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

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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

Opening Lines with Rachel Brimble: Dressing the Countess

It’s #openinglines time!

I’m delighted to be welcoming the brilliant Rachel Brimble back to my blog, to talk about her latest novel – published this very day!

Over to you, Rachel…

Hi Jenny!

Thank you so much for having me back on your blog and the opportunity to share the first 500 words of my brand new novel Dressing the Countess, which comes out today!

Blurb 

Fans of Kristy Cambron and Mimi Matthews will adore this Victorian romance from historical fiction dynamo, Rachel Brimble.

Seamstress Rose Watson cannot believe her good fortune when she’s plucked from obscurity to work for Lady Christina, the Countess of Bath. Despite her parents’ distrust that the position will come with conditions, Rose accepts the unexpected offer. 

When she arrives at the royal residence of Henlow House, a strange sense of destiny whispers through her, and Rose cannot wait for this new adventure to begin. Although, she has Henry Ward to deal with, the handsome, risk-taking and—though she is loath to admit it—exciting royal saddler and horse trainer, who both fascinates and frustrates her in equal measure. 

Rose and Henry could not be more different…with the exception of their hunger for more.

But as they begin to trust one another, and their bond flourishes, Rose’s connection with Henry could cause her to lose her position at Henlow House, which would destroy her. Will she be forced to choose between love and ambition? Either choice will change her life irrevocably.

A captivating escape that will touch your heart and keep you turning pages with impatient hope for Rose… 

This is an historical romance set in the fictional court of the Earl and Countess of Bath and revolves around the lives and developing romance of royal seamstress Rose Watson and master saddler, Henry Ward.

The opening snippet I am sharing is the lead up to the most pivotal moment of Rose’s life. Enjoy!

Here’s the first 500 words, exactly…

Regent Street, London, March 1866

Rose Watson tightened her hold on her sketchbook and walked in a slow circle around the mannequin in front of her, her head tilted and eyes narrowed. A dart of hazy sunshine streaming through the shop window lit her work in a delicate glow, heartening Rose’s hope that the lady’s dresser—Mrs. Hayworth, who had ordered the dress—would be delighted with it. Despite her trepidation, the longer Rose stared at her creation, the more persistently a smile pulled at her lips. There could be no denying it. The dress was a triumph. Her best yet.

She lightly ran her hand over the emerald-green velvet of the embroidered bodice, her fingertips tracing the whorls and swirls of intertwined vines and the shimmering silver thread edging the butterflies’ wings as they frolicked from waist to décolletage. The jet beading on the sash, as well as trimming the cuffs and hem glinted, the delicate black overlay falling perfectly over the skirt, making the stiffness and aches Rose had suffered in her knuckles and back during the stitching worth every uncomfortable minute.

Oh, how desperate she was to know the identity of the woman who would wear it! Mrs. Hayworth had been so reticent, so discreet about her mistress, it was impossible to guess. Whoever she might be, her dimensions proved her fortunate enough to possess a perfectly proportioned figure and, although unusually tall, Rose had no doubt the woman’s height would only make her more striking. Mrs. Hayworth had shared with Rose’s father that her mistress had light-brown hair, blue eyes, an olive complexion, and a deep love of nature, especially of the world’s creatures. All details Rose had kept at the forefront of her mind while designing and making the dress.

She glanced at the wall clock and drew in a long, calming breath. Mrs. Hayworth was due at any moment for a final viewing and—fingers crossed—a concluding endorsement. If she approved…Rose closed her eyes. Please let her approve. Only then would Rose carefully remove the dress from its mannequin and prepare it for delivery.

“Oh, Rose. It’s marvelous.” Florence Davis, Rose’s friend and fellow seamstress, entered the shop from the back room and slid her arm around Rose’s waist, hugging her close. “Whoever this dress belongs to owes you a hundred thank-yous.”

Rare nerves took flight in Rose’s stomach as her confidence faltered. “Do you really believe it will meet her expectations?”

Florence laughed. “How could it not? It’s beautiful.”

“I am certainly proud of it, but…” Rose eased out of her friend’s embrace and circled the mannequin again, the heels of her shoes tapping the floorboards. “It doesn’t matter how much I believe this dress is my finest work. Not knowing who will wear it makes me uneasy. She could be anyone. Her taste a million miles from mine. Mrs. Hayworth was so very vague with her brief, leaving all to me and my imagination.”

“Which is a good sign. You have…

You can buy Dressing the Countess from all good retailers: https://geni.us/B3SPq

Bio:

Rachel lives with her husband in a small town near Bath, England.

