Author Archives: Accent Press

Guest Post: Embroidery as an Inspiration for The Handfasted Wife by Carol McGrath

We welcome Carol Mcgrath onto the blog today, where she discusses the inspiration behind her bestselling historical series, The Daughters of Hastings

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The Handfasted Wife published initially in 2013 by Accent was my debut novel. It was closely followed by The Swan-Daughter and The Betrothed Sister. The Trilogy tells the story of The Battle of Hastings and its aftermath from the point of view of King Harold’s common-law wife, romantically known as Edith Swan-Neck, and explores his daughters’ stories- Gunnhild and Gytha. Embroidery plays a part in the stories. I even investigate Viking and Rus embroideries for the third novel in the series.

The first novel was inspired by The Bayeux Tapestry, in particular by a vignette depicting aBurning Carol McGrath richly-clad woman fleeing from a burning house just before the battle. Some historians think that this was Edith, and Ulf, King Harold’s youngest son who, as is documented, was taken as a child hostage to Normandy. As a consequence, Edith’s desire to reunite her family is one of the novel’s main themes.

Since embroidery is important throughout the Trilogy and I am thrilled that Accent have relaunched the books with beautiful new covers that have the texture and detail of medieval embroidery. The covers are gorgeous and relevant thanks to Accent’s artist Zoe.

Recently, I visited an exhibition in the V & A showing Opus Anglicanum, medieval embroidery that was valued throughout the Middle Ages in Continental Europe. Opus work features in the first novel as does The Bayeux Tapestry. Opus embroidery has its roots in Anglo-Saxon textiles produced with ornamentation for public ceremonial events, religious and secular and for ecclesiastical copes, stoles, altar hangings, orpheys and panels. Valuable imported silks, velvets and gold threads were used in the embroidery. The term Opus Anglicanum was used to describe embroideries that looked to anyone using the phrase as made in England. In the later Middle Ages, extensive workshops could be discovered elsewhere such as in Flanders and in France, yet the embroidery has its origins in England. The embroideries grew even more complex, were used in a secular manner for enhancing garments, as well as for Church glorification. The theme continues throughout my new trilogy about three later medieval queens because opus work was at its height of perfection during the thirteenth century, the century for my new novels.

St Cuthbert's Stole The original opus embroideries of Anglo-Saxon women, were executed by very upper class women, especially royal saints. These saints included St Eadgyth, daughter of King Edgar ( 943-975), and St Elthelreda of Ely, who in the seventh century made a stole and maniple for St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, commissioned by Aelflead, the second wife of King Edward the Elder. This stole has a background of gold thread with perfectly depicted figures of prophets and saints. It was around this time that English embroideries were making their way to Continental Europe. As the Norman biographer, William of Poitiers, wrote, ‘everyone attests to the great needle-craft of English women in gold embroidery.’

 

 

The Bayeux Tapestry is not opus work but it is the most famous surviving Anglo-Saxon inspired English embroidery.  It was probably commissioned by Bishop Odo, King375px-Embroidered_bookbinding_13th_century_Annunciation William’s brother, to tell the narrative of 1066. It was most likely, as related in The Handfasted Wife, designed in Canterbury and embroidered in England in several embroidery workshops in stitches worked in wool on a linen background. It is ambitious and complex in construction, incorporating aspects of medieval drama, warnings, fables, strange creatures and named characters. It can be read from a dual perspective, English and Norman. The Tapestry has long intrigued me and given me a passion for embroidery that has inspired the inclusion of embroidery in my historical novels.

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Carol McGrath taught History and English for many years in both the state and private sectors. She left teaching to work on a MA in Creative Writing from Queens University Belfast, then an MPhil in English at Royal Holloway, London, where she developed her expertise on the Middle Ages.

Keep updated Carol by following her on Twitter @carolmcgrath

You can buy the The Handfasted Wife here.

It’s been a Wonderful Year by Julie Roberts

I went to the Showcase Cinema in Reading last Sunday to see a screening of It’s a Wonderful Life. I laughed, and cried unashamedly. And this is how I write, feeling the deep emotions of my characters – a box of tissues are always within my reach. This set me thinking about the wonderful moments and events I have shared with my family and friends and all the team at Accent Press.

I’ll start with the moment I opened an email from my editor, jay Dixon, offering me a contract for my novel The Hidden Legacy. My heart thumped as I read the email once, twice, thrice and then I sat staring at the screen – a zombie.  But my brain cells wouldn’t allow that and I rushed downstairs calling out to my husband, ‘Tony, where are you?’  In his Man Den as usual. But he is my most loyal, wonderful and, “You can do it”, supporter I could wish for. Then with jay’s editorial guidance my manuscript was ready for a publication day of 23 June 2016.

But as all writers know, there is much to do before publication day. My first moment started in January. No snow, no north wind stopped my visit to Accent’s business offices, Cynon House, Abercynon, a short train ride from Cardiff and a welcome by Rebecca Lloyd, Senior Editor. A tour to say ‘Hello’ to everyone, and I have that person in my mind when I phone. Rebecca and I talked about the cover, the process to publication day and Bethan James, Publicity, Sales and Marketing Manager joined us for a buffet lunch. We talked about how Accent could help with promotion, social media and lots more. I left feeling the day had helped me prepare for the months ahead.

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February brought forth the cover and Rebecca has a flair for writing a blurb.

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A painting, a thief, a debt repaid

A female artist in a man’s world, Meredith Sanders is making her own way in life. But when she receives a legacy from her deceased guardian, she finds herself drawn into his criminal past and into danger.

At first, businessman Adam Fox suspects Meredith of involvement in an art fraud relating to a missing Turner painting. Despite her fear of betrayal, she sees he is the only man she can turn to and trust. Together they try to find the painting and return it to the Royal Academy before the opening of the Summer Exhibition, leading Meredith into even deeper trouble.

And whatever her feelings for Adam, Meredith will not reveal the secrets of her own humble past…

 

And then came this stunning review from Nicola Cornick: “A thrilling page-turner rich in romance, intrigue and adventure.”

Once a month, Marlow FM Radio broadcast a Book Club programme, hosted by Vanessa Woolley and Chrissy Hayes. February’s session was talking about historical and contemporary writing. Tania and I had the historical slot, Jan and Janet contemporary. We are all members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA). It was great fun, and a promotional event for me to talk about The Hidden Legacy. Then the six of us had lunch at a restaurant in Marlow High Street. It’s not all work and no play.

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Top, L-R: Jan, Tania, Janet and Julie. Bottom, L-R: Julie and Tania.

