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

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Read an extract from A Cornish Escape

Life is as hectic as ever over in the cafe corner- so much so that I’ve been neglecting my blog a little lately.

While I zip around editing novels and preparing for my daughter to head off to uni, I thought I’d leave a little something from A Cornish Escape for you to read. 

 

Blurb

Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Phillipa Ashley and Cathy Bramley, this summer romance is sure to warm your heart.

Abi’s life is turned upside down when she is widowed before her thirtieth birthday. Determined to find something positive in the upheaval, Abi decides to make a fresh start somewhere new. With fond childhood memories of holidays in a Cornish cottage, could Cornwall be the place to start over?

With all her belongings in the boot of her car but no real plan, a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Max soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams but things aren’t as simple as Abi hoped.

Can Abi leave her past behind and finally get her happy ending?

(Previously published as Abi’s House)

Chapter One

It was the muffins that had been the last straw. As Abi sat nursing a glass of wine, she thought back to the events of an hour earlier with an exasperated sigh.

Hurrying towards the church hall, Abi parked Luke’s unnecessarily large and ostentatious Porsche 4×4, and headed inside with a stack of Tupperware tubs in her arms. With her handbag slung over her shoulder and her key fob hanging from her teeth, Abi precariously balanced her load as she elbowed the hall door open.

Although she was twenty minutes early, Abi had still managed to be the last to arrive, earning her a silent ‘tut’ from some of the executive wives who were adding the finishing touches to the tables that surrounded three sides of the hall, and sympathetic grimaces from everyone else.

Acting as though she hadn’t noticed the air of disapproval, Abi made a beeline for the cake stall and plastered her best ‘this is for charity so be happy’ expression on her face. Polly Chester-Davies, an exquisitely dressed woman whom Abi always thought of as ‘Perfect Polly’, was adding doilies to plates, making the stall look as though it was stuck in a timewarp.

‘Ah, there you are, Mrs Carter, I’d given you up.’

Biting back the desire to tell Polly she’d been working, and was in fact early anyway, Abi began to unpack her wares, ‘Here you go, two dozen chocolate muffins without frosting, and two dozen with frosting, as requested.’

Polly said nothing, but her imperious stare moved rather pointedly from Abi’s face to the chocolate muffins already in position on the table, and back again.

Her disdainful expression made Abi mumble, ‘Are you expecting to sell lots of chocolate muffins today then?’

‘No, Mrs Carter, I am not. Which is precisely why you were instructed to make chococcino muffins.’

It had been that ‘instructed’ which did it. In that moment Abi felt an overwhelming hit of resentment for every one of the orders she had gracefully accepted from this Stepford harridan of the community.

For almost three years Abi had been doing what this woman asked of her, and never once had she said thank you, or commented on how nice Abi’s cooking was. Probably, Abi thought as she compared her own muffins with those provided by Perfect Polly herself, because mine don’t look like they could pull your fillings out. Nor had any reference ever been made to the fact that she would have to catch up on her own work in the evenings, after helping out with whichever good cause she’d been emotionally blackmailed into supporting this time. Not that Abi was against supporting a good cause, but this was different. These women didn’t raise funds for whichever charity was flavour of the month out of the goodness of their hearts. They did it because it was what they should be seen to be doing. It went hand in bespoke glove with being the wife of a successful man…

Available as a paperback or in eBook format, you can buy your copy of The Cornish Escape from all good book retailers, including

Amazon UK 

Amazon.com 

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

Robin Hood and The Outlaw’s Ransom

With Outlaws Justice – the fourth book in The Folville Chronicles – in the final stages of editing, I thought it would be the perfect time to look back at the beginning of my historical crime/adventure/romance series.

The Outlaw’s Ransom was my very first title under the name of Jennifer Ash.

Blurb

The first in an exciting new series by acclaimed author Jenny Kane writing as Jennifer Ash.

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

Mathilda must prove her worth to the Folvilles in order to win her freedom. To do so she must go against her instincts and, disguised as the paramour of the enigmatic Robert de Folville, undertake a mission that will take her far from home and put her life in the hands of a dangerous brigand – and that’s just the start of things…

The Outlaw’s Ransom (which originally saw life as part of my contemporary fiction/medieval mystery timeslip novel, Romancing Robin Hood), is a book that’s very close to my heart.  Anyone who follows this blog will know that it is my love of all things Robin Hood which led to me researching the real life criminal gang, the Folville brothers, and considering how they might have been influenced by the outlaw ballads that would have been circulating at the time.

It was interesting to be able to give, what I imagine, the Folville family’s perspective on the Robin Hood stories might be.

rh-and-the-monk

Extract

…Eustace de Folville continued, ‘You know something of us, Mathilda, from living in these parts. And, I have no doubt, my dear brother has explained to you our beliefs on maintaining our lands and beyond, keeping a weather eye on the dealings of all men in this hundred.’

Mathilda bit her tongue in an effort to remain demurely mute, trying to concentrate on what Eustace was saying and not on the unknown fate of her younger brother.

‘He has also, I believe, told you of his fascination with stories,’ Eustace gave Robert a blunt stare; leaving Mathilda to wonder whether it was his brother’s passion for the minstrels’ tales, or the fact he’d shared that belief and interest with a mere chattel, that Eustace disapproved of.

