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Welcome to my author blog. I post about my writing, things I enjoy such as photography and life in general. Feel free to look around, comment and get involved. I love to hear from you and especially new visitors. Your visit is appreciated.

Seasons Greetings Friends, and thank you for being here

Seasons Greetings one and all


Many thanks for being here and making it such a joy to connect with you.

It has been an interesting year and I have enjoyed your posts and comments so much.

I have had a wonderful time visiting your blogs (those who have them) and I wish you all the very best.

I shall be back before the New Year to see what you have all been up to.

Stay happy, safe, and healthy.

Wishing you all this, and peace too.

Jane xx

If you are planning on reading something over the holiday period I do hope you will consider these:

Wishing on a Star

Wishing on a Star (anthology) featuring some fab stories and one by me – Merry Christmas Everybody – based on a real event 26 years ago at Christmas.

Published by Accent Press Ltd.


Shiver from Accent Press Oct 2014

Shiver (anthology) featuring some spine chillers including one by me – The Haunting of Anne Chambers – set in Cornwall – and #1 on amazon’s Kindle Store – Halloween.  #15 on amazon’s Kindle Scary stories.

Published by Accent Press Ltd.

If you feel like benefitting The Princess Alice Hospice, Surrey, you might consider purchasing

In A Word: Murder

Out in Paperback 14th February 2014 on and

Out in Paperback 14th February 2014 on and

in memory of Maxine Clarke, Crime writer, editor and blogger

all proceeds go to this wonderful Hospice.

There are some cracking murders in this anthology written by award-winning crime, and I have two stories included:  Dreamer and also Hollywood Cover Up.

Published by Margot Kinberg.

Rocking Christmas

Enjoy your holidays.

Jane xx 

Wishing On A Star: Merry Christmas Everybody is published 16th November 2014

There are tensions in the studio when Twister record their new album.

The band members are at each other’s throats and someone is messing up their recordings.

The band blames their producer, but it soon becomes clear that someone unexpected

is trying to get a message of festive goodwill through to them….

Wishing on a Star

Wishing On A Star

A seasonal collection of short stories

 published 16th November 2014 by Accent Press Ltd.

My short story

Merry Christmas Everybody

is  included.


If you’re into Rock Music,

if you’ve ever wondered what can happen in a recording studio

when the tension and artistic temperament within a band explodes,

if you’d like to read a story based on real events

then look no further.

Rocking Christmas

Wishing On A Star

A seasonal collection of short stories

Featuring stories from

Christina Jones:  Comfort and Joy

Santa Lives: Tricia Maw

A Christmas Murder: Marsali Taylor

No Smoke Without Fire: Bill Kitson

Proof Of The Pudding: Jane Wenham-Jones

What The Dickens!: Caroline Dunford

Merry Christmas Everybody: Jane Risdon

Family Matters: Jane Jackson


Do let me know what you think of my story and the others by commenting here and also by leaving a comment on amazon.

Feedback is always welcome; whatever it is.

Many thanks.




Remembering Thomas 1882-1916: The Somme on a personal level.

Great Uncle Thomas Nyhan died 26the September 1916 (France)

On the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WW1 1914-1918

I ‘d like to remember and honour all those who lost their lives, including countless civilians, caught up in the horror of war.

In particular I’d like to remember family members.

However, even though I’ve been researching our family for over 30 years, many still remain illusive.

Therefore I decided I would have one family member represent all those too numerous to mention individually.

Guardsman Thomas Nyhan – Ist. Battalion Irish Guards


died of wounds in France in September 1916

and is remembered with honour in the Military cemetery where he is buried at the Somme Battlefields alongside his comrades.

Final resting place for Thomas Nyhan 1916

He came from a small rural village in what is now Southern Ireland, the second son in a family of  ten children:

seven boys and two girls, one of whom was my maternal Grandmother.

Sadly there aren’t any photos of Thomas that I know of still in existence.

Only the headstone above marks his life and death.

I know he could not only read and write in both English and Irish, he was also fluent in both spoken languages. 

Indeed, both his parents could read and write English and Irish as well as speak both languages fluently, 

which I understand was rare in the early 19th century in rural Ireland.

Thomas Nyhan grew up with this view.

The view Thomas Nyhan left behind – view from his village.

 Thomas and his siblings had been educated by a governess, which was also evident when reading anything written by my Grandmother.

When she used to write to my mother’s teacher giving reasons for Mum’s absence from school,

her letters were often pinned to the board in class, by the teacher, as an example of a beautifully written letter and handwriting.

I must admit reading anything she’d written was always a joy.

Parish Church where Thomas Nyhan would have worshipped.

If he had returned to his homeland Thomas would most likely have been laid to rest in this Parish Church eventually, where most of his family now rest. 

It is built on the site of 4 previous cathedrals, even though the population of the village was barely 400 people until the 20th Century. 

I visited with my mother and sister in 2008, soon after I discovered Mum still had family alive and living where Thomas and her mother had.

It was a very moving visit and sadly, since then, two of her remaining cousins have died and others are very old and frail.

As far as I can establish Thomas never married.

The Nyhan family was a close and loving family from what I am told by those relations who are still living.

Thomas’ father would play the fiddle and tin whistle for the family as they sat inside their home in the evenings. 

The girls would dance with their brothers and mother and sing Irish songs which were passed down to me when I was growing up via my grandmother, Thomas’ sister.

I think of Thomas dying so far from home alongside his many comrades,

and how he must have missed his family and longed for home and to see them all again.

I think of his father, widowed by then, having not only lost his wife but two sons and a young daughter before the war began. 

Like so many other families at that time their lives changed forever with the outbreak of World War 1. 

I feel sad that none of them ever knew what happened to Thomas. 

They could only imagine, like many thousands of other families.

I feel happy that I managed to find Thomas as a result of my research into our family history,

and to have been able to let his surviving nieces, nephews, and wider family know about him. 

Although some of them have died since,  those left behind – direct family and distant family –  are remembering him today along with all those others who gave their lives so that we might live ours in the manner we chose.

RIP Great Uncle Thomas Nyhan, and all those family members too numerous to list here who also gave their lives.

 RIP all your comrades too.

Thank You.

All Photos (c) Jane Risdon 2014 – All Rights Reserved

Thrills, chills and giggles: Shiver on All Hallows Eve.

Something to snuggle up with on a cold, dark, windy night.


ISBN: 9781783752195

Perfect for Halloween.

Thrills, chills and giggles too.

Hide-under-the-bed stories, laugh-out-loud stories and

food-for-thought stories – something for everyone.

Christina Jones: Laying The Ghost

Cara Cooper: Your Number’s Up

Caroline Dunford: The Dark Night of Dawn

Jane Risdon:  The Haunting of Anne Chambers

Tricia Maw: Uncle Henry

Marie Laval: Cemetery for Two Princesses

Andrea Frazer: All Hallows

David Rogers: Curtains

Helena Fairfax: The Pumpkin Hacker

Bill Kitson:  Dead Ringer

I hope you Shiver right down to your timbers.

Let me know, let Amazon know, and let Accent Press Ltd know what you think

 I know I’d appreciate your feed-back.


The Haunting of Anne Chambers – Cornwall and a tidy desk

My Writing Space (c) Jane Risdon 2014

I’ve just had a good tidy up and cleared my writing desk ready for a full on session this week.

It’s amazing just how cluttered it manages to get when I have my head down and I’m in over-drive – I have been writing a great deal this summer.

Hence the need to have a good tidy.

Inspired by the publication of my short story, The Haunting of Anne Chambers, in Shiver (Accent Press Ltd)

ISBN: 9781783752195

ISBN: 9781783752195

which has garnered some wonderful 5 star reviews  of the book – with even a #1 Best Seller spot on Amazon –  and really fab stories by my fellow contributors which I’ve really enjoyed reading, my digits have been itching to get back to work.

It is still difficult to type and sit for too long but artists must suffer for their art – I am suffering…well just a little.

Well, I suffer for as long as is bearable and then I have a wander about, do my physiotherapy, and  then have a much longed-for cuppa before settling down for another session.

I am about to begin work again, now with a nice tidy desk, but before I do 

I thought I’d give some background to my story in Shiver whilst having a much-needed cup of tea.

The Haunting of Anne Chambers is set in Cornwall and is a tale of Privateers and Pirates with a twist.


I set the story in Cornwall in the village of Paul, just up the hill from Mousehole, because I spent a lot of time in the early 1990’s recording at a studio in the village and looking round the church and visiting the other villages was a great way to distress after non-stop sessions cooped up inside at  mixing desk.

The King’s Arms became a favourite watering-hole and the village Church of St. Pol de Leon (St. Paul’s), featured in my story fascinated me even then.

Local tales about Pirates and secret tunnels and sea battles with the French and the Spanish remained with me long after the visits to the village ended, and when I was faced with writing a Ghost story for Shiver, I wanted it to be different – not what I normally write – and the idea for my story began to form from memories of our time in Paul.

The title came first and was additionally inspired by my two-part short story,

The Secret of Willow Cottage:  The Tale of the Reluctant Bride and the prequel, The Tale of the Jilted Lover.

Willow Cottage (c) Jane Risdon 2010 - Features in The Secret of Willow Cottage

Willow Cottage (c) Jane Risdon 2010 – Features in The Secret of Willow Cottage

This two-parter was published in May and June last year and was also Pod-cast. 

The response to The Tale of the Reluctant Bride was so encouraging I went on to write The Tale of the Jilted Lover. 

If you ever find yourself in the village of Paul, do pop into the church and check out the inscription on a mural tablet situated between the choir stalls and the pulpit (on the north side of the Chancel). If you’ve read The Haunting of Anne Chambers you will understand why the village was important to Privateers and Pirates and how some of my characters originated.

I shall love you and leave you for now.  I have work to do on Ms Birdsong Investigates.

Please check out Shiver, and if you get the chance do let all those contributing (including me) know what you think of the stories.

I have really enjoyed reading them. 

There is something for everyone. 

There are funny stories, scary stories and plain weird stories but they add up to a great read for Halloween.

Ghosts, Ghouls and Hauntings

Ghosts, Ghouls and Hauntings

You will find stories from:

Andrea Frazer, Bill Kitson, Caroline Dunford, Christina Jones, Helena Fairfax, Tricia Maw,

Marie Laval, Cara Cooper, David Rogers,

 and me.

 Have a great week and thanks for popping in.

Shiver is published today – 9th October 2014. I’m so excited.

Shiver: - A must have collection of halloween stories by best-selling authors

 Thrilled to be published today in this FAB collection alongside so many successful authors including my life-long friend,

Christina Jones,

who has been so inspirational and supportive of me and my aspirations to become a writer.

Thanks Chrissie

without your encouragement and advice my fingers would never have seriously connected with the keyboard. 

Even though we write in different genres she has often read my work when, other than my husband, no-one had ever read anything I’d written.

To find we both have stories in the same collection is such fun. 

We’ve shared an anthology once before but this was a complete surprise.

My contribution to Shiver is

The Haunting of Anne Chambers.

If you’ve read and enjoyed my two short stories

The Secret of Willow Cottage: The Tale of the Reluctant Bride


The Secret of Willow Cottage: The Tale of the Jilted Lover

 I hope you might enjoy 

The Haunting of Anne Chambers:

It’s a Ghost story set in Cornwall – a tale of Privateers, Pirates and ….well,

I’ll let you find out.

My fellow contributors are:

Andrea Frazer, Bill Kitson, Caroline Dunford, Christina Jones,


Helena Fairfax, Tricia Maw, Marie Laval, Cara Cooper and

David Rogers.

I know there will be something for everyone



Available from Accent Press Ltd.

ISBN: 9781783752195

There are many who have encouraged me and supported my writing, too numerous to mention – family and friends especially, who deserve my thanks. 

Thank you each and every one of you.


I want to thank everyone who has followed me and encouraged me on this blog and in other ways – you know who you are.

My story is dedicated to you all.


Update 11th October 2014:  Just seen this 

 Apparently SHIVER is #1 Best Seller in Children’s Halloween eBooks on Amazon.

It is #4 Best Seller Children’s Scary Halloween Stories on Amazon.


It is #60 Best Seller Single Author’s with Short Stories on Amazon.

I don’t think my story is  Children’s story – but it could be I suppose.

A little jolly back in the summer: Audley End House.

Audley End House, Saffron Walden, Essex

Audley End House, Saffron Walden, Essex.

People arriving and taking their seats at Audley End House

17th Century and one of the finest examples of a Jacobean Manor house in the country.

Set in 6,000 acres of land with gardens designed by Capability Brown.

The grounds are now 1/3rd their original size and the property has been run English Heritage since 1984.

There are over 100 rooms in the house owned by Lord Braybrooke – the 10th Baron – whose family the title was created in 1788.

 Audley End House put on an event on 3rd August 2014:  

The Last Night of the Proms

which I was fortunate enough to have attended with family…no, they’re not featured in any photos. 

One glimpse of my camera and they all run a mile!

Unknow concert goers enjoying Audley End House Last Night of the Prom.

 Gates opened late afternoon and people began to arrive with their seats, picnics and even small tents complete with candlesticks and silverware.

They tended to remain at the rear of the event where they could make a fast get-away at the end.

As I like to sit near the off-stage mixing desk at such events, between the huge PA’s where the sound is (one hopes) the best, we found ourselves sitting in the centre of the lawns.

Looking over the pictured couple but with a good view. 


Unfortunately the house was somewhat obscured by the stage and it wasn’t the sunniest of days, so many photos turned out to be far too dark to post.

Security at Audley End House.

Others who hadn’t purchased tickets to come inside the event, sat outside and got  free show.


The event was opened with a fly past of a WW2 Spitfire owned and flown by Caroline Grace.

(c) Jane Risdon 2014 Grace Spitfire

Her Spitfire flew out of the sun and over the heads of the audience, looping the loop, diving, and tumbling through the air,


 to the soundtrack of the Dambuster’s (movie) played by The National Symphony Orchestra.




Grace Spitfire (c) Jane Risdon 2014

She spent a good ten minutes flying over head before she flew off into the sunset.

The speed of the plane and the way it tumbled and span around made it difficult to photograph – I did my best.

Later she was available for a chat about her plane and further flying events in one of the many tents on site which included the usual food and beer outlets. 

We never managed to get over to her as the queues were so long and the concert was about to begin.

Last night of the Prom at Audley End House 3rd Aug 2014 (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The concert began with the setting sun and lasted until about 10pm.

Audley End House 3rd Aug 2014

Moon over Audley End House 3rd Aug 2014 (c) Jane Risdon 2014

We enjoyed performances by: 

Gardar Thor Cortes, Camilla Kerslake, Laura Knight and Amy Dickinson.


Camilla Kerslake and Gardar Thor Cortes on stage at Audley End.

Later everyone sang Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory and of course, Jerusalem

followed by a wonderful firework display to music, with all the usual flag waving.

I must admit the highlight for me was the Spitfire, but the whole event was magical and I think I enjoyed it more than The Last Night of the Proms in Hyde Park last year.

My family thought the same.  We had a wonderful time with great music and a terrific atmosphere, lots of great food – prepared for us – with plenty of lovely wine too.

The taxi back arrived on time and we spent the night in a cute little Inn not too far away.  A wonderful weekend all round.

As ever all my photos are (c) Jane Risdon 2014: All rights reserved.

Audley End House:

Tel: UK 0870 333 1181

London Road, Saffron Waldon, Essex CB11 4JF

Audley End House Last Night of The Prom 3rd Aug 2014

Audley End House 3rd Aug 2014

Aug 3rd 2014 Audley End House

Shiver me timbers: update – Shiver’s publication day is 9th October 2014

Shiver from Accent Press Oct 2014

I can hardly contain my excitement.

Publication day for SHIVER

is October 9th 2014.

ISBN: 9781783752195

Published by Accent Press Ltd.  at £2.99

Advance orders are being taken so I understand.

My short story, The Haunting of Anne Chambers, is included along with stories by:

Andrea Frazer, Bill Kitson, Caroline Dunford,

Christina Jones, Helena Fairfax, Tricia Maw,

Marie Laval, Cara Cooper and David Rogers.

For more details pop across to

Discover what Anne Chambers and Andrew Pasco got up to in Cornwall.

I’m getting Shivers sharing my good news

Shiver from Accent Press Oct 2014

Those of you kind enough to pop in here from time to time will know I’ve been submitting to Publishers during the summer, more in hope than expectation.

Well, I am very happy to share my good news with you.

I’ve been included in SHIVER,

a collection of horror stories

with contributions by so many authors I admire such as:

Andrea Frazer, Bill Kitson, Caroline Dunford, Christina Jones, Helena Fairfax, Tricia Maw, Marie Laval, Cara Cooper and David Roger.

SHIVER is published in early October 2014 by ACCENT PRESS LTD.

 I’ve signed a Publishing Agreement for this collection and I am hoping it will lead to more stories being published by them. 

They have a Christmas story I’ve written under consideration, so fingers crossed.

This story is a  departure from my usual Crime/Mystery writing – I’ve never attempted a Ghost story before and it was fun to write.

My story is called ‘The Haunting of Anne Chambers’

  I am thrilled to bits and really excited.

More information to follow soon.

I do hope you like the cover – Halloween is soon upon us.

Catch up soon.  Have a FAB weekend one and all.

I’m popping in briefly to say thanks …

Jane Risdon (c) 2014

I just wanted to pop in and thank everyone for their good wishes and for being so supportive of me during my convalescence following my recent operation.

Your kindness is really appreciated and has kept me going. 

Thank you one and all.

Since I went off the radar I notice I’ve lots more new followers here so I want to thank those who are new here as well.

Each day it’s been a lovely surprise discovering new friends and followers who have joined us here.

Unfortunately I cannot thank you all and welcome you personally, not physically up to it just yet, but I want to say a huge welcome and thanks for being here.

Please accept this as my greeting to each and every one of you with my thanks too.

(c) Jane Risdon 2014

Every day I am getting more movement back in my shoulder and arm, and I can spend a little longer at the computer but unfortunately not long enough to do any real writing yet.

I am not being idle…

I am reading a lot and also visiting blogs and websites belonging to my many friends on here and, where I am able, I am managing to leave a comment.  This is something I’ve been wanting to do for ages and now I have a little additional time I am enjoying browsing.

I’ll be back soon with updates on how things are going in general regarding my writing.

Thanks once more for visiting me here and for your friendship.  Makes me very happy.

Enjoy your day everyone and keep safe, well, and happy.

           I hope you enjoy my photos –  a little sunshine for you today.                               

                                                 I love Trees

Paperback or Kindle: a must for your holiday reading – In A Word: Murder

A great holiday read.


If you are wondering what to read whilst enjoying the freedom of a Summer Holiday,

 here is one solution:

In A Word: Murder

A Crime Anthology featuring stories by writers from across the world

set in the world of Publishing:

Book Publishing, Music Publishing, Blogging, Reviewing and Editing….

A world full of danger.

The Agency by Award Winning Poet and Author, Pamela Griffiths

Gives readers a look at a True Crime Magazine and what happens when its senior editor is killed….

The Story by Paula K Randall

A Short Story Competition becomes a life-or-death issue….

The Million Seller by Margot Kinberg

The stakes are high when an up-and-coming author with a lot of earning potential decides to make a major change in his career…. 

A Beach Report from Myrtle Clover by Elizabeth S. Craig

A holiday at the beach proves to be less than relaxing when Myrtle Clover’s newspaper reporting instincts tell her there’s trouble at the quiet seaside resort she’s visiting….

La Lotte by Sarah Ward

A modern-day crime turns out to have an interesting literary connection to the past. And someone feels that justice had not been done….

The Killing of Captain Hastings by Award Winning Author,  Martin Edwards

Book Blog Reviews and a Literary Festival in the North of England come together in an unexpected way….

The In-Box by Margot Kinberg

Shows just how dangerous the life of a Publisher can be.  And just how much you can learn from someone’s email….

And, my own two contributions:

Dreamer by Jane Risdon

When wanting something so bad brings out the worst in a 1980’s Rock band, poised for success at any price….

Hollywood Cover-up by Jane Risdon

Crossing swords with the rich and powerful in Hollywood is never a good idea, especially if you write about it and the characters in your book seek to stop publication: at any cost.


Some of our readers said:

3470 C.E said:

‘Jane, I really enjoyed your short stories, especially ‘Dreamer.’ I was on the edge of my seat until I finished it!!

That was excellent! OMG I felt terrible about Jake, but I guess that’s the way it goes…’


William Reichard said:

‘I finally had a chance to sit down and read your stories from In a Word, and I really enjoyed them! I most liked that they felt very modern with the references to Amazon and Android phones and such, but they were also colorful in the vein of Elmore Leonard.

Definitely made me think your stories of the ’60s music biz will be interesting to read! Congrats–the sense that you’re having fun as a writer is strong, and it looks like you’re gaining traction. I’ll definitely be looking for more!’


Col’s Criminal Library said:

‘Well this was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours night-time reading before lights out. All the stories worked for me, but if pressed to choose a couple of favourites I would have to plump for both of Jane Risdon’s stories; Dreamer and Hollywood Cover-up, with the former on top of the pile.

Dreamer gives us a glimpse inside the world of music, with a rock band intent on resolving some artistic differences. Fantastic!

As previously mentioned in another post, purchasing the book which was conceived in the memory of Maxine Clarke will help support the Princess Alice Hospice.

