#BlogTour! #GuestPost from author of Woman in the Shadows; @CarolMcGrath @AccentPress

A powerful, evocative new novel by the critically acclaimed author of The Handfasted Wife, The Woman in the Shadows tells the rise of Thomas Cromwell, Tudor England's most powerful statesman, through the eyes of his wife Elizabeth.

When beautiful cloth merchant’s daughter Elizabeth Williams is widowed at the age of twenty-two, she is determined to make herself a success in the business she has learned from her father. But there are those who oppose a woman making her own way in the world, and soon Elizabeth realises she may have some powerful enemies – enemies who also know the truth about her late husband.

Security – and happiness – comes when Elizabeth is introduced to kindly, ambitious merchant turned lawyer, Thomas Cromwell. Their marriage is one based on mutual love and respect…but it isn’t always easy being the wife of an influential, headstrong man in Henry VIII’s London.

The city is filled with ruthless people and strange delights – and Elizabeth realises she must adjust to the life she has chosen…or risk losing e she has chosen…or risk losing everything.

Author Guest Post

Thank you for inviting me to speak about Elizabeth Cromwell and my experience writing about this little known Tudor woman.
Elizabeth Cromwell was the wife of one of Tudor England’s most famous statesmen, Thomas Cromwell who is recently immortalised in Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. I was curious about a woman married to such a personage and wanted to bring her out of the shadows and give this Tudor wife and mother of three children, Anne, Grace and Gregory, her own story.

My first challenge was finding out what was known about her. There was not a lot. She had been married before to a Yeoman of the King’s Guard and was a widow. Her father was a cloth merchant and she had a sister, Joan, and a brother, Henry. It seems that Thomas Cromwell may have known the family as they all hailed from Putney. I don’t think Cromwell came from an impoverished background either as his father owned land and a fulling mill. He had a brewery and a blacksmith’s concern. Cromwell hailed from a middling sort of background, though he later claimed that his father was drunken and violent.

It is important to get into the mind-set of the period you are writing. It was not really about stepping into Elizabeth Cromwell’s shoes and inhabiting her. It was more about trying to see life and her world as she might have seen it. That is difficult for a twenty-first century writer looking back. I do believe people throughout history experience emotions in common but the way these are played out is different and an historical writer must pay attention to this. My challenge was to give Elizabeth a plausible story and to work out situations containing conflicts to engage a reader and draw reader into her character and her world. I had to research this world first and then conceal all that knowledge within the narrative and the way I constructed her personality and character. No one wants to read information dump.

Elizabeth was a widow. Widows during this period had a degree of legal and financial independence within a society controlled by men.  It might be a shock to us now to think of English women as commodities and, indeed, there were women who disliked the total control family and society exerted over their lives, but there were very few. Running their own households would afford a degree of freedom within the domestic sphere so, unless they wished to enter a convent, women aspired to marriage, accepting the protection of often much older men, or unfaithful young men. The idea was that love or at least respect would follow the marriage. Marriage was rarely romantic. However, a widow could choose her own second husband and I use that fact to make Elizabeth’s character appealing to the modern reader without her seeming too free. Her desire to marry Thomas Cromwell sets up conflict along with the fact that Elizabeth inherited a failing cloth business and wants to make it successful despite her father’s objections and his attempts to remarry her.
I knew that Thomas Cromwell was interested in the new learning known as Humanism– humanists were interested in interrogating the past through discussion and in new translations of old works by Latin and Greek writers, and that Thomas was also a ‘Renaissance Man’ who adored all things Italian and beautiful objects. There is indication that by around 1517 he was a realist who disliked reliquary and indulgences. He never remarried after Elizabeth’s death in 1528/29 and he was a family man. I think I can conclude that it may have been a solid marriage. All this made it easier for me to make Elizabeth, a Tudor woman accessible for today’s reader. I hope that when you read the book you will agree.

Huge thanks to Carol McGrath for the interesting and highly informative guest post! If you wish to purchase her nice, The Woman in the Shadows, you can do so Here!

About the author

Carol McGrath has an MA in Creative Writing from The Seamus Heaney Centre, Queens University Belfast, followed by an MPhil in Creative Writing from University of London. The Handfasted Wife, first in a trilogy about the royal women of 1066 was shortlisted for the RoNAs in 2014. The Swan-Daughter and The Betrothed Sister complete this best-selling trilogy. The Woman in the Shadows, a novel that considers Henry VIII’s statesman, Thomas Cromwell, through the eyes of Elizabeth his wife, will be published on August 4th, 2017. Carol is working on a new medieval Trilogy, The Rose Trilogy, set in the High Middle Ages.  It subject matter is three linked medieval queens, sometimes considered ‘She Wolves’. She speaks at events and conferences on the subject of medieval women, writing Historical Fiction, The Bayeux Tapestry, and Fabrics, Tapestry and Embroidery as incorporated into fiction. Carol was the co-ordinator of the Historical Novels Association Conference, Oxford in September 2016 and reviews for the HNS.  Find Carol on her website:
www.carolcmcgrath.co.uk.

