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

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‘Quirky Guest Post Blog Marathon’ by Virginia King: A Banquet of Consequences

I’m delighted to welcome Virginia King to my site. Today she is kicking off her ‘Quirky Guest Post Blog Marathon’ tour, with a wonderful blog- A Banquet of Consequences.

Over to you Virginia…

A Banquet of Consequences 270KB

Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences. – Robert Louis Stevenson

This metaphor is chillingly accurate when it comes to life – each human action is not without its outcomes, foreseen or unforeseen, and often there’s a collision as they all come together with a bang.

It’s the same with the characters in a novel – and the reason I used Stevenson’s quote as the epigraph to my psychological mystery The First Lie.

The First Lie ebook 200 KB

For writers, the process of playing with consequences is delicious. They may plan the outcomes before writing, but serendipity has a way of meddling with plans, or they may allow the consequences to unfold as they write, with all the unpredictability of real life.

The first step is to plant the seed. Movies are very good at this, every moment hinting at an outcome later in the film. These seeds might be:

An action

In the Grimm’s fairy tale Rumplestiltskin a series of consequences befall the young woman after her father tells the King she can spin straw into gold.

In The Secret History by Donna Tartt, the disdain the main character Richard has for his working class background makes him obsess about joining an exclusive coterie of students and lie about his past. Lies are a powerful trigger for consequences. When he’s accepted into this dysfunctional group he becomes implicated in a crime that cascades into a banquet of consequences.

A character trait

In Lawrence of Arabia, the first scene shows Lawrence putting out a lighted match with his bare fingers. When he’s asked if it hurts, he replies that it’s not whether it hurts that matters, it’s minding whether it hurts that counts. This insight into his character is crucial to understanding the last scene in the movie – Lawrence’s ‘banquet’.

Burning Match 75 KB

In Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Amy’s inability to be ‘real’ – after her parents turned her into an effigy of their children’s book character ‘Amazing Amy’ – leads to the chain of consequences that unfold.

An event

In the first scene in Hitchcock’s Vertigo, the police officer played by James Stewart is involved in a roof top pursuit which leaves him with a debilitating fear of heights. The banquet of spiralling consequences throughout the movie result from his affliction.

In one of my favourite books, The Girl in a Swing by Richard Adams, the main character Alan Desland is involved in a psychic experiment as a teenager early in the book, leaving him so shell-shocked that he suppresses his psychic gift into adulthood. But when he falls in love with the enigmatic Karin, escalating psychic clues haunt him until they finally reveal a very dark secret.

An object

Objects can be very powerful, especially in folktales and mythology. In The Lord of the Rings there would be no story and no dramatic consequences without the ring.

In the children’s book Dragonkeeper by Carole Wilkinson, a slave girl and an old dragon set out across China carrying a mysterious stone that must be protected. The stone carries all the consequences of their epic journey.

To Plan or Not to Plan

Sprinkling seeds in a manuscript – and not knowing their outcome in advance – can be serious fun. Some seeds are rich with promise. In The First Lie, my main character Selkie Moon hears a voice in a dream on page one that says: Someone is trying to kill you. I wrote the book not knowing what would happen at the end, but the warning planted the seed and drove Selkie’s journey of discovery. In The Second Path, Selkie wakes to find she’s collected seven objects in her sleep – a rock, a spoon, a message scrawled in lipstick … These objects lead her across the world like the path of crumbs in Hansel and Gretel’s forest. In my mystery-in-progress, a mysterious parcel arrives from Selkie’s great grandmother 35 years after her death … I’m writing my way towards that unpredictable banquet right now. Yum.



The First Lie by Virginia King

Someone is trying to kill you. When Selkie Moon flees Sydney to start over in Hawaii, it’s to live life on her own terms. But Life has other plans. Though she tries to dismiss the warning as just another nightmare, it soon becomes apparent that someone, or something, is stalking her. Attacked by frightening visions and mysterious compulsions, she must piece together the fragmented clues before time runs out. Virginia King effortlessly blends funky creativity and deep spirituality – with a dash of Celtic folklore – to craft a story of one woman’s fight for truth, and her discovery that the lies we tell ourselves are the most dangerous of all.


Laying Ghosts

A Free Ghost Story

Get a taste for consequences with Laying Ghosts, a modern 24-page haunted house story inspired by a Russian folktale and tangled up in a murder ballad dating back to the 1700s. It’s a standalone story but also a prequel to the Selkie Moon Mystery Series. Download your free copy

Giveaway of The First Lie

You could be one of ten lucky winners who will choose either a signed paperback or an audio book of The First Lie plus a $15 Amazon gift code. One grand prize winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift code.

Enter here:

Laying Ghosts





All Retail Links Can Be Found Via-


Virginia King Portrait by Amanda Thorson 200 KB


When a voice wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you to write a mystery series what’s a writer to do? That’s how Virginia King came to create Selkie Moon, after a massage from a strange woman with gifted hands was followed by this nocturnal message. Virginia sat down at the keyboard until Selkie Moon turned up. All she had to do was jump, the first sentence said. Soon Virginia was hooked, exploring far-flung places full of secrets where Selkie delves into psychological clues tangled up in the local mythology.

Before Selkie Moon invaded her life, Virginia had been a teacher, an unemployed ex-teacher, the author of over 50 children’s books, an audio-book producer, a workshop presenter and a prize-winning publisher. These days she lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney with her husband, where she disappears each day into Selkie Moon’s latest mystery. Bliss.