‘The balladeers have become obsessed of late with the injustices of this land. Often rightly so. Naturally the fabled Robyn Hode has become a hero. An ordinary man who breaks the law, and yet somehow remains good and faithful in the eyes of the Church, is bound to be favoured. In years past such a character’s popularity would have been unthinkable, but these days, well …’

Eustace began to pace in front of the fire, reminding Mathilda of how his brother had moved earlier, ‘Now we are empowered by the young King, the Earl of Huntingdon, and Sheriff Ingram, to keep these lands safe and well run, and by God and Our Lady we’ll do it, even if we have to sweep some capricious damned souls to an earlier hell than they were expecting along the way.’

Eustace was shouting now, but not at her. His voice had adopted a hectoring passion, and Mathilda resolved that she would never willingly disappoint this man; it would be too dangerous.

‘Many of the complaints of crimes and infringements that reach my family’s ears are not accurate. Far more felonies are alleged out of spite or personal grievance than are ever actually committed. We require more eyes and ears, girl. Accurate, unbiased eyes and ears.

‘The sheriff of this county is not a bad man. No worse than the rest anyway; but Ingram is sorely stretched. He has not only this shire, but Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire within his writ. The man cannot be everywhere at once. No man can.

‘We are believed to have a band of criminals under our control, Mathilda. This is not true. I’m no Hode, although I am lucky to have the respect of the immediate population, and although I know that respect is because they go in fear of me, I’d rather have that than no respect at all. Hode’s principles I embrace, as I do other outlaw heroes’ who have flouted a law more corrupt than they are. Those such as Gamelyn can give a man a good example to follow. What was it he declared, Robert, to the Justice at his false trial?’

Moving into the light of the table, Robert thought for a second before reeling off a verse he’d probably known by heart since childhood, ‘Come from the seat of justice: all too oft Hast thou polluted law’s clear stream with wrong; Too oft hast taken reward against the poor; Too oft hast lent thine aid to villainy, And given judgment ’gainst the innocent. Come down and meet thine own meed at the bar, While I, in thy place, give more rightful doom And see that justice dwells in law for once.’

Eustace nodded to his brother, who’d already shrunk back into the shadows of the nearest wall, ‘I do not have such a band at my beck and call, Mathilda. When I need help I have to pay for it.’

***

The values that – in my mind at least- the Folville brothers see in the stories of Robin Hood form an important undying theme to this tale- and to Mathilda of Twyford they will make the difference between life and death.

lytell-geste

If you’d like to read my first medieval mystery, then The Outlaw’s Ransom is available in the UK for your Kindle here –

https://jennykane.co.uk/historical-fiction/the-outlaws-ransom/ 

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer (aka Jenny!!) xx

 

Opening Lines : A Cornish Escape is OUT NOW!

I’m delighted to announce that A Cornish Escape, is OUT NOW!!

To celebrate, I’m sharing my own Opening Lines this week.

So, sit back and enjoy the first 500 words of my Cornish romance…

Blurb

Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Phillipa Ashley and Cathy Bramley, this summer romance is sure to warm your heart.

Abi’s life is turned upside down when she is widowed before her thirtieth birthday. Determined to find something positive in the upheaval, Abi decides to make a fresh start somewhere new. With fond childhood memories of holidays in a Cornish cottage, could Cornwall be the place to start over?

With all her belongings in the boot of her car but no real plan, a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Max soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams but things aren’t as simple as Abi hoped.

Can Abi leave her past behind and finally get her happy ending?

(Previously published as Abi’s House)

First 500 words

It was the muffins that had been the last straw. As Abi sat nursing a glass of wine, she thought back to the events of an hour earlier with an exasperated sigh.

Hurrying towards the church hall, Abi parked Luke’s unnecessarily large and ostentatious Porsche 4×4, and headed inside with a stack of Tupperware tubs in her arms. With her handbag slung over her shoulder and her key fob hanging from her teeth, Abi precariously balanced her load as she elbowed the hall door open.

Although she was twenty minutes early, Abi had still managed to be the last to arrive, earning her a silent ‘tut’ from some of the executive wives who were adding the finishing touches to the tables that surrounded three sides of the hall, and sympathetic grimaces from everyone else.

Acting as though she hadn’t noticed the air of disapproval, Abi made a beeline for the cake stall and plastered her best ‘this is for charity so be happy’ expression on her face. Polly Chester-Davies, an exquisitely dressed woman whom Abi always thought of as ‘Perfect Polly’, was adding doilies to plates, making the stall look as though it was stuck in a timewarp.

‘Ah, there you are, Mrs Carter, I’d given you up.’

Biting back the desire to tell Polly she’d been working, and was in fact early anyway, Abi began to unpack her wares, ‘Here you go, two dozen chocolate muffins without frosting, and two dozen with frosting, as requested.’

Polly said nothing, but her imperious stare moved rather pointedly from Abi’s face to the chocolate muffins already in position on the table, and back again.

Her disdainful expression made Abi mumble, ‘Are you expecting to sell lots of chocolate muffins today then?’

‘No, Mrs Carter, I am not. Which is precisely why you were instructed to make chococcino muffins.’

It had been that ‘instructed’ which did it. In that moment Abi felt an overwhelming hit of resentment for every one of the orders she had gracefully accepted from this Stepford harridan of the community.