#BlogTour! #Review – #IsMonogamyDead by @RosieWilby @AccentPress

IMG_0257

rosiewilby

In early 2013, comedian Rosie Wilby found herself at a crossroads with everything she’d ever believed about romantic relationships. When people asked, ‘who’s the love of your life?’ there was no simple answer. Did they mean her former flatmate who she’d experienced the most ecstatic, heady, yet ultimately doomed, fling with? Or did they mean the deep, lasting companionate partnerships that gave her a sense of belonging and family? Surely, most human beings need both. 

Mixing humour, heartache and science, Is Monogamy Dead? details Rosie’s very personal quest to find out why Western society is clinging to a concept that doesn’t work that well for some of us and is laden with ambiguous assumptions.

What does TWG think?

What an intriguing question; is monogamy dead? Do you think it is? What is the definition of cheating? Can you go through life just loving one person? What about when you enter into a relationship with another person, can’t you commit due to your commitment to your previous partner?

So many questions, so many answers. Whilst all of us will have different answers to such questions, author & comedienne, Rosie Wilby, sheds light with her opinion of relationships in her non-fiction book, ‘Is Monogamy Dead?’

Rosie Wilby’s honesty, and black and white approach to the her sexual orientation, as well as relationships themselves, is rather endearing. The topic of monogamy is an interesting, yet quite complex, subject which as a 27-year-old single female, still confuses the bejeezus out of me. Reading Rosie Wilby’s opinions of the subject made me feel as though I was less alone whilst battling with my confusion as she explored romantic relationships in great detail, whilst admitting that she too was confused by its entirety.

I have to be honest, the scientific element of this novel went over my head, whilst cementing the fact that ‘Is Monogamy Dead’ is a novel which requires a lot of dedication and minimal distractions. This isn’t a book that can be read as a ‘quick read’ – the subject is far too complex and detailed that attempting to sprint through to the end, could make your head go ‘boom!’. I was exceptionally glad that Rosie Wilby included her trademark humour alongside the technical wording as without it, I don’t think that I would have made it to the end of the book comfortably.

I am pretty certain that ‘Is Monogamy Dead?’ will get a lot of people conversing and debating about the subject in hand. However, in my opinion, monogamy is a subject that only a few people will wholeheartedly understand and, whilst Rosie Wilby’s novel didn’t change my level of understanding, I love the fact that she has put this topic out there for discussion instead of hiding it away in case the marshmallow man got offended.

‘Is Monogamy Dead?’ is bang on trend and perfect for the modern world right here, right now. Monogamy should be discussed. Relationships should be discussed. After all, if you’re about to embark on a romantic relationship, surely it’s better if you were both on the same page; monogamous or not?

Highly recommended, Rosie Wilby’s – Is Monogamy Dead? is refreshing, modern and totally engaging, as long as you read it with an open mind.

Thanks Accent Press.

Is Monogamy Dead? will be published on the 3rd August and you can pre-order your copy now from Amazon UK.

#TWGGetsTalking – How to tell the difference between being nasty & being constructive #reviews

Twg gets talking
You should all know by now that I like to talk, ESPECIALLY when I am passionate about something and believe that it needs to be spoken about.

Once again, opinions have been thrust into the limelight and definitions have been questioned. Before I explain further, I’m just going to paste the Oxford dictionary definitions of two words; nasty, and constructive.

Nasty: very bad, or unpleasant.
(definition of unpleasant is: Causing discomfort, unhappiness, or revulsion; disagreeable.)

Constructive: Having or intended to have a useful or beneficial purpose.

constructive

Two completely different word with extremely clear definitions, yet people are still getting confused by the two words.

Why?

As a reviewer, I have always been made aware that authors (or anyone who gets critiqued) tend to appreciate CONSTRUCTIVE reviews as opposed to NASTY reviews. With both types of reviews your opinion is given – that is NOT the issue. After all, every person on this Earth is entitled to their opinion. We are allowed to dislike something. We are allowed to express our dislike of something. We are allowed to jump for joy about something. What the issue is, however, is the WAY those points are put across.

Believe me, I open my trap before my brain connects sometimes, ending up with goodness knows what flying out of my mouth. But when it comes to reviews, I am extremely careful about how I voice my opinion.

For example; ‘Omg I hated that book, it was absolutely shit, the author bored me to tears.’

What’s wrong with that sentence?

Okay, so, the example above is someones opinion. They’re entitled to that. Answer me this; was it constructive, or nasty?

If you said that the example was a constructive comment: seriously? How does saying that a book was ‘shit’, come across as beneficial to the author?
It doesn’t.

It’s rude and it’s nasty. Imagine if you cooked a meal for a group of people and someone came up to you afterwards and said that they thought your cooking was absolutely vile, would you benefit from that?

To turn the above example into a constructive opinion, here’s an example:
‘Personally, this book wasn’t really my cup of tea as I couldn’t quite gel with the storyline. I felt that it came across as quite over the top and unrealistic, which in turn made me switch off.’

The different between the two examples is substantial. The example above still highlights your dislike, yet it also explains WHY you felt that way. It’s also not personally attacking the person who wrote the book, whilst still keeping your opinion entitlement intact.