March bounced in with one of my promotional ideas of making my own regency gown. I searched the internet for a pattern. And wow! It came all the way from America.

From this

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To this!

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A regency gown needs a regal setting. With my courage bolstered by Tony at my side, I approached the manager of The Forbury, the most prestigious hotel in Reading. ‘Could I please use their beautiful lounge rooms for my photographer, Dave Belcher LRPS, to do a photo shoot. (http://davebelcher.zenfolio.com/) The warm response was, ‘Of course.’ There you are, if you don’t ask, you will never know.

Research is vital to writing historical novels. I have travelled the length and breadth of England, climbing wide impressive stairs, studying décor, furniture, buying books and making copious notes. But to go to the Palace of Westminster’s archives, to hold, in my hands the scroll of the Marriages Act, 1835, I cannot put into words the thrill of such a moment.

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L-R: The 1835 scroll and Tony and the Librarian Archive

The Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford holds a collection of Joseph Mallord WilliamTurner’s paintings, sketches and engravings. For a limited time they displayed them all in one dedicated exhibition. And I was there to gaze at them, the originals by the hand of the master himself.

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April burst into a canopy of young leaves on the trees, late daffodils and narcissus petals followed the sun from east to west.Writing is a lonely occupation and I play bowls – summer outdoors and winter indoors – I love the game, the exercise and the friends I have made over the years.

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Reading Chapter meeting with our member, Jennifer, visiting the UK from Canada.

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May, is the month to wander in the bluebell woods. But not on the evening of the RNA Summer Party held in London.  And this is my moment of achievement – short listed for the Joan Hessayon Award 2016 for this year’s RNA published authors from their New Writers’ Sccheme, with my novel The Hidden Legacy. Accent had four entries.

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Although I didn’t win, the evening was magical.

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The fourteen Joan Hessayon 2016 contenders

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Receiving my Finalist Award from RNA Vice Chairman Nicola Cornick

Saturday, 4 June was an early start to travel to Cardiff and join in the opening celebration of Accent’s new venture, Octavo Book Café and Wine Bar. The venue is close to Cardiff Bay and the attractive waterside centre.

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Mid-June was very busy with preparations for my debut novel book launch. The venue I had chosen was Great Expectations Hotel in Reading. This hotel had the perfect ambiance of wooden floors, a library room full of books and it was where Charles Dickens spent time reading his stories.

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On the evening of 29 June, Great Expectations was buzzing with my family, friends and writing collegues for a Book Party that was another moment to be remembered forever.

With only one day to relax, I was off to MarlowFM on 1 July for another Book Programme with Vanessa, Chrissy and Liz Harris. Now I had a published book to promote and The Hiddeen Legacy was voted Book of the Month. Wow! This really was the icing-on-the-cake.

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Book of the month deserves a celebratory lunch.

Off again, this time to the RNA’s Conference 2016 weekend, 8 July at Lancaster University.  No time for R&R. The question is which of the workshops do I go to? Answer – As many as I can fit in. And the Saturday Gala Dinner can continue until breakfast on Sunday.

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A little free advertising for an article in my local newspaper Reading Chronicle

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Mid-August is the time for holidays. Tony and I went to Edinburgh. On the hottest day of the summer, 24 August, Tony and I travelled to the Hoop and Grapes, Aldgate, London. This centuries old inn, amongst all the towering buildings of Aldgate, is the inn I use in my novel. Inside the thick walls the temperture on that hottest day was plesant. The ambiance is perfect for a regency novel if you imagine only candlelight, tobbacco smoke swirling to the ceiling beams. A smugglers tunnel leading to the Thames. In my gown, I wooed the clientele to listen to my story and buy a book.

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I was even featured in the Caversham Bridge Newspaper in September 2016. Here’s a snippet:

Retired accountant Julie Roberts, from Caversham, has secured her fIrst book deal for her debut novel. She has signed a contract with publishers Accent Press for her romantic novel, ‘The Hidden Legacy’. The novel, set in Regency London in the year 1815, has as its subject the finding and return of a missing Turner painting to the Royal Academy in time for the opening of the summer exhibition. The book was shortlisted for an award by the Romantic Novelists Association. Julie started her writing career after attending an adult creative writing class. She and four friends whom she met on the course have together published three books of short stories, but this is her first successful full-length novel.

000000000000000000000000000Her three co-authored books of short stories, ‘Fish Pie and Laughter’, ‘The Guilty Suitcase’, and ‘The Virgin Sardine’ are available as eBooks or paperbacks. The fourth book in the series, ‘Aphrodite’s Picnic’, has recently been published. She is now working on her second novel, on a completely different topic. ‘The Hidden Legacy’ was showcased at a launch event held in July at the Caversham Bowls Club, of which Julie is a member. The photo of Julie in period costume reading an extract from the book was taken at this event. The painting which can be seen in the picture is of the artist Turner. ‘The Hidden Legacy’ can be obtained from Amazon as an eBook or a paperback.

Tony and I squeezed another short holiday into our very busy year. The Breacon Beacons were wonderful, days of sunshine and evenings chatting in the bar. It was a down-memory-lane, for we had not been in the area for many a long year.

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October started with trip to my local bookshop, Chapter One, to buy and have signed Clare Balding’s children’s book. The perfect Christmas present for a little girl I know who is potty about horses.

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And as you can see Clare’s book is next to mine!

Thursday, 13 October was not a bad day for me, but a great day – a happy and chatty interview with Sue Kinnear on the BBC Radio Berkshire Ann Diamond Show. The only thing is, I forgot to take a photo of us.

Fantastic news from Courtaulds Art Gallery – they would stock my novel, The Hidden Legacy in their Gift Shop. The gallery is where the Royal Academy was sited in 1815.

I missed the RNA Winter Party on 16 November because I left ordering my ticket too late. – there are limited numbers and they were sold out! A lesson learned, order early!!! I missed out meeting all my friends, the networking, the chatter, the presentations for the Industry Awards.

Promotion has been the heart of my year. So I booked two November Christmas Fairs that had been very successful to me in the past – St Bartholomew School, Newbury and Cranford School, Moulsford – both within a twenty mile radius of my home. And I was not disappointed. I had a great table placings, and there were lots and lots of people and I came home with my purse full.

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November ended with a special present for the ‘boys’– A VIP Day at Williams F1 at Grove, Wantage.