She is the author of 30 novels and has been published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, Kensington Books and others. Her most popular series include the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy and the Shop Girl series, both published with Aria Fiction. Her latest novel, Dressing the Countess is her debut novel with Harpeth Road Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Female Entrepreneur Association and has thousands of social media followers all over the world. She is also studying for a history degree with the Open University.

To sign up for her newsletter (a guaranteed giveaway every month!), click here: https://bit.ly/3zyH7dt

Website: https://bit.ly/3wH7HQs

Twitter: https://bit.ly/3AQvK0A

Facebook: https://bit.ly/3i49GZ3

Instagram: https://bit.ly/3lTQZbF

BookBub: https://shorturl.at/nrxFJ 

Many thanks for your fabulous opening lines, Rachel.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Happy Birthday: Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed

Bluebells Season at The Potting Shed is a year old!

Bluebells is the second book in #thepottingshed #series.

To help celebrate it’s birthday, Bluebells Season at The Potting Shed is one of Amazon’s Monthly Kindle Deals until the end of April!!

Blurb

Maddie and her sister Sabi are back at The Potting Shed, but are their troubles over?

Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed is the sequel of Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, part of a new series by #1 Kindle bestselling author, Jenny Kane, that revolves around a family-run garden centre.

Spring has arrived at The Potting Shed and things seem to finally be going Maddie’s way. Her relationship with lovable lawyer Ed is going well and the business is thriving with the help of her new friend Jo and his bright orange coffee van.

But troubles are just around the corner… The upgrade of The Potting Shed from a nursery to a garden centre is at a critical point – turning part of Maddie’s business into a building site, and just as she has to temporarily move out of her home, a major garden centre announces its grand opening only twenty miles away.

With money running out Maddie and her sister Sabi must think fast – they only have until the end of bluebell season to save The Potting Shed…

Here are the novel’s opening lines…

MARCH – Chapter One

Maddie’s breath caught in her throat as she saw the glass panel fall towards the gravel path. A vision of half of The Potting Shed’s new greenhouse roof being reduced to smithereens flashed through her mind as a workman dived forward and caught it a split second before it hit the ground.

‘I can’t watch this anymore.’ Maddie turned her sister. ‘It took us so long to decide whether we should splash out on a greenhouse for my herbs or not, I don’t want to look again until it’s up. It’s too stressful.’

Sabi gave the two men the full force of the haughty glare she reserved especially for tradesmen. ‘Let’s go inside. We’re supposed to be talking battle plans for the nursery’s expansion, and I for one could murder for a cup of tea.’

*

‘You know the greenhouse’s roof wouldn’t have smashed, don’t you?’

‘Logically, yes.’ Maddie placed the biscuit tin in the middle of the kitchen table. ‘No point in paying for reinforced glass if it’s not going to do its job, but instinct still told me it was going to break.’

‘Have you worked out which herbs you’re going to grow yet?’

‘Almost.’ Maddie glanced down as Florrie’s wet nose nudged at her hand. ‘Yes, I know you want a biscuit, but you’ve already had one, and they aren’t good for you.’ She ruffled the puppy’s black and white fur, before returning to the point. ‘I’ll start by increasing production of the herbs I already grow. All the favourites: thyme, mint, chives, parsley, and such. But I also want to produce some less common varieties too. See if I can tempt people to be braver in their tastes. Borage definitely – it’s good in a jug of Pimm’s; maybe some caraway and chervil.’

‘Not coriander and dill? I use all of those – and basil of course.’

Maddie’s eyebrows rose. ‘You mean Henry uses all of those.’

‘Yes, well, it’s hardly my fault if my husband loves to cook.’

‘You’re a lucky woman, Sabs.’ Patting her sister’s arm, Maddie selected another biscuit. ‘But I’ll leave out those particular herbs for now. They tend to bolt if you don’t keep on top of them, and as we can’t afford to employ any more staff, I want to keep things low maintenance.’

Sabi delved a hand into her massive handbag, pulled out a state-of-the-art tablet, and opened it at a list of jobs that needed doing. ‘Maybe we should have ordered a bigger greenhouse.’

‘Anything bigger wouldn’t have fitted between the first polytunnel and the path to the car park.’

‘I still can’t see why it couldn’t have been built on the scrap of land at the far side of the nursery.’