Whilst authors are painfully aware that their books could end up with negative reviews and their book babies critiqued, it doesn’t mean that just because they have put something in the public eye, that they should expect nasty comments or personal attacks.

YES, they have written something which will get critiqued.
YES, everyones opinion does differ.
YES, readers are entitled to dislike their book.

Just DON’T be nasty about it!

In book clubs, you’re going to have the perfect opportunity to talk about various books whether it’s an online or offline. But, do you think that it’s respectful to openly blast and author and their book, in an online book club which they could be a member of?
Yes or no?

No it’s not!!! Go ahead and state your opinion about a book, but if you’re going to sit there and say that a book is so bad and how you wanted to ‘light a match under it’; that’s not stating your opinion, it’s called being nasty.

As we hear all the time, not everyone will like the same book. Well duh! I fully admit that I have read a book and disliked it. But instead of reviewing it nastily, I gave it a constructive review as there will always be something in a book that you’ll like. I explained what I didn’t like about the book, I also explained WHY I didn’t like those parts, how it made me feel, and so on. I also explained what I DID like about the book. I still managed to express my opinion on the book, without insulting a human being with feelings in the process.

So, if you’re ever in an online book group where the admin have asked you to talk about books in a constructive manner; respectfully do it. They aren’t taking away your freedom of speech. They aren’t banishing you from stating your opinion. They are just asking you to express your opinion respectfully and constructively. Authors have feelings too.

It really isn’t that difficult to do..

#CoverReveal! #WhiteSilence by Jodi Taylor (@authorjoditaylo) @AccentPress

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)
Some of you may recognise the authors name already. Why? Because she has already penned a couple of novels in a completely different genre; time travel. Today, Jodi Taylor will be revealing the new cover for her upcoming book, and several bloggers are on hand to help (like me!). Now, poor Jodi Taylor is incredibly nervous, not only is she revealing her brand new cover, she is also revealing her brand new genre! Excited?

It is such an honour to be helping this lovely lady to reveal her cover. Let’s try and calm her nerves by giving her lots of love and support, right? Who knows, we may end up being put into her book if we don’t…after all…

CAUSE THIS IS THRILLLLERRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! THRILLER NIGHTTTT.

No, Jodi Taylor isn’t bringing MJ back…although….

Cover anyone?

WHITE SILENCE kindle
*The first instalment in the new, gripping supernatural thriller series from international bestselling author, Jodi Taylor* 

“I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I am.” 

Elizabeth Cage is a child when she discovers that there are things in this world that only she can see. But she doesn’t want to see them and she definitely doesn’t want them to see her.

What is a curse to Elizabeth is a gift to others – a very valuable gift they want to control.

 When her husband dies, Elizabeth’s world descends into a nightmare. But as she tries to piece her life back together, she discovers that not everything is as it seems.

Alone in a strange and frightening world, she’s a vulnerable target to forces beyond her control. 

And she knows that she can’t trust anyone…

White Silence is a twisty supernatural thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.

DUN DUN DUNNNNNN!!!

That’s right folks, Jodi Taylor has joined thriller side, aka the dark side!!

#WhiteSilence e-book is set to be published on 21/09/2017, and the paperback is set to follow in Spring 2018. With an intriguing blurb like this one, I’m not sure if I can wait until September, can you?

Don’t forget to let me know what you think! Does this sound like your type of book?

If so, you can pre-order it right now from: Amazon!

I know the book title is ‘White Silence’, but lets not give the author white silence with this reveal!

Big thanks to Accent Press for asking me to be involved in this cover reveal, and good luck to Jodi Taylor on her new genre! I cannot wait to get my hands on this bad boy!

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)

#BlogTour! #Review of Skin Deep by Laura Wilkinson (@ScorpioScribble) @AccentPress

SKIN DEEP FINAL COVER

It’s what’s inside that counts…

 Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything; Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.
Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?

What does TWG think?

I am delighted to be today’s stop on, Laura Wilkinson’s, blog tour for ‘Skin Deep’. This book hit home in many ways and I really hope I am able to explain why, and how, in this review.

Do you remember, as a child, constantly being told that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, or ‘it’s what’s inside that counts’, or ‘beauty is only skin deep’? I remember getting told them SO many times. I would always ‘pfft’ every time I heard those phrases, especially ‘if someone is nasty about your looks, it’s because they are jealous’. Reaaalllyyy? Take a moment and think back to your childhood; were you ever told those phrases? If you’re a parent, do you ever tell those phrases to your children? Keep those thoughts in your mind for now…

Diana had a childhood of being pulled from pillar to post, pouting for all and sundry, and being on the receiving end of angry outbursts; she was a child model. Unfortunately, due to her rocky childhood, the emotional scars still run deep and her insecurity level has reached its maximum. Will Diana decide to channel her thoughts into her latest artwork? Or will history end up repeating itself?

After finding out what Diana endured as a child, I truly felt like she would become the best person to stand up for others in the same boat, or that she would be able to stand up for those whose looks make people gasp in disgust. I wanted her to stand with those people who had been ridiculed for what they look like, instead of being accepted for who they are.

