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: New Year

Welcome to 2020

It’s 2020 – a year I’ve already named ‘the year of busy.’

This is not a complaint- far from it. I love to be busy. In fact, I’m pretty hopeless at resting, relaxing and having days off.

Why so busy? Well, I have just (as you’ll know if you are a regular visitor to this blog) been extremely fortunate, and secured a deal with Aria (an imprint of Head of Zeus), to write three romantic novels set on Exmoor.

This is ultra exciting- and I’ll be honest- all I’ve dreamed off for years. A “proper” publishing deal with a major publisher. I am still in shock.

The price of this is a lot of work. Book One (Midsummer at Mill Grange) is written- but book two needs to be down and perfect on paper by March- which is scarily close! Then book three, has to be started and finished by October this year.

Northmoor House, Exmoor (The ‘real’ Mill Grange.)

I have a feeling I ought to be panicking- but I don’t have time. In fact, I am loving it. The words are just flowing, and I adore the characters and the location. As soon as I can tell you all about them I will.

This year isn’t all about Mill Grange however. In May, my bestselling novels, Abi’s House and Abi’s Neighbour, republished by Headline Books. They will be re titled, The Cornish Escape and A Cornish Wedding. More on that soon! (The original books are still available)

My Jennifer Ash side also has her hands full. The fourth Folville Chronicle, Outlaw Justice, has been drafted, and as soon as I can, I’ll edit it. It will be out by October this year!

I’m also teaching all year for Imagine. If you’re in the Devon or Somerset area, and are looking for a writing course, why not look us up!

Right then – I’d better crack on!

Happy reading,

Jenny x

 

2017-2018: New stories and new adventures

Happy New Year!

Here we are again then- another brand new year. A list of potential new year’s resolutions considered- and dismissed- and a determination that this year will be very much better than the one just past are whizzing around our collective minds.

It has to be said that 2017 was an eventful year. My naughty side (Kay Jaybee) had a novella out in January 2017, and then began the process of re-editing all her old novels. Meanwhile, in May my Jenny Kane side saw her second Cornish romance, Abi’s Neighbour, hit the world.

One of the highlights of 2017 has to have been when the amazing Katie Fforde endorsed my work in contemporary fiction, by providing a fantastic quote to be printed on the cover of Abi’s Neighbour. Having been a Katie Fforde fan for many years, this truly was a magic moment for me.

The publication of Abi’s Neighbour, and it’s previously published sister novel, Abi’s House, led to me being invited to the Penzance Literary festival in July. I had so much fun! Not only did I get to sit on a panel with the lovely Liz Fenwick and Teresa Benison, but I was also invited to teach a Life-writing masterclass.

Teresa Beniton, Jenny Kane, Liz Fenwick

A major change came to my writing life in 2017 with the setting up of Imagine – a creative writing workshop business I set up with my friend and fellow author, Alison Knight.  Although we’ve only been in operation since last Spring, we’ve built up a regular following at our classes, and expansion across SW England (and beyond) is afoot.

Not only do we teach group workshops, but we provide one-one classes, and this March we are running our first writing retreat on Exmoor in the stunning Victorian manor of Northmoor. If you want to have a look at all our Imagine information you can find it here- www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk 

This decision to set up a creative writing business was something I’d been considering for some time. In 2017, with so many publishers either failing or cutting back on their lines, it felt that the time was right to add another string to my bow…and talking of bowstrings…

I was extremely luck last year to be asked to write a couple of audio scripts for the brand new series of Robin of Sherwood. As a life long fan of the show, it was particularly wonderful to be able to put words into the mouths of my favourite characters!

Produced by Spiteful Puppet- these new audio tales- narrated by original cast embers- are available now!! https://spitefulpuppet.com/product-category/robin-of-sherwood/  With luck- if enough copies are sold- then I’ll be thinking up some more Robin of Sherwood stories in the future!

photo by Kim Jones

Of course, you can’t have the ups without the downs, and 2017 saw the medieval crime novels I’d promised you, take a step back from publication. The publisher they were lined up with decided to streamline, and not take on any new historical fiction. This meant I had to find a new home for my Jennifer Ash work. While this was a little frustrating, I am delighted to say that a new home for my work has now been found!