‘Light.’ Maddie bit back the temptation to ask Sabi how many times they needed to have this conversation. ‘While the rear of The Potting Shed does enjoy the sunshine, overall, it’s lighter at the front of the nursery for longer each day.’

Sabi grunted reluctant acceptance of the situation as she pulled a cookie from the tin, brushing a crumb away as it hit her tablet’s screen…

If that extract has whetted your appetite, you can order your copy of Bluebell today.

 Amazon UK, Amazon US, Kobo, Nook and Waterstones

Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed follows Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, and precedes Misty Mornings at The Potting Shed. 

Happy Reading,

Jenny x

Twenty Questions With Jenny Kane

I have been neglecting this blog a little lately, and thought I should put that right! So, I asked a friend to pretend she didn’t know me, and ask me 20 quick-fire questions she thought my readers might want to know the answers to! Yes- I know that’s a little bit mad- but I’m a writer- insanity is only ever inches away!!

  1. 1.Why have you neglected this blog lately?

The other me- Jennifer Ash – has written a new novel that is almost ready to release – so it’s been a case of juggling the final proof read, while writing the next Jenny Kane book, and catching up on all my teaching and editing obligations after a period of illness.

  1. 2. You have three versions of you – are you more like Kay Jaybee (erotica), Jennifer Ash (historical/crime) or Jenny (romance) in real life?

Jenny

  1.  Do you love coffee as much as the characters in Another Cup of Coffee?

Even more than they do!

  1. How do you take your coffee?

Black- nothing added- Americano for preference

  1. 5. How many cups do you drink a day?

Three

  1. 6. Do you really write in cafes and coffee shops?

I really do.

  1. 7.What is your favourite hot drink – apart from coffee?

Coffee is the only hot drink I like- I HATE tea, and I don’t like milk, so can’t have hot chocolate, latte etc

  1. Favourite colour?

Purple

  1. Boots, trainers, or heels?

Boots – I am not sporty, and I’d break my neck in heels. I am very clumsy!

  1. Are the characters in your books based on real people?

Most of the characters in Another Cup of Coffee, A Cornish Escape, the Mill Grange series and The Potting Shed series are based on real people.

  1. Which ones?

My lips are sealed.

  1. Spoil sport- give us a clue?

Okay, so in Another Cup of Coffee,  two of the characters are me and three of them were my best friends at University- (obviously wrote exaggerated versions of them- and they are all still my friends and totally lovely.)

The Potting Shed crew were inspired by the folk at the Old Well Garden Centre in Willand, Devon.

  1. What did you study at University?

I did an Archaeology degree, and then a Medieval History  PhD.

  1. Ohhh-  like Amy did in Another Cup of Coffee.

Yes- just like Amy did- well, the archaeology bit anyway- I think I can guess the next question!

  1. So  are you Amy?

I am a little tiny bit, but only a little bit. I am more like Kit- but not too much!!!

  1. You are known to be mad about Robin Hood – would you ever write your own version of the Robin Hood legend?

Never say never, but I’ve no plans at the moment…

  1. Is Robin of Sherwood still your favourite version of the story?

What a silly question!. YES!

  1. What would you say always surprises people when they meet you?

That I wear hearing aids. (I’m 80% deaf)

  1. Do  you prefer being Kay Jaybee- Queen of BDSM Kink-  Jenny Kane- Writer of  book chocolate – or Jennifer Ash – Robin Hood junky?

I love being all of them – it is wonderful to be able to create such different styles of work, and thus- hopefully- make more people happy when they read! (Well- that’s the plan!)

  1. You mentioned a new Jennifer Ash book – what’s that going to be about?

I can’t say yet – but it isn’t a Robin of Sherwood book (although there is another of those to come), nor is it the next Folville novel… Watch this space!!

I hope my answers made you smile! 

Thanks for dropping by!

Jenny xx

 

A Coffee Shop Habit

Okay- I admit it, I have a serious coffee shop habit! I am addicted- not just to the coffee itself- but to the cafes themselves. I just love them- all of them. From the little independent cafes, the truckers rest stops, one or two of the chains, and the coffee stops tucked away in department stores- I adore them.

I love to watch the people around me, to smile at strangers to see how they respond, to wrap my hands around a coffee mug and inhale the aroma of the drink within. For me, there is something very soothing about these places. Whether they are jammed packed and noisy, or as quiet as the proverbial grave, I simply feel at home in coffee shops.

 

It won’t surprise you to learn then, that – even before I was lucky enough to become a writer in residence in a café, and have my very own corner (with a plaque on the wall!!!), every novel I have ever written has taken shape in various different coffee shops.