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December, the month of shopping, organising, presents and bargains galore if you have a full purse. Me, I went off on 2 December to Marlow FM Radio for this time, as always, promotion, but to chat about books. I started out with what is thought to be the first romance novel – Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded written in 1740. Next, Wilbur Smith’s Eagle in the Sky written 1974, a story that could have been written yesterday. And lastly, Nicola Cornick’s House of Shadows, an historical/contemporary crossover three timeslip novel.  Finishing, of course, with The Hidden Legacy – a novel about, a painting, a thief, a debt repaid.

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L-R: Chrissy, Vanessa and Julie

And a trip to the dentist pays off with more than a checkup – promotion and sales.

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My last entry for ‘It’s been a Wonderful Year’ will always remain in my heart for Hazel, jay Dixon, Rebecca, Bethan, Emily and all the team that have worked so hard to make my time with Accent Press a happy and most enjoyable experience.

 

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A HAPPY and MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Exclusive Extract of Crosscurrents by Jane Jackson!

We welcome the brilliant Jane Jackson to the blog today. With Christmas just around the corner, Jane gives us an early Christmas treat with an extract from Crosscurrents, which was shortlisted for the Winston Graham Historical Prize 2016.

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‘After giving the matter considerable thought,’ her father regarded them both with a broad smile, restless fingers turning the stem of his wineglass. ‘I have concluded that the interests of all concerned would best be served by a match between the two of you.’

Shock stopped Melanie’s breath. Her eyes met Richard’s for one appalled moment. Unable to bear the mortification, she looked away. She had come here because there was nowhere else, and because he was her father. But he didn’t want her: couldn’t wait to shift the responsibility on to his heir. It was blackmail. The brief glimpse she had caught of Richard’s horror told her he felt the same.

‘Papa – ’

‘I haven’t finished. Yes, you are distantly related, but you share no direct blood tie. And your marriage would ensure that my wealth, which is considerable, remains safely within the family. It is in every respect an excellent solution.’ He looked from one to the other, beaming in satisfaction.

Solution? Was she such a problem? Dying inside, Melanie stood up. Dropping his napkin on the table, Richard rose as well.  ‘May I remind you, Papa,’ her voice trembled, ‘as your heir, Richard’s position is already secure. I was – am – grateful to you for making me welcome. Why am I now to be disposed of like – like – an unwanted gift?’ Her eyes stung with tears of rage and shame.

‘Sit down, Melanie.’ Though he still smiled, his tone demanded obedience and he waited until she sat. Her heart pounded so hard she felt sick. ‘There is no need for all this drama.’

‘You think not?’ Her voice cracked. She did not dare look at Richard. She could still see his horror.

‘You girls and your nonsense.’ Tregarron eyed her indulgently. ‘You read romances and dream of love.’

Melanie’s face was on fire and beneath her gown her shift clung to damp skin. She felt utterly betrayed. Anger brought her chin up. ‘You mock me, Papa. But surely love offers more chance of happiness than marrying merely for financial convenience?’

‘You possess a remarkable talent, Melanie. But you have much to learn. If you must have love, it is as easy to love a rich man as a poor one. Easier. For there is little bliss to be found in poverty.’

‘That is not – ’

He silenced her with a gesture, then draining his glass he rose from the table. ‘You will oblige me by thinking about what I have said. I am sure on reflection you will see the many advantages.’  He turned to the door.

‘For you, perhaps,’ she threw at him.

Without pausing, her father left the room.

As the door closed behind him, Melanie bolted from her chair and paced to the window. ‘Lessons in marriage from a man whose wife prefers to live apart from him? How dare he presume to tell me what will make me happy! He doesn’t know me at all.’

‘Melanie,’ Richard pushed back his chair. ‘Calm down.’

She dreaded facing him but there was no avoiding it. She whirled round. ‘I need no instructions from you on how to conduct myself.’

‘In this instance I must beg to differ.’

‘Oh stop being so pompous!’

‘Perhaps you might stop being so emotional.’

‘How dare you criticise me? What gives you the right to judge? A man who has neither heart nor feelings – ’ she stopped, knowing she had gone too far, instantly wishing the words unsaid.

As he strode round the table, his eyes burning in a face pale with barely-controlled fury, she felt a stab of panic. But through her fear, excitement flashed like lightning. The mask had finally shattered, revealing a man of powerful emotions that rivalled her own.

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Carry on reading the story by purchasing the full title here.

Follow Jane Jackson on Twitter: @JJacksonAuthor

Be sure to like her Facebook page: http://bit.ly/2gKkpbP

And check out her website: http://www.janejackson.net/

 

 

 

Going Medieval…

The multi-talented Jenny Kane/Jennifer Ash joins us on Accent Hub on release day of her medieval tale, An Outlaw’s Ransom. Read on to find out the inspiration behind the novel…

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Those of you who have come across my Jenny Kane novel, Romancing Robin Hood, will

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That particular novel is very important to me for a number of reasons. The main one being that it allowed me to write about one of the major obsessions of my life – or should I say THE major obsession of my life- the legend of Robin Hood.

Not only does the lead character, Dr Grace Harper share my love of all things connected with the man in green tights (well, probably red hose actually, but you know what I mean), she also shares my love of the television show, Robin of Sherwood– a fact which is all too clear within the novel!

In fact, it was this love for a 1980’s TV show that gave me one of the most amazing pieces of luck I’ve ever had. Earlier this year, through the miracle of social media, a lovely man called Barnaby Eaton-Jones spotted a post about Romancing Robin Hood. After that he got in touch with me- asking if I’d like to have a trade stand at the Hooded Man Event in Chepstow this year. And so, last April, there I was- 30 years after the last episode of Robin of Sherwood aired, taking to its stars, signing books for the likes of Jason Connery (yes he is lovely, and clever, and kind – and yes, he does look a lot like his dad), and crew, thinking that all my Christmas’s had come at once. It wasn’t long however, before I began to notice a pattern to the conversations I was having with the people buying my novel.

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Every single fan identified with the character of Grace, and how her love of a television programme had led on to an overall interest in medieval history. The folk I sold books to were so kind. Each was chatty and passionate about the subject of medieval outlaws, and as I got to know everyone, I began to share a few ideas I’d had about expanding the medieval half of Romancing Robin Hood.

The medieval mystery part of the novel centre’s round a young woman called Mathilda of Twyford, who enters the household of real life criminal band, the Folvilles.

The reaction from the RoS fans was overwhelming.

“Write more Mathilda.”

So, with the encouragement of my fellow Robin Hood fans echoing in my ears, and the support of my lovely editor, I decided to go for it.

The result is my first outing as Jennifer Ash- medieval mystery writer!

