Monday 28 December 2009

Sale time!

Due to the unaccountable absence of any liqueur chocolates in either my birthday bag or under the tree, I felt impelled to visit Waitrose this morning and browse the sale bay. (That and the fact that we only had an inch of milk left in the fridge.)

Have now spent another £2 of my birthday money and feel nicely mollified. There were bigger boxes, but I do love these miniature chocolate bottles with an appreciable amount of liquid inside.

So, what didn't you get this Christmas and what are you going to do about it?


Friday 18 December 2009

Hello, snow!

East Anglia has turned pretty overnight.

Later on it will no doubt be slushy and not pretty at all...

but for the moment it's all rather beautiful.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Longlist for Romantic Novel of the Year 2010

Longlist time! This is for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year 2010 and there are some terrific names on it.

Who am I going to be rooting for though? There are my RNACambridge pals Judith Lennox and Mary Nichols (how good is that - a tiny chapter and TWO longlisters!)

There are also chums Julia Williams, Jean Fullerton, Veronica Henry and Sarah Duncan.

And lots of other good books too. I foresee the Santa's Christmas book sack straining at the seams.

Full story on the RNA Awards page.

Friday 11 December 2009

RNACambs Christmas Lunch

Lovely RNACambridge Christmas lunch on Wednesday, with a whole bunch of talented mates, food, wine and a Secret Santa as well. I had every intention of taking photos, but then I got so involved with the million conversations all going on at once that I, er, forgot. So no pic of us in all our finery, I'm afraid. Or the beautifully wrapped pile of Secret Santa pressies. Sorry.

I did photograph the food though. My Xmas dinner at the top ... and Kate's Christmas-Vegetable-Omelette at the bottom. Look at it: carrots, parsnips, sprouts, the lot! Definitely not something you see every day.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Surprise review!

How lovely is my friend Kate Hardy! I clicked on her bog this morning on my usual round up and saw this!

Reading: Jan Jones, Fortunate Wager – read this in one sitting. I love Jan’s Newmarket books because she has the place spot on. I also love her characterisation (Caroline is a tad unconventional and utterly lovely – the kind you’d want to be your friend; and Alexander is just gorgeous), her dialogue, the way she writes the most horrible villains, and the rollicking good pace of her stories. (Jan, you’d better have the next one almost complete now. Impatient readers – i.e. me – want the next one…)

Thanks, Kate! And congrats to you for being nominated for "Best Presents"

(Oh, and the next Newmarket Regency is, er, in progress. Ish. Very ish.)

Sunday 6 December 2009

Another lunatic plant!

This is such crazy weather for this time of year. This poor, deluded Daphne shouldn't be out until the Spring!

Tuesday 1 December 2009


This is my idiotic fuchsia which has been delighting me on the patio since May. It clearly has not realised that it is now December!

Sunday 29 November 2009

Gone Blogging

Today I have packed my thermos and sandwiches and can be found at the RNA Blog talking about Writing Close To Home. Do pop over there if you have a moment.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Chocolate Box again

Oh, dear. look what I had for lunch today.

I just love the way the folk at the Galleria present this small cube of deliciousness differently every time I go in.

My phone with its attached camera had run out of battery, so I am indebted to my talented friend
Elaine for taking the photo.

And also this one of me signing her copy of Fortunate Wager. Which I am SO relieved she liked!

See Elaine's review here.

Friday 20 November 2009

RNA Winter Party '09

Fabulous party! Three million people there, all of them happy. There was SUCH a positive buzz around this time.

There was also the usual sufficiency of drink, networking and food. Anyway, here's a flavour for all you unfortunate folk who couldn't be there.

And the REALLY important details...

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Party! Party!

The normal running of this blog will be interrupted this week while I take time out to go to TWO parties. Yes, two!

On Wednesday
I will catch up with lots of my talented friends at the launch of the fabulous
RNA 50th Anniversary Anthology
Loves Me, Loves Me Not (in which I may have mentioned that I have a story)

and then on Thursday it is the turn of the RNA Winter Party with even more friends!

There will also be several hours of RNA committee meeting in between, but hey, it's a small price to pay.

Sunday 15 November 2009

And the winner is ...

Congratulations to KAREN who wins a copy of Fortunate Wager !!!