For almost three years Abi had been doing what this woman asked of her, and never once had she said thank you, or commented on how nice Abi’s cooking was. Probably, Abi thought as she compared her own muffins with those provided by Perfect Polly herself, because mine don’t look like they could pull your fillings out. Nor had any reference ever been made to the fact that she would have to catch up on her own work in the evenings, after helping out with whichever good cause she’d been emotionally blackmailed into supporting this time. Not that Abi was against supporting a good cause, but this was different. These women didn’t raise funds for whichever charity was flavour of the month out of the goodness of their hearts. They did it because it was what they should be seen to be doing. It went hand in bespoke glove with being the wife of a successful man in the…

Available as a paperback or in eBook format, you can buy your copy of The Cornish Escape from all good book retailers, including

Amazon UK 

Amazon.com 

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

Pre-order News : A Cornish Escape

I’m delighted to announce that A Cornish Escape, is available for pre-order!

Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Phillipa Ashley and Cathy Bramley, this summer romance is sure to warm your heart.

Abi’s life is turned upside down when she is widowed before her thirtieth birthday. Determined to find something positive in the upheaval, Abi decides to make a fresh start somewhere new. With fond childhood memories of holidays in a Cornish cottage, could Cornwall be the place to start over?

With all her belongings in the boot of her car but no real plan, a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Max soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams but things aren’t as simple as Abi hoped.

Can Abi leave her past behind and finally get her happy ending?

(Previously published as Abi’s House)

Available as a paperback or in eBook format, you can pre-order your copy of The Cornish Escape from all good book retailers, including

Amazon UK 

Amazon.com 

Happy pre-ordering,

Jenny xx

Robin Hood and The Outlaw’s Ransom

The Outlaw’s Ransom was my very first title under the name of Jennifer Ash.

Blurb

The first in an exciting new series by acclaimed author Jenny Kane writing as Jennifer Ash.

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

Mathilda must prove her worth to the Folvilles in order to win her freedom. To do so she must go against her instincts and, disguised as the paramour of the enigmatic Robert de Folville, undertake a mission that will take her far from home and put her life in the hands of a dangerous brigand – and that’s just the start of things…

The Outlaw’s Ransom (which originally saw life as part of my contemporary fiction/medieval mystery timeslip novel, Romancing Robin Hood), is a book that’s very close to my heart.  Anyone who follows this blog will know that it is my love of all things Robin Hood which led to me researching the real life criminal gang, the Folville brothers, and considering how they might have been influenced by the outlaw ballads that would have been circulating at the time.

It was interesting to be able to give, what I imagine, the Folville family’s perspective on the Robin Hood stories might be.

rh-and-the-monk

Extract

…Eustace de Folville continued, ‘You know something of us, Mathilda, from living in these parts. And, I have no doubt, my dear brother has explained to you our beliefs on maintaining our lands and beyond, keeping a weather eye on the dealings of all men in this hundred.’

Mathilda bit her tongue in an effort to remain demurely mute, trying to concentrate on what Eustace was saying and not on the unknown fate of her younger brother.

‘He has also, I believe, told you of his fascination with stories,’ Eustace gave Robert a blunt stare; leaving Mathilda to wonder whether it was his brother’s passion for the minstrels’ tales, or the fact he’d shared that belief and interest with a mere chattel, that Eustace disapproved of.

‘The balladeers have become obsessed of late with the injustices of this land. Often rightly so. Naturally the fabled Robyn Hode has become a hero. An ordinary man who breaks the law, and yet somehow remains good and faithful in the eyes of the Church, is bound to be favoured. In years past such a character’s popularity would have been unthinkable, but these days, well …’

Eustace began to pace in front of the fire, reminding Mathilda of how his brother had moved earlier, ‘Now we are empowered by the young King, the Earl of Huntingdon, and Sheriff Ingram, to keep these lands safe and well run, and by God and Our Lady we’ll do it, even if we have to sweep some capricious damned souls to an earlier hell than they were expecting along the way.’

Eustace was shouting now, but not at her. His voice had adopted a hectoring passion, and Mathilda resolved that she would never willingly disappoint this man; it would be too dangerous.

‘Many of the complaints of crimes and infringements that reach my family’s ears are not accurate. Far more felonies are alleged out of spite or personal grievance than are ever actually committed. We require more eyes and ears, girl. Accurate, unbiased eyes and ears.

‘The sheriff of this county is not a bad man. No worse than the rest anyway; but Ingram is sorely stretched. He has not only this shire, but Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire within his writ. The man cannot be everywhere at once. No man can.

‘We are believed to have a band of criminals under our control, Mathilda. This is not true. I’m no Hode, although I am lucky to have the respect of the immediate population, and although I know that respect is because they go in fear of me, I’d rather have that than no respect at all. Hode’s principles I embrace, as I do other outlaw heroes’ who have flouted a law more corrupt than they are. Those such as Gamelyn can give a man a good example to follow. What was it he declared, Robert, to the Justice at his false trial?’

Moving into the light of the table, Robert thought for a second before reeling off a verse he’d probably known by heart since childhood, ‘Come from the seat of justice: all too oft Hast thou polluted law’s clear stream with wrong; Too oft hast taken reward against the poor; Too oft hast lent thine aid to villainy, And given judgment ’gainst the innocent. Come down and meet thine own meed at the bar, While I, in thy place, give more rightful doom And see that justice dwells in law for once.’

Eustace nodded to his brother, who’d already shrunk back into the shadows of the nearest wall, ‘I do not have such a band at my beck and call, Mathilda. When I need help I have to pay for it.’