Today, I am proud to announce the release of a novella entitled The Outlaw’s Ransom.

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Blurb

The first in an exciting new series by acclaimed author Jenny Kane writing as Jennifer Ash.

When craftsman’s daughter Mathilda is kidnapped by the notorious Folville brothers, as punishment for her father’s debts, she fears for her life.  Although of noble birth, the Folvilles are infamous throughout the county for disregarding the law – and for using any means necessary to deliver their brand of ‘justice’.

Mathilda must prove her worth to the Folvilles in order to win her freedom. To do so she must go against her instincts and, disguised as the paramour of the enigmatic Robert de Folville, undertake a mission that will take her far from home and put her life in the hands of a dangerous brigand – and that’s just the start of things…

A thrilling tale of medieval mystery and romance – and with a nod to the tales of Robin Hood – The Outlaw’s Ransom is perfect for fans of C.J. Sansom and Jean Plaidy.

You can buy The Outlaw’s Ransom for your Kindle here –

For UK Customers, click here!

For US Customers, Click here! 

While readers of Romancing Robin Hood will already be familiar with the story within The Outlaw’s Ransom’s pages, as it is formed from the medieval part of Romancing Robin Hood. I should say that it has been expanded and altered a little from its original version.

Mathilda’s story doesn’t end with The Outlaw’s Ransom. I have just finished writing the first draft of a full length novel, The Winter Outlaw, which continues Mathilda’s adventures. (Out Autumn/Winter 2017)

If crime is your thing, if you like medieval mysteries, or even if you just have a soft spot for Robin Hood, then why not give my Jennifer Ash persona a try?

Happy reading everyone,

Jennifer/Jenny

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Bio-

Jennifer Ash is the author of the medieval murder mystery, The Outlaw’s Ransom (Dec, 2016). Her second novel, The Winter Outlaw, with be published in 2017.

You can find detail’s of Jennifer’s stories at www.jenniferash.co.uk

Jennifer also writes as Jenny Kane

Jenny Kane is the author the contemporary romance Another Glass of Champagne, (Accent Press, 2016),  Christmas at the Castle (Accent Press, 2015), the bestselling novel Abi’s House (Accent Press, 2015), the modern/medieval time slip novel Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the bestselling novel Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and its novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), and Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014).

Jenny’s fifth full length romance novel, Abi’s Neighbour, will be published in June 2017.

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)

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

 

 

 

Christmas made easy by Accent Press

Who doesn’t love books for Christmas?! We’ve picked the perfect titles for everyone to enjoy this Christmas.

For the crime lover:

The Black Path by Paul Burston

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Described by Edgar and Macavity-winning crime writer Alex Marwood to be ‘deliciously creepy and surprisingly emotional.’ Paul Burston brilliantly takes his hand at crime writing with his debut thriller The Black Path. A dark tale of love and lies, obsession and betrayal, The Black Path will appeal to fans of ‘domestic noir’ and anyone who’s ever wondered about the secrets people keep. Buy Here

Falling Suns by J A Corrigan

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Ex-DI Rachel’s small son is missing. Then his body is discovered. Her cousin Michael is found guilty of his murder and incarcerated in a secure psychiatric unit. Four years later, now divorced and back in the police force, Rachel discovers that Michael is being released to a less secure step-down unit, with his freedom a likely eventuality. Unable to cope with this, she decides upon revenge, assuming a new identity to hunt him down and kill him. Buy Here

The Deadline by Jackie Kabler

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When TV reporter Cora Baxter attends the scene of a murder in a London park, she’s horrified to discover the victim is someone she knows and devastated when one of her best friends is charged with the crime. Suddenly the fun-filled life of Cora and her eccentric camera crew takes a darker turn. Buy Here

For the History Buff:

The Chronicles of St Mary’s by Jodi Taylor

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Time travel meets history in this explosive, bestselling adventure series. At St Mary s Institute of Historical Research, the historians don t just study the past, they revisit it. Behind the strait-laced façade of a conventional academic institution, the secret of time travel is being used for ground-breaking and daring historical research taking the historians on a rollercoaster ride through history: from the destruction of Pompeii to the Normandy trenches; from the Great Fire of London to Bronze Age Troy and even to the time of the dinosaurs… Buy Here.

The White Ship by Nicholas Salamon

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In 1119 AD Normandy is ruled uneasily by its duke, Henry King of England. Bertold is on the fringes of the aristocratic world but will soon be caught up in battles for power, drawn in by a woman he loves.  Buy Here.

The Witch of Eye by Mari Griffith

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1435, England. Eleanor Cobham has married into the highest ranks of the aristocracy – she is now the Duchess of Gloucester. Eleanor craves the one thing she lacks: a son and heir, and with him a possible route to the throne of England. Desperate, Eleanor turns to the one person she believes can help her: Margery Jourdemayne, the infamous Witch of Eye. Such help comes at a high price … Buy Here.

For the chick-lit lover

The Magic of Ramblings by Kate Field

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 When Cassie accepts a job as companion to an old lady in a remote Lancashire village, she hopes for a quiet life where she can forget herself, her past and most especially men. The last thing she wants is to be drawn into saving a community that seems determined to take her to its heart and to resuscitate hers… Buy Here.

Somebody Else’s Boy Jo Bartlett

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Will Nancy and Jack be allowed to embrace the future, or will their histories forever bind them to the past? Drama teacher Nancy O’Brien puts her ambitions on hold to support her family, and returns to her idyllic seaside home town, St Nicholas Bay. Jack has his own reasons for heading to the Bay; a young widower desperate to come to terms with his loss, he hopes setting up home there with baby son, Toby, might just enable him to survive the future. Buy Here.

Souper Mum by Kristen Bailey

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Monday morning can’t get any worse for harassed mum-of-four Jools Campbell when, after a frantic school run, she’s cornered in the supermarket by pompous celebrity chef Tommy McCoy, who starts criticising the contents of her trolley. In a hurry and short of patience, she berates McCoy for judging her when she hasn’t the time or the money to feed her family in line with his elitist ideals. Unbeknownst to Jools, her rant has been filmed and immediately goes viral on YouTube, making her a reluctant celebrity overnight. Buy Here.

For the Poet: 

Amnesia by Rhys Milsom

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This collection is a glimpse into moments in life that anyone can connect with. The themes of love and loss linger throughout the collection, treading lightly through some poems, but also – unapologetically – being the central point of others. Each poem is a glance at life: what makes us tick, what makes us who we are, why we choose our paths, why we do what we do. The collected poems were written over a number of years, each representing unique perspectives of life seen through the author’s eyes. The word ‘amnesia’, as a title, was chosen as an antidote to remedy the collective impact of the collection. Buy Here.

