Welcome to my blog. I am not a very regular blogger, but I try to keep this site updated with news and information. If there's none of the above I may just share my random ruminations.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Saturday, February 3, 2018

ROMANCING ROBIN HOOD


Romancing Robin Hood is a contemporary romance based on the life of Dr Grace Harper, a medieval history lecturer with a major Robin Hood obsession. 
                                                                             
Jenny Kane
Grace’s love of her medieval hero is so strong that, instead of writing a textbook on medieval life as her boss believes, Grace is secretly writing a novel about a fourteenth century potter’s daughter called Mathilda, who gets mixed up with a real outlaw family of the day, the Folvilles. (A story you can also read alongside the modern romance.) Unfortunately, Grace is so embroiled in her work and passion for outlaws, that real life is passing her by. This is a situation that her best friend, Daisy, is determined to put right. With her wedding  approaching fast, Daisy can’t help wishing for a similar happiness for her Robin Hood loving friend...



An Unexpected Wedding

When you’re in love with a man of legend,how can anyone else match up? Dr Grace Harper has loved the stories of Robin Hood ever since she first saw them on TV as a teenager. Now, with her fortieth birthday just around the corner, she’s a successful academic in Medieval History—but Grace is stuck in a rut. 

Grace is supposed to be writing a textbook 
on a real-life medieval criminal gang—the Folvilles—but instead she is captivated by a novel she’s secretly writing.
A medieval mystery which entwines the story of Folvilles with her long-time love of Robin Hood—and a feisty young woman named Mathilda of Twyford. Just as she is trying to work out how Mathilda can survive being kidnapped by the Folvilles, Grace’s best friend Daisy announces she is getting married. After a whirlwind romance with a man she loves as muchas the creatures in her animal shelter, Daisy has press-ganged Grace into being her bridesmaid. 

Witnessing Daisy’s new-found happiness, Grace 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? Grace’s life doesn’t get any easier when she meets Dr Robert Franks—a rival academic who she is determined to dislike but finds herself being increasingly drawn to… If only he didn’t know quite so much about Robin Hood. Suddenly, spending more time living in the past than the present doesn’t seem such a good idea...



Extract  from 

...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...

***

Brilliant! Sounds a great read.  Thank you for visiting my blog, Jenny, and telling us all about your book. Who hasn't become a little too caught up in daydreams and wishful thinking?  My own favourite Robin Hood was Michael Praed.  Good luck with the rest of your book tour.




Friday, January 19, 2018

Winter in the Cotswolds

I know I'm lucky to live where we do.  Today the valley dropping away beyond my house is a picture of blue and green, the pond at the bottom a silver mirror to the sky, the scene is lit by the winter sun.

My cottage taken from the neighbours house  across the road 



But  over the winter - in November
and again directly after Christmas
- we had snow here.

It lingered long enough to take some pictures.









In several of these you may notice how, when the sun 
drops, it spotlights the far side of the valley.  










Sometimes the buildings and windows panes are lit an implausible brilliant copper.



Thursday, June 1, 2017

So what are the odds against lightening striking 3 times?!!!!!


I know!  It's almost embarrassing!

As well as the becoming blush, ­čś│  I am deeply indebted to the Chill With A Book Award, its readers and its creator, Pauline Barclay,  for selecting all three of my books for this honour.  What can I say? Thank you thank you thank you!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

They Say that Lightning Doesn't Strike twice.

But it just has! 



I am extremely surprised to report that my book TORN, has won a 'Chill with a Book award'. In itself, this is brilliant news. But what makes it astounding is that LIFE CLASS won the self same award a couple of weeks ago.
I am so grateful to the indefatigable Pauline Barclay, who designed the 'Chill with a Book' website, and who has developed this award.

For the criteria see the post below.   




Thursday, September 29, 2016

LIFE CLASS IS A WINNER

I am absolutely delighted to report that LIFE CLASS has just won the 'Chill With A Book' Award.




