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Welcome to my author blog. I post about my writing - mostly crime/thriller and mystery - but I do write in other genres when the story dictates. I write about things I enjoy such as photography and my 'jollies,' to places of interest, and now and again I host Guest Authors. Feel free to look around, comment and get involved. I love to hear from you and especially new visitors. Your visit is appreciated. Jane.

Tim Walker: Independent Author with a foot in the past is my Guest Author this week

Please welcome

my Guest Author

Tim Walker

Tim Walker is an independent author based in Windsor, UK.

His background is in marketing, journalism, editing and publications management.

Welcome Tim, I’m really happy to have you as my guest author.

I love anything to do with history so I’m really looking forward to your piece for us.

Let’s find out about Tim:

He began writing an historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages (set in the Fifth Century), in 2015, starting with a novella set at the time the Romans left Britain – Abandoned.

This was followed in 2017 with a novel – Ambrosius: Last of the Romans,

and the third installment,

Uther’s Destiny, has just been released in March 2018.

His creative writing journey began in July 2015 with the publication of a book of short stories, Thames Valley Tales.

In 2016 his first novel, a futuristic/dystopian thriller, Devil Gate Dawn was exposed on the Amazon Scout programme prior to publication.

Both titles were re-launched with revised content, new covers and in print-on-demand paperback format in December 2016.

In January 2017 his first children’s book, The Adventures of Charly Holmes, co-written with his 12-year-old daughter, Cathy, was published.

In September 2017 he published a second collection of short stories – Postcards from London.

 A little more background information:

After school, Tim worked as a trainee reporter, progressing to writing a music column and reviewing films.

He obtained an honours degree in Communication Studies, majoring in film studies, and added a Post-Graduate Diploma in Marketing two years later in Bristol.

After graduating, he worked for ten years in London in the newspaper publishing industry in market research and advertising sales support.

He followed this with two years as a voluntary worker with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) in Zambia, working in book publishing development.  Soon after, he set up and managed his own publishing, marketing and management consultancy company.

Tim now lives near Windsor in Berkshire where he blogs and writes creative fiction.

Filling in the Gaps in Our Lost History

On a summer’s day in 2015 I stood in the grassy meadow of the site of former Roman town Calleva Atrebatum (known as Silchester in the Middle Ages) in North Hampshire, trying to imagine what it would have been like at the time the Romans evacuated between 409-410 AD. Unlike other Roman towns, this one was largely abandoned not long after the Romans left, and therefore is a green field site for archaeological excavation. The abandonment took place gradually over a few hundred years, for reasons that can only be guessed at.

It was the site of the main village of the Atrebates tribe at the time of the Roman occupation, and following a war of conquest by the legions of General Aulus Paulinius (on behalf of the Emperor Claudius) that began in 49AD, the Atrebates were in turn subdued and became a ‘client kingdom’ in the same way as the Trinovantes and Icenii had to the east. The stone walled town the Romans built was named ‘Calleva Atrebatum’ meaning ‘Wooded Place of the Atrebates’ – showing a desire by the Romans at conciliation and aimed at getting the cooperation of their new subjects.

I had read Rosemary Sutcliffe’s novel ‘The Eagle of the Ninth’ at school, and was intrigued to learn that the discovery of a bronze eagle buried in what would later be identified as the Forum in Calleva, was her inspiration. I was also interested in the Arthurian legend, and pondered the historical connection between the Romans leaving (and taking their record clerks with them) and the start of what became known as The Dark Ages – a time from which few written records have survived to tell us what happened and how the Britons organized themselves after four hundred years of living under Roman rule.

I decided to research this period and write an historical series that aimed to connect the end of Roman rule to the Arthurian legend and try to pitch it to readers as a believable alt-history. It doesn’t help that the originator of the Arthurian legend is the largely discredited Geoffrey of Monmouth, writing around 1136. His epic work, Historia Regum BritanniaeThe History of the Kings of Britain – includes the first account of the Arthurian legend, apart from brief mentions of Arthur in earlier chronicles.

Geoffrey had a habit of ‘making up’ or borrowing from classical sources to fill gaps in his ‘history’ that have led historians to dismiss his work as fanciful and unreliable. However, he does acknowledge reading known source texts, most notably from monks Gildas, Nennius and Bede, and the Welsh folk chronicles and poems, plus the tantalizing possibility of lost texts that are unknown to us. It is all we have to go on, and at least suggests at an armed resistance by Briton kings and warriors to Anglo-Saxon settlement across the island – a process that took nearly two hundred years before the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were established and the boundaries between England, Wales and Scotland were defined.

Uther’s Destiny – Blurb

Uther’s Destiny, has just been released in March 2018.

In the year 467 AD Britannia is in shock at the murder of charismatic High King, Ambrosius Aurelianus, and looks to his brother and successor, Uther, to continue his work in leading the resistance to barbarian invaders. Uther’s destiny as a warrior king seems set until his world is turned on its head when his burning desire to possess the beautiful Ygerne leads to conflict. Could the fate of his kingdom hang in the balance as a consequence?

Court healer and schemer, Merlyn, sees an opportunity in Uther’s lustful obsession to fulfil the prophetic visions that guide him. He is encouraged on his mission by druids who align their desire for a return to ancient ways with his urge to protect the one destined to save the Britons from invaders and lead them to a time of peace and prosperity. Merlyn must use his wisdom and guile to thwart the machinations of an enemy intent on foiling his plans.

Meanwhile, Saxon chiefs Octa and Ælla have their own plans for seizing the island of Britannia and forging a new colony of Germanic tribes. Can Uther rise above his family problems and raise an army to oppose them?

Book three in A Light in the Dark Ages series, Uther’s Destiny is an historical fiction novel set in the Fifth Century – a time of myths and legends that builds to the greatest legend of all – King Arthur and his knights.

And so, I embarked on an alt-history of Britain in the Fifth Century that would fill three books, leading to the moment when Merlin unveils the youthful Arthur and proclaims him ‘A light in an age of darkness’.

Totally fascinating Tim, thanks so much.

Thanks for inviting me to be a guest on your blog Jane.

Tim, it has been a pleasure and so very interesting. Thanks so much.

We’d love to read your comments on Tim’s guest post, so do please let him know what you think.

If you are interested in learning more about Tim and his books

You can visit Tim’s website,

find him on Facebook 

and follow him on Twitter @timwalker1666

Author Website:

Newsletter sign-up:

Amazon Author Page:

Facebook Page:


Abandoned! – a novella –

Ambrosius: Last of the Romans – a novel –

Uther’s Destiny link is:

Beautiful series book covers by the talented Cathy Walker (no relation) –







Frank Westworth – Six Strings: a new quick-thriller from my guest author today

I have Frank Westworth as my Guest Author today.

Frank Westworth

Let’s find out more about him and his latest short story:

Six Strings: a new quick thriller

Gritty Britcrime author Frank Westworth stops by to chat about his new quick-thriller, Six Strings, which features his complicated contract killer, JJ Stoner. When Stoner isn’t wreaking havoc with a very large hammer, he plays electric guitar at a blue bar. And he also has a secret lair, as Frank explains…

Have you ever taken much notice of where action heroes live?

The fictional ones, not those in real life.

I read a lot, and am endlessly entertained by the way in which the most fascinating fictional characters appear to drift into a few main categories when it comes to their domestic arrangements.

Detectives, almost inevitably tortured souls with bleak pasts and desperate presents, somehow maintain something identifiable as a conventional nuclear family, inhabiting a mysteriously conventional family home. How squalid or how grand depends on many other things, of course – as in real life.

Other action types appear to live nowhere… or instead they live lives of improbable grandeur, passing through a privileged existence which is often less comprehensible than their various skills, intuitions, physical perfections, weapons prowess and often inexplicable psychotic genius.

I could list a few of the more remarkable homes … but when I started writing the odd adventures of JJ Stoner, one-time soldier, occasional musician and contracted strong arm of a mysterious man from an unidentified ministry, I thought long and hard about how he would live. Not where, exactly, not at first, but how he would live. What does a guy who maims and murders by day – when ordered to do so, as are soldiers everywhere – what does he do for a little R&R?

Just like Batman needs his batcave and Supermen his fortress of solitude, so I felt that my man needed his man cave.

So I gave him one…

Stoner’s hideaway is revealed in Six Strings – and here’s a taste of what else to expect:-

‘You want me to kill someone.’

Stoner plainly had a grasp of both the gravity and the subtlety of the situation. ‘There’s no need to rattle on so much. Killing people is what I do.’

He paused.

‘But only if he orders me to…’

Life is usually fairly straightforward for former Sergeant Stoner. He plays electric guitar in a blues bar, and discreetly (deniably) resolves sticky situations for the British authorities.

When the Drug Squad can’t convict a particularly unpleasant pusher, Stoner is tasked with permanently solving the problem. But before he can deploy his very particular skill set to lethal effect, an old acquaintance steps out of the shadows and delivers disconcerting intelligence.

The job just got a lot more complicated. 

‘Amateurs,’ Stoner muttered, mostly to himself, walking towards a pair of vehicles parked at right angles to each other, sidelights combining to provide a puddle of dim light which somehow deepened the surrounding darkness.

A man walked into that light, stopped, stood relaxed and plainly comfortable with his situation, armed – in some cinematic macho way – with a tyre iron, swinging gently. A distraction, maybe.

Stoner, undistracted, walked steadily to the edge of the dim pool and paced to a halt. He swung the holdall from his shoulder and lowered it to the ground, allowing the strap to fall across it. Then he spread his feet apart and lifted his arms to shoulder height. One invisible man patted him down from behind, removing a cell phone from a pocket; a second invisible man held the gun on him.

There was always a gun.

Here’s what people are saying:

‘It’s not every day you discover a short story with action, tension, and characters who draw you in.  But Westworth’s JJ Stoner short story, Six Strings, offers all that plus dangerous locations and precision plotting wrapped in a ribbon of sharp noir dialogue.  Brisk, tight, and worth the read… keep your eye on Stoner.  And Westworth too.’

Rich Leder, novelist / screenwriter

‘In Six Strings, Frank Westworth delivers another JJ Stoner tale, providing the reader with all the trouble, action, and hard, fast-talking characters they can handle. A fun, rip-roaring read.’

David Oppegaard , author of The Town Built on Sorrow

Six Strings is a quick thriller, an hour’s intrigue and entertainment. It features characters from the JJ Stoner / Killing Sisters series. You don’t need to have read any of the other stories in the series: you can start right here if you like.

Six Strings is available at Amazon for 99p:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:


Author Facebook page:

Author website:

Author Amazon page:

Author Goodreads page:

About JJ Stoner

In a former life, JJ Stoner was a hard-faced military man. Now, discreetly and deniably, he resolves sticky situations for the British authorities. So when the Drug Squad can’t convict a particularly unpleasant pusher, Stoner is tasked with permanently solving the problem.
But before he can deploy his very particular skill set, an old acquaintance steps out of the shadows and delivers disconcerting intelligence…

As well as a complete, stand-alone short story, Six Strings includes an excerpt from The Corruption Of Chastity.

There’s also a behind-the-scenes blog from author Frank Westworth, who shares some of the secrets of Stoner’s shady existence.

Please note that Six Strings is intended for an adult audience and contains explicit violence. 

Six Strings was published on 22 February 2018 at 99p/99c

Thanks so much for telling us about your latest quick-thriller Frank, and best wishes for your success. I hope readers will let us know what they think….

Love from the Other Side: Ghostly Writes Valentine’s Anthology 2018 with my story ALEXA – Paperback and E-pub


Another short story in an anthology with Plaisted Publishing Ltd.

Ghostly Writes Valentine’s Anthology 2018:


features stories from authors from all over the world

and including my story


A recent widower misses his wife and goes online in search of some company

and that is where he meets Alexa, and soon after he moves her into his home….

Paperback is discounted for a short time from


 e-pub is FREE to read on Lulu:

The stories and the writers: 

Love from the Other side 2018


6 years of blogging with you lovely folk: thank you so very much

Six years ago I made the decision to write a blog

at the time I had a vague idea of what I wanted to achieve but I thought I’d give it a go and see what happened.


I wanted to share my love of writing and reading, my enjoyment of walking and taking photographs, and I thought I ‘d write about my ‘jollies,’  when I go out and about this gorgeous country with its historical buildings, villages, gardens and breath-taking countryside.

And I have tried to do all this and more.

View across The Vale of The White Horse (c) Jane Risdon 2011

(c) Jane Risdon 1982

Yesterday it was my blog’s 6th birthday.

I’ve been reflecting upon the past 6 years when I took that step into the unknown.

I had no idea what to expect, whether anyone ‘out there’ would read anything, or come back again once they had.

I needn’t have worried.

I have amassed the best friends you could ever imagine here,

who share my world and whose worlds I share and love dipping into.

6 years ago I didn’t know or expect this could happen.

What I did not expect was the friendships I’d form with people I most probably will never meet, and all the things we have in common.

I had no idea I’d have so much fun watching them achieve their dreams whilst I tried to achieve mine…

Our journey wasn’t/isn’t  always easy but throughout we have all kept our sense of humour.

I love that we can share a good giggle.

I didn’t realise that it would be so uplifting to read their stories and to feel satisfaction when they achieved their goals.

It’s been wonderful to have their kind, encouraging words when I have achieved some of mine.

It has been  difficult to see these friends struggle with obstacles, yet how wonderful it’s been when they’ve  overcome them.

I never thought I’d meet like-minded writers, readers, and bloggers and experience their kindness and generosity towards me and each other.

Their encouragement, advice and willingness to join in with me here and on other blogs, to offer the benefit of their experience and a helping hand has been a joy.

Their enthusiasm to get involved with blog tours, re-blogging, tweeting, and generally offering a platform to me and my writing and to my guest authors, has been so very enriching and rewarding.

My faith in the human spirit is not misplaced.

During this time I have endeavoured to reciprocate all this generosity and kindness in my own small way, as I feel strongly that we must all help one another if we can.

It’s a tough old world out there for writers. We are not in competition with each other; we complement each other and hopefully enrich our readers lives and ourselves.

Many, many, thanks for being here, for being a friend and for making my world a better and happier place.

I shall continue to try and reciprocate in any way I can.

Here is to the next 6 years with you all.

Jane xx

(c) Jane Risdon 2018 all photos except the last three images. All rights reserved.

Louise Mullins: Best-Selling Psychological Thriller Author – with Movie Rights Signed – is My Guest Author Today

Louise Mullins Author

Today I’d like to welcome best-selling author Louise Mullins.

Let’s find out all about her and her writing in her own words:

‘I didn’t intend to become a crime writer…’

My first title, The House of Secrets is based on the story of Isabella, a Victorian woman who is sent to an asylum by her cruel husband after the tragic death of her children in a house fire, because she regularly speaks to their spirits and is labelled insane.

Mental health was my focus, but inside the asylum Isabella makes friends with a female resident named Anne. When they flee the asylum to escape treatment, Isabella soon learns that Anne has committed an awful crime, and wonders if she’s put herself in worse danger.

Lavender Fields began as a love affair in WW2, and followed a similar path. Both contain murder.

Movie Rights Sold

I wrote my first psychological thriller, Scream Quietly in 2015.

It was an instant hit, becoming an Amazon bestseller twice, and six months after its release I signed a deal allowing a major US film producer the movie rights.

It’s currently in production.

Wow that is fantastic, congratulations Louise.

The success of Scream Quietly, spurred me on, and I continued writing. Three books later, The Perfect Wife became a top 10 bestseller, followed by One Night Only.

In 2016, I secured a book deal and signed a publishing contract with Bloodhound Books, who have been amazing.

Once again, many congratulations.

While most of my thrillers are categorized as “domestic noir” or “psychological chillers” my latest series – the first I’ve ever written – is very different. These titles are more hard-boiled. They’re “action-packed” according to one early reader, and are a mixture of psychological crime thriller/police procedural.

They’re also based in the US. Not only have I had to adapt to ensuring my narrators speak in authentic southern drawl while using different words to describe things, but I’ve had to write each title in UK English.

Each title covers several topical subjects, interwoven with current social issues that are affecting every one of us alive today.

I’ve researched arms dealing, gang crime, and mass cult practices, as well as digging out assignments from my university days to add information on gender studies, racial inequality, and authoritarianism in culture.

The main themes in LUCKY are addiction, human trafficking, and drug smuggling.

There is the troubling truth of police corruption underlying the novel, and the worrying knowledge that every choice we make has a consequence, which both shapes our view of the past, and has repercussions for our future.

Despite the gloomy subject matter, Lucky is placed in the scenic beauty of southern America, interspersed with the golden beaches and dry desolate highways of Mexico during one scorching summer.

The atmosphere in Detective Jackson’s office is tense, but the investigation unfolds alongside Lucky’s journey across state borders, passing through the steep inclines of the Rio Grande, and the rose-tinted sunsets that coat the horizon above cornfields over the stagnant South Valley canal where the unidentified bodies of Hispanic prostitutes are being dumped.

Louise’s Bio:

Louise Mullins writes full-time using the experience she gained in a prior life working in the field of forensic mental health and psychological therapy, working with offenders and survivors of serious crimes.

She admits to a serious book addiction and spends a lot of her spare time reading (all for research purposes of course). She enjoys psychological thrillers, historical fiction, and autobiographies.

She lives in Bristol (England) with her husband and three children.

Contact Louise Mullins via her website, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to keep updated with her latest releases.


The Blurb:

Albuquerque, US:

A series of seemingly unrelated deaths spark a major multiple homicide investigation for Detective Jackson, involving crimes that cross state lines and lead into Mexico. But with no forensic print, no witnesses, and a lengthy wait to identify the victims, there are no suspects. That is until several members of a drug cartel are killed off one by one, drawing her closer to danger and further from the answers she desperately needs.

Juarez, Mexico:

When Californian born prostitute Leona is offered work in a Tijuana strip club, it quickly becomes a nightmare in which there is no escape. Trafficked across Mexico with a hit on her head, her only chance of survival is to join the cartel. The same cartel responsible for the recent slayings on Detective Jackson’s turf.

Faced with limited options, the two women’s survival depends on whether they have it in them to kill. The tragic consequences of whatever choice they make will prove fatal, but will also push the investigation towards a dramatic conclusion.

South Valley where LUCKY is based.

Thanks so much for being my guest author Louise, I wish you much success with your Movie and with your future books.

Here’s where you can find Louise’s books.




Grab your copy of Lucky here:

All photos are (c) Louise Mullins. 

















Bobbi Lerman: Author, Blogger, Scribbler’s Ink Writing Community and Retreats

My Guest Author this week is Bobbi Lerman.

I first made her acquaintance when my editor at Accent Press set up a blog tour for Christina Jones and I to coincide with the publication of our novel Only One Woman in November 2017.

Bobbi not only hosted us on her blog but she read and reviewed our novel and gave us such a fab review I just had to have her as my guest author.