Many thanks for stopping off on your tour Virginia!!

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x


Guest Blog from Marie Laval: One night under the stars

I’m delighted to welcome fellow Accent Press author, Marie Laval, back to my site to talk about her new release, The Lion’s Embrace. I have to say, it sounds fascinating.

Over to you Marie…

Thank you very much Jenny for welcoming me on your blog today to talk about my latest release. THE LION’S EMBRACE is my second historical romance and takes place mostly in North Africa, in Algeria to be exact, in 1845. Lucas Saintclair is hired as a guide by Harriet Montague to rescue her father, a British Museum archaeologist, who she believes was captured by a gang of Tuaregs in the far South of the country.

ML Blog Lion'sEmbraceAccent

Writing THE LION’S EMBRACE was a fascinating process, not only because I got to fall in love with my hero (I know, it sounds very, very corny, but it’s true!), but also because I discovered the beautiful landscapes Lucas and Harriet travelled through on their way to Tamanrasset, and the culture of the people they encountered. One particular group of people are at the centre of the plot: the Tuaregs, also called ‘The People of the Veil’ or the ‘Blue Men of the Desert’ because of the indigo veil all men have to wear from around the age of fifteen.

ML Blog touareg2

I surrounded myself with photos of the Sahara, of oases and the magnificent Hoggar mountain range. I read Tuareg poems and stories and listened to music so that I could get a real ‘feel’ for the place and the people since I couldn’t travel there myself.

Hoggar Mountains

Hoggar Mountains

One song in particular caught my imagination and I played it over and over again as I wrote THE LION’S EMBRACE. It’s a modern song and I have no idea what they are singing about, but I find the melody poignant and haunting, especially the monochord violin, the imzad, which can be heard throughout.

ML Blog imzad2

The imzad is a traditional Tuareg instrument only played by women. It is at the heart of the Tuareg culture and society because of its link to the Achak, the code of honour every Tuareg must live by. Those who stray from the path and commit dishonourable acts are said to have lost the ability to ‘hear the imzad’ in their heart and are therefore cast out of their family and their tribe.

Here is the link to the song:

As they travel across the Sahara desert, Lucas Saintclair and Harriet Montague spend a few days with a Tuareg caravan. Every evening, they sit under the stars and listen to musicians playing the imzad and to stories and poems. The story-teller pulls out round pebbles out of his ‘bag of tales’, which is a skin pouch. Each pebble represents a different story and he tells the stories in the order the pebbles were drawn from the bag.

This is an excerpt from THE LION’S EMBRACE when Lucas and Harriet are at the Tuareg camp. The tale is based on a genuine Tuareg story.

The women played their instruments all along, drawing long, monochord sounds that at times sounded almost like laments and perfectly matched the mood of the audience, silent and attentive under the starry sky.

            By the end of the evening, Harriet shivered with cold. Lucas wrapped his arm around her shoulders to keep her warm.

‘The brave is reaching the end of his journey,’ he translated, his voice low and a little hoarse. ‘After wandering in the desert for weeks, he finally finds his beloved’s camp, but it is empty under the stars. Only the cruel wind answers his prayers, and as the cool moonlight kisses his lips, the vast spaces full of solitude chill his heart. So he lies on the sand and waits to die.’ He paused. ‘And that’s love for you. Brings you nothing but pain.’

            Despite his slightly mocking tone, the words made her dreamy.

            ‘It’s beautiful, and so sad.’ She found his hand, squeezed a little. ‘Love isn’t all pain, you know. It can be the most wonderful feeling in the world.’

            She should know.


Thank you again Jenny for welcoming me on your blog.

Here is the blurb for THE LION’S EMBRACE

Algiers, 1845

Arrogant, selfish and dangerous, Lucas Saintclair is everything Harriet Montague dislikes in a man. He is also the best guide in the whole of the Barbary States, the only man who can rescue her archaeologist father from the gang of Tuareg fighters that has kidnapped him. As Harriet embarks on a perilous journey across Algeria with Saintclair and Archibald Drake, her father’s most trusted friend, she discovers a bewitching but brutal land where nothing is what it seems. Who are these men intent on stealing her father’s ransom? What was her father hoping to find in Tuareg queen Tin Hinan’s tomb? Is Lucas Saintclair really as callous as he claims—or is he a man haunted by a past he cannot forgive?

Dangerous passions engulf Harriet’s heart in the heat of the Sahara. Secrets of lost treasures, rebel fighters, and a sinister criminal brotherhood threaten her life and the life of the man she loves.

Does forever lie in the lion’s embrace?


THE LION’S EMBRACE is available from

and in paperback from Áccent Press

You can find me at

MarieLaval (2)

Author Bio

Originally from Lyon in France, I have been living in the lovely Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, for the past few years. I spend most of my spare time dreaming up romantic stories. A SPELL IN PROVENCE, my first contemporary romantic suspense, was released by Áccent Press earlier this year. ANGEL HEART, my debut historical romance and THE LION’S EMBRACE have just been re-released by Áccent Press too. And watch out for DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, another historical romance, which will be published in the autumn …


Many thanks to Marie for such an interesting blog. Another book to add to my ‘to read’ list!

Happy reading,

Jenny x


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