From my earliest days writing children’s stories (I used to go into schools and jump around, making up tales about cows, hats, and Doctor Who- yes Doctor Who), to my erotica, my poetry (yes- I write poems as well – naughty ones), and on to my romances, each has begun life with a cup of café poured black coffee to hand.

It seemed totally natural to me therefore, that when I came to create my first non-erotic novel – Another Cup of Coffee – to make coffee shops the main places of meeting and discussion for the main characters.

The coffee shop that features most within Another Cup of Coffee is Pickwicks. Tucked away on a side street in Richmond, London, Pickwicks is run by the ever bubbly Peggy, and her husband Scott. It is here that, newly arrived in London from Scotland, Amy is to find a refuge from her troubles, a temporary job, a possible future, and a potential friend in Kit- a woman who spends her days sat in the corner of Pickwicks writing erotic stories for an American Internet company…

Blurb- Another Cup of Coffee

Thirteen years ago Amy Crane ran away from everyone and everything she knew, ending up in an unfamiliar city with no obvious past and no idea of her future. Now, though, that past has just arrived on her doorstep, in the shape of an old music cassette that Amy hasn’t seen since she was at university.

Digging out her long-neglected Walkman, Amy listens to the lyrics that soundtracked her student days. As long-buried memories are wrenched from the places in her mind where she’s kept them safely locked away for over a decade, Amy is suddenly tired of hiding.

It’s time to confront everything about her life. Time to find all the friends she left behind in England, when her heart got broken and the life she was building for herself was shattered. Time to make sense of all the feelings she’s been bottling up for all this time. And most of all, it’s time to discover why Jack has sent her tape back to her now, after all these years…

With her mantra, New life, New job, New home, playing on a continuous loop in her head, Amy gears herself up with yet another bucket-sized cup of coffee, as she goes forth to lay the ghost of first love to rest…

Here are the opening words…

Taking refuge in the kitchen, Amy placed her palms firmly onto the cool, tiled work surface, and took a couple of deep yet shaky breaths. Forcing her brain to slip back into action, she retrieved a bottle of white wine from the fridge, poured a large glassful and, squaring her shoulders, carried it through to the living room.

Perching on the edge of her sofa, her throat dry, Amy stared suspiciously at the tape for a second, before daring to pick it up and click open its stiff plastic box. Two minutes later, her hands still shaking, she closed it again with a sharp bang, and drank some wine. It took a further five minutes to gather the courage to re-open the case and place the tape into the dusty cassette compartment of her ancient stereo system. It must have been years since she’d seen a cassette, she thought, let alone listened to one. She wasn’t even sure the stereo still worked …

Swallowing another great gulp of alcohol, Amy closed her eyes and pressed Play, not at all sure she wanted to take this trip back in time …

Available from:

In eBook and paperback format from Amazon UK , Nook, Kobo, and all good book stores.

Coffee smile

Who says coffee shops are just for drinking coffee???

Happy reading,
Jenny xx

Opening Lines: Her Scandalous Suitor by Rachel Brimble

I’m welcoming my friend and fellow author, Rachel Brimble, back to my website today with the #openinglines from her brand new novel.

Thanks for hosting me today, Jenny!

I am thrilled to be here to share the Opening Lines of my latest historical romance, HER SCANDALOUS SUITOR (previously The Seduction of Emily). The novel is set in the beautiful city of Bath and follows Emily Darson and confidence trickster Will Samson as they are unexpectedly thrown together only to embark on an adventure filled with drama, intrigue & romance. Let the fun & games begin…

BLURB

Emily Darson assumed her future of propriety and privilege amid a loveless marriage was set in stone. At least, she did until confidence trickster Will Samson came into her life…

Then everything changed.

With each revelation about her fiancé and herself that Will uncovers, he also reveals a little more of who he is, what he has suffered, and the volatile vengeance that burns in his heart.

Can Emily really risk security for scandal? Loyalty for love? Only time will tell…

FIRST 500 WORDS

Will Samson stood at the back of the auction house, watching and waiting. Over two hundred people stood around him. Rather than part with their hard-earned cash, he suspected they were there hoping to catch a glimpse of one man in particular. The same man he waited for.

Mr. Nicholas Milne. One of Bath’s most eligible bachelors. Milne was a celebrity. A man written about and either admired…or feared. Will curled his hands into fists.

He was a rapist. A woman-beater. A dead man walking.

