Guest post: Unsticking Words with Another Glass of Champagne by Jenny Kane

I’m delighted to be here today to chat about my latest contemporary novel, Another Glass of Champagne. And I’m more than delighted to have you here, Jenny!

AGOCFollowing on from the bestselling novel, Another Cup of Coffee, and the seasonal Christmas novella’s Another Cup of Christmas, Christmas in the Cotswolds, and Christmas at the Castle; Another Glass of Champagne is the final instalment in the Pickwicks Coffee House adventures.

Revolving around the coffee obsessed lives of Amy, Kit, Jack, and their friends, Another Glass of Champagne finds each of the Pickwicks friends facing exciting changes in their lives. Yet, unexpected challenges will need to be overcome if those celebratory glasses of champagne are ever going to be raised…

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?

A follow-up to the runaway success Another Cup of Coffee.

***

One of the main characters in the Another Cup of… series is a writer called Kit Lambert. When we first met Kit in Another Cup of Coffee, she was making a name for herself by writing erotica. As her career progressed Kit moved into contemporary fiction, and now she has a novel publishing contract, with all the pressures of having to produce work to tight deadlines upon her.

Mum of twins, and wife to bookshop owner Phil, Kit suddenly finds herself unable to write at all, but he can’t understand why. Surely writer’s block is something that can be easily shaken off- or is just a myth invented by those who can’t be bothered to write today…or is it?

Not even sitting at her usual table in the corner of Pickwicks Coffee House, (run by her friend Peggy) is helping the words become unstuck…

Extract

When she got back, Kit found Peggy looking thoughtful, ‘Why have you closed your work down, honey? I usually steal a read of your latest work in progress when I think you’re not looking.’ ‘I haven’t got much done today.’

Kit mumbled. ‘It’s been a mulling things over sort of a day.’ Changing the subject, she said, ‘Scott says there are some sandwiches ready for your lunch when Megan comes back through.’

‘Good, I’m starving.’

‘Are you and Megan managing alright with only two of you on the serving team? It’s already busy, but by July it’s going to be packed between eleven and two.’

‘Actually, Scott and I were talking about that over the weekend. Would your Helena fancy giving us a hand and earning some money before she heads off to university? Where is she going again?’ Flinching slightly, and hoping Peggy hadn’t noticed, Kit said, ‘She’s aiming for Bath to do Chemistry, and Thomas’s hoping to be off to Exeter. Assuming they get their grades, that is.’

‘Of course they will. What’s Thomas going to study?’

‘History.’

‘Sounds good. So, do you think Helena will want the job? It would save me a lot of bother with adverts and stuff.’

Kit nodded. She knew exactly how much time it took to go through interviews and training staff in this place, so someone who was already familiar with Pickwicks layout would be a real advantage to Peggy. ‘I’ll ask her. Helena’s bank balance could certainly do with a top-up. Goodness knows it’s time she stood on her own two feet financially.’

Megan came back into the café and Peggy got up to go and have her lunch before another influx of customers forced her to forego her only real break of the day. As an afterthought, she turned back to Kit. ‘If you’d rather your daughter wasn’t here during the day, just say. I mean, this is your office after all!’

‘I don’t mind at all. I’ll ask her this evening, assuming she comes home She seems to live at her mates’ houses these days.’

‘Making the most of seeing her friends before she heads west, I suppose.’

Peggy waved as she disappeared into the kitchen, to what Kit hoped wasn’t a tuna sandwich, before she could see the tell-tale glint of tears fighting to form at the corner of her eyes. Cross with herself for being so emotional, Kit looked at her screen. Peggy had opened a new document and typed the words You can talk to me, you know. Love Peggy xx across the top of the page.

Kit should have known that she couldn’t hide anything from Peggy. The manageress knew her habits better than anyone, having been host to them for the past decade or so. Kit didn’t even want to guess how many cups of coffee, scones, and slices of toast she’d consumed at that table in that time. Just the thought of the amount of butter she’d spread over her early morning snacks was enough to make her feel as though her hips were expanding right there on the seat.

Making her mind up to talk to Peggy soon, she picked up her mobile and sent Helena a text, telling her about the possible employment opportunity at Pickwicks. Kit wasn’t sure if she did actually want Helena around all day while she was writing. But then, she thought, I’m not exactly writing now, am I…

***

You may be thinking that Kit sounds like a real writer you’ve come across- and you’d be right. Kit and I are pretty much the same person- but with huge exaggerations into fiction of course!! For a start, I do not have twins!