When the Laura Wilkinson introduced character, Cal, to the storyline, my heart shattered into tiny pieces. Instead of a young boy being exactly that, young, the fickle people around him couldn’t (and didn’t want to) see anything other than their judgemental thoughts. Cal was born disfigured.

Right at the very start, I asked you to think about certain phrases and whether you  remember being told them as a child, or whether you tell your children (if you’re a parent) those phrases. I used to get told them growing up, and as a parent myself, I tell my three-year old daughter something similar; ‘it doesn’t matter what we look like, as long as we are happy and we are loved, that’s all that matters’. With all of that in mind, reading Cal and Diana’s journey was incredibly heart breaking, eye-opening, and unfortunately bang on. Society is extremely judgemental, and extremely unforgiving. If someone is deemed ‘different’, like Cal, people aren’t able to cope. They feel the need to either hide those human beings away, or parade them around like a popular animal in the zoo. Whether you have been brought up to love people for who they are, ‘Skin Deep’ will require a big bar of chocolate and a cosy blanket whilst you read it. Trust me. Now, if you have been brought up to believe that anyone with different looks are freaks, and that they deserve nasty comments; I can promise you that you will end up thanking Laura Wilkinson for opening your eyes and making you realise that just because skin is thick, it doesn’t mean it can take abuse.

‘Skin Deep’ had me feeling so many emotions, in such a short space of time. Whilst a lot of this storyline is quite difficult to read due to the subject it is centred around, ‘Skin Deep’ really is the type of novel you just have to finish, no matter what state you’re in. My opinion of Diana kept changing; one minute I felt sorry for her, the next minute she absolutely disgusted me. I can’t tell you my reasons for that as it will definitely give something away, but I will be intrigued to see what other think of her in particular.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘Skin Deep’ contained multiple questionable characters, and I would be here ages discussing each and every one of them, BUT, whilst there were some characters who will no doubt receive a visit from the karma police in due course, there were a couple of beautiful characters who were worth their weight in gold.

Laura Wilkinson’s novel should be given out in schools, as a reminder of how much words can actually hurt. ‘Skin Deep’ is such a work of art; a beautifully written novel which literally speaks for itself.
Heart-breaking yet poignant, heart-warming yet powerful, emotional yet eye-opening; ‘Skin Deep’ needs to be read by everyone, and anyone.
This truly is a book to be remembered.

Thanks Accent Press.

Buy now: Amazon // Waterstones // WHSmith

About Laura

Liverpool born, Laura is a taff at heart. She has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories, some of which have made the short lists of international competitions. Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. The Family Line is a family drama set in the near future, looking at identity and parenting. Her latest is Skin Deep. Alongside writing, Laura works as an editor & mentor for literary consultancies and runs workshops on aspects of craft. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including the Frome Festival, Gladfest, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands. She lives in Brighton with her husband and sons.

Contact Laura Wilkinson:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Goodreads

 

Huge thanks to Accent Press for asking me to be involved in this blog tour, I am truly honoured to be part of the celebration for such a beautiful book. If you’re only just joining the blog tour, all of the previous bloggers, as well as the bloggers still to come, are all listed on the graphic below:

skin deep blog tour

#CoverReveal! Waking by Helen Richardson (@helen_r_writes) @AccentPress

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)
It’s c-c-c-c-over reveal time!!

Debut author, cover reveal and Accent Press – what’s NOT to like? The book cover I am about to show you, sounds ah-MAZING! Unfortunately we have to wait until September to get it -cries-, but it sure sounds worth the wait!

It is with great pleasure that I reveal to you……

Waking
Title: Waking
Author: Helen Richardson
Publication date: September 14th 2017
Publisher: Accent Press
ISBN: 9781786153449 (paperback) – 9781786153227 (ebook)

There are dark corners in your mind that even you can’t get to.

Anna Caldwell is terrified of falling asleep. A nightmare, her very own, will be there waiting for her. After sharing her bed with the same vision for fifteen years, she’s desperate to shake it. But it only holds on tighter.

Then Anna meets Jack. She’s drawn to the strange, alluring tension that she feels when she’s around him. It’s as though it’s meant to be. But creeping beneath the roots of their intimacy is darkness.

If you knew your dreams were trying to tell you something terrible, would you listen?

Helen Richardson is a producer for branded content and documentary productions. She lives in London. This is her first novel.

Pre-order link: PB http://amzn.to/2qYcQFe  EB: http://amzn.eu/8c5Wngz

Just want to say thank you to Accent Press for asking me to help reveal Helen Richardson’s book cover!

Does this book sound right up your street? Are you intrigued by the cover? Like always, let me know!!

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)

#Review – The Deepest Cut by Natalie Flynn (@natalieflynn_) @AccentPress @AccentYA

natalie flynn

You haven’t said a single word since you ve been here. Is it on purpose? I tried to answer David but I couldn’t … my brain wanted to speak but my throat wouldn’t cooperate.