Bobbi Lerman

Let’s find out about Bobbi:

Bobbi Lerman’s love for writing began at a young age when she would spend her afternoons crafting short stories about her extended family in the three family home she grew up in and about life in the North Shore of Massachusetts.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America and NEC (New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America)

Through the years Bobbi’s writing has evolved to cover a multitude of topics from travel writing for blogs such as Wanderlust Woman and View From the Pier, to medieval romance and personal essay, historical medieval romance, and contemporary romance with a touch of the paranormal. 

Bobbi has always been a sucker for happily ever after.

A self-proclaimed “muse locator,” Bobbi has been running workshops for over fifteen years aimed at helping writers unblock, find their voice and inspiration.

She founded Scribbler’s Ink, an active online writing community and website offering interviews with authors writing tips and daily prompts.

When she isn’t writing or offering workshops, Bobbi loves to travel. 

 Bobbi’s latest release, Tillie’s Last Match is featured in the Seasons of Promises Anthology.

Bobbi please tell us about your writing retreat.

The Writing Retreat

Retreat Royal Forest of Dean: The Mill House  is where all the workshops and meals will happen

I learned the far-reaching benefits of going on retreats years ago when I woke up one day certain I had lost touch with my muse forever. I wanted -no- I needed to somehow jump-start my creative flow.

Serious alteration in my approach and mindset was needed. I had to change the setting in which I wrote and created my stories. The day to day distractions were impossible to avoid.

You know the ones I’m talking about. Housework that never ended, errands on your to do list, that took more time than what was in a day, and family members whom always seem to need you and only you, to do or fix something, and the biggest time-sucker of all time—that robbed you of your valuable writing time—the infamous day job.

Yes, I told myself day after day, I planned to write when I got home after dinner in the evening and on the weekends, but exhaustion overpowered my intentions, my focus had gone to seed and my muse went into deep hiding, I found any excuse from the bathroom needed cleaning, to a mountain of laundry waiting in a corner, or my husband wanted dinner, to procrastinate putting my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard.

A retreat is necessary nourishment for your senses. It is the best way to connect with your muse, other writers, (no it doesn’t matter a whit if you are a beginner writer) work through writer’s block by getting your hand moving across the page and to network with like-minded individuals.

All excuses and reasons to put off writing is taken away on a retreat as you are left alone with uninterrupted time with your muse who is desperate for attention.

Need I go on?

What to do you ask?

Here’s my advice – Retreat!  Retreat! Retreat!

The Priory is where guests will stay

Don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Don’t let anyone make you think you don’t deserve time to nurture your dreams.

You do!

Pack a bag, bring your kindle/books, notebooks, pen/pencil, you’re walking shoes, favorite munchies, (you will need these while on the road) and your most comfortable pj’s.

Stand fast, allow no one to interfere. Make it clear to one and all, they are not invited and the one extra seat they see beside you is for your muse.

It doesn’t matter that she’s been AWOL.

The old girl will show up. She can’t resist a chance to retreat or the opportunity for some serious non-stop TLC.

How do I find a retreat that is perfect for me?

I can tell you from personal experience, there is a wide variety out there.   

You can retreat for a day, a weekend or longer.  I’d recommend a week if you can manage it which brings me to the perfect segue to pitch my own upcoming writers retreat.

Have you ever fantasized of combining travel with writing? I can tell you this is a dream worth holding on to.

Here is what I know for sure; travel broadens the mind and opens a direct line to the muse. I understand because I have spent time feeding my muse with travels to Israel, Scotland, London, Paris etc…Retreating connects your creative soul with the magic of the world around you.

Join us Scribblers in the country that inspired Tolkien, JK Rowling, Dame Agatha Christie, and many others with a week dedicated to nurturing yourself and your muse as you participate in workshops geared to getting your hand moving across the page, spend time with other writers, enjoy an abundance of personal writing time as well as a bit of exploring the beautiful English countryside.

In between your writing you’ll enjoy the great food and atmosphere, and down a pint or two.  

Check out Scribbler’s Ink UK Writers Retreat in the Magical Forest of Dean, September 1-8, 2018.

Your writing will thank you!

Wow Bobbi, I’ve packed my bags.

Seriously, thanks for asking Christina and I to come and talk to your fellow writers at your September Retreat.

Unfortunately both of us are otherwise engaged. Perhaps another time. Trouble is, I am sure I’d never leave such gorgeous surroundings.

Thanks so much for being my guest author, it has been fascinating. I wish you much success with your writing and retreats.

To follow Bobbi:

Buy links for Bobbi’s Books:

Link to latest travel essay:



Marian Lanouette – Thriller Writer and my first Guest Author of 2018

Marian Lanouette

Happy New Year everyone and welcome back to my blog.  

My first Guest Author for 2018 is thriller writer, Marian Lanouette.

Let’s find out more about her and her writing.

Welcome to my blog Marian, it is really good to have you here.

Tell us something about yourself – your past/present career and where you are based:

Hi Jane, and thanks for hosting me today. In my past career I was an accountant/office manager for several industries. My favorite job outside of writing was working at a cemetery/crematorium. In fact, in the second book of the Jake Carrington Thriller Series, All the Hidden Sins, I took liberties with the industries to create a cat and mouse game with Jake and the victim/villain.

Were you an avid reader as a child?

My parents were avid readers and encouraged us all to read. As one of ten children reading was my escape to new places and exotic adventures. My most treasured item was my library card.

Who were your favourite authors and who do you think was the most influential author upon you as a child?

As all young girls I loved the Nancy Drew Series, but I also read the NY Daily News and devoured the facts on real murders. My favorite authors growing up were Joanne Greenberg, Jacqueline Susann (though I wasn’t supposed to read her.) I liked and read all the Agatha Christie novels and Tom Clancy novels and Nora Roberts Mysteries. I was really big on series, and still am. And I love biographies.

Who are your favourite authors now and why? Do you have one favourite crime writer?

I love Karin Slaughter (great name for thriller writer, isn’t it?), Leo J. Maloney, J.D. Robb, J.T. Ellison, and Angela Marsons’s Kim Stone series and Kathryn Graham’s MidSommer Murders. The reason they’re my favorites—take Leo J. Maloney. He’s a former black op, undercover, CIA operative and writes fictionally about his career. It’s intriguing. And the Kim Stone series is gripping. I love English mysteries and always have since I was a child. If an author grabs me from the first chapter and the characters strike me, I read the book through and I search out other books in the series.

How did you get published?

In 2009 I had a quadruple bypass. During my recovery I went back to my first love—writing. In that year I wrote the first two books in the Jake Carrington Thriller Series.  After letting them rest I’d edit, then edit some more. In 2011 I was offered a two book deal with a small publisher and took it. Jake was published in September 2012 . Though my path to publication is not unique, it has been a roundabout way of getting to where I am today. The Jake Carrington Series started with a small press out of Canada. After a couple of years I took back my rights and self-published him with much success. 

Who is your publisher, and how long did it take you to find your publisher?

Kensington Publishing Corp out of New York City is my publisher. They are wonderful to work with.

After meeting an editor from Kensington at a Gala, she read my books and offered me a four book deal, including the first two books that had been published in the series. I’m very excited to be working with Kensington, and I know Jake is finally home.

How long did it take from meeting to deal?

 Within a year and a half of meeting Michaela my editor, I was offered a contract.

Have you always wanted to write?

I’ve written most of my life. In eighth grade, I wrote a poem about the ocean. It was supposed to be a four line stanza, but it was quite long. I lived by the ocean then, and loved it. The nun failed me because I didn’t follow the homework instructions, but she sent it on to the newspaper and they published it.

When did you think it could become more than a hobby – if it is?

I write full-time now. Since having the bypasses and six months later three stents, my husband and I agreed I would pursue my writing career and not continue on with accounting.

Did you ever reach a point where you felt you were a successful writer, not necessarily in financial terms of course?

Yes, when I completed my first novel, I felt I had arrived. But here’s a funny story. When I decided to write full-time, my husband and I attended a party and someone asked what I did for a living. I immediately told them I was a writer. My husband whispered to me, “Don’t you think you should wait to be published first before you tell people that?” I replied, “No, if I don’t believe in me, no one else will.”

You write detective crime and have a main character, Jake Carrington – is he based on a real detective or person you know?

No, Jake is a figment of my imagination. I do know a lot of police officers and have met some in my writing groups. I love their stories and ask their advice all the time to check my facts. As with any subject, research is the key.

What do you think his main appeal to readers is?

He’s not a super hero. Jake’s a regular guy who gets his heart-broken, makes mistakes, but his heart and morals are in the right place. I think that resonates with people.

How do you research for your novels?

I do, by interviewing cops, reading, and going to my local libraries and online.

Do you have a ‘go to’ police person who can assist you and give advice or explain procedures to you?

Yes, I do. I love his stories. He’s been on the force for over twenty-five years.

Have you ever shadowed a real detective to learn about detection methods? Who and when, where etc?

I’ve done a ride along at the Police Academy for Writers, but haven’t shadowed a detective YET. That’s on my goal list.

Where do you get your inspiration?

It comes from everywhere. One Sunday I was reading the engagement announcements in the paper and thought—what if the guy was dumped at the altar, and every year he collected a woman who looked like his runaway bride—well, that became book three All the Pretty Brides in Jake’s series due out in December 2018.

Have you ever based your criminals on real criminals (from Press information etc) or are your characters right from your imagination?

They’re from my imagination, but I think everything that an author reads, or encounters in life or experiences adds to the characters they create.

Are you a note-taker and plotter?

I’m a pantsy-plotter. A story comes to me as a movie. I write out immediately what I see in my head. This becomes the basic outline for the book and the mood. When I’m halfway through it I outline what I have, which leads me to the ending. Or sometimes, I have the ending, and need to outlay the beginning.

Do you ever fall in love with your characters or take a massive dislike to some of them?

I have. In book two, I had a love/hate relationship with Kyra Russell. The ending as I wrote it had me crying my eyes out. I can’t say more or I’ll give it away.

Would you say loving a character or hating one, makes for better characterisation?

Yes, because if they are real to you, they become three-dimensional, or as authors we hope they do to readers.

Do you believe in evil?

Yes, just look around.

Do you think the actions of people who kill, torture, imprison (slave trafficking) and sexually abuse people etc are evil, misguided, or mentally ill?

I believe they are evil, even if mentally unstable. Most, are just selfish, self-serving people from what I’ve read, with some instability.

Do you support the death penalty – which we do not have in Great Britain? There are many miscarriages of justice which are often undiscovered until years after conviction of an innocent person – would the chance of a miscarriage change your opinion about the death penalty?

I did, until recently when so many inmates were awaiting death were proved innocent with DNA testing.

Have you ever attended a court case? What did you make of the way the process works?

Yes. I think the criminal has more rights than the victims, and don’t feel that’s right but understand how it came about.

TV crime drama often exaggerates or misrepresents methods of detection/forensic science – for the sake of the story and of course the running time of the show – have you ever mistakenly taken what you have seen as fact and written about it in your books?

No, I take a lot of courses offered by adult education offered by police officers or experts or at colleges on forensics. One misrepresentation is that they take the body temperature at the scene of the crime. It looks good and efficient on television.

What do you think about poetic license in such cases or are you someone who likes to be deadly accurate in what you write re the detection/forensic science and police procedures?

I research and try to get everything accurate, but being human there will be mistakes. I hope the readers will be kind.

If your books were to be made into a TV series, how do you think you’d cope with the characters and plot being messed around with? Would you find it hard to stand by and do nothing?

I’d be able to step back. When the publisher offered me my contract, she wanted some changes. I accommodated her. If she was willing to take a chance on the books, I had to put my faith in her. The same would apply with a television show. I don’t write plays, and would have to trust the writer for the show to have the knowledge of what plays well.

If you weren’t a writer and hadn’t had your former career, what do you think you might like to have been?

Why? LOL, I always wanted to be an actress.

Do you have writing/reading related hobbies – what are you hobbies?

I love knitting, snowboarding and rollerblading (not so much since the open heart surgery.)

Does your location influence your writing? Do you think you could create the same characters and plots living somewhere else or is location key to your writing?

I can and have written anywhere. When I was young, I grew up in a five-room apartment with my five brothers, four sisters and parents. We had the girls’ room, the boys’ room and the parents’ room. To get privacy I’d take a flashlight and go into the closet to read and write my stories. It all happens inside my head and I create any location that suits me at the moment.

Please tell us about all your books to date.

On February 27, 2018 the first book, All the Deadly Lies, A Jake Carrington Thriller will be released and is now up for preorder.

Please tell us about your most recent book – you may share a paragraph or two with us if you wish.

Zelda, Marian’s dog

Excerpt from All the Deadly Lies

“Sergeant, in my office, please.” Captain Shamus McGuire stood at attention in his doorway, all six-feet-four inches of him. His steel-gray hair cut to military precision focused one’s attention on his matching gray eyes.

Homicide Sergeant Jake Carrington of the Wilkesbury Police Department looked across his joined desk to his partner, and lifelong friend Louie Romanelli and shrugged. Louie threw him a questioning look as he adjusted his tie and started to rise from his chair.

“Just Jake, Louie,” the captain said as he turned into his office.

Jake picked up their latest case file to update the captain and walked in to join McGuire.

“Take a seat, Jake.” The captain pointed to one of the two institutional-gray ones in front of his desk. He took off his glasses and massaged his forehead.

Though Jake preferred to stand, he took the less beat-up seat on the right. The room was a monument to the man, all spit and polish. Sparse furnishing with a few awards and medals hung on the walls. Paperwork in precise piles, a picture of his family, the standard computer and phone were all he had on his desk. McGuire’s appearance and stance warned his cops he took no crap from them. It wasn’t like him to stall but that’s exactly what he was doing at the moment. McGuire turned his smoky eyes on him. Jake went on alert. Something was up, something big.

“Captain?” Instincts had Jake bracing for what came next.

“Spaulding’s coming up for parole again. And this time he’s requesting a DNA test before he comes before the board.” Jake’s stomach curdled. McGuire continued, “He’s also requesting the DNA samples from your sister’s crime scene be tested against his.”

“What bullshit, Shamus.”

Jake jumped up, roamed the office. His mouth went dry. Deep down he was afraid the old samples somehow wouldn’t match and would set Eva’s killer free. This new development would split his attention. What could Spaulding gain from this maneuver? To catch a killer, you had to get inside his head. Did Spaulding assume the system would release him if he got a new trial?

He looked out the window and studied the downtown area as he ran every scenario through his mind. This was his town, though imperfect as it was. He and Eva had been born here of immigrant parents. Its one-hundred-thousand residents depended on him and those who had come before him to protect it.

Thanks so much for being my guest author, it has been fab having you tell us all about your work.

Good luck with your writing and the future Marian. 

Thank you so much for the opportunity, Jane. Marian.

You are most welcome.

For those interested here are the links to Marian’s Social Media and books:

All the Hidden Sins, A Jake Carrington Thriller (formerly published as Burn in Hell,) the book contains new content and plot twists. Release date: 7/31/18

All the Pretty Brides, A Jake Carrington Thriller

Release date: 12/18/18

All the Dirty Secrets, A Jake Carrington Thriller

Release Date: 5/14/19

Buy links:




Social Media:

Author’s Website




Pinterest 2


Amazon Author Page

Hello 2018 – 2017 was such fun, let’s do it all over again.

 Because we all live in different time zones I’m a little early for some,

I know….

Wishing everyone a wonderful, happy, healthy, prosperous and safe 2018.

Thanks so much for being a good friend and supporter of my Blog throughout 2017.

You have made it such fun connecting with you all and I look forward to 2018 when we can do it all over again.

Thanks so much one and all.

You rock!

Jane xxxxx

Happy Christmas and Holidays: thanks to everyone for being here – it’s been a blast.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and happy holidays, and I hope you all have the best year ever to follow in 2018.

Thanks to each and every one of you for being here and making blogging such fun.

Thanks to those of you who have purchased the anthologies I have been included in, read my free stories, and enjoyed reading about my ‘jollies’ throughout the year.

Two anthologies I’ve been featured in were nominated for the Summer Indie Book Awards: Cons, Dames and G-Men and Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016, which was awarded SILVER (2nd Place) in Horror.

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Christmas Capers Anthology : Stab In The Dark Crime Writers Circle 2017 by [The Dark, Stab In]

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 Ghostly Writes Anthology 2017 hit #3 on Amazon Best Sellers early Christmas week 2017.

Also, special thanks to those who have turned to the light side with me and have purchased


a change from Crime and Thrillers for me…

Only One Woman was written with my life-long friend, award-winning best-selling author Christina Jones.

Christina and I share a musical past. Back in the late 1960s she was Fan-Club Secretary for my then boyfriend’s band.

We’d always wanted to write together but I don’t write fluffy Bucolic Frolics and she doesn’t write gritty Crime.

We had no idea what to write until it dawned on us; we shared our musical past and we’d write a fictional novel filled with music, fashion, and nostalgia which would appeal to those who lived and loved back then, and those who wished they had…huge world events would shape the lives of our main characters and the social changes disrupting the status quo would feature. Family relationships would be under scrutiny as Renza and Stella’s lives were changed forever by their involvement with lead guitarist, Scott, of Narnia’s Children.

In E-book and Paperback now.

 Published by Accent Press on 23rd November 2017 our novel – a big, but very fast read we are told – has been receiving fab 5* reviews and our readers tell us they cannot put it down and are left wanting more…which is great to know.

There may well be a sequel at some point – who knows!

In May 2018 the Paperback and Audio book will be published and in stores and elsewhere which is exciting.

Only One Woman is also published in the USA by Simon and Schuster.

Just an aside for those who may be wondering why Only One Woman hit #33 in Erotica on Amazon – it was a mistake! They accidentally put Only One Woman in the wrong category:  it was a Best Seller!! Go figure!

I am still working on other projects and Ms Birdsong Investigates is still in with my publisher – wish me luck.

I’d like to thank all the lovely authors who agreed to be my Guest Author this year and have subjected themselves to my interviews which I think, judging by the reception you have given them all, have been a huge success.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you all for being here and for being such a support and to let you know I enjoy reading and visiting your blogs and author pages and look forward to doing so in 2018.

Wishing you all a fabulous festive season and the best year ever for 2018.

Thanks again,

xxxx Jane

Keep an eye out for the first of my Guest Authors in 2018 – there are some crackers.

Links to my books can be found on my amazon author page:


Dear Readers…check out our FAB reviews on Amazon, GoodReads and on our own Facebook Page…

Dear Readers,

Since Only One Woman was published 23rd November 2017 we have been garnering some FAB 5* and 4*reviews

on Amazon and GoodReads,

 with some fab comments on our Only One Woman Facebook page….

here are a few so far to temp you with:

on 25 November 2017
on 24 November 2017
 Do go and take a peep.
You know how much a review means to all authors….
Much more than a love story,
Only One Woman delves deep into the emotions of young people growing up in a time of world change, innovation in music and fashion, and changes in society in England during the late 1968.1969 closing years of the Swinging Sixties. 

