Coffee and Music with Jenny Kane

Many thanks for helping me celebrate five years since the publication of Another Cup of Coffee! It doesn’t seem a moment since my tale of caffeine, friendship and “laying the ghosts of boyfriends past to rest,” hit the bookshelves.

My absolute pleasure, Jenny. It’s a gorgeous read.

Here’s the blurb!

Another Cup of Coffee 2017 (003)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…

***

Music has always played an important part in my writing life. I have different playlists to listen to depending on what style of writing I am creating. When I am ‘being’ Kay Jaybee and creating erotica, I listen to Depeche Mode (just as Kit, the erotica writer within Another Cup of Coffee does). When I was writing the five Another Cup of…stories, I listened to non-stop 80’s and 90’s music- just as I did when I was a student back in the 1990’s. And it is that very music (Alice Cooper, The Euyrthmics, The Clash…) that inspired the main male protagonist in the novel- Jack Brown.

***

Extract

The power shower thundered, sending a searing-hot cascade of water down onto Jack’s head. Squeezing far too much shampoo into his hands, he began to viciously scrub his short hair. What the hell had he been thinking? Well, actually, he hadn’t been thinking, had he? He never looked beyond himself. The moment. The day. He was so stupid. So angry with himself.

Why had he posted that tape? And more immediately, where was he? And how soon was he going to able to get away from whoever it was he’d spent the night with? Jack could feel the familiar sensation of suffocation closing in on him as he abandoned his hair and began to furiously soap his torso.

He was a shit.

But then you have to be good at something.

And now Amy was coming here. It hadn’t crossed his mind that she’d even visit, let alone move her entire life back south. And not just south, but bloody London. Being back in touch, and hopefully forgiven, was one thing when she was safely tucked away in Scotland. But here. Face to face. Jack hadn’t banked on that at all.

He really didn’t want to see Rob today. It was his fault this had happened. Rob had come into work one day, back in the summer, going on about how worried he and Paul were for Amy. How she seemed to have placed herself completely off the emotional scale. The combination of bright sunshine, happy reminiscences, and the weight of a conversation he and Amy had never had, had brought his buried guilt racing to the surface.

Then, a few days later, Paul had visited Jack and Rob’s bookshop, passing through on one of his rare visits between his archaeological digs. He’d been sorting out some of his university mementos, and had come across a load of photographs.

They were all there, at university, more years ago than was acceptable if Jack was still going to pass himself off as thirty at the clubs he frequented. Amy, Rob and Paul huddled together in a muddy ditch, laughing. Rob, Paul and him, pints of Tiger lager in hand, outside their favourite pub. Paul, Amy and him, all cuddled together on Rob’s battered and suspiciously stained brown sofa. Amy and him. Amy and him together. Smiling. Together.

That had been the killer. That was the photo that had made him think. Her eyes had shone at the camera. If Jack was honest, so had his. So, in a state of happy but unrealistic nostalgia, he’d gone home, dragged a box of assorted junk out from under his bed, and pulled out the tape.

He had weighed the clear plastic box in his hand. It was time to explain. If Amy was half the girl he used to know then she’d forgive him. And suddenly, from nowhere, Jack had found that he really, really needed to be forgiven.

That was why he’d put Unfinished Sympathy on Amy’s tape. He wanted her to understand that he knew he’d hurt her. That he, himself, had been hurt by having to leave her. But for reasons he hadn’t totally understood at the time, he’d felt he had no choice. A fact which had led him to the record the unbearably twee, but wholly accurate, I Will Always Love You. It seemed to say how sorry he was. It said everything he’d wanted to say then, but couldn’t. He was sorry, really he was. But for Amy to turn up here! Bloody hell.

Stepping out of the shower, Jack began to dry himself with a suitably punishing rough brown towel. Now he was going to have to tell Rob he’d returned the tape, and have another go at talking to Kit.

He hadn’t deliberately failed to tell Kit about Amy. Specific conversations about individual exes had never come up. Jack was pretty sure that Rob hadn’t mentioned Amy to Kit either. Amy had been part of their old life, and Kit was part of their current one. Simple.