If you email your postal address to jan at jan-jones dot co dot uk then I'll parcel it up and send it off forthwith.

Everyone else will just have to buy it through Hale, Amazon or the Book Depository, sorry.

Or order it from your library.

Or even both!

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Lest we forget

For the Fallen...

They shall grow not old
As we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them

Lawrence Binyon 1914

Sunday 8 November 2009

I Have Books!

I have copies of Fortunate Wager!

Two weeks earlier than expected!

There I was, cold and glum, looking at the screed of disconnected rambling sentences that is the current wip,
with all sorts of jobs stacked up waiting for me...

DING DONG DING DONG (no, I don't know why it always rings twice, either)

And lo and behold, outside my front door was a completely out-of-the-grey delivery!

Aren't they gorgeous? All glossy and shiny and with my name on them and everything.

So, to celebrate, I'm going to give one away. Yes, really, don't try to stop me.

To be in with a chance of winning, just tell me what would make your life suddenly full of sparkle and good cheer if an unexpected parcel of it turned up on your doorstep?

But do it by Friday 13th, okay?

Wednesday 4 November 2009


Autumn. Isn't it lovely to look at?

Provided I could see through all the condensation on my brand-new windows, that is. Is that right? Should brand-new double-glazed windows in new wonderfully white uPVC frames get condensation?

Ah, of course! It must be all that brand-new cavity wall insulation making the inside of the house warmer than the outside.

At this rate the promised reduction in heating bills will be used up in buying extra kitchen towels to mop up all the 'internal dew'!

Thursday 29 October 2009

Cambridge, chums and chocolate

Productive meeting in Cambridge today, talking over promotion ideas with the other members of the Writing From The Heart team regarding our plans for world domination (literary world, that is).

Basically, if you would like any or all of us for a romantic fiction panel, interviews, talks or workshops - just call!

Then - as it was lunchtime and they are chums - I introduced them to my favourite Cambridge restaurant, The Galleria on Bridge Street.

Where we had a Chocolate Box each.

Can life get any better?

Sunday 25 October 2009

Raising the roof

They are raising their roof next door. Now, is it me, or does this house look just slightly surprised?

Thursday 15 October 2009

The Rent Day

I went to see another rehearsed reading in the Restoring The Repertoire series this evening - this one was The Rent Day by Douglas Jerrold, first performed in 1832.

Fabulous stuff! A lovely rounded boisterous drama in two acts. Just enough comedy to make the tragedy stark and real - and subtle propaganda to the audience not to gamble their inheritance away, thus ruining their tenant farmers back at home on the estate.

I love these rehearsed readings put on by the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds. The actors only open the scripts at 10 o'clock that morning - and are giving a performance full of enthusiasm, insight and simple joy-in-acting at 7 in the evening. Long may you run, guys!

Friday 9 October 2009

Heart of the Volcano and butterscotch chocolate

Ages (ie more than a couple of days) ago I won a download of fellow RNA member Imogen Howson's book Heart of the Volcano - which, incidentally, is a really, really good read.

Today I came home cold and snappy from shopping (why do they always run out of things I want on a Friday?) to find the second half of the prize, which I had totally forgotten about!

Normally I'm a restrained Maya-Gold-two-squares-a-day girl, but Immi, I just want you to know that that was the most more-ish chocolate I've ever eaten in my life. Witness the photo.

I now feel warm, in love with the world, and just very slightly sick.

Thursday 8 October 2009

National Poetry Day: Heroes and Heroines

Okay, so today is National Poetry Day. Now, I have published several of my poems - some sensible, some silly - on this blog, but none of them are particularly heroic. This is a problem since this year's theme is "Heroes and Heroines".

That being so, who better as the subject for today's poem than the doctor who always makes me feel better? Enjoy!

(PS - this is one of my sillier poems. Don't go expecting a prize-winning epic)

For Them All ... but especially Blake’s 7 and you know Who
by Jan Jones

Everyone needs to suspend disbelief
How else do children grow?
Everyone needs a fantasy land

Action grand
A heroic band
How else can we create bricks out of sand?
How else make bread out of dough?