Adam blames himself for his best friend s death. After attempting suicide, he is put in the care of a local mental health facility. There, too traumatized to speak, he begins to write notebooks detailing the events leading up to Jake’s murder, trying to understand who is really responsible and cope with how needless it was as a petty argument spiralled out of control and peer pressure took hold.

Sad but unsentimental, this is a moving story of friendship and the aftermath of its destruction.

What does TWG think?

Big thank you to, Karen, from Accent Press for putting this book on my radar, and getting me involved in the #minitour today!

Every so often I like delving into a YA novel, sitting back and appreciating the unique storytelling of a YA author. ‘The Deepest Cut’ was no exception.

‘We never think it’s going to happen to us, do we?’

As human beings, we see things happening in the news and always think to ourselves that it won’t happen to us. The worrying thing is, we sound so confident with our declarations, completely oblivious that anything could happen to anyone, at anytime. But then again, as a teenager the last thing they’re going to do is sit down and work out the probability of getting knocked down by a car the next time they venture outside. Why WOULD something like that happen to a person of their age?

Adam and Jake have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Jake’s mum, Debbie, was like Adam’s second mum, and her house being Adam’s home away from home. Everywhere one lad went, the other one wasn’t too far behind. As the boys grew up, their group of two became a group of three, yet things weren’t always as hunky dory as they would have liked. One night, Adam and Debbie’s lives come crashing down when their boy, Jake, is murdered.

By the end of chapter one I was hooked. The attention to detail and the intensity that the outline of storyline contained within that first chapter, was enough to make me even more intrigued. The level of intrigue stayed with me throughout the entire novel, thanks to the uncertain atmosphere that seemed to linger on every page. As readers, we already know that Jake has been murdered, but what we don’t know is how or why. For me, the chapters leading up to the moment those questions get answered, made my heart pound, especially as we follow Adam’s heart-wrenching story.

Aside from the murderers (which I’m obviously not going to say), there was one character who made me rather angry; Adam’s dad. What a spineless man he is! Realistically thought out though, so that is a definite bonus!

‘The Deepest Cut’ is such an emotive read, but I was surprised to find myself unable to cry. It wasn’t due to the lack of emotion from the author, not at all! The thing was, this storyline ripped my heart apart and instead of bawling my eyes out, I became extremely numb and withdrawn. The numb feeling stayed with me a few hours after I had finished the book, too. Why was I numb? Because Adam’s story is incredibly heart-breaking. Not only is he dealing with grief, he’s also dealing with another loss, coping with change, AND having to deal with even more grief from way back when. The poor boy was so vulnerable, lost and in need of someone to hug him and tell him that everything was going to be okay, for once in his life.

‘The Deepest Cut’ covers several important topics such as murder, peer pressure, grief, mental health, and friendships. Natalie Flynn, via her characters, approaches the ways in which peer pressure can happen and the repercussions of that. And, as someone who has been on the receiving end of peer pressure to a detrimental effect, the author has hit the nail on the head in regards to this topic in her storyline. Even though Adam’s mental health situation is extremely emotional to read, it is also an incredibly important topic which requires the black and white approach, purely to get people to understand the aftermath of bad choices, and horrific circumstances.

As a woman who is much older than your average young adult reader, I found Natalie Flynn’s novel to be such a powerful, eye-opening and emotional read. I applaud the author for writing about multiple complex situations in such a sensitive manner, whilst also keeping it realistic and raw. I think that all YA’s and adults should read Natalie Flynn’s novel, as they might just learn a thing or two about mental health and its domino effect.

Thank you Accent Press.

Buy ‘The Deepest Cut’ by Natalie Flynn from Amazon UK, now!

#Exclusive!! #Extract of Abi’s Neighbour by Jenny Kane (@JennyKaneAuthor) @AccentPress

abineighbour

WHY HELLOOOOO EXCLUSIVE!! TWG does like an exclusive! If I’m honest I think Accent Press were quite aware of that little fact when they asked me to do this today, after all, I am their number 1 fan (coughwheresmybadgecough)! I am beyond thrilled to welcome back to TWG author, Jenny Kane! Not only is she a brilliant author, she is also fantastic to host posts for as she introduces herself! I can put my feet up for a few moments in Abi’s House as I hand you over to the lady herself, Jenny Kane!

Extract Exclusive:

I’m delighted to be here, on the wonderful Writing Garnet site, to share an exclusive extract from my forthcoming novel, Abi’s Neighbour! Out on the 4 th May, this is the second story to feature children’s picture book illustrator Abi Carter. In Abi’s House, Abi left an unhappy life in Surrey behind her, and headed to Cornwall for a much needed new start. A year later, and everything is going to plan…until the house next door goes up for sale.

Blurb for Abi’s Neighbour

abineighbour1

Abi Carter has finally found happiness. Living in her perfect tin miner’s cottage, she has
good friends and a gorgeous boyfriend, Max. Life is good. But all that’s about to change
when a new neighbour moves in next door.

Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. Obnoxious and stuck-up, Cassandra hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, it looks like she has her sights set on Max.

But Cassandra has problems of her own. Not only is her wealthy married lawyer putting off joining her in their Cornish love nest, but now someone seems intent on sabotaging her business.

