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

Tag: Lyme Regis

Shipwrecking it: Summer at Sea Glass Cove

Lauren Sunshine arrives at Lymeton (known to the locals as Sea Glass Cove), in Dorset as the chief marine archaeologist in charge of excavating a shipwreck off the Jurassic Coast.

In my fictional world, Lauren and her team are investigating the wrecked Tudor ship, The Vissen. This is a Dutch merchant vessel known as a fluyt – and would have been one of the first ships to cross the channel simply to trade rather than to carry passengers and carry cargo.

***

Here’s a mini extract from Summer at Sea Glass Cove…

Sitting on the sand, Lauren gazed at the sea. For a moment she followed the ebb and flow of the tide before closing her eyes. Behind her eyelids she pictured the underwater world in which sat the wreck of the Vissen; a Dutch Fluyt cargo vessel which had set out from Holland in 1590 and never made it home. Lying in approximately nine metres of water, with its long axis orientated north-east to south-west, the stern had broken free from the main body of the ship, lying at an awkward angle which was proving a challenge for her and her divers, and a haven for the local marine life who’d changed the fallen ship into an artificial wooden reef.

As she considered the hidden timbers, Lauren found herself picturing the vessel as it had once been. One of the first fluyts – a new type of ship, designed specifically for transporting goods, rather than, as with almost every vessel before, an all-purpose ship that could be used either for trading or as a warship in times of need. It must have been the pride of the fleet.

Now, this once magnificent ship was losing its 434-year battle with the elements. The combined forces of immersion in salt water, the abrasion of the seabed’s sediment, and the exposure of the timbers to the air at low tide were making it increasingly vulnerable. To Lauren, it was a mystery why the Marine Heritage Trust hadn’t acted sooner to save the many artefacts that had gone down with the ship.

Not such a mystery. She opened her eyes. There’s a great many wrecks off the UK coast, and only one pot of money.

Refocusing on the world above sea level, Lauren took in the picture postcard  view. The sun blazed across a baby-blue sky, despite it being almost six o’clock. The sand, a dusky yellow, was light and clean, and the sea glistened as though dotted with crystals, making the tips of the wreck’s timbers, which just protruded from the water, look mysterious, magical, and enticing all at once. To her right, a row of cliffs that had been there since the Jurassic period and beyond, rolled around the coastline towards nearby Lyme Regis, while to her left, the town of Lymeton sat like a younger sibling to its more famous neighbour. She knew it would be easy to fall in love with the place, with its myriad of craft shops, cafés, ice cream parlour, and stunning scenery….

I’ve always been interested in shipwrecks. They have a tragic magic about them; forming a time capsule of history for us to explore and learn about our past. While the ships themselves can be fascinating, it is the small, personal, finds that appeal to me the most. The items which can tell us about the people who sailed; the buttons, hairbrushes, cutlery, chess pieces, and so on.

It is the discovery of chess pieces that puts The Vissen’s wreck on the map and introduces Lauren to my favourite character in Summer in Sea Glass Cove – Arthur; gaming piece collector extraordinaire.

To meet the adorable pensioner, Arthur, his partner Jeff, and their cat, Shark, then you can find them within the pages of Summer at Sea Glass Cove.

Blurb

Welcome to Sea Glass Cove!

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

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

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

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

Available from:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Kobo

WHSmith

Waterstones

Happy reading!

Jenny xx

 

OUT NOW: Summer at Sea Glass Cove

IT’S PUBLICATION DAY!!

Summer at Sea Glass Cove is out now!

The novel was an utter joy to write. Wrapped around the friendships forged when a shipwreck excavation off the coast of Lymeton Cove, near Lyme Regis, takes chief marine archaeologist, Lauren, into a local art gallery, it takes us into the world of  sea glass jewellery and a very small museum…

Blurb

Welcome to Sea Glass Cove!

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

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

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

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

Why Sea Glass Cove? Well, mostly because sea glass is so beautiful and I’ve always loved it. Therefore, featuring it in a novel was bound to happen sooner or later.