***

The values that – in my mind at least- the Folville brothers see in the stories of Robin Hood form an important undying theme to this tale- and to Mathilda of Twyford they will make the difference between life and death.

lytell-geste

If you’d like to read my first medieval mystery, then The Outlaw’s Ransom is available in the UK for your Kindle here –

https://jennykane.co.uk/historical-fiction/the-outlaws-ransom/ 

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer (aka Jenny!!) xx

 

Tom Williams: When I was looking for a hero for a new series of books…

I’m welcoming Tom Williams back to my blog today- and in turn- he is welcoming James Burke…

Over to you Tom…

When I was looking for a hero for a new series of books, I asked friends for suggestions. One of these was an Alaskan writer who I had met dancing tango in Buenos Aires, as you do. She said that I should look amongst the European adventurers who lived in South America around the time that they were fighting for independence from Spain.

Jocelyn’s advice (thank you, Jocelyn) was a while ago now, and I can’t remember quite how I started to follow it, but I read a lot of books about 19th century South America until I came across the name of James Burke.

Burke was a spy for the British who had prepared the way for the British invasion of Buenos Aires in 1806. (Yes, I had no idea either.) He sounded an interesting fellow, so I went to find out more about him – and discovered that, although there were stories in Spanish, there was hardly anything about him in English. The one paper I found was in an Anglo-Irish journal (Burke was Irish) not widely available in England. Even the British Library had lost their copy and had to send out for one specially.

It turned out that Burke was quite an exciting character. He had fought in Haiti and travelled widely in South America and Europe. His name was linked (nudge, nudge) with the queen of Spain, a princess in Brazil and the Viceroy’s mistress in Buenos Aires. Honestly, the first book about him (Burke in the Land of Silver, now available from Endeavour Press) practically wrote itself.

Oscar – the head gaucho

I needed to do some more research, of course, and that took me back to Argentina and an unforgettable day galloping across the pampas with the gauchos as they lassoed cattle to check their health. (We were with a Scottish cattle farmer, who said that his father did much the same thing, but with pickup trucks and no lasso, which seemed much less romantic.)

I followed Burke’s footsteps on horseback through the snows of the Andes, too, with a couple of nights in an unheated stone hut at 3000 metres, which was, in its own way, even more unforgettable.

 

Burke in the Land of Silver is a tale of devious plots, thrilling fights, wicked women and a villain all the more deliciously evil for being a real historical character. Buckles are swashed and bodices are ripped. I had huge fun writing it and I hope you’ll have fun reading it. And at the end, you will find you have painlessly acquired a basic understanding of Spain’s role in the Napoleonic Wars and some of the early history of Argentina, a country I have grown to love.

No one is quite sure what Burke did after Buenos Aires, but his name remained on the Army list well after the wars with Napoleon were over. I’ve written five books about him now, three to be published over the next few weeks and the remaining two to come out later, if book piracy leaves me with enough sales to justify them. (I so wish I was exaggerating the problem there, but I’m not.) The stories that follow Burke in the Land of Silver are entirely fictional, but the historical background to each one is all too real. The wars with France were horribly bloody, wreaking havoc with the economies of every country in Europe. But in all the chaos and bloodshed, there genuinely were stories of derring-do and adventure, and I tried to capture some of that excitement in the James Burke series.

***

Buy Links-

‘Burke and the Bedouin’ – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B078PKKNBD

Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomWilliams/

Twitter – @TomCW99.

Blog- https://thewhiterajah.blogspot.co.uk/.

***

Bio

Have you ever noticed how many authors are described as ‘reclusive’? I have a lot of sympathy for them. My feeling is that authors generally like to hide at home with their laptops or their quill pens and write stuff. If they enjoyed being in the public eye, they’d be stand-up comics or pop stars.

Nowadays, though, writers are told that their audiences want to be able to relate to them as people. I’m not entirely sure about that. If you knew me, you might not want to relate to me at all. But here in hyperspace I apparently have to tell you that I’m young and good looking and live somewhere exciting with a beautiful partner, a son who is a brain surgeon and a daughter who is a swimwear model. Then you’ll buy my book.

Unfortunately, that’s not quite true. I’m older than you can possibly imagine. (Certainly older than I ever imagined until I suddenly woke up and realised that age had snuck up on me.) I live in Richmond, which is nice and on the outskirts of London which is a truly amazing city to live in. My wife is beautiful but, more importantly, she’s a lawyer, which is handy because a household with a writer in it always needs someone who can earn decent money. My son has left home and we never got round to the daughter.

We did have a ferret, which I thought would be an appropriately writer sort of thing to have around but he  eventually got even older than me (in ferret years) and died. I’d try to say something snappy and amusing about that but we loved that ferret and snappy and amusing doesn’t quite cut it.

I street skate and ski and can dance a mean Argentine tango. I’ve spent a lot of my life writing very boring things for money (unless you’re in Customer Care, in which case ‘Dealing With Customer Complaints’ is really, really interesting). Now I’m writing for fun.

If you all buy my books, I’ll be able to finish the next ones and I’ll never have to write for the insurance industry again and that will be a good thing, yes? So you’ll not only get to read a brilliant novel but your karmic balance will move rapidly into credit.

Can I go back to being reclusive now?

***

Many thanks Tom. Good luck with your novels.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Guest blog from Richard Dee: What is Steampunk anyway?