Will Cassandra mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are they destined never to get
along?

Complete with sun, sea and a gorgeous Cornwall setting, Abi’s Neighbour is the PERFECT
summer escape.

***

In Abi’s Neighbour, three brand new main characters join the Abi’s House regulars; Abi,
Max, Beth, Jacob and Stan. There is the unwelcome new neighbour, Cassandra Henley- Pinkerton; Dan Millfield, manager of the sheltered housing building where pensioner Stan Abbey lives, and feisty pensioner, Dora Henry.
Of all the characters I’ve ever invented, Dora Henry has to my one of my favourites. I hope you’ll love her as much as I do!

In this exclusive extract I’m going to introduce you to Dora for the first time.
We join the action as Abi joins her friend Stan Abbey, for their fortnightly dinner date in his sheltered housing flat.

Extract…

…As the front door opened, Sadie pushed her nose against her former owner’s legs,
and Stan beamed his ever-ready smile at his visitors as he affectionately ruffled the golden
retriever’s fur. ‘How are two of my favourite girls then?’
‘Well, Sadie here is just fine.’ Abi unfastened Sadie’s lead and followed Stan through
the hallway into his small open-plan living and dining room.
‘But I’m…’ About to tell Stan about her new neighbour, Abi abruptly stopped talking
as she realised they weren’t alone.
Stan’s grin became even broader, as he turned from Abi to the lady on the sofa, and
back again. ‘Dora, may I introduce you to my very dear friend, Abi Carter. Abi, this is Dora
Henry. And this beautiful creature is Sadie.’
Temporarily silent, Abi quickly came to her senses. ‘Hello, Dora, I’m very pleased to
meet you. You’re Stan’s bridge partner, isn’t that right?’
‘I’m a bit more than that, I hope.’ Dora winked at Stan, and Abi felt discomfort ripple
up her spine as she noticed that the table was laid for three and not two as usual.
Abi was spared from saying anything for a moment, as Dora said, ‘I’ve heard so much
about you. I’ve been dying to meet you. I hope you’re OK with me gatecrashing your
dinner?’
‘Of course!’ Abi wasn’t sure if she minded or not, but her inbuilt politeness had
automatically engaged, and anyway, she wouldn’t want to upset Stan for the world. Right
now he was looking more proud than she’d ever seen him. ‘I’ve heard plenty about you, too. I believe you’re the terror of the bridge club!’
‘Dora is something of a card shark,’ Stan said with a twinkle in his eye. Dora laughed.
‘I shall overlook that dubious accusation, seeing as you’re being so generous as to feed me,
Stanley Abbey.’
Then, speaking more seriously, she said, ‘I’m very pleased to meet you, Abi, but if
you object to me stealing some of your alone time with Stan, then I’m more than happy to
disappear.’
‘Not at all.’ Abi found her natural curiosity kicking in about this small, elegant
woman in Stan’s living room. ‘Shall I put the kettle on, Stan?’
‘It’s already on, Abi my girl. I tell you what, I’ll leave you two chatting, and I’ll make
the tea and get Sadie some water.’
Watching Stan disappear into the kitchen, Abi sat next to Dora. ‘I’m pleased to have
the chance to meet some of Stan’s friends.’
‘As am I.’ Dora focused her pale green eyes on Abi kindly. ‘Stan always keeps you all
to himself. He’s very protective of you, Abi.’
Abi’s initial disquiet at Dora’s presence eased as Dora received the Sadie seal of
approval. The dog, as if sensing Abi needed reassurance, padded across the room, and placed her chin on a delighted Dora’s knees.
‘You, my lovely,’ Dora stroked the retriever’s golden back, ‘are also at the top of
Stan’s list to talk about. And who can blame him? Not many blokes his age have two
beautiful females as regular visitors.’
Abi wasn’t sure what to say as she looked at Dora, who, although almost as old as
Stan himself, retained the air of a classic beauty. The tone of her words was gentle, and Abi
detected no sarcasm or jealousy, but there was something… something Abi couldn’t put her
finger on, that was hanging unsaid in the air. Deciding she was being ridiculous, Abi asked,
‘How long have you been living at Chalk Towers, Dora?’
‘Five years this coming Christmas.’ Dora’s warm smile lit up her eyes as Stan walked
about in with a tray of tea, and the unease Abi had felt instantly returned.
They aren’t… are they? Hoping she was letting her imagination run away with her,
Abi stuck firmly to small talk. ‘Do you like it here?’
‘I love it.’
With one eye on Stan as he sat down and served the tea, knowing he would never
have invited Dora to join them if he wasn’t very fond of her, Abi said, ‘I take it Stan has told
you how I ended up living in his house?’
‘It’s your house now, Abi.’ Stan passed her a mug.
‘True – but it took ages before I stopped feeling like I’d evicted you.’
Stan regarded his young friend. ‘I’ve said it before, and no doubt I’ll have to say it
again, but this is the best thing I’ve done in years. I was so lost after my Mary passed away.
You did me a favour, Abi, coming along when you did.’
Abi squeezed his hand, and passed a cup and saucer to Dora. ‘Do you take sugar?’
‘She’s sweet enough without!’ Stan said.
Abi was about to laugh at the old cliché, but the expression on Dora’s face stopped
her. There was no doubt about it – her suspicions had been correct…

***

To find out more about Dora, the poker queen, tall-tale teller, and secret service operative (maybe)…then grab your copy of Abi’s Neighbour!

