Jenny Kane & Jennifer Ash

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

Tag: Valentines Day

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…

***

RH- Ros 1

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 –
Paperback-

 

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Jenny x

Romantic read for St Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentines

I thought, as a Valentine treat, I’d share a romantic extract from Another Cup of Coffee with you today!

****

…Amy was nervous, more nervous than when she’d caught up with Rob on her arrival in London.

Paul was late. She examined the inside of the intricate medieval stone work opposite her. The doorway to St Martins-in-the-Fields wasn’t easy to spot, Amy had walked past it by mistake before she’d come in, and she’d been here before. Maybe the British Museum would have been a better place to meet, or the Victoria and Albert? Amy glanced at the entrance for the tenth time in as many minutes. Paul might not even recognise her; after all, it had been a long time since they’d seen each other.

Her drink was already half gone. Amy checked her phone again. No messages. Giving up, she dug into her bag, bringing out the ever present novel.

Paul had spotted Amy as soon as he’d manoeuvred his six-foot-two frame through the low stone doorway. He’d been confident she would be in the café’s furthest corner, and sure enough, there she was. Amy had always adopted a position where she could hide. As he watched her, Paul wondered if it was even something she was conscious of.

There was a coffee cup by Amy already, and the book her nose was stuck into was a paperback of the more ponderous variety of classic. Most of the girls he met these days wouldn’t even have considered picking it up.

 

She was definitely a bit slimmer than he remembered, and her hair was sleeker, tethered back into two shoulder-length bunches that made her look younger than she was. Amy hadn’t managed to get them level, and one bunch was noticeably higher than the other. Paul found he was dying to straighten them out for her.

Her clothes were the same as in the old days, though; knowing Amy, Paul thought with a grin, they might well be exactly the same. Jeans and a stripy blue jumper, probably with a T-shirt beneath, very probably a black one. The only really noticeable difference between now and then was that she was wearing knee-length boots with a wedge heel rather than trainers.

Rob was right. Essentially, Amy Crane hadn’t changed a bit.

Suddenly aware that she was being observed, Amy looked up from her book.

‘Hello!’

Her face broke into a welcoming beam. ‘I thought you might have got lost.’ She stood up and found herself smothered in a massive bear hug. Paul smelt nice; all warm and clean without the overpowering scent of the male perfumes Amy so despised.

‘Tube delays. I couldn’t get a signal down there to let you know.’ Paul felt awkward, not quite sure what to say next, having held her slightly longer than perhaps was normal for a couple of friends. He’d engineered this opportunity to get her alone, and now he was here, he was tongue-tied.

Amy unwittingly came to his rescue. ‘You getting a coffee then?’

‘Yes, sure. You want a top-up? Black I assume?’

‘Yes please.’

‘Any cake?’

‘No thanks.’

coffee cups

Amy watched Paul flirt with the Polish girl behind the counter as he placed his request. He was taller than she remembered. His black hair was still cropped very short, but it wasn’t as severe as the shaved style he’d favoured as a student. His jeans were blue rather than black, and his shirt, although crumpled, was smarter than the off-white T-shirts she’d always associated with him. Smarter. He was definitely smarter. A huge brown overcoat, which probably weighed a ton, covered the back view of him almost completely, the heels of his Doc Martens only just visible below the hem.

How come she hadn’t noticed how attractive he was back then? Amy felt taken aback at the alien notion, and abruptly pushed the idea away. Yet that hug …

Amy reined in and dismissed her wild flight of fancy as Paul returned with their refreshments. After they’d covered a wide range of comfortable reminiscences and laughed heartily at their past selves, Amy brought the conversation back up-to-date.

‘So, is anyone special waiting for you back on site?’

Paul pushed his cup aside. ‘No. No one’s twiddling their trowel and pining for my return.’

‘That’s not like you.’

Paul regarded Amy as if she was nuts. ‘I’m not stuck in a timewarp, Amy. I’m thirty-four. That pretty much makes me the father figure. I’m the oldest guy on site by at least five years. It’s the twenty-something’s that have the trowel-twiddlers waiting for them these days.’

‘But surely …’ Amy was genuinely shocked. She was so sure that things would have been just as she’d left them. ‘You must meet heaps of nice people.’

‘Sure I do. I have many friends, both male and female, right across the world.’