For those yet to discover Only One Woman: 

Hello – we are Renza Rossi and Stella Deacon, and like most girls in the 1960s we kept diaries. Proper written diaries – with daily entries from 1968 through to the end of the decade, chronicling our life, the fashions, the music, the excitement – and our love affairs….

Which, is just as well – because although we didn’t know it, and we certainly didn’t know each other, miles apart geographically and with totally different lifestyles, we were both in love with the same boy… 
How this came about, the ups and downs, the laughter, the tears, the heartbreak, and how it was resolved – all played out to a 1960s background of love and peace and rock’n’roll – is covered in the amalgamation of our diaries – which we’ve put together and called ONLY ONE WOMAN. 

We very much hope that they’ve whetted your appetite and you’re now longing to read the rest…Only One Woman was published November 23rd 2017.
Meantime take a look around.
With love,
Renza and Stella XXX

Because we are having so much fun we have set up a Facebook Page for ourselves: Only One Woman – we have snippets from the book, music posts and more.

If you recall the 1960s it is fun to revisit those times and if it is all new to you, then pop over and see what all the fuss has been about.

Renza and Stella have their own YouTube Playlists for you to listen to whilst reading.

You can buy our book in the UK, USA and Australia although it is available worldwide.


Epub: £1.99

Paperback £7.99

 USA $2.57

 Australia $3.99:

The Paperback and Audio book will follow 24th May 2018 in all good stores.

Two girls, one guitarist.

David Videcette: My Guest – former Counter Terrorist Detective turned Author: ‘I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story…’™

I am thrilled to welcome author David Videcette to my blog this week –

Author – Media Commentator – Detective

I think you are in for a treat as we discover more about his career in Counter Terrorism and his writing.

You may well have seen him on TV and heard him on the Radio giving his expert opinion about a terror attack or organized crime,

and unluckily for some, possibly been one of those unfortunate enough to come eye-ball to eye-ball with him as he buys his groceries – whilst he recalls when, where, and why he arrested you in his former life…let’s hope not!

Find out more about David before we get down to my interview with him:

As a former Scotland Yard detective, David Videcette has worked on a wealth of infamous cases.  With twenty years’ policing experience, including counter-terror operations and organised crime, David was a key investigator on the 7th July 2005 bombings in London. He is the holder of many police commendations including one for tracking down a 7/7 bomb factory.

He’s chased numerous dangerous criminals, placed bugs on scores of vehicles, searched hundreds of properties and interviewed thousands of witnesses.

David is a regular commentator for international news and media outlets such as the BBC, NBC, Sky, ITV, The Wall Street Journal, Telegraph newspapers, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Guardian and The Independent.

NBC News Manchester Attack 25.5.17

He also blogs about crime and policing, writing and publishing.

His television credits include, ITV’s The Bill, BBC’s Burgled and Crimewatch.

David is the author of bestselling crime thrillers The Theseus Paradox and The Detriment –based on real events. The Official Secrets Act prevents him from writing an autobiography, so his motto is: “I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story…”™

The truth behind his first novel, The Theseus Paradox, was investigated by one of the UK’s leading investigative journalists, Andrew Gilligan, and featured in the Sunday Telegraph and on ITV News.

You can find out more about David via his website here or chat to him on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. To watch some of his interviews, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel here. To be in the hat for a chance to win signed copies of David’s books, join his newsletter by popping in your email address here.

Newsnight August 2017


David has kindly agreed to answer these questions:

As a former counter-terrorism detective with 20 years of experience did you harbour dreams of writing before you joined the police force?

I never dreamed of being an author. No. I had dreams of being many other things, but not an author. I remember the careers officer telling me the year before I was due to leave school, ‘Keep your expectations realistic’. Looking back now, I’m guessing he’d never had anyone tell him they wanted to be a secret agent or an astronaut? I told him I could do it. He basically laughed me out of his office.

Before, during and after my time in the police, however, I’ve always written. I started out with blogs and articles for trade magazines. I also discovered that writing police reports is a great way of honing your communication skills. Day in and day out, you have to explain what happened in a concise, easy-to-understand format, for someone who wasn’t in attendance at the scene.

When you joined the police did you aim to become a detective and did you have ambitions to work in counter-terrorism?

It wasn’t until after I’d tried out jobs in various other sectors, and decided that my skills were better utilised elsewhere, that I joined the police service. I worked really hard at police training school in the early nineties, and learned all the techniques and laws that I needed in order to graduate to becoming an officer in uniform.

I can vividly remember when the decision to join counter-terror took hold of me. On the night of 9th February 1996, I was inside a police building in south London, near to the Blackwall tunnel. At 7pm there was loudest explosion I had ever heard. It shook the windows and rattled the doors. I felt the vibrations through the ground.

Half a mile away, the IRA had annihilated Canary Wharf with a huge lorry bomb; two people dead and £500 million pounds worth of damage. We rushed to assist our neighbouring police borough, just across the river – and I had never witnessed a scene like it. Complete devastation. Gigantic tower blocks had been gutted by the blast, some of which had been moved off their foundations.

It was then, standing there, that I made up my mind. I wanted to join the Anti-Terrorist branch. I wanted to be part of the team that tracked down terrorists and prosecuted them.

But you had to be a detective to do that, so that’s what I set about becoming.

Twenty-two years after my hopeless meeting with my school careers officer, after blood, sweat and tears working my way through borough policing, CID and organised crime – I was selected for the Anti-Terrorist branch – a highly trained, specialist operations unit of the Metropolitan police.

On 7th July 2005, the unimaginable happened. Four suicide bombers murdered fifty-two people on London’s transport system. On 21st July, just two weeks later – there was another attempt to do the same.

As I desperately searched for the answers behind why this had happened and who had done it, I hunted down suspects, chased terrorists across continents, and had unprecedented access to the world of spies, secrets and foreign intelligence agencies.

On leaving the police, I realised that my school careers officer had been wrong to tell me I couldn’t follow my dream. Okay, so I never made it to the moon, or even to becoming a fully-fledged secret agent – but I came as close as a boy from a council estate could.

You were the lead detective on the intelligence cell following the 7/7 terrorist bombings in London, which must have been an awesome responsibility and a horrendous experience. How did this inspire you to write?

The quest for the truth about the London bombings took years to unravel. Thousands of men and women played their parts in helping to unravel that truth, some of which was presented to a coroner’s inquest. Yet, despite years and years of painstaking work, I still felt that we had only scratched the surface of what really went on. We had accepted it was terrorism, but what if we were wrong? I knew that I had a story to tell.  Writing my first thriller, The Theseus Paradox, was my way of making sure that the story didn’t die with me.

You inspiration must obviously come from your experiences; is there one criminal characteristic/criminal personality you find hard to write about? Tell us why?

Writing about criminals is the easy part. They aren’t the problem. It’s the legacy that the bereaved leave behind on the living; the trauma, the sadness, the loss. As a police officer, you become hardened to dealing with a dead body in isolation, you find coping mechanisms to make it just about bearable. Dealing with a dead body when you have to interview distressed family members all grieving at the same time, is incredibly difficult. In the police you have to bottle it up and continue to act professionally. It’s only years later when you’re writing about this stuff and remembering these things that you find the tears splashing down onto the keyboard. Then you realise that the emotion has been trapped inside of you all that time. I guess writing is a cathartic exercise in freeing up this trapped emotion.

Are you tempted to make your criminals a lot more violent and evil than you’ve found the ‘real’ ones to be?

No. The truth is stranger than fiction and I pride myself on the fact that my crime fiction is as close to crime fact as it comes. There’s enough violence in the world to never have to make anything up. I don’t write graphically about gore – for me it’s about the emotional residue that’s left. That is the thing that stays with you as a police officer or a detective – or for anyone in the emergency services, I think.

Do you think your encounters with such people colours your way of thinking about people, the general public and even yourself?

Many years spent as a detective means I’m very suspicious of people’s motives. I don’t take life at face value. I like to question everything, get to the bottom of situations and understand what is driving someone to do what they do. Because I still work in security and policing is in my blood, I will often find myself gazing down Oxford Street and appraising people’s behaviour as if I were still a detective. I still cannot sit in a store or restaurant with my back to the door, just in case there’s ever an armed robbery… and believe me, it’s happened.

You say that you cannot tell the truth but you can tell stories based on the truth…You don’t lie but you spin a good yarn I think. How close to the truth are you prepared to go with your books?

I actually set out to write a non-fiction book, but am forbidden from writing an autobiographical novel due to the Official Secrets Act. However, this does not impinge upon my artistic rights. This is why my motto is, ‘I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story…’™

Obviously, I do still have to respect legal boundaries around what is libellous, and I do take legal advice. As many of the events which I write about are very close to my heart, and because I have been working with charities that are supporting families affected, I am careful about how much I say and how much I share with readers. Many of the visceral things I experienced on 7/7, for example, will never be discussed in the public domain.

You often appear on TV/radio and in the press as a ‘go to expert’ whenever there is a terror-related crime or similar; why is this?

Terrorism investigations are not treated like any other crime in the UK. The security service has primacy and the police are second to them. As a result, terrorism investigations are very complex and have many layers. It can often be difficult for even seasoned crime correspondents to understand how all of it fits together, when they haven’t worked within specialist operations.

I am very lucky to have had experience from the ground up across the various levels of a terrorism investigation; from trawling the wreckage at terrorist bomb scenes, right up to working side-by-side with MI5 at Thames House. There aren’t many people in the world who have been lucky to have had that experience, so I’m often called upon by those in the media to fill in the gaps, or explain issues from an independent point of view.

Do you enjoy it or would you rather you were left to your writing?

I feel that a lot of what I do in the media is almost a bit like a public service. Whilst terrorist attacks are very distressing, these events are quite rare and we have a fantastic group of people working on combatting these things. I am happy to give reassurance and explanation, whilst trying to get the facts across to the public using the benefits of my experience.

Have you ever wondered about walking down the street, or sitting on the tube and coming face to face with someone you’ve previously put away?

I do regularly see people that I have interviewed in investigations. The worst bit is out Christmas shopping. I will bump into someone serving at the till and realise that I’ve previously arrested them in an organised crime investigation and now they are out of jail, but that’s for another story…

David, thanks so much for being a great guest and answering my questions so comprehensively.

I really hope you will garner more readers and followers after being here. I’ve found this really fascinating and I am sure others will too.

You can read an extract from The Detriment here – click the link:

 Find out more about the Jake Flannagan Detective series via David’s website or on Amazon

Learn more about David’s books via these links:

The Theseus Paradox on Kindle or in paperback on Amazon

The Detriment on Kindle or in paperback on Amazon

The Book Depository with free worldwide delivery

David regularly comments on matters surrounding crime, policing and terrorism for international news and media outlets such as the BBC, NBC, ITV, Sky, The Wall Street Journal, Daily Mail, The New York Times, Telegraph newspapers, International Business Times, London Evening Standard, AFP, The Guardian, The Independent and many others.  You can see some of his media work here.

ITV’s The Bill

David was a storyline adviser on organised and gang crime, with a particular specialism in car theft and operations at The Metropolitan Police’s Stolen Vehicle Unit.

BBC’s Crimewatch

David worked as a cold case advisor to the Crimewatch team and was involved in creating dramatic reconstructions of gang robberies.

BBC Documentary series, Burgled

A BBC film crew followed David every day for a year as the lead protagonist in BBC documentary ‘Burgled’.  The show gave the BBC film crew unprecedented access to the best performing Burglary Squad in the Metropolitan Police.

The critics said:

‘Essential viewing’ – The Independent;

‘Engrossing and pacey’ – The Evening Standard;

‘Remarkable’ – The Times.

AMAZON USA: Compelling thrillers based on true events…

THE THESEUS PARADOX: The stunning breakthrough thriller …



THE DETRIMENT: A compelling detective thriller based on tr…



The Theseus Paradox: The stunning breakthrough thril…



The Detriment: A compelling detective thriller based on t…



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Christina Jones talking to Marian Lanouette about Only One Woman and her award-winning career

Today I welcome the other half of Only One Woman-Christina Jones

Hello Christina, and thank you for appearing here today. I’m excited about your book Only One Woman

Only ONe Woman cover Feb 27th 2017

Only ONe Woman cover Feb 27th 2017

1. What inspired your latest book?
ONLY ONE WOMAN is a collaboration with my friend and fellow-author, Jane Risdon. We have long wanted to co-write a book but as Jane writes gritty crime and I write froth and bubble rom-com, the subject matter was always a problem – until we realised that we shared a love – and experience – of all-things-60s… And from that light-bulb-moment Only One Woman was born. We’ve had so much fun with it. We wrote it as a two-hander, from the point of view of two girls – Renza and Stella – who are miles apart geographically, socially and emotionally, and who have both met and fallen in love with, Scott, the sex-on-legs guitarist with Narnia’s Children…
2. How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?
Oh, always – especially if they’ve annoyed me! But hopefully they’d never recognize themselves. I use snippets of character; of appearance; a way of walking or talking; add a large dash of make-believe – and roll it all into one – and then, if they’ve upset me in real life, make sure they get their fictional come-uppance. It’s very cathartic. Otherwise, everyone in my books is a complete figment of my imagination – honest.

3. Was your road to publication fraught with peril or a walk in the park?
There have been a few hiccups along the way, but mainly I think I’ve been very lucky. I started writing romantic short stories and doing pop band interviews for the teen magazines while I was still at school – then I moved on to writing humorous articles for newspapers, and fiction for the women’s magazines and managed to sell a lot of stories, and several serials, to them over the years – it was my pin-money hobby while I worked full-time at other proper jobs – I loved doing it and I never thought about it going any further. Then I won a couple of awards with some slightly longer stories – and at the awards ceremony I was approached by several agents – and well… one of them took me on, I wrote my first full length novel in 1997, my agent sold it to Orion – and I’ve written and had published 25 further books since then – as well as having another agent and several different publishers along the way– and I still write short stories for the women’s magazines too. So – yes, on the whole, compared to how it could have been, it’s been a walk in the park and I’ve been very, very lucky.

1-Listen as you read Stella

4. Give us an elevator pitch for your book.
Late 1960s: two girls, one boy, and a lifetime of rock’n’roll….

5. Do you have a view in your writing space? What does your space look like?
I write in the dining room now, on my laptop, with a view over our village green – so lots of trees and birds and squirrels and people meeting and talking and walking dogs and children playing – I love it. I used to have a study upstairs in the spare bedroom but when we had new neighbours who insisted on power-drilling the party wall day and night, I moved downstairs to the dining room to escape the noise and have never looked back.

1-Listen as you read Renza

6. What genres are you drawn to as a reader?
I read crime, police procedurals and thrillers. I love Agatha Christie and similar crime stories from a gentler age – I can’t cope with too much gore – I am however also addicted to Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks, Ann Cleeve’s Vera, and absolutely everything by Dick and/or Felix Francis. I would love to be able to write crime but I can’t – I’ve tried… I’m not clever enough to write convoluted plots – oh, and I’m such a Pollyanna that I’d never be able to kill anyone off.

7. Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?
Read, read and read….. Read anything and everything… then write what you want to write – write for you, not for the market or anyone else – tell the story that only you can tell.

Author PicAuthor Bio:
• Christina Jones, the only child of a schoolteacher and a circus clown, has been
writing all her life. As well as writing romantic comedy novels, she
also contributes short stories and articles to many national magazines and

She has won several awards for her writing: Going the Distance was a WH Smith Fresh Talent Winner; Nothing to Lose, was shortlisted and runner-up for the Thumping Good Read Award with film and television rights sold; Heaven Sent was shortlisted in The Melissa Nathan Comedy Romance Awards and won a Category Award; Love Potions won the Pure Passion Award; The Way to a Woman’s Heart was short-listed for the Rom-Com of the Year; and An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding won The Reviewer’s Choice Award.

Christina has written 21 romantic comedy novels:
Dancing in the Moonlight; Going the Distance; Running the Risk; Stealing
the Show; Jumping to Conclusions; Tickled Pink; Nothing to Lose;
Walking on Air; Lavender Lane; Honeysuckle House; Forever Autumn;
Summer of Love; Hubble Bubble; Seeing Stars; Love Potions; Happy
Birthday; Heaven Sent; Moonshine; The Way A Woman’s Heart; Never
Can Say Goodbye and An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding.

She has also written and/or contributed to 11 e-book-only novellas/short
stories/compilations: Those Lazy, Hazy Crazy Days; Mitzi’s Midwinter Wedding; Bucolic Frolics; Happy Ever After; Snippets; Shiver; Holiday Fling; Wishing on a Star; Chicklit Lovers Vol One; Chicklit Lovers Vol Three; and the Milton St John Box-Set.

Her latest novel – the love and peace and rock’n’roll 1960s story: Only One Woman – co-authored with Jane Risdon, will be published in November 2017 and is currently available to pre-order on Amazon.

Her next novel – Marigold’s Magical Mystery Tour – will be published in September 2018.

All Christina Jones’ novels are currently available, either in paperback or e-book format, and after years of travelling, she now lives in rural Oxfordshire with her husband and several rescued cats.


Also on FB: Christina Jones (author) page and Only One Woman page – both available from my main page.

Twitter: Christina Jones @bucolicfrolics

Website: Christina Jones, Chicklit Author


Barnes & Noble

1-oow blog tour (3)


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My Guest Author: Anna Claire Everward in her own words


A. Claire Everward

My Guest Author today is Anna Claire Everward. 

She will be telling us about her in her own words:

Anna Claire Everward

Claire Everward (she goes by Claire) is a suspense author with a love of knowledge and a lively imagination that made writing the natural thing for her to do.

Claire is also the author of The First, and is currently working on her next book in the Oracle series with the help of her two hyperactive cats and a laptop named Stanley.

Author & Sister

When Claire said all she wanted to do was write, her sister Kate Anne decided she would use her ten-year PR and marketing experience to help her publish. And that’s how Author & Sister was born.

Now both sisters are finally doing what they were meant to do, and they are doing it as a family.

Author & Sister is not only a newly born publishing house, it is also the sisters’ story.

Every reader, every supporter, and every aspiring writer can read about them on their blog. They can follow what it’s taking to make

the sisters’ dream come true, their breakthroughs and setbacks, the good and bad moments, the ideas and whatever interesting stories come up on the way.


The First was A. Claire Everward’s debut novel, the first in a series. A suspense novel with elements of fantasy.


Find Her.

Is the ancient directive that has once again reawakened in the hearts of those who hide.

Kill Her!

Is the frantic command of those who fear their rise.

Aelia returns from a vacation that did not go quite as she expected, to a life she does not quite feel at home in but that is, at least, hers. Or so she thinks. Within days of returning she is targeted by a hit man and she has no idea why.