However, a little while ago I did suffer a bout of writer’s block. I had been a little flippant about the condition until then- but now I know it is truly horrid. Feeling all the words backing up in your head and not being able to get them out is just awful- especially when you live for your words! I lost weeks to the confusion of not being able to compose even the simplest sentences.

If you want to discover if Kit manages to get to the root of her own word block, and see what else the Pickwick’s crew are up to, then you can buy Another Glass of Champagne from all good bookshops and eBook retailers, including-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Another+Glass+of+Champagne+Jenny+Kane

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/188-7813436-7626710?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Another+Glass+of+Champagne+Jenny+Kane

Many thanks for letting me visit today,

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Good luck with the book, Jenny; I’m so looking forward to the read.

Bio

Jenny Kane at Costa Coffee talking about her new book.

Jenny Kane at Costa Coffee talking about her new book.

Jenny spends a large part of her time in the cafe’s of Mid Devon, where she creates her stories, including the novels Another Glass of Champagne, (Accent Press, 2016), Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the best selling contemporary romance Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and the novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds, (Accent Press, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle, (Accent Press, 2015).

Her next full length novel, Abi’s Neighbour, will be published by Accent Press in Summer 2017. She is also working on a short historical novel, which will be published in November 2016.

Jenny Kane is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Hushpuppy, 2015).

Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.

Twitter- @JennyKaneAuthor

Facebook -https://www.facebook.com/JennyKaneRomance?ref=hl

jenny kane blog tour (1)

Being A Contender by Georgina Troy – RoNA Awards 2016

AJB jpegGeorgina Troy is another author in the Accent Press stable and she was recently honoured with a shortlisting in a prestigious award. She’s been kind enough to pop over and share her story with us. Over to you, Georgina.

I’m one of those people who has delayed reactions. When something good happens to me it takes time for it to dawn on me that it really is happening. When something bad happens, I also take time to react. I’m an optimist at heart but I think that, especially with my writing, when someone is complimentary, or I’m told that my book is being: a) published – I think they must be confusing me with someone else; b) Nominated for the Joan Hessayon Award – that they make all the authors who’ve been signed to a publishing contract finalists that year; c) Contender for the Romantic Novel of the Year Category in the Romance Novel of the Year Awards 2016 – that… well, maybe my book might be okay.

It was a surreal time, discovering that A Jersey Kiss had been nominated when I read the initial congratulatory email in (I believe) December from the Romantic Novelists’ Association and then being congratulated by my publisher and having to keep the news secret until the news embargo was lifted in February. Then there were further emails asking me to complete press release forms, sending author jpegs, being interviewed by the local paper and on BBC Radio Jersey where met another contender who lived in Jersey, Sophie Cousens (Romantic Comedy). It was all go!

Then it was a case of finding something to wear, booking flights and getting tickets for my mum, husband and daughter who were to accompany me, and generally getting very excited. Planes, trains and lots of walking later, I arrived at The Gladstone Library, in Whitehall for the contenders’ photo shoot while my family members went for something to eat before joining me for the award ceremony. I hate having my photo taken, but had fun nonetheless, and tried to smile although I was a little in awe of the entire proceedings. To be nominated in the same category and taking part in a photoshoot with people like Veronica Henry… I mean, Veronica Henry! She’s one of those authors whose books I buy each year when they come out and I know I’m going to enjoy them.

Needless to say it was a fabulous evening meeting up with other RNA members/friends and enjoying the glitzy party. It was enough being nominated, truly.

To celebrate something like this with my mum, daughter and husband was extra special and we all sat at the Accent Press table with my esteemed publisher, Hazel Cushion, and the other two Accent Press contenders – in different categories, thankfully – Jane Jackson (Historical) and Lisa Tenzin-Dolma (YA). It was a fun, exciting and pretty awesome evening and I’m massively grateful that the judges liked A Jersey Kiss enough to choose it to be nominated in such an auspicious award.

So, for any writer out there sitting at their laptop editing, or reading their RNA New Writers’ Scheme reader’s report and feeling disheartened by all the things wrong with their manuscript – as I have many, many times – don’t give up. Dreams really do come true, writerly ones, at least. And this summer I’ve seen my fourth book for Accent Press, A Jersey Bombshell, being published – another truly exciting event.