Amy wasn’t quite sure why she pushed further, ‘But no one special?’

‘Not since uni.’ Paul sighed, not sure if he was ready to go where this conversation might take them.

‘Uni?’ Amy couldn’t believe it. This was Paul. The guy every girl had wanted to date back then. Well, every girl bar her. Yet none of the string of young women he’d dated had ever lasted more than a fortnight, and for the life of her, Amy couldn’t remember if Paul had especially liked any of them. ‘Who was that then? You never said at the time.’

Paul hesitated, before taking the easy way out, ‘You never met her. Let’s go and explore. Gallery, museum, or a walk in the park?’

Amy was disappointed by his answer, but accepted it for now. She looked at her watch; it had already gone one. ‘How about we nip into the National Portrait Gallery, have a quick mooch around and then grab a bit of lunch.’

‘Good idea, is there a good café in there?’

‘Two; but the Portrait Restaurant is fantastic, you get views right across London. I went in with my friend Kit before Christmas.’ Amy paused. ‘It’s a bit expensive though. We could go into the Lounge area, that’s better price-wise, although maybe we shouldn’t …’ Uncertainty took hold, as Amy’s words trailed off.

Paul intercepted her rambling, ‘Amy, this is my treat.’

‘But archaeologists earn crap money.’ Amy blushed as she blurted out the sentence.

‘Oh thanks!’ Paul laughed at her, ‘Although, I can’t argue. However, I have news on that front. Come on, I have heaps to tell you yet. Show me these amazing views of yours, and tell me about your new friends.’

They were in luck. After a companionable hour soaking in the diverse art work, they found a two-seater table available at the very edge of the lounge bar. After purchasing a glass of white wine each, they sat in silence for a moment, staring at the world through the window. It was all there. London. Everything the tourist could hope to see in one complete eyeful. St Paul’s, the Eye, Big Ben. Everything.

‘It quite takes the breath away Amy. All that history.’

Without turning from the view, Amy ran through their personal history as she replied. ‘I knew you’d appreciate it.’

The waiter came over and took their order for two bowls of wild mushroom soup and homemade bread, before leaving them to soak up the panorama. Amy was the first to break the silence, ‘You were going to tell me something?’

‘Ah, right,’ he put down his own glass and sat back in his seat, ‘I will, but first I want to know if you saw sense and took the management post you were offered?’

‘I did,’ Amy took a draft of alcohol, ‘thanks to you.’

‘Me?’

‘You helped me clarify a few things. I was so sure I had been set up, I felt feeling manipulated, but you made me see it wasn’t really like that.’

‘Of course it wasn’t.’

‘My friends were just trying to do their best for me.’

Paul was pleased, ‘Good. I’m glad. Now I can press ahead with my plans.’

Amy was intrigued, and more than a little impatient, ‘Tell me then!’

‘As I said, I’m no spring chicken on the excavation circuit. If I’m not actually running the dig, then I’m at least responsible for a good part of it.’

‘That’s great. Your CV must be excellent. You always were the only one who could tell an ordinary stone from a Neolithic axe-head.’

Paul smiled in acknowledgement, ‘I’ve seen the world Amy. I’ve found and seen all sorts of marvellous things. Written thousands of reports, drawn a million diagrams, been cited in heaps of books, but I’ve had enough.’

Amy was startled. ‘But Paul, it’s your life!’

‘Yes, it is. But I’m fast heading towards my forties, Amy. I have, as I’ve said, friends everywhere, but no one waits for me when I do get home. Only my parents miss me if a dig is extended at the last minute. It’s just not enough anymore.’

Like me, Amy thought. There’s no one at home, not for me anyway. ‘So, what will you do?’

Paul returned his gaze to the view; the people below looked tiny as they scuttled about, oblivious to the fact that they were being observed. ‘Is it nice living in London?’

‘Bit expensive I guess, and a touch overwhelming sometimes, but I like it.’ Amy began to nibble at the soft granary bread which a waiter had placed in the centre of their table.

‘Rob loves it, and I guess Jack does. I suppose the night life suits him.’ Paul verbally pounced as Amy reddened at the mention of Jack’s name, ‘What is it? What’s he done to you now?’

