Reviews for Poppy Jenkins

Poppy Jenkins 05_9Poppy’s been out a couple of months now and has received some lovely reviews. A bucolic Mid-Wales has worked it’s magic as has the charming leading heroine.

As well an uplifting summer read, I wrote the book to celebrate the very best of Mid-Wales as well as how far gay rights have come while acknowledging that coming out is never easy and the experience varies enormously from person to person. And even in the most idyllic of places bigotry of all kinds still lingers.

As well as proving an enjoyable read it’s thrilling to see some of themes woven into the story finding appreciative readers.

Here’s a selection of reviews:

Curve Magazine

Poppy Jenkins is a joy to read and is not to be missed. You’ll smile, laugh, and occasionally clutch your chest in heartbreak, and the end of it you’ll be satisfied. Clare Ashton is a masterful author and Poppy Jenkins is her best book yet.” Continue reading

Poppy Jenkins is out now!

Poppy Jenkins 05_9I am thrilled to bits that my new romance, Poppy Jenkins, is finally out!

I’m very fond of this one. It’s set in beautiful Mid-Wales, where I grew up, during the kind of long hot summer you remember from a kid. The settings and characters are inspired by the people and places I adored from ruined castles and gorgeous countryside to formidable Welsh matriarchs.

The blurb’s below and here are the links to Kindle versions on Amazon UK and US (paperback to follow) and the Smashwords link for other formats:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poppy-Jenkins-Clare-Ashton-ebook/dp/B01HC65VIK

US – https://www.amazon.com/Poppy-Jenkins-Clare-Ashton-ebook/dp/B01HC65VIK

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/644580

Continue reading

Poppy Jenkins – chapter one of a forthcoming romance

DSC_3634It’s been a long time, but I’m finally into the last stages of writing a new romance.

I’ve been back to some favourite childhood haunts for this one, and it’s set during a beautiful Mid-Wales summer. I’ve adored remembering the Welsh hills, paddling in the river Rhiw, exploring Montgomery’s ruined castle and square – all places that have inspired the setting.

I’ve also been chuckling away while drawing on some characterful people from my childhood to populate the novel.

Here’s a taster with chapter one. Poppy Jenkins is out this summer.
Continue reading

New short story

cover3I love writing intense, emotional mysteries, but sometimes it’s nice to sit back and write something funny. I’ve just published a short story called The Dildo in the Kitchen Drawer, a comic story of slippery fingers, paranoia and recalcitrant dogs.

There’s a bit of slapstick, some black humour and hopefully some simple laugh out loud moments too. Here’s the blurb:

What has Beth’s girlfriend ordered in the plainest, squarest, most non-descript parcel? It certainly isn’t books. No-one shuffles that frantically to hide books when you come in unexpectedly.

And what would any right-minded person do when they opened the kitchen drawer to check what had been hidden? But right-minded isn’t a term that’s often applied to Beth.

Let me know what you think.

It’s available for $0.99 for the Kindle on Amazon:

US – http://www.amazon.com/The-Dildo-Kitchen-Drawer-ebook/dp/B00EK7ZCTS/
UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Dildo-Kitchen-Drawer-ebook/dp/B00EK7ZCTS/

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I’ve been tagged by Irish-Indian author RJ Samuel for the 25th week of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.

The idea is to hop from blog to blog to discover exciting books we might not have heard about or that are still works in progress. Each author will answer the same ten questions, then list authors who will answer the questions on their blogs next Wednesday.

What is the working title of your book?

I’ll be talking about my just-published novel After Mrs Hamilton.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

From random late-night drunken conversations, mainly with a friend who used to visit prostitutes. Then mix in my love of twisting British tales, a weakness for older women and love of French actresses.

What genre does your book fall under?