But then neither does he. All Kyle Rhys knows is that to protect humanity, this woman must die. At least, he thinks, killing her will be easy. After all, the organization that has raised him has prepared him for her death his entire life.

So why can’t he kill her?

In an impossible turn of events, both killer and target find themselves on the run from those who would stop at nothing to destroy them, to those who hold a truth that would overturn their entire world, taking their very identities from them forever.

Oracle’s Hunt

The first novel in the Oracle suspense series. Second book will be out soon (November).

A security-critical facility is destroyed to get to it and it is called Oracle.

That’s all USFID investigator Donovan Pierce knows. And while he is told to find whoever perpetrated the deadly attack, and find them fast, he is also warned not to look for Oracle itself.

Lara Holsworth never expected Oracle to be in any danger. She would like nothing more than to keep it secret and Pierce away from it—and from her, but hiding is no longer an option.

With those who now know too much more determined than ever to destroy Oracle, will its protectors’ cooperation be enough to keep it safe?

Quotes (without spoilers!)

It was only one word, always the same word that lit up whenever it appeared, one word that was the target of those who had made such an effort to procure this information, destroying everything on the way.

Just one word.


The silence in IDSD’s dark Mission Command was increasingly deafening as the minutes ticked by. The officer who had moments earlier expressed his frustration shifted uneasily, prodding the security agent beside him to put a hand on his arm, not to calm but to silence him.

Oracle was working.

He pushed the thought away. It was easy to do that, with the practice he’d had. Focus on an investigation, find something else to think about.

Still, sleep took a while.

Thanks so much for sharing your writing and books with us Anna, it has been a pleasure. Good luck for the future.


The First:

Oracle’s Hunt:

And all rest of the Amazon bookstores









Sue Coletta: Best-selling Author of Psychological Thrillers, Broadcaster, Award Winner and more – My Guest Author

I’m excited to have Sue Coletta as my guest author. I love her blogs and writing and wanted to know more about her and her interest in all things murder: serial killers especially.

Welcome Sue, please tell us about yourself for those who haven’t already discovered you and your books

Hey, there! My name is Sue Coletta. I’m a Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, and a bestselling, award-winning author of psychological thrillers & mysteries. My short stories and flash fiction have appeared in Out of the Gutter Flash Fiction Offensive magazine and numerous anthologies, and my forensic articles have appeared in InSinC Quarterly.

I live in northern New Hampshire with my husband and my pet crows, Poe and Edgar, who happen to live free. Even so, they come when I call them. Amazing birds!

 You Blog and you are a broadcaster too, tell us more…

In 2017, Feedspot named my Murder Blog one of the Top 50 Crime Blogs on the net.

I’m also the communications manager for Forensic Science and the Serial Killer Project, both groups founded by cold case expert, Detective Sergeant (Ret.) Joe Giacalone, and I co-host the radio show “Partners in Crime” with Homicide Detective (Ret.) Kimberly McGath on Writestream Radio Network.

I’ve also recently joined The Kill Zone, which I’m excited about. The Kill Zone is home to 11 top suspense writers and publishing professionals. We cover the publishing biz, marketing how-to’s, and the craft of writing. Each day, we open the doorway into the world of the working writer.

Have you always wanted to write and was crime writing your first love? When did you first discover you wanted to write and could write?

When I started crafting stories in my early twenties I wrote for children. I’d always loved the crime genre, but the authors of that time we’re critically-acclaimed, well-respected authors whom I admired. They won Edgar Awards, went on city-to-city book tours, had raving fans, and seemed untouchable. I never even considered trying to write a crime novel until I moved to the country and found such inspiration in my surroundings it left me no choice but to write. The story poured out of me.

Do you read outside of the crime genre?

It’s popular advice to read widely. Meaning, outside your genre, but I tend to stick pretty close to mine. Since my psychological thriller/mysteries have splashes of noir, romantic suspense, and police procedural, it still leaves me plenty of room to explore.

Has reading a certain author’s work (ie: crime author) fuelled/influenced/inspired your interest in writing crime and why do you think that is? Kathy Reichs for example – her forensic knowledge – is one who influences and inspires me. Who do you read?

Absolutely. I don’t think we can help but be inspired by what we read, watch, experience, touch, taste, ear, smell, etc. The world is a fascinating place. I find inspiration everywhere. As for certain authors, Thomas Harris, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter, Lee Child, Larry Brooks, Jeffrey Deaver, Katia Lief, and so many others offer constant inspiration.

Are you an avid viewer of Crime dramas on TV or at the Movies?

Because I’ve studied crime extensively, I’m a tough critic of crime dramas. They get so many things wrong. That’s not to say I’m not still drawn to them. I’ll always give a new series a shot. Movies and true crime shows about serial killers are my favorite.

Which are your favourite Crime Movies?

Thomas Harris paved the way for those of us who write about serial killers, so I need to acknowledge SILENCE OF THE LAMBS as one of the greatest serial killer thrillers ever written. SOLACE, which also features Anthony Hopkins, is also a fantastic flick. And now, my husband and I are looking forward to THE SNOWMAN, which premieres Oct. 20th.

I love Jo Nesbo’s books too….The Snowman was the first of his I read. I’m a bit unsure about the movie, it might be too violent to watch. I’ll ask you about it before I decide.

Do you ever watch TV real crime documentaries and do you have any favourite series? I enjoy the True Crime series shown on TV and we have a series in Britain at the moment called The Detectives: Murder on the Streets, which follows the Manchester Police Force investigating a number of murders in real-time. I find it helpful as a writer because it shows exactly how an investigation is run.

OMG, yes! All of Discovery ID, especially Homicide Hunter. Lt. Joe Kenda is such a ham! If you haven’t seen the series, he discusses his cases while actors re-enact the investigation. I’d share my favorite episode, where a killer popped out the victim’s eyeballs, but as you know, crime writers’ dark humor can sometimes get the better of us. I’ve learned to curb my enthusiasm where murder is concerned, with the exception of my personal Facebook page. And blog. And Twitter. Admittedly, I don’t do a very good job of it. LOL

Are you interested in what makes a criminal ‘tick’  and when you are writing about a crime they’ve committed  (in your books) do you try to put background reasons/causes/childhood etc., over to your readers, or do you just want to let the reader fathom that one on their own?

I’m fascinated by why criminals do what they do. In some of my books I’ve spelled out the reasons behind the killer’s MO. In others, I’ve hinted at it, and then let the reader fill in the blanks. So to answer your question, it depends on the story. I never leave a reader hanging, but if the story doesn’t call for a full explanation—for example, the killer died and left little to no evidence to explain what triggered the first murder and why—then I’ve given the reader enough detail to figure it out on their own. ‘Course, my main characters have their opinions too.

It is complex writing about a mythical murderer – do you base your characters on any you’ve heard about or do you just conjure them from your imagination?

The cryptic clues and the murder scenes come from me. However, when crafting my antagonist, I tend to give them traits and/or backgrounds of real serial killers. I might blend a few together, but the bare bones are based on real people.

Have you studied Criminals in any shape or form – either formally or informally – and has this helped your writing at all? I’ve undertaken several Forensic Science and Criminal Justice courses so that I have some general knowledge to fall back upon when writing. Have you done anything similar? Has this helped you in any way when writing?

Yes. In fact, we’ve taken many of the same courses. I love forensic science, forensic psychology, criminology, and the like. I never tire of learning, researching, and studying. I’ve also attended Writers’ Police Academy, where they offer four days of intensive, hands-on investigation in various fields. From time to time spontaneous crimes break out (using actors), and SWAT, say, storms the building. So it also gives you a first-hand look at how bystanders feel. All the re-enactments are so well done you get swept up in the emotion. For example, two cars had a head-on collision and the victim’s mother was in the backseat at the time of impact. Later, after she’d been dragged from the wreckage, she saw her son lying through the windshield, bloodied and dead. That mother’s cries pierced my soul like a poisoned-tipped arrow. I’ll never forget it; it felt so real.

Writers’ Police Academy is held in the same training academy they use for police officers and the instructors are all cops. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.

You are a crime writer and blogger, and you have a radio blog show ‘Partners in Crime’ which you share with retired detective, cold case investigator and author, Kimberley McGath. It airs every 3rd Tuesday in the month from 1pm-3pm EST (USA). How did you hook up with Kimberley and how did the show come about?

Believe it or not Scoobs (Kim) and I met via Twitter, and immediately hit it off. She remains one of my closest friends today. Intuition is a funny thing. One day I saw a passing tweet among thousands of other tweets, and something told me to take a moment and read her bio. When I read she was a cold case expert and homicide detective (Ret.) she piqued my curiosity. I responded to her tweet—an act that planted the seed from which a beautiful friendship has grown. You’ll see her name in many of my acknowledgement pages, and my name in hers, because we help each other in so many ways.

When Writestream Radio Network approached her about hosting a crime-themed podcast, she asked if she could bring on a Partner in Crime. The rest, as they say, is history.

Who is your audience aimed at – if anyone specific?

Writers, readers, and lovers of true crime and crime fiction. We don’t sugar-coat true facts, so it’s not a show I’d recommend to minors.

What inspired you to begin the show and does hosting it help with your writing in any way?

We thought it’d be fun and informative. Plus, we get to hang out for a couple of hours a month. Win-win! Does it influence my writing? Sure. We’ve had some fascinating guests on the show.

I have a couple of retired detectives I can call upon for advice and information and I am indebted to them and their knowledge and experience – saves a great deal of research time for me. Apart from Kimberley (I assume), do you have access to other Police professionals and would you recommend crime writers find similar people to help them or do you think it is not really necessary? After-all most information is out there on the internet somewhere. How does the internet help you research or doesn’t it?

Through my blog I’ve been blessed with an amazing group of friends who work(ed) in law enforcement. Coroners, homicide detectives, police captains, patrol officers, undercover operatives, forensic personnel, crime scene photographers … you name it and I probably have a friend who’s worked in the field.

As a way to pass on my good fortune I founded #ACrimeChat on Twitter. I gathered eight of my dearest friends and asked if they’d be willing to answer questions for crime writers who didn’t have access to experts. Some of them are still on the force, and some work undercover. My main concern was their well-being. I didn’t want them to get into trouble with their departments or compromise themselves in any way.

To my surprise everyone said yes. We meet every other Wednesday on Twitter from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. EST. If a question is too probing, I intervene. For example, sometimes in order to make a point they’ll draw on personal experience. An eager writer may not know where the line is when discussing actual crimes, which is why all questions go through me.

Are you a plotter or someone (like me) who just sits and lets it flow – hopefully?

Uh-oh. The ol’ plotter vs pantser debate. I’m a plotter. Before I write even one word I plan the key milestones I must hit and when in the story they appear. That’s not to say I won’t adjust that plan if I get a better idea along the way. I absolutely will. I’ll also change the outline to reflect the change.

All successful novels are structured the same way. If you open any book on the bestsellers list, the proof is there. Some writers like to let the story flow. Some plan ahead. No process is wrong. However, I do believe plotting saves time. My first drafts only need to be polished. When I used to pants my novels I wrote multiple drafts that always needed major rewrites. Ugh! I don’t miss that at all.

Where do you draw your inspiration for your books? I wander around the most desolate places …

I’m constantly dragging my husband to desolate bogs, marshes, and other perfect body dump locations. 

Who is your favourite character so far (from your own books) and why?

Hmm … that’s akin to asking which child is your favorite. If someone held a gun to my head and forced me to pick one, I may be tempted to say Mr. Mayhem. He’s the villain in Blessed Mayhem, a serial killer with impeccable manners, style, grace, and a zest for life unlike any other. He’s so unique and fascinating readers fall in love with him. I had a blast writing his scenes.

Do you research your settings and locations or do you conjure them up? I often base stories in a real place and then disguise it a little – do you do this?

Yes. I might stick a fictional diner in the town or use a fake house number, but I try to stay as close to the real locale as possible without getting sued. LOL


Have you ever attended a court room during a trial? Has this influenced the way you view the Justice system and your writing? How do you think it has?

For years, I worked as a paralegal. Not only did I get the chance to watch a trial but I went to various prisons to interview inmates, some murderers. Everything influences our writing. During my lifetime I’ve walked with criminals, crooks, notorious biker gangs, lawyers, cops, upstanding citizens, and came way too close to death on more than one occasion—all of which help me to create believable, well-rounded characters.

Have you ever befriended a Cop or Police station and been given access to some of their cases? Can you tell us anything about it?

I’ve been blessed with more cop friends than a writer needs, and I adore every one of them.

As for departments, while writing CLEAVED I reached out to New Hampshire Fish & Game, State Police, and the state Medical Examiner, and every person I spoke with went above and beyond to answer my questions. Their generosity blew me away. I still need to take a ride to their offices and bring them a signed paperback. They’ll get a kick out of seeing their names in the acknowledgments. I can’t say enough about the way they treated me. Fantastic people, each and every one of them.

Have you visited a crime scene – had someone sneak you in – and has this helped you with your writing?

An active crime scene? No. In the US, only authorized personnel is allowed or contamination of evidence is at risk. A mock crime scene? Absolutely. And yes, it’s helped immensely.

Writing about crime can disassociate us (writers) from the real violence of a murder/attack – do you find that you view violence and murder differently, having researched it (if you have) and written your own violent scenes? In what way?

Totally agree about the disassociation crime writing can cause. I’ve found I’m more fascinated by the details than horrified by the crime itself. I’ve watched autopsies and didn’t flinch. When you research murder as much as we do, you tend to spend more time in the gray areas. Nothing appears black and white anymore. Thank God my husband throws me “the look” to reel me back in when we’re amongst more sensitive company. Even so, there have been times when my curiosity has gotten the better of me. A hazard of the job!

Please add anything else you would like our readers to know about your writing process if I have not covered it here.

You asked such great questions I think we’ve covered it.

That’s nice of you to say so. I try to ask the questions I really want to know about and also what I’d love someone to ask me.

Do please tell us about your latest or most recent book and give us a brief synopsis of the storyline.

My latest novel is BLESSED MAYHEM.

A chance encounter … a deadly predicament … a lethal decision.

The infamous Mr. Mayhem is not your average serial killer. Reminiscent of the beloved Hannibal Lecter, minus his thirst for flesh—because eating humans is just plain rude—Mr. Mayhem storms on the scene with style, grace, elegance, and a zest for life unlike any other. Impeccable manners also help. He may commit murder, but there’s no reason to be impolite about it.

Accompanied by his loyal crow companions, Poe, Allan, and Edgar, his crimes strike fear in the hearts and minds of folks across Massachusetts’ North Shore. When Shawnee Daniels—cat burglar extraordinaire and forensic hacker for the police—meets Mayhem in the dark, she piques his curiosity. Sadly for her, she leaves behind an item best left undiscovered. Or is it serendipity by design?

Color him curious, but he yearns to examine the psychology behind her life choices, tough girl routine, witty banter, and unique double-life. In a different time and place they may even become friends. But unfortunately, their predicament defines the risk.

For reasons authorities cannot fathom, these seemingly unrelated murders will go down in history as the most impressive killing regime of all time. His coup de grace, if you will. Even if it means permanently erasing Ms. Daniels from the equation. All the pieces are there if the authorities look hard enough. The question is, will they? The only new wrinkle is Shawnee Daniels, and she may be his toughest opponent yet …if she’s clever enough to play the game.

BLESSED MAYHEM is on sale for $2.99, on Amazon.

It’s also available on Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Google Play, Smashwords, and Kobo Books. For more information, or to preview the book, go HERE.

Thanks so much for being my Guest Author, it has been a pleasure and a delight hosting you.

I just know you will be a very popular guest.

Find Sue’s social media and buy links below:

I’ve linked all to Amazon, but you can find more buying option on my website: Please note: even though these books are in a series they can easily stand alone.

MARRED, Book 1, Grafton County Series

CLEAVED, Book 2, Grafton County Series

WINGS OF MAYHEM, Book 1, Mayhem Series

HACKED, Book 1.5, Mayhem Series Crossover Novella in Susan Stoker’s Kindle World: Operation Alpha

BLESSED MAYHEM, Book 2, Mayhem Series

FRACTURED LIVES, Book 2.5, Mayhem Series Crossover Novella in Elle James’ Kindle World: Brotherhood Protectors

THE RENDERING, collection of flash fiction.

RUN, anthology of short stories.

SCREAM, anthology of short stories.




Twitter@SueColetta1FacebookPinterest, Google+GoodreadsBookBubAmazon Website/Murder Blog, and catch her new video series, Serial Killer Corner on You Tube.


Who’da thunk it? Not me! Crime to Women’s Fiction – the journey.

I love reading and writing crime stories.  It is a passion I suppose, ever since I was very young.

Adventure stories floated my boat and I found myself drawn to books that – back then before we were all so PC  – were probably deemed more suitable for boys more than girls.

I loved the stories of Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Ransome, Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, and later Chandler, Buchan and Hammett, and so it continues today with many of the modern Crime/Thriller writers filling my head with their fabulous stories.

And although I’ve dabbled in other genres, even written a couple of Pirate stories and Ghost stories, it never crossed my mind to write anything remotely ‘Romantic.’

Those visiting here of late will have noticed that there has been a ‘cover reveal’ for Only One Woman – a novel co-authored with me and a very old friend – Christina Jones – whose chosen genre is definitely Romantic fiction.

So what happened?

I should point out that

Only One Woman has taken 6 years to get to this point.

Only One Woman coming 23rd November 2017

A lot of crime writing has gone on during this time and it will continue never fear.

Ms Birdsong Investigates is with my publisher now.

There are other books in progress.

OOW has been with our publisher, Accent Press Ltd, since 2014 but life has a habit of messing with plans and our plans have been messed with a lot.

We were supposed to publish it in 2014 to begin.

I guess you are wondering how did I get to co-author a book which is described as Women’s Fiction….now therein lies a tale.

Scroll back to the late 1960s and that is where the story begins.

Christina and I met when she became my – then – boyfriend’s fan-club secretary.

She was a Rock/Pop journalist and wrote short stories for Teen magazines, so she was a great choice for the job.

We’ve been friends ever since and have often talked about writing together.

Fast forward a decade of two: my life had continued in music and she had become a best-selling, award-winning author of what she calls ‘Bucolic Frolics.’

And she continues to write her own books too. 

Christina Jones

I returned to England to live, attended a few of her book signings in local bookstores and, as a result, I arranged two ‘Author Events’ at my local library for her.

She went down a storm, by the way, and we started chatting about what a blast it would be to record our memories of the 1960s in a novel – a work of fiction – using what we both knew of those times, and how it might be a fun to write about life in 1968/1969 in particular, and describe how the music and fashions back then were such a huge influence on our lives and those of similar ages.

Jane Risdon

But you know how it is; she became busy with deadlines for her books and I’d started writing my crime stories and there the idea hung – in the air – waiting for us to get a move on with it.