‘Nothing.’ Amy put up a hand, ‘Really, nothing. I’ll tell you all about it later. Go on with what you were telling me about London. Are you coming here to work? Are you?’ Amy felt as if she was on tenterhooks as she waited for his answer.

She seemed so eager; Paul felt more hopeful than he had dared allow himself to before. ‘I have the chance to. I wanted to know what you thought.’

‘And what Rob thinks, of course,’ Amy added.

‘Oh yes, and Rob.’ …

***

hearts

If you fancy finding what finds out next, or how much had to happened before Amy and Paul caught up with each other after years of being apart, you can buy Another Cup of Coffee as an e-book or a paperback from all good retailers including…

Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee-contemporary-ebook/dp/B00EVYZC7M/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=15EFJ85882KQYAJ71KED

***

I hope you’re being treated well on this day of romance and snuggles.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Jenny xx

Happy Valentine’s Day: Robin Hood Style

Valentines

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

RRH- new 2015

Blurb

Dr Grace Harper has loved the stories of Robin Hood ever since she first saw them on TV as a girl. Now, with her fortieth birthday just around the corner, she’s a successful academic in Medieval History, with a tenured position at a top university.

But Grace is in a bit of a rut. She’s supposed to be writing a textbook on a real-life medieval gang of high-class criminals – the Folvilles – but she keeps being drawn into the world of the novel she’s secretly writing – a novel which entwines the Folvilles with her long-time love of Robin Hood – and a feisty young girl named Mathilda, who is the key to a medieval mystery…

Meanwhile, Grace’s best friend Daisy – who’s as keen on animals as Grace is on the Merry Men – is unexpectedly getting married, and a reluctant Grace is press-ganged into being her bridesmaid. As Grace sees Daisy’s new-found happiness, she starts to re-evaluate her own life. Is her devotion to a man who may or may not have lived hundreds of years ago really a substitute for a real-life hero of her own? It doesn’t get any easier when she meets Dr Robert Franks – a rival academic who Grace is determined to dislike but finds herself being increasingly drawn to…

***

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…

***

RH- Ros 1

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

Amazon UK- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00M4838S2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407428558&sr=8-1&keywords=romancing+robin+hood

Amazon.com- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane-ebook/dp/B00M4838S2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407428558&sr=8-1&keywords=romancing+robin+hood

Nook – http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/romancing-robin-hood-by-jenny-kane/9781783754267

Kobo- https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/romancing-robin-hood

***

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Jenny x

Romantic Reads For Valentine’s Day: With Coffee and a Smile

Have you got that special reader in your life a Valentine’s gift yet? No? Well, don’t panic!! Here are a few book ideas to help out.

Valentines book

All of these Rom Com’s have enough romance to hit the required ‘Romantic Gesture’ button- but are satisfyingly short of being twee or sickly sweet!

 Another Cup of Coffee

Another Cup of Coffee - New cover 2015

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 got completely 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 a bucked-sized cup of coffee, as she goes forth to lay the ghost of first love to rest…

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Another-Cup-Coffee-Jenny-Kane/dp/1783751126/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377605533&sr=8-1&keywords=another+cup+of+coffee

Abi’s House
Abi's House new cover
Newly widowed and barely thirty, Abi Carter is desperate to escape the Stepford Wives lifestyle that Luke, her late husband, had been so keen for her to live. Abi decides to fulfil a lifelong dream. As a child on holiday in a Cornwall she fell in love with a cottage – the prophetically named Abbey’s House. Now she is going to see if she can find the place again, relive the happy memories …maybe even buy a place of her own nearby?
On impulse Abi sets off to Cornwall, where a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Beth, like Abi, has a life-changing decision to make. Max, Beth’s best mate, soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams …but things aren’t quite that simple.
There’s the complicated life Abi left behind, including her late husband’s brother, Simon – a man with more than friendship on his mind … Will Abi’s house remain a dream, or will the bricks and mortar become a reality?
Romancing Robin Hood
RRH- new 2015

Dr Grace Harper has loved the stories of Robin Hood ever since she first saw them on TV as a girl. Now, with her fortieth birthday just around the corner, she’s a successful academic in Medieval History, with a tenured position at a top university.

