I am thrilled to be today’s stop on Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection Blog Tour.
Crafts, Choirs and the Cotswolds at Christmas: Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection
Jenny Kane (@JennyKaneAuthor)
Hello there, I’m delighted to be here on day three of my blog tour, to celebrate the release of my seasonal anthology, Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection.
With the launch of this collection, I’ve been looking back at the three festive novellas which make up its mince pie and coffee filled pages; Another Cup of Christmas, Christmas in the Cotswolds, and Christmas at the Castle.
Blurb for the Jenny Kane Christmas Collection-
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. Together with old friends Kit, Amy, Scott and Peggy, we meet new Pickwicks waitress Megan, who’s in charge of organising a charity event for the local hospital…is romance as well as seasonal goodwill in the air?
‘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. Can Megan help Izzie pull off the perfect Christmas at her Arts and Crafts Centre – and save the business from disaster?
Kit Lambert, Pickwicks’ writer-in-residence, takes centre stage in ‘Christmas at the Castle’. Already nervous about appearing at her very first literary festival, in the grounds of a magnificent Scottish castle at Christmas time, Kit suddenly finds herself co-organising the whole thing – and trying to repair old friendships – with the deadline fast approaching…
When I wrote the original novel in the Another Cup of…series (Another Cup of Coffee), everything revolved around the staff and regulars of the Pickwicks coffee house in Richmond. However, by the time I reached the third story, I wanted to have a change of background. So in Christmas in the Cotswolds I decided to take Megan, Pickwicks regular waitress, away from her day job in Richmond, and send her into the countryside on a very festive mercy mission.
I adore the Cotswolds, and have always wanted to write a story based there. And what better time of year to set a story in one of the most beautiful parts of England than Christmas- with a choir, romance, and an awful lot of mulled wine!
Here’s a little extract for you…
… Megan looked up from the child-sized seat where she’d been perched cutting out angel’s wings ready for the imminent arrival of a group of pre-school children, and straight into a pair of earnest green eyes that peeped through a floppy fringe of ginger hair. ‘Joseph Parker?’
‘Call me Jo. It’s an impressive space you have here.’
Pulling herself out of her snug chair, Megan shook the carpenter’s proffered hand. ‘It’s not mine. It belongs to Izzie.’
‘That’s right. I’m Megan, I’m just helping out.’
‘By making paper angels?’
Megan smiled, ‘Part of Izzie’s business includes running craft sessions; in this case for a group of nursery school children. I’m standing by with the safety scissors to play Mary Poppins while Izzie gets on with rescuing her church. As I said on the phone, everything is a bit urgent because of the Cotswold Choir coming in five days. Thanks ever so much for turning up so fast.’
‘Not at all,’ Jo pulled on a bandana, not too dissimilar from Izzie’s, wiping his fringe from his face to reveal a multitude of freckles. ‘I was having a break until the New Year, but I’m very fond of the Cotswold Choir, so I’m happy to help.’
Fishing a huge bunch of keys from his pocket Jo took a step nearer the broken chancel, ‘If I could take a look at the chancel, then I’ll fetch what I need from my van.’
The sound of scraping grew louder as they approached the chancel. Izzie was busy halfway up the ladder, clearing out old grouting before re-pointing the stones that been loosened by the fall of the branch. Knowing Izzie would be concentrating hard on what she was doing, and not wanting to startle her, Megan was cautious as she called, ‘Your knight in shining armour is here!’
Without turning, Izzie shouted down, ‘Oh God, you’re not telling me my mother has sent another no-hoper my way with wedding bells in his eyes, are you?’
Blushing, Megan tried to explain her friend’s retort, ‘I’m so sorry, Jo! Izzie’s mother is rather set on finding her daughter the perfect match, and …’
Jo laughed as he held up a hand to show it was OK. ‘Don’t worry about it. I get a fair bit of that from my own mother. It’s all, “Honestly, Joseph, you’re thirty years old, when are you going to stop playing with planks of wood, get a career, and find a nice girl?”’
Megan laughed. ‘Yes, that’s pretty much Izzie’s mother to a T as well.’
Realising that her visitor was not waiting in the south aisle as she’d assumed, but was within hearing range, Izzie hastily climbed a little further down the ladder, one hand outstretched in greeting, ‘I’m so sorry! You must be Megan’s miracle carpenter.’
‘Well it is nearly Christmas, the perfect time for miracles concerning carpenters called Joseph.’ Jo grinned, turning his already attractive face into a very handsome one. ‘Happy to help – now where would you like me to start?’
Ignoring the voice in her head that was telling her this was the first hot-looking man she’d set eyes on in ages, Izzie said, ‘Could you examine the wood in the chancel roof? The building listings people tell me, as it is case of rescuing things rather than updating them, I can replace any timber in the roof that needs replacing to keep the place safe, but I’m not sure where to start. It’s only one joist that’s cracked, but I don’t want to just wrap it in parcel tape and hope for the best.’
Jo nodded, ‘If you don’t mind climbing down I’ll take a look. Then if I fetch my ladder, we can crack on together. I should have most things I need with me, although I only guessed at the timber required. I might have to go to the timber merchants.’
Megan had a sudden sensation of being in the way, and winked up at Izzie, ‘I’ll go and make sure I have enough wings then shall I?’
Shooting Megan a look that clearly told her that she should start matchmaking at her peril, Izzie said, ‘That would be great. The children arrive at ten, and Mrs V will be here soon with today’s cakes and stuff.’
Izzie was about to climb down to make way for Jo when something in the stonework caught her eye, ‘Hang on, there’s another bit of branch got lodged on the wall here.’ Izzie tugged at it, but nothing happened. ‘Honestly, this stuff is like Velcro.’ She took her pocket knife from the bib of her dungarees and went to slice it away from the brickwork.
Jo got closer to the bottom of the ladder. ‘Hey, I’m not sure that’s a branch, It’s a bit low down; it might be a …’
But he was too late….
You can find Christmas in the Cotswolds within my Jenny Kane Christmas Collection, along with Another Cup of Christmas and Christmas at the Castle.
Many thanks for letting me visit today,
Thanks so much for joining me on my blog, Jenny. It has been a pleasure being a part of your fabulous blog tour! 🙂
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), Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent, 2016). These three seasonal specials are now available in one boxed set entitled Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection (Accent, 2016)
Jenny’s fifth full length romance novel, Abi’s Neighbour, will be published in June 2017.
Jenny’s first medieval murder mystery, The Outlaw’s Ransom will be published in December 2016 under the pen name, Jennifer Ash
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.
Jenny also writes erotica as Kay Jaybee.