In 2012 I moved house and whilst packing and unpacking I came across a lot of old post cards sent to me by my then boyfriend, from exotic places he’d visited with his band. There were tour and gig posters and old diaries too. I began to make notes.

Those notes became the basis of a series of fictional diary entries and eventually Christina found time to join in and we began Only One Woman – named after The Marbles’ song written by The Bee Gees.

Image result

It soon became clear that I wasn’t  going to be writing a crime story, however hard I wanted to fit dead bodies into it, and Christine wasn’t writing one of her famous comedic ‘Bucolic Frolics.’

This became something quite different.

Yes, it is a love story – triangle actually – and it is about a sexy lead guitarist who falls in love with two girls; one still at school and the other convinced her time on this planet is about to come to a halt on the operating table.

But it is so much more.

It is filled with musical references, how the live music scene was buzzing, and how the most amazing fashions were everywhere.

There was a vibe in the air, never to be repeated in latter years.

World events moved fast and the three of them experienced the excitement of the Moon landings, the Paris student riots and the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia and more.

London Book Fair March 2017 – OOW is represented.

Only One Woman is Women’s Fiction –  yes, there is romance and so very much more.

If you lived through the 1960s this should ring so many bells for you and

if you didn’t we hope it will give you a better understanding of those who did.

Only One Woman is available for pre-ordering now on amazon.

and is available for pre-order in USA and Australia too.

Publication date is 23rd November 2017.

The Paperback and Audio book will be published May 2018.

OOW has its own Facebook Page where you can read snippets from the novel, enjoy music from that era and enjoy so much more.

Renza and Stella also have their own Playlists up on YouTube – their favourite music from the book.

Now you know how a crime writer managed to write Women’s Fiction.

We both hope you will remember Only One Woman when Christmas comes around and you are trying to think of gifts for those who lived the 1960s or wish they did.

Be there or be square.

Christina and Jane xxxx


E. Denise Billups: My Guest Author. Professional Dancer and Wall Street Financier Turned Suspense Thriller Author

My Guest Author today is E. Denise Billups

E. Denise Billups

An author with a rare mixture of Southern and Northern charm, E. Denise Billups was born in Monroeville Alabama and raised in New York City where she currently resides and works in finance. A burgeoning author of fiction, she’s published two suspense novels, Chasing Victory, By Chance, and a supernatural short story, The Playground. An avid reader of mystery and suspense novels, she was greatly influenced by authors of that genre. When she’s not writing or reading, you can generally find her training for road races and marathons. She’s a fitness fanatic who loves physical challenges of all types (running, biking, yoga, dance, and more) a discipline she uses to facilitate the creative writing process.

Currently, she’s working on her third suspense novel: A Blog Affair – Coming Summer 2017

Let’s find out more about her and her writing:

Tell us a little about your early life and your ambitions.

Jane thanks for having me as a guest on your wonderful blog! Where should I start . . . I was born in a small town, Monroeville, Alabama, the home of several well-known Authors— Truman Capote (In Cold Blood), Mark Childress, (Crazy in Alabama), Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird), and a few other artists. At the age of nine, I left Alabama to live with my aunt in New York City where I’ve lived most of my life. However, my roots are still deeply ingrained in the south where my two sisters and the majority of my relatives reside.

My aunt, an educator and actress, and a strong and independent woman became my second mother. I accredit her for the wonderful childhood and the freedom to find my artistic self through dance and music (classical guitar and piano) lessons. My aunt, an actress, surrounded me with her thespian friends and the theatre. But I was never drawn to acting. My passion was dance, specifically ballet.

Was/is dancing your first love and do you still dance?

Yes, dance was my first love. At nine-years-old, a photo of a beautiful ballet dancer was the impetus of my foray into the dance world. I was in awe of the grace and discipline of the art. With a deep interest, my aunt immediately enrolled me in dance classes. I begin ballet training with Fowler Ballet, and later, jazz and modern dance with Alvin Ailey Dance until college when I gave it up. I loved dance but was skeptical of a career with such a short life. Fear played a part in the decision to pursue another career. I’d seen dancers whose careers ended abruptly because of injuries and or lack of work. With no other career, they struggled to survive financially. I didn’t want that fate, so I pursued college.  However, I’ve always had a dancer’s spirit.  Over the years, I’ve channeled the discipline into a lifestyle of health and fitness (Yoga, Pilates, running, etc.). I’ve completed several marathons domestically and internationally and continue to train today. I’ve applied the discipline I learned from dance into every aspect of my life, especially writing. Completing a novel requires self-mastery, and I’ve harnessed the mental and physical control to see a story to completion.

When did the world of Finance become attractive and what motivated your financial career?

In college, I majored in Economics and Finance. It was a natural progression to the Financial Services Industry on Wall Street.

What was the trigger which caused you to give it up and turn to writing?

I discovered early on Wall Street wasn’t my passion. I hung in there because I needed to work and pay the bills. I really should have left the industry long ago. During the last recession and collapsing housing market, my company had massive layoffs. I vowed never to go back to the industry, and that was the impetus that led me to my second passion—writing. I wrote my first novel, By Chance in 2014, and haven’t stopped since.

Do you come from a family of writers and/or readers?

I originate from a family of educators. My aunt, who raised me, was a teacher and wrote children stories but she never published them. My uncle, also a teacher has published one book.

Do you recall the first book you read and who wrote it?

Wow, I’ve read so many! They all seem to meld into years of ceaseless reading. There was one particular author I loved as a child, E.B. White. I read most of his books, Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web, which I must have read a dozen times.  I loved Wilbur, the pig, and his relationships with the little girl Fern and other barn animals. This book was one of the many factors to influence a lifestyle of vegetarian and veganism, which I’ve practiced since the age of thirteen.

Toni Morrison’s book, The Bluest Eyes, also made a profound impact at the age of fourteen. It made me aware of the importance of loving yourself and one’s own natural beauty, not a standard set forth by a racist society. Louisa May Alcott’s, Little Women was also a book I treasured. The four sister’s profound journey from childhood to adulthood was inspiring. I admired Jo’s pursuit of a literary career and found a bit of her character—overly independent, fiery and passionate about life in general—in my own personality.

Have you always written?

Since grade school, I’ve been an avid reader. Books became my second passion and a door to another world. My aunt filled her bookshelves with a variety of books I devoured them all during my teenage years. One summer, I actually read an entire collection of classics (Toni Morrison, D.H. Lawrence, F. Scots Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, J. D. Salinger, Charlotte Bronte, Edgar Allen Poe, and more.) These books inspired me to write. Since my teenage years, I’ve written countless short stories and poems which I’d never attempted to publish. Though I’ve always aspired to write, life would get in the way. I believe the path I’ve traveled has led me to the writer’s life, a little late, but I’m finally here with a world of experiences.

What inspired you to write Supernatural Suspense and Thrillers?

I love a book that keeps me in suspense from the beginning to the end, that edge of the seat feeling wondering where the story will end. I guess you could say I’m an adrenaline junkie and desire that rush from novels as well. I confess anything fantastical, magical, or supernatural catches my interest. Anne Rice, Toni Morrison, Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe and others have made an impact on the genre I’ve chosen to write – Supernatural Thrillers. I’ve written straight suspense without the supernatural element—Chasing Victoria and the current book I’m writing, A Blog Affair— but I’m always tempted to throw a ghost or two in the mix. I confess I love horror flicks and a good fright.

Do you read Suspense and Thrillers?

Constantly! With technology and my subscription to Kindle and Scribe, I find myself reading all the time, searching for new writers, and revisiting favorite books.

What do you consider (in your opinion) to be the most important ingredients required to make a gripping read?

I believe every suspense or mystery should hook a reader’s attention from the very first sentence. Creating a sense of immediacy in that first paragraph is crucial.  I believe the first paragraph should pose a compelling question inspiring the reader to continue reading. I thought I’d throw in a few examples of first sentences that capture the sense of immediacy well.

Dragon Tears by Dean Koontz

“Tuesday was a fine California day, full of sunshine and promise until Harry Lyon had to shoot someone at lunch.”

Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.”

Someone Has Been Disarranging These Roses by Gabriel Garcia Marquez,

“Since it’s Sunday and it’s stopped raining, I think I’ll take a bouquet of roses to my grave.”

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

“Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.”

Are you a writer who likes including a lot of description of places and people, or do you allow your reader to imagine most of this themselves?

I’m a little of both depending on the scene. If it’s a scene that is action-oriented, I try not to be overly descriptive to keep the plot moving without breaking the suspense.

Who are your favorite authors – why?

Ooh, that’s a tough question to answer. I’ve been influenced by so many it’s hard to choose. But as I’ve stated above I was influenced greatly by authors of supernatural thrillers and magical realism – Edgar Allen Poe, Anne Rice, H.P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, Laura Esquivel and many others.

Whose writing career do you most admire and why?

I admire all writers who have made a successful career out of writing. It’s one of the toughest industries with no guarantee of success.

Are there any books you have read more than once, if so, why?   

Hmmm . . . Books I really enjoy I’ll occasionally refer back to, but I’ve never completed them a second time. The old classics that I read years ago, I find I’m in constant nostalgia when I happen upon them a second, third, or fourth time, and will revisit a few passages.

When do you write – daytime, later or at no specific time?

My creative juices flow early in the morning before sunrise. I’ve tried to write at night, but just end up editing instead of putting new words to paper. So it’s me and several cups of coffee before the sun peeks above the horizon. Dawn has always been my favorite time of day for writing and working out.

Do you have a routine for writing?

I start early, preferably before other daily distractions, and after I’ve worked out in the morning. I try to put in at least a good three hours sometimes longer.

Do you write by hand or on the computer?

I love the sound of keys clicking and prefer the computer. But when I don’t have access to my laptop, I’ll use a notepad or cell phone to capture my thoughts.

Are you a note maker – a plotter – or do you wing it and write whatever comes to you whilst gazing at the blank screen/page?

 A little of each, but most of the time I find myself winging it. I’ve tried using outlines, but end up straying off course.

What is the hardest part of being a writer for you? Working alone or trying to do your own marketing?

That’s an easy answer, marketing. I’d rather be writing than trying to promote my books. But as an Indie author, marketing is crucial. I do believe my background on Wall Street, and my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) helps with the marketing.

Are any of your stories based on real events or real people?

No, they are all fictitious characters, crafted in my mind. However, the HGTV sweepstakes did inspire my story for By Chance. The story is set in a real world setting of the sweepstakes in South Carolina, with a mystical realm of three clairvoyant women and a supernatural presence from the eighteenth century. Again the real world and mystical play a big part in most of my stories.

Have you, or do you plan to set some of your stories in the world of dance or finance?

I did set one of my novels, Chasing Victoria, in the world of finance amidst a corrupt Hedge Fund operation involved in money laundering. But I’m always tempted to add a supernatural aspect when I’m writing suspense strictly.

Do you edit and rewrite as you go along or do you complete your work then go back and begin correcting and expanding your work?

I find myself editing and rewriting as I write the story. Some days when words are flowing, I’ll write then go back later to edit.

You are self-published, was this a conscious decision?

I’m one of those who scoffed at the idea of self-publishing in the beginning. Like most authors, we want our books published the traditional way. But after much research and seeing traditionally published authors turning away from publishing houses and doing their own thing, I decided to give it a shot, and it’s the best decision I’ve made. Of course, if I’m offered a contract by a publishing firm, I wouldn’t turn it down. But for now, I’m enjoying full control of the publishing process.

Why did you decide to go this route?

I have a business background and felt my experience and knowledge would be beneficial as an Indie author. Self-publishing is time-consuming, but it allows me to have complete control of my brand and product.

What do you find most challenging about being your own publisher?

Marketing, marketing, marketing . . . It is extremely time-consuming. And the research of finding the best venues, managing multiple platforms is daunting, to say the least.

Are you actively seeking an agent and a publisher?

Not really, but that may change in the future.

Would you say you write for financial gain (hopefully) or for creative satisfaction? What is your motivation? 

I honestly write for creative satisfaction. When I wrote my first novel in 2014, it wasn’t about monetary gain but creative fulfillment. Now a few years later, I’d love to see my work sell and hopefully provide some monetary value.

 If you were not successful (financially) would you give up, or write for your own enjoyment regardless?

Nah, I don’t give up easily. I still continue to write and hope for the best. But writing has always been for personal fulfillment. So, whether I’m successful or not, I’ll continue to write.

If you could no longer write, would you go back to finance or is there another challenge waiting to be met head on?

I would never go back to Wall Street or finance. This venture as an Indie writer has opened a few more doors and possibilities. And I’m always open to change.

You write short stories as well as novels; do you plan to have a story or book released every few months/once a year or how do you decide upon frequency?

I enjoy writing short stories. I have a few on my computer I’ve been working on the last couple of months. If I can publish one every two months, I’d be a happy camper. Novels require a lot more work, and I’m currently working on one now. The ideal would be to publish one novel every year and short stories every month.

How long does it take you to write a short story or book?

Short stories take about a month sometimes less. My first novel took seven months, my second about a year. My third novel, the one I’m currently working on has been a little over a year.

Would you say you are a prolific writer?

Not at all! I like to put a lot of thought into a topic before proceeding. I have many ideas, but words come a little harder.

Do you have lots of material waiting for completion or publication?

I have several short stories waiting for completion. After I finish this novel, I think I’m going to take some time and just write a book of short stories.

Do you enjoy feedback from your readers and do you spend time interacting with them?

I appreciate constructive criticism, honesty above all, not empty words spoken to make me feel good, but honest remarks that help me improve my craft. And of course, I love to hear readers enjoyed my work. I haven’t had enough interaction with readers but hope to do so in the future.

Would you say Social Media is an essential part of your marketing plan, and if so how?

It’s the most crucial part of my marketing at the moment. And of course, there’s word of mouth and my blog.  But social media is a great venue for Indie authors to put themselves and their work in front of their audience and find their niche.

Which do you find the most beneficial and/or rewarding?

I’m really enjoying Twitter. I get to interact with other writers as well as readers looking for the next interesting book to read. But I find it’s easier to build a presence on Twitter than Facebook. I’m not sure why that is, but I believe every author has a social media of choice.

Please include the opening paragraph of your most recent book or work in progress so we can experience your writing.

The Playground: A Supernatural Short Story

An evil that exists for centuries resides by my side. Our souls remain between earth and a spiritual plane. Imprisoned inside decaying church walls, I watch my eternally youthful daughters, laughing and playing like living, breathing children on the playground. He watches too, but for different reasons, to reap his vengeance on people in town who dare trespass on cursed grounds. It was a year ago my two daughters, and I came to this place, looking to start a new life after death befell my husband. His life taken by the sea, one sunny day on an Atlantic beach, his body never recovered. He left us saddled with debt, and no real assets, our home and material things sold to sustain us. We traveled from coastal Florida, searching for a new start, stumbling on the town of Willows Grove.

E. Denise Billups

Many thanks for being my guest author. I do hope you have enjoyed telling us about your work and I hope you will garner more followers and readers as a result of being here.

Jane, it’s been my pleasure. Thank you for the interview. I hope one day you will accept my offer and appear as a guest author on my blog.

You can follow her at:

Facebook: @edenise.billups
Twitter: @DeniseBillups
YouTube: @E. Denise Billups

Buxton: England’s Leading Spa Town and Gateway to the Peak District – another ‘jolly’ last year

Buxton, Derbyshire

If you pop in here now and again you’ll know that I don’t just ‘do’  pieces about my crime writing or guest author interviews on my blog.

I also post about what I call my ‘jollies,’ which are trips out and about to wonderful gardens, villages, churches and cathedrals, country houses, special events and other places of interest I’ve been fortunate enough to visit throughout the year in England.

I visited Buxton Spa Town in Derbyshire (in the Peak District) last year – along with many places I have yet to write about – and as you know I have been posting about my visits over the past months.

Peak District

If you go to my menu and click on blog and scroll down you’ll find lots of my ‘jollies’ over the last 5 years I’ve been writing my blog. You can also find them in Archive down at the lower right side of my blog – keep scrolling.

Buxton is famous for its Georgian and Victorian architecture providing an impressive backdrop to a busy and vibrant town.

There are ornamental gardens, a wide range of independent and high street shops, lots of cafes, restaurants, and bars and a rich theatrical and musical scene for young and older visitors.

It is known as the Gateway to the Peak District National Park.

It is famous for its natural spring water.

The town was founded by the Romans who called it  Aquae Arnemetiae – Spa of the Goddess of the Grove.

The Town’s rich history features Roman settlers, royal prisoners, outlaws and noble benefactors.

The 5th Duke of Devonshire put Buxton on the tourist map with development in 1780s – the centre piece being the Georgian Crescent which was undergoing some renovations when I was there. It was due to reopen as a 5 Star Thermal Spa Hotel.

The Pavilion Gardens covers 23 acres of award winning ornamental gardens including serpentine walkways, children’s play area, lakes and a miniature railway.

There is the historic Winter Gardens conservatory linking Buxton Opera House, with the main complex. Inside there are cafes, coffee bards, the Pavilion Arts Centre, Art Cafe, Gallery in the Gardens and a large retail area with Tourist Information centre. Fairs and markets are held in the Pavilion all year.

You can take a wander along the Heritage Trail and there is also a Real Ale Trail for those who are interested.

As long ago as the 16th century people came to the heart of the Peaks for a variety of reasons, and especially to ‘take the waters’ at the ‘New Hall,’ the oldest hotel in England.

Mary Queen of Scots in the 1500s stayed at the ‘New Hall’ Hotel – and there is also the grand Palace Hotel, built in the style of the grand spa hotels, and there is the Lee Wood Hotel and many others to choose from if thinking about a visit. 

The Tourist Information office: +44 (0) 1298 25106

Visit the Spring Gardens and the indoor shopping centre, The Springs, which is the main shopping area as well as Hardwick Street (obviously named for Bess of Hardwick  – see my previous jollies to Hardwick Hall for more on her.

Also interesting is The Cavendish Arcade (more links to Bess) which houses many shops trading from the beautifully restored Grade 11 listed Neo-Classical thermal baths. The building boasts a stunning stained glass barrel vaulted roof designed by the painter and artist Brian Clarke. Make sure you visit the Quadrant and walk down George Street behind the Cavendish Arcade.

In Higher Buxton you can find the traditional Market Place with stalls and also the Green Man Gallery where a community of local artists showcase their art in showcase gallery and workshop.

The University of Derby’s Buxton Campus is set under the Devonshire Dome, which is the largest unsupported dome in Europe, with a diameter of 174 feet. It is open to visitors all year round. I had coffee inside and a wander around, though it was very busy and there were students everywhere rushing to classes. Apparently you can have a guided tour, dine at the bistro, and there is also fine dining available and you can book a spa and beauty treatment there. 