Romancing Robin Hood, The Outlaw’s Ransom, and The Winter Outlaw will all be out in the near future- and I’m already hard at work writing Edward’s Outlaw, for release in the Winter. Watch out for a very special announcement about that later in the week…

And what of my contemporary women’s fiction? Well- my next Jenny Kane novel is complete- watch this space…

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2017 saw many new adventures (I’d never written a script before in my life for a start!)- I wonder what new adventures 2018 holds?

I hope you all have a very happy and exciting 2018.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 

Where Did 2016 Go?

It’s that time again- not just another New Year’s Eve- but the end of the month blog from Nell Peters is here!!

Buckle up folks- and pass the whisky!

Over to you Nell…

New Year’s Eve! Where did 2016 go? But suffice to say, I for one am glad it’s now slithering its way into the archives!

Let’s start with the birthday line-up – on the starting blocks we have such luminaries as Donald Trump Jnr (OMG, there’s more than one?), football bod Sir Alex Ferguson, actors Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sir Ben Kingsley and Val Kilmer (no knighthood, Val? Well, if you will be born in the US …), late singers John Denver and Donna Summer, explorer (not watchmaker) Jacques Cartier (my ancient Firebird once broke down while I was driving over his rotten bridge in Montreal) and painter Henri Matisse.

anthony-hopkins

Most important of all, our lovely niece Francesca Cerulli celebrates her 26th birthday today – her dad has Italian genes (the name gives a wee bit of a clue) and she has benefitted in spades in the looks department, lucky girl. Not too good at cooking pasta, though … Just kidding, Fran!

sparkly-doc-martens

Right, before you get too involved in dragging the sparkly Doc Martens from the back of the closet, and preening in preparation to party, let’s see what has happened historically on this day, shall we? On the eve of the new twenty-first century, just as the London Eye was cranking into action for its debut circuit, Boris Yeltsin resigned as the first President of the Russian Federation, leaving the PM, one Vladimir Putin, to mind the shop – cheers for that, Boris, old chap. A zillion bare-chested, macho-man poses later, mostly accessorised by horses and firearms …

big-ben

I normally shy away from making any even vaguely political statements on social media, but the thought that after Trump’s inauguration in January, the world will have the Vlad and Donnie Show in positions of unassailable power, their fat fingers hovering over the ultimate button, frankly scares the bejesus out of me. Even the likes of Michael Gove, Ed Miliband and Nigel Farage don’t look too bad, compared to that not-so-much-dream-as-nightmare team.

trump

Moving on; NYE in 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the capital of Canada (she wasn’t amused by Victoria in British Columbia?) The city name derives from the Algonquin (Native American) word Odawa – which, incidentally, is exactly how Canadians (or Canajuns) pronounce it, just as they drop the ‘t’ in Montreal and the second ‘t’ in Toronto – meaning ‘to trade’. Assuming HRH didn’t just stick a pin in a map, its selection was strategic as a border stronghold. Ottawa is probably the most British city in Canada in terms of embracing the influence, (though it’s still of necessity bilingual) and surprisingly small for a capital, but it’s full of superb Victorian architecture and brilliant museums. They even have Changing of the Guard (yes, all dressed in red tunics, with bearskins!) on Parliament Hill – but sadly, only from June to August, for tourists.

ottawa

In 1892, across the border in New York, Ellis Island opened its doors as the official immigration processing centre for those in search of the American Dream. (By the time it closed in 1954, 15m people had passed through – that’s an average of 220,589 a year.) How immensely brave folk were to sail off literally into the unknown, many with hardly more than the clothes they wore. Scientists believe that Homo sapiens first arrived in the US via the Bering Straits about 20,000 years ago, and these were the forebears of the many Native American cultures which would people the landscape for thousands of years.

ellis-island-liberty

Next came the Vikings – though not in huge numbers, so maybe not too much raping and pillaging – and eventually the great European migration began. (Just saying, but Donald Trump’s mother and father were of Scottish and German descent respectively – if only the ancestors of Border Control had been a little more on the ball regarding who made it through …) All of this long before the Statue of Liberty was in place nearby, to declare (courtesy Emma Lazarus – I’m absolutely not going to mention anything about her taking up her bed to walk!):