In my fictious location, Lymeton Cove (nicknamed Sea Glass Cove by the locals), sea glass flecks can be found twinkling in the sand. Consequently, the village of Lymeton plays host to a fabulous shop called All at Sea, where local craftsman, Jules, makes and sells sea-glass jewellery and all manner of things from driftwood that has washed into Lymeton and Lyne Regis’s shore lines.

As you will have seen, if you read the opening lines from Summer at Sea Glass Cove in my previous blog, the novel opens when Lauren visits Jules’s shop for the very first time. Not only does she fall in love with his amazing craftsmanship, she also notices one or two things that really ought to be in a museum – the shelving units made out of old ship planks for a start…

You can buy your copy of Summer at Sea Glass Cove from all good retailers (ebook and paperback) from today, including:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Kobo

WHSmith

Waterstones

Many thanks for pooping by today. Happy reading!!

Jenny xx

 

 

Opening Lines: Summer at Sea Glass Cove

Summer at Sea Glass Cove will be published

NEXT WEEK

on 6th June!

Today I’m sharing its #openinglines.

Blurb

Welcome to Sea Glass Cove!

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

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

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

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

FIRST 500 WORDS:

As Lauren stepped through the low stone-framed doorway, the instant dip in temperature after the relentless heat of the midday June sun felt like balm against her tanned skin. Sliding her sunglasses up, so they secured her sea-soaked hair away from her eyes, she gave a small sigh of pleasure.

The shop was beautifully laid out. Shelves of various shapes and sizes lined the walls, each one carved out of driftwood. Upon these were displayed unique items of jewellery, all made out of sea glass. Every polished shard radiated its own aura of light which, as Lauren meandered between the shelves, she noticed changed colour depending on where she was standing.

Drawn to a large, teardrop-shaped pendant in the window, Lauren marvelled at its vivid sapphire glow. As she stepped closer the light changed, and it became an emerald green. Catching her breath, caught between the desire to discover if the glass was as smooth as she suspected, and knowing she ought not touch, she became conscious of a voice nagging at her.

Ships’ planks.

A frown puckered her forehead as her attention shifted from the pendant to a distinctive groove in the shelf upon which it was being displayed.

Tudor?

Instead of reaching out to feel the cool glass beneath her fingertips, Lauren gently caressed the bowed wood.

A nail once sat there – a long one – iron. It would have secured this plank to the next and…

Lauren focused her attention onto the eclectic shelf collection rather than the exquisite jewellery. That one’s more modern – from a warship – twentieth century. I wonder which…

‘It’s from the HMS Formidable – at least, that’s where I’ve always assumed it washed in from.’

As Lauren spun around, she found herself face to chest with a faded blue shirt. Stepping back so she could see the wearer properly, she saw a welcoming grin and a multi-coloured bandana that neatly trapped his shoulder-length greying hair.

‘You know these are ships’ planks then?’

‘From local wrecks to be exact.’ He put out a hand for her to shake. ‘I’m Jules. Not often someone looks more closely at my shelving than my jewellery.’

‘I don’t often see ships’ planks used like this.’ The urge to ask him what the hell he thought he was doing using historical artefacts in this manner was stifled by the strength of his smile.

‘If I hadn’t picked them up, they’d only have been washed out again, or worse – someone would have used them for firewood. Anyway, they’re in keeping with the theme of the shop.’

‘Jewellery?’ Lauren’s eyes strayed back to the pendant. It had developed a lighter, more peppermint sheen.

‘More using nature’s bounty – well, the sea’s bounty to be specific. These are all made from sea glass. And over there—’ Jules gestured to the back of the shop ‘—I have a few sculptures made from driftwood, along with some more useful stuff – coasters, doorstops, door handles and such like – all carved from driftwood.’

Turning to follow his…

If that has tickled your reading tastebuds, then you can #preorder your copy of Summer at Sea Glass Cove from all good retailers, including:

Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Happy pre-ordering!