The Thermal Spa was created by the 5th duke of Devonshire with John Carr of York – a leading architect from the 18th century  – who determined to create a thermal water spa resort. The original layout included two hotels, six lodging houses and a majestic ballroom. Restoration is being carried out by local councils, Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England. Volunteers are welcome and you can offer your services:

In addition to taking a stroll around the town with its magnificent Georgian Crescent and Pump Room, and heading up the hill past the Town Hall to the highest Market Place in England, you can wind back down the hill through the Pavilion Gardens towards the Opera House, the Dome and the imposing Palace Hotel, taking in the Octagon, Pavilion and other interesting features on the way. The architecture is a delight. This is the Heritage Trail.

There is something for everyone, whatever age. If you crave adventure and physical activities you can enjoy go-karting, golf, swimming and horse riding.

There are the heights with Go-Ape and a journey beneath the earth at Poole’s Cavern, and not forgetting the Peak District which surrounds the town and is perfect for walking, caving, climbing and cycling.

As ever All Photos (c) Jane Risdon 2017 All Rights Reserved.

More ‘jollies’ throughout The Peak District and The Lake District to follow soon.

I hope you enjoy this and will let me have your comments.

I am preparing a new Guest Author Interview coming in the next week, so keep your eyes open.  

E.Denise Billups is a former professional dancer and Wall Street financier who gave it all up to write Suspense novels and Thrillers.



Memories: Who knows where they’re going? Who knows where they’ve been?

When I was about two years of age I was taken to Singapore on an aeroplane as we called them then. I’ve been back there many times since and I am in awe of the journey and the length of time it takes to fly there now, non-stop. Modern planes and all that.

But imagine this. When I first flew out to Singapore it took about a week to get there. Not hours, but a whole week.

We flew in a Hermes – the days before jet flight, and we stopped many times to refuel, for lunch or to stay overnight. If I strain, I think – think being the clue here – that I can recall it. But can I really?

Hermes – RuthAS (Talk/Contribs)

I think I can recall smells of places we landed, and some of the people we met on the way. I cannot recall faces or what the smells represented, but I know if I walk somewhere and I get a whiff of something it can take me right back to ‘somewhere’ I’ve been. I expect many of you know what I mean. The people are a bit more like shadows, impressions, more than an actual entity I could recognise if you put them in front of me.

Memory is a weird thing. What do we actually remember? Do we think we remember something because we’ve heard about it so many times – a family story perhaps – eventually believing it was an event we were witness to or part of…how do we know?

As tiny babies and children we are taken all over the place in cars, boats, planes, and trains; we’ve been places, yet we don’t  generally remember being taken there. Isn’t that strange? We can say we have been to this place or that but have little or no memory of the event at all. Yet we were there. 

During the trip to Singapore we stopped off in many countries – both on the outward and return journey some years later – but I don’t really remember any of it. I know I was there because my Mother’s Passport tells me I was. Two weeks (in total) travelling to so many exotic places and I cannot remember anything about them. Or can I?

We stopped in Rome for lunch – nope, I don’t recall that at all.

Flying on to Nicosia in Cyprus where we stopped overnight.  I’d have to say I don’t recall that at all. No smells come to mind either. Yet I was there.

Image result for nicosia airport 1953

We next flew to Bahrain – you’d think I’d recall that, but all I think I can conjure up is that the tarmac melted as we stepped on to it and a strange man carried me to the airport buildings. Do I remember this or is it a family tale I only think I recall? I cannot honestly say. But it happened. I was there.

Image result for bahrain airport 1953

Flying to India we stopped off at Dum Dum airport in Karachi, then we travelled on to Dehli, and a day later to Calcutta and I believe I can recall the smells of the airports as we landed – just like in modern times when you fly into Los Angeles airport, for example, and step outside for the first time and there is a definite fragrance in the air – that memorable. But do I really?


We were met off the plane at one of these airports in India by a lady in a long dress (I know now it was a Sari) and she had a red mark on her forehead and her bare feet had what I guess now, must have been rings on them. She had a ring through her nose.  Apparently I took one look and screamed. Poor woman, what on earth must she have thought!

I remember it – or do I? I’m sure I do. But then again I’ve been told this so many times it may well not be a memory at all. The ‘feeling’ of it happening is with me, if that counts – I’m not sure. Yet I was there.

Bangkok. Do I recall anything about Bangkok?

I want to say the smell of the trees but whether that is true or not I have no idea. I seem to recall the Mimosa trees in Singapore as well, but can I rely on it all to be a real memories?

We arrived in Singapore to meet up with my Father who had been in Korea (War) having left England soon after my birth, so apart from a brief acquaintance with me aged a couple of months, we’d never really had an introduction. According to my Mother every man we ever met was called Dad by me and that led to some embarrassing incidents and comments I’m told – of course I don’t remember that!

We lived with my Grandfather so he was called Dad too. The Station Master at the local railway station near our home, fed-up with being called Dad, told my Mother, ‘I think it’s about time you told that child who her Father is.’ I can imagine that went down well.

Upon meeting my Father on the tarmac at Kallang (as it was) airport, Singapore, I shot up my Mother’s skirt and refused to come out until ‘that man’ went away, having taken objection to his kissing her. I definitely don’t remember that. They never forgot it.

I am convinced I can recall much about Singapore; sitting on the steps of our apartment hearing the soldiers outside on the parade ground, going through their paces. Is that an actual memory or has my family told the story so many times I believe it to be true? But sitting on those steps – which I did daily apparently – I must have heard the parade drills.

Then there was my little friend, a girl who lived in the apartment above us. I’m unsure as to whether I actually remember her or if the many photos of us together is the only ‘memory’ of her that is real.

I learned to swim there and spent a lot of my time in the sea or the swimming pool where we lived. I think I can recall going swimming with my little friend, but then there are photos of us together on the steps of a pool, so who knows? Memory or false memory?

I had an Amah, a lady who lived in and looked after me although she was employed to clean and cook as well. My Mother didn’t feel comfortable having her do that, so mostly she cared for me and did the washing and ironing.

Whenever I smell fish, raw or cooked, I’m immediately back in her room, squatting on the floor eating from bowls with chopsticks – rice and fish. I hate fish, I cannot stand the smell and I have no idea why I would eat it with her but apparently it is true. I know it is. I can taste it just thinking about it.

The first time as an adult, I held chopsticks I knew how to use them – I remembered.

Since those times in Singapore I have travelled and lived all over the world, as a child and an adult, and although the earlier memories are vivid to me, they are also unreliable.

Thankfully photos can be a record of events, but even those can’t tell the whole story. If you’ve had someone with you, experiencing the same things at the same time as you, you’d think your collective memory would be far more reliable. Think again.

One of the Forensic and Criminal Science courses I’ve taken (2015 through to earlier this year), involved Witness Investigations by Police. In short, how to interview a witness or witnesses to an event/crime and how to prevent them – if more than one was present – from exchanging information about what they saw, so they won’t influence each other’s statement of events. It covered how to interview witnesses to get the maximum ‘memories’ from them which are real, and not the gaps which their brains might have filled in for them.

This is called the co-witnessing effect.

This particular course was fascinating. It revealed just how susceptible we are to what other people tell us, to such an extent that we don’t believe the evidence of our own eyes. We can be swayed to agree to someone else’s version of events.  As time passes our memories become unreliable and we tend to fill in gaps with what we have been told, seen, read or heard and even our brain does a bit of gap filling too.

This is called unconscious transference.

By the time we relate the story for the umpteenth time it may well bear no resemblance to what we actually witnessed and what happened. Detectives are now trained to interview witnesses with this in mind quickly, after an event and on their own without any prompting or showing them evidence – for example (photos of a suspect perhaps), until the witness has told their story in their own words and time.

Not allowing a witness to tell their story uninterrupted and with comments about what may or may not have happened according to the Police or other witnesses – suggesting facts to someone – is known as asking leading questions and suggestibility.

I have to wonder therefore, if what I think are memories of Singapore are, in actual fact, what is known as a false memory and whether as time has passed I have been suffering from what is known as change blindness.

The story changes over time and it is gradually believed to be true by the person ‘remembering’ it.

Filling in the gaps and allowing these ‘memories’ to become fact as far as I am concerned might well have happened to me.

Our memories do not operate like a computer, but instead are constructive in nature and can be changed when presented with post-event information or the views of another person.

Police need to be exceptionally careful when dealing with the testimony of an eyewitness and should never rely on eyewitness memory alone.

This also means that police investigations, particularly interviewing and identification techniques, must be based on psychological knowledge if they are to avoid contaminating the memory of a witness and prosecuting an innocent person. A great deal of psychological research has been conducted in this area, and many police forces around the world have been able to improve their procedures as a result.

Police are now aware of the importance of psychology in dealing with witnesses and their testimony. It is indeed a fascinating part of the Criminal Justice process.

 I am aware that what I have just told you about my memories of travelling and living in Singapore may well fall under one or more of the above.

As a child I didn’t know where I was going and unless someone had told me, I’d have no knowledge today, of where I’ve been.

Do I have memories? Who knows.

Yet I was there.


Wanderings with my Camera: Taking a Break from Writing, Editing and Forensics.

It’s been a long hot summer so far – it is raining now – and I’ve been stuck inside most of the time writing and working on edits, so it cannot be any surprise that now and again I break free.

I’ve recently completed an Archaeology course and my 7th Forensics and Criminal Justice Course and have felt the need to get out into the countryside and enjoy the lighter things in life.

I love walking and always have my camera ready to capture things I enjoy seeing, and for making visual notes for stories I am working on, or might work on in the future.

It is amazing how a certain location or house can get the creative juices working.

I thought I’d share some of my walks here.

These are not from my ‘official’ jollies which I post about from time to time – I am working on those and will post more of them as soon as I get the chance. For  those who enjoy looking at the photos and reading about the places I visit it won’t be long…

I am very fortunate to live near some fabulous gardens, woods and lake areas and walking there is always a wonderful experience.  I hope you like my photos.

One area I love to walk was once open farmland when I was a child. I’ve been away many years and going back to what had become gravel pits (where gravel is extracted) in later years, where one could walk and enjoy fishing in the waters which had filled the pits, was a surprise. There are now many lakes with all sorts of water sports taking place there and the land around the lakes has become lush and green with mature trees and hedgerows. All manner of wild-life now occupies the area. Such a delight and so peaceful. I have walked the 4 miles around one lake and not seen another person.

These were taken in local parks and gardens. These gardens and lake views (below) are from a Royal Park and Gardens.

Most are free to enter and often there isn’t a parking fee either. Thousands of acres to wander and enjoy. 


I can’t help wondering what lies beneath the woods and if there was a ‘dig’ what would be found.

Some of my walks are through what is ancient woodland, hunting grounds of Kings of England and the sites of many famous battles.

One walk along the Thames at Windsor was a delight and I enjoyed a 2 hour boat trip along the Thames too.

These walks are very inspirational and I often get my ideas for stories whilst wandering and taking photos. Other times I’ll  take a series of photos of a particular area or view which I will use as a visual aid (note) which I can refer back to when trying to create an image for a scene in a story.

I’m not a written note-taker. I may draw a map so I know who lives where in a town or village I am creating, and sometime I make a note of names and a few physical characteristics as I am dreadful when it comes to recalling who some characters are! Especially in a series I am writing, I have to remember to use new names, what they look like and their likes and dislikes and I cannot always keep it all in my head.

I hope you enjoy these photos. Thanks for dropping in. I shall be catching up on my ‘official jollies’ in the near future. Have a fabulous week and summer wherever you are. 

All Photos (c) Jane Risdon 2017 and All Rights Reserved.

My latest offering. A two part short story called The Secret of Willow Cottage (The Tale of the Reluctant Bride) this month and next month (September) you can read The Tale of The Jilted Lover – part two. If you enjoy a mystery and pirates – then the two part short story is for you. Let me know.

Summer Wanders Around Only One Woman and Other Stories

It’s been a while since I posted a ‘Jolly’ and I must apologise. It was my intention to post Part Three of  Hardwick Hall towards the end of June – and I shall I get around to it, but not for a little while longer.

Hardwick Hall (c) Jane Risdon 2016

Apologies if you have waited for it and several other ‘jollies’ I’ve enjoyed of late. I need to write them and post as promised. 

If you have not read any of my ‘Jollies,’ go to my blog menu and blog, and you can scroll down to find them there. Hardwick Hall is a good place to begin.

Hardwick Hall Part two:

Hardwick Hall Part one:

I’ve been remiss because I (we – Christina Jones and I) have been in edit hell.

 Edit Hell

I’m sure by now it hasn’t escaped those who pop in here often that way back when, author and old mate Christina Jones and I wrote a novel together, set in the late 1960s – the era when we first met. Although fictional, we’ve used many of our common experiences with music, fashion and the general vibe of those times to co-write

Only One Woman.

(not a crime story for a change)

The late 1960s were magical times and going back has been both fun and emotional for us both; revisiting one’s youth and all that goes with it.

Christina and I thought we’d finished with edits for Only One Woman a while back, and she has worked on her new book, and I’ve completed a number short stories for various anthologies and continuing work on a new book as well – when things changed at our Publishers.

Cutting a long story short, edits arrived on my desk  a few weeks ago and I’ve had my head down ever since. Such fun. Thankfully I was able to hand the MS on to Christina and now she is in edit hell. Hugs for her.

It is really strange jumping from one story to another and back again, and from one genre to another. It’s even stranger when your story (book) takes place in another era. It is a huge ask to have to put your head around events and characters you’d already put to one side and moved on from.

I’ve been working on short stories for three different anthologies: two crime and one ghost story.

In addition to writing stories for anthologies, I’ve been busy with writing for a couple of on-line newsletters and magazines, which has been great fun.

Two of the anthologies have been nominated for Summer Indie Book Awards 2017. They are: Con’s Dames and G-men (A Stab in the Dark Writers Circle) – my story is called Cue Murder, and Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016 (Plaisted Publishing) and my story is called The Beneficiaries of Secret Cottage.

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Three of my Flash Fiction pieces have been recorded by voice over actors as well. It’s a thrill hearing something you’ve written being read back by actors with your ‘character’s’ voice. See Audio Stories on my menu if you want to listen in.

I’m also working on two Ms Birdsong Investigates novels (sequels to the one with my publisher at the moment – fingers crossed) which of course is in the crime/thriller genre set in the modern-day.

Ms Birdsong Investigates: Murder in Ampney Parva (book one) with my publisher sees Ms B retired from MI5 and longing for the old days…she gets more than she bargained for with Russian Mafia, Ukrainian Drug and Gun Runners and – well you’ll find out when it’s published.

Ms Birdsong Investigates: Murder at the Observatory (book two) which I am working on now. Inspired by a birthday jolly to Herstmonceaux Observatory.

and then book three: Ms Birdsong Investigates: The Safe House, which I am also working on (I am a masochist) inspired by a family wedding at a country estate which it transpires, is a Safe House.

Then along comes Only One Woman again…

In all the heat of the past few weeks I’ve been slogging it out at the keyboard, editing and adding new chapters. It was a long book before we had to start work on it again and cripes, it’s like War and flipping Peace now. I’m sure a lot of it will end up on the cutting room floor before the novel sees the light of day in November. I hope not, I think it is really good and the additions should make it even more readable, but then I would!

This summer it is the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love (1967) and although Only One Woman is set in 1968/69 there was still a lot of the magical vibe around a year or two later. So many changes in the world – monumental world events, and of course the music and fashions were just divine. Most people who were there back then would agree I am sure.

Our edits will be back with our editor in about a week and no doubt we shall be hearing from her. In the meantime everything is crossed that we manage the November 21st 2017 publication date. Just in time for Christmas.  

Christina Jones is an award-winning author of over 30 novels and you can find her at:

I managed to escape a couple of times to go for some walks around lakes, beside rivers, and in the countryside, just to keep from going nuts. I’ll post a few photos.  

I shall be back with Part Three of Hardwick Hall and my other jollies as soon as I can.

Meantime some photos – where I walk when I need peace and quiet.  All photos (c) Jane Risdon 2017 All rights Reserved.


  So peaceful here and watching the wild-life is wonderful. Oh, and it isn’t me on the surf board.

Nominated for Summer Indie Book Awards 2017: Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016 – my second nomination

I’m really excited for all the authors included in this fab anthology,

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016  

Published by Plaisted Publishing,

nominated for the Metamorph Summer Indie Book Awards 2017

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in which I have a short story,  

The Beneficiaries of Secret Cottage.

This is the second anthology in which I have been included receiving a nomination for the

 Metamorph Publishing Summer Indie Book Awards 2017.

The other being:

Cons, Dames and G-Men

You can read about it here:

And you can read about

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016

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You can download Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016,

e-book FREE and purchase the Paperback via these sites: 

The eBook  is FREE and will be available world-wide

And many other book sites.

A fantastic opportunity to discover new writers and their work; a great keepsake.

Nominated for Summer Indie Book Award 2017: Cons, Dames and G-Men


Image may contain: textSo Excited Cons, Dames and G-Men has been nominated for a Summer Indie Book Award (2017).

If you haven’t got a copy yet, do consider it. It is FREE to download.

Thanks so much for all who have downloaded copies to date. Really Appreciated.

My short story set in Hollywood in 1939, is called Cue Murder.

Click here to read all about the inspiration behind my story and for details about the other authors and their stories:




You can download the anthology free from here:

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also available elsewhere including Amazon

If you download a copy do let us all know what you think, leave a review or a comment where you obtain your copy.

We love to hear from you.





Fellow Accent Press Author Blog Tour: Karen King is My Guest Author

It is my pleasure to host KAREN KING as part of her Blog Tour.

She’s an author with whom I share a publisher.

As you know I like to mix it up here now and again and as Karen’s book is set in Cornwall, somewhere I’ve had a long association with, I am very happy to have her join us today.

Welcome Karen.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, Karen King writes sassy, fun, heart-warming romance.

The Cornish Hotel by the Sea is her second chicklit for Accent Press, her first – I do?… or do I? was published last year and there is another one in the process of publication.

In addition, Accent Press have republished her earlier romance novels, The Millionaire Plan and Never Say Forever.

Karen has also written several short stories for women’s magazine and had 120 children’s books published.

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading.

Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

The Cornish Hotel by the Sea: Escape to Cornwall with this perfect summer read

“A feel-good summer escape.” Mandy Baggot

Ellie Truman’s widowed mum is struggling to keep Gwel Teg, the family hotel in Cornwall, afloat. 

Ellie is determined to do everything in her power to help her, even if that means moving back to the sleepy Cornish village she fled from broken-hearted a few years ago.
Things go wrong from the start and she’s grateful for the help from hunky guest, Reece Mitchell.

But does Reece have ulterior motives?

Will Ellie’s efforts be for nothing?

You discover more about Karen here:


Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Karen King Young Adult Books Facebook Page



You can purchase her books here:




Thank you for hosting me!

You are most welcome Karen.

I hope everyone will enjoy your excerpt and will leave their comments for you to respond to.