Blurb:

Gabriel has returned to the island of Jersey after ten years abroad to help his aging showbiz parents revive their failing Art Deco hotel. This proves to be something of a challenge, especially as his singer father and actress mother are more concerned with staying in the limelight than keeping track of the cash-flow. Gabriel isn’t going anywhere fast …

Meanwhile, he’s stunned to find that the hotel’s new receptionist is the girl he fell in love with years earlier in Vietnam, and someone who is tied to Jersey is the last thing she needs …

Author Bio:

Georgina TroyGeorgina Troy lives in Jersey, an island fifteen miles off the coast of France. She’s a hopeless romantic and when Georgina realised that no one else wrote romances set in her island home with its beautiful wind-swept beaches and intriguing inhabitants, she decided she had to provide some. Her books are published by Accent Press.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeorginaTroyAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/georginatroy

Blog: http://georginatroy.blogspot.com/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/georginatroy/

Buying Links:

Amazon.co.ukhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Jersey-Bombshell-Georgina-Troy-ebook/dp/B01DYDGHDS/

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Jersey-Bombshell-Georgina-Troy-ebook/dp/B01DYDGHDS/

Good luck with the book, Georgina and thanks for popping by.

 

Kindle Daily Deal: Redemption Song

redemption song daily deal bigger buttonMy novel was selected for the Kindle Daily Deal and it is only 99p at this very moment. Tomorrow it will be back at full price. It’s been climbing the charts steadily all day and it has been amazing to see this. I’ll blog about the day in more detail soon, but for now I wanted to let you know that if you’ve not got a copy, now is the time! Accent Press, my lovely publisher, created splendid artwork for promo purposes and I put a few Canva images together myself. No prizes for guessing which are mine! Anyway, here’s a buy link:http://amzn.to/1X00Af5

THANK YOU AND ENJOY!

Redemption Song Portybelle Little Bookness Lane.pdf Being Anne Reading

 

Guest post: Mothers: Good, Bad and Fictional by Kate Glanville

Mother’s Day is almost upon us and to mark the occasion I have another Accent Press author over, the delightful Kate Glanville. Mother’s feature heavily in Kate’s novels and she’ll talk about them along with other fictional mothers and some real-life ones too! Take it away, Kate.

KATEKIDSAs I was writing this blog post my sixteen-year-old son Harry came into the kitchen and asked me what I was doing.

‘Writing about mothers,’ I replied.

He looked disdainful. ‘What do you know about mothers?’

I suggested that as I have brought up three children I might know just a little bit. I also reminded him of the relationship I have had with my own lovely mother for the last forty-eight years and the fact that the three novels I’ve had published all feature mothers as important characters.

He shrugged and asked if I’d made any flapjacks.

Mother – it is a soft, soothing word, suggesting affection, love, nurture, wisdom, and reliability. Surely a mother is someone who should give support and administer kindness to her children at all times of the day and night- a benign figure of authority, self sacrificing and generous as well as an inspirational role model – probably running marathons, participating on The Great British Bake-Off, ideally a CEO of an internationally successful, environmentally friendly company (so successful that her hours are short and she is always able to pick up her children from school) or at the very least she is a member of the PTA. A good mother prepares wholesome family meals to be eaten together round the table, she has glowing skin and shiny hair and an immaculately tidy house with children trained to clear away their own Lego and wash the dishes while cheerfully singing songs from musicals!! Oh, and a good mother never ever raises her voice – apart from joining in with loud renditions of Climb Every Mountain!

Kate, aged 16 with her mother

Kate, aged 16 with her mother

Oh dear, that doesn’t sound like me at all! Or any of the mothers I know – but then what do I know about mothers?

I do know that mothers feature in some way or another in many works of fiction. A whole spectrum of motherly behaviour from absolutely perfect to downright demonic!

In literature mothers come in many shapes and sizes, physically and metaphorically. I’m sure there have been very few absolutely perfect mothers in the history of mankind although there have been quite a few in literature: gentle (slightly saccharine) Marmee in Little Women, Molly Weasley competently holding her large family together in Harry Potter, and my own doyen of perfect motherhood – Caroline Ingalls, the devoted, ever resourceful pioneer mother in Little House on the Prairie.

There have also been some horrors too: Jeanette’s rigid, Bible bashing mother in Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, the dissatisfied, egoistical Emma Bovary in Madame Bovary and the horrible Mrs Lennox in The Secret Garden – who cruelly refuses to see her daughter Mary as she finds her too ugly.

The mother has been an endless subject of fiction for millennia. So many possible variations on the theme – so many inadequacies to explore!