Enjoyable and entertaining.’


 FictionFan’s Book Reviews said:

‘Buy it because it’s in a good cause….then read it because it’s good fun!  Highly recommended!’  FictionFan’s Book Reviews.


clothesinbooks reviewed the book – follow the link to read:


The Game’s Afoot reviewed the book – follow the link to read: 


Mysteries in Paradise said:

Many thanks to Margot Kinberg for putting this collection of short stories together. I thoroughly enjoyed them all, particularly Elizabeth Craig’s Miss Marple spoof A Beach Report From Myrtle Clover. For me the cleverest was The Killing of Captain Hastings by  Martin Edward. Well done folks!


Maggie Thom said:

This is a really good collection of short crime stories. There is such a good taste of a variety of styles and of stories. All were rather captivating in their own way. There are secrets, lies, murder, deceit, betrayal, double-cross, being sneaky… you name it you’ll find a story here that has it. There were definitely some surprising twists and some surprising endings. After reading it, it just left me with wanting more, which is a good sign of well written stories. It was easy to identify with the characters and it was easy to get pulled into the story, wondering where it would go. Congratulations to the seven contributing authors. I really think they did a great job of telling a story in a just a few pages and in holding my attention and interest.


 Lesley Fletcher said:

While I am listed as a contributor to this book, I did not write any stories in it, so I feel comfortable leaving a review.
When I received my hard copy, I could hardly wait to read it. I left it on my kitchen table and read a story a day. What I really liked about this book was the different writing styles and delivery. Considering the number of authors who contributed it had a great coherence as all the stories were centred around the world of media and the written word.
In a Word, Murder left me wanting the stories to be longer. Totally enjoyable read designed to take the reader away for short periods.
Well done everyone. Maxine Clarke would have loved it, I’m sure. (this book was written in memory of Maxine with proceeds going to the Princess Alice Hospice)


 Carol Balawyder  said:
Anyone who writes or works in the area of crime fiction will love this collection of short crime stories. The collection offers a fresh look at crime writing from the viewpoint of writer, reviewer, publisher, editor, and blogging. All the stories captured my interest and as a writer I particularly appreciated the various voices and techniques and, of course, the suspense woven in these stories. As added bonus these stories were written in memory of crime writer Maxine Clarke. Neat.

And many more great reviews are out there, but don’t take their word for it:

Purchase In A Word: Murder

Great holiday reading

in aid of a great cause:

The Princess Alice Hospice

and discover what it’s all about for yourself.

Available in Paperback or Kindle from and


Author TC Chadinha – World Wide Work in Progress Blog Tour – my second guest today.


T C Chandinha - Author
Author T C Chadinha 
My second Guest on the World Wide Work in Progress Blog Tour is South African author
Like JOHN HOLT, my first guest today, TC doesn’t have his own blog but does have a Facebook Author Page
and so I offered to host him, and John, on my blog so that I could share these authors with you.
I do hope you enjoyed John Holt’s WW WIP and that you will enjoy reading about TC.
We would all love to read your comments so do be really kind and post them so that these authors can see what you think.
Thanks so much.
 Hi, My name is TC Chadinha.
I’m honoured to have been nominated by the amazing Jane Risdon
Here is my information:
 I was born in the year 1966, in the rough mining town of Brakpan on the fringes of Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1987, I joined the South African Police Force and was recruited into the Security Intelligence Unit—the equivalent of America’s CIA. I was employed as a covert operative in high-profile criminal operations across Africa. On my appointment as a commissioned officer I became the founding commander of the Counter Intelligence Unit in the Mpumalanga Province. After a successful stint I was inducted into the infamous Murder and Robbery Squad as a Senior Detective Captain, second in command of two Units. In the years that followed I experienced evil as my constant companion. 
In my journey through life’s labyrinth of bloody corridors, I walked and talked with death. I shook hands with the Devil many times. I lived a vicious life in one of the most violent countries in the world. I write from the heart. My work is life through my eyes. 
The first in the Frank Dempsey Series is titled - EMILY.
Emily T.C Chadinha Book Cover (5)
BOOK DESCRIPTION: After Emily Thomas, daughter of the American ambassador to South Africa, is kidnapped, tough cop Detective Captain Frank Dempsey and suspended CIA Agent Nick Crowley search for her in a high-speed chase across treacherous Africa. They discover the kidnappers have no intention of releasing her. Is she earmarked for the international sex slave trade? Will they find her? Who’s behind the conspiracy and why? 
The second in the series is titled – ALEXA. 
Alexa by C H Chadinha
BOOK DESCRIPTION: Shortly after American business tycoon Arthur Morgan relocates his family to Cape Town, South Africa, his sixteen-year-old daughter Alexa is abducted. No ransom demand is made. Amidst a serial killer investigation where young girls are slaughtered in cult-related killings, Detective Captain Frank Dempsey from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit is called upon to find the missing girl. He identifies a link between the Cult Killer’s victims and Alexa’s abduction. The chase is on to locate the tycoon’s daughter before she’s butchered and exhibited at a construction site like the other girls. Understaffed and racing against the clock, Frank relies on the help of his buddy and renowned criminal profiler Dr Liz Hamilton, to save Alexa and catch the killers. With pressure from the Police Commissioner to produce results, Frank reverts to unorthodox tactics, which see him demoted and exiled. In an unsuspected twist, Frank’s house is searched. DNA evidence originating from the Cult Killer crime scenes is found, resulting in his arrest. Is Frank behind these brutal slayings, and why? Did he take Alexa? Agent Nick Crowley and Dr Liz Hamilton are left to make sense of the mayhem. Is Alexa still alive? Will they find her in time?
Here are TC’s answers:
1) What am I working on?
I’m working on JODIE – third in the series of six. I’m very excited about this book.  
I’ve mapped out the last three books in the series and can’t wait to work on them on a more permanent basis. 
I’ve also scribbled down a few notes on the start of the second series. It’s crime from a different angle. I hope to enthrall the readers. 
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I lived the life I write about. I write from the heart. Through my eyes.
Most other authors in this genre write from research. 
And yes, facts are stranger than fiction in my series.
I give the readers insight to what really happens in the lives of the people who work with death. Its a dark industry. 
From my experience, a Murder and Robbery detective becomes the same animal who commits these heinous crimes. Then colder. More structured. And then the hunter. 
There are specific reasons why only a certain breed of law enforcement officers across the world combat these crimes. 
3) Why do I write what I do?
It’s what I know. I lived it for many years. And sex slavery is the fastest growing crime on the planet. People should be made aware of it. What will you do when your child is abducted? The world is an evil place. Good guys are sometimes forced to do bad things in the name of justice.  
4) How does my writing process work?
mill over in my mind till an opening sentence, sentence in the middle of the book and final sentence align. Hundreds of combinations pulse through my brain. It can take up to three months before I feel the flow of the story is perfect. It’s a mental process where I visualize the book – fact and fiction.
Novel length – my target is 80 000 words divided into anywhere between 94 and 120 chapters. Short, potent chapters. 
Only then do I start typing. 
- The first sentence under the heading Chapter 1, 
- The middle sentence under Chapter 60, 
- and the last sentence under Chapter 120.
After I’ve completed the first chapter, I write the last chapter. Then I write the middle one.
For the next eight to ten months I write backward and forward as my mood dictates. 
I write a chapter and then edit it before moving onto the next.
When I’m done I pass it onto my five Ideal Readers who dissect it. After running repairs it’s off to my proofreader. 
Next stop – Amazon. 
Thank you Jane Risdon and all you other great people for taking the time.
I hope you enjoy EMILY and ALEXA. Please let me know what you think about it.
Here are his links:
USA and New Zealand:

UK, Europe and South Africa:




 I hope you all enjoyed reading about T C Chadinha and his career in South Africa and his writing.
Thanks to TC for sharing this with us all.
My thanks also to JOHN HOLT 
I have enjoyed reading about both authors very much for sharing their WIP with us all.
  We look forward to receiving your feedback here and on my previous post for John Holt. 
Both authors have Facebook Fan Pages but do not have blogs so do check out their Facebook pages when you can.

Author John Holt: World Wide WIP Blog Tour – is my first nomination today

 John Holt -Author

I’d like to introduce you to a fellow author


who was nominated by me last week to take part in

The World Wide Work In Progress Blog Tour.

John does not yet have his own Blog and so I invited him to share his WW WIP with everyone on my own page; a first for me.

I do hope you will all take time out of your busy day to take a look at his contribution and answers and also take a look at his books.

Here is what John has to say about himself in answer to my questions today:

I live in Essex with my wife Margaret, daughter Elizabeth, and our cat Missy who adopted us. For many years I was a Chartered Surveyor in Local Government. In the nineteen seventies I was a Senior Project Manager with the Greater London Council, staying with them until 1986 when the organization was closed down. I then set up a surveying practice on my own account, carrying out condition surveys, and preparing architectural drawings. In 2004 I suffered a heart attack, and business declined. I eventually retired in 2008.

I came to writing quite late in life. I suppose, like a lot of people, I had always wanted to write a novel, but I could never think of a decent plot. Then in September 2005 we took a holiday in the Austrian Lake District. We stayed in Grundlsee, the first of three lakes. The second lake, Toplitzsee, is the deepest of the Austrian lakes, and was used by the German Navy during the war to test torpedoes and rockets. As the war came to an end many items were hidden in the lake, including counterfeit dollars, and pounds, weapons, jewellery, and there were rumours of hidden gold bullion. Since the war extensive searches have been carried and much has been discovered, but sadly no hidden gold.

This gave me the inspiration for my first novel “The Kammersee Affair” which was first published in December 2006.

I have subsequently written five novels featuring my private detective Tom Kendall,

and a “what if” novel,

“The Thackery Journal” set during and just after the American Civil War.

John Holt - his books


  • What am I working on?

Now that “Kendall”, my fifth novel to feature my private detective, has been published, I have made a tentative start on two other Kendall novels. Very early days I’m afraid, and a long way from a first draft, but I have my villain, I have the crime committed, and I have Kendall investigating. I am also working on an adventure novel based on a true 1931 story about a submarine that was intended to reach the North Pole under the ice. It never got there and was later found at the bottom of a Norwegian fjord. Once again very early days. I have two or three beginning chapters, and the end. Now all I need is about 200 pages in the middle. I am also thinking of a second American Civil War novel.

  • How does my work differ from others of its genre?


Tom Kendall is quite unlike many of the other private detectives – Phillip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Mickey Spillane. They were all tough guys, handy with their fists, and a gun. That’s not Kendall’s style. He isn’t the macho type, and he couldn’t hit the side of a barn with a gun. He relys on logic, and deduction. Oh, and the help of his business partner, Mollie, not that he would ever admit that, or tell her. There’s a lot of me in Kendall. He has a wicked sense of humour, so do I. He is stubborn, and I guess I am too. Once he gets an idea into his head it would take an earthquake to shift it. He is a little over-weight, although he would never admit that either, and he is not the fittest person on the planet.

  • Why do I write what I do?

 A very good question. I love the old film noir movies from the forties and fifties – Humphrey Bogart, Cagney, Edward G. For some while I wanted to write a novel in that same style. Pacey, snappy, punchy, with a touch of humour. I soon found out that for some reason I just couldn’t do it. Certainly nothing like as good as those original writers. But I quickly realised that I was actually doing something so much better. I was developing my own style, and my own characters. I wasn’t copying anyone else.

  • How does my writing process work?

I have always admired authors like Charles Dickens, and the Brontes. They started their work at page 1 and continued until the end. Dickens wrote a chapter per week for a magazine. Any corrections probably meant a whole page being re-written. I could never write like that. Fortunately with computers and word processing that way of writing is no longer necessary. I don’t really have a process as such. I mean I don’t sit down every day to write so many thousand words. I start with a basic idea, and then I write as I think of something, and just add it into the right position. I might wake during the night with an idea, or a sentence, floating around in my head. I get up and make a note, then go back to sleep. Maybe my latest idea might mean changes to something I have already written, well so be it. Using that process I now have seven novels self published – 5 featuring Tom Kendall; “The Kammersee Affair”, and “The Thackery Journal”

My facebook link is –

My Amazon author page is –

My twitter link is –


 The Mackenzie  Document



 ISBN 978-1-291-02123-3



Kendall could just see the television screen. There was a photograph of Governor Frank Reynolds. Across the bottom of the screen the ticker tape announced in large black letters ‘Governor Reynolds Murdered’. The voice over was filling in whatever detail was available. Apparently his body had been discovered earlier that morning. He had been found lying in his garage. He had been shot twice. One shot to the upper chest, the other hitting his shoulder. ‘Police believe that the weapon used was a 38 mm caliber revolver,’ the reporter said. Kendall froze. Anthony Shaw had also been killed by a 38 mm bullet. Kendall was not quite sure of what it all meant. What connection was there between Anthony Shaw, and the State Governor, and the business mogul, Ian Duncan? And what about Senator Mackenzie? Where did he fit in? And who or what was Latimer? Only a short while ago Kendall was a small time private detective, a Private Eye, investigating an insignificant little murder with no clues, no witnesses, and no motive. In fact, no nothing. Now he had so many pieces of a puzzle he didn’t know how they fitted together. He didn’t even know if they all came from the same puzzle.

The Marinski Affair




 ISBN-13: 978-1481102476

ISBN-10: 1481102478

The Marinski Affair began as a dull mundane case involving a missing husband. Okay, so he was a rich missing husband, but he was nonetheless, still only a missing husband. The case soon developed into one involving robbery, kidnapping, blackmail and murder. But was there really a kidnapping? And exactly who is blackmailing who? Who actually carried out the robbery? Who committed the murders? Who can you trust? Who can you believe? Is anyone actually telling the truth? What have they got to hide? And what connection was there with a jewel theft that occurred four years previously? All is not as it seems. Tom Kendall, private detective, had the task of solving the mystery. He was usually pretty good at solving puzzles, but this one was different, somehow. It wasn’t that he didn’t have any of the pieces. Oh no, he wasn’t short of clues. It was just that none of the pieces seemed to fit together.






 ISBN: – 978-1291316032

Tom Kendall, a down to earth private detective, is asked to investigate the death of a young newspaper reporter. The evidence shows quite clearly that it was an accident: a simple, dreadful accident. That is the finding of the coroner and the local police. Furthermore, there were two witnesses. They saw the whole thing. But was it an accident, or was it something more sinister? Against a backdrop of a viral epidemic slowly spreading from Central America, a simple case soon places Kendall up against one of the largest drug companies in the country.


Killing in the city


To make a killing in the City’ is a phrase often used within the financial world, to indicate making a large profit on investments, or through dealings on the stock market – the bigger the profit, the bigger the killing. However, Tom Kendall, a private detective, on holiday in London, has a different kind of killing in mind when he hears about the death of one of his fellow passengers who travelled with him on the plane from Miami. It was suicide apparently, a simple overdose of prescribed tablets. Kendall immediately offers his help to Scotland Yard. He is shocked when he is told his services will not be required. They can manage perfectly well without him, thank you.

The Kammersee Affair

The lake was flat and calm, with barely a ripple. Its dark waters glistening, reflecting the moonlight, as though it were a mirror. Fritz Marschall knew that neither he, nor his friend, should really have been there. They, like many others before them, had been attracted to the lake by the many rumors that had been circulating. He thought of the endless stories there had been, of treasures sunken in, or buried around the lake. He recalled the stories of the lake being used to develop torpedoes and rockets during the war. Looking out across the dark water, he wondered what secrets were hidden beneath the surface.

The Thackery Journal

On the night of April 14th 1865 President Abraham Lincoln was attending a performance at The Ford Theatre, in Washington. A single shot fired by John Wilkes Booth hit the President in the back of the head. He slumped to the floor, and died a few hours later without recovering consciousness. Was Booth a lone assassin? Or was he part of a wider conspiracy? What if Booth had merely been a willing party to a plot to replace Lincoln with General Ulysses S. Grant. Let us suppose that Booth had been set up by a group of men, a group of Lincoln’s own Army Generals; Generals who had wanted Ulysses S Grant for their President, and not Lincoln. And let us also suppose that the funding for the assassination had come from gold stolen by the Confederate Army.



 Tom Kendall had been with the 32nd Precinct, New York Police Department for just under ten years. But now he wanted a change. Now he wanted to start his own Private Detective Agency. He had grand ideas. He wasn’t interested in just any old case. Oh no, he would handle only the big time cases, the expensive ones.

He would be able to take his pick, the ones that he wanted, where the stakes were high and so were the rewards. He knew exactly the kind of case that he wanted. Anything else would not do, and it would just be turned down flat.


 I’d like to thank Jane Risdon for this opportunity to share my World Wide Work In Progress Blog Tour experience with you all on her blog.  I do hope you will leave your thoughts and comments fur us both her.  Thanks so much for coming by to read about me.  I do hope you enjoy my books and that you will let me know.

Jane Risdon

I would like to nominate fellow author

        to take part in the WW WIP Blog Tour on 11th August 2014.

Thanks John for sharing your Work in Progress with us.  This has been so interesting.

I do hope you will follow these links and read all about John’s nominated authors.


**Please don’t forget to read all about my second nomination for the WW WIP Blog Tour: 


who has an equally exciting post which I’ve also added HERE today.

Like JOHN HOLT, TC does not have a blog but does have a very interesting Fan Page on Facebook.

Find JOHN HOLT on Facebook:



World Wide Work in Progress Blog Tour – 28th July 2014

The World Wide ‘Work In Progress’ Blog Tour 28th July 2014 

View of The Trident, The Oberoi hotels, Mumbai (c) Risdon 2014 - The White Haired Man

View of The Trident and The Oberoi Hotels, Mumbai: (c) Risdon 2014 – The White Haired Man

Today I’ve been tagged by Maggie Thom to take part in

 The Word Wide WIP Blog  Tour.

She’s asked me to share information about one of my Works in Progress with you.

You can find out about Maggie and her writing, blogging, and her books over at:

Many thanks Maggie, for asking me to share some information about myself and for setting such challenging questions for me to answer.

So, first things first – a little about myself for those who are new here, and for those who are not, my apologies; talk amongst yourselves whilst I deal with this part of the WWWIP.

(you are allowed to make tea, sing, or mess around on Facebook for a moment or two if you don’t want to chat to the others – I won’t say a word to them; honest)

Trident Hotel Mumbai (c) Risdon 2008

Trident Hotel Mumbai (c) Risdon 2008

 The White Haired Man – another WIP

Those of you who’ve visited before will know that after a career working in Government Agencies and then the International Music Industry, during which time I harboured a longing to write fiction, I eventually managed to find time for myself with the peace and quiet to actually get on with it.  That was a couple of  years ago and since then I have been writing mainly  Crime/mystery novels, short stories, and dabbling in flash fiction from time to time.

However, every now and again when the mood takes me I do write stories in other genres;  stories just pop out and I have to be content with whatever I find  myself writing.

I’ve had five stories published in three anthologies to date and I have four stories being appraised for a further two anthologies, to be published later this year.

Fingers crossed.

 You won’t fail to have noticed – if you wander around my blog – that I am writing a Crime/mystery novel called Ms Birdsong Investigates, about a former MI5 Officer who is ‘voluntarily’ retired following a little bit of trouble (messed up mission), and finds herself in the rural village of Ampney Parva in The Vale of The White Horse, where, before long, old habits can’t be resisted, and she is soon up to her Victoria’s Secret underwear in murder…..but that’s another WIP which has turned into a series; hence the time it is taking me to write it.

So to answer Maggie’s questions:

Question one:  What am I working on?

Well, I’ve just mentioned one WIP (my main one) and there are several other projects all in various stages of completion – I know, I need to finish stuff, but I am a little unconventional; don’t remind me.

I thought I’d tell you about another major story I am working on, inspired by the terrible events in Mumbai when terrorists slaughtered so many people in the city in 2008.

Taj Hotel Restaurant, Mumbai before the terrible events. (c) Risdon 2008

Taj Hotel Restaurant, Mumbai before the terrible events. (c) Risdon 2008

I have personal reasons for writing this story which will become clear once the story is written and, hopefully, published.

I’ve called it The White Haired Man

Set in Mumbai in the Bollywood Movie industry which is thriving and makes more movies than Hollywood each year, my story

deals with the after-math of the Mumbai Terrorist attacks on the Luxury Hotels and the Railway Station, and how it changes the lives of two English men forever

when they meet

The White Haired Man.

Question two:  How does this differ from other genres? 

This is a hard one.  I am sure there are plenty of stories set in India and possibly about the Mumbai terrorist attacks, but I guess mine differs in that it is almost a personal account of the experiences of two English people caught up in the mayhem; who lose everything, and end up being taken under the wing of a local Crime boss who has fingers in all sorts of pies – including the Bollywood Movie Industry. 

Obviously being a story I bend the truth and actual events shamelessly. 

It is quite shocking at times, with all the colour and flavour of India but with some of the darker, seedier sides of life revealed.

It is a Crime novel with humour and tragedy and lots of insights into the way Bollywood, indeed Indian society, works.

Victoria Terminus, Mumbai (c) Risdon  2008

Victoria Terminus, Mumbai (c) Risdon 2008

Question three:  Why do I write what I write?