It’s my pleasure to invite friend, fellow author, and member of the Exeter Author Association, Richard Dee to my site today. Richard’s latest book, A New Life in Ventis is available on pre-order now!

Over to you Richard…

Thanks Jenny for the invitation, now a few of you might be wondering what a Steampunk author is doing here, plugging his next work. Aren’t we straying a little off-piste?

And what is Steampunk anyway?

There are many interpretations of the genre, here’s mine.

Picture a world, a world without oil, without electricity. Imagine a place where the steam engine is King, driving vehicles and industry. Where portable power is provided by clockwork engines; powered by coiled springs. It’s conventional to depict this world as Victorian, because it gives us a reference point, it’s the nearest we can get in our experience. And let’s be honest; the costumes are pretty cool too!

But when you think about it, if oil and electricity had not been utilised in our society, where would our Victorian’s be today? Could we have vast aircraft, with jet engines powered by coal gas? Could we have clockwork computers, printing onto paper? Or mechanically driven moving picture shows? Of course we could, and so much more.

Who knows what else might have been invented by necessity? And what are the limits of the technology? Might the world even be a better place?

That’s an awful lot of questions in two paragraphs.

So you could say that a Steampunk world is really just a different us. Even though I called my Country Norlandia, it could just as easily be an England that went in a different direction. And as it’s us, the people in my world are no different to the people in Jenny’s or anyone else’s stories. They have the same emotions, the same vices and the same tales to tell.

My fictional world of Norlandia and the stories set there have romance, corruption, revenge, heroes, villains and all the other elements of any adventure, the only difference is that they are set against the background of smoking chimneys, coal dust and the whirring gears of fantastic machines. The technology is a character, not the main event. In the same way as a village or a beach, or even, dare I say it, a coffee shop?

Once I started creating the world, I realised that I could adapt a lot of what we have today and invent new ways to make it work differently. By keeping it practical and useful but just slightly ‘not the way it’s done here’ it enhances the difference in the setting. Things like the gas powered jet engine, it’s perfectly possible but not quite how we do it. And you can also have fun creating those little bits of back story that give the place its atmosphere, like the suggestion of myth and magic in exotic foreign lands, the novelty of Cofé and how the lack of instant communication makes people behave differently.

Anyway, if you wanted to learn the intricacies of Fantasy World building you wouldn’t be here, I’ll get back to the story.

A New Life in Ventis, the novel I came here to tell you about, is the second one that I have set in Norlandia. It follows the further adventures of Horis Strongman, an ordinary person who finds himself thrust into extraordinary circumstances. He’s a city boy, naive and out of place in the country. Luckily he finds a feisty sidekick in Grace, and then there’s his new friend Maloney, an ex-soldier with a mechanical arm and a dislike of authority, to keep him safe and on track.

In the first book, The Rocks of Aserol, published in 2016, Horis is the unwitting pawn in a conspiracy. Sent to be the expendable minion, he discovers a secret, falls in love and is rescued from the fate his unscrupulous superiors intended. He sets off to make things right.

A reviewer commented: – There’s something of a ripping yarn about this excellent tale of adventure. False accusations, discoveries kept secret, villains who murder to get their way, and the whiff of requited love – it’s all here in this classic steampunk saga.

That story was complete, or so I thought, I moved on to other projects. Then I started getting requests to continue the adventures from readers. One said, so, what becomes of the hero? All I’ll say is, the story does have an end but there are still questions unanswered. I think Mr Dee would disappoint quite a few readers if he didn’t come up with a sequel – or better still – a series.

And another commented, I absolutely adored it but the ending!!!!!!  What’s going to happen next? Please tell me you’ve written a sequel.

Seeing those remarks made me wonder, what could happen next? I knew that I had to continue the story; A New Life in Ventis was the result.

In the second book Horis experiences the joy of reunion, he discovers that the bad guys are still out to get him and will stop at nothing in their pursuit. He also learns…, well that would be telling.

Here’s what one of my fantastic team of beta readers said: – “A New Life in Ventis took off with a bang, and kept up the tempo throughout the entire story. Overall, it is another excellent book!”

And, if my editor is to be believed, there needs to be a third part to the tale as well. There are certainly enough possibilities, enough machines and fiendish adversaries to justify many more adventures for Horis, Grace and Maloney. And who knows, maybe Horis will find the quiet life he craves.

We will have to see what happens; the creation of the world so far has already resulted in an alarming amount of research and invention. Sufficient to make a book of short stories, Tales from Norlandia, which; incidentally, is now available exclusively from my website.

Here’s a chapter from A New Life in Ventis to give you a flavour of the story.

In the Provincial Hotel, Asero

Sayrah Faith was unused to flattery. So that when the stranger leant over the reception desk in the Provincial Hotel and complimented her on her appearance; she was unsure just how to reply. Flustered, she put her hand to the side of her head, patting her tightly wound hair.

“Oh sir, you should not,” she answered breathlessly, unaware that her normally well-hidden feminine instincts had made her react in the same way as the girls she considered ‘flighty’. The cheap novels she read so avidly described such situations as this, but she had never been part of one herself. She found that she quite liked the sensation it produced. It was just as the novels had described it.

“How may I help you?” she asked, attempting to strike the sort of pose that ‘heroines’ did. In her bone corset and tight gown and with her stomach sucked in she found the posture uncomfortable. Still, she reasoned, it might be worth holding it for a while longer.