51pCrVZil5L._SX341_BO1,204,203,200_In my first novel, A Perfect Home, I wanted to write about a mother who is trying her best to fit the stereotype of ideal mother and wife but feels trapped within her role. Though Claire clearly loves her children the emotional abuse she suffers in her marriage leads her to have to decide whether she can sacrifice her children’s home for her own happiness. Claire is plagued by self-reproach and guilt – a mother’s worst weapons against herself. In the end she realizes it is not the physical home that binds her family together and she is able to embark on a new life with her children which serves to strengthen both her bond with them and enables Claire to become a strong, self sufficient woman.

In the beginning of the novel Claire’s own mother cannot understand the choices her daughter has made. She expects Claire to fulfil the political and academic ambitions that motherhood and lack of education have denied her in the past. Her daughter’s domesticity is a constant disappointment. A chance accident enables her to embark on a new life of her own and is able to separate her aspirations from her daughter’s, enabling mother and daughter to develop independently.

51cxd3pepAL._AC_UL480_SR333,480_My second novel, Heartstones, had that great literary stand-by – a beautiful, lovely, caring but conveniently deceased mother. This enables the main character, Phoebe, to set out on a perilous personal journey and make numerous mistakes without the support, sympathy – or criticism – from a mother figure in the background. During the course of the novel Phoebe finds her grandmother’s diary and discovers a long-held secret that changes everything that Phoebe thought she knew about her adored grandmother and the family she comes from.

I also explore the subject of a perfect mother with a dark secret to hide in my latest novel Stargazing. Nesta is a wonderful, feisty, matriarch in her sixties (my favourite of all the characters that I’ve written so far). To her children, especially her daughter Seren, she is perfect. A classic, baking, gardening, chicken rearing maternal paragon. All her life Seren has worshiped her mother, so much so that she even lives next door! She aspires to be like her in every way. When Seren’s father leaves Nesta for a younger woman Nesta’s past begins to catch up with her and Seren’s life is thrown into turmoil. Seren’s own past has secrets too and Nesta has to realize that she hasn’t always been the good mother that she thought she’d been for her daughter.

51HBr64WseL._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_It can be very easy to use mothers as an excuse for bad behaviour or unhappiness, in fiction and in real life! I hope I manage not to overly dwell on ‘the sins of the mothers’ in my writing. As I mentioned previously, self-reproach and guilt are easy weapons to beat ourselves with. Society is also quick to criticize and condemn mothers; the media is particularly harsh.

Being a mother is by no means an easy job! I know I have made many mistakes. I often imagine my children, as adults, with some earnest therapist asking ‘And how did it make you feel when your mother did/ said/ didn’t do that?’

Indeed they already seem to take great pleasure in listing the things I have done wrong – such as constantly being late to pick them up from school, forgetting to buy tomato sauce, not going to one sports day (out of twelve!), getting drunk at a children’s Halloween party and dancing on the table to Abba songs with my friends (all other mothers – all also drunk!) What can I do? The damage is done!

I often find myself questioning my own conduct as a mother, holding up those literary examples to analyse my behaviour– am I being too much like Emma Bovary? How can I be more like Caroline Ingalls? A good friend recently suggested I should aim for something in the middle – between the two.

Harry is back, opening all the empty biscuit tins, sighing about the lack of food.

‘Found anything out about mothers?’ he asks.

I smile benignly and try to channel Mrs Waterbury – E. Nesbit’s lovely mother from The Railway Children. ‘Yes, Darling. I think I have. Only in fiction can mothers be perfect. In real life we’re always going to get things wrong and blame ourselves, but most of the time we’re only trying to do our best.’

Harry shrugs again. ‘So you haven’t made any flapjacks yet?’

My internal Caroline Ingalls smoothes down her apron while Emma Bovary eyes up the gin.

Biography
KATE2Kate Glanville was born in West Africa to Irish parents. Kate now lives in the village of Bethlehem on the edge on The Brecon Beacons National Park with her three children, four cats, a crazy dog, a rabbit and three sheep . She graduated with a degree in fashion design at Central St. Martins and worked in the textile industry before becoming a ceramic artist. Kate’s tableware designs have been sold in shops and galleries all over the world including Liberty, Conran Shop, Fortnum & Masons and Fired Earth. Among her many customers Kate has produced ceramics for The Prince of Wales, Madonna, Roger Daltry and Robbie Williams. Despite a successful career as a visual artist Kate has been writing stories since the age of eight! A Perfect Home (published in 2012 by Penguin US under the name Kitty Glanville)and Heartstones are her first two novels, both published by Accent Press in the UK and in Germany and Norway. Stargazing is published by Accent in the UK in 2016 and also in Germany. Kate is currently working on her fourth novel.