I think intrigue-romance is probably the closest genre. I set out just to write a story and like to have elements of intrigue, suspense, a good dollop of romance as well as some dark moments too. I definitely aimed at a twisting page-turner for this novel though, and although readers may suspect some of the plot I don’t think (hope) they’ll spot every twist.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Now I know I never missed a vocation as a casting director because I find this one very difficult. The character of Fran was definitely inspired by French actresses Catherine Deneuve and Fanny Ardant. Who wouldn’t be inspired by these two:

8_femmes

Catherine Deneuve and Fanny Ardant in 8 Women

But after a while, no matter who the starting point may have been, my main characters become individuals in look, behaviour and background and I find it difficult to see them in any other way. Clo is very much just Clo.

Minor characters are easier. Judi Dench or Eileen Atkins as Clo’s grandmother Amelia. Perhaps Famke Janssen as the madam Marella. Miranda Richardson for Clo’s mother (I think she could pull off being unpleasant enough). John Hurt as Clo’s father. Kristin Scott Thomas as Susan’s aunt Anna (because why wouldn’t you want her in a film). Continue reading

Gay Pride and Prejudice

Gay Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books, one of the few that I re-read. Loving it so much, I’ve been tempted into reading a couple of variants/sequels which inevitably were disappointing – well, they were just not Austen. So, Kate Christie’s approach, of leaving as much of the original text as possible and embellishing it, I think a brilliant one.

Here’s the famous first paragraph, with Kate’s twist:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife – even if he does not particularly desire female companionship.

Pride and Prejudice has been rewritten with a skilled and very light touch. Some of the text needs only the slightest change to support the new version of events. It is Caroline Bingley who finds Elizabeth only “tolerable”, and again Caroline who later dwells on Elizabeth’s fine eyes. Some needs no change at all: Charlotte Lucas for example, never thinks “highly either of men or matrimony”.

But then the more substantial passages that have been added are also well written and I found the imitation of Austen’s style convincing.

The extent of the queering of the story was just right for me. I thought the right characters were outed and the right couples left as straight. It made fascinating and entertaining reading, waiting for the next queer turn, spotting subtext in the original writing and reading Kate’s additions.

It has a clever and satisfying conclusion and I found this a thoroughly enjoyable twist on a favourite book of mine.

I gave Gay Pride and Prejudice 5 stars.

Snowbound – a lesbian romance with a gritty difference

It’s always nice for me to find a UK lesfic novel, and especially one with a bit of a difference to standard romances. Snowbound, by Cari Hunter (published by Bold Strokes) certainly satisfies on those two counts.

Here’s the blurb:

“The policewoman got shot and she’s bleeding everywhere. Get someone here in one hour or I’m going to put her out of her misery.”

An ultimatum that forever changes the lives of police officer Sam Lucas and Dr. Kate Myles.

When heavy snowfall isolates the small English village of Birchenlow, a violent robbery shatters the community. Taken as a hostage and stranded with the increasingly desperate criminals, Sam is seriously injured during an ill-fated escape attempt. Already struggling to save the lives of the villagers caught up in the raid, Kate volunteers to walk straight into the lion’s den. Cut off from help, with only each other to rely on, Sam and Kate must find a way to fight the odds and stay alive if the growing attraction between them is to survive.

This novel has a great dramatic and vivid opening, and the novel’s first-half hostage scene, with its grim detail of the hostages’ injuries and treatment, was what made this book stand out for me. It has very convincing scenes where the heroines are suffering and their lives are in danger – gripping, sickening and fantastic stuff. (Since reading the novel I’ve found out that Cari Hunter is a paramedic and her knowledge really shows in this book.)

The second half of the novel is a more standard romance, but by this time I had been fully drawn into the relationship between the characters and I think I would have been a very unhappy reader if it had been anything different.

I loved the setting of the Peak District – I used to live on the other side of the Peak District so I have soft spot for the place and for being out in the hills in general.

A tiny, momentarily distracting negative for me, as a Brit, was the spelling out of some of the Britishisms, for example, the National Health Service instead of the more familiar NHS.

However, I found Snowbound a cracking read, and I loved it. I gave it 5 stars.