Jack knew he had to see Kit soon, before someone else filled her in. He wasn’t sure why he’d walked out on her now he came to think about it. At least she’d understand. Kit always understood. After all, they’d remained friends. Great friends. They had moved on smoothly.

‘Talk about my past catching me up,’ he muttered to his sleep-deprived reflection as he dragged a borrowed razor over his chin. ‘It’s pretty much tripped me up, into a pile of shit, and it’s entirely my fault. Bloody sentimental tape….’

****

If you want to find out how Jack manages to mess up even the simplest conversations with his overuse of lyrics, and discover if Amy sorts her life out, you can buy Another Cup of Coffee as an eBook or a paperback from –

Another Cup of Coffee is available from all good book and eBook retailers, including-

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

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee-contemporary-ebook/dp/B00EVYZC7M/ref=pd_sim_kinc_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=12DHKX85NFP0DNJJCKDS

http://www.bookdepository.com/Another-Cup-Coffee-Jenny-Kane/9781783751129

Another Cup of Coffee has 3 novella length Christmas sequels (Another Cup of Christmas, Christmas in the Cotswolds and Christmas at the Castle), as well as a full length sequel, Another Glass of Champagne.

***

Happy reading everyone.

Jenny xx

Bio

KayJayBee-17 (003)From the comfort of her cafe corner in Mid Devon, Jenny Kane wrote the contemporary women’s fiction and romance novels, Romancing Robin Hood (2nd edition, Littwitz Press, 2018), Abi’s Neighbour (Accent Press, 2017), Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2016), and the bestsellers, Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), and Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013).

She has also written 3 novella length sequels to her Another Cup of…..books:  Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent, 2016). These three seasonal specials are now available in one boxed set entitled Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection (Accent, 2016)

Jenny 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)

Jenny Kane is the writer in residence for Tiverton Costa in Devon. She also co-runs the creative writing business, Imagine.

All of Jennifer and Jenny Kane’s news can be found at www.jennykane.co.uk

@JenAshHistory

@JennyKaneAuthor

Jennifer Ash https://www.facebook.com/jenniferashhistorical/

Jenny Kane https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011235488766

Imagine www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk

 

 

 

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Dancing with love and death: guest post from Grace Lowrie

Before We FallGrace and I share more than a publisher – I am also a huge fan of Highgate Cemetery; Diana in Skin Deep grew up in a house bordering the West Cemetery. But less of me, let’s find out all about Grace’s latest novel – Before We Fall and the inspiration behind it. Over to you, Grace.

The Inspiration for Before We Fall 

I once, briefly, visited a strip club. It was unlike anywhere else I’d been – sort of artificially flirty and fun but with a serious business-like undertone – and that experience came in useful when writing Before We Fall. But I have never practised ballet and my main inspiration for Cally’s character actually came from a brief moment in my childhood that has always haunted me…

I was about ten years old, couldn’t sleep, and crept downstairs to where the end of a film was playing on the television. It involved an aspiring young ballet dancer (about my age at the time) who suddenly collapsed and died on a subway train on her way home. The shock of the little girl’s sudden and painful death was made worse for me by seeing her mother’s helpless inability to save her, while the other passengers on the train simply looked on. Needless to say as soon as my mum caught me watching it, she sent me back to bed, but the traumatic scene was already imprinted on my mind. I’ve only recently discovered that the film was ‘Six Weeks’ from 1982 and that the young ballerina’s death was caused by leukaemia (rather than by riding an underground train as I’d wrongly assumed at the time), but it was – and still is – an important reminder that life is short.

Highgate-Grace LowrieI wanted to set Before We Fall in some of my favourite London locations – the city’s oldest restaurant, Rules, for example – but there were also places I wanted to use that I’d never experienced first-hand, and writing this book gave me the perfect excuse to visit and research them. Highgate Cemetery, for example, seemed a fitting locale for a story with a mortality theme. The resting place of thousands of people (including some of my favourite writers; George Eliot, Christina Rossetti and Douglas Adams) is steeped in history and romance. By going there myself I could mentally conjure up my characters in situ – imagine what they might think or say, and picture how their body language might betray their feelings. My visit was nowhere near as illicit as Cally and Bay’s ended up being, but my hope is that some of the unique atmosphere of the place has seeped into my writing.