Everyone needs a family time
That half-hour in front of the box
Everyone needs to escape for a while
Exchanging a smile
Steal the enemy's phial
Everyone needs to be part of the guile
Ignoring the ticking of clocks.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Tick, tick, tick

7 copies of short story manuscript, ready to win me £25,000, all parcelled up ready for the post - tick

16 sets of 5 handouts for Writing Romance course in Stoke - tick

course notes - tick

comfortable clothes to travel in - tick

posh clothes to give course in - tick

box of my books to sell having convinced coursees during the day of my brilliance, wit and readability - tick

Other half of bedroom that we didn't take to Uni house last week - tick
er, apart from the computer
and the frozen food
and the stuff in the fridge
and her pillows

So that's
tick-ish, then

Monday 28 September 2009

Fortunate Wager available for pre-order

Hooray! Fortunate Wager is now available to pre-order from the Hale website at only £13.29 post-free (in the UK) instead of the rrp of £18.99

It might even arrive before the official publication date of 30th November!

Caroline Fortune wants to be left in peace to train racehorses. Lord Alexander Rothwell wants to know who is trying to kill him.

Another sparkling Newmarket Regency from Jan Jones

Sunday 27 September 2009

Poems across the Internet!

Well, now, this is weird. I have several Google alerts set up, one of which is for "Jan Jones". Normally I skim through the entries (you have no idea how many Jones-related stories there are out there, and there are even more in January) and delete the mail. This morning I was sitting at the PC with a nice cup of tea
when I saw my name followed by the first lines of a poem I'd written. But it was a poem I didn't know was out there!

She's put a good photo with it - not an image I'd had in mind while writing the poem, but then the joy of poetry is that we're free to make our own interpretations - but I'd dearly love to know where she saw the poem first!

Here it is - and here is Vikki Jacobs' blogpost

The Time Between by Jan Jones

Treasure it, the time spent travelling

This time between roles
The time between

Slipping from one existence into another
A spider strand of no-man’s-land
The time between

You’re no-one here
Invisible, unfettered
Not pressured

Treasure it, this time spent travelling
This time between arenas
This time between.

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Georgian Lectures

I'm having an Autumn feast of all things Georgian. A couple of weeks ago I went to a lecture at the Bury St Edmunds Records Office about the Cullum Library that they store. Today it was the turn of a batch of letters sent from Thomas and Susan Macro (Thomas was a prominent apothecary in the town) to their daughter and son-in-law Mary and John Wilson between 1713 and 1718.

As all writers know, there is a huge amount of social history to be found in letters. Mild complaints that letters had been left at the delivery office for too long, worries about lyings-in, sensible advice on settling into a new home, anecdotes of neighbours - all these things add up to a background in which to set our own writing.

And as a bonus - Dr Pat Murrell had baked us wigs to go with our tea. These are spiced buns with a scattering of sugar-coated caraway seeds. (The idea was to cleanse the palate and perhaps sweeten the breath!) Strangely enough, one cannot buy sugar-coated caraway seeds these days but Pat had discovered Indian shops sell a very acceptable substitute in sugar-coated fennel seeds.

They were extremely tasty - and when we were told they were even better hot out of the oven I asked if I could take a second one home with me to try it warm. This is it just before I ate it. Delicious!

Friday 11 September 2009

"He's Much To Blame"

Oooh! I do like a nice revival!

Steeping myself as I am in Regency theatre research for the Work In Progress, I was overjoyed to open the latest Theatre Royal brochure and discover that the main Restoring the Repertoire play this Autumn is He's Much To Blame by Thomas Holcroft.

Holcroft was one of a band of radical thinkers who sought to change people's opinion by means of incorporating telling scenes and speeches into his plays. Very witty and sharply executed, a lot of the exchanges on stage are as true today as they were 200 years ago. Billed at the time as a comedy,
He's Much To Blame (first performed in 1798, but they'd still have been putting it on in the Regency era) nevertheless produces moments of stark tragedy designed to make the audience stop and think.

So what's the story? Maria has come to town disguised as a man in order to prevent her brother (Delavel) and her erstwhile suitor (George Versatile) from fighting a duel. George had been going to marry Maria until he was suddenly taken rich and had his head turned by Society.