Buy links-  Amazon UK // Amazon US
***

Many thanks again to Kaisha for hosting me today,
Jenny xxx

Bio
Jenny Kane is the author of the full length romance novels Abi’s Neighbour, (Accent Press, 2017), Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2016), Abi’s House (Accent Press, 2015), the contemporary romance/medieval crime time slip novel Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the best-selling contemporary romance novel Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and its novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent Press, 2015).

Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.
Jenny also writes erotica as Kay Jaybee and historical crime as Jennifer Ash.

Social Media Links
Twitter- @JennyKaneAuthor

#BlogTour! #Review of #PuzzleGirl by Rachael Featherstone (@WRITERachael) @AccentPress

puzzlegirl
Love is a riddle waiting to be solved…

Clued-up career girl Cassy Brookes has life under control until one disastrous morning changes everything. When she finds herself stuck in a doctors surgery, a cryptic message left in a crossword magazine sends her on a search to find the mysterious puzzle-man behind it. Cassy is soon torn between tracking down her elusive dream guy, and outwitting her nightmare workmate, the devious Martin.

Facing a puzzling love-life, will she ever be able to fit the pieces together and discover the truth behind this enigmatic man?

What does TWG think?

Ever since Accent Press started posting the book cover on social media (to tease me) at the end of last year, Puzzle Girl had put itself on my radar. There was just something rather unique and exciting about a multi-coloured, puzzle piece tree and I wasn’t going to rest until I had read the book. As always, I’m true to my word and my excitement about #PuzzleGirl began to grow every time Accent Press posted anything about the book. I’m sure you can guess the look on my face when I got approached to review the book for the blog tour!

Now, I’m not the cleverest person when it comes to completing puzzles, especially as Sudoku reminds me of trying to work out your BMI (awfully frustrating), but I was intrigued to see how puzzles were going to be made into a storyline. I thought that maybe I needed to go on a word search(sorry!) to find out, but I ended up having a few cross words with myself due to the constant brain teasers of the storyline! Sorry, I will stop now!

It all started by Cassy finding a puzzle book in a doctor’s surgery waiting room, working out and adapting a few clues (multiple times), whilst finding a mysterious replying puzzle man in the process. I can’t even get people I know talking to me, never mind a stranger responding to me via a puzzle book!! Cassy had a bee in her bonnet and was adamant that she would find out who her puzzle man was, however, the only way that she could do that was by finding multiple (bizarre) reasons to drop into the clinic to check the puzzle book. The bee in the bonnet became an obsession, and the obsession started taking over her life, her friendships and her work life. Thanks to a smidge of rivalry in the office, Cassy’s workplace was already taken over by a different kind of obsession…

At first, I found Cassy’s obsession with her puzzle man quite funny, especially as she was making herself look like an absolute fool every single time she made an excuse to go to the clinic. She let it rule every part of her life which made me feel like she had taken the whole excuse thing completely overboard, making it more about finding excuses as opposed to finding out who the mystery puzzle person was. Her rivalry with a work colleague was hilarious, even if I did think that she had created a completely different version of her rival in her head! Martin didn’t appear to be as big of an arrogant ogre as Cassy made him out to be, but her reactions to his antics were sometimes OVER dramatic that it was brilliant.

‘Puzzle Girl’ is the type of book that to believe it, you need to read it. There are so many unique, clever and utterly bonkers moments throughout the whole book which need to be ravished by your own imagination. There really is something truly hypnotizing about this book, I can’t even put my finger on exactly what it is but all I know is that it filled a large void. I have never, ever read a book like ‘Puzzle Girl’ and I have read  A LOT of books. Every character had a place in the book (even the grumpy receptionist!), not one of them gave off the vibe that they were just ‘there to fill up the storyline’. Obviously, some of the characters were more memorable than others, but they all brought something completely different to the overall feel of the book. For me, that added even more depth to an already puzzling storyline.

Seeing as I was so excited to read ‘Puzzle Girl’, I had everything crossed that my excitement wasn’t going to be short lived once I had begun reading it. I really had no need to worry as Rachael Featherstone’s book ticked each and every box for me, multiple times. Yes, some parts of the storyline, for me, were over exaggerated at points, but it didn’t ruin the book in any way. I just put those OTT situations down to Cassy’s individual personality. After all, she is definitely a unique cookie!

It’s hard to believe that ‘Puzzle Girl’ is Rachael Featherstone’s debut novel, as to read it you might think that she had a fair few novels under her belt. Instead, she just has puzzle pieces!

Puzzle Girl is a humorous, bonkers and unique story which shows that love can be found in the most unexpected places, as long as you have a bit of  two down and three across (not even a clue btw).
A fantastic, witty debut that resulted in me closing the book with a massive smile on my face. Absolutely loved it.