Transition by Rhys Milsom

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A collection of poems by acclaimed poet Rhys Milsom. Buy Here.

For the Sport lover:

Rugby Generations by Jos Andrews

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For many, the ultimate dream is to play rugby for their country. Today the financial rewards of playing at the top have moved to a new level, but teamwork, family, friendship and pride are still priceless. This revealing book charts the history of the game through the stories and voices of players, past and present, and paints an intimate picture of a rugby world which has changed beyond recognition, but still keeps the same hold on all involved. With a foreword by international referee, Nigel Owens, this is a fascinating personal insight into the life and times of Welsh rugby. Buy Here.

For the young book addict:

Paper Princess by Carys Jones

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Tilly is about to start secondary school, the same school as her older sisters, Monica and Maria. But Tilly doesn’t fit in with her sisters. She doesn’t really fit in with anyone. Her head is always filled with fairy tales and potential happily-ever-after endings. In her mind she’s still a princess trapped up in a tower waiting to be rescued. Everyone is telling Tilly that she needs to stop believing in fairy tales and start being present in the real world. But with so many things changing beyond her control is Tilly really ready to give up the one thing which makes her feel safe? Buy Here.

The Girl Who Cried Wolf by Bella James

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A growing up story with a difference, and a startling debut, The Girl Who Cried Wolf shows the tumultuous transition from teenager to young woman and is a story about believing in something, whether love, faith or simply yourself.  Buy Here.

Happy book shopping!

Asking What If? By Lynne Shelby

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French Kissing author Lynne Shelby stops by Accent Hub to tell us where she gets her inspiration from to write the fabulous stories contained in her novels. 

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The question I’m asked most often as a writer is where I get my ideas. The answer is that a story can be inspired by almost anything and at any time. I love travelling, and often find that I’m inspired to write when I’m exploring a foreign city, throwing my two main characters together in an unfamiliar setting and seeing how they react. piazza-navona-blog-post-pictureA few years’ ago, I was walking along a street in Rome near the Piazza Navona (hungry after a day’s sight-seeing, my husband and I were looking for a restaurant) when I overheard two girls – one Italian, one American – talking, the American telling the Italian girl that ‘the job will only be for six months.’ I still have the notes I wrote when we got back to our hotel: ‘American in Rome. Why? Tourist? What job? Is she working in Rome for six months? Or going back to the States? Does she have an Italian boyfriend who she’s leaving? Or an American boyfriend who wants her to return?’ Answering those questions will make a story, Rome will be the location, and the photos I took on that trip to Italy will be pinned to an inspiration board in my writing room.

I get many ideas for stories from snatches of other people’s conversations. My debut novel, ‘French Kissing,’ was originally inspired by a telephone conversation overheard when I was travelling back to London from Paris on the Eurostar with my family. A young Frenchman sitting across the aisle spent the journey calling his English friends on his mobile, informing them that he, François, was on his way to England, and suggesting they meet up. Unfortunately none of them seemed to want to meet him. By the time we reached St Pancras, I was feeling very sorry for François, and I’d had the idea for a story in which a Frenchman coming to London is very much welcomed by an English girl. These characters eventually became Alexandre and Anna, the hero and heroine of ‘French Kissing,’ and the novel takes place in London and Paris, two of my favorite cities.

Of course, you don’t have to travel far from home to find inspiration. A few days ago, I was standing in the queue at our local supermarket, when I noticed a twenty-something man buying a huge bunch of flowers. Who were they for? His girlfriend? His wife? His mother? And why was he buying them at 9.00 o’clock on a Sunday morning? Were they a symbol of his affection – or a peace offering? What if he forgot to take the price off – what would be the recipient’s reaction? A mundane event, but it could be worked up into the first chapter of a romantic novel. Another time I was in a crowded train on the London underground, when I overheard a man say to his friend, ‘If I’m still with her when I’m thirty-five, if I haven’t found someone better,  I’ll marry her. I’m getting married when I’m thirty-five to whoever I’m with at the time.’ It didn’t seem to have occurred to this egoistic, obnoxious individual that whoever he was dating might have her own opinion about the matter – and it certainly gave me an idea for a story.

Stories waiting to be told are all around, but one place I don’t get ideas is sitting in front of a blank computer screen waiting for inspiration to strike. Like many writers I spend a lot of time in my writing room with my laptop, but only after my idea has begun to take shape – usually this means I have a beginning and an end, even if I don’t know what’s going to happen in  between.

As for my idea for a novel set in Italy – A couple of weeks ago, I happened to fall into conversation with a woman sitting at the next table in a hotel restaurant. She turned out to be a professor from an American university with an extremely interesting reason for visiting Europe… And now I have my answers as to what my American heroine was doing in Rome, and know I have to write her story.

If you’d like to read all about how Francois became Alexandre, and this time welcomed with opened arms, make sure you read French Kissing, which is available here.

Be sure to never miss a thing by following Lynne on Social Media:

Twitter: @LynneB1

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LynneShelbyWriter

Website & Blog: http://www.lynneshelby.com

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Guest Post: Julie Roberts at Newbury Craft Fair

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Accent Hub welcomes Julie Roberts onto the blog today. Julie tells us of her successful weekend at Newbury Craft Fair and gives you a little taster of her much loved novel, The Hidden Legacy.

I haven’t been a seller at a craft fair for some time, so I ventured out this November with my novel The Hidden Legacy. The moment of should I was a promotion decision that needed careful thinking about –the  table cost, petrol, should I be using this time to write?

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Well, It was worth every minute of my day. I spent lots of time talking to so many people, mothers pushing their babies, ladies with time to read on a cold winter’s day, and those suffering partners who I persuaded to take home an extra Christmas gift for the lady in their lives.

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I enjoyed the atmosphere of the hall, the variety of so many different stalls, the refreshments, just coffee for me as I did not have time to sit and eat my sandwich lunch.

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And only two books left to take home. Time to order more books…

With Christmas in mind, why not treat yourself or a loved one to The Hidden Legacy. Here’s a little taster of my regency romance.

***

April 1815

This moment was the beginning of her new life.

Meredith stood in front of a building in Ludgate Hill. She owned every brick and room squeezed between a silversmith and a tailor’s premises. From today it was her home, her art studio, and gallery. She wanted to dance and clap her hands, though such girlish behaviour would not be appropriate. But it was still a wonder that her beloved guardian, Frederick, had bequeathed it to her.