Having said all that Before We Fall is primarily a romance novel full of love, lust, friendship and humour… just watch out for that dark edge.

The blurb:

When Cally, an amateur ballet dancer, is suddenly diagnosed with cancer she runs away from her boyfriend, her job in a call centre and her safe life in Wildham in order to experience ‘real’ life in London. Taking a job as a stripper and flat-sitting in the top of an office tower she meets her obnoxious neighbour Bay; a tattooed, drug-taking, suicidal artist, haunted by the death of those close to him.

Despite their differences, the two strike up a friendship – Bay pushes Cally to try new things while Cally provides Bay with a muse – and they fall in love. But their secrets threaten to tear them apart and time is running out…

How to Buy:

 

 

About Grace:

Grace Lowrie+Having worked as a collage artist, sculptor, prop maker and garden designer, Grace has always been creative, but she is a romantic introvert at heart and writing was, and is, her first love.

A lover of rock music, art nouveau design, blue cheese and grumpy ginger tomcats, Grace is also an avid reader of fiction – preferring coffee and a sinister undercurrent, over tea and chick lit. When not making prop costumes or hanging out with her favourite nephews, she continues to write stories from her Hertfordshire home.

http://www.gracelowrie.com/blog

http://www.facebook.com/GraceLowrieWriter

 

https://www.instagram.com/grace_lowrie/

https://www.goodreads.com/Grace_Lowrie

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Grace-Lowrie/e/B00UNCPYCY

 

 

 

 

Guest post: Breaking the (romantic) Rules by Celia J Anderson

Romantic rules, and when to break them …

Little Boxes by Celia J Anderson - 200Little Boxes came about when I began to think about my first disastrous attempt at a novel, Moondancing, written as a hobby over ten disjointed years. It had been slated – rightly – for having too many viewpoints but the characters were still fresh in my mind. I was at a crossroads. Sweet Proposal – the book that made it – had won a competition run by Piatkus Entice, and it was time to plan for the next one. My writing life so far had been geared to getting something (anything) published and the thought of what would happen after that hadn’t really seemed worth thinking about.

Suddenly, here was a whole new ball game. There might be … readers! They might want to buy something else. But what would they like, and what would be fun to write for them? One thing I was sure about was that I was going to stick to my guns this time, and not try too hard to fit into a publisher’s mould. Sweet Proposal had originally been called The Chocolate Project, and I was still sorry I’d let it be changed. It seemed to have put my story into the cloying, over sickly category of romance. I felt embarrassed to say its name.

Fast forward now to a few months down the line, when Little Boxes had been written and redrafted numerous times and was ready to submit it to a new batch of publishers. The first advice that came my way was that it fell between two camps – not really romantic comedy because it covered serious issues but too funny to be taken seriously. It was crunch time. Should I go back to the drawing board and play for laughs/take out the funny bits? Would it never see light of day unless it fitted into a proper pigeonhole?

I’m crossing everything at the moment. Breaking rules and taking risks is a whole lot more fun than going with the flow. Little Boxes stayed as it was, found a lovely publisher in Tirgearr and by now should be out there fending for itself. I hope you’ll take a chance on it and give it a read?

Extract:

Tom sat on the beach in the spring sunshine, eating cockles out of a tub and gazing rather grimly at the incoming tide. If it came much closer he’d have to abandon his painting for the day – it took a good twenty minutes to pack up and get back to his car on the promenade.

As he licked his fingers and screwed up the seafood carton, there was a scrunch of pebbles and a whoosh of air as a small boy thundered past, whooping at the top of his voice. He was followed at speed by the most desirable woman that Tom could ever remember seeing in this small seaside town. It was his Lady in Red; the one who had been cropping up in his dreams far too often since he’d first seen her on the beach. Her hair was an explosion of dark curls, and she wore tight orange jeans with a wildly clashing crimson sweater that came almost to her knees. Tom took a deep breath to say hello but he was too late.

