Park, in South London, take a look around as you walk down Crooms Hill. You may notice that the ground is very uneven. This isn’t because the park is on a hill, although that is very much the case, it’s because the park contains a large Saxon barrow cemetery from around the 6th century, that consists of 50 round barrows. A large number of which, if you look hard, can be identified by the fact that they are surround by tufts of grass that mark out their perimeter.

So if you are out and about and have a few minutes to spare, take a closer look at your surroundings and remember, there is so much out there in our cities and towns that we just take for granted but just below the surface there is a long and colourful history that is just waiting to be uncovered.

***

Bio

So, a little about me (this is the bit I hate.) I work in IT for the day job but write in my spare time. I’m a voracious reader and have been writing since I was at school in one form or another but only decided to get serious about it ten years ago. The end result is Isabella’s Heiress, a novel about a woman who finds herself out of time and in a whole new world of trouble.

I’m now starting to research the second book in the series and am hoping to start writing it early next year.

Links

Isabella’s Heiress on Amazon (I would do the full Amazon address but, seriously, have you seen how long those things are!!)

www.facebook.com/IsabellasHeiress/

twitter.com/neilpgriffiths

My Goodreads page

***

Many thanks for such a great blog. I adore discovering hidden gems of history like that.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

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