She stepped close to the bow window, which reflected her green eyes bright with happiness. A light breeze lifted a strand of dark hair as she rubbed her finger over a dust spot. The new easels had emptied her purse, but they had been worth every penny as they displayed her two favourite paintings, a river scene and a portrait of a boy.

The sound of bolts being drawn in the adjoining shops made her heart beat faster. Could she succeed in the art world? Would artists allow an un-sponsored, unprotected woman into their realm of canvas and oils? Enter studios where models were draped in only swathes of scarlet silk?

Going inside, she left the front door open. It presented a more welcoming entrance than a client having to knock. The dusty and dingy room of two weeks ago was now covered with unbleached linen panels. It had transformed the space into a light and airy gallery. In pride of place on the long wall was her painting of Frederick.

She picked up The Times and read the advertisement she had placed. It looked small and insignificant amongst so many others.

Artist of experience seeks pupils to tutor in the graces of drawing and painting.

Mondays and Wednesdays – 9am until noon.

Charge 5s.0d per morning.

Sanders Studio, Ludgate Hill.

Should she be sitting when a client arrived? She swept her skirt across a wooden chair and seated herself behind a spindly-legged desk that she had bargained fiercely for with a mean-faced trader at a flea market – but she loved the elegant tone it gave the gallery.

Fifteen minutes passed. She couldn’t sit a moment longer and paced the length of the room, counting each step … Thirty minutes! What would she do if no one came? Frederick had, in his will, provided her with an allowance which ought to cover her own expenses. But there was also Mrs Clements to provide for. It had only been proper to invite her to leave Harlington and come to London as her companion and housekeeper. Her tuition money would be essential to pay Mrs Clements’ wages. And what about buying her art materials? If she sold a painting she would need to create another to replace it. Her plan to put aside a little money each quarter for emergencies was looking more than fanciful. Clearly being independent meant shouldering a lot of personal and household responsibilities.

Clattering horses’ hooves sounded outside the window and Meredith hurried to see what was happening. A well-attired gentleman was lifting a little girl from a coach. A moment later he opened the inner gallery door and together they stepped inside.

Now that she could see him better, he was a very handsome gentleman. His dark hair touched the collar of his jacket and his eyes were the darkest of brown. He removed his hat, favoured a slight bow, and said, ‘Good morning. My niece and I have come in answer to an advertisement regarding tuition. Would you please announce to the artist that Mr Fox and Miss Weston are here?’

This was not a good start. He thought she was an assistant? Her hands started to tremble and she clasped them tightly and prayed the dark dress she wore gave her a professional appearance.

She curtsied. ‘You address the artist, sir.’

He stepped back, ‘You! But you’re a …’ he faltered, ‘a lady, a very young lady!’

If this was the reaction she was going to get whenever a prospective client walked through the door, interviews would be extremely tedious. But she would not be intimidated by his words; she raised her head an inch and replied, ‘I am Miss Meredith Sanders, at your service, sir. I can assure you I am fully qualified to tutor.’

Mr Fox gestured to the window. ‘Come closer that I might see better a lady who recommends herself so highly.’

Meredith bit her tongue. How many times had she been warned that her frank speaking would be her downfall? Was she now going to lose this client she so desperately needed?

‘I beg your pardon sir, I meant no offence.’

Amusement tinged his voice as he repeated, ‘I asked you to come nearer the light.’

The last thing she wanted to do was provoke a disagreement, so she stepped forward and said, ‘This is a bright room, sir. However, I am happy to oblige you.’

His gaze started at her feet and moved upwards to her eyes, his expression revealing nothing of his thoughts. ‘Tell me, how many of these paintings can I attribute to you?’

‘All of them, sir.’ Meredith kept her tone civil and swept her arm in a circle towards both long walls. ‘I paint watercolour and oil, portrait and landscape.’

‘Um,’ was his only comment. ‘Do you have a stool for my niece to sit on?’

Meredith indicated a wooden chair in the corner and the child sat down. Miss Weston’s behaviour was demure, but there was an expectation in her, an excitement as she leant forward and watched her uncle’s every move.

Mr Fox toured the room that was now her gallery, stopping to study first a landscape, then a charcoal sketch and finally the portrait of Frederick.

‘Who is this?’

‘My …she hesitated, then the untruth left her lips, ‘my late father, who was also my dearest friend.’

‘Would you say this is a good likeness?’

Her grief, never far from the surface, returned. ‘Oh, yes.’ Her voice warmed, as it always did when she spoke of Frederick. ‘He had the dearest of natures. Those lines beside his eyes were caused by laughter and his lips tilted up at the corner when he smiled. And he always wore the most brilliant of colours.’ She was drawn into the painting, remembering the long summer days in his studio, how he had taught her to mix the oil paints, sketch an outline.

‘I am much taken with your talent, Miss Sanders.’

She forced her memories aside, relieved to hear Mr Fox now viewed her with a more appreciative manner. Now that her initial fear had calmed, she could see his face was not so stern, his voice a more gentle tone. And his fine woollen green jacket fitted his broad shoulders to perfection. She let her gaze drift lower to the pale breeches and highly polished boots. Such an outfit could only come from the highest quality shops. A flutter of excitement ran down to her toes.

***

You can find out what happens to Meredith in the rest of the novel by purchasing a copy here. 

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Black Friday Treats

We’ve got a whole host of treats for you this Black Friday! We’ve got some fanatastic eBook titles at 99p!!!

In the words of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle – ‘Treat Yo Self’

via GIPHY

 

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Running away can be the answer if you run to the right place…

When Cassie accepts a job as companion to an old lady in a remote Lancashire village, she hopes for a quiet life where she can forget herself, her past and most especially men. The last thing she wants is to be drawn into saving a community that seems determined to take her to its heart – and to resuscitate hers…

Buy Here.

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Drama teacher Nancy O’Brien puts her ambitions on hold to support her family, and returns to her idyllic seaside home town, St Nicholas Bay. Jack has his own reasons for heading to the Bay; a young widower desperate to come to terms with his loss, he hopes setting up home there with baby son, Toby, might just enable him to survive the future.

Buy Here.

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It is Saturday night and the Pier Ballroom in Swansea is the place to be: For Lily, an evacuee unclaimed by her family at the end of the war; for Judy, taught independence by her war widow mother; for Katie, the product of a marriage between a drunken, violent father and a cowed, beaten mother; and for the spoiled, wilful Helen. It is an evening that fuels jealousies and sows the seeds for friendships, confidences, and romance . .

Buy Here.