“I’m looking for a room,” the man replied. Sayrah was on safer ground here. She pulled the pencil from behind her ear and automatically licked the point. Then she thought that perhaps she should not have done, as the man’s eyes widened. Flustered again she opened the ledger and ran her finger down the page.

“We have a single available,” she began but the man shook his head.

“Oh no, a double room for me,” he said. “I may be on my own but I do prefer comfort, a single bed leaves me no room to spread myself, don’t you agree?”

He was tall and thin, with a heavy moustache and side whiskers yet had an air of mystery and excitement about him. Sayrah was unworldly; in her mind she could hear her mother’s voice. ‘Double beds are only for marriage and the worst kind of adventures,’ she had used to say. Sayrah had never been a party to these ‘adventures’ and although she was aware of their nature had never been in a position to experience them. In her life thus far, men had treated her at best with indifference, it was because of her plainness and larger body she was sure, but this man had a twinkle in his eye and a kind face. Perhaps he was what the novels referred to as ‘the one’.

“I couldn’t say,” she blurted, then realised that wasn’t the right answer for a worldly wise woman to give. She blushed but the man never noticed.

“Now, my dear,” the man continued, “where might I get a good meal tonight with pleasant ambience? I know,” he added, “perhaps you could accompany me, I wish to know all about Aserol and I’m sure we might have an enjoyable time.”

Maloney was sat in the porter’s office, close to the desk, reading a news-sheet, his ears pricked up at the conversation. Sayrah was unable to hear the insincerity in the stranger’s voice and he did not like to think of her being gulled by a stranger. And there was another possibility; this may be an attempt to elicit information about Horis and Grace.

Since he had returned to work, Maloney had been alert, waiting for such a moment, he had no doubt that Terrance would seek Horis and Grace out for revenge and he wondered if this was just the start of things. Sayrah was an easy target for an unscrupulous agent after all. He merely needed to flatter her and she would be his. Maloney put down his sheet and crossed to the door, to better hear what else transpired.

“There is an excellent eatery on the sea promenade,” Sayrah said, she had never tried it but had longed to. As she walked alone some nights she had looked through the windows at the couples inside and wished herself there, in happy communion with ‘the one’. Pride would not allow her to go alone, perhaps tonight might be her chance to sample its fare. “It is called the Icthyus.”

“After the piscorae,” said the man. “Very well, I will call by speaker and arrange a table, is eight of the clock suitable for you?”

“Why yes,” said Sayrah. “I will be delighted to accept.”

“Good,” said the man. “Where is your speaker booth? I will set the wheels in motion.”

Maloney’s office was between the desk and the speaker room; he busied himself as the man passed then went to the other wall and listened carefully. He could hear the man on the speaker as he called the operator. But instead of asking for the eatery, he heard him ask for a number in Bingham. That was a town halfway to Metropol City. That alone served to warn him that his suspicions might be well founded.

The connection was made. “I am in Aserol,” he said, “with good news. Already I have a possible source of information; about one of the persons you wish me to find.”

There was a space while the other party replied, Maloney could not hear the words but guessed that the man was speaking to Terrance, or perhaps some representative of the government.

The man suddenly laughed.

“Some old spinster at the hotel where I suspect the three met. I think that the two were employees and your man was the guest. I’ve turned on my considerable charm and I have the lady eating from my hand. I will try to get more information from her tonight.”

There was silence as the other person spoke. The man laughed again. “If I must, if there is no other way,” he said. “But I would rather not; hopefully she will tell me before I have to do that.”

Again there was the silence. “Very well,” the man said. “I will report to you again at this time tomorrow, assuming that I survive the night.” Maloney heard the click as the call ended, then the noises as a second call was quickly made and a table at the eatery was booked.

Maloney stretched and straightened, peering through his door he saw the man speaking to Sayrah; no doubt he was confirming their meeting.