Jenny x

Summer at Sea Glass Cove: Three weeks to go

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

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

Blurb

Welcome to Sea Glass Cove!

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

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

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

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

***

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

I hope you’ll enjoy it to.

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy preordering,

Jenny xx

Interview with Bethany Askew: Poppy’s Seed

I’m delighted to welcome Bethany Askew to my site today to talk about her latest novel, Poppy’s Seed. I was lucky enough to meet Bethany while we were both being interviewed by the lovely Suzie Grogan on 10 Radio last week. I had no hesitation in asking Bethany if she’d mind sharing information about her excellent novel with us today.

Over to you Bethany…

What inspired you to write your latest novel Poppy’s Seed?

This book was based on a dream I had. It was very vivid. I remembered every detail. The moment I woke I up I scribbled it down so I wouldn’t forget it.

It was about a couple who moved to Lyme Regis and met someone who changed their lives, and whilst causing havoc in their relationship, she also showed them things about themselves and each other that they never knew before. Only the ending was left uncertain.

Initially the girl they met ran a shop in Lyme Regis. It was only when the storyline became clearer to me that I made her into an artist and jewellery maker. I had a very definite idea of where in Lyme Regis her shop was and what type of shop it had to be.

I didn’t really know why the couple had moved to Lyme Regis, but when my husband and I retired and moved house it became clear to me that I could write with experience of this difficult time.

The main protagonists were very real in my dream, particularly the girl who had to be unique: a free-thinking, free-spirited girl, living by no rules and knowing no boundaries.

The character of Poppy is inspired by reading biographies of artists and writers such as Vita Sackville-West and Vanessa Bell, women who lived outside the social norms of society in their time. I have always been fascinated by the Bloomsbury set and their contemporaries and Poppy’s untidy habits and messy house are based on the artist Augustus John and his family, who put their creativity above mundane things like tidiness and cleanliness.

Poppy’s Seed is a contemporary novel that deals with the problems of many modern families, including the effect of children and stepchildren on a couple; the balance of power between two people; and the compromises made to keep a relationship going.

I like to write about women’s lives and relationships and am particularly interested in a woman’s role as wife and mother and the effect of marriage and divorce on family dynamics.

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

My main female protagonists tend to be versions of me, with some of my characteristics exaggerated. I’m certainly not as house proud or as sexually adventurous as Emily in Poppy’s Seed but we share the same practical and optimistic view of life. And there is a lot of myself in Charlotte in my novel Out of Step:  Charlotte’s experiences of divorce, access, and custody battles are based on my own.

The World Within is my most auto-biographical story. Set in the 1970’s, when it was still socially unacceptable to be an unmarried mother, it tells the story of Jemma, who has to give up her plans for further education when she becomes pregnant. Set in my home town of Taunton, this book is inspired by my own teenage years, with an alternative version of Jemma’s life played out simultaneously, the reader left at the end to decide which Jemma has the more fulfilled life, the one who went to university as planned or the one who married and had a baby and stayed behind in Taunton.

The only one of my novels that has nothing of me in it is Counting the Days , which is a true story, based on my parents-in-law’s letters written during World War Two. A bit of a departure for me, this was written mainly for the family, but it has sold well at the presentations my husband and I give to local interested societies, where we show the photographs my father-in-law took on active service overseas and read extracts from the letters.

My website www.onactiveservice.co.uk is a valuable resource to anyone interested in World War Two: it reproduces the letters and war diary entries verbatim, seventy three years ago to the day they were written, together with wartime photographs of England and Egypt and India.

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

I’m not one of those writers who plans their books chapter by chapter. My stories evolve as I go along. My ideas for characters change and even when the characters  are fixed I find they sometimes do things I don’t expect and I have to re-think everything.  Originally Poppy’s Seed was going to be far more about relationships and family dynamics but as I wrote it Poppy took over more and more and I found she had a secret agenda that I could weave through the story. The character of the step-daughter also changed: at first she was far more bohemian and artistic but I couldn’t have two characters like Poppy so I toned her down a bit. I like to include step-children in my novels as it is something I can write about with experience.  I feel it is a reflection on modern society and a situation many people nowadays can relate to.