Today, Will was coming for Milne, ready or not. He lifted his hat and pushed the hair back from his face. The tension in his neck and shoulders grew worse as each second passed, and the ache in his temples throbbed mercilessly.

He turned his gaze once again to the open double doors at the back of the room. “Come on, you bastard. Where are you?”

The furor surrounding the sale of the day’s most prestigious lot, a diamond, ruby, and pearl necklace known as the Heart of Kingston, had escalated to fever pitch over the last few weeks. The auction house had taken full advantage of the waiting crowd by dragging out the suspense. What better way to heighten the nerves and hunger of bidders than to have them think the real prize—Milne—might not materialize after all?

Replacing his hat, Will slid out of sight behind a marble pillar. Discretion was key. Although confident the people of Bath were unaware of his real occupation, he daren’t run the risk of his carefully prepared disguise as a middle-class gentleman being exposed. When was a confidence trickster ever welcome at a high-class auction?

He closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall, planting the sole of his boot against the white alabaster. His mother’s beautiful face appeared behind his closed lids. She’d asked him countless times not to avenge the beating Milne had inflicted on her two years before, but the fire inside Will would not be extinguished until Milne was nothing but ashes.

Resentment and hatred swirled in his gut. The same emotions had long ago burned and scarred any love he was once capable of feeling for another. So many months of tracking Milne down, so many weeks of wanting to get his hands around his neck had left Will a shadow of his former self. Maybe once Milne was dead or behind bars, Will could start living again. He opened his eyes. But, in the meantime, he would make the man’s life a living hell until he decided how to ruin him completely. The only promise Will would keep to his mother was he wouldn’t hang by the neck for his endeavors. When the fever took her into God’s arms, Will’s heart and soul filled with the heinous intention to wreak vengeance on Milne. God only knew how many more women Milne had hurt in the months it took Will to track him from Bristol to Bath…

***

You can buy Her Scandalous Suitor from all good retailers, including: https://geni.us/yA4XqFR

BIO:

Rachel lives with her husband, two adult daughters and beloved Labrador in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of 30 novels and has been published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, Kensington Books and others. Her latest series includes the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy and the Shop Girl series, both published with Aria Fiction. She also has several single titles with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut novel with Harpeth Road Press, Dressing The Countess, will be released in May 2024.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Female Entrepreneur Association and has thousands of social media followers all over the world. She is also studying for a history degree with the Open University in her spare time…

To sign up for her newsletter (a guaranteed giveaway every month!), click here: https://bit.ly/3zyH7dt

Website: https://bit.ly/3wH7HQs

Twitter: https://bit.ly/3AQvK0A

Facebook: https://bit.ly/3i49GZ3

Instagram: https://bit.ly/3lTQZbF

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Jenny Kane’s Cheese Scones: A Taste of Mill Grange

As regular readers to this blog will know, my  #MillGrange novels, feature a serious amount of scone consumption.

I’ve recently been asked to re-share my own cheese scone recipe – Sybil approved, of course!

If you’d like to bake some Sybil style cheese scones, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 55g chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 100g mature cheddar –  grated (reserve some for sprinkling on top prior to baking)
  • 100-110ml milk – plus 1 tbsp for glazing

And here’s what you do:

  1. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas mark 6
  2. Place the flour, salt, cayenne pepper and baking powder into a bowl, and stir together. (You can sift it if you like- but I can never be bothered!)
  3. Add the butter to the bowl and rub with your fingertips to make breadcrumbs.
  4. Sprinkle almost all the cheese into the breadcrumb mixture and stir in.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the milk, a little at a time, until you have a firm dough. (Do not be afraid to add a fraction more milk if required)
  6. Lightly flour a surface and push/fold the dough a few times, until it is approximately 2cm thick. Cut out the scones with a medium (about 8cm) cutter.
  7. Lightly flour a baking sheet, and place the scones on top. Glaze scones with a little milk and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  8. Bake in the oven for 15-ish mins or until cooked through.
  9. Eat with way too much butter  and enjoy without guilt.

I hope Sybil’s scones put a smile on your face!

If you’d like to read Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange, Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange,  Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange or Winter Fires at Mill Grange, to see what else the workers at Mill Grange like to eat, you can find all the buy links here.

Have a lovely weekend.

Jenny x

 

Happy Valentine’s Day: Robin Hood Style

Valentines

To celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share a little of Romancing Robin Hood– my part romance/part medieval mystery novel- with you.