Another hard one to answer.  I guess because it is what I know.  Not that I move in the criminal world or have personal experiences of murder, but I read a lot of Crime and Mystery, as well as Spy and Espionage thrillers.  I am partial to novels about Organised Crime (Mafia/Triads for example) and so I fell into this genre because of a love of it.  My early career working in the Civil Service and then, later, the Music Business affords me ample material.

Kala Ghoda area of Mumbai - where The White Haired Man has his offices (c) Risdon 2008

Kala Ghoda area of Mumbai – where The White Haired Man has his offices (c) Risdon 2008

Question four:  How does my writing process work?

Good question and I would like to know the answer as well. 

I am not someone with millions of stories buzzing around in their head just bursting to come out.  There isn’t an itch I need to scratch.

I often need some sort of trigger.  It might be a conversation or it could be a News item, or if I see something happening around me or hear about it happening to others.

Sometimes I get flash-backs to something that happened on tour with bands, or during meetings with the high fliers in Hollywood for example, and suddenly I have a story.

 Perhaps something  will fester in the back of my mind for a brief period.

View from The Grant Road Mission, Mumbai in The White Haired Man (c) Jane Risdon 2014

View from The Grant Road Mission, Mumbai in The White Haired Man (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Often I will sit at the keyboard and open Word and stare at the page with the feeling I should write something. 

The first thing I usually get is the title and suddenly off I go.  I do not plan, draw up lists, post notes all over the room or prepare in any way. 

I might write notes as I go along so I can recall names, places, and events and I have been known to draw a map.  Only because I might forget some crucial detail what with all the excitement and what have you!

Once I start to write it all flows out.  I’ll have the vaguest notion of  where the story is going. I possibly know the type of crime, that there is a victim, and a perpetrator (often the ‘who’ is a surprise to me) and the end writes itself and the characters are born as I type.  Not very high-brow, literary, or the best way to write perhaps, but is how I write.

If you find any of this worthy of further investigation please check out two of the anthologies I have contributed towards, still on sale:

In A Word: Murder

Out in Paperback 14th February 2014 on and

The USA Paperback version is available via

The USA Kindle version is available via

 The UK Paperback version is available via

The UK Kindle is available via

I Am Woman Vol. One

Unfortunately, Telling Tales is no longer in print.

You might follow links on my blog to Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog

where you will discover some of my Flash Fiction, Short Stories and an article on Song writing, or you can scroll through my Blog and discover little bits and pieces here, including various interviews and where I have been Guest Blogger/Author.

Once more thanks to Maggie Thom

for asking me to undertake the World Wide WIP Tour.  Do pop across to her blog and find out about her books and her guests.

I nominate author John Holt

 to undertake the WW WIP Tour on August 4th.

John does not have a blog (yet) but he does have a Facebook page and lots of books available.

*August 4th 2014 – John’s contribution to the WW WIP will be accessible on my blog.  I do

hope you will pop back here and see what he has to say about his prolific writing career.

Thanks everyone for visiting here.  I am still working hard on submissions, hence I have been rather quieter here than usual.

Normal service will be resumed soon.

Bedgebury National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Bedgebury National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Undergoing Some Changes: but business as usual


I hope the sun is shining on you wherever you are.

Taken by me this week (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Taken by me this week (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Just popped in to say that there are some areas of my blog which might not be accessible for a very short time

 I am making some changes behind the scenes and so it has been necessary to limit access to some areas.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

There is still lots to see and read so do keep popping in to visit – you know I appreciate all your visits and comments .

Meantime perhaps you’d like to visit some of the Blogs where I have been interviewed  recently, or have contributed to a Guest Blogger Spot.

Research (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Research (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Here are the links:

Fiona McVie’s blog:

 Megan Cyrulewski (authorsupportingauthors) blog:

and I took part in The Writing Process Blog Tour

invited by Jane Dougherty to take part – you will find the post right here on my blog – 16th June 2014.

Jane Dougherty can be found over at :

Of course there have been other interviews and Guest spots over time – here are a few of them with their links:

Made it Moment (Suspend Your Disbelief) on Jenny Milchman’s blog:

I’m also featured on her blog - The Writing Life:

Tea and Talk at Sally Lunn’s on Jo Lambert’s blog:

Back in the day - Recording Studio with SSL Desk (c) Jane Risdon 1991

(c) Jane Risdon 2014

Centre Stage (Romance That Rocks The World) on Nicky Wells blog:

and I did another interview with Nicky Wells:

Special mics for special singers (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Special mics for special singers (c) Jane Risdon 2012

I wrote an article about Song-writing at the request of Morgen Bailey and you can find it under Guest blog posts – #226:

 Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog over at:

Vintage Stereo Gibson SG - Jake's favourite Guitar in Dreamer (c) Jane Risdon 2008

Vintage Stereo Gibson SG – Jake’s favourite Guitar in Dreamer (c) Jane Risdon 2008

You can find my interview with Carol Bond over at theunseenpromise blog and read one of my short stories there:

You can also find some of my pieces of Flash Fiction over on Morgen Baileys Writing Blog/Pod Casts – go to her menu and Flash Fiction Friday and Pod-casts for links to them:

Vegas or Moscow: one record company and lots of suitors

Crime/mystery – stories to thrill you.

And of course, Morgen is a writer as well as a blogger so do check her work out whilst there….and the work of my other kind hosts.

So there’s a lot to keep you occupied if you wish to find out more about me and my writing.

There are more interviews and Guest blog spots on the way soon….meantime I am back to submissions for publishers (deep joy!).

Be good, keep safe and happy and enjoy your day.  Thanks for being here.   

All photos and content (c) Jane Risdon 2014 – All Rights Reserved.

(c) Jane Risdon 2014

Where am I up to now? Oh Yes….

Bridge to where?  (c) Jane Risdon 2013

A journey (c) Jane Risdon 2013

You may be wondering what I have been up to since my last update here, well….

When we last had a natter here I was preparing material to submit to various publishers more in hope than expectation, but that’s the name of the game.

I am prepared;  after-all, years of preparing and presenting material and artists to Record Companies has given me more than enough experience of having to keep trying and if all fails, try again!

Not that I think I am going to fail.  Not at all.  But I know how these things work and it is all about being in the right place at the right time, targeting the right company and the right person working there. Oh, and having what they want. 

Being a mind-reader helps.

When it was Music I knew the who, the what and the when; placing my novels and short stories is another matter.  I’ve read, listened, and asked advice, and I think I understand what to do – it is the ‘to whom’ part which is stumping me. 

 I think I need an Agent.

I’m groaning loudly as I write this – why?  Because I used to tell hopeful song-writers, singers, and musicians to get themselves a Manager if they wanted to be taken seriously and to have their material ‘shopped and presented,’ to suitable companies in a professional and credible manner by someone with status and reputation;  someone with vision, an idea of the market-place and how to garner fans and sales – someone with a plan.

I can just hear myself turning down artists for management –  offering all sorts of advice on how to prepare, improve, and target the right people,  after making the best record or writing the best song ever – and seeing their faces drop.  

Now the boot is on the other foot.

I am a hopeful creator in need of representation and a champion!

I’ve found  publishers who are accepting unsolicited material and have dipped the corners of my work into their world.  And now I have to wait and wait – mostly until September apparently, or until I give up waiting because they don’t reply unless interested.

Oh! how well I understand this.  That is why I was the one to go into the Record Companies at the highest levels (president, chairman, whatever) and do the presentation, selling of an artist, their material, their image and their prospects for massive sales and world domination.

If only I could  find a ‘Me’.

Desk with a view (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Desk with a view (c) Jane Risdon 2012

So far I haven’t, but then I’ve not really looked yet.  I am testing the water, dipping my toe in, trying my luck – whatever – with those open to being approached.

So far I have sent a series of short stories off to a couple of Publishers; one large House and one medium sized House.

I am preparing a novel to go off before the end of the given period for ‘open submissions.’

I’ve done the Bio, the cover letters, the synopsis and the required number of chapters/pages requested and I am on the verge of nervous collapse, well, not really, but if I had any sense, any idea what I’ve actually done, the enormity of it, well then I might, just might lose the plot completely.

I am about to target Agents too – God help me!

I have lots of ideas for marketing, for creating an awareness, for targeting an audience – the whole package if you like.

Will anyone ever discover this?  Does anyone care?  I have no idea.

But I have to try.

In the meantime I have written two 3,000 word short stories for an anthology – no idea if they’ll accept them at all;  again I won’t know until September (a magical month apparently), and I have been busy editing, checking, re-writing and generally faffing about with everything else I’ve written. 

You’ll get an idea from my previous update.

Oh! and there are now three Ms Birdsong novels on the go; the first one Ms Birdsong Investigates

and two sequels: Murder at the Observatory and The Safe House,

and I am about to begin the prequel to the first one.

I’ve been catching up with Guest blog spots and interviews too – links at the bottom of the page if you are interested.

Let me know what you think.

I think I will hang this round my neck

I think I will hang this round my neck

It’s a good job I don’t need much sleep and lack a social life.

So this is where I find myself at the moment.

Fun or what!

So do tell me, what are you up to – writing or reading? Do share it here with us all.

I’d love to know.

Links:  Fiona McVie Interviewd me over at

Jane Dougherty tagged me in The Writing Process and her link is:

You can read my contribution on my own blog…-it-is-my-turn/

Megan Cyrulewski interviewed me over on Authorsupportingauthors:

Do visit these authors and find out more about them and their books.

In the next few weeks I am being hosted by several other wonderful authors.  More news nearer the time.

Thanks so much for popping in and sharing your thoughts with me.

 (c) Jane Risdon 2013

(c) Jane Risdon 2013

Have a wonderful week.

The Writing Process Blog Tour: today it is my turn

Author Jane Dougherty

has very kindly included me in her Writing Process Blog Tour.

Thanks so much for thinking of me Jane, I really appreciate it.

She has asked me to answer some questions about my writing and would like me to pass the baton on to four other authors I know.

Here Goes:

Question 1:  What are you working on now?

How long have you got Jane?  I am up to my ears in various projects which I’ve written about on my blog from time to time but here goes (again):

Ms Birdsong Investigates (novel):

My Crime/Mystery novel (and eventual series) Ms Birdsong Investigates is my on-going project which I began a while back. 

Lavinia Birdsong is a former MI5 Officer who ‘retired’ from her post under somewhat difficult circumstances and has taken up residence in an Oxfordshire village, Ampney Parva, on the Berkshire Downs not far from the famous White Horse. 

The Vale of the White Horse - Lavinia Birdsong's home on the Berkshire/Oxfordshire Downs

The Vale of the White Horse – Lavinia Birdsong’s home on the Berkshire/Oxfordshire Downs

She has hidden herself away  not wishing to be found by friends and ex-colleagues and especially her enemies.

She has taken up writing to pass the time and cannot help keeping her neighbours under surveillance – old habits die-hard – and soon she finds herself investigating murder in the village.

Whilst I am working on the main novel about Ms B. I have managed – accidentally somehow – to have also written two stand-alone stories involving her:

Murder at the Observatory  (short story):

Solar System (1979) from various NASA spacecraft  (c) NASA 1979

Solar System (1979) from various NASA spacecraft (c) NASA 1979

Inspired by my birthday ‘jolly’ when I had a marvellous time at The Herstmonceux Observatory in Sussex.


The Safe House (short story):

The Safe House (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The Safe House (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Inspired by the venue for a family wedding last year and the ‘secret’ history I uncovered there.

In addition to these stories I have various projects underway including short stories and a couple of novels:

OOW (novel):

1960's - two girls, one musician and a hot band: OOW coming soon.

1960’s – two girls, one musician and a hot band: OOW coming soon.

I am writing a novel with a really good friend of many years who is an award-winning author in her own right.  Our book is an escape from  our respective comfort-zones and for the moment it has a working title of OOW

The book is written from the POV of two women in the late 1960’s so there’s lots of music and fashion and  captures the atmosphere of the time.

It is taking a little longer than we both planned due both of us suffering health-wise – but we are determined to get there.  My contribution is complete.

Then there is:

God’s Waiting Room (series):

Bus Stops feature a lot in my God's Waiting Room series. (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Bus Stops feature a lot in my God’s Waiting Room series. (c) Jane Risdon 2012

For the last couple of years I have been working on a series of stories which I hope will make  several books when completed, called God’s Waiting Room.

This series is not a Crime or Mystery series, but what I call ‘Observational’ stories with a lot of humour. .

The Ghost in the Privy  Featured in my series of God's Waiting Room

The Ghost in the Privy
Featured in my series of God’s Waiting Room

The series is almost complete and I shall have to get down to some serious editing soon.

GWR (God’s Waiting Room) is based on real life people I’ve met and about whom I’ve heard stories over the years from various relations and villagers, and the incidents I mention are all true – well, as true as any tale told to a queue at a bus stop mainly consisting of those in their 80’s and 90’s who have known each other all their lives.

So you see I am working on various other stories and novels  as well as others not mentioned here.  If interested do please refer to my previous posts for information.  Otherwise we’ll be here all day.

Question 2:  How does your work differ from others of its genre?

This is a hard one to answer.  I consider myself a Crime/Mystery writer first and foremost but I do venture into other areas as and when the need to write a particular story grabs me and won’t let go.

When I am wearing my Crime/Mystery writer hat I suppose I think my work is different from others in that a lot of my writing has elements of humour in it and often my characters are often based on real people – I am not sure if other writers have personal experience of some of their characters –  not that I’m saying I know murderers or anyone like that of course, but I do see the dark side of people and use these elements in my work.

Vegas or Moscow: one record company and lots of suitors

Vegas or Moscow: one record company and lots of suitors

I’ve some small knowledge of the world of secrets so I do use what little I know to try to come up with stories with some sort of espionage angle; hence Ms Birdsong is a retired MI5 Officer. 

Thames House home of MI5 (c) attributed to Cnbrb English Language Wikipedia

Thames House home of MI5 (c) attributed to Cnbrb English Language Wikipedia

I cannot say that I am reinventing the wheel however.

Those who read my work will notice that I do love a twist in the tale and so I hope (I aim) to keep people guessing or at least going the wrong way with a few red herrings along the way.

Most of the characters in my other genres are based on real people too – I mentioned God’s Waiting Room earlier as an example.

Group Van 1969 in France (c) Jane Risdon 1969

Group Van in France 1969 – no big trucks in those days. (c) Jane Risdon 1969

OOW is a very real story based on real events and told from the perspective of the two women whose lives are intertwined from their teens onwards.

 I don’t know if anything quite like this has been attempted before.  I’ve not read anything like it.

Both of us being involved closely in Music and sharing similar experiences has made this book a joy for us to write in many ways;  music and fashion and the flavour of the 60’s resonates throughout.

Question 3:  Why do you write what you write?

I really don’t know.

I’ve always wanted to write but having spent so many years working in Music and before that working in the Diplomatic Service, I never found time to really get down to it.

When I was working with musicians and songwriters and producers life was not my own. 

If I wasn’t in a studio recording I was travelling on behalf of the artists we represented or on gruelling tours around the world, barely able to put one foot in front of the other most of the time. 

Vintage Stereo Gibson SG - Jake's favourite Guitar in Dreamer (c) Jane Risdon 2008

Vintage Stereo Gibson SG – Jake’s favourite Guitar in Dreamer (c) Jane Risdon 2008

It was never 9am-5pm; weekends didn’t exist and we never had holidays.

I did however store away little snippets of information and experiences for a later date when I had time to myself.

When that day came I found myself honing in on those experiences which, believe me, didn’t just include music and all that involved. 

So much more goes on which would make the average person’s hair stand on end I am sure. 

Hollywood - Magnet for the young and ambitious. (c) Jane Risdon 1989 -  Hollywood Cover Up (c) 2013

Hollywood – Magnet for the young and ambitious. (c) Jane Risdon 1989 – Hollywood Cover Up (c) 2013

Where there is raw hunger for success and the possibility to make vast wealth, well, you can guess what might happen. 

My other occupation also gave my imagination plenty of fodder for my stories, hence the MI5/espionage angle at times.

I was always advised to write what you know – so I guess that is what I am doing; at least I am trying to do.

Question 4:  How does your writing process work?

Cripes!  Now there you’ve got me.  I am loath to tell you. 

After years of being so organised, especially in the studio working on a track, making a video, or on tour getting everything together for a show; trying to keep the record and publishing companies happy, getting press, radio and television and so forth on board as well as baby-sitting the artists (only joking!), I now seem incapable of behaving in the same way when it comes to my writing.

Spending a lifetime in Music (c) Jane  Risdon 1991

Spending a lifetime in Music (c) Jane Risdon 1991

I am not someone with millions of stories buzzing around in their head just bursting to come out.  There isn’t an itch I need to scratch.

I often need some sort of trigger.  It might be a conversation as I mentioned earlier, or it could be a News item or seeing something happening around me or hearing about it happening to others.

Sometimes I get flash-backs to something that happened on the road or during meetings with the high fliers in Hollywood or elsewhere and suddenly I have a story.

 Something festers in the back of my mind for a brief period.

Often I will sit at the keyboard and open Word and stare at the page with the feeling I should write something. 

Ready to get started (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ready to get started (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The first thing I usually get is the title and suddenly off I go.  I do not plan, draw up lists, post notes all over the room or prepare in any way. 

I might write notes as I go along so I can recall names, places, and events and I have been known to draw a map.  Only because I might forget some crucial detail what with all the excitement and what have you!

  Ampney Parva is a real village to me so I know where the Pub and church are situated and who lives next door or opposite, and I know the style of Lavinia Birdsong’s cottage for example and where the Post Office is in relation to her.

Cob Web Cottage where Ms Birdsong lives in Ampney Parva

Cob Web Cottage where Ms Birdsong lives in Ampney Parva – her dream home.

I make a cup of tea and I write.  It comes from nowhere – just like song-writing does. 

If you’ve ever worked with true songwriters sitting messing round with a guitar or a piano and a piece of paper you will understand.  The song, the story or whatever seems to come from some other place; the ether.

Choice of Mic gives a different feel to a vocal (c) Jane Risdon 2000

Choice of Mic gives a different feel to a vocal (c) Jane Risdon 2000

There are many cups of tea, sometimes there is liquorice.  I walk around a lot, go off and do chores, go out and watch the world go past, go on Facebook more than I should and then I find myself back at the keyboard and I am off again. 

It is quite normal for me to write from 5am through to 1am without eating – I go with the flow.

Sometimes I am out walking in the woods or around old villages or churches, and as I always have a camera with me, I take photos of locations and when I write I look at the photos and these inspire me.

The National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Television or the radio or even someone in the room doesn’t bother me at all.  I am used to working with lots of noise and activity I guess.  I am not precious about my ‘space’ or even where I write.  I can write anywhere as long as I have paper or a computer.

Did I mention tea?  I need lots of tea.

That is my writing process.  Probably not very literary or typical of other writers but it works for me.

So Jane Dougherty, this is how this Jane undertakes The Writing Process. 

Thanks for asking me to share this with you.

 Now I want to ask everyone reading this to visit her blog and find out about her work and also the blogs and work of the writers I’ve invited to follow on from me.

Please check out and support:

Susan Finlay

Pamela Griffiths

DS Nelson

Jo Lambert

Many thanks to Jane Dougherty once more, it’s been a blast.

Jane Dougherty

My work can be found in various places including:

Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog:

Where you will find some of my short stories and pieces of flash fiction published and pod-casts.

And in these books:

In A Word: Murder

Out in Paperback 14th February 2014 on and

The USA Paperback version is available via

The USA Kindle version is available via

 The UK Paperback version is available via

The UK Kindle is available via


I Am Woman Volume 1

I Am Woman Volume 1 Anthology


Telling Tales Anthology featuring two of my stories: The Debt Collector and The Ghost in the Privy

As ever you can find me over on Facebook

Father’s Day – don’t forget In A Word: Murder

In A Word: Murder. Published 3rd November 2013.  Crime Anthology

In A Word: Murder. Published 3rd November 2013. Crime Anthology

I’ve dropped in today just to remind you about a super Father’s Day gift:


a Crime Anthology featuring some really FAB stories by writers from all over the world

which is available via Kindle and Paperback from and

Not only will your Father be over the moon with some really great reading matter but he will be content in the knowledge that the gift you gave gift has gone towards helping someone at the end of their life being cared for in The Princess Alice Hospice in Surrey.

The USA Paperback version is available via

The USA Kindle version is available via

 The UK Paperback version is available via

The UK Kindle is available via

I call this the gift which keeps on giving.

 Do please consider giving this book to someone you love – and help someone else’s loved-one too.

Many thanks

Jane x

Oh and I am being interviewed today over on Fiona McVie’s blog:

Do pop in and say hello, leave a comment there, and let me know what you think – comment here.


Updating progress so far: ticking boxes


Raging Torrent perform in The Stalker

Raging Torrent perform in The Stalker

It’s been a busy week or two but I thought I’d stop by with a little update as to how I am getting on with things.  The last time we met I posted a long list of things I am hoping to achieve this summer.

I am so happy to say that I have completed the short story I was invited to write, and which is now under consideration by a Charity hoping to publish an anthology at the end of the year.

It’s called

The Stalker

It is  3,000 words long and is set in Hollywood and features Raging Torrent, a successful Rock band, their lead singer, Birdie, and his girlfriend, Julie, who arrives from Seattle in search of fame and fortune and all the trappings that go with it.

Music, Musicians Fame and Riches (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Music, Musicians Fame and Riches (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Glamour, music, fast cars with a twist in the tale.