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Thirteen years ago Amy Crane ran away from everything she knew, ending up in an unfamiliar city with no idea of her future. Now, Amy’s past has caught up with her, arriving on her doorstep in the shape of an old music cassette that Amy hasn’t seen since her university days.  It’s time to confront the real reason Amy left, time to reconnect with all those she left behind and time to stop running…but most of all it’s time to discover why Jack has sent her tape back, after all these years…

Buy Here.

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Posy has been dumped by her long-time boyfriend. Lola has lost her job and her home. The village of Steeple Fritton appears to be their only salvation. They have to utilise their assets or go under. But when the assets are a showman s traction engine, an ailing pub and a village full of eccentrics, the new life plan is not immediately obvious to either of them. Then Flynn and Ellis arrive and things go from the sublime to the ridiculous…

Buy Here.

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A year after her brother’s fatal accident, Lexie’s life seems to have reached a dead end. She is back home in small-town Hailesbank with her shell-shocked parents, treading softly around their fragile emotions. As the family business drifts into decline, Lexie’s passion for painting and for her one-time mentor Patrick have been buried as deep as her unexpressed grief, until the day her lunch is interrupted by a strange visitor in a bobble hat, dressing gown and bedroom slippers, who climbs through the window…

Buy Here.

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Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document – to try and find the answers to many of History’s unanswered questions…and not to die in the process.

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A quest to rescue historic Central American artefacts becomes a race to prevent an apocalyptic threat when Ruby discovers that the ancients have set in motion something that will threaten the world today.

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This is an adventure story of love, loss, survival and reconciliation. The Handfasted Wife is the story of the Norman Conquest from the perspective of Edith (Elditha) Swanneck, Harold’s common-law wife. She is set aside for a political marriage when Harold becomes king in 1066. Determined to protect her children’s destinies and control her economic future, she is taken to William’s camp when her estate is sacked on the eve of the Battle of Hastings.

Buy Here.

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In December 1909 the Very Rev Joshia Martins expires in a dish of mutton and onions leaving his family on the brink of destitution. Abandoned by her noble grandfather, Joshia’s daughter, the eighteen year old Euphemia, takes it on herself to provide for her mother and little brother by entering service. However, on her first day at the unhappy home of Lord Stapleford she discovers a dead body.

Buy Here.

Happy Bargain Hunting!!

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Guest Post: Kristen Bailey

second-helping-fb-ad-new-release-2d-final-coverIt’s day two of Kristen Bailey’s Second Helpings Blog! Kristen shares her hopes, fears and farewells to Bake Off – the show that helped inspire her new novel, Second Helpings. 

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I’ve been feeling kind of bereft in recent weeks, as last month saw the end of an era….it was the last ever Great British Bake Off on BBC1 with the magic of Mary, Mel and Sue. Sad times.  One questions whether the magic will remain as the show gets transported over to Channel 4.  Will they still allow for soggy bottoms and stiff peaks?  Who will replace Mary? (I’m telling you now Channel 4, please go over to Norwich and track down Delia…).  Will the new show be in a quaint little tent in the gardens of a country house?  Or will they now make all the bakers live together in a house governed by a Geordie voiceover?  I, for one, am a bit apprehensive about the move.  Unless they decide to do a crossover show with the once truly great Eurotrash.  Semi-naked baking with Paul Hollywood and Jean Paul Gaultier and all the innuendo you can shake a French stick at….that I’d watch.

But if Channel 4 are going to get anything right, I really hope they recreate the magic that is bringing ordinary people under one tent and making us care about them.  Because most weeks, I couldn’t care less whether they were baking bread, choux pastry or 3D gingerbread models based on world famous monuments.  What I cared about were the contestants – I loved hearing that they were grandmothers who had raised families and were now following their life dreams, or plumbers from Middlesborough who liked nothing better than turning out their recipe for lemon drizzle cake.  I liked seeing their intricate successes, the energy, time and love they put into all their bakes.  My favourites from series past and present have included: laidback Selasi, dipsy Ruby, tank-topped James and of course, the amazing Nadiya from last year.  In fact, it was Nadiya’s win that inspired the direction that my new novel, Second Helpings was going to take.  Up until that point, I wasn’t sure where to take Jools Campbell’s adventures next.  She had toyed with fame in Souper Mum but something had to lure her back into the fame game.  I figured for her to return, she needed to do something big, something with with heart, something GBBO-esque.

It wasn’t until I watched Nadiya’s emotional win in the final (and saw Mary cry….sob!) that I realised I wanted to create a similar vehicle for Jools, a show that could showcase her maternal side and make us remember why we all loved her.  In Second Helpings, she therefore, becomes a judge on a cooking show called Little Chefs.  It’s a competitive cooking show featuring kids and their families.  In my eyes, it harks back to the time of shows like the Generation Game but involving rainbow coloured freestanding mixers, prodigious cooking children and warring judges.  Warring?  Why yes…because in an attempt to up their ratings, the BBC employ Tommy McCoy as Jools’ fellow judge, her foodie nemesis…surely a recipe for disaster?

So as I bid farewell to Bake Off, I thank them for inspiring part of my second novel and for all those wonderful contestants and baking puns that kept me company of a Wednesday evening.  But thank you also for all the foodie education you’ve given me along the way.  I really thought ‘crème pat’ was just bog standard custard, no?  I also now know how to spin sugar, that I should avoid overfilling my tarts, the importance of sifting one’s flour.  Most importantly, I’ve learnt that it looks far less painless to just walk in a supermarket and buy my puff pastry.  I hope to see you again soon, GBBO.  For now though, I see the BBC have a gap in their cooking show schedule.  Can I tell you about this great idea I have?  It involves kids…

About the Author

Author bio –

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Mother-of-four, gin-drinker, binge-watcher, receipt hoarder, hapless dog owner, enthusiastic but terrible cook.  Kristen lives in Fleet, Hampshire in a house overrun by Lego and odd socks.  Her debut novel, Souper Mum was released by Accent Press in June and its sequel, Second Helpings is released on 17th November.

 

 

 

Author links –

She writes a blog about being a modern mother.  That and more can be found at: www.kristenbaileywrites.com

You can also find her on Twitter/Instagram: @baileyforce6

and Facebook: www.facebook.com/kristenbaileywrites

Book Blurbs

Souper Mum

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Souper Mum is the story of Jools Campbell, a stay-at-home mother of four, who becomes an unlikely foodie hero when she stands up to a pompous celebrity chef, Tommy McCoy on a reality show.  Armed with fish fingers and a severely limited cooking repertoire, we watch as she becomes a reluctant celebrity and learns some important life lessons about love, family and the joyless merits of quinoa.