But Grace is in a bit of a rut. She’s supposed to be writing a textbook on a real-life medieval gang of high-class criminals – the Folvilles – but she keeps being drawn into the world of the novel she’s secretly writing – a novel which entwines the Folvilles with her long-time love of Robin Hood – and a feisty young girl named Mathilda, who is the key to a medieval mystery…

Meanwhile, Grace’s best friend Daisy – who’s as keen on animals as Grace is on the Merry Men – is unexpectedly getting married, and a reluctant Grace is press-ganged into being her bridesmaid. As Grace sees Daisy’s new-found happiness, she starts to re-evaluate her own life. Is her devotion to a man who may or may not have lived hundreds of years ago really a substitute for a real-life hero of her own? It doesn’t get any easier when she meets Dr Robert Franks – a rival academic who Grace is determined to dislike but finds herself being increasingly drawn to… 

Amazon.com- http://www.amazon.com/Romancing-Robin-Hood-love-story-ebook/dp/B00M4838S2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409936409&sr=8-1&keywords=romancing+robin+hood

Hope this has given you a few ideas.
Happy almost Valentine’s Day!!
Jenny x
PS- sorry for the awful spacing of this blog- WordPress is not playing nicely today! x

A Pre-Valentine’s Day Romantic Taster…

Happy Almost Valentines Day!!

Valentine's hearts

 

I thought, as it’s almost Valentine’s Day I’d share a romantic extract from Another Cup of Coffee with you today!

****

…Amy was nervous, more nervous than when she’d caught up with Rob on her arrival in London.

Paul was late. She examined the inside of the intricate medieval stone work opposite her. The doorway to St Martins-in-the-Fields wasn’t easy to spot, Amy had walked past it by mistake before she’d come in, and she’d been here before. Maybe the British Museum would have been a better place to meet, or the Victoria and Albert? Amy glanced at the entrance for the tenth time in as many minutes. Paul might not even recognise her; after all, it had been a long time since they’d seen each other.

Her drink was already half gone. Amy checked her phone again. No messages. Giving up, she dug into her bag, bringing out the ever present novel.

Paul had spotted Amy as soon as he’d manoeuvred his six-foot-two frame through the low stone doorway. He’d been confident she would be in the café’s furthest corner, and sure enough, there she was. Amy had always adopted a position where she could hide. As he watched her, Paul wondered if it was even something she was conscious of.

There was a coffee cup by Amy already, and the book her nose was stuck into was a paperback of the more ponderous variety of classic. Most of the girls he met these days wouldn’t even have considered picking it up.

Another Cup of Coffee - New cover 2015

 

She was definitely a bit slimmer than he remembered, and her hair was sleeker, tethered back into two shoulder-length bunches that made her look younger than she was. Amy hadn’t managed to get them level, and one bunch was noticeably higher than the other. Paul found he was dying to straighten them out for her.

Her clothes were the same as in the old days, though; knowing Amy, Paul thought with a grin, they might well be exactly the same. Jeans and a stripy blue jumper, probably with a T-shirt beneath, very probably a black one. The only really noticeable difference between now and then was that she was wearing knee-length boots with a wedge heel rather than trainers.

Rob was right. Essentially, Amy Crane hadn’t changed a bit.

Suddenly aware that she was being observed, Amy looked up from her book.

‘Hello!’

Her face broke into a welcoming beam. ‘I thought you might have got lost.’ She stood up and found herself smothered in a massive bear hug. Paul smelt nice; all warm and clean without the overpowering scent of the male perfumes Amy so despised.

‘Tube delays. I couldn’t get a signal down there to let you know.’ Paul felt awkward, not quite sure what to say next, having held her slightly longer than perhaps was normal for a couple of friends. He’d engineered this opportunity to get her alone, and now he was here, he was tongue-tied.

Amy unwittingly came to his rescue. ‘You getting a coffee then?’

‘Yes, sure. You want a top-up? Black I assume?’

‘Yes please.’

‘Any cake?’

‘No thanks.’

coffee cups

Amy watched Paul flirt with the Polish girl behind the counter as he placed his request. He was taller than she remembered. His black hair was still cropped very short, but it wasn’t as severe as the shaved style he’d favoured as a student. His jeans were blue rather than black, and his shirt, although crumpled, was smarter than the off-white T-shirts she’d always associated with him. Smarter. He was definitely smarter. A huge brown overcoat, which probably weighed a ton, covered the back view of him almost completely, the heels of his Doc Martens only just visible below the hem.