Hopefully this will be accepted.  Fingers crossed. I won’t know until September.

If Music be the means to an on!

If Music be the means to an end… on!

Happily I can report that I have completed a ‘stand alone’ Ms Birdsong Investigates short story which I’ve called

The Safe House.

You may recall a wedding I attended last year in a huge country house miles from anywhere with over 6,000 acres of woodlands, fields, and beautifully laid-out grounds, which was not what it seemed.

Seclusion, Surveillance and secrets. (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Seclusion, Surveillance and secrets. (c) Jane Risdon 2014

As I wandered around the house and the grounds and chatted to the ‘staff’ I began to realise just what sort of ‘house’ it really is.  Most of the time it is a conference centre and a place where Governments can meet in seclusion and away from prying eyes.  Now and again it is used as a wedding venue – the reason why I was there. 

The Safe House (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The Safe House (c) Jane Risdon 2014

A story began to take shape as I walked around the house and grounds and suddenly I could see Ms Birdsong there, attending a wedding just like me.  She is there under sufferance and not too happy with the way the event is turning out when she sees someone – someone out-of-place. She’s never quite got used to being ‘retired’ from MI5 and cannot stop herself from making it her business to find out more.

I hope to publish this in the summer.

I’ve sent off Vegas or Moscow to the publishers in the USA. 


(c) Bporter28 Downtown Las Vegas

Not holding my breath but you’ve got to be in it to win it as I am constantly being told.

Vegas or Moscow: one record company and lots of suitors

Vegas or Moscow: one record company and lots of suitors

This is  another Music business story, this time about Payola and what almost  ‘taking the Fifth,’  eventually costs a Record Company and their owners.

I won’t know until September.  Phew!

Trident Hotel Mumbai (c) Risdon 2008

Trident Hotel Mumbai (c) Risdon 2008

Set in Mumbai in the Bollywood Movie industry which is thriving and makes more movies than Hollywood each year, my story

deals with the after-math of the Mumbai Terrorist attacks on the Luxury Hotels and the Railway Station there, and how it changes the lives of two English men forever

when they meet

The White Haired Man.

View from The Grant Road Mission, Mumbai in The White Haired Man (c) Jane Risdon 2014

View from The Grant Road Mission Mumbai in The White Haired Man (c) Jane Risdon 2014

I have hit the 10,000 word mark and I’m aiming for 15,000-20,000 before it ends.

Watch this space.

The Vale of the White Horse - Lavinia Birdsong's home on the Berkshire/Oxfordshire Downs

The Vale of the White Horse – Lavinia Birdsong’s home on the Berkshire/Oxfordshire Downs


Murder at the Observatory

(a Ms Birdsong Investigates story)

is also at around 15,000 words so far and again I am aiming for about 20,000. 

Earth in the distance seen from the Lunar surface (c) NASA 1969

Earth in the distance seen from the Lunar surface (c) NASA 1969

This is another stand-alone story inspired by my birthday ‘Jolly’ to Herstmonceux Observatory in March.  I hope to complete it early June.

Wayland Smithy near White Horse Hill Uffington, Oxfordshire.

Wayland Smithy near White Horse Hill Uffington, Oxfordshire.

The story takes place at the Ridgeway Observatory near Ampney Parva – Ms Birdsong has a cottage in the village – and around The Vale of The White Horse, Dragon Hill and Waylands Smithya Neolithic longbarrow.

In addition to the above I am compiling my first Crime Anthology and preparing various stories to go out to publishers, so the last few weeks have been really busy and I don’t see any let-up throughout June.

Now and again I get to go for a wonderful walk in the countryside which helps refresh the parts in need of perking up.

Just so you know I’ve not been twiddling my thumbs since we last chatted.

Well, that is it for now.

Have a great week everyone.

Let’s meet here again soon.




A very big thanks for being here – whilst I’m on my quest this month.

Ready to get started (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ready to get started (c) Jane Risdon 2014

I’ve almost had to give up – for the time being at any rate – trying to thank each and every one of you personally for following me and ‘liking’ my blog recently, and also those who are frequent visitors and commentators here.

You may or may not be aware that I am trying hard to prepare various manuscripts ready for submission to publishers who have stated they are ‘open for submissions’ for a limited time only – this has meant I am spending every minute I possibly can working on my stories, and so I’ve not been able to reach out and thank each and every one of you as I’d like.

Please accept my apologies – I will try to catch up if I can at some point, but in the event I miss you out for some reason, please forgive me and consider this as a communal thank-you and expression of my appreciation.

Your visits and comments are treasured and I am thrilled that you have decided to follow me here. 

I enjoy following you as well. 

 However, if I am to stick to my goal of getting my work out there this year I must work hard at it.  I shall be popping in here as often as I am able and I shall post when I can, but during the month of May/June it will be little less frequently, until I get a grip of my quest.

I know those of you who write will understand.

Please do keep visiting and leaving your comments and links here and I shall do my best, I promise, to acknowledge them.

Autograph Books (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Autograph Books (c) Jane Risdon 2014

I have been working on a post which should be completed soon – about Autographs – so do keep an eye out for it.  Your feed-back should be interesting and if you have any anecdotes you’d like to share with me in the meantime, do contact me.  I may be able to use them.

Those of you who have hung out with me here for a considerable time will know that I am working hard on a few novels.

Ms Birdsong Investigates - which will be a series based on the exploits of a former MI5 Officer, Lavinia Birdsong, ‘voluntarily’ retired to rural Oxfordshire where she can’t resist keeping her neighbours under surveillance.

The Vale of the White Horse - Lavinia Birdsong's home on the Berkshire/Oxfordshire Downs

The Vale of the White Horse – Lavinia Birdsong’s home on the Berkshire/Oxfordshire Downs

 At present I’m working on a stand-alone Ms B story, ‘Murder at the Observatory,’ inspired by one of my birthday jollies in March.  There is a post already about my visit to Herstmonceux Observatory earlier on in March.

Solar System (1979) from various NASA spacecraft  (c) NASA 1979

Solar System (1979) from various NASA spacecraft (c) NASA 1979

The White Haired Man – Bollywood movie stars, Underworld crime bosses and the fate of two stranded Englishmen stuck in Mumbai after the 26/11 terrorist attacks.

Trident Hotel Mumbai (c) Risdon 2008

Trident Hotel Mumbai (c) Risdon 2008

God’s Waiting Room – an ‘observational’ and somewhat ‘humorous’ series inspired by conversations over-heard at a village bus-stop, relating some of the adventures and anecdotes discussed  as they wait to catch the bus.

  We have Mrs Hedges – long dead – who still occupies her seat in the local pub smoking her clay pipe and wearing her Trilby hat – for starters.  

The suspected suicide of a sewerage worker who was found face down in the  raw sewage at the local treatment plant wearing nothing but a fur coat,

and what happened  next when two illicit lovers set off for a ride on a tandem.

Bus Stops feature a lot in my God's Waiting Room series. (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Bus Stops feature a lot in my God’s Waiting Room series. (c) Jane Risdon 2012

It’s a long way to Tipperary – researching family history leads to a visit to long-lost relations in Tipperary and soon the differences between the English and the Southern Irish are laid bare with often hilarious outcomes. 

This novel is also part of a series based upon the exploits of a matriarchal figure and her ‘disappointing’ family.

It's a long way to Tipperary (c) Jane Risdon 2008

It’s a long way to Tipperary (c) Jane Risdon 2008

Based on some of my experiences in Hollywood and the Music business I have been writing a series which for the time being is called ‘La La Land.’ 

The first part follows the adventures of two English musicians in Los Angeles to audition for a Super group at the end of the 1980’s.

Black eyes, broken noses, and a telephone bill from hell, not to mention affairs of the heart and a long line of Groupies….I’m sure you get the picture.

Hollywood - Magnet for the young and ambitious. (c) Jane Risdon 1989

Hollywood – Magnet for the young and ambitious. (c) Jane Risdon 1989

Some of you will recall that I am co-writing a novel with a friend who is a successful award-winning author of over 30 books and for the time being this is called ‘OOW.’  Based on the 1960’s when love was in the air and music and musicians became very important to two young women in this story which is told from both their points of view.

1960's - two girls, one musician and a hot band: OOW coming soon.

1960’s – two girls, one musician and a hot band: OOW coming soon.

I am always writing short stories as you know and I’ve recently submitted ‘Vegas or Moscow’ to publishers seeking a piece under 3,000 words – this went off to them two weeks ago.  I am not expecting a reply until September – please  do wish me luck!  This is another story based on my experiences in the LA Music business and some of the ‘colourful and interesting’ characters who sail a bit close to the wind in a life and death bid for a successful record company.

Vegas or Moscow: one record company and lots of suitors

Vegas or Moscow: one record company and lots of suitors

As you can see it is all go here and I am trying to be very disciplined.  I am working on an anthology of my Crime short stories which I hope to put out myself sometime this summer.  This should be followed by an anthology of some of my other short stories in various genres soon after – well, that is the plan!

So, if I am not here as often as I’d like to be it is because I am getting down to business.   I will pop into as many blogs as I can in the meantime, so do be patient if I haven’t been over to you for a while.

I’ll be back soon providing I’ve not taken to drink.

Until then be good, be careful, and have fun. 

Don’t go away – I haven’t.

Out in Paperback 14th February 2014 on and

Out in Paperback 14th February 2014 on and

 Meantime don’t forget you can read some wonderful stories in this Crime anthology.

Follow the links to buy your copy of In a Word: Murder and give the gift which keeps on giving.

The USA Paperback version is available via

The USA Kindle version is available via

 The UK Paperback version is available via

The UK Kindle is available via


Mothering Sunday USA – the perfect gift

Out in Paperback 14th February 2014 on and

Out in Paperback 14th February 2014 on and

In A Word: Murder

Secrets, lies, murder, deceit, betrayal, double-cross –  you name it – it’s all here in the world of Music and Book Publishing.

In A Word: Murder

 The Gift which goes on giving….

The brain-child of mystery author, blogger and educator, Margot Kinberg,

In A Word: Murder

is a Crime anthology which she put together in memory of Crime writer, editor and blogger Maxine Clarke who spent her last days in The Princess Alice Hospice, Surrey UK.

By purchasing this anthology you are helping fund a wonderful establishment which brings end of life care to many. 

The Princess Alice Hospice provides support and assistance to end-of-life adult patients and their families free of charge. 

Hospice’s are run without any Government funding and therefore depend upon donations. 

The funds from the sale of this anthology go towards funding for The Princess Alice Hospice.

Seven authors from around the globe have contributed to this Crime anthology;

Martin Edwards, Pamela Griffiths, Paula K Randall, Elizabeth Craig, Sarah Ward, Margot Kinberg and myself, Jane Risdon.

Illustration was courtesy of Leslie Fletcher.

I have been proud to support charities  in the past with my writing:

  I Am Woman, volume 1 anthology – in aid of Breakthrough, Women for Women and Women’s Aid charities.

Telling Tales – in aid of The Norfolk Hospice, Norfolk England.

Without your help charities struggle to survive. 

Please consider purchasing a copy of

In A word: Murder

for your Mother on her special day – Mothering Sunday – and not only give her a gift she’ll enjoy but you will be giving so much more; the gift of end of life care in a special place.

In A Word: Murder. Published 3rd November 2013.  Crime Anthology

In A Word: Murder. Published 3rd November 2013. Crime Anthology

For less that the cost of a cup of coffee, a slice of cake or a bar of chocolate, why not replace the gift to your mother of chocolates and flowers with a gift which will give her years of reading enjoyment.  A book can be read many times over and by many year in year out.

  Why not replace those disposable gifts with a gift which will help provide care for someone who might not be here next Mothering Sunday?

Follow the links to buy your copy of In a Word: Murder and give the gift which keeps on giving.

The USA Paperback version is available via

The USA Kindle version is available via

 The UK Paperback version is available via

The UK Kindle is available via

Many thanks for thinking of someone else in addition to your loved one this Mothering Sunday.

Much appreciated

Jane x

Thank you.

Happy Mothering Sunday from me to you.

Happy Mothering Sunday from me to you.

Lewes Castle and Town: part seven of my birthday ‘Jolly’

 Welcome to the last post from my birthday ‘jolly’, in early March.

I enjoyed my first visit to the ancient town of Lewes (pronounced ‘Lewis’) and castle.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the other six and that you’ve found my photos and little pieces of information about the places I’ve visited as interesting and as enjoyable as I.

Lewes Castle (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Lewes Castle (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Unfortunately the day we set off to visit Lewes Castle the weather turned rather chilly and a damp mist hung over the town for most of the morning with a little light rain falling as we arrived.

St Michael's 12th Century round flint tower.  (c) Jane Risdon 2014

St Michael’s 12th Century round flint tower. (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The castle was dripping in moisture and a blanket of low cloud for most of our visit and so, disappointingly, I wasn’t able to get very many photos.  Also, as we wandered around the castle ruins we were joined by several groups of Primary school children with their teachers and it became very noisy and rather crowded in the small rooms of the castle. 

Slits for the firing of arrows  (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Slits for the firing of arrows (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Getting up and down the very narrow and spiral stone stairwells was difficult with children either in front or behind us most of the time.  Their teachers had set up various exhibits in the rooms for them and a couple were dressed in 13th and 14th century costumes.  So it was not really conducive to doing the whole sight-seeing tour without disturbing their studies and excitement at being in a real castle.

The mist began to clear - momentarily at Lewes (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The mist began to clear – momentarily at Lewes (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Being ruins there is not a lot to see but the views from the roof as far-reaching (on a clear day) and well worth the huff and puff up the stairs.  To someone like me fascinated by history and ancient buildings, this was worth every gasp.

However here are some of the photos I managed to take when the mist cleared a little.

Climb up to Lewes Castle (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Climb up to Lewes Castle (c) Jane Risdon 2014

 Lewes Castle was started in 1067 on behalf of William 1st by his half-brother, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux.  Later work was continued under the supervision of William 1, by William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, brother-in-law of William the Conqueror in 1069, after the Battle of Hastings (1066) to reinforce his control of Lewes Rape.  William de Warenne was one of William 1st’s foremost supporters. Work continued until 1880.

William de Warenne and  his wife, Gundrada also founded Lewes Priory.

Looking out of the castle down into Lewes (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Looking out of the castle down into Lewes (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Bishop Odo later fell out of Royal favour and was involved in the rebellion against William 11.

It has been an Early Norman shell keep with turrets and early 14th century barbican (outer gateway) with arrow loops and portcullis grooves.

View from the Castle over Lewes (c) Jane Risdon 2014

View from the Castle over Lewes (c) Jane Risdon 2014

There are splendid views of the South Downs, the Ouse estuary towards New Haven and the wooded Weald.

Barges plied the river between Cliffe and Seaford harbour until the 1530’s when a new outfall was engineered at the ‘New Haven’.  They carried Southdown corn and Wealden guns

destined for the English and European ports, and returned with wines, spice, silk and cheese.  Victorian shipyards on the bank built ships, The Wallands and The Lewes Castle.

As you can see from this photo (above) the mist prevented me from seeing as far as it is usually possible to see.

Lewes Castle motte - now a grass-filled area (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Lewes Castle motte – now a grass-filled area (c) Jane Risdon 2014

No other Norman Castle except the one at Lincoln has a second motte.  It is thought that the Lewes mottes are perhaps pre-Norman.

Lewes Castle (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Lewes Castle (c) Jane Risdon 2014

 Both mottes still exist at Lewes.  The second motte is known as Brack Mount.

The Castle Bailey was once used (possibly) for martial practice and it became a bowling green in 1639, and it’s where 48 freeholders used to gather to elect two county MP’s (Members of Parliament).  Uniquely shaped 200-year-old woods are used on the green today.

William divided Sussex into 5 rapes, each controlled by a castle to ensure that William had access to the coast and to Normandy.

On the castle roof (c) Jane Risdon 2014

On the castle roof (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The Battle of Lewes took place on May 14th 1264 between Henry 111 and Simon de Montford.  Simon de Montford won the battle  making him de facto ruler of England.

John de Warenne, grandson of John de Warenne who fought for the King at the Battle of Lewes was responsible for building the impressive Barbican early in the 14th century.

He died without heirs and in 1347 the castle became the property of the Earls of Arundel.

Lewes (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Lewes (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The town of Lewes was sacked by the French in 1377.  Sir Edward Dallingridge, who later built Bodiam Castle – another place I’d love to visit especially as the gardens are supposed to be gorgeous – helped organise Sussex defences against the French that year.

Near the Castle (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Near the Castle (c) Jane Risdon 2014

In 1382 the castle was damaged and plundered in a riot.

Castle ruins (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Castle ruins (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The roof of the castle (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The roof of the castle (c) Jane Risdon 2014

             In 1620 more of the castle was pulled down and the stone was sold off.  I saw quite  a number of places around town  using what looked suspiciously like the Castle stones.

We called it a day later in the morning when the mist came down again and visibility was only a few feet.  It was such a shame as I’d have loved to have visited Anne of Cleeves House and Museum.

The house is an early 16th century timber-framed Wealden hall-house which once belonged to Anne.  The porch dates from 1599 and there is a Tudor-style garden.  Apparently there are displays of furniture, tapestry and Priory sculpture.

There is a lot to see in Lewes and I shall try to go back at some point when the weather is much better.

I’d love to see:

The South Chapel of St. John the Baptist houses the superbly carved tomb slab of Gundrada. It is carved in black Tournai marble and was the work of a master craftsman, possibly Flemish, in the 1160’s.  It once covered her grave in the Priory Chapter House.

St John the Baptist was originally a hospital by the Priory gate.  The Normans nave arcade divided the wards.  There’s a fine Georgian brick tower with copper weather vane (1813) formed as a basking shark.  The South Chapel (1847) was built to receive cists containing the bones of William and Gundrada Warenne, unearthed by railway navvies.

Lewes Priory remains: Founded circa 1077 by William and Gundrada it is dedicated to St. Pancras and was largely destroyed by Thomas Cromwell in 1538 during the Reformation –  Giovanni Portinari – an Italian engineer, under the instructions of Cromwell undertook the destruction apparently and the stones were sold off and has found its way into the local buildings.  Fragments of the great gate and domestic buildings remain.  The Priory Park is open to the public.

Local homes in Lewes (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Local homes in Lewes (c) Jane Risdon 2014

We had a lovely morning in spite of the inclement weather. Unfortunately the Castle museum shop had run out of brochures and guide books so it was difficult wandering around without any information to hand.  They were waiting for the printer to deliver them.  The tourist season hadn’t started and they told us few people wander around the ruins in early March and the schools receive special information packs ahead of their visits.

I have listed a few f the places worth visiting but there are so many more which are easily visible (if the weather is good) and open to the public.  So if you go do make a list and then you will get to see more than we did.

Well, this the last of my birthday ‘jolly,’ posts. 

I do hope you will let me know what you think of this and the other six. Do please check them out if you haven’t already seen my previous posts.  I think you will enjoy them. 

If you get the opportunity to visit any of these fabulous places I do hope you will take it and see for yourselves what we have to offer in outside of London and the usual tourist places.  Most of the places we visited were quiet and although there were quite a number of other people wandering around, we had space and didn’t feel crowded…well, apart from the school visitors at the Castle in Lewes.  And really that was just bad timing for us.

Thanks so much to all those of you who have kept coming back to read these posts and to comment on them. 

I really appreciate you visiting and spending time here, especially when you have so many blogs to choose from.

I am busy thinking up the next piece to post for you. 

Meantime, it is back to writing for me. 

Murder at the Observatory is coming along really well and in the last week I’ve written another short story;

Vegas or Moscow

for a particular project – so keep your eyes peeled for more news on this soon.

As always all photos are copyright Jane Risdon (c) 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

The National Pinetum : part six of my ‘jolly’


Bedgebury National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Bedgebury National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Welcome to part 6 of my birthday ‘jolly.’

After a hectic week away with so much to see and to discover, and with only one fall, I want to share some more photos and experiences with you.  I hope that you have stayed the course from part 1 and that you are enjoying the photos and the little bits of information I have added about the wonderful places I have visited.

Bedgebury National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Bedgebury National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

One lovely afternoon, just before it rained a little, we sent out for the National Pinetum at Goudhurst, Kent, where we walked for a few hours, enjoying the silence (other than the bird song) and the solitude – though we did encounter a group of school kids out on a cross-country run.

We spent the afternoon exploring what is called the finest collection of Conifers anywhere in the world.  Although Spring had not arrived fully there was plenty to see and enjoy.  The air was thick with the smell of the earth and the trees, reminding me of when I was little for some reason.  Funny how smells can transport you back to that time.

The National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The storms earlier this year had managed to bring a few tress down here and there, often in the thickest parts of the forest, and along one trail we followed we could hear the sound of foresters cutting logs from the fallen trees and the sound of a machine turning some of the logs into sawdust – for sale no doubt.

In addition to Conifers there is a large collection of Serbian Spruces, a recent addition from a collecting trip in 2010 sown from seed which we are told will be appearing in the near future, though we didn’t  see any as far as I am aware, and also some Chilean Plum Yews collected on a trip in 2009.

Signs of Spring were starting to show at The National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Signs of Spring were starting to show at The National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Last Autumn they collected and sowed seeds from South Korea.  I am not sure which trees these were from but I understand that there is new fresh growth on Conifers throughout the collection and that fantastic new Spruce and Larch cones are going to be plentiful this season.