 

 

Second Helpings

9781786150998-mainExactly eighteen months after squaring up to a pompous TV chef, Jools Campbell finds herself back in the fame game as she becomes a judge on a family cooking show.  How will she cope being back in the limelight, juggling being a working mum?  What happens when she finds out her old nemesis, Tommy McCoy is her fellow judge?  The knives are sure to fly as ‘Souper Mum’ makes her triumphant return.

 

 

Buy Links –

You can get Souper Mum Here! 

You can get Second Helpings Here! 

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Top November Reads

Another month, another great selection of books to indulge in!

This month we are enhancing your Autumn Internationals with never before told stories from Rugby legends, sending you on an archaeological hunt and carrying on a classic story from one of the greatest female authors and more….

Begin your November reads with our exciting paperbacks

Rugby Generations by Jos Andrews

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For many, the ultimate dream is to play rugby for their country. Today the financial rewards of playing at the top have moved to a new level, but teamwork, family, friendship and pride are still priceless. This revealing book charts the history of the game through the stories and voices of players, past and present, and paints an intimate picture of a rugby world which has changed beyond recognition, but still keeps the same hold on all involved. With a foreword by international referee, Nigel Owens, this is a fascinating personal insight into the life and times of Welsh rugby.

Pre-Order Here.

Things I Should Have Said and Done by Colette McCormick

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Ellen never knew what hit her. But when a drunk driver runs a red light her life is over in an instant. Her small daughter survives – and Ellen, hovering in the borderland between life and the afterlife, can only watch as her loved ones try to pick up the pieces without her. Her husband Marc, struggling with being a single parent. Naomi, her little girl, blaming her mother for leaving her. And Ellen’s mother, full of guilt, slowly falling apart. Ellen isn’t ready to let go. She doesn’t want to say goodbye. She is confused, angry and hurting for her family and herself. And that’s where George comes in. He is her guide through her confusion as she witnesses the devastation among the living. With George at her side Ellen learns that even though she is dead she is not helpless. There are things that she can do from beyond the grave to influence what happens in the world she left behind.

Pre-Order Here.

The Sphinx Scrolls by Stewart Ferris

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An ancient Mayan prophecy…A dangerous Nazi descendant…A passionate archaeologist…And an aristocrat desperate for cash. Mayan legends tell of a location where the secret to surviving the end of the world may be found. One part of that legend is recorded on a stone tablet in the dusty attic of Lord ‘Ratty’ Ballashiels’ crumbling manor. The other twin part disappeared from a Berlin museum when the Nazis took power. When Ratty seems about to sell his tablet to the adopted son of Josef Mengele, his friend, the archaeologist Ruby Towers, is appalled. Soon it is clear that more than archaeology is at stake. The quest to rescue historic Central American artefacts becomes a race to prevent an apocalyptic threatwhen Ruby discovers that the ancients have set in motion something that will threaten the world today.

Pre-Order Here.

Second Helpings by Kristen Bailey

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Exactly eighteen months after her dramatic cook-off against nemesis Tommy McCoy, Jools Campbell’s down-to-earth approach to cooking and family life has won her many fans. But when the roof of her house caves in she is desperate for cash and finds herself agreeing to be a judge on a kids’ cooking show called Little Chefs. She is soon horrified to find that her co-star and fellow judge is none other than Tommy McCoy, on a mission to save his reputation. The audience loves the abrasive chemistry between Jools and McCoy whose style involves making the child-contestants cry and soon the show is hugely popular. Behind the scenes, Jools is juggling all the relationships in her life with being a working mum. Will she succeed? Will she ever work out what quinoa is? Can she deal with Second Helpings of McCoy and the all too familiar media intrusion into her life?

Pre-Order Here.

The Body in the Bracken by Marsali Taylor

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Cass Lynch has been persuaded to spend Christmas in the Highlands with her friend DI Gavin Macrae, but their romantic walk by the loch is cut short when they find a skeleton among the bracken. Back home in Shetland, Cass hears about Ivor Hughson, who left his wife and failed business months ago, and hasn’t been heard of since. A near-disaster aboard Cass’s yacht suggests someone wants to stop her asking questions about his disappearance. Meanwhile, there are eerie reports of sightings of a njuggle, a Shetland water-horse which drowns curious passers-by. Soon it’s taking Cass all her wits to stay alive …

Pre-Order Here.

Spruce up your Kindle with these fab new eBooks

Miss Bingley Requests by Judy McCrosky

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Beyond Pride and Prejudice – Miss Bingley’s quest for marriage

This is the story of Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of Caroline Bingley, who has always believed she will marry Darcy. However, she meets and falls in love with Mr Tryphon, and becomes torn between what she has always expected her life would be and her desire for Mr Tryphon.

Pre-Order Here.

Sisterhoods by Linda Regan

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The hard-boiled, hard-hitting sequel to Guts for Garters by award-winning actress Linda Regan.

The girls dream of a day when they can live normal lives, but their crime enterprises are the only way they can fund better lives for people like them. And other people soon want a piece of the action. When the Alley Cats win a pitched battle against a new rival gang, one of the girls is taken and horrifically attacked in retaliation. Violence escalates as the gangs face off, and lives as well as livelihoods are in serious danger – especially when the police finally realise that Alysha isn’t as innocent as she seems…

Pre-Order Here.

The Gift of Christmas Yet To Come by Jo Bartlett

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In a town where Christmas is big business all year round, it turns out Santa Claus isn’t the only one with mysterious powers. When a psychic reveals that the answer to primary school teacher Kate’s future will come in red and white, Kate follows this sign. It leads her to disastrous dating agencies and demoralising dead-ends until, finally, the answer seems to be revealed. Her search for the missing piece of her family might end happily but has it made her blind to another kind of love?

Pre-Order Here.

Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection by Jenny Kane

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There is something very special about Christmas…

Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection combines all three seasonal shorts from Jenny’s best-selling Another Cup of … series in one festive anthology. In ‘Another Cup of Christmas’, we return to Pickwicks Coffee House in London, the setting for Jenny’s bestselling novel Another Cup of Coffee. ‘Christmas in the Cotswolds’ sees Megan, now an established face at Pickwicks, travelling to the beautiful Cotswold countryside after an emergency call from her friend Izzie. Kit Lambert, Pickwicks’ writer-in-residence, takes centre stage in ‘Christmas at the Castle’.

Pre-Order Here.

Happy Reading!