Romancing Robin Hood is a contemporary romance is based on the life of Dr Grace Harper, a medieval history lecturer with a major Robin Hood obsession. So much so, that instead of writing a textbook on medieval life, Grace is secretly writing a novella about a fourteenth century girl called Mathilda, who gets mixed up with a real outlaw family of the day, the Folvilles. As you read Grace’s story, you can read the medieval mystery she is writing alongside!

The problem is, Grace is so embroiled in her work and passion for outlaws, that real life is passing her by.

RH- E Flynn

With her wedding approaching fast, Grace’s best friend Daisy can’t help wishing a similar happiness to her own for her Robin Hood loving friend…

Extract

…Daisy hadn’t grown up picturing herself floating down the aisle in an over-sequinned ivory frock, nor as a doting parent, looking after triplets and walking a black Labrador. So when, on an out-of-hours trip to the local vet’s surgery she’d met Marcus and discovered that love at first sight wasn’t a myth, it had knocked her for six.

She’d been on a late-night emergency dash to the surgery with an owl a neighbour had found injured in the road. Its wing had required a splint, and it was too big a job for only one pair of hands. Daisy had been more than a bit surprised when the locum vet had stirred some long-suppressed feeling of interest in her, and even more amazed when that feeling had been reciprocated.

It was all luck, sheer luck. Daisy had always believed that anyone meeting anybody was down to two people meeting at exactly the right place, at exactly the right time, while both feeling precisely the right amount of chemistry. The fact that any couples existed at all seemed to Daisy to be one of the greatest miracles of humanity.

She pictured Grace, tucked away in her mad little office only living in the twenty-first century on a part-time basis. Daisy had long since got used to the fact that her closest friend’s mind was more often than not placed firmly in the 1300s. Daisy wished Grace would finish her book. It had become such a part of her. Such an exclusive aim that nothing else seemed to matter very much. Even the job she used to love seemed to be a burden to her now, and Daisy sensed that Grace was beginning to resent the hours it took her away from her life’s work. Maybe if she could get her book over with – get it out of her system – then Grace would stop living in the wrong timeframe.

Daisy knew Grace appreciated that she never advised her to find a bloke, settle down, and live ‘happily ever after,’ and she was equally grateful Grace had never once suggested anything similar to her. Now she had Marcus, however, Daisy had begun to want the same contentment for her friend, and had to bite her tongue whenever they spoke on the phone; something that happened less and less these days.

Grace’s emails were getting shorter too. The long paragraphs detailing the woes of teaching students with an ever-decreasing intelligence had blunted down to, ‘You ok? I’m good. Writing sparse. See you soon. Bye G x’

The book. That in itself was a problem. Grace’s publishers and colleagues, Daisy knew, were expecting an academic tome. A textbook for future medievalists to ponder over in the university libraries of the world. And, in time, that was exactly what they were going to get, but not yet, for Grace had confided to Daisy that this wasn’t the only thing she was working on, and her textbook was coming a poor third place to work and the other book she couldn’t seem to stop herself from writing.

‘Why,’ Grace had forcefully expounded on their last meeting, ‘should I slog my guts out writing a book only a handful of bored students and obsessive freaks like myself will ever pick up, let alone read?’

As a result, Grace was writing a novel, ‘A semi-factual novel,’ she’d said, ‘a story which will tell any student what they need to know about the Folville family and their criminal activities – which bear a tremendous resemblance to the stories of a certain famous literary outlaw! – and hopefully promote interest in the subject for those who aren’t that into history without boring them to death.’

It sounded like a good idea to Daisy, but she also knew, as Grace did, that it was precisely the sort of book academics frowned upon, and she was worried about Grace’s determination to finish it. Daisy thought it would be more sensible to concentrate on one manuscript at a time, and get the dry epic that everyone was expecting out of the way first. Perhaps it would have been completed by now if Grace could focus on one project at a time, rather than it currently being a year in the preparation without a final result in sight. Daisy suspected Grace’s boss had no idea what she was really up to. After all, she was using the same lifetime of research for both manuscripts. She also had an underlying suspicion that subconsciously Grace didn’t want to finish either the textbook or the novel; that her friend was afraid to finish them. After all, what would she fill her hours with once they were done?

Daisy’s mobile began to play a tinny version of Nellie the Elephant. She hastily plopped a small black guinea pig, which she’d temporarily called Charcoal, into a run with his numerous friends, and fished her phone from her dungarees pocket.

‘Hi, Marcus.’

‘Hi honey, you OK?’