The National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

We could see evidence of new trees being planted everywhere and also where they’ve been tidying the sides of the major paths, taking brambles and dead material back about 30 feet each side.

Bedgebury Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Bedgebury Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

I’m afraid we didn’t manage to call into the visitor centre to obtain a trail map or literature about the trees we would be seeing on our walk, so I cannot identify what I have photographed, but I am sure those enthusiasts amongst you will no doubt know what you are looking at. 

We arrived a little late in the afternoon, having been visiting a castle in the morning – more on this in my next post – and so we wanted to get going before the rain came on with any force and we lost the light.

Car parking at the National Pinetum, Kent (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Car parking at the National Pinetum, Kent (c) Jane Risdon 2014

However, the visitor centre is very good my sister tells me and so is the café with ample car parking available for all visitors.  The Pinetum is open all year from 8am and they have a comprehensive programme of Education, International Conservation work and Interpretation with plenty of literature available.  There are guided tours for groups and schools available.

Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

There is an Audio Trail – you can download it from their website or the visitor centre –  and they also provide Family Backpacks and Free Family Pinetum Trails, along with Cycle Trails. The trail routes are well numbered with information boards to highlight points of interest.  The trail follows surfaced and un-surfaced paths – depending upon your choice and is flat other than gentle slopes at the start and it is just under a mile long, and will take about 45 minutes to walk at a leisurely pace.

You are advised to wear appropriate footwear if embarking upon a walk.

Trees fallen from the storms earlier in 2014 at Pinetum, Bedgebury (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Trees fallen from the storms earlier in 2014 at Pinetum, Bedgebury (c) Jane Risdon 2014

We didn’t take a particular trail, my sister had been several times before and so we just followed her normal walk. Once, not long ago, she and a friend strayed off the beaten track and found themselves wandering around the forest for hours, lost.

Apparently she and her friend started following the cycle trail and then went off course only to find themselves going deeper into the forest.  Everywhere looked the same and they became somewhat disoriented.

The National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The National Pinetum (c) Jane Risdon 2014

  Neither had their mobiles with them or a map!  It started to rain and got very muddy and it was also getting dark.  They were worried in-case the main car park would close before they found their way out – but somehow they managed to find their way back with minutes to spare, soaking wet and muddy.  She learned her lesson;  now she sticks to paths and tracks she knows lead back to civilisation and she has her phone. We didn’t get lost.

Dense undergrowth at Bedgebury (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Dense undergrowth at Bedgebury (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The Pinetum caters for not only walkers and cyclists but also horse riders with specific trails for these also.  There is a box park and picnic areas set aside and there is an area for top-speed mountain biking and challenging single-track MTB trails, including a dirt jump area, showers for bikes and riders and bike hire, purchase and repair, including adopted cycles and cycle coaching.

There is a Shipwreck, a mighty Tree House, giant Swing and a Spider’s web with a massive play area for kids as well as  (Go Ape) – Tree-top high ropes and Zip-wire course; no need to get bored if the 2,000 acres of tress begins to get a bit much.  It would never get boring for me and I don’t fancy the Zip-wire or Tree-top high ropes; but that’s just me.  My sister would be in her element.

For all I know she has already done these.  She is a dare-devil. 

In fact alongside educational programmes there are a wide range of events arranged at the Pinetum.

Pinetum (c) JaneRisdon 2014

Pinetum (c) JaneRisdon 2014

Apparently there are over 12,000 trees inside the Pinetum.

There is the Leyland Cypress collection: the Thuja collection: Lawson Cypress Collection:  Dwarf Conifers: Yew Collection: Juniper collections to see in separated areas and an Education area is laid out.  One area is called The Glory Hole, another is The Old Man of Kent  and there is a Walled garden.

You will find Churchill Wood, Marshall’s Lake and the Leyland Cypress Hedge as well as a whole area set aside (Forest plots) which is the site for trials and future Conifer Conservation Plantings.

The Play Trail and Go Ape (zip-wires and High ropes) lead into the Bedgebury Forest.

The National Pinetum, Bedgebury (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The National Pinetum, Bedgebury (c) Jane Risdon 2014

There is even an Events arena.

In the Spring there is a kaleidoscope of Azaleas, Daffodils, Rhododendrons, Bluebells and spectacular Cones which we just managed to miss by about two weeks I should imagine.

 Summer-time there are ducks, wild flowers and many chose to picnic in the shade under the giant trees or at the areas set aside by the lake.  Bird song is everywhere so I am told.

Autumn welcomes a feast of colour everywhere; the leaves must look fantastic in all their glorious colours.  Apparently there are brilliant berries in sharp contrast to the rich green conifers.

Winter can be magical, so I am told, when a light dusting of snow or a sharp frost transforms the Pinetum into a winter wonderland.  I’d love to see it at this time of year, but I know that whenever you visit, it is going to be fabulous.

If interested in finding out more about the National Pinetum or for visitor information  I suggest you follow the links:

Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Bedgebury Road, Goudhurst, Kent TN17 2SJ

All photographs (c) Jane Risdon 2014 All Rights Reserved.

In my next post (#7) I will be chatting about our trip to a Castle; I know some of you love castles so I hope you will stay tuned and if you’ve enjoyed this post and have not yet seen the other 5, do take a look and let me know that you think.  I do hope you enjoy them.

A Mote, Cromwell, The Black Prince and An American: part five of my ‘Jolly.’


Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 20

Welcome to part five of my birthday ‘jolly.’

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first four posts since early March giving you an idea what I got up to on my birthday ‘jolly.’

On the last Saturday of my week away I was taken to see a wonderful medieval  manor house in the care of The National Trust, situated in Kent.

Ightham More (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham More (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote is a delightful 14th century manor house nestled at the bottom of a path, hidden so well from view by dense trees, that even Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers failed to find it during the English Civil War, thus saving it from pillage and destruction; a secluded survivor hidden at the foot of a wooded cleft of the Greensand Ridge in the Kentish Weald, it is hard to find even today. 

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon

Picture-perfect it is a timber-framed house on its own little island surrounded by water. A sense of magic surrounds this romantic moated manor house. Spanning centuries it has undergone many, many, changes from a small manor house in the 14th century  to the grand yet cosy building today, each family living there having reflected changing fashions and the needs of their family when altering it.

There is plenty to see;  gardens with Bluebells in April/May, Springtime daffodils and wonderful Autumn colours reflecting in the North lake and a cobbled courtyard from where the different phases of the house can be seen, and also the only Grade 1 listed Dog kennel in England!  In summer there is a Sweet pea walk.

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

There’s also the New Chapel ceiling – the paintings on this unique barrel-vaulted roof date to the 16th century and commemorate the marriage of Henry V111 and Catherine of Aragon.

There is also a drawing-room decorated in late 18th century Chinese wallpaper which has elaborate images of birds and flowers.  I thought it stunning.

We’d arrived late morning and headed straight for the restaurant and a huge glass of local cider and home-made scones, though cooked food and a large and very inviting menu was on offer, we had been looking forward to the cider.

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

A lovely gentleman volunteer provided a 15 minute talk about the house, its history, and the various families who had lived there and the alterations, extensions, and major building work they had all undertaken at the time of their occupancy. The original owner is unknown but was obviously someone of wealth, other owners were Squires, Sheriffs, Members Of Parliament, even Courtiers.  They expanded the house to meet their needs but they retained the original buildings and any alterations were always sympathetic to its medieval origins.  When necessary they built outside the moat making accommodation for servants and horses, leaving the cobbled courtyard clear of obstruction.

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

For those of you who love dates:

Owners of Ightham Mote include Isolde Inge (c 1330-1360) later Seyntpere or St. Peter who may have even built the oldest visible parts of the house.

 Others were:  Sir Thomas Cawne (1360-74):  Robert Cawne (1374-99): Sir Nicolas Haute (1399-1416):  William Haute (1416-62)

Richard Haute (1462-87): His estates were confiscated after supporting Buckingham’s rebellion in 1483, but were returned to him by Richard 111 in 1485.

Edward Haute (1487-1519): Thomas Welles (1519-21)

Sir Richard Clement (1521-83) – a courtier to Henry V11 and Henry V111.

John Clement (1538-44):  Hugh Pakenham (1544-??)

Sir John Allen (1544-6) – a rich Lord Mayor of London. 

Also, Sir Christopher Allen (1546-85): Charles Allen (1585-91) – he sold the House for £4,000 to Sir William Selby 1 (1592-1612)

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Sir William Selby 11 (1612-38): Dame Dorothy Selby (1638-41): George Selby (1641-67): William Selby (1667-90): John Selby (1690-1727): William Selby (1772-7): John Browne (Selby) (1777-97): Thomas Selby (1797-1820): Elizabeth Selby (1820-45)

Prideaux John Selby (1845-67) – renovated the Mote for his daughter, Marianne (Mrs Lewis Mariaane Bigge 1867-89).  the changes to he garden and lake during the 19th century can mostly be ascribed to Prideaux John Selby, the distinguished field naturalist and author of he successful British Forest Trees and Illustrations of British Ornithology, also carried out extensive new planting on his other estate at Twizell, Co. Durham.

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

In 1887-90 the Mote was let to General William Jackson Palmer of the United States.  He was the founder of Colorado Springs in the Rocky Mountains and when in England entertained many painters and writers including Edward Burn-Jones, John Singers Sargent (who painted his daughter’s portrait) and Ellen Terry, Henry James, William Morris and George Meredith.

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Sir Thomas Colyer-Fergusson, Bt. purchased the Mote from the executors of Charles Selby-Bigge.

1951 Sir James Colyer-Fergusson Bt. put the house and most of the contents up for sale.

1951-53: a consortium of Kentish businessmen bought the house, with the intention of saving it from destruction as it was about to be sold to developers.

Charles Henry Robinson of Portland, Maine, USA (1953-85) bought the house and upon his death donated it to the National Trust.

Which is why I and several dozen others were able to wander around the house and grounds on a lovely March day.

A wall tablet in the Crypt commemorates Charles Henry Robinson and his donation of Ightham to the National Trust.  His ancestors had been among the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed to America on the Mayflower in 1620.

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The gilt plaster equestrian figure of The Black Prince by Edward Lanteri (1848-1917) , a French sculptor who settled in Britain, was purchased by Mr Robinson in the 1950’s.  The Black Prince fought in France with Sir Thomas Cawne around the time the early parts of Ightham Mote, including the crypt, were being built.

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Inside the house, just inside the main entrance looking through to the Great Hall.

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wandering around the house was fascinating.  Each era of occupation with additions and renovations is quite evident – each new occupant making their own mark upon the manor house.  Even Charles Henry Robinson had a room done in the style of the 1950’s.

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Luckily there weren’t any steep stairs to climb – we didn’t manage to get to the tower on time to look around – but the main staircase we did manage to ascend was built by Sir Thomas Colyer-Fergusson in the 1980’s to replace an earlier one by which servants and visitors could attend Chapel services without disturbing the family who had their own chapel inside the house.

The nature of the previous staircase is suggested by the painted tromp-l’oeil balustrade of 1612 that survives in part behind the Victorian panelling.

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

In 1889 a large area of the old parkland had been sold to Fairlawn Estate and when Sir Thomas Colyer-Fergusson’s heir, James, sold the estate in 1951 including two farms of 658 acres it was broken into smaller lots. 

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Charles H Robinson purchased the house and a small area of the garden around the house and the original setting and surrounding garden was lost and almost forgotten as much of the garden was put to agricultural use.  Mr Robinson was only resident at Ightham 14 weeks a year as he lived mainly in America but he set to changing the garden to suit his tastes.

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

He donated the house and garden to the National Trust in 1985.  The house was reunited with the woods, upper walled gardens, fields and meadows along with the farm bestowed by Mr Goodwin in 1974. 

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Ightham Mote (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The Trust is now able to present the house in its original setting and work is underway to restore the neglected areas of estate and gardens.  Traditional woodland management methods such as coppicing, are also being used to create varied habitats for wildlife.

As with other National Trust houses and gardens there wasn’t enough time to see it all, inside and out, and I hope I get to return soon.  I know that people usually visit more than once and Ightham Mote is definitely somewhere I’d love to spend longer.  Luckily it was a warm, sunny day and not too dark inside the house.

I do hope you enjoyed seeing my photos and reading about the house and its history and  a little about the families living there over almost 700 years.

If you’d like to know more or arrange a visit then follow the link:

 Ightham Mote, Mote Road, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 ONT

Please let me have your thoughts about Ightham Mote.  I am sure those loving history, as I do, will find this of interest – such a romantic little manor house, cosy and comfortable and easily a family home for today.

As always, all photos are (c) Jane Risdon – All Rights Reserved.

Part 6  will be next……I hope you will be back then.  Don’t forget there are 4 previous posts about my birthday ‘jolly,’ so do take a look at them if you have not already done so.


Millennium Seed Banks, Forests and Flowers: part four of my ‘jolly.’

Today I’m sharing more photos and little snippets of information from my fabulous week away to celebrate my birthday earlier in March.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first three parts of my wonderful experience. 

Welcome to part four of my birthday ‘jolly,’

Wakehurst Place - (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wakehurst Place – (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Early one morning I started on my walk through the grounds, gardens, and manor house at Wakehurst Place in Sussex.  Being early March, Spring had not sprung fully in all its glory but there was still plenty to see as I wandered.

This was my second visit to Wakehurst Place, the last time I visited was about 5 years ago.  I noticed there had been many changes and so it was like a new adventure for me.  Last time my sister came with me, sadly she was otherwise engaged this visit, so it was me and nature and the odd loan walker passing me in the midst of seemingly endless woods or the gardens. 

I arrived before it opened and at that time in the morning there were only 4 others waiting to go in with me. 

Wakehurst Place is owned by the National Trust, however the Royal  Botanic Gardens at Kew, Richmond Surrey, maintains the gardens and woodlands and has done so through a lease since 1965.

Wakehurst Place Manor House (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wakehurst Place Manor House (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Kew has maintained the Mansion through a lease since 1972.

An endowment provided to the National Trust by Wakehurst’s last private owner, Sir Henry Price, was established to contribute towards the management of the house and garden. Members of the National Trust can visit the Millennium Seed Bank and the house and gardens free of admission courtesy of Kew who have absorbed the costs of running Wakehurst Place, though there are plans to charge for car-parking in the future as funding needs to be increased.

 Wakehurst Place is home to the Millennium Seed Bank.

The Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The Millennium Seed Bank houses the National Trust’s remarkable plant collections and Kew works with the National Trust to conserve the collection.  Kew provides its services free of charge and is funding the training and coordination of the project. 

Throughout its history, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, has made important contributions to increasing the understanding of the plant kingdom with many benefits to mankind.  It is  still first and foremost a scientific institution.  With its collections of living and preserved plants, plant products and botanical information, it forms an encyclopaedia of knowledge about the plant kingdom.

Inside the entrance at Wakehurst early March (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Inside the entrance at Wakehurst early March (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Kew’s Library, Art and Archives is one of the most important botanical reference sources in the world, containing more than seven and a half million items, including books, illustrations, photographs, maps and manuscripts.

I do hope to visit there soon.  It is a World Heritage Site. 

Wakehurst is home to the largest wild plant seed bank in the world and together with Kew and their partners they have collected and conserved seeds from 10% of the world’s wild flowering plant species (about 30,000 species) and aim to conserve 25% by 2020. 

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Whatever time of year you visit Wakehurst there is something to see.  It is open throughout the year except 24th and 25th December and the route around it is about 2.3 miles.  You can take a guided tour or just wander around on your own, like I did.  Keep in mind that there are some dramatic changes n height along the way amounting to some 225 feet.

There are so many different areas to explore and they are set out to take the best advantage of the seasons.

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

No matter what time of year one visits there is something to see; whether Winter and Spring the show in Bethlehem Wood can be breath-taking with a fabulous collection of Birch or drifts of Primroses and bluebells everywhere.

There were Iris’ and Crocus’ in little nooks and crannies.

Little nooks and crannies (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Little nooks and crannies (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The Winter garden continues on into March with lots of architectural, coloured stems with fabulous flowers including the scented Himalayan Daphne bholoua which was still in bloom when I wandered into the woods.


Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

As well as lots of woodland to explore, there is Loder Valley  Nature Reserve with a lake and lots of picnic places for the warmer weather.  They only allow 50 people per day access to the protected wetlands, meadows and woodland.                 

According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (United Nations) there are around 80,000 tree species in the world, and we only have detailed knowledge of 450.  I was staggered by this information.  There isn’t a world seed bank for trees but last year Kew singed an agreement with FAO agreeing to establish a Millennium Seed Bank and has been making progress since then.  In the UK The UK National Tree Seed Collection is under way with comprehensive collections of Ash and Juniper already in the bank.  They’re working with Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali to collect seeds from 25 useful native species and that seed has been used to plant 200,000 trees to date.

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

                     I hope you enjoy these photos.  I won’t bore you with names and species; mainly because I cannot recall what most of them are and I didn’t write them down.   One thing about Wakehurst – I found it impossible to get a signal on my mobile and in the end could only make emergency calls (if needed) and apparently this is a common problem.  

It was only when I visited the café that I managed to log into their own facility to get a signal and make and receive calls and texts.  Rather a problem as my sister was going to meet me when her business had concluded and finish the wander with me.  I ended up waiting for her at the entrance ages before I needed to because there was no way she’d have found me once inside.      

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Even though this was the second time I visited, I have not managed to see everything and I think it is  definitely the sort of place you need to visit more than once.  I think it is one of my most favourite places, along with the Huntingdon Library, Museum and gardens in Pasadena, California.

In part of the woods at Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

In part of the woods at Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wildlife at Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wildlife at Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

      There are lots of ponds and waterfalls in surprising places.

There are also pieces of art throughout the walks and some are made of wood and others of Willow by Willow artist, Tom Hare.  The Willow sculptures will be ready in May/June 2014. 

 I had a wonderful day wandering around on my own.  I eventually met up with my sister and we decided to go and visit another wonderful place.  She often visits Wakehurst so missing one visit wasn’t a big problem for her.                                      

 I shall be sharing more posts and photos from my birthday ‘jolly’ soon.  I do hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look at Wakehurst Place.  It is far too large for me to cover everything here so I’ve picked out a few of the areas and things to see and learn about as a taster.  If you are ever able, please do visit and see for yourself.  It is an amazing day out for all the family.

Sculpture in the woods at Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Sculpture in the woods at Wakehurst Place (c) Jane Risdon 2014

If you want more information about the Millennium Seed Bank (where you can adopt a seed) visit

If you are interested in Wakehurst Place as a venue for an event (weddings etc) email

And if you are keen to attend a Talk or go on a Course  please contact Adult Eduction via email and for more information

There are events for schools and children all year-long.

For general information

As usual all my photographs are (c) Jane Risdon 2014 All Rights Reserved.

The next part of my ‘jolly’ will be coming soon;  there will be Castles and Ancient houses.

Let me know what you think of my ‘jolly’ so far…. I love to hear from you.


Mothering Sunday: a perfect gift for her and for a special Hospice.

 Mothering Sunday

and what better gift than a copy of

In A Word: Murder.

Be it for Kindle or a Paperback copy this is the gift which keeps on giving.

Every purchase helps fund this wonderful caring organisation; The Princess Alice Hospice in Surrey where they provide end of life care.

In A Word: Murder. Published 3rd November 2013.  Crime Anthology

In A Word: Murder. Published 3rd November 2013. Crime Anthology

Hospices do not receive any government funding; they exist on donations and in purchasing this book you will be donating towards the care of a terminally ill patient.

For less that the cost of a cup of coffee, a slice of cake or a bar of chocolate, why not replace the gift to your mother of chocolates and flowers with a gift which will give her years of reading enjoyment.  A book can be read many times over and by many year in year out.

  Why not replace those disposable gifts with a gift which will help provide care for someone who might not be here next Mothering Sunday?

Featuring the contributions from Seven Crime authors from around the world:

Martin Edwards, Margot Kinberg, Pamela Griffiths, Paula K Randall, Sarah Ward, Elizabeth S. Craig, and me.

Illustration is by Lesley Fletcher

There is bound to be something for everyone.

Follow the links to buy your copy of In a Word: Murder and give the gift which keeps on giving.

The USA Paperback version is available via

The USA Kindle version is available via

 The UK Paperback version is available via

The UK Kindle is available via

Many thanks for thinking of someone else in addition to your loved one this Mothering Sunday.

Much appreciated

Jane x

Happy Mothering Sunday from me to you.

Happy Mothering Sunday from me to you.

Rye, Clocks, Murder, Smuggling, Captain Pugwash, and strange front doors: part three of my ‘jolly’.

Windmill in Rye (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Windmill in Rye (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Part three of my birthday ‘jolly.’

If you’ve been following my two previous posts about my birthday treat earlier in the month you will realise I’ve been in Sussex and visiting all manner of wonderful places.  I’ve not posted in sequence but I am sure you won’t worry about that.

Bright and early one morning we set off (my sister and I) for a day in the ancient Cinque Port of Rye.

For those of you who don’t know, a Cinque Port (member of the Cinque Ports Confederation), is a town which was allowed a certain amount of self-government – in Feudal times – in return for supplying the King with a Navy.