Here are the blog tour dates for Karen:

Karen has kindly provided this excerpt from

The Cornish Hotel by the Sea

Ellie was determined to get Gwel Teg back into shape before Mum came out of hospital. And first stop was to check all the rooms and see what repairs needed doing. She didn’t want to give any of the other guests cause to complain. Bad reviews on TripAdvisor wouldn’t help gain more bookings.

Mandy wasn’t at the reception desk. Guessing she’d gone for a loo break, Ellie picked up a notebook and the set of master keys. As it was a sunny day she imagined that their guests would probably be out so she should be able to check all the rooms before the cleaners did their rounds.

She made her way around the first floor, most of the rooms were unoccupied. Before she entered the ones that were occupied, she checked that the ‘Do Not Disturb’ label wasn’t on the door then knocked loudly and called out before entering. Careful not to touch anything personal, she noted any repairs that needed doing. There were quite a few but they were mostly minor things that Harry could tackle. She was dismayed to see how dated and shabby the rooms looked though.

It looks like the whole hotel needs refurbishing, she thought as she made her way to the second floor.

She hesitated outside Room 12. Had Reece Mitchell left yet? She really didn’t want another run-in with him. He might have been pleasant last night but her first impressions of him weren’t good and she definitely didn’t want a repeat performance.

She glanced at her watch. 10.45. Guests had to vacate the rooms by ten so he should be long gone. Even so, she banged on the door and listened intently just to be sure. Nope, there was no sound coming from the room. She unlocked the door and stepped inside. Glancing around, she immediately spotted that a couple of drawer handles were missing on the bedside cabinet, a plug socket was loose and the carpet was threadbare in one corner. Not good. It’s a wonder he hadn’t complained about that.

She made a note of them and starred them as urgent. She’d ask Harry to do them this afternoon, at least they wouldn’t cost anything. And perhaps she could find a small cupboard to put over the threadbare patch of carpet.

She looked over at the closed ensuite door.  She’d better check the shower too, and the one in the connecting room. Best to make sure they’d both been fixed before she booked anyone else into the room.

As she walked over to the ensuite the door handle turned. She stared at it, horrified. Oh heck – he wasn’t?

The door started to open.

She’d better get out of here. Fast.

But before she could move the door was thrust open and Reece Mitchell walked out, completely naked, rubbing his hair with a towel.

Wow! thanks Karen. Good luck with this and all your books. Thanks for being my guest.

Roger A Price: From Crime Fighter to Crime Writer – My Guest Author this week writes from experience

It’s my great pleasure to have Roger A Price on my blog this week.

You are in for a treat.

I’ve read two of his books, Nemesis and Vengeance, and couldn’t put them down and didn’t want either of them to end. I’m itching to read more.

He writes from experience and boy, he’s had a few as a Detective believe me.

I have asked him some very searching questions which he has patiently answered. When you’ve read his responses, do please read on about his career in the Police and what makes him write and how he came to be published.

At the end of this post there is a FREE to read short story, HARD TIME, so don’t go away!  

Oh! and Nemesis and Vengeance are available for a limited time for Kindle for 99p each – details at the end of this post.

As ever do please leave comments for Roger if you wish. I always love reading my Guest Author’s replies to them.

Right, now the Q&A:

Hi Roger, thanks so much for being my Guest Author, I am thrilled to have you here:

Going public as a detective turned author are you worried that criminals you arrested might find a way to trace you and possibly exact revenge? Also, when under cover you had protection..I hope, from the Force. Are you concerned you will be recognised and attract unwanted attention? 

Hi Jane, good question. I thought long and hard about this one. Most of my experiences in covert roles were as a DC and a DS, in fact most one-on-one interaction with criminals, whether covert or overt – as with normal CID – are done in those two ranks. As a DI you are effectively a manager in the main, running operations and units, so my last interactions as a DS would have been around 2002, before I was made DI. So it wasn’t an issue as a full 10 years had passed before my first book was published. Also, most crims (criminals) tend to treat arrest as an occupational hazard, just part of the game of cat and mouse, and so long as you have treated them fairly they accept it without feeling it’s a personal problem.

If, on the other hand, a detective has pulled a dirty trick – or god forbid fabricated something – then it is personal and the detective – he/she – should keep one eye over their shoulder as the crim may have been banged up for years, no doubt for a crime they actually did commit, but festering with resentment. But as time passed and I’d always tried to do my job fairly – even if inventively sometimes, but always fairly,  then I imagine none of the people I’ve interacted with should have an axe to grind.

There are always exceptions to the rule, so if a crazy comes calling, well, they do. But in the main once a crim has done his time and is released does he really want all the hassle he/she would bring on to themselves by chasing a vendetta? Probably not. So to answer you in an abbreviated way, I would say that crims treat arrest and conviction as an occupational hazard and once they have done their time they tend to move on.

I wonder if, with the social changes taking place and different attitudes to authority in this country, you find that young criminals don’t act like the older criminals with their often mentioned ‘codes’ of conduct, and that the old rules no longer apply and that they are harder to deal with – what do you think?

You are probably right about the age thing. I’ve always found the those at the top of the tree the most reasonable to deal with; it’s those with the IQ of a dolly mixture that are harder to manage.

I love that, IQ of a dolly mixture. Funny.

Did you harbour ambitions to be a writer whilst you were in the police? Can you put your finger on the moment/time when you made the decision to write? Perhaps you wanted to write from an early age, or were you a late starter?

I think the desire was always there, but as a busy detective I never had the time. I did a correspondence course and then an Advanced Creative Writing course at Preston College, but it wasn’t until I left the cops that I had the time to write properly.

When you realised you wanted to write was it a natural progression to write about Crime, considering your background, or did you have – or have you – a secret longing to write in another genre? If so, what is that? Do you think you might venture into this genre any time soon?

So far, I’ve stuck to what I think I know, plus I enjoy reading in the crime/thriller genre too, so I’ll stick with that for now until I feel brave enough to have a go.

 Nemesis and Vengeance are great reads – I loved them and wanted to read more. Turning the last page was very disappointing…I didn’t want them to end. Don’t give anything away, but I want to know if there is going to be a closer relationship between Vinnie and Christine in your next book – if Christine appears in it of course. I’ve likened the build-up and story development to that created by Peter James and his continued storyline, where his wife, Sandy, disappears, and throughout his books there are references to her and sightings of someone who might be her. It keeps the reader gripped and weaves a familiar thread throughout his books.  I hope Christine will be a permanent character.

That’s great to hear, Jane. There is no richer feedback than when someone says that they didn’t want it to end, so thank you for that. What I can tell you about the next in the series which I’m currently writing is that the book starts with Vinnie and Christine going on holiday together as their personal relationship develops. That is until the first day of their vacation when…….happens!

I am a Crime/Mystery/Thriller Novel junkie, ever since I read Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, John Le Carre and Frederick Forsythe as a young teen, getting hooked on anything to do with Politics, Espionage, and Organised Crime – soaking up stories like a sponge. Who did you grow up reading and do you have a favourite author(s) and why do you admire them and read their books?

Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories were my first love and fired up my young imagination. I read avidly growing up but lost the plot during my early to mid-adulthood, only really getting the bug again in my late thirties/early forties. As for whom I admire? All of the above and many more. There are so many excellent storytellers out there.

As a former Detective you will have encountered some of the worst and most deviant of individuals during your career, and I am sure that those individuals must have left their mark upon you and your psychological well-being. You mention (further on in this post) having a psychological assessment role-playing a baddie – was that difficult?

When you are in the middle of it, I think you cope better as you have to. It’s only in the fullness of time that certain experiences return and sometimes are harder to deal with. I have certain taboos where I won’t go as it evokes memories which are too difficult, but in the main writing crime fiction influenced by real events can be quite cathartic and keeps you sane. There are certain specialisms within the police where regular psychometric and psychological examinations are a given. But a lot more is probably done today than in the early part of my career when you were just expected to get on with it!

As for the research I did developing Daniel Moxley (Nemesis), as you rightly point out, I conducted a Psychological test trying to answer the questions through the character’s eyes. I’m still not entirely sure how much of me bled into those answers! Hopefully, none.

Do you find writing cathartic? Has it helped you deal with what you have seen and experienced? Getting it off one’s chest on to the page helps most of us deal with our demons. Would you say that your characters are a reflection of these people or are they watered down in any way to save your readers from the horrors you might have encountered?

I may have covered some of this in my previous answer, except to add that I actually do tone down my characters even though they may seem gritty, but believe me fact is worse than fiction. Though fortunately such real individuals are few and far between.

Moxley (Nemesis) is such an evil/wicked character, capable of horrendous acts. Did you find it difficult to create him without exposing a known criminal – of whom you’d experience – being recognised, or was he a complete figment of your imagination and not inspired by a real life person?  If he is inspired by someone, did you find it hard to write his character in such a way as to make him believable? Nothing is stranger than fiction, or is it?

You have to be very careful when it comes to characterisation, base one too much on a real person and you may face libel problems if they recognise themselves in the character. Also, you may feel stymied in how far you can take the character should you need him or her to do a certain thing in order to further the story. I tend to base my characters on a composite or real facets mixed in with a large dollop of invention.

Roger A Price

The IRA angle in Vengeance is intriguing and I know it must have given you a headache when you decided to go that route. Did it involve a lot of research or were you able to call upon any personal experiences of ‘The Troubles?’ Did you feel you had to tread carefully when getting political in this story? Did you call upon former colleagues or did you have to make new contacts in order to get background information for the story? Did you receive any reticence or resistance from these people, and if so, why do you think that was?

Ah. Good question, Jane. The background came from personal experiences and conversations from which I extrapolated. I did try to show some balance to both POVs of the political divide as best as I could within the confines of the plot. As for Christine Jones’ expose into the possibility of reverse discrimination, that was all from my imagination but the spark did come from a very brief conversation I once had with a PSNI officer at a drugs conference in Brighton!

PSNI: Police Service of Northern Ireland for those wondering.

Has your opinion and view of ‘human-kind’ been tainted by your career experiences working with the worst society can throw at you, or has it encouraged you and reassured you that in general most people are decent and good?

In the most people are as you rightly point out decent and good. But when dealing with the worst five per cent a lot of the time it is easy to be influenced by it. You have to guard against this and always remember who and what you are. The very few cops who turn bad are usually those who have failed to do this and have allowed themselves to be drawn into the cesspit where the abnormal appears normal and immorality reigns.

How do you keep positive when you have experienced such terrible things? Are you a little jaded by your experiences do you think?

As I’ve said certain images and experiences best forgotten do raise themselves in your subconscious from time to time, I try to shove them straight back into a mental steel box.

Seeing what has happened of late are you glad you are not involved with such events anymore, or does it make you itch to get back into the thick of it?

It just makes me so sad. As all of us no doubt did I just cried watching the news. When you are in it, you can’t allow yourself the self-indulgence of letting your feelings surface too much. I’ve had my time, and like to think I made a difference and achieved some special things. My respect goes to those across the public services who carry on with the baton, but it’s a young person’s game. I’m content just to write about it now.

What have you learned about yourself as a consequence of being a Policeman – if anything – and how does this (if at all) influence your writing?  When you write, are you on the ‘goodies’ or the ‘baddies’ side – when creating characters? Which get you more excited as you write, and do you find the ‘baddies’ a challenge or easy to create?

I’ve learned that as with most things in life we never stop learning. I find characterisation quite fascinating. I enjoy being in the goodies’ heads but I also find it fascinating exploring what makes the baddies tick. The varied facets of a criminal mind which can swerve from extreme to extreme and back to the middle in the blink of an eye.

Now to the good stuff – ABOUT ROGER:

First of all I’d like to thank Jane for the kind invitation to join you all today on her blog.

My strapline says: ‘Crime fighter turned crime writer’ which although a little cheesy, is true I guess; although I nearly wasn’t either. Having been sacked from a chicken factory, I thought I’d diversify, so I joined a pie factory. Having been sacked from there I thought I’d better try to do something else so joined the police cadets.

Having been threatened with the sack twice from there I somehow made it through my cadetship and joined the rossers for real in 1977. I soon found my calling as a detective and served on the CID, major incidents and the Drug Squad across Lancashire before joining the Regional Crime Squad which became the National Crime Squad. That was great fun. I saw service across the UK, Europe and beyond, often in covert roles reaching as far as South East Asia.

Roger A Price Detective

On my return to Lancashire Police I ran an informant unit – which was a challenge to say the least – managing those chaotic individuals was like trying to corral cats. I ended my time as a detective inspector in charge of an undercover drugs unit. Now I know all the above probably sounds quite sexy, and a lot of it was, I also got to see and do some horrible stuff too. I’ve been attacked with a knife twice, and looked down the barrel of a gun once – albeit not for long, before the ‘run away, run away’ instinct kicked in. But all that said my previous life has been fertile ground for a crime fiction writer.

I can’t really write about my experiences but I can use them to drive and inform my pen. But why do any of us write? It’s hard graft, takes a ridiculous amount of self-discipline, and one has to grow a skin thicker than a rhinoceros’s bottom lip after another rhinoceros has just stood on it. My answer: because we simply have to. I feel guilty if a day goes by and I haven’t written something. When a work-in-progress has finished, such as the first draft of a novel length work, I actually feel down. Even a little depressed. Don’t ask me why. But I do know that when the muse takes me and the words are flowing I’m locked into a solitary world where I’m never alone.


I suffered my first rejection at the age of 11 or 12. I read a composition out to my class and the teacher refused to believe that I had not copied it from a book. Now at such a tender age, I didn’t see the backhanded compliment and therefore cast aside any literary ambitions for the next few decades. After the scars healed – in the early 80s – I took a correspondence course. Waste of time, but I did have some interest from magazines in some short stories I’d written. But I didn’t follow it up. In truth being a busy detective back in those days was not conducive to being a writer. It was not conducive to being anything outside of ‘the job’; as my first two ex-wives will no doubt testify! I know that detectives have the work/life balance much better nowadays, and that’s a good thing.

Anyway, fast forward to the late 90s and I decided to do a six month advanced creative writing course at my local college. I was on the National Crime Squad then as a detective sergeant with hair halfway down my back so presented myself as a bricklayer, praying that there wouldn’t be a real bricklayer on the course. I was lucky. However, part way through I was sent to Bangkok on a job. I only had three hours’ notice, but was told I should be home in a few days. Fast forward a month and I returned home to nearly finding my bags packed on the driveway – although that came later when I was on CID at Skelmersdale and was called down to the reception area to find my world in black bin bags filling the enquiry desk!! Anyway, as you may image, when I returned from the Far East I found that I’d been kicked off the writing course for non-attendance.

I left the cops in 2008 and did some private work and consultancy stuff for a while, but knew it was time to scratch that literary itch. I finished my first book ‘By Their Rules’ and gave it to a literary consultant to tear apart; and by god did she, but that taught me a huge amount about structure and how to write. I firmly believe you can’t be taught to be a storyteller, you either can, or you cannot. But you can be taught how to tell a story, which is essential today, especially if you wish to grab the attention of a commissioning editor as they fight their way through the quagmire of the submissions slush pile in a vain attempt to reach their desk.


for a limited period only, Endeavour have put both Nemesis and Vengeance on promo each available on kindle for 99p for a limited time. 

The amazon links in the article will take you to the relevant page, however the below links are probably better as they re-direct you to the book’s local amazon page irrespective of where in the world you are. Nemesis link is: the Vengeance link is:

And you can use these links too:


By Their Rules was followed by A New Menace and having both received great reviews I had answered the two questions that all emerging voices must stress over: Can I write? And, can I write something that anyone actually wants to read?



I knew I had to change publishers for a variety of reasons, but not least in an attempt to further my way up the publishing ladder, and therefore devised a new crime thriller series. When I was in the police I always had a great relationship with the press, but I was probably the exception. A lot of senior detectives sometime forget that the media is not there to simply do their bidding. Each has their own agenda, driven by differing strategies, but all in all, they are both after the same outcome: the truth. So I thought it would be fun to have a maverick male DI and a sassy female TV news reporter as my main protagonists. Unlikely bedfellows who help each other out in their joint pursuit of the truth. Vinnie Palmer and Christine Jones were born.

Anyway, after a further ton of rejections, the wonderful people at Endeavour Press published the first in this series – Nemesis – in 2016. In both paperback and kindle.


By the way, during my research for Nemesis I had to take a psychiatric appraisal answering the questions through the eyes of the main baddie! And he didn’t score well. I’ve often worried if any of me filtered through into those answers; I hope not. But you’ll have to read Nemesis to fully understand what I mean.


Soon afterwards followed Vengeance which is now out on kindle and paperback. This is a follow up to Nemesis, but either can be read in any order so do work as stand-alones too.


I have to say I’m really excited about Vengeance, as I’ve added a political element too, parts of which may be construed as controversial, we’ll have to wait and see.

Please stay in touch via the usual ways, my various links are at the bottom. You can also join my mailing list if you wish via my Blog at: and receive a free short story. I’ll then send you the occasional newsletter and include further giveaways and promos too.

Roger, thanks for being such a fab guest, it has been so very interesting. I know you will have lots of questions and comments to deal with. I look forward to them also.

Thanks again for having me, Jane, and thanks to you all for stopping by.

Kindest regards,


My Links: FB:







Hard Time

© Roger A Price 2016

Roger A Price has asserted his rights under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.

First published 2016 by Roger A. Price.

‘I’ll remind you inspector that you are talking to the deputy governor of this prison and not one of your DCs,’ Small said.

     ‘Oh, I’m glad you pointed that out, I’d have never had known, thanks,’ Vinnie Palmer replied.

     ‘You’ve not been in central Manchester CID for too long have you?’

     ‘If you mean the A division, no, but I don’t see what that’s got to do with the matter in hand.’

     ‘I have a very good working relationship with Eric, the uniform super at your nick.’

     Now Vinnie’s blood was really up. He wondered how long it would take this spineless desk-jockey to try a stunt. ‘I’m glad you added “working”; as he’s a married man you know,’ Vinnie said, immediately regretting the remark.

     ‘Now look here—’ Small started.

     With his hands in the air, Vinnie interrupted, ‘Ok, the last jibe was a cheap shot, but quite frankly you asked for it. Let’s agree to disagree.’

     ‘About what?’

     ‘About the fact that we don’t like each other; but that aside, let’s get back to the matter in hand.’

     ‘Ok, but I don’t see what more my officers could have done.’

     Vinnie didn’t particularly have an issue with the over-worked prison officers at the prison; he was more troubled by what he saw as a lack of strategy and poor leadership at the senior level. If he was going to make any progress, he knew he would have to soften his approach. ‘Look, I’m not here to cause you unnecessary problems, and I know the problem with overcrowding is—’

     ‘My turn to interrupt you,’ Small said, continuing, ‘you have no idea the difficulties we face on a daily basis. We put that lad in with Crayton for just one night; he was to be moved into a more appropriate cell the following day.’

     Vinnie knew that they had managed to find a place on the segregation wing for Crayton, soon enough after the incident, and voiced his thoughts, adding, ‘Why couldn’t you have put Crayton on segregation for one night prior to, instead?’