Thanks so much for coming over, Kate. Now back to that kitchen!

HERE’S HOW TO BUY KATE’S BEAUTIFUL BOOKS:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stargazing-Kate-Glanville/dp/1783757396/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1456916796&sr=1-1&keywords=kate+glanville

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heartstones-Kate-Glanville/dp/1783755105/ref=pd_sim_sbs_14_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=51YcTDKIBNL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR100%2C160_&refRID=1EH9PW1A3W28PAJ8JTG4

http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Perfect-Home-Kate-Glanville/dp/1783755091/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1T2B7RP5VHKNY9DC585Z

To like or not to like, that is the question

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Me, the pleaser, smiling for the camera (of course)

Commonly, we like to like our fictional heroes and heroines, and within some genres it is considered literary suicide to have a lead that isn’t very nice. Before I completed Redemption Song, had I been asked, I would have said I prefer stories with a likable protagonist: I adore Lou in Me Before You, Annie and Kate in The Day We Disappeared.

However, once the first draft was down and I knuckled down to the real business of writing – rewriting – I realised that while I love Saffron, my lead, her behaviour isn’t always likable, especially at the novel’s opening. I pondered whether to increase her nice factor but in the end decided that readers must see her warts and all. She is a good person; she just doesn’t always present that way!

And I began to dig a little deeper into my own likes and dislikes. Were my favourite literary heroines all lovely? No, as it turned out … Katniss Everdeen, Lisbeth Salander, Emma Bovary, Emma Woodhouse, Becky Sharp, the list goes on. These are women I find fascinating, but always nice? Definitely not. The more I thought about it, the more I acknowledged my penchant for difficult characters, difficult female characters in particular. Why is this?

Novels with some of my favourite kick-ass heroines

Novels with some of my favourite kick-ass heroines

It stems, I believe, from a dream to be the rebel, the feisty girl who does as she pleases, who kicks ass, metaphorically if not literally. Like a great many women – more than men, I believe – from childhood I have been a ‘pleaser’. Pleasing others equals likability and acceptance, and if you need proof that girls seek approval more than boys, spend some time in a primary school classroom! As a girl, I would often set aside my desires and ambitions rather than risk upsetting others. As the years have passed, I have become better at not always being selfless, but I still find it extremely difficult to say no. This is why I enjoy those heroines who don’t give a damn what others think (some of the time), who are unafraid to pursue their desires, who behave badly sometimes, who forge a new path, who are unafraid of unpopularity. And the irony is that it is precisely these types of women who often become role models and national treasures. In real life I’m thinking of the likes of Caitlin Moran and Suzanne Moore.

An author I respect, Lionel Shriver, said some years ago: ‘Goodness is not only boring but downright annoying… When fiction works, readers can develop the same nuanced, conflicted relationships to characters that they have to their own friends and family.’

Hear, hear.

And now that Saffron from Redemption Song is out here in the world, I must turn my attention to Diana, the protagonist in my next novel, Skin Deep. A former model and an artist, she is beautiful, talented, messed-up, thoughtless, selfish and needy. Another challenge, in essence!

Have a lovely weekend, people,

Laura x

mothers dayredsong

From place to place

Today I’ve been guesting at Lynne Shelby‘s blog on her regular A Sense of Place slot. Of course, I talk about the setting in Redemption Song, my latest, but I also talk about the locations in my other novels and in the one that is still to come … scheduled for publication in March next year. Skin Deep probably has the most unusual location – a sink estate in Manchester that was demolished in the mid-90s, way before the story of Diana and Cal arrived in my head. Pop over and find out more … HERE.

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A novel going for a song? 99p for Public Battles, Private Wars

publicb99p promoI’m not sure of the origins of the saying ‘going for a song’ but I like it. It’s something my grandma used to say and it has a cheerful, optimistic feel about it and why not? Throughout February my last novel, Public Battles, Private Wars, a story of friendship, love and overcoming adversity, is available for Kindle for just 99p.If you’re unfamiliar with my work and would like to give it a go, there’s little risk here.

And if you like it, you might like to follow the read with my latest, Redemption Song, hardly a rip-off at £2.99!

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