Thank you Accent Press!

Buy now from Amazon UK


Happy birthday to me! TWG turns ONE! #happybirthdayTWG #bookblogger #authors #firstbirthday

first1

AHHHHHHHHH!! Happy birthday to TWG! One year ago today, 15th March 2016, my first ever blog post was published. I even remember which one it was too – The woman who upped and left – Review. I didn’t even think anyone would read my reviews, let alone be following me a year down the line. It has been a surreal year for TWG and I have loved every single moment of it. Well, most of it!

This last year I have:

– Created a signed book collection of 35 books, containing novels from authors such as Lindsey Kelk, Jodi Picoult, Carol Wyer, Paige Toon, Sophie Kinsella, Michelle Visage, David Videcette, Mary-Jane Riley, Liane Moriarty, Sue Moorcroft, Sue Watson, Sam Carrington, Louise Jensen, Tilly Tennant, Sue Fortin, Jan Brigden, Laura James, Marcie Steele, Holly Martin, Sarah Morgan, Elli Darkins, Eva Jordan, Lisa Jewell, Cathy Bramley, Mhairi McFarlane, Susan Gander, Rosie Blake, Heidi Swain, Milly Johnson, Jennifer Bohnet, and Rebecca Raisin.

Huge thank you to the authors who have sent me those signed books as a competition prize or for another reason, thank you to the publishers, and thank you to the authors for signing those books so that they were available to buy. I feel extremely lucky and I will forever be grateful.

– Became friends with most of those authors above, AND MORE. A year ago I was in dream world when it came to authors tweeting me back. A year later, I am still in dream world when they do that and have to pinch myself when I am in conversation with them. Am I dreaming?

– Found some truly loyal bloggers to build brilliant friendships with. I also am so thankful to Joanne R for taking me under her wing at the very beginning, making sure that I wasn’t on my own in a huge group.

– Huge thank you to Anita Chapman for letting me know about Book connectors FB group! Without you, I don’t think I would have known anything about it.

– Received books to review from publishers and authors I have admired for many, many years. Every time I get book post it feels like it’s my birthday all over again. Thank you to Accent Press for being the first publisher to put me on their blogger list, and a huge thank you to all of the other publishers who continue to bless me with bookpost and book related things. Living the dream.

– This last year I also met Jodi Picoult. Another author who I have admired for many years and made me catch my breath when I met her, with fellow blogger Dee. Amazing experience.

There are so, SO many highlights from this past year, I couldn’t begin to list them all. I have been on several hundred blog tours, taken part in multiple cover reveals, been lucky enough to interview Jenny Colgan, Ali McNamara, Carol Wyer, Cathy Bramley, Andi Michael, Tilly Tennant and many, many more. My interviews are no longer called ‘interviews’, some authors know of them as interrogations! A fellow blogger, Lorraine, let me know that I was now the ‘blogger who made authors cry’ (in a good way), with my reviews. I don’t set out to do that (honestly)! A special thank you needs to go to Carol Wyer and Kim Nash. When I first started blogging, I had no idea about most things yet Carol became such a good friend in such a short space of time, becoming the support network and confidante that I treasured, and I still do. Carol stood by my side and championed me and TWG from the very beginning, and she still does to this day. I will always be grateful for your kind words and support Carol, you truly are one of kind. As for Kim Nash, you were the first publisher I ever spoke to directly (well, over e-mail) and we built a good friendship from that moment. Plus, you had copious amounts of patience with me when I kept pestering you! Thank you for believing in me now and today.

This last year has seen me read a total of 214 books (so far), with 154 books being from 2016 and 60 being my current total. I have been lucky enough to try so many new authors and fall in love with genres I never thought I would see myself reading. I have been made to feel included to various book groups on FB and this whole year has seen my blog posts being shared far and wide by bloggers. BLOGGERS, thank you for always sharing my posts, championing my reviews and being such stars. You are all incredibly wonderful and it’s a pleasure to become your friends. You all know who you are!

This year has also seen an article of mine get published on mental health and illness website, The Mighty. Within 2 weeks it had been shared over 3000 times. You can find my article here. I also have had one of my quotes published on the back of a paperback, with another one (or two) to be expected further on in the year. I have also found my quotes on publishers publicity pictures, and yes, a year later the feeling is still surreal with every new one. Thank you.

This post could go on forever, as there are so many people I would like to thank for helping my dream get on its way to becoming a reality. Reading books is my only respite from the hell of daily life and for that reason, I will forever be in authors debt for writing those books that allow me to travel to France, New York etc, or allow me to ‘work’ in various different places without having to worry about my P45!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to write and be involved in books/writing some way or another. I’m involved in books thanks to my blog. I just need someone to give me that break to change my life, and allow me to work freelance as a writer/publicist etc. It’s getting to a point now where the chances of me working outside are slim. Fingers crossed that 2017 allows me to get even closer to getting that job. Thank you all for following my blog, supporting me, reading my posts and just being you.

Lots of love,

TWG x

first