How come she hadn’t noticed how attractive he was back then? Amy felt taken aback at the alien notion, and abruptly pushed the idea away. Yet that hug …

Amy reined in and dismissed her wild flight of fancy as Paul returned with their refreshments. After they’d covered a wide range of comfortable reminiscences and laughed heartily at their past selves, Amy brought the conversation back up-to-date.

‘So, is anyone special waiting for you back on site?’

Paul pushed his cup aside. ‘No. No one’s twiddling their trowel and pining for my return.’

‘That’s not like you.’

Paul regarded Amy as if she was nuts. ‘I’m not stuck in a timewarp, Amy. I’m thirty-four. That pretty much makes me the father figure. I’m the oldest guy on site by at least five years. It’s the twenty-something’s that have the trowel-twiddlers waiting for them these days.’

‘But surely …’ Amy was genuinely shocked. She was so sure that things would have been just as she’d left them. ‘You must meet heaps of nice people.’

‘Sure I do. I have many friends, both male and female, right across the world.’

Amy wasn’t quite sure why she pushed further, ‘But no one special?’

‘Not since uni.’ Paul sighed, not sure if he was ready to go where this conversation might take them.

‘Uni?’ Amy couldn’t believe it. This was Paul. The guy every girl had wanted to date back then. Well, every girl bar her. Yet none of the string of young women he’d dated had ever lasted more than a fortnight, and for the life of her, Amy couldn’t remember if Paul had especially liked any of them. ‘Who was that then? You never said at the time.’

Paul hesitated, before taking the easy way out, ‘You never met her. Let’s go and explore. Gallery, museum, or a walk in the park?’ …..

***

hearts

If you fancy finding what finds out next, or how much had to happened before Amy and Paul caught up with each other after years of being apart, you can buy Another Cup of Coffee as an e-book or a paperback from…

 

 

Happy almost Valentine’s Day,

Jenny xx

A Romantic Read For Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!!

Valentines

I thought, as a Valentines Treat, I’d share a romantic extract from Another Cup of Coffee with you today!

****

…Amy was nervous, more nervous than when she’d caught up with Rob on her arrival in London.

Paul was late. She examined the inside of the intricate medieval stone work opposite her. The doorway to St Martins-in-the-Fields wasn’t easy to spot, Amy had walked past it by mistake before she’d come in, and she’d been here before. Maybe the British Museum would have been a better place to meet, or the Victoria and Albert? Amy glanced at the entrance for the tenth time in as many minutes. Paul might not even recognise her; after all, it had been a long time since they’d seen each other.

Her drink was already half gone. Amy checked her phone again. No messages. Giving up, she dug into her bag, bringing out the ever present novel.

Paul had spotted Amy as soon as he’d manoeuvred his six-foot-two frame through the low stone doorway. He’d been confident she would be in the café’s furthest corner, and sure enough, there she was. Amy had always adopted a position where she could hide. As he watched her, Paul wondered if it was even something she was conscious of.

There was a coffee cup by Amy already, and the book her nose was stuck into was a paperback of the more ponderous variety of classic. Most of the girls he met these days wouldn’t even have considered picking it up.

ACOC- cover

She was definitely a bit slimmer than he remembered, and her hair was sleeker, tethered back into two shoulder-length bunches that made her look younger than she was. Amy hadn’t managed to get them level, and one bunch was noticeably higher than the other. Paul found he was dying to straighten them out for her.

Her clothes were the same as in the old days, though; knowing Amy, Paul thought with a grin, they might well be exactly the same. Jeans and a stripy blue jumper, probably with a T-shirt beneath, very probably a black one. The only really noticeable difference between now and then was that she was wearing knee-length boots with a wedge heel rather than trainers.

Rob was right. Essentially, Amy Crane hadn’t changed a bit.

Suddenly aware that she was being observed, Amy looked up from her book.

‘Hello!’

Her face broke into a welcoming beam. ‘I thought you might have got lost.’ She stood up and found herself smothered in a massive bear hug. Paul smelt nice; all warm and clean without the overpowering scent of the male perfumes Amy so despised.