‘Just delivering the tribe to their outside quarters, then I’m off to face the horror that is dress shopping.’

Her future husband laughed, ‘You’ll be fine. You’re just a bit rusty, that’s all.’

‘Rusty! I haven’t owned a dress since I went to parties as a small child. Thirty-odd years ago!’

‘I don’t understand why you don’t go with Grace at the weekend. It would be easier together wouldn’t it?’

Daisy sighed, ‘I’d love to go with her, but I’ll never get her away from her work more than once this month, and I’ve yet to arrange a date for her to buy a bridesmaid outfit.’

‘Well, good luck, babe. I’m off to rob some bulls of their manhood.’

Daisy giggled, ‘Have fun. Oh, why did you call by the way?’

‘Just wanted to hear your voice, nothing else.’

‘Oh cute – ta.’

‘Idiot! Enjoy shopping.’

As she clicked her battered blue mobile shut and slid it back into her working clothes, Daisy thought of Grace again. Perhaps she should accidentally invite loads of single men to the wedding to tempt her friend with. The trouble was, unless they wore Lincoln Green, and carried a bow and quiver of arrows, Daisy very much doubted whether Grace would even notice they were there…

If that extract has whetted your appetite for more, Romancing Robin Hood is available in paperback, and e-formats from all good retailers- including…

Kindle –
(Available via KDP for those who subscribe)
Paperback-

 

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Jenny x

 

Tiny Taster: Outlaw Justice

Continuing the story of potter’s daughter, Mathilda of Twyford, Outlaw Justice, opens in winter 1331.

All appears to be calm, but it is soon clear that a storm is coming – in the shape of Sir Richard de Willoughby.

Outlaw Justice

Blurb

England, 1331: Corrupt official, Sir Richard de Willoughby, has been appointed Justice of the Peace, with powers to hunt – and kill – those who oppose him. First on his list? The notorious Coterel brothers and their associates – the Folvilles…

The Folvilles must decide whether to flee into outlawry or take the law into their own hands – but is killing de Willoughby really the answer?

Robert de Folville is keen to dispose of the justice, but Robert’s ingenious wife, Mathilda, has a plan… one that could potentially rid them of Willoughby and yet see them escape the hangman’s noose. But these are tumultuous times and Mathilda must first put herself at great personal risk. Could the tale of a missing noblewoman, overheard by chance, be the key to solving a problem of life or death?

A gripping tale of real-life Robin Hoods, Outlaw Justice is the latest in the critically acclaimed ‘The Folville Chronicles’ series by Jennifer Ash.

Ever since she first came to the attention of the Folville family – as a kidnap victim – Mathilda of Twyford – has been learning that justice for the people of England comes at a high price. The harshest lesson of all, being that, it is often those who purport to uphold the law, that break it the most.

Here’s a tiny taster from Outlaw Justice…

Prologue

30th November 1331

‘Lady Isabel is safe, my Lord?’

‘I’ve seen her escorted to her mother in Lincolnshire by trusted friends. Her ravings these past few months have become intolerable. It’s not good for the children. I increasingly fear for her sanity.’

Keeping his countenance neutral, Bennett removed his master’s cloak. ‘May I be of assistance, my Lord? A drink after your journey perhaps?’

‘You may be of assistance by saying nothing of this to anyone. If King Edward were to hear of my wife’s shameful state, he might deem me unworthy of the office he so recently bestowed upon me.’

Bennett dipped his head respectfully and withdrew into the kitchen. He’d worked for Sir Richard de Willoughby long enough to know when to keep his mouth shut.

Damping down the kitchen fire for the night, absorbed in thought, the steward headed towards Lady Willoughby’s chamber. He’d seen no signs of mental instability. He’d heard no ravings. He had, however, heard a row between her and her husband earlier that day. The one and only time in her whole miserable marriage she’d stood up to her lord.

Pushing his mistress’s door open, Bennett surveyed the scene. Lady Isabel’s travelling cloak hung over the back of a chair by the window. Her hairbrush sat on her side table, and her riding boots waited patiently by the door.

A furrow formed on the steward’s forehead as he closed the chamber door, locking it securely behind him…

If you’d like to find out what happens next, Outlaw Justice it is available as both an ebook and paperback. It can be read as a standalone novel, or as part of #TheFolvilleChronicles

The Outlaw’s Ransom – mybook.to/theoutlawsransom

The Winter Outlaw- mybook.to/thewinteroutlaw

Edward’s Outlaw – mybook.to/EdwardsOutlaw

Outlaw Justice – mybook.to/OutlawJustice

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer x

Tiny Taster: Another Glass of Champagne

This week I’m sharing a tiny taster of Another Glass of Champagne,  the last story in the  Another Cup of… series. While Another Cup of Coffee featured the figure of bad-boy Jack alongside the lead character, Amy, in Another Glass of Champagne  he takes the staring role.