The bell rang. “Porter,” called Sayrah, “there are bags to take up.”

~~~~

A New Life in Ventis will be released on November 1st 2018 as an eBook and paperback.

You can find more about Norlandia and The Rocks of Aserol at richarddeescifi.co.uk/rocks

Tales from Norlandia is available as an eBook at richarddeescifi.co.uk/shop 

***

Many thanks for dropping by today Richard, and for sharing such a great story. Good luck with your new release!

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

The Outlaw’s Ransom: Extract

outlaws-ransom-5-star

This winter sees the release of the follow up novel to The Outlaw’s Ransom,;The Winter Outlaw– in the meantime, here’s a reminder of what happens in The Outlaw’s Ransom…

Blurb

The first in an exciting new series by acclaimed author Jenny Kane writing as Jennifer Ash.

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

Mathilda must prove her worth to the Folvilles in order to win her freedom. To do so she must go against her instincts and, disguised as the paramour of the enigmatic Robert de Folville, undertake a mission that will take her far from home and put her life in the hands of a dangerous brigand – and that’s just the start of things…

A thrilling tale of medieval mystery and romance – and with a nod to the tales of Robin Hood – The Outlaw’s Ransom is perfect for fans of C.J. Sansom and Jean Plaidy.

The Outlaw's RansomThe Outlaw’s Ransom (which originally saw life as part of my contemporary fiction/medieval mystery timeslip novel, Romancing Robin Hood), is a book that’s very close to my heart.  Anyone who follows this blog will know that it is my love of all things Robin Hood which led to me researching the real life criminal gang, the Folville brothers, and considering how they might have been influenced by the outlaw ballads that would have been circulating at the time.

It was interesting to be able to give, what I imagine, the Folville family’s perspective on the Robin Hood stories might be.

rh-and-the-monk

Extract

…Eustace de Folville continued, ‘You know something of us, Mathilda, from living in these parts. And, I have no doubt, my dear brother has explained to you our beliefs on maintaining our lands and beyond, keeping a weather eye on the dealings of all men in this hundred.’

Mathilda bit her tongue in an effort to remain demurely mute, trying to concentrate on what Eustace was saying and not on the unknown fate of her younger brother.

‘He has also, I believe, told you of his fascination with stories,’ Eustace gave Robert a blunt stare; leaving Mathilda to wonder whether it was his brother’s passion for the minstrels’ tales, or the fact he’d shared that belief and interest with a mere chattel, that Eustace disapproved of.

‘The balladeers have become obsessed of late with the injustices of this land. Often rightly so. Naturally the fabled Robyn Hode has become a hero. An ordinary man who breaks the law, and yet somehow remains good and faithful in the eyes of the Church, is bound to be favoured. In years past such a character’s popularity would have been unthinkable, but these days, well …’

Eustace began to pace in front of the fire, reminding Mathilda of how his brother had moved earlier, ‘Now we are empowered by the young King, the Earl of Huntingdon, and Sheriff Ingram, to keep these lands safe and well run, and by God and Our Lady we’ll do it, even if we have to sweep some capricious damned souls to an earlier hell than they were expecting along the way.’

Eustace was shouting now, but not at her. His voice had adopted a hectoring passion, and Mathilda resolved that she would never willingly disappoint this man; it would be too dangerous.

‘Many of the complaints of crimes and infringements that reach my family’s ears are not accurate. Far more felonies are alleged out of spite or personal grievance than are ever actually committed. We require more eyes and ears, girl. Accurate, unbiased eyes and ears.

‘The sheriff of this county is not a bad man. No worse than the rest anyway; but Ingram is sorely stretched. He has not only this shire, but Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire within his writ. The man cannot be everywhere at once. No man can.

‘We are believed to have a band of criminals under our control, Mathilda. This is not true. I’m no Hode, although I am lucky to have the respect of the immediate population, and although I know that respect is because they go in fear of me, I’d rather have that than no respect at all. Hode’s principles I embrace, as I do other outlaw heroes’ who have flouted a law more corrupt than they are. Those such as Gamelyn can give a man a good example to follow. What was it he declared, Robert, to the Justice at his false trial?’

Moving into the light of the table, Robert thought for a second before reeling off a verse he’d probably known by heart since childhood, ‘Come from the seat of justice: all too oft Hast thou polluted law’s clear stream with wrong; Too oft hast taken reward against the poor; Too oft hast lent thine aid to villainy, And given judgment ’gainst the innocent. Come down and meet thine own meed at the bar, While I, in thy place, give more rightful doom And see that justice dwells in law for once.’

Eustace nodded to his brother, who’d already shrunk back into the shadows of the nearest wall, ‘I do not have such a band at my beck and call, Mathilda. When I need help I have to pay for it.’

***

The values that – in my mind at least- the Folville brothers see in the stories of Robin Hood form an important undying theme to this tale- and to Mathilda of Twyford they will make the difference between life and death…

lytell-geste

If you’d like to read my first medieval mystery, then The Outlaw’s Ransom is available for your Kindle here –

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outlaws-Ransom-Jennifer-Ash-ebook/dp/B01LZDKPQM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1475660907&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Outlaw%27s+Ransom+Jennifer+Ash

https://www.amazon.com/Outlaws-Ransom-Jennifer-Ash-ebook/dp/B01LZDKPQM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475660990&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Outlaw%27s+Ransom+Jennifer+Ash

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer (aka Jenny!!) xx

 

OUT NOW! Abi’s Neighbour

My second Cornish novel of friendship, romance, fun, and cream teas, is OUT TODAY!

Abi’s Neighbour– the follow up to Abi’s House, continues the story of Abi Carter, and her new friends Max, Beth, Jacob, Stan and Sadie the Golden Retriever.

Set in the Penwith area of Cornwall, the sun is shining and the fish and chips have been ordered, ready for Abi’s next big adventure.

BLURB

Abi Carter has finally found happiness. Living in her perfect tin miner’s cottage, she has good friends and a gorgeous boyfriend, Max. Life is good. But all that’s about to change when a new neighbour moves in next door.

Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. Obnoxious and stuck-up, Cassandra hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, it looks like she has her sights set on Max.

But Cassandra has problems of her own. Not only is her wealthy married lawyer putting off joining her in their Cornish love nest, but now someone seems intent on sabotaging her business.