‘Tube delays. I couldn’t get a signal down there to let you know.’ Paul felt awkward, not quite sure what to say next, having held her slightly longer than perhaps was normal for a couple of friends. He’d engineered this opportunity to get her alone, and now he was here, he was tongue-tied.

Amy unwittingly came to his rescue. ‘You getting a coffee then?’

‘Yes, sure. You want a top-up? Black I assume?’

‘Yes please.’

‘Any cake?’

‘No thanks.’

coffee cups

Amy watched Paul flirt with the Polish girl behind the counter as he placed his request. He was taller than she remembered. His black hair was still cropped very short, but it wasn’t as severe as the shaved style he’d favoured as a student. His jeans were blue rather than black, and his shirt, although crumpled, was smarter than the off-white T-shirts she’d always associated with him. Smarter. He was definitely smarter. A huge brown overcoat, which probably weighed a ton, covered the back view of him almost completely, the heels of his Doc Martens only just visible below the hem.

How come she hadn’t noticed how attractive he was back then? Amy felt taken aback at the alien notion, and abruptly pushed the idea away. Yet that hug …

Amy reined in and dismissed her wild flight of fancy as Paul returned with their refreshments. After they’d covered a wide range of comfortable reminiscences and laughed heartily at their past selves, Amy brought the conversation back up-to-date.

‘So, is anyone special waiting for you back on site?’

Paul pushed his cup aside. ‘No. No one’s twiddling their trowel and pining for my return.’

‘That’s not like you.’

Paul regarded Amy as if she was nuts. ‘I’m not stuck in a timewarp, Amy. I’m thirty-four. That pretty much makes me the father figure. I’m the oldest guy on site by at least five years. It’s the twenty-something’s that have the trowel-twiddlers waiting for them these days.’

‘But surely …’ Amy was genuinely shocked. She was so sure that things would have been just as she’d left them. ‘You must meet heaps of nice people.’

‘Sure I do. I have many friends, both male and female, right across the world.’

Amy wasn’t quite sure why she pushed further, ‘But no one special?’

‘Not since uni.’ Paul sighed, not sure if he was ready to go where this conversation might take them.

‘Uni?’ Amy couldn’t believe it. This was Paul. The guy every girl had wanted to date back then. Well, every girl bar her. Yet none of the string of young women he’d dated had ever lasted more than a fortnight, and for the life of her, Amy couldn’t remember if Paul had especially liked any of them. ‘Who was that then? You never said at the time.’

Paul hesitated, before taking the easy way out, ‘You never met her. Let’s go and explore. Gallery, museum, or a walk in the park?’

Amy was disappointed by his answer, but accepted it for now. She looked at her watch; it had already gone one. ‘How about we nip into the National Portrait Gallery, have a quick mooch around and then grab a bit of lunch.’

‘Good idea, is there a good café in there?’

‘Two; but the Portrait Restaurant is fantastic, you get views right across London. I went in with my friend Kit before Christmas.’ Amy paused. ‘It’s a bit expensive though. We could go into the Lounge area, that’s better price-wise, although maybe we shouldn’t …’ Uncertainty took hold, as Amy’s words trailed off.

Paul intercepted her rambling, ‘Amy, this is my treat.’

‘But archaeologists earn crap money.’ Amy blushed as she blurted out the sentence.

‘Oh thanks!’ Paul laughed at her, ‘Although, I can’t argue. However, I have news on that front. Come on, I have heaps to tell you yet. Show me these amazing views of yours, and tell me about your new friends.’

They were in luck. After a companionable hour soaking in the diverse art work, they found a two-seater table available at the very edge of the lounge bar. After purchasing a glass of white wine each, they sat in silence for a moment, staring at the world through the window. It was all there. London. Everything the tourist could hope to see in one complete eyeful. St Paul’s, the Eye, Big Ben. Everything.

‘It quite takes the breath away Amy. All that history.’

Without turning from the view, Amy ran through their personal history as she replied. ‘I knew you’d appreciate it.’

The waiter came over and took their order for two bowls of wild mushroom soup and homemade bread, before leaving them to soak up the panorama. Amy was the first to break the silence, ‘You were going to tell me something?’

‘Ah, right,’ he put down his own glass and sat back in his seat, ‘I will, but first I want to know if you saw sense and took the management post you were offered?’