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

I like my readers to be involved in what my characters are thinking, to hear the characters thoughts and feelings and experience their lives. I have experimented with different perspectives. I have found that if I write as “I” then it is hard to describe how “I” look or sound or even what “I” may be wearing.

Writing as a man is also hard, though I seem to have done it successfully in Poppy’s Seed. One male reader said, “It was as though you had read my mind. Reading your book made me realise how difficult I must have been to live with I when I first retired.”

In this book the reader hears Emily’s and Peter’s perspectives on the same situation. She thinks she’s trying to help him find ways to enjoy his retirement; he thinks she’s trying to boss him around. This way I can also describe each character as seen by the other.

The only one of my novels that has varied from this approach is Counting the Days, which is written from an objective point of view because, although it is a novel, it is based on fact and apart from the few intimate thoughts expressed in the letters I was using, it was hard for me to know the exact feelings of my main protagonists. It was more a case of charting their joint story.

What is your writing regime?

 I don’t have one. I just write when the mood takes me. Certainly not every day. And I rarely write for hours.

Although I don’t write every day the book I am working on is constantly on my mind and I am usually jotting down notes or words or phrases that come to mind.

I try to keep these logically in a notebook but they often end up on endless scraps of odd paper as ideas strike me suddenly.

I write on my laptop in my armchair if I am writing a fair bit, or at my desk in my study if it’s only a few odd sentences or ideas.

When I have an idea for a story I live with it for a while, even up to a year, getting the characters clear in my mind and letting myself feel how the story will progress, what the characters look like, where they will live etc.

Each part I write is like a scene in a film or play. I “see” the  characters in my mind acting it out for me and just write down what they do. I like to take a break between chapters for my actors to re-group before they act out the next scene. Sometimes I’ll come back to the previous scene and add a bit or re-write it. My writing for the day might just consist of a few sentences, but every little bit matters. I start my stories without any structure at all and see what happens. Then, as I progress and the story becomes clearer I plan what will happen in future chapters. Characters and events often change!

I am completely self-taught. I have never been on a creative writing course or any workshops and have never liaised with other writers. I have always known I wanted to write and when I had fewer family commitments I just sat down at my PC one day and started to write a novel. This first novel, The Time Before will never be published. It is very much a first attempt. I didn’t plan it or structure it. I just had an idea and off I went! But I learnt a lot about writing just by doing it. Now I have written five novels and a short story as well as a modest amount of poetry. I couldn’t imagine life without a novel to work on and I have just started writing my sixth! I like to have something to channel mu energies into, something completely my own that I have accomplished. I miss my characters once I have finished though. Maybe that’s why I’m always ready to write another one!

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Links

Poppy’s Seed

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Poppys-Seed-Bethany-Askew/1785899198/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1500110671&sr=1-3&keywords=bethany+askew

The World Within

https://www.amazon.co.uk/World-Within-Bethany-Askew-ebook/dp/B00C3L8LL4

Out of Step

https://www.amazon.com/Out-Step-Bethany-Askew-ebook/dp/B00BIJ0GRY

Counting the Days

https://www.amazon.com/Counting-Days-Bethany-Askew-ebook/dp/B00J2VOTQY

The Night of the Storm

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-Storm-Bethany-Askew-ebook/dp/B00CDL6CBU

Bethany Askew Amazon Author Page (all titles)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bethany-Askew/e/B00BJ61C56

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Bio

Bethany Askew is the author of five novels: The Time BeforeThe World WithinOut of Step, Counting the Days and Poppy’s Seed.

She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm, and she writes poetry.

Her work is published on Amazon and available in major retailers.

Future projects include a new short story, this one for the young adult market, and another full-length novel.

www.bethanyaskew.co.uk

www.onactiveservice.co.uk 

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Thanks again for such a great interview Bethany.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

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