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Crossing the Atlantic for early settlers meant two to three months of seasickness, overcrowding, limited food rations, and disease. Eew – not exactly luxury cruising, but better than a ticket for passage on the Titanic, I suppose. However, the prospect of yours-for-the-asking land parcels and the hope of political and religious freedoms were pretty persuasive arguments. Among the early British settlers were indentured servants willing to trade four to seven years of unpaid labour for a one-way ticket to the colonies and the promise of land. Sounds like a slightly one-sided agreement to me? After seven long years of being a freebie skivvy, I’d expect to be gifted California, minimum.  There were also convicts among the newcomers – many thousands transported from English jails. And we always think of Australia as our go-to penal colony.

wagon-train

The merging of Europeans and Native Americans was not always peaceful (I’ve seen those John Wayne cowboy movies – wagons ho, or there’ll be heap big trouble and a few unscheduled haircuts) and cultures clashed, leading to violence and the spread of new pathogens. Whole tribes were decimated by diseases like small pox, measles, and the plague. And don’t forget how badly these usurpers behaved generally, riding roughshod over tradition, beliefs and land tenure. How rude! When I lived in Montreal, a friend’s old bat of a mother-in-law was slagging off the indigenous race as leeches on the economy, plus a whole lot of other things bad – and when I ventured to disagree (quite bravely, as she was one big momma with a viper’s tongue) she looked down her nose at me and said imperiously, ‘Well, you know, they are allowed to live on Reservations!’ Be still my heart …  This is someone born and bred in the second most French city in Quebec Province, where the official language has been French since 1974, but who never actually bothered to learn the lingo.

marie-curie

OK, enough New World ramblings – Marie Curie (the scientist, not the cancer care organisation that bears her name) accepted her second Nobel Prize on this day in 1911 for Chemistry, having shared the prize for Physics in 1903. She was the first woman to win a Nobel, and the first person/only woman to win twice. Kind of puts Bob Dylan into perspective, doesn’t it? Born Maria Sklodowska in 1867 in Warsaw, she was the youngest of five children of poor school teachers. After her mother died and her father could no longer support her, she became a governess, reading and studying in her own time. Becoming a teacher – the only route which would allow her independence – was never an option, because lack of money prevented her from formal higher education.

However, when her sister came up trumps (sorry!) and offered her lodgings in Paris so she could go to university, she moved to France in 1891. She enrolled at the Sorbonne (when I was a young and foolish student, I once spent the night there, sleeping in the mortuary on a dissection table – don’t ask!) where she read physics and mathematics. It was in Paris, in 1894, that she met Pierre Curie – a scientist working in the city – whom she married a year later and adopted the French spelling of her name, Marie. Her achievements included the development of the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Yeah, Bob, nice lyrics – AND Marie Curie turned up to accept the award.

farts

So, who is going to make a New Year resolution? There will be the usual suspects, like giving up junk food and/or dieting/eating more healthily; stop smoking/drinking too much; embark upon a regular exercise regime (that’ll last until 3rd January at least); stop wasting money on fripperies, yada, yada. I looked online and found a list of 100 resolutions – apart from the obvious, there was, stop twerking (7 – or start, in my case); quit farting so much (16 – I’m saying nothing!); stop playing Candy Crush Saga (28 – please note, those FB friends who keep sending me requests which I steadfastly ignore!); don’t buy the latest iPhone (32 – fine by me, as my mobile is a five year-old, basic Nokia); find Nirvana (38 – far out, man!); become more cultured (45 – that’s after you quit farting so much, presumably); drink more water (46 – why, when there’s still wine in Tesco?); quit picking your nose (62 – see 45); get a tattoo (66 – why?); keep a cleaner house (73 – again, why?); write more (76 – what’s this, chopped liver?); read more (97 – I wish!); become an expert at something (100 – like composing dumb lists?) I’ll leave it to you to extract the bones out of that lot.