‘God Save Englonde and the Towne of Rye’

(quote from the Ancient Rye Customal or Law Book)

We visited the Parish Church of St. Mary in Rye which for almost 900 years has dominated the hill on which the Old Town stands.  The Domesday Book, completed in 1086, records ‘The Abbot of Fecamp holds Rameslie from the King, and held it from King Edward – there are 5 churches and a new Borough with 64 Burgesses.  Hastings has 4.’

St Mary's Parish Church, Rye - 900 years old.  (c) Jane Risdon 2014

St Mary’s Parish Church, Rye – 900 years old. (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Think the Battle of Hastings in 1066 when William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy defeated King Harold just down the road, and if you are wondering about the Doomsday book in 1086, that was the very first Census in a way;  William needed to know who owned what and how much, to put it plainly.

Rye - Cinque Port - (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Rye – Cinque Port – (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Rye is a well-known tourist destination.  The houses and cobbled streets are fascinating and the views from the roof of the church are well worth the agonising journey up many narrow stairs and two ladders.  We were amazed when we got to the roof of the church to see a very elderly lady appear from the narrow little door, complete with walking stick.  I was amazed I’d managed it; respect to her though.

These get narrow and steeper as you climb (c) Jane Risdon 2014 St Mary's Parish Church, Rye

These get narrow and steeper as you climb (c) Jane Risdon 2014 St Mary’s Parish Church, Rye

 I should mention that it is wise to climb to the roof when the big bells are not about to toll on the hour. Even though it is a single toll, I am told it really rocks your socks.

Cast in 1775 these bells replaced bells stolen by the French in 1377 (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Cast in 1775 these bells replaced bells stolen by the French in 1377 (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The bells were re-cast in 1775 and each one has the maker’s name, Pack and Chapman, and a rhyme on them.  These bells were re-hung in 1995.  The bells are not the original ones however, those were stolen by the French in 1377.  There are 8 bells and their total weight is almost 5 tons.

I don’t have a photo of the Clock but I do have one of the mechanism which I managed to take in spite of the gloom.  The clock mechanism is one of the oldest church turret clocks still functioning and chimes the quarters and a single hourly toll.

Mechanism of one of the oldest church turret clocks still functioning (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Mechanism of one of the oldest church turret clocks still functioning (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The clock has a beautiful blue face – called ‘the new clock,’ and was made by the Huguenot ,Lewys Billiard, in about 1561-62.  The pendulum. a much later addition, swings in the body of the church.  The present exterior face of the clock and the original ‘Quarter Boys’ (so-called because they strike the quarters but not the hours) were added in 1760.

On the clock decoration are the words ‘For our time is a very shadow that passeth away; Wisdom 11v.’

The view from the church roof is wonderful; over the red roofs of Rye.

Never far from the sea - rooftop view of Rye - (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Never far from the sea – rooftop view of Rye – (c) Jane Risdon 2014

      Never far from the sea there are lots of channels leading to it; I’ve taken photos of the whole panorama  from the roof as you can see for miles.

The golden weather vane on top of the tower (white dome photo two here) dates from 1703.  The church has been a look-out from the day it was built and has been assistance to sailors as a landmark, to be seen from Dungeness to Fairlight.

We spent quite a time on the roof, the wind was rather cold and refreshing and the weather threatened rain but to see the whole of Rye and so far into the distance was worth shivering for.

I must admit the thought of the journey back down the stairs and steps did occupy my mind for a while.  I managed it backwards as the narrow steps and twisting stairwell was a bit of a nightmare.  Modern folk are so much taller, wider, and have larger feet  than those 900 years ago I think.  Plus carrying cameras and handbags is an added nuisance when trying to find something to hold on to.  Not for the feint-hearted or those with a fear of heights and confined spaces I think!

Rye from the church roof (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Rye from the church roof (c) Jane Risdon 2014

There are some gorgeous stained glass windows in the church depicting various events in the history of Rye.  We had a giggle when we noticed that Captain Horatio Pugwash – TV cartoon character from when my son was a toddler – was mentioned in the church brochure.  John Ryan, his creator, lives in Rye.

St Mary's Church Rye (c) Jane Risdon 2014

St Mary’s Church Rye (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Up above the roofs and house...(c) Jane Risdon 2014

Up above the roofs and house…(c) Jane Risdon 2014

For our American friends you might be interested to know that the township of Rye, New York State, was founded in the early 17th century by settlers from Rye, Sussex.  Both parishes observe the 2nd Sunday in Advent as an annual day of commemoration.  An inscribed slab under the tower crossing was donated by the Americans, and in return a piece of stone from the fabric of the church was sent to Christ’s Church, Rye, New York USA.

Inside St Mary's Parish Church Rye (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Inside St Mary’s Parish Church Rye (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Now, you know I love a good murder so trust me to find one in Rye and not just murder,  but smuggling too.

Apparently parts of the church have been used over time for various activities, and in 1569 guns and stores for the town had been stored in the South Chancel, and later in 1637 a complaint was made that it contained ‘arsenals, prisons and places of execution of punishment’.  Later the South Chancel was divided and used for a school.  The North Chancel was used as a lumber room, the home of the town’s fire engine (now in Rye museum) and for hiding smuggled goods.  However, until 1854 it was still being used to bury people.

Two graves feature in a famous Rye story. 

Next to each other lie Allen Grebell - murdered by mistake in 1742 by John Breeds – and members of the Lamb familyJames Lamb having been the intended victim.  The murder took place in the churchyard when John  Breeds killed the Deputy Mayor instead of the Mayor.  Various explanations have been offered, including vengeance, mental illness, or the Rye smuggling Mafia diverting attention from their activities.  From 1792 – 1862 the murderer and his victim lay together in the North Chancel, the remains of John Breed’s skeleton, in an iron cage, having been moved there from Gibbets Marsh.  In 1862, when the Chancel Chapels were re-opened, the iron cage and its contents were removed to the attic of the Town Hall in Rye.

There is an inscription which I didn’t have chance to find, which apparently reads:

‘Here lyeth the Body of ALLEN GREBELL Esq.r

Who after having served the Office of Mayor of this Town for Ten Years with the greatest

Honour and Integrity fell by the Cruel Stab of a

Sanguinary Butcher on the 17th of March 1742

I can imagine all the Historical novelists reading this wanting to know more.

Churchyard view with houses in the background (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Churchyard view with houses in the background (c) Jane Risdon 2014

We took a wander around the town and I managed to take some photos of some of the more interesting buildings and streets after having lunch at a little tea rooms we found.   The Cobbles Tea Rooms was delightful and not too expensive.  They serve afternoon teas (cream teas) homemade scones, cakes and luxury carrot cake by the way.  I enjoyed their Ploughman’s Lunch – cake is not my thing.  They have an extensive range of loose leaf teas too and high quality coffees.  The Cobbles Tea Rooms,  I, Hylands Yard, Rye. TN31 7EP.

Here are some more of the photos I took on our visit.  I do hope you enjoy the front doors especially; they tickled me.

Rye Sussex (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Rye Sussex (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Rye Sussex (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Rye Sussex (c) Jane Risdon 2014

I love the cobbled streets and the style of houses. 

So many are really ancient and those I’ve photographed nearly all date from around 1400.

The street below is where novelist, Henry James lived.  You can see the plaque marking his house on the left.

Rye Sussex (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Rye Sussex (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Henry James lived here from 1895-1916 (shown below).

Henry James, Novelist, lived in Rye.  (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Henry James, Novelist, lived in Rye. (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Henry James lived here (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Henry James lived here (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Some of the houses are really fascinating and it is no wonder people enjoy wandering around looking at them.  I enjoyed it no end. 

These houses all have strange names.  Look closely. 

Interesting front doors in Rye. (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The First House (c) Jane Risdon 2014


The House with the Seat (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The House with the Seat (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The House with Two Front Doors - (c) Jane Risdon 2014

The House with Two Front Doors – (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Nothing happened on this spot apparently. (c) Jane Risdon 2014

On this site Sept 1782 nothing happened (c) Jane Risdon 2014


The House Opposite – (c) Jane Risdon 2014

I hope you find these fun.  I love them.  

Oak Corner repaired 1490 (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Oak Corner repaired 1490 (c) Jane Risdon 2014

    Anyway, we had a fantastic day.  I took dozens of photos – too many to share here.   I hope if you ever get the chance to visit Rye you will take it and have a good time discovering everything it has to offer. 

My ‘jolly,’ hasn’t ended;

I have more to share with you and so keep an eye out for lots more next time.

Thanks for visiting and do please let me know what you think.  

Now I must pop off and get down to writing Murder at the Observatory – a short story to be included in my Crime Anthology due out in a couple of months.  Murder at the Observatory is a stand-alone Ms Birdsong Investigates story, not from the novel, but I couldn’t resist having her investigate evil deeds in the Vale of the White Horse.      

All photographs are copyright Jane Risdon 2014 All rights reserved.          

Jupiter, the Moon and Herstmonceux – tales from my ‘jolly’ part two

Part two of my birthday ‘jolly.’

Before I start let me assure you – I didn’t fall over again!  No embarrassing views of me flat on my face – breathe easy.

 I should point out that I am not posting these in any particular order.  So the visits on my ‘jolly’ are not consecutive or in sequence.  I thought I’d mention this in case my sister is reading this and it confirms what she is already thinking, but is too polite to articulate; her elder sister really is losing it!

Possibly the very best part of my week away and something I shall never forget.

 The Open Evening at The Observatory Science Centre at Herstmonceux.

The Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux. (c) 2010 Science Projects Ltd

The Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux. (c) 2010 Science Projects Ltd

 Nope we didn’t pop across to France,  Herstmonceux  was originally built as an Observatory in rural East Sussex –  the site is a ‘hidden treasure,’ with few signs showing the way.  There is a castle, Herstmonceux Castle, but we didn’t get to see it because our visit was in darkness (obviously) but I am told it is a splendid.

Herstmonceux Castle was once the headquarters of the Royal Observatory Greenwich and official residence of the Astronomer Royal and provided accommodation for staff and visitors.

 The Royal Observatory at Greenwich moved to Herstmonceux (beginning of 1947) due to the expansion of London in the 20th century, the light and smoke pollution meant that astronomers could not study feint objects in the night sky and the rural Sussex countryside provided the answer.  The move was completed in 1958 and the Royal Observatory Greenwich was fully up and running at Herstmonceux.

There will be castles later, I promise, in my next post.

In 1990 the Royal Greenwich Observatory moved to Cambridge, leaving its historic telescopes behind, and it was thought that Herstmonceux would be abandoned as a research centre.  This has not happened and it is now an important science exhibition, second to none.

I was thrilled to be attending an Open Evening at the Observatory, not just because I love anything to do with Astronomy and Science, but because this is somewhere my hero, Sir Patrick Moore, spent a great deal of his time.  Since a small child I have tuned in to his BBC2 Television programme ‘The Sky at Night,’ which is still running well over 50 years after the very first broadcast in black and white. 

He presented the programme up until his death a couple of years ago but the programme lives on with new presenters, still following the same simple, informative manner so that anyone watching – even those with limited knowledge of Astronomy – can understand and follow what is being shown and explained.

My visit to Herstmonceux filled me with such excitement I cannot describe.  They have historic telescopes at the Observatory in full operation, including the Thompson 26-inch Refractor which Patrick Moore used when undertaking his extensive mapping of the Moon – long before Neil Armstrong took his ‘one small step’ on the Sea of Tranquillity.

Earth in the distance seen from the Lunar surface (c) NASA 1969

Earth in the distance seen from the Lunar surface (c) NASA 1969

 I could write lots about the Observatory and what they have achieved and about the 6 telescopes there; 3 reflecting and 3 refracting, in the 6 green domes known as the ‘Equatorial Group’ after the way they are mounted, but I don’t want to bog you down with the science.  You can always visit their website for more information, photos and  dates for more Open Events.

Herstmonceux, East Sussex BN27 1RN

(Wartling Road, Wartling – for your SatNav)

My sister shone a torch to help us avoid mud in the car park and potholes on the road.  Her husband nearly jumped out of his skin when a voice from the darkness enquired if we were heading for the Open Evening.  This dim figure waved its arms in a general direction to our right and disappeared suddenly.

We walked up to the Observatory along a rough road in the pitch black with only the dim red glow of the Observatory buildings to our right, once we had parked a little way from the main entrance. 

I didn’t trip or fall over once.

The domes eventually loomed up out of the blackness like giant green ice-creams, slowly becoming larger and larger as we got closer to the main buildings.

The sky was clear of any light pollution. Only the odd screeching owl and other unidentifiable birds chirping happily somewhere in the darkness, along with the cries of foxes far off in the woods, was all we could hear. 

Yep, it was eerie.

There were stars twinkling above our heads and the Moon was coming and going behind high fluffy clouds which could be seen drifting cross its face now and again.

I couldn’t help thinking what a great place for a murder!  Murder in the Observatory – hmm, still thinking about that one. 

I knew it was a mistake to mention it to them both as we crept along the road trying to find the way in to the main complex.  For some reason they both shivered and walked faster, a little ahead of me!

Seriously, as if I would – well, really.

We headed for the presentation tent where a huge electric generator nearly drowned out the very eccentric looking young scientist welcoming an audience of about 30 – all ages and sexes, but a good many more women – as the machine valiantly tried to warm the freezing tent.  His presentation was on Jupiter and with diagrams and slides he took us through everything we needed to know about the planet.

Jupiter and the Great Red Spot (c) NASA 1979

Jupiter and the Great Red Spot (c) NASA 1979

Close-up of Jupiter's Red Spot (c) NASA 1979

Close-up of Jupiter’s Red Spot (c) NASA 1979

I was amazed to discover that there is not just one red spot but three and these change size and move around.  The red spots are anti-cyclones.

Unable to take photos I’ve uploaded some which were sent to us by a family member back in the late 1970’s.  I hope you like them.  Of course today technology has meant that the photos taken by Hubble are much more detailed and clearer.

The lecture about Jupiter coincided with Jupiter being very close to the Earth on the night of 6th March and therefore easier to view.  Unfortunately we missed the chance to see Jupiter as we arrived after the viewing and only just made the lecture.  But it was a wonderful lecture full of new information and I am now sure where to find Jupiter in the night sky a lot faster than I have before.

Following the lecture we made our way to another tent.  This time set up inside one of the classrooms and, I must say, I felt as if I were on a polar expedition. 

The tent was one of the huge blow-up varieties which has an outer and inner opening through which you have to squeeze yourself.  Think air-locks on a spaceship if trying to envision the narrow space and the close proximity of one slit opened into another.  Squeeze being the word!  It was really taxing and as we had  huge quilted parkers on because of the freezing cold air outside, and having been warned to wear something warm, we came prepared;  our coats kept sticking to the sides of the opening so it was a bit like trying to walk through treacle. 

I didn’t fall over though I nearly disappeared forever in-between the two openings and I shall be eternally grateful to whomever it was gave my rear a hefty shove.  I arrived inside the igloo in a most undignified manner – but I was not the only one! 

Just thinking about a body wedged in-between the two openings – oh well…..

Luckily we were snug and warm in our polar outfits as it was freezing inside too.

Seated on the ground around the sides of the igloo about 20 of us sat and watched an amazing show of our night sky, the Universe and various planets which was projected by a new state-of-the-art gizmo on to the walls and ceiling of the tent so we felt as if we were in space and close enough to everything that we could set foot on them.

Oh and we were told that in the event of fire or an emergency not to bother trying to squeeze back out through the tight double entrance but to just lift up the sides of the igloo and wriggle out underneath.  Yep!  I can just see me doing that.  I had a job getting in through the entrance, let alone scrabbling on my hands and knees under the damn thing. 

We saw Saturn and its rings and went in close courtesy of the Hubble Telescope, to get an almost birds-eye view of the individual rings and the ice and dust which makes up the rings.

Saturn viewed from Voyager 1 in 1979 (c) NASA 1979

Saturn viewed from Voyager 1 in 1979 (c) NASA 1979

The young lady giving us our demonstration and talk answered questions and explained what we were seeing.  She was very clear and concise and it made the whole event really pleasurable considering our cramped and rather basic seating arrangements.  If you ever get the chance to attend an event I really urge you to jump at it.

We went all over the Universe, to the Milky Way and back again. She told us of the discoveries and research undertaken at Herstmonceux - measuring the ‘proper motion’ of the stars and for observations within the Solar System, principally brighter Asteroids – for example.

Solar System (1979) from various NASA spacecraft  (c) NASA 1979

Solar System (1979) from various NASA spacecraft (c) NASA 1979

Following on from our presentation and talk about the Solar System and the possibility of life out there somewhere – apparently not frowned upon but embraced, though of course it is most likely going to be ‘a form of life Jim, but not as we know it,’ we made our way to one of the 6 telescopes housed in the green domes, thinking about her parting words, that some planets have water and ice and therefore it is possible there is something there. 

I do hope I live long enough to find out.

Several of us climbed in the dark up steep metal stairs to the top of the dome and gathered around a telescope, barely able to make out the young man with wild hair who had enthusiastically battled the generators earlier when telling us all about Jupiter.  He waited until we all settled down, trying not to trip over each other in the gloom.

He began telling us about the Moon ( his main area of expertise and fascination) and how Sir Patrick Moore had inspired him and generations of astronomers – professional and amateur – and how his mapping of the Moon is still used by NASA today.

One by one we got to look at the Moon through the huge telescope which I have since worked out is in Dome E on the site – the Thompson 26-inch Refracting Telescope.  It was too dark to see if there were any notices etc.

Wow!  It was amazing seeing the Lunar surface in such close-up detail and to be told what we were looking at and getting expert information with it.

Then we all went outside and with a laser pointer (green) he pointed to all the stars and planets visible above our heads with the naked eye; Sirius the brightest in the sky and then Mars – glowing a dim red above our heads.  He pointed out Orion’s Belt and The Plough and many others too numerous to list here.

The Moon was partially covered by cloud and so we went back into the Dome and had another look at the Moon – this time a different area – and he answered the many questions we had regarding the Moon Landings and whether or not he thought there was life on other Planets; he, did but again, not as we might expect it to be.

I thought of an old friend of mine Barbara Jacques, sadly no longer with us, and how she nearly burst a gasket when she met Alan Shepherd following his Moon landing and when she related the meeting and her conversation with us much later, was still overcome by the whole experience, almost jumping up and down as she spoke. 

What would she have made of all of this I wondered.

I said I thought it made us all look so insignificant and small and our young lecturer said he didn’t agree.  He said that any civilization or life-form that could imagine, invent and create the technology we have done here on Earth, to do what we have done here and in Space, cannot possibly be small and insignificant and that we should rejoice in this.

Looking up at the Sky at Night, it feels proud to be part of it all – the most important and amazing part of it all; a human-being – without us Space would have remained a mystery and many discoveries in medicine and other areas would never have been possible without those who looked to the heavens and wondered and dared to dream.

Eventually the event closed and we walked back along the pitch black road to the car park all the time looking up at the heavens and trying to remember what we had been told.

It was one of the most enjoyable and exciting evenings I have ever spent and I am really grateful to my sister and her husband for taking me there for my birthday treat.  I would not have missed it for anything and I really do hope that if you ever get the chance to attend one of their many Open Evenings/Events you jump at it.  You won’t be disappointed.

I shall be back with more about my ‘jolly,’ soon and I promise there will be Castles and Seed Banks.

Meantime I do hope you enjoyed this and will investigate Herstmonceux and Sir Patrick Moore and his wonderful programmes, ‘The Sky at Night,’ on BBC2 if you get time It is still running, monthly.

All photos used here (c) NASA  1969/1979 except the photo of The Observatory (c) Science Projects Group 2010

Sleeping Policemen, Banana Skins, and Kipling – tales from my jolly….part one

I should come with a Public Health Warning!

Sleeping Policeman (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Warning! Sleeping Policeman (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Do not go anywhere with this woman for fear of being embarrassed – she is an accident waiting to happen!

Sleeping Policeman - a/k/a a Speed Hump (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Sleeping Policeman – a/k/a Speed Hump (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Whilst out for a stroll enjoying the countryside and a lovely local village I came across a sign I have not seen for many years warning motorists that there was a Speed Hump across the narrow road.

It read ‘Dead Slow – Sleeping Policeman,’  warning those tempted to put their foot down along this quiet road that they would get a nasty jolt if they passed over it at speeds greater than a crawl.

  In England we call these humps ‘Sleeping Policemen’.  I have no idea why – I long gave up trying to fathom my own language.  I can only guess that being forced to slow down by something called a ‘Sleeping Policeman,’ must force some naughty drivers  to ease off the juice just in case there really is one lurking across their path.

This particular ‘Sleeping Policeman’ is situated just outside this pub.  The pub dates from about 1340. 

Local Pub circa 1340 (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Local Pub circa 1340 (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Anyway, as you know from the post I published before going off on my ‘jolly,’ I have been away for a few days staying with a relative in the heart of the English countryside and, as planned, we spent the time walking, visiting gorgeous places, and doing the rounds of the National Trust, houses and gardens.  Heaven! 

More about all this later.

The very first morning of my stay we set off early to walk to one of my sister’s  favourite places.  The roads were muddy from all the recent rain we’ve been experiencing and the paths underfoot were slippery with leaves, mud and water.  We both made our way with caution.