To win this award a book has to score top marks with the judges on each of the 5 criteria listed.

1) Were the characters strong and engaging?
2) Was the book well written?
3) Did the plot have you turning the page to find out what happened next?
4) Was the ending satisfying?
5) Have you told your friends about it?

My thanks go to Pauline Barclay who set up the Chill With A Book site and who established the award, and also to her panel of anonymous judges.




Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Blissfully Romantic Location.

We have just come home from two weeks in Greece.  The unarguable beauty; the warmth; the scents of pine resin, thyme and sage; the continuous swooshing of the sea and the clanking of goats’ bells - and from our vantage point high above it, we even saw a huge turtle swimming up the bay - all combine in a seductive sense memory that I've filed away to be revisited whenever I need a boost.

Our villa is terracotta, halfway up the slope
















Add caption
















By the time it came to leave it was a wrench, not just because we had enjoyed a lovely holiday,  but because we felt we were leaving friends.  Betty and Venettia, the caretakers of our villa, took us on a trip - it was at their own instigation. We prefer not to have a hire car and they were concerned we were missing out. They refused any contribution towards petrol, and collected us and drove us home, despite our insistence that we would get a taxi.

Venettia
Betty














Members of the older generation of the family
The brothers












Dimitris and Christophoros, seemed bafflingly interchangeable, popping up to 'wait' at one or another bar or taverna. We then discovered that many of the eateries are a family concern, and that they are only two of the four brothers and three sisters of the family.

Andreas and Anait run the delightful and invariably excellent Nefeli taverna, with the help of Aleko (or Oleg) at front of house, and many others - including Anait's mum - in the background.

Aleko
Anait with her fianc├ę and business partner, Andreas



The Nefeli












I have to mention Katerina and her daughter, Maria, who run the Minimarket, and their cat Nausicca. (Poor Nausicca was pregnant when we first met her, but by the end of our holiday she had given birth and then lost her first litter of kittens. It is thought they were predated.)
When I went to buy some olive oil made from the olives grown on their own farm, they insisted on giving it to me.

Last but not least, marathon man, Christos. He is the owner of the villa we stayed in and could not have been more charming, enthusiastic, helpful and eager to chat to us - despite his pidgin English, and our, even more pidgin, Greek. Amazingly fit, he had retired as a colonel only four years previously, from a 36 year career in the Greek army, in the paratroop regiment.

Christos and me - enjoying his famous frapp├ę
I can understand why Romance writers choose places like the Greek islands to set their stories.  The location is idyllic, lending itself to languorous glances across a candle-lit dinner table; the balmy evening breeze and the lulling sound of the sea; fragrant evening strolls among the Oleander trees and the Gardenias, but.....

When I am asked if I am a romance writer, I usually disclaim the description, or at least attempt to qualify my kind of fiction. I am not a snob about it - I'm a member of the Romantic Novelists Association after all - but I need to manage the expectations of my potential readers. If someone picks up one of my books wanting to immerse themselves in an escapist world of hearts and flowers, yachts and fast cars, glamorous locations, then they will feel very let down. But, if the reader wants a more down-to-earth story about real people, in real-life situations, then my books might be just what they’re looking for. 

Life is not a fairy tale - most of us, at some time, have to deal with bereavement, marriage, childbirth, infidelity, separation, illness and ... love, in its many facets.  There is the love of parents for children, and vice versa.  There is the love between brothers and sisters. There is love between friends.  Even the love in a relationship, is not always - or only - romantic.  It grows, changes, deepens and sometimes, sadly, fades.  I see love as a part of life, probably THE most important part, but still only a section woven into the plait that makes up our lives. 

So, of course, I write about love, but I don’t just write about its heady and breathless joys. I write about love where it’s gone wrong or dies. I write about the bad consequences of love and sex, as well as its rewards. And I don't deny that locations such as the one I've just left, are very very romantic. I just don't write that kind of book.