Traditionally, on the stroke of midnight on 31st December, the English would open the back door to let the old year out, and ask the first dark-haired man they saw to come through the front door carrying bread, salt and coal. (Did he have to patrol the streets carrying that lot, in the hope of being invited in somewhere?) Symbolically, that meant that for the following year everyone in the house would have enough to eat (bread), enough money (salt), and be warm (coal). Nowadays, those of us who don’t venture out to lurk – freezing our socks off – in Trafalgar Square or similar to see in the New Year, or pay exorbitant prices to attend a formal function, slum it sitting round the TV watching Jools Holland and his cronies cavorting around the studio to present the annual hootenanny. There is a countdown to midnight, courtesy Big Ben’s bongs (nice alliteration!), followed by a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, often with the Pipes and Drums of the Scots Guards. All a bit naff, when you consider it’s pre-recorded.

cocktail-07

The Scots celebrate Hogmanay, the name taken from an oat cake that used to be given to children on New Year’s Eve – I imagine they’d rather have had a chocolate bar. In Edinburgh there’s a huge ticket-only party from Prince’s Street to the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle – the only year we were there, it was cancelled due to foul weather. In Scotland? Surely not! Those who stay home observe the tradition of first-footing at the stroke of twelve – ie the first person to set foot in a house is thought to affect the fortunes of everyone who lives there for the coming year. Strangers are supposed to bring good luck – except when they fill their swag bags and abscond with the family silver, of course.

New Year’s Eve is Nos Galan in Welsh, and whilst they also believe in letting out the old year and ushering in the new, if the first visitor after midnight is a woman and a man opens the door, it’s considered bad luck. Uh-oh! Plus, if the first man to cross the threshold has red hair, that’s bad luck too. I guess gingers don’t get too many invitations to parties, just in case they time their arrival badly. The Welsh believe you should pay off all debts before the New Year begins, or you’ll spend the whole of the next year in the red – maybe there’s some tenuous connection with those poor carrot-topped chaps being so unpopular? On New Year’s Day (Dydd Calan) Welsh children get up early to visit their neighbours and sing songs. They are given coins, mince pies, apples and sweets for singing – or, more likely, to go away. Shrill little voices warbling on the doorstep is not really what you need first thing, if you’re nursing a hangover from the night before. Whatever, this fizzles out by midday.

My job here is done. Thank you for having me again, Jenny.

happy-new-year

Happy New Year! Or A Guid New Year! Or Dydd Calan Hapus!

Toodles.

NP

Author.to/NellPeters

PS. I have mentioned before that Jen and I share a birthday, but we also share an editor, lovely Greg Rees at Accent Press. Since I wrote this blog – well in advance, as usual – Accent Press have reorganised, and Greg left in mid-December. I have so enjoyed working with him (he even appreciates my dodgy sense of humour!) and wish him every success and happiness, as he moves on to pastures new. I will miss him a lot, as I’m sure will all his authors. Yep, 2016 has been one rubbish year …

Sé feliz, Greg, y cuídate! x

(I second the above – Greg, you’ll be hugely missed J x)

Many many thanks once again to Nell for a fabulous blogs this year. And thank you to all of you, my lovely readers.

Happy new Year everyone.

Jenny x

 

Happy New Year: A Quiet 2016? Ummm….

Happy New Year 2016

I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas and that 2016 has kicked off for you in fine style.

Last night, as a sipped a delicious glass of Baileys- complete with Maltesers (it has to be tried!); I was seized with the sudden sensation that I hadn’t achieved very much in 2015. Somehow it seemed to arrive and disappear at such speed, that I hardly had time to catch breath, let alone write all the words I intended to.

No sooner had I shared this view with my husband, when I found myself on the receiving end of a look of total disbelief, followed by a brief lecture on the subject on the subject of ‘remember you are only human, there are only 24 hours a day, and you do occasionally have to eat and sleep!’

He has a point. I do have a habit of thinking that whatever I’ve done, however hard I’ve worked, it’s never enough. So, as Big Ben chimed, and the time for New Year Resolutions came, I said (recklessly perhaps) that I would try and be a little kinder to myself work wise this year. We will see…

2015 was, now I think about it, rather busy. The main event was certainly the release of my Cornish romance, Abi’s House. My bestselling novel to date, I have been touched by the number of kind reviews, personal messages of thanks, and encouragement from so many of my readers after it was published last summer.

Abi's House new cover

Of course Abi’s House was actually written in 2014, it was my forthcoming novel, Another Glass of Champagne which took up my writing time in the early part of 2015. The fifth and final instalment in my Another Cup of Coffee range, this full length novel will be out in the summer (probably June), and continues the story of the Pickwicks Coffee House crew, Amy, Jack, Kit, Phil, Megan, Peggy and Scott.