Walking in the Spring sunshine (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Walking in the Spring sunshine (c) Jane Risdon 2014

We walked into another village nearby and then set off along some long winding lanes to where there was a windmill and grazing sheep.  Apparently you can climb the hill to the windmill, via the field in front of it, when it is dry and easy to walk.  On this day it was not dry and the field was a mud-bath waiting to happen.  I wish I had taken the camera because the windmill was so perfect and the setting was magic. 

Anyway, we left visiting the windmill for another time.

Sheep in the wet fields (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Sheep in the wet fields (c) Jane Risdon 2014

We passed some dog-walkers and ladies leading their horses from the near-by stables, but otherwise we were alone with the birds singing, the sheep bleating and the odd aeroplane high in the blue sky droning on its way to somewhere exotic – most likely Gatwick airport – but I prefer to think it was transporting its passengers off on an adventure.

Busy nattering about this and that, as you do, I kept an eye on the muddy path as we came to a main road and walked behind my sister where the pavement narrowed and the grass verges were churned up from farm vehicles entering and leaving the fields hidden behind the high over-grown hedgerows along one side of the path. 

The traffic became heavier as we progressed along the pavement, the road on the right of us separated by a muddy verge but not wide enough to prevent both of us keeping a wary eye on the cars and lorries as they passed really close to us, buffeting us.

One moment I was chatting about Sleeping Policemen and how you don’t see them so often these days, and the next I was falling flat on my face on the muddy grass verge in full view of the passing traffic.  When I say flat on my face, I do mean flat on my face.  My flaming cheeks  were covered in mud, leaves and goodness-knows-what, my knees were soaking wet and muddy and so was my jacket.

Embarrassed or what!  I wanted to crawl under the nearby hedge.

My poor sister was speechless, horrified. 

I am sure she was thinking about Boxing Day 2012 when I fell head first down her stairs and the consequences of that little visit. 

I couldn’t get up for laughing.

She looked mortified.

Once she’d helped me up and I’d checked myself over, painfully, because of course I have still got a broken shoulder and collar-bone from my last ‘trip,’ to see her, and everything still hurts like hell, I knew that nothing new was broken. 

She looked relieved.

She wasn’t the only one!

I don’t know about her, but I was beginning to think visiting her is jinxed and I am fast becoming the ‘Guest from hell!’  What else is there to trip over,  fall down or fall over I thought as she helped brush me down. 

As I checked my trousers for mud and possible holes I noticed that under my foot was a brown rotten banana skin.  All thoughts of getting my inner ears checked for balance problems disappeared as we both gazed at the culprit.  I had skidded flat on my face on a banana skin which was hidden in some mud on the path.

I can now face The Mater with confidence.  When she asks me if  I’d been ‘drinking,’ I can answer no.  All I’d had that morning was a cup of tea.  Not that I am always half-cut I might add.  It’s just that The Mater seems to think that accidents don’t ‘just’ happen! 

When I fell down the stairs on Boxing Day (11am in the morning, just after breakfast) none of us could convince her I’d not had a drop of the hard stuff and fallen down drunk! 

As if!

The walk back to my sister’s cottage was rather quieter and a lot brisker than our outward walking pace.  I think she wanted to get me safely inside before I could do anything else embarrassing. 

After a much-needed cuppa we decided to go and visit some local places of interest and I shall write about them in another post.

  The following day we spent a fabulous time  at a wonderful country house with gorgeous grounds, called ‘Bateman’s.’

For those of you who are fans of Rudyard Kipling, you will know that his was his home in Burwash village, East Sussex, and where he wrote many of his poems.

Batemans: Home of Rudyard Kipling (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Batemans: Home of Rudyard Kipling (c) Jane Risdon 2014

One of the greatest writers of our time; Rudyard Kipling, lived modestly in comparison with some of his contemporaries.  His family home is gorgeous but simple and comfortable and we got the feeling that we could have lived there very easily.  It looked as if the family had just popped out for a while.

  I could’ve screamed because my camera decided to fail (battery flat) just as we arrived and began to take some photos of the delightful 17th century sandstone house which is surrounded by the most tranquil and lovely gardens I have seen in a long time. 

They also have their own mill in the grounds which are surrounded by farmland where, in the summer, you can find French Limousin cattle grazing on the estate which is managed by tenant farmers,  and there is an orchard, herb garden, pond and wildflower meadow surrounded by an old stone wall.  Rudyard Kipling’s Rolls Royce is still in the garage.

A perfect place to find a nook and a seat where one can sit and read in peace whilst munching on a bag of liquorice! 

But we didn’t sit or munch. 

Batemans (c) Jane Risdon 2014

We had a good look round and chatted to some of the National Trust staff about the family and Rudyard and his writing, and one of them even knew his daughter Elsie, quite well, so she gave us some interesting insights to the family.

The sun was very bright and the home dimly lit and so the few photos I managed to take are either very dark or far too bright.  I am crossing my fingers I can go again some time in the future and this time I shall make sure that the camera is fully charged.

The rooms are much as he left them; oriental rugs and artefacts from his Eastern adventures, a book-lined study, illustrations from the Jungle Book on the walls, Victorian toys in the nursery all make for a comfortable family home.

Some of the grounds and gardens at Batemans (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Some of the grounds and gardens at Batemans (c) Jane Risdon 2014

His memorabilia from India reminded me of my own father (born in India too) and Grandfather who had lots of similar possessions brought back from there when he retired from the British Army in 1947 after 30 years serving out there.

Rudyard Kipling was 36 when he purchased Bateman’s.  He stayed at the local pub in Burwash village,  The Bear, for a while before moving in.  By this time he was the most famous writer in the English-speaking world –  with his enormous success he was earning £5,000 per annum at a time when a secretary might have expected to earn £80 per annum!

Bateman’s was purchased for £9,300 and came with 33 acres of land.  As more local land became available it was acquired by Kipling and today there are 300 acres of gorgeous countryside beyond the gardens.

It is thought that Bateman’s was built by a Wealden Ironmaster.  In Norman times it is thought that the now quiet serene village saw the growth of Iron production which lasted for about 400 years and we were told that the tell-tales signs of iron production can still be seen in the woods if one looks hard enough.  Sadly we didn’t manage a walk in the woods due to the late hour and the failing daylight.  Next time perhaps.

Bateman's (c) Jane Risdon 2014

Bateman’s (c) Jane Risdon 2014

If you are interested in knowing more about the National Trust, Bateman’s or Rudyard Kipling you can visit

They are open March to December 7 days a week.

Bateman’s Lane, Burwash, East Sussex TN19 7DS

Well, I hope you find the first part of my ‘jolly,’ interesting and that you will tune in again for the next instalments:

Jupiter, Castles, Seed Banks and much more: tales from my Jolly, additional parts to follow soon.

As always all photographs are (c) Jane Risdon – All Rights Reserved.

In A Word: Murder – Paperback version in USA/UK available

Out in Paperback 14th February 2014 on and

Out in Paperback 14th February 2014 on and

I am thrilled to announce that as from 14th February 2014 the Crime Anthology

In  A Word: Murder  – which features two of my short stories – is available not only on Kindle but is now available in Paperback.

You cannot have failed to notice that this book is in aid of a wonderful charity, The Princess Alice Hospice,

and is in memory of Maxine Clarke, Crime Author, Blogger and Editor.

My father died in a Hospice in 1987 and the care he received was second to none. 

British Hospices are funded solely from donations and so I am very proud to be associated

with raising funds for yet another worthy cause such as this Hospice.

Featuring the contributions from Seven Crime authors from around the world:

Martin Edwards, Margot Kinberg, Pamela Griffiths, Paula K Randall, Sarah Ward and me.

Illustration is by Lesley Fletcher

There is bound to be something for everyone.

The USA Paperback version is available via

The USA Kindle version is available via

 The UK Paperback version is available via

The UK Kindle is available via

Let me whet your appetite a little:

Hollywood Cover Up:

English girl Tuppence Powell is working in Hollywood as an Estate manager for the ‘Movers and Shakers,’ of the Entertainment Business when she witnesses something which leads to her being ‘let go.’  She needs money badly and decides to write a book about her life but soon she is forced into hiding; everyone wants to find her, including the Secret Service.


About to achieve fame and fortune 1980’s London, Rock band Dreamer  seem to have it made; American Management, Recording and Publishing deals to be signed and a taste of the big-time is within their grasp.  There is only one problem;  a fly in the ointment who stands in their way.

If you’d like to know more you know what to do.

Suspense Your Disbelief: I’m a Guest of Jenny Milchman’s again – today.

Out in Paperback 14th February 2014 on and

Out in Paperback 14th February 2014 on and

Jennifer Milchman, author of Cover of Snow, which has received rave reviews

and the wonderful blog site; Suspense Your Disbelief

is hosting me today on her blog for the second time.

Last year she kindly featured me – on 13th February 2013 – when she asked me about My Made It Moment


today she is featuring me again.

Click on the links and you will find not only me, but lots of other authors featured on her blog.

Whilst there, check out her novel Cover of Snow and much, much, more.

When you’ve been over, do comment there and here so we both know you have visited.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day to you all.

Happy St. Valentine's Day from me to you

Happy St. Valentine’s Day from me to you

2 years young today – My blog is a toddler still, but growing fast.

Desk with a view (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Desk with a view (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Two years ago today I took a momentous step – well for me that is.  I decided to write a blog.  I’d been toying with the idea for some while and suddenly decided to go for it.

All very well, but what on earth did I think I could write about which might be of any interest to any one else I wondered as I gazed at the blank screen, all set up and ready for a world-shattering something or other.

It is one thing to get the urge to do it and mull over ideas, I found, but when faced with the actuality of it I froze.  Lost for words.  Those who know me would laugh at that I know.  Jane, unable to think of anything to talk about – unthinkable.

All the blogs I had visited had impressed me with their intelligent comment and topics of discussion, their content and the quality of their followers.  Ye Gods!  What on earth was I letting myself in for I asked myself staring at the blank screen.  Who would even find me, let alone read or follow me – where do these followers come from?  Why would they visit or comment?

Setting the page up was fun, it stopped me worrying about content for a while. 

Then I had a good think about what attracted me to a blog.  Coming from a background in music and all that goes with it – PR and marketing and experience in what sells and why (well in theory), got me thinking hard about the image I wanted to create

Simple is what I decided.

Authors of Romance tended to go for Pinks and bright colours it seemed, and whilst it is eye-catching I didn’t feel comfortable doing a ‘bling thing,’ and as I am interested in Crime and Mysteries and all that goes with it I was tempted to go for the other end of the spectrum; the blood and guts end.  Then I thought how off-putting that would be.  It is to me.

Fantasy and Young Adult writers go for a more surreal (in my humble opinion) appeal and that wasn’t going to be my thing either.  I am not into cartoons and creepy graphics.

  Nope, I wasn’t comfortable with that.

I managed to find a photograph of a tree I had taken one day when out walking; anyone visiting here often knows how I love to walk.  That tree would be my banner.  I fiddled around and managed to get it in place.  Step one achieved.

Tree which became my banner header. (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Tree which became my banner header. (c) Jane Risdon 2012

I love nature and trees and the link between trees and paper hit me; I would use a tree.  The bark of a tree to be precise. 

My blog would be about my writing and things that interested me and I hoped that other like-minded people would pop in and take a look around at my posts, and read my stories, and look at my photos, and generally enjoy their time with me here.  So content was decided.

I’d already had a  Facebook author page some time and I was finding it a lot of fun. Through it I found lots of like-minded people; authors and readers and those who loved nature and photography, history and music, and so I hoped they would come and take a look at my blog and come back again and again and help me create a little family here.  My long-term vision was so limited.  I really thought I’d be lucky to have a handful of visitors – ever!

I checked today and I have somewhere in the region of 1,000 followers here.  I am astounded that so many people pop in and out to see what I have got to waffle about.

I am so humbled by the fact that a busy writer, a reader of books by famous authors, a blogger, or a passing visitor would want to drop in here and have a look around. And I am even more astounded that they like what they see. 

I’ve had some wonderful comments about my stories and pod-casts, and some really fabulous exchanges with people, which I love;  discussions about something I’ve posted with a lot of spin-off conversations.  I’ve enjoyed some really funny exchanges and some incredibly sad ones too.

I’ve met some fantastic people, so interesting and creative and so kind and helpful and inspirational during my two years here.

 Checking upon my first post I see it was a Welcome post which I guess we all do when starting out; an introduction.   That took some thought but I think it still works.

Whitney Houston  sadly died soon after I started here, and I found myself writing about working with songwriters and producers who had helped create her wonderful music and gave her so many hits.

I moved home and I found there was lots to write about.  Discovering my new surroundings, finding new places to walk and photograph and places to inspire my stories.

Ideas take form (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Ideas take form (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Starting my first  novel – ‘Ms Birdsong Investigates’ – has been an amazing experience for me and the encouragement I have received has been second to none. 

My short stories and flash fiction publications led to me writing two short stories for a charity anthology, ‘Telling Tales.’  In aid of The Norfolk Hospice, the book was a wonderful opportunity for me. 

Telling Tales Anthology featuring two of my stories: The Debt Collector and The Ghost in the Privy

Telling Tales Anthology which features two of my stories: The Debt Collector and The Ghost in the Privy.

My first time published as an author if you like.  I’d written music articles in the past, and worked on biographies and press releases for Musicians and Singers but never anything which was for me.

This hardback/paperback book is now out of print.

Fellow author and blogger Morgen Bailey has been a fantastic and valued support for me.  She has given me the opportunity to reach a wider audience through her blog;  Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog, and via her Pod-casts of my work.  I shall forever be grateful to her.  She is an inspiration.

Christina Jones, an old, old, mate who is such a laugh and such a talented author, nudged and encouraged me to write.  Without her there would not be any blogging or short stories or a ‘Ms Birdsong Investigates.’   I cannot thank her enough for making me open my eyes.

The Vale of the White Horse - Lavinia Birdsong's new home

The Vale of the White Horse – Lavinia Birdsong’s new home

Christina has a blog ‘Bucolic Frolics,’ and has written about 30 books to my knowledge during a successful and award-winning career.  She is on Facebook too if you want to check her out.

Her main website is:

Chrissie kindly put up with my early attempts at writing.  She says I made her laugh and that my characters were ‘real,’ and the stories entertaining.  Not all of them were crime-related but she enjoyed reading whatever I threw at her. 

‘Ms Birdsong Investigates’ should be seeing the light of day this year I hope.

‘God’s Waiting Room,’ and ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,’ both of which are still Works in Progress. 

My Music Industry novel, which again is a Work in Progress –  is not going to be complete for some time to come, but  our (Chrissie and I) have a co-authored novel – another Work in Progress – due out this year we both hope.  I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be writing with her.  It is a such a blast!

Following ‘Telling Tales’  I was thrilled to be included in ‘I Am Woman, volume One,’ in aid of Breakthrough, Women for Women and Women’s Aid charities.  I had two stories included.  Victoria Watson enabled me to be included in this anthology.

I Am Woman Volume 1 Anthology

I Am Woman Volume 1 Anthology featuring my short story The Look

Many other authors and bloggers have been  inspirational and valued supports to me and I thank each and every one of them.  I have enjoyed being Guest Blogger on so many blogs – something I would never have imagined myself doing two years ago.  Thanks so much to all those who have hosted me and have been such fab friends here.

Especially Margot Kinsberg who is thankfully (it seems) ever-present, and always welcome with her comments on my posts and stories. She is a mine of interesting and intelligent information and knowledge.  I am honoured to have her follow me and if you ever get the chance do read her blog ‘Confessions of a Mystery Writer,’ – packed full of wonderful articles about Crime and Crime Writers. 

Margot is also the author of a series of books featuring her sleuth Joel Williams.

I was over the moon last year to be included in her tribute to her great friend, editor, author and blogger, Maxine Clarke, who passed away over a year ago.   Margot compiled a Crime anthology with Crime and Mystery authors from around the world, called ‘In A Word: Murder,’ and I was, and still am, so excited to have two stories included in the book which is in aid of The Princess Alice Hospice, Esher, Surrey.

In A Word: Murder. Published 3rd November 2013.  Crime Anthology

In A Word: Murder. Published 3rd November 2013. Crime Anthology

US Kindle:

UK Kindle:

The Princess Alice Hospice:

Without this blog I would never have met Morgen or Margot.

What a loss that would have been for me.

Without this blog I would never have known any of you reading this now.

What a loss that would have been for me.

Each and every one of you has made my life so rich and interesting and full of fun.  I have learned so much from every person I have ‘chatted,’ with here.  It has been the best experience.

Two years ago I’d never ‘met,’ any of you or read any of your books or blogs.  I was starting out with a blank screen; I was full of trepidation and wonder.

Today, the screen is filled – some may prefer it to be left blank – and I am able to chat to friends from around the world about all sort of subjects.  We share experiences, knowledge, information and things which get us all of a quiver.  We share books and authors we like and enjoy and we natter.

Oh boy! Can we natter.

So thanks for sharing my blog’s 2nd birthday with me today. 

I look forward to sharing many more with you and to visiting you over on your blogs soon.

Thanks so much for encouraging me to fill this blank space.

I blame you!

Samantha Juste Dolenz RIP.

Samantha Juste Dolenz: 1944-2.2.14

Photo (c) Unknown.   

Every now and again something makes you stop and take stock. 

Today I was sad to hear of the death of Samantha Juste Dolenz – ex-wife of The Monkees drummer and ex Circus Boy actor, Mickey Dolenz. 

Samantha was a former model and Top Of The Pops presenter.

Not a major player on the stage of politics, human rights ,or anything which would warrant a lot of attention from me normally; I don’t consider myself that shallow.

I don’t often get upset about the demise of a celebrity; mega-star, super-star or any other star.  For some reason the death of Samantha Juste has upset me a lot.

The look and the era. 

Risdon (c) 1968

Risdon (c) 1968

 She was quite a bit older than me but even so the image she projected was similar to the one I saw every day in the mirror and so did many other girls at that time.  The hair, the eye make-up, the pale lips and innocent, wide-eyed look., the clothes, the music we shared.

You could not have lived through the 1960’s in England (Britain) without knowing about her. 

A teenage model – a peer of Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton (The Shrimp) and along with Peter Frampton (The Herd) –  Samantha was a Face of the 1960’s.  Another icon if you like ,for teenage girls growing up with the whole ‘Swinging Sixties,’ thing.  Cathy McGowan, Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithful and Cher. 

 All strong, high-profile women in the post-war grey male dominated world that we had been growing up in. 

A presenter: every week we were glued to Top Of The Pops (TOTP) waiting to see what she was going to wear, how her hair and make-up would look and which bands were going to be on the show – THE music show on TV. 

She played the records; loaded the turn-table and pressed the ON switch so that the bands appearing on the show could mime to the music.  Back in those days miming was acceptable; later – thankfully – the bands performed live. 

We had grown up wearing our parent’s clothes, listening to their music and living life as a copy of them in almost every way. 

Suddenly we had  BBC Radio One - I’ll never forget hearing The Move and ‘Flowers in the Rain,’ played by Tony Blackburn as Radio One went live for the first time.  Until then I had listened to Radio Luxemburg, Radio London, Radio Caroline – the Pirate Radio Stations anchored off-shore and under threat of being pulled off the air at any time.

We had POP magazines and Fan magazines aimed at young teenage girls.  Music, fashion, celebrities (not in the sense of the word today ; much milder), and lots of gorgeous boys to ogle and dream about.  Boys with long hair.  Boys in tight trousers.  Boys wearing make-up and clothes similar to those we females wore.  It was all so strange, so exciting and very, very, dangerous.

We felt we could relate to them even though our lives were not glamorous in the way their lives were.

Samantha and Mickey attended The Summer Of Love; they were there. They knew The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Beach Boys, The Stones and so many others we mooned over.  

They lived the exciting life we all seemed to yearn after. 

 I was at school and confined all week in a drab navy blue uniform and tie.  We girls would roll the below knee pleated skirts over and over at the waist to make them in to Mini skirts.  We tied ribbons in our lace-up shoes in place of laces. 

We wore Max Factor Foundation to make ourselves pale and interesting.

We tried to get away with mascara and eyeliner but never wore lipstick.  We had to look ghostly.  Hair was long and we peered out from fringes which covered our eyes.

Whatever Samantha, Twiggy, Cathy McGowan, Cher or Dusty wore, we copied.  Knee length white lace-up boots, kaftans and micro mini skirts.  Hipster trousers and skinny ribbed jumpers with polo necks and cut-away arms.

Platform shoes, midi skirts with waistcoats, and frilled blouses complete with cameo brooches. 

Carnaby Street led us and I know I dreamed of shopping there at the same time The Kinks or The Who were shopping there.  They’d see me – my life would change.

It was expensive and I had to earn money by doing paper-rounds, babysitting and working in a Dry Cleaners.  After-all £5 for a psychedelic patterned dress in silk was a small fortune back then.

Rushing home on a Thursday to watch TOTP was so exciting.  Of course, it depended on what  The Beatles or The Rolling Stones had been up to in The Press, whether or not I was allowed to watch it. 

My parents believed The Beatles and The Stones were the representatives of the Devil on earth and if they’d been caught doing something a little ‘naughty,’ or shown surrounded by screaming, fainting girls, wearing anything outrageous, draped in beautiful women, then the chances were that TOTP would not be on the evening’s viewing agenda.

We experienced bands and singers  from America; we were in over-load.