Will Cassandra mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are they destined never to get along?

***

So how am I celebrating today?

Well, obviously I’m starting with a generously sized cup of black coffee…and I was thinking that later I might treat myself to a cream tea. As I’m in Devon however, I’ll have to be a good girl and have it the local way and not the Cornish way – I don’t want to be thrown out of the café after all!

My real celebration will happen tomorrow, when I meet up with my lovely friends from University for a reunion. These are the very special people who influenced (and all appear in) my Another Cup of… series. I can’t think of better folk to help me raise a glass of bubbly to my latest novel.

Next week there will be a blog tour- I will post details in a few days time.

There will be some book events soon as well. I’ll be selling copies of Abi’s Neighbour in Tiverton, Devon on 23rd June as part of the literary festival (time to be confirmed), and I’ll be in Chippenham, Wiltshire, at the library on June 30th. I’ll shout out about both these events very soon!

In the meantime- thank you all for your support! If you lovely folk didn’t buy my books, then I wouldn’t be asked to write any more!

If you’d like to buy Abi’s Neighbour (which can be read as a standalone novel, or after reading Abi’s House), then it is available from all good book shops and online retailers.

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

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

***

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

 

How did the Folville family view Robin Hood?

outlaws-ransom-5-star

The Outlaw’s Ransom is my very first title under the name of Jennifer Ash.

Blurb

The first in an exciting new series by acclaimed author Jenny Kane writing as Jennifer Ash.

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

Mathilda must prove her worth to the Folvilles in order to win her freedom. To do so she must go against her instincts and, disguised as the paramour of the enigmatic Robert de Folville, undertake a mission that will take her far from home and put her life in the hands of a dangerous brigand – and that’s just the start of things…

A thrilling tale of medieval mystery and romance – and with a nod to the tales of Robin Hood – The Outlaw’s Ransom is perfect for fans of C.J. Sansom and Jean Plaidy.

The Outlaw's RansomThe Outlaw’s Ransom (which originally saw life as part of my contemporary fiction/medieval mystery timeslip novel, Romancing Robin Hood), is a book that’s very close to my heart.  Anyone who follows this blog will know that it is my love of all things Robin Hood which led to me researching the real life criminal gang, the Folville brothers, and considering how they might have been influenced by the outlaw ballads that would have been circulating at the time.

It was interesting to be able to give, what I imagine, the Folville family’s perspective on the Robin Hood stories might be.

rh-and-the-monk

Extract

…Eustace de Folville continued, ‘You know something of us, Mathilda, from living in these parts. And, I have no doubt, my dear brother has explained to you our beliefs on maintaining our lands and beyond, keeping a weather eye on the dealings of all men in this hundred.’

Mathilda bit her tongue in an effort to remain demurely mute, trying to concentrate on what Eustace was saying and not on the unknown fate of her younger brother.

‘He has also, I believe, told you of his fascination with stories,’ Eustace gave Robert a blunt stare; leaving Mathilda to wonder whether it was his brother’s passion for the minstrels’ tales, or the fact he’d shared that belief and interest with a mere chattel, that Eustace disapproved of.

‘The balladeers have become obsessed of late with the injustices of this land. Often rightly so. Naturally the fabled Robyn Hode has become a hero. An ordinary man who breaks the law, and yet somehow remains good and faithful in the eyes of the Church, is bound to be favoured. In years past such a character’s popularity would have been unthinkable, but these days, well …’

Eustace began to pace in front of the fire, reminding Mathilda of how his brother had moved earlier, ‘Now we are empowered by the young King, the Earl of Huntingdon, and Sheriff Ingram, to keep these lands safe and well run, and by God and Our Lady we’ll do it, even if we have to sweep some capricious damned souls to an earlier hell than they were expecting along the way.’

Eustace was shouting now, but not at her. His voice had adopted a hectoring passion, and Mathilda resolved that she would never willingly disappoint this man; it would be too dangerous.

‘Many of the complaints of crimes and infringements that reach my family’s ears are not accurate. Far more felonies are alleged out of spite or personal grievance than are ever actually committed. We require more eyes and ears, girl. Accurate, unbiased eyes and ears.

‘The sheriff of this county is not a bad man. No worse than the rest anyway; but Ingram is sorely stretched. He has not only this shire, but Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire within his writ. The man cannot be everywhere at once. No man can.

‘We are believed to have a band of criminals under our control, Mathilda. This is not true. I’m no Hode, although I am lucky to have the respect of the immediate population, and although I know that respect is because they go in fear of me, I’d rather have that than no respect at all. Hode’s principles I embrace, as I do other outlaw heroes’ who have flouted a law more corrupt than they are. Those such as Gamelyn can give a man a good example to follow. What was it he declared, Robert, to the Justice at his false trial?’

Moving into the light of the table, Robert thought for a second before reeling off a verse he’d probably known by heart since childhood, ‘Come from the seat of justice: all too oft Hast thou polluted law’s clear stream with wrong; Too oft hast taken reward against the poor; Too oft hast lent thine aid to villainy, And given judgment ’gainst the innocent. Come down and meet thine own meed at the bar, While I, in thy place, give more rightful doom And see that justice dwells in law for once.’

Eustace nodded to his brother, who’d already shrunk back into the shadows of the nearest wall, ‘I do not have such a band at my beck and call, Mathilda. When I need help I have to pay for it.’

***

The values that – in my mind at least- the Folville brothers see in the stories of Robin Hood form an important undying theme to this tale- and to Mathilda of Twyford they will make the difference between life and death…

lytell-geste

If you’d like to read my first medieval mystery, then The Outlaw’s Ransom is available for your Kindle here –

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outlaws-Ransom-Jennifer-Ash-ebook/dp/B01LZDKPQM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1475660907&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Outlaw%27s+Ransom+Jennifer+Ash

https://www.amazon.com/Outlaws-Ransom-Jennifer-Ash-ebook/dp/B01LZDKPQM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475660990&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Outlaw%27s+Ransom+Jennifer+Ash

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer (aka Jenny!!) xx

 

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