‘I did,’ Amy took a draft of alcohol, ‘thanks to you.’

‘Me?’

‘You helped me clarify a few things. I was so sure I had been set up, I felt feeling manipulated, but you made me see it wasn’t really like that.’

‘Of course it wasn’t.’

‘My friends were just trying to do their best for me.’

Paul was pleased, ‘Good. I’m glad. Now I can press ahead with my plans.’

Amy was intrigued, and more than a little impatient, ‘Tell me then!’

‘As I said, I’m no spring chicken on the excavation circuit. If I’m not actually running the dig, then I’m at least responsible for a good part of it.’

‘That’s great. Your CV must be excellent. You always were the only one who could tell an ordinary stone from a Neolithic axe-head.’

Paul smiled in acknowledgement, ‘I’ve seen the world Amy. I’ve found and seen all sorts of marvellous things. Written thousands of reports, drawn a million diagrams, been cited in heaps of books, but I’ve had enough.’

Amy was startled. ‘But Paul, it’s your life!’

‘Yes, it is. But I’m fast heading towards my forties, Amy. I have, as I’ve said, friends everywhere, but no one waits for me when I do get home. Only my parents miss me if a dig is extended at the last minute. It’s just not enough anymore.’

Like me, Amy thought. There’s no one at home, not for me anyway. ‘So, what will you do?’

Paul returned his gaze to the view; the people below looked tiny as they scuttled about, oblivious to the fact that they were being observed. ‘Is it nice living in London?’

‘Bit expensive I guess, and a touch overwhelming sometimes, but I like it.’ Amy began to nibble at the soft granary bread which a waiter had placed in the centre of their table.

‘Rob loves it, and I guess Jack does. I suppose the night life suits him.’ Paul verbally pounced as Amy reddened at the mention of Jack’s name, ‘What is it? What’s he done to you now?’

‘Nothing.’ Amy put up a hand, ‘Really, nothing. I’ll tell you all about it later. Go on with what you were telling me about London. Are you coming here to work? Are you?’ Amy felt as if she was on tenterhooks as she waited for his answer.

She seemed so eager; Paul felt more hopeful than he had dared allow himself to before. ‘I have the chance to. I wanted to know what you thought.’

‘And what Rob thinks, of course,’ Amy added.

‘Oh yes, and Rob.’ …

***

hearts

If you fancy finding what finds out next, or how much had to happened before Amy and Paul caught up with each other after years of being apart, you can buy Another Cup of Coffee as an e-book or a paperback from…

 

 

I hope you’re being treated well on this day of romance and snuggles.

Happy Valentines Day,

Jenny xx

Valentines Day- It’s All Chaucer’s Fault

If it hadn’t been for Geoffrey Chaucer, then it is unlikely that we would connect the celebration of St Valentines Day with romance and love.

Chaucer

In 1382 Chaucer wrote the Parlement of Foules to honour the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia, when they were both only 15 years old. The poem contained the lines…

For this was on seynt Volantynys day, Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

[“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”]

Prior to the publication  of Chaucer’s poem, Saint Valentine’s Day had been a religious celebration of a martyr (either Valentine of Rome or Valentine of Terni), and held no romantic links at all. However, writing at a time when romance and courtly love was at its most fashionable, Chaucer’s work quickly caught the public imagination.

Despite February being an unusual month for Chaucer to have written about birds mating, he wasn’t the only medieval author to have positioned such Spring-like antics so early in the year. Three other medieval authors centered their love poems on the allegory of birds mating in connection with St. Valentine’s Day around the same time; Otton de Grandson from Savoy, a knight called Pardo from Valencia, and the English poet John Gower.

Although it is unclear which of these other early Valentine poems came first, they were all widely read, and the connection between St Valentine’s Day on 14th February, and the joys of chivalrous romance strengthened and grew so much, that soon, the martyred saint himself was all but forgotten.

Courtly Love

By the Eighteen century in England, the 14th February had firmly evolved into an occasion when partners express their love for each other by presenting flowers, chocolates, and other gifts.

In the Nineteenth century, the sending of Valentines cards was so popular that they were becoming a mass produced item; especially in America and Europe, where the tradition continues to expand to this day.

How you’ve enjoyed this very potted history!!

Happy Valentine’s Week,

Jenny xxx

 

 

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