Sunday afternoons could be spent at The Empire Pool, Wembley, surrounded by screaming girls and being deafened by NME (New Musical Express) magazine Poll Winners in concert.  Every major band and artist appeared there. We could see several at one time for £1.

We were over-loaded with change; freedom, music, fashion, politics. Vietnam was an issue where Korea had never really gripped the imagination of the youth of the 1950’s.  There were riots in Paris, the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia later in the decade.  It was all happening.

People like Samantha didn’t change the world. She  didn’t bring about peace or the end of The Cold War – we were growing up with the threat of Nuclear annihilation don’t forget – and apart from sitting looking pretty on the TV, she didn’t feed the starving or run for Parliament – that I know of.

But she was part of a seismic shift that teenager girls in England (Britain) felt during the Sixties.  In her own small way she was an icon along with so many other ‘celebrity,’ females; suddenly visible, high-profile, colourful and exciting and  who didn’t look like their mothers and grandmothers, who seemed to be taking charge of their lives, who didn’t need a man to make them feel complete.  Women who wanted to forge careers for themselves, for whom a husband and mother-hood was not the be-all and end-all.  

Yet reading tributes to her today I am struck that her warmest come from those who knew her as a daughter, a wife, a mother and a grand-mother.  She left the lime-light a long time ago and although I didn’t keep track of her life, I often thought of her. 

I recalled her when co-writing a novel about those times and I thought I’d share this passage with you.  It mentions her.  I never thought I would be thinking of her in the past tense.  When I wrote this she was as vivid to me as she was on a Thursday evening, when TOTP music came on and she would be sitting next to one of the super-star DJ’s.

Samantha met Mickey Dolenz at TOTP – his band The Monkees were often on the show.   I’ve never been a huge fan of The Monkees, then or now, but when Davy Jones passed away not so long ago, I felt sad, but not as sad as I feel today.

It has hit me hard.  Life is spinning away from us and time is passing.

I hope you enjoy this extract and that for those of you who recall Samantha, it might have a deeper meaning.

Extract from WIP (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Trying not to look at the two bearded beauties again I stood up, smoothed

my new purple Samantha Juste hipsters and tucked my pink skinny rib into

them.  I wandered towards the wallpaper table and what was left of the food;

a few soft looking sausage rolls and a couple of scotch eggs which had

probably been sitting out for hours and I didn’t fancy the look of them.  A few

packets of Smith’s crisps and some peanuts was the alternative.  I grabbed a

packet and a handful of nuts and tucked in for a few  moments whilst I

studiously avoided the lovers on the cushions.

What a dump!  The band seemed to live in part of an old house which

looked derelict from what I could see as we came in.  There wasn’t any

furniture to speak of,  just old packing cases for tables and piles of cushions

and bean bags on the red thread-bare carpet.  At least, I think that was the

colour but it was hard to tell in the candle light coming from the Mateus Rose

bottles dotted round the room.

    The light flickered on the Che Guevara and Ban the Bomb posters and

gave them a bit of a sinister look.  Very anti-establishment here – Dad would

go nuts. Distorted shadows fell on the couples lying around, mostly snogging

or smoking;  a few were standing swaying to the music from the Philips

Cassette player in the corner.  I was saving up for one I’d seen in


    It was going to take another month to have enough and I hoped it wouldn’t

be gone by then.  I should never have got the Cathy McGowan mini with the

zip up the front like Twiggy often wears; it was far too expensive and had left me without

any money until the end of the month.  I hadn’t even had chance to wear it yet

because I was trying to hide it from Mum until she was in a good mood -

whenever that was going to be I had no idea.  I earn the money for my

clothes so I don’t see why I can’t wear what I want.  But no, she has to

inspect me every time I leave the house, lecturing about what I ’m wearing;

too short, too long, too much leg showing – moan, moan, moan.

    The dress is gorgeous though; paisley pink, sleeveless and with a fab

mandarin collar – very sexy – and with my long white lace-up boots  I am

going to blow Scott’s brains out when he sees me in it.

    ‘Hi babe, what’s your name?’ I turned to see a tall skinny bloke with long

black hair and a pair of lime green bell-bottoms grinning at me, cigarette

dangling from his rather thick lips.  I peered hard at him and then realised he

was one of the guitarists in the  band supporting Scott’s band.

    ‘Saw you at the gig tonight,’ he added flicking his ash away.

    ‘Erm, yeah.’ I said looking for Scott, trapped between the table and the

guitarist who kept blowing sweet-smelling smoke at me.  I felt sick from it.

    ‘How about you and me then babe?’ He moved up close to me and put an

arm round my waist.  He smelled of Old Spice.  I can’t stand Old Spice.

    ‘I’m with my boyfriend.’ I said lamely as I wriggled away from him.

    ‘Don’t look like it from here babe.’ He said as he grabbed me again.  ‘Let’s

go over there and get to know each other.’ He tried to pull me into the


To be continued…..actually the book is finished and ready to go soon.

Photo (c) Jane Risdon 1968

Samantha Juste Dolenze Photo (c) Unknown.  All Rights of the Owner Reserved.

In A Word; Murder – A Crime Anthology – Published 3rd November 2013

In A Word: Murder. Published 3rd November 2013.  Crime Anthology

In A Word: Murder. Published 3rd November 2013. Crime Anthology

I am thrilled to bits with the publication of ‘In A Word; Murder,’ which features Crime writers from around the world, including myself,  contributing stories to the book in memory of Editor and Blogger Maxine Clarke and for the benefit of The Princess Alice Hospice in Esher, Surrey, where Maxine was nursed at the end of her life.

US Kindle:

UK Kindle:

The Princess Alice Hospice:

‘In A Word; Murder,’ is the brain-child of Mystery writer and Associate Professor, Margot Kinberg, who is a prolific blogger (Confessions of a Mystery writer)  and author of the Joel  Williams  series of mysteries.

Margot was a good friend of Maxine’s and wanted to show her appreciation for her friend and her friend’s knowledge of all things to do with writing Crime stories.

Maxine Clarke’s blog ‘Petrona,’ was influential and informative and is still available to view:


The book is available now at only £1.99 and features the following authors:

Martin Edwards, Pamela Griffiths, Paula K Randall, Elizabeth S Craig, Sarah Ward, Margot Kinberg and me, Jane Risdon.

The wonderful artwork is by Lesley Fletcher.

I do hope you will visit and and consider this book when thinking about gifts for this year. It is for a good cause.

Many thanks from  a very excited and very honoured Jane Risdon.

Calling Out Around the World, Are You Ready For a Brand-New Beat?

Jane Risdon:

This is the gift which will keep on giving. I do hope you will remember a wonderful lady, provide funds for the hospice which nursed her and also support the contributing authors (including me) by purchasing this anthology via Amazon. A wonderful cause and a great read…she says modestly!

Originally posted on Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...:

Kindleshot of In a Word MurderThere’s a lot of excitement here at Confessions of A Mystery Novelist…. Why? Well, I have a very exciting announcement! 


In a Word: Murder is now available as a Kindle release on Amazon!!  Just click on the cover image and see for yourself.


Ina Word Murder Cover


This collection includes a variety of crime stories, all with a focus on crime in the writing, editing, reviewing and blogging world. They’re terrific stories written by talented authors.  You know you want this. And if you don’t, someone you’re buying a gift for probably does. OK, advert over. ;-)

This anthology’s a lot more than just any collection of crime stories. Any proceeds will be donated to the Princess Alice Hospice, in memory of Maxine Clarke. Maxine was a dedicated and knowledgeable friend to the crime fiction world, and is sorely missed. By getting a copy of these…

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Changing the Guard – Flash Fiction Story (191 words) live link 1st November 2013

(c) Unknown

(c) Unknown


Changing the Guard

My 191 word Flash Fiction Story has gone live early today.

Follow this live link to read it over on Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog.

Do let me know what you think.  I wrote it for my writing group weekly competition whereby we had to write a short story in less than 200 words.  There was a photo of several people sitting at a long table, with one person giving what looked like a speech, which provided the theme and this is my effort.  I do hope you like it.

I know Morgen would appreciate seeing your comments and so do please let her know what you think as she has been (is) very supportive of me and just as I love reading your remarks here it would be great if you could leave some comments on her blog too.

Thanks so much for your support, always appreciated.


The Secret of Willow Cottage and the Tale of the Jilted Lover, tonight 7pm ……

Willow Cottage (c) Jane Risdon 2010 - Features in The Secret of Willow Cottage Cottage

Willow Cottage (c) Jane Risdon 2010 – Features in The Secret of Willow Cottage Cottage

‘The Secret of Willow Cottage and the Tale of the Jilted Lover’ goes live tonight at 7pm UK time on Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog, Flash Fiction Friday….follow this link:

I am so excited to know what you all think about this story, especially those of you who asked me to write it. 

This is the story of  what happened to Sebastian Nugent, the jilted lover of Serena Beaufort. 

Where Serena's wedding took place (c) Jane Risdon 2010

Where Sebastian lost Serena (c) Jane Risdon 2010

Serena is the main character in my flash fiction story, ‘The Secret of Willow Cottage and the Tale of the Reluctant Bride,’ and if you are reading about these people for the first time, it would make sense to go over to Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog where she featured Serena’s story on Flash Fiction Friday back in March.  Here is the link for the first story:

Do read about her first, before reading about Sebastian.


This is not my usual crime story so I hope you will be pleasantly surprised.  Do please let me know what you think – it helps, really it does – to get feedback.

Thanks to everyone who loved Serena’s story so much – Sebastian’s story is for you.  I really appreciate your interest in learning about his fate.  Without you his story would never have seen the light of day.

The Secret of Willow Cottage and the Tale of the Jilted Lover: 31st May 2013

For those of you who enjoyed my Flash Fiction story, ‘The Secret of Willow Cottage and the Tale of the Reluctant Bride,‘ and who asked what happened to Serena Beaufort’s  jilted lover, Sebastian Nugent,

Willow Cottage (c) Jane Risdon 2010 - Features in The Secret of Willow Cottage Cottage

Willow Cottage (c) Jane Risdon 2010 – Features in The Secret of Willow Cottage

I have written Sebastian’s story, ‘The Secret of Willow Cottage and the Tale of the Jilted Lover,‘ and Morgen Bailey has kindly agreed to publish this on 31st May 2013 at  7pm (UK) time.

Where Serena's wedding took place (c) Jane Risdon 2010

Where Serena’s wedding took place (c) Jane Risdon 2010

I will publish links to the story nearer the date.

This will also be Pod-Cast on Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog on 11th August 2013.

If you are interested in reading any of my other Flash Fiction stories (and hearing the Pod-casts) you can find these on Morgen Bailey’s Blog.  I also have Short Stories there.

You will find my work and that of many other talented and exciting authors by following this link:

Morgen also has lots of groups for writers, tips and interviews which you may find of interest and she is an author in her own right.

If you have not read ‘The Secret of Willow Cottage and the Tale of the Reluctant Bride,’  please do drop over to Morgen’s pages and read it there.

You will find Serena Beaufort’s story by following this link:

This will be Pod-Cast on 30th June 2013.  I will publish links nearer the date.

I am thrilled that people loved Serena’s story enough to want to read more, and even my own husband wanted to discover what happened to Sebastian:  I can never refuse him!

Thanks so much.  I do hope you will enjoy Sebastian’s story as much as Serena’s.  No doubt you will let me know.


The Letter, 456 words (c) Jane Risdon 2013

The Letter, 456 words (c) Jane Risdon 2013

I’ve just won my writing group’s competition for April/May with a Short Story called ‘The Letter’ – 456 words.  I’ve added this to the Menu above, under Tasters.  The judge is a successful published author and I am so chuffed to have come first because the competition was really stiff with so many fabulous entries to consider.  Leave me a comment if you drop in and read it or any of the other Tasters there.  I’d love to know what you think.

The Secret of Willow Cottage and The Tale of the Reluctant Bride – Flash Fiction Friday 5th April 2013

Willow Cottage (c) Jane Risdon 2010

Willow Cottage (c) Jane Risdon 2010

It is almost indecent I realise, but I cannot help myself.

I have written another piece of Flash Fiction which is to be published on Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog on 5th April 2013 at 7pm.

The Secret of Willow Cottage and the Tale of the Reluctant Bride is under 1,000 words. I really enjoyed writing it and I hope you enjoy reading it.

The link is:

Secrets revealed (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Secrets revealed (c) Jane Risdon 2012

I do hope you will be kind enough to pay her blog a visit and read my story and let me know what you think, and do please tell Morgen too.  She works hard to help authors and she would love to know that her efforts have been rewarded.  In fact if you write and would love to take advantage of some of her wonderful opportunities I suggest you pop across anyway. 
Events unfold - fates are sealed (c) Jane Risdon 2010

Events unfold – fates are sealed (c) Jane Risdon 2010

If you are a reader and love to discover new authors and see what makes them tick, then the interviews and articles will suit you too.
Autumnal day - A family plot.  (c) Jane Risdon 2011

Autumnal day – A family plot. (c) Jane Risdon 2011

Tea and Talk at Sally Lunn’s – March 31st 2013

Sally Lunn's (c) Joanna Lambert

Sally Lunn’s (c) Joanna Lambert

We all love a good natter and Jo Lambert and I get down to it on March 31st on her blog, ‘Tea and Talk at Sally Lunn’s,’ when she interviews me.

If you are at all interested then do follow the links below to get to the nitty-gritty about me plus lots of others, who have gone before me.  It is a really interesting place to find out about authors and their lives and books.

We had a nice chat and had lots of tea (well you know me and tea) and I tried not to eat all the scones.

Do pop back here and let me know what you think.  Jo would appreciate some comments as well on her page too.

So, March 31st is when we lift our little pinkies and get down to business.  Do pop in.  It is a lovely tea shop, the staff are unobtrusive as you will discover and the afternoon tea is awesome.  Why not stop and order some, you’ll love it.

Pod-Cast of The Honey Trap is live now at

The Honey trap (c) Jane Risdon 2012

The Honey Trap, Pod-cast 24th March 2013 – details are below
(c) Jane Risdon 2012

Morgen Bailey’s Pod-Cast of my Flash Fiction Story, ‘The Honey Trap,’ is available now – follow this link and scroll down to 24th March 2013, episode #022.  Mine is the second story Morgen is reading.  There are three altogether.

If you scroll back up to 2nd January 2012 episode #004, you will find the Pod-Cast of my Flash Fiction Story, ‘The White Witch of England,’ which is also the second story read by Morgen.

The White Witch of England, Pod-Cast 2nd January 2012 - links on my blog-roll

The White Witch of England, Pod-Cast 2nd January 2012 – links on my blog-roll

‘The Honey Trap,’  will also be Pod-cast 7pm UK time on iTunes and several other Pod-Cast outlets listed on Morgen’s pages. The link for iTunes is:


As well as (when they catch up – always a bit slow adding new Pod-Casts) so be prepared to wait.  Podcast Alley does not list the stories so you need to have a look around:



Podcast Alley

I do hope you enjoy my story and will let me (and Morgen), know what you think. 

Thanks so much for visiting and taking time to read my stories and (hopefully), my Pod-Casts.

The Honey Trap Pod-Cast Sunday 24th March

The Honey trap (c) Jane Risdon 2012

The Honey Trap, Pod-cast 24th March 2013 – details tomorrow 24th.
(c) Jane Risdon 2012

Just to let you know that the Pod-Cast of my Flash Fiction story ‘The Honey Trap,’ is taking place on Sunday 24th March on Morgen Bailey’s pages.  I will post links tomorrow and I do hope you will pop over and listen. 

The White Witch of England, Pod-Cast 2nd January 2012 - links on my blog-roll

The White Witch of England, Pod-Cast 2nd January 2012 – links on my blog-roll

You can also find the Pod-Cast of another Flash Fiction piece there, ‘The White Witch of England,’ and of course you can read these stories and also my Short Story, ‘A Walk to Destiny,’ on her pages too.  Links to these are on my Blog-roll.

This stile features in My short story; A Walk To Destiny. (c) Jane Risdon 2012 - links on my blog-roll

This stile features in My short story; A Walk To Destiny. (c) Jane Risdon 2012 – links on my blog-roll, featured on Morgen Bailey’s Blog Nov 24th 2012

Today I am writing another piece of Flash Fiction so who knows, this may be posted there soon as well.

Don’t forget to leave your feedback if you do visit and listen/read anything and also let me know here.  Many Thanks.

If interested you will find some samples of my writing under ‘Tasters,’ on my menu and also some background information about my Work in Progress, under ‘About.’  I hope you take a look and leave me your thoughts.

  Enjoy your weekend.

Snowing here today.

Love this weather, Not!(c) Jane Risdon 2013

Love this weather, Not!
(c) Jane Risdon 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award


I’d like to thank Suzie Tullett     for nominating me for this lovely award.  It is such a fab thing to have happen.

Suzie is author of ‘Going Underground’ and her latest book, ‘Little White Lies and Butterflies’ is out now.  Do visit her blog and check her out.

I have been nominated for several other Awards from fellow bloggers but (until now) I’ve not managed to post the Award or links.  What am I like!!  I’ll have a go at posting the others now that I think I have the hang of this.

Anyway, I have to tell you 7 things about myself and then nominate other bloggers/authors  I want to receive the Award.  All they need to do then is link back to me, choose their nominees and answer 7 things about themselves and post links to their nominees…..simples!

So 7 things about me which may surprise you, though I am sure you would have survived perfectly well without knowing:

Once when on tour in the USA with a band, we were invited on to a US Air Force Base and into the Traffic Control Tower.  I got to ‘talk down’ several pilots; this meant instructing them to land on to the runway where they touch their wheels to the ground briefly before taking off again….without stopping.  They were doing dummy bombing and landing/take-off runs.  I seem to recall they were flying B52’s.  Such a thrill.  No-one crashed.

I have done the voice-over for an American Trans-Atlantic Airline long-haul Entertainment programmes, where the in-flight Music needed descriptions and listings.

Some years ago I was interviewed by the BBC World Service for a programme about Women in Rock (female managers) – in those days there were few of us and I can only think of Wendy Dio and Sharon Osborne who were well known then.

I’ve studied Image and Style and gave lectures all over England/Wales, including to a very posh Girls’ School in Kent, and to several titled ladies – they were great fun and I had such satisfaction seeing them putting my advice into practice and being told I ‘changed their lives’.

Can’t recall the year (possibly early 1980’s) but I was one of a few, specially invited people, to make the inaugural Trans-Atlantic phone call (via fibre optics) from Reading Berkshire to Reading Pennsylvania USA.

I’ve been interviewed live on air on USA Video TV channels across the USA as part of a Promotional Tour with my artists.  At one stage in an interview – much to my horror, I had to give ‘relationship’ advice to couples who called in live to the station.  I had no idea I was going to have to do this.  Apparently I handled it all very well.  I couldn’t wait to get out of there.  Nightmare.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of very famous recording artists, songwriters, record producers and actors,  and I have found them (mostly), to be a lot nicer than their PR has led me to believe, and a great deal nicer than most of those who were not as famous or successful, and who thought they had to sell their mother’s to get somewhere. I have found myself making records and touring with people whose posters I’ve had on my bedroom walls as a teenager, or my son has had on his! A big thrill for me – still.

Well, you may or may not find any of this of interest.  It is hard to list things about oneself which might possibly float someone else’s boat.  These are some of the things which have left pretty big impressions on me.

My nominations are:

My very good friend  Christina Jones.

Prolific writer and award-winning author of many, many books including:  

‘Never Can Say Goodbye,’  ‘Love Potions,’ ‘Hubble Bubble,’ ‘Walking on air,’ ‘Heaven Sent,’  ‘Stealing the Show,’ ‘Tickled Pink’…….

Her latest book, ‘An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding’, is published in Hard back Feb. 7th and in Paper back May 2nd 2013.

Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog – prolific blogger and writer who has given me lots of opportunity (short stories and flash fiction), to peddle my wares and those of many others also.  Morgen’s latest book is ‘The Serial Dater’s Shopping List’ – details on her blog.
Jenny Milchman blogger and writer and now first time published author with the publication this week of her novel, ‘Cover of Snow’ which she is on the road in the USA promoting now.
Susan Hymer, poet and writer.  She has numerous poems and pieces published including ‘Poetry: From Pen to Print’.

Phyllis Burton, writer.  She has published ‘Paper Dreams’ and her latest, ‘A Passing Storm,’  is published 1st Feb 2013.
Gerry McCullough – Irish writer and author of ‘Belfast Girls’ and ‘Lady Molly,’  ‘Danger, Danger,’ ‘Angel in Flight,’ to name a few.
So, ladies, congratulations upon your awards and I look forward to reading all about you soon.  I know that Jenny Milchman is off on tour with her novel and may be a while responding, and Morgen Bailey is bogged down with her various projects, but do visit their blogs anyway.  So much to see and read in the meantime.  Actually ALL these ladies have wonderful blogs and website well worth a visit anytime.
Now I have the hang of this I shall endeavour to add my other awards as soon as time permits….what a lark!

Shiver with delight.

Jane Risdon:

Thanks so much Kate for this, relly appreciated. :)

Originally posted on KATE JACK'S BLOG:

Shiver from Accent Press Oct 2014

This is a cracking little book, for lovers of halloween. Filled with short stores, all with the theme of halloween, but otherwise very different from each other. Some have a humerous take, some more “ghost, goulies and bats”, but all are extemely well written. Well worth reading.

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