George has now fallen in with Lord and Lady Vibrate and their celebrity German doctor Gosterman. Versatile by nature as well as by name, he has lost his own true self in making himself pleasant to everybody and has apparently forgotten the love he left behind. Lady Vibrate (who lives only for pleasure) wishes him to marry her daughter Jane. Jane, however, is in love with Delavel.

And - as could only happen in a play - all of them are now staying in the same hotel!

The Bury St Edmunds production was an absolute joy, and as I had secured a seat in the box right on the stage again, I felt as if I had slid not only into the past, but also into the play itself.

And on Monday the cast is taking a day off(!) to do a rehearsed reading of Holcroft's comedy The Road To Ruin. I am a very happy Regency writer.

Tuesday 8 September 2009

Warning - electrical fault

My car has one of those delightful intermittent faults which brings up a scary orange light right in the middle of the dashboard. Every time this happens the car and I go into the garage where they clear the fault, speculate interestedly about what might be causing it and tell me to come back next time it occurs. A couple of times it has been a real fault entailing the changing of various expensive parts. Even if it doesn't cost money - it always involves loss of time.

This time, however, the garage decided Action Was Needed (possibly they were getting fed up with me plugging Nymph into their power supply, using their free wifi and drinking all their tea). They stripped the engine down ("No cost, Mrs Jones") and found - a broken wire.

Sadly, it seems wires don't get mended any more, they get replaced. The entire wire loom gets replaced. At a cost of £150+.

While my car was being investigated, the garage driver ran me into Bury St Edmunds for an excellent lecture at the Theatre Royal on the Georgian playwright Thomas Holcroft and picked me up again afterwards. Then (as my car was in pieces) he took me home. Tomorrow he is going to collect me, drop me off at the Records Office for a lecture on the Georgian Gentleman's Library and pick me up after a matinee of He's Much To Blame by the said Thomas Holcroft at the theatre.

"There," said the service receptionist. "At least we've saved you the parking fee."

To park in Bury St Edmunds all day costs £1.80 !!!

Friday 28 August 2009

My life according to Neil Young


I was tagged by Nicola Cornick over on Facebook to do this meme and had such fun that I'm putting it up here as well. It was just lovely having all Neil Young's songs running through my head again. If anyone else feels like doing it, just cut, paste and carry on!

Using only song NAMES from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. You can't use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think! Repost as "My life according to (band name)"

Pick your Artist: Neil Young
Are you a male or female?: Such a Woman
Describe yourself: Natural Beauty
How do you feel: Unknown Legend
Describe where you currently live: (Get Back to) the Country
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: California Sunset
Your favourite form of transportation: Cripple Creek Ferry
Your best friend is: Out on the Weekend
You and your best friends are: After the Goldrush
What's the weather like: Like a Hurricane
Favourite time of day: Harvest Moon
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: From Hank to Hendrix
What is life to you: Bound for Glory
Your last relationship: Don't let it Bring you Down
Your current relationship: You and Me
Your fear: The Old Laughing Lady
What is the best advice you have to give: Long May You Run
Thought for the Day: Are There Any More Real Cowboys?
How I would like to die: Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Looking for: Where is the Highway Tonight?
If you could change your name, you would change it to: (Once an) Angel
Wouldn’t mind: Words
My soul's present condition: The Wayward Wind
Most Faithful Companion: Heart of Gold
My motto: One of these Days

Love ya, Neil!

Monday 24 August 2009


Sometimes, organising the RNA Conference is a seriously fun job. Last week, for instance, I was in Greenwich speccing out the Queen Anne building,

the Painted Hall (no, we can't afford to eat there, but it had to be checked, right?),

the Queen Mary Undercroft (we might be able to eat there - wonder if they do beans on toast?),

and the view from the Trafalgar Tavern (we can afford to eat there).

And all on the hottest day of the summer so far in London.

Monday 17 August 2009

Best laid plans...

This year I decided to colour-coordinate my hanging baskets. (Alan Titchmarsh, you have a lot to answer for). So on one side of the door, I filled the basket with yellow and white. It's pretty - but would have looked a lot better had all the yellow petunias not died.

The other side of the door, I filled the basket with glorious reds and oranges. Looks fabulous, doesn't it? Just as I envisioned it.

Until you glance upwards.

Did I mention we feed wild birds in our garden? Sometimes they're ever such messy eaters.