‘Max… MAX… don’t go near the sea. I mean it!’ she bellowed, skidding straight into Tom as she chased the boy across the pebbles. ‘Sorry, sorry… have I hurt you? Is your painting wrecked? Oh – wow; it’s good, isn’t it? You can tell it’s meant to be the pier. I’m really, really sorry…’

Tom picked himself up and put his painting chair the right way up again. ‘Hey, it’s okay – you can fall over me any time,’ he said, grinning into her startlingly green eyes.

She blinked and looked away, her lovely face matching the colour of her sweater. Shielding her eyes with a hand, she scanned the beach for the boy. ‘Where’s he gone, the little toad? Ah, there he is, he’s making something out of a heap of stones – at least he’s not paddling fully dressed like last time. Oh hell, you don’t even know me and I’ve already wrecked your work. I’m Molly. I think I’ve seen you here before, haven’t I? Let me fix your painting.’

She bent down to see if she could repair the damage and Tom held out a hand to stop her trying to brush bits of stone off his picture. ‘No, honestly, it’s fine, I’ll sort it out. I’m Tom, and I’ve seen you, too. You’re easy to remember.’

‘Am I? Why?’

‘Lots of reasons – you often seem to be in a hurry, you always wear something red, you’ve got lots of kids, you’re gorgeous…’ Tom stopped in confusion.

‘Gorgeous? Me? Do you need your eyes testing or something?’ Molly blushed again and looked at him properly for the first time. ‘I’m sorry, that was really rude,’ she said. ‘My mum’s always telling me I don’t know how to take a compliment.’

‘Don’t worry, maybe you just need a bit more practice.’ Tom bent to carry on sorting his painting kit out. He couldn’t help noticing how her eyes rested on his forearms as he finished tidying up and, clearly aware of his scrutiny, she reddened even more.

‘You’re very strong, aren’t you?’ she blurted out.

Tom laughed. ‘I guess I have to be, don’t I? If you’ve seen me before, you’ll know why.’

Blurb:

Suddenly bereaved, Molly White realises that she has never really known her feisty husband Jake when random boxes begin to appear through the post, each one containing a tantalising clue to the secrets of Jake and Molly’s past. Someone who knows them both well, for reasons of their own, has planned a trail of discovery. The clues seem to be designed to change Molly’s life completely, leading her around Britain and then onwards to rural France and deepest Bavaria.

Meanwhile, waiting in the wings is Tom, a charismatic artist who runs a gallery in the same town. Strong, independent and wheelchair-bound from the age of fifteen, he leads a solitary life and has no idea how devastatingly attractive he is to women. When Tom meets curvy, beautiful and funny Molly, he knows that she is his dream woman, but she seems way out of his orbit until the boxes start to weave their spell and the two of them are thrown right out of their comfort zones.

Little Boxes is a story of love in a variety of guises – mother-love, unrequited passion, infatuation and the shadow-love held in memories that refuse to go away.

Buy links: http://celiajanderson.co.uk/books/little-boxes/

Author Bio:

celiaandersonCelia J Anderson spends most of her spare time writing in as many different genres as possible, including children’s fiction. In her other life, she’s Assistant Headteacher at a small Catholic primary school in the Midlands and loves teaching literature (now comfortingly called English again but still the best subject in the world.)

She tried a variety of random jobs before discovering that the careers advisor at secondary school was right, including running crèches, childminding, teaching children to ride bikes (having omitted to mention she couldn’t do it herself) and a stint in mental health care. All these were ideal preparation for the classroom and provided huge amounts of copy for the books that were to come.

Celia enjoys cooking and eating in equal measures, and thinks life without wine would be a sad thing indeed. She is married, with two grown up daughters who have defected to the seaside. One day she plans to scoop up husband and cats and join them there.

Links:

http://celiajanderson.co.uk

http://theromaniacgroup.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/CeliaJAndersonAuthor

http://www.twitter.com/CeliaAnderson1

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