The novel opens with, after an absence of a few years from his friend’s lives, Jack is heading back to London, with new opportunities, a new skill set, a determination to avoid romance at all costs, and fresh adventures well within his grasp- all of which could be celebrated with a glass of champagne.

The trouble is, knowing Jack, he might well mess it all up…

Blurb

A warm-hearted, contemporary tale about a group of friends living in a small corner of busy London, by bestselling author Jenny Kane.

Fortysomething Amy is shocked and delighted to discover she s expecting a baby not to mention terrified! Amy wants best friend Jack to be godfather, but he hasn’t been heard from in months. When Jack finally reappears, he s full of good intentions but his new business plan could spell disaster for the beloved Pickwicks Coffee Shop, and ruin a number of old friendships…

Meanwhile his love life is as complicated as ever and yet when he swears off men for good, Jack meets someone who makes him rethink his priorities…but is it too late for a fresh start?

 Author Kit has problems of her own: just when her career has started to take off, she finds herself unable to write and there s a deadline looming, plus two headstrong kids to see through their difficult teenage years…will she be able to cope?

Extract

Staring out of the train window, Jack exhaled a long, slow breath. Was this how Amy had felt when she had first come to Richmond after her years of self-imposed exile in Scotland? Sort of excited, but absolutely terrified at the same time? 

Jack wondered if, once he’d worked up the courage to go and see her, Amy would notice the parallels between their situations. A smile crossed his face. However she reacted, she would forgive him for not being in touch over the past few years. Amy always forgave him. For everything.

In his mind, he’d left Richmond for a good reason. Although he knew Amy accepted he’d needed to leave, he was less sure she understood why – which was why he’d decided to break off even phone and email contact with her. It was also why he hadn’t told any of his friends where he was; just to see if that helped.

It wasn’t that Jack wasn’t happy for Amy and Paul to be living the fairytale, but the fact that they were together, while he was still alone, was sometimes hard to take – especially when he knew Amy’s love could have been his if only he’d been prepared to risk it all those years ago. This nagging thought – one he accepted was utterly ridiculous, as he knew that he’d never have been able to ignore his sexuality, even for Amy – made him a rather less kind human being than he would have liked. He knew that until he could get past feeling he was missing out on something that all his friends took for granted, they were better off without him and the chip on his shoulder. Amy would understand, he was sure. Kit, on the other hand, might not be as understanding…

Jack’s smile disappeared. Years ago, back when they were dating, Kit would have forgiven him anything – but since Amy had come back into his life, and both women had become good friends in their own right, Kit had become much stronger. Jack had learnt that Kit had always hated how he could make her doubt her strength and resilience. These days she was so much more equipped to deal with him and his bullshit – and he knew it.

Perhaps he shouldn’t be coming back. After all, he knew he was as emotionally messed-up as ever – but he had to go somewhere, and anyway, whether he wanted to admit it or not, he’d been getting homesick.  Plus he’d had to get away from Kent…

Opening his eyes, Jack sighed as the train’s sudden slowing announced that they were arriving at St Pancras. Here he was again. Back in London, fleeing from yet another cock-up in his love life, and with nowhere to call home. He wished he hadn’t so rashly sold his place in Mortlake – he’d got far less than it was worth, too, in his haste to make a clean break.  

There were several Tube connections to Richmond Jack could have chosen to see his old friends straight away, but as he stood in the bustling station, he found himself unable to move a step further.  It wasn’t like him to be assailed by doubt, but this time it was different. Whatever he did, he always managed to upset people. He never meant to; usually he never even saw his offences coming.

On this occasion however, he knew that if he was going to go ahead with his latest plan and really make it work, he was going to cause trouble for some of his friends…

***

Another Glass of Champagne can be read as a standalone story as well as part of the series.

If you’d like to find out if Jack finally finds the person of his dreams, and how his latest escapade impacts on the lives of the Pickwicks crew, then you can buy Another Glass of Champagne from all good bookshops and from online retailers including-

Happy reading,

Jenny x

PS- Please note that the paperback and ebook covers are different, but the story is the same inside!

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