I’ve loved every minute of writing my ACOC series, and even though I still have the pre-publish edits to do, I’m already bracing myself for how much I’m going to miss writing about Peggy and the gang. Since Another Cup of Coffee came out, I’ve written a Pickwicks story every year since, including Christmas at the Castle, which came out last November.

Christmas at the Castle

So, now I think about it- in 2015 I wrote one novel (Another Glass of Champagne), edited another (Abi’s House), and wrote a novella (Christmas at the Castle). Then, of course, there was the publication of my children’s picture book, Ben’s Biscuit Tin Adventure, my adult books under the pen name of Kay Jaybee, and all the coffee blogs, guest blogs, reviews, articles and- not forgetting- my ‘real’ job.

Title Page

So perhaps I haven’t been quite as slack as I thought over the last 12 months!

So what of the next 12 months? What can I promise you in 2016 as well as Another Glass of Champagne?

You’ll have to wait and see…but I have been plotting the chapter plans for two new novels, a novella, and I have very exciting news to share on top of all that…

OK- it’s looking like I’m going to be breaking that New Year resolution fairly quickly!

Happy New Year!!

Jenny x

Guest Blog from Deborah Carr: Looking Forward to Welcoming 2016

I’m delighted to welcome Deborah Carr, aka Georgina Troy, back to my site today to reflect on a truly non-stop 2015!

Over to you Deborah….

I write under my own name D M Carr (historicals for Green Shutter Books) and also a pseudonym Georgina Troy (my Jersey Scene Series for Accent Press). Writing is an addiction for me and one I can’t imagine ever wanting, or being able, to give up. It’s one activity that you can work hard at for years and still not achieve your ambitions, but it’s also something that you can completely lose yourself in, and seeing your books available to buy online, or in the shops is a joy I’ll never get used to.

D Carr

2015 has seen a few writing changes for me. Firstly, A Jersey Kiss (the first book in my Jersey Scene series) was a finalist in the Joan Hessayon Award for new writers and then I amicably parted ways with my fabulous agent, who represented me as Deborah Carr for three years.

Writing is an activity that rarely runs smoothly. Just when you think you’ve achieved something it doesn’t end up as you had expected it to. For example, my historical novel, Broken Faces beat 7,000 other entrants to be a runner-up in the Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition 2012, the book then received a Special Commendation from the Harry Bowling Prize, and then as if that wasn’t exciting enough, Luigi Bonomi, one of the judges of the Good Housekeeping competition asked to see the full manuscript and then offered to represent me. 2012 was an amazing year and I thought 2013 would be ‘my year’ – it was a good year but not in ways I’d expected. Luigi was wonderful and when Broken Faces almost, but not quite found a home with a publisher, I then wrote two psychological thrillers for him. Both were well received, but didn’t get taken up.

A Jersey Dreamboat

I then concentrated on my contemporary romances – The Jersey Scene series – which are based in Jersey but also Sorrento, South of France and Vietnam. This series is published by Accent Press with book 4, A Jersey Bombshell coming out next April. So, in 2013 I saw my first two books for sale online and in local book shops, then I signed a contract with Accent Press in 2014 for four books in the series and 2015 saw the third book in the series being published.

Still though, Broken Faces was languishing in the ether and having spent six years promoting other authors as deputy editor for Novelicious.com looking after the Alternative Thursday posts, interviews, reviews, etc, I decided I needed to step back and rethink my writing career. So Luigi and I parted ways, amicably, and for the time being I’m just reviewing and contributing for Novelicious – because they are the greatest team ever. This month my debut novel as D M Carr (me), Broken Faces, was published by Green Shutter Books. To finally see a book that’s so close to my heart finally published is a dream come true.

I’m excited to welcome 2016. I’ve already been contacted about three exciting events during the year, but none that I can share with you, just yet. All I know is that whatever happens I’ll keep on writing and loving it. Perseverance is the key when it comes to writing and I’m nothing if not persistent.

Happy 2016 everyone!

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Georgina Troy -Headshot
Twitter:
@DebsCarr
@GeorginaTroy
Facebook:
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Many thanks for a great blog Deborah, I wish you a very productive and happy 2016,
Happy reading everyone,
Jenny x

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