     ‘We try and run this place mainly by consent, if we’d had moved Crayton as you suggest, he’d have kicked off, big time. And he gave his personal officer an assurance that he would leave the lad alone.’

     ‘Well, we both know how that ended up. Funny a con not keeping his word.’

     Vinnie could see that Small – whom he thought had a very apt name, even though he was tall – about to erupt again, so he threw his arms up for a second time. He knew he was being disrespectful, but the number of times the prisons called in the police to investigate offences, of which, most could have been avoided, seemed to be on the rise. Plus, his heart went out to the victim, who should never have been imprisoned in the first place, not that he could blame Small for that.

     The lad in question just loved his cars; or to be more accurate; other peoples. He was a serial joy-rider who at eighteen probably thought he would only get another slap on the wrist. But the local magistrate had clearly lost patience with him, and on his fifth conviction for taking someone else’s pride and joy for a spin, he sent him down. He must have thought his world had come to an end when he received an eight week sentence. Which in real terms only meant four weeks; but to an eighteen-year old, who’d never been locked up before it must have come as a great shock. But not as much as the shock of meeting his new cellmate on the first night of his incarceration.

     Crayton was a lifer, who had been sentenced many years ago to serve a minimum of twenty-five years for a double-murder. His earliest release date kept getting put back due to his fondest of sexually assaulting fellow inmates. So, to put an eighteen year old vulnerable first-timer in with him must have seemed like all his birthdays come at once, for Crayton, that is. And the youth’s worst nightmare.

     The poor lad had only been in the cell for ninety minutes before Crayton had pounced. What had particularly bothered Vinnie was the lad’s apparent mental state when he’d interviewed him. He was terrified and not in a good place, whereas the monster that was Crayton, wasn’t bothered in the slightest. All he’d said on interview was that the act had been consensual. One word against the other. In fact, it wasn’t even that. The lad had clearly been got at, he’d told Vinnie what had happened, but refused to sign a statement of complaint. Vinnie couldn’t really blame him, so that was that, job knackered. All Vinnie could hope to achieve was to try and ensure that the same mistakes weren’t repeated, which was why he purposely set about Deputy Governor Small in the way he had.   

     ‘I hope you’ve got him on suicide watch?’

     ‘But of course, fifteen minute checks.’

     ‘Where is Crayton?’

     ‘Still in segregation but we’ve padded him up with someone else in there.’

     ‘I hope he’s not another vulnerable eighteen year old first-timer?’

     ‘Far from it. Another lifer called Daniel Moxley; and before you ask; he’s worse than Crayton.’

     This didn’t paint a pleasant thought in Vinnie’s mind, but it sounded as if he’d got some of his point across, he thought, before saying, ‘You know I’ll have to file a report to the home office?’

     ‘What will it say?’

     ‘I’d like to be able to say that such a similar miss-matching of inmates in the same cell will never happen again.’

     Small just nodded.

     ‘And that Crayton will remain on seg for the foreseeable future.’

     Small nodded again.

     ‘And that the youth will be moved immediately to a Cat C prison.’

     Small sighed this time and then said, ‘As of tomorrow. Is that soon enough?’

     It was Vinnie’s turn to nod now, and then he added, ‘I’ll also then be able to add that I’m satisfied that senior management have put sufficient policies in place to prevent any further crimes of this nature occurring in such circumstances.’

     They both nodded this time and Vinnie knew the meeting was over, he’d pretty much got what he’d hoped to achieve, no point in aggravating Small more than he needed to. He bade his farewell and headed towards the door out of the deputy governor’s office. As he reached it, he stopped and turned back towards, Small, and said, ‘You said this Moxley you’ve padded Crayton up with is of similar ilk.’

     ‘Worse,’ Small replied.

     ‘And should anything go off between them, then I guess they would probably deserve it, whichever way around it was to happen.’

     ‘Both scum.’

     ‘Granted, but shouldn’t we be better than that? Instead of fostering an environment which promotes this sort of abuse, albeit between “scum” as you put it; shouldn’t you keep both men separate?”

     ‘Goodbye inspector, you’d do well to stick to the issue in hand and let me worry about running this place.’

     Vinnie realised he gone as far as he could expect to with Small, but felt duty-bound to make his observations known to Small, nonetheless. ‘One last thing?’

     ‘What?’ Small snapped.

     ‘Have you arranged any support for the victim, or spoken to his family?’

     ‘I put the phone down on his irate brother; Ben, I think his name was, earlier on, and as for support? Being moved to a Cat C will be all the support he’s getting. Now, if you don’t mind?’    

     Vinnie let the door swing too behind him without saying another word, and shook his head as he walked down the corridor towards the first locked gate on his way out of the prison. Granted, he couldn’t image some of the difficulties Small had alluded to, but the man was part of the problem, not the solution. Men like Crayton and Moxley should be in solitary confinement as far as he was concerned, and Small was in the wrong job.

     One thing was for sure though, this wouldn’t be his last official visit to the prison, that, he was certain of.


     It was gone six by the time Small decided he’d had enough for the day. The arrogant cocky detective inspector had got under his skin. He must think they are running some kind of hotel. He couldn’t give a damn what the likes of Crayton and Moxley got up to, just as long as they helped keep order in the prison. That was the real reason he turned a blind eye to much of their socialising. They were forceful characters who commanded respect, and fear among the other inmates. A strategy that, the likes of that DI Palmer would never understand. He would be having a word with his boss Eric at the next lodge meeting. And as for the lad, who’d been attacked, whose name he’d already forgotten – collateral damage to help keep Crayton happy. Just so long as Palmer’s report wasn’t too scathing, all would be well. As for the lad, he’d be on his way to a Cat C the following day. He could have had him shipped to Kirkham open prison on the other side of Preston, about forty miles away; it’s a Cat D as well. After all it’s not as if the lad with no name was a flight risk, but he’d chosen a Cat C in the Midlands instead. Just because he could.

     Small knew that resources were always a problem, but not in this case. With the help of people like Crayton he could keep control, and who knows Small may end up running the place one day, after all, the current governor delegated most of the day-to-day stuff to him as it was, and retirement wasn’t too far away for him. Hopefully, he’d be sitting pretty.

     Thirty minutes later, he pulled up outside his trendy townhouse in north Manchester, but was annoyed to see his usual parking place taken. It was supposed to be ‘residents only’ parking and he was sure that the shitty white Transit van occupying his space wasn’t local. He looked around but could not see any free spaces; he’d have to hunt for one around the corner. But as he passed the van he noticed a hooded person sat in the driver’s seat, but he’d gone past and now had someone else up behind him. He turned left and parked on the edge of the corner. It would do for now while he had a quick word with the van driver and tell him to move. He walked the short distance back to his house and as he approached he saw the interior light in the van’s cab illuminate as the driver got out. The hooded driver walked towards him, but before Small could start to remonstrate, the driver spoke first.

     ‘You Mr Small?’

     ‘Yes, why?’

     ‘I’ve got a delivery for you and didn’t want to leave it on your step, so I thought I’d give it five.’

     The attitude left Small now as he arrived and confirmed who he was.

     ‘Round the back mate, I’ll need a signature.’

     Small looked up at his house but could not see any sign of life, she was obviously not in. He just wondered what the hell she’d been buying online this time. He followed the driver as he arrived at the back of the van and opened one of the two doors. The driver then stood back and Small strained to see inside in the half-light. Then he heard and felt two things at the same time. A buzzing electrical sound, like something out of Dr Frankenstein’s laboratory, and a sharp deliberating pain which shot through his back in all directions. It stopped almost as soon as it had started, but he felt like every muscle in his body had tensed and locked at the same time. He didn’t feel the shove in his back that must have followed, but he landed hard face-down on the floor of the van. The rear door slammed shut, and just as he was starting to regain his motor responses, he was thrown on to his side by the motion of the van being driven off at speed.


     Vinnie Palmer had just finished giving the uniform super, Eric, an update from the prison when his phone announced the arrival of a text. He glanced at it, it was from his wife, Lesley; “Are you planning on coming home tonight?” he ignored it as he turned back to face Eric.

     ‘How did you find the deputy governor, Kenneth Small?’

     Vinnie told him and didn’t hold back, and he included the “lodge” remark.

     ‘Cheeky bastard,’ Eric started, ‘I’m not in any lodge, but I’ve no doubt that he is.’

     Vinnie wasn’t too sure whether to believe him, but it was more important to note that he clearly didn’t like, Small.

     ‘We have to get on with them, but I’m expecting a warts-and-all report from you, Vinnie, though I’ll need evidence in it to back up any misgivings. At least then I can approach the governor with any issues; I get the impression that he leaves too much of the day to day running of things with Small. So, if things are going to improve, it’s only right we raise it with the governor first, before we threaten to take any concerns to London.

     It was a fair approach Vinnie knew, but he just hoped he didn’t find himself back at the prison too soon, looking into the face of another vulnerable inmate-turned-victim.

     ‘Fair enough, boss, but I won’t bet against the odds of being called back there in the near future.’

     The super Eric nodded and both men bade their farewells. Vinnie sighed as he pulled his phone from his pocket as he walked out the super’s office, time to text Lesley back.


     The van came to a stop and Small could tell they were on uneven ground. Then the rear doors were opened and he could see that it was fully dark now, and wherever they were, there was little light about. A pair of gloved hands pulled him out of the van and he realised it was the hooded driver again.

     ‘Look, I don’t know what you want, I’ve no money on me—’ Small started to say before the back of one the gloved hands connected hard with his left cheek. The blow shocked him as much as it hurt.

     ‘Listen in you little shite, and listen good,’ the driver said.

     Small nodded.

     ‘You run that prison like your own fiefdom, and you couldn’t give a shit about the likes of Worthing.’

     Worthing, that name rang a bell, Small thought.

     ‘You’ve forgotten him already?’ the driver said.

     Small didn’t answer.

     ‘I know what goes on in there, I have ears on the inside,’ the driver said, as he pulled a flick knife out of his hoodie pocket, and then made the blade spring out of its handle. Now Small was really scared.

     ‘The way you protect the likes of Crayton and his like has to stop. And Worthing gets moved to a local open prison, not some shithole the other side of the country.’

     Small knew who Worthing was now, and he was pretty sure the driver was his brother Ben; the one he’d put the phone down on earlier. He was about to say “I know who you are, and you’ll not get away with this” but for once common sense silenced his loose mouth. He just nodded.

     ‘If not I’ll pay you another visit and next time you won’t be so lucky’, the driver said as he produced a Taser from his other pocket and held it in his free hand. It was obviously what he had used on him earlier, but it wasn’t gun shaped and yellow like the ones the cops had, more like a black torch. He stood facing him, a knife in one hand, and the Taser in the other.

     Then the driver lunged at him, and in that split second he couldn’t be sure which hand was flashing its way towards his chest. The van was immediately behind him giving him nowhere to go. Not that it would matter, the driver was too fast.


The End.

This short story tells its own tale but it is also a prologue to ‘NEMESIS’ my new crime thriller which is out now in paperback and as an e-book. I hope you are tempted to try it, kind regards, Roger.  


The body count is rising…
When psychopath Daniel Moxley makes his escape while being escorted to Broadmoor high security prison, he sets off on a trail of bloody revenge, leaving police forces throughout the north of England floundering in his wake. Moxley’s paranoia has him seemingly selecting victims at random. The only thing they have in common is the gruesome nature of their killings. Police, prison warders and even old ladies have been the target of Moxley’s cold-blooded murder spree.

When Detective Inspector Vinnie Palmer is assigned to the case, Moxley decides that he too must die, but not before he has led him from one blood-soaked scene to another. Among his victims is Vinnie’s offsider, Detective Constable Rob Hill, who he discovers has his own dark and destructive secret that rips Vinnie’s life apart.

With the help of Moxley’s psychiatrist, Vinnie delves deep into the man’s criminal past and uncovers a history of corrupt police, sexual coercion and gaol brutality. But when Vinnie closes in on Moxley and takes the law into his own hands, he ends up suspended and stripped of his police powers. Determined not to let Moxley escape justice, Vinnie continues his pursuit of the maniac as a private citizen. He teams up with determined television reporter Christine Jones and together they pursue Moxley north to Scotland and back again.

But the killer always seems to be one step ahead, leaving a trail mutilated bodies in his wake. Lured on by Moxley’s taunts, Vinnie discovers that it is his own wife – a fellow police worker – who has been an unwitting aid in Moxley’s deadly deeds. As a result, his suspension is lifted in time for him and Christine to gain full police support and finally confront Moxley in a terrifying final encounter.

But is it too late?

Available now on Amazon UK: and US:










Maggie Tideswell: my Guest Author writes Paranormal Romance

Maggie Tideswell

Maggie Tideswell is my Guest Author this week

I like to mix it up a bit and not always stick to authors of crime.

So please welcome Maggie Tideswell – author of Paranormal Romance.

To begin here is some information about her and her writing:

Maggie lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with hubby Gareth. Over the years she’s worked in everything from nursing to catering, and then she started writing love stories. With three kids, a girl and two boys, and eleven cats at that time, life could become quite interesting.

The paranormal, things that happen for which there are no logical explanations and ghosts, are of particular interest to Maggie. What events in a person’s life would prevent that person from ‘resting’ after death? The ‘Old Religion’ is another special interest.

And love, of course. Why do people fall in love? What keeps them together for a lifetime when so many relationships fail?

Roxanne’s Ghost Saga, a new mystery series from internationally acclaimed author Maggie Tideswell, is set against the stunningly beautiful backdrop of modern-day South Africa. It is a compelling ghost story of identical twin sisters’ love for the same man, and the magical connection the women share.

And the theme?  Nothing is what it seems.

Here, we move into the realms of the mists of time that could either reveal or conceal.

Goodbye My Love

Book 1, Goodbye, My Love, sets the scene. It introduces country vet, Ben, his four-year-old autistic daughter and the would-be nanny, Jessica James. Jess’ interview with Ben for the nanny position takes place on Friday the 13th. An attraction between the two is immediate, which by all accounts isn’t entirely normal.

Ben’s three oddball sisters-in-law descend on him for the anniversary of his wife Roxanne’s death. They try to convince Ben that Roxanne isn’t dead, more than likely to put an end to whatever might develop between Ben and Jessica. But Ben knows that no one could have survived what led to Roxanne’s death.

His daughter, diagnosed as autistic, only sometimes does she display the symptoms that led to her diagnosis. Autism is not a disease, it’s a condition. A condition with symptoms that can’t be turned on and off at will. So…what is the child really suffering from?

Ben’s wife’s twin sister, Millicent, is accompanied by an over-board caricature of a psychic to Ben’s home in order to help them find Roxanne. Of course, Millicent isn’t happy to find Jess already in Ben’s house—trouble is imminent. But only as far as Ben’s ancient housekeeper, will allow her to. What does the housekeeper know that will keep Millicent’s ruffled feathers under control?

More importantly…

Where is Roxanne?

Here’s a taster:

Does anyone live here?

The house looked deserted, kind of spooky. Jess couldn’t see any other houses nearby. Sally had not been kidding—this was a rather isolated place.

Dilapidated outbuildings behind the sprawling house looked as unused as the house itself. Some sort of creeper covered most of the buildings except the house—it looked far too fragile to bear the added weight.

There were what looked like turrets on each end of the house, and a domed one in between. That might be a skylight. Jess worried her bottom lip. What century was this place built?

Lightning played over the majestic mountains behind the house, silhouetting it against the darkening sky, but down here in the valley, the late sun cast long shadows over the overgrown garden.

It all fit so well with Friday the thirteenth, because this was creepy. What had she been thinking? She should have postponed the interview until Monday. One weekend surely wouldn’t have made that much of a difference.

Jess studied the map on her tablet, which she held propped up against the steering wheel. This could be the right place, but she had thought that about both the previous two places, and neither had turned out to be Weltevreden. Neither had been as eerie as this place, either.

No, this couldn’t be it. Tapping her finger against the edge of the tablet, she studied the house again. This whole thing smacked of a Friday the thirteenth Sally-prank.

Sally, her bestie since high school, ran a very successful employment agency. The professional image notwithstanding, she still loved pranks of any kind—she would never outgrow them.

Her eyes had lit up that morning when Jess sat in front of her desk, mugs of coffee steaming on the polished wood between them. The platter of doughnuts had been for Jess’ benefit. Sally and her perpetual dieting.

“Something different,” Sally mused, tapping her pen against her front teeth, then pressed a button on her laptop, and reached for the sheet of paper the printer spewed out. “This might be just the thing. It came in just now.” She’d tossed her platinum curls over her shoulder, grinning at Jess.

Another thing Sally would never outgrow, her Barbie-doll looks.

“It has my name on it, then.” Jess leaned her forearms on Sally’s desk. “Tell me, tell me, tell me.” She grinned back, barely able to contain her excitement. “Does it involve a man?”

Neither Sally nor Jess had found their Mr. Full Potential yet, although both had been ready for wedded bliss, the kids and the house in the suburbs thing, a long time ago.

“As a matter of fact it does, but he doesn’t seem to be in the market. It says here that a nanny is required for a four-year-old autistic girl. Dr. Arnold specifically requested that only older women be put forward for the position.”

“How old-fashioned. Where is this job?”

“In the Wellington area.” Sally frowned at the monitor.

“There you go. He won’t find anybody qualified to work that far from Cape Town. It is his child, I presume?”

“It is, but do you seriously want to give this a go?” Sally looked worried as only she could. It went with the Barbie look.  “I’m intrigued. What kind of doctor is he?”

“A veterinary surgeon. And a widower, it says here. That is all the information I have for you, I’m afraid.” Sally sat back in her chair. “I shouldn’t disregard so specific an instruction, Jess, but just this once, I’ll make an exception. Then it’s up to you to change his mind for him. It’ll be in his own best interest in the end.” She passed an information sheet across the desk. “I’ll tell Dr. Arnold to expect you at four. I’d pack an overnight bag if I were you. Call me, okay?”

Now, sitting in front of the house that might or might not belong to Dr. Ben Arnold, Jess didn’t feel all that confident anymore. And it didn’t really sound like a prank, unless Sally had kept some information to herself.

There was only one way to find out, and that was to knock on the door and ask.

If there was anybody in the house to ask.

Switching the engine off, she consulted the rear-view mirror to apply some color to her lips and pat her shoulder length bob into place. She took a moment to admire the rich auburn color in the late afternoon sunshine and sighed.

I don’t know about this. It was a long way from Cape Town.

What did people do around here for fun?

Trying her best to ignore the goose bumps on her forearms, she opened the car door and stepped out. Her heels sank into the gravel, her shadow stretching all the way back to the gate.

Only when she turned toward the house did she see the man sitting on the top step in the shadows, his shoulder against the railing, one knee pulled up with his arm resting on top of it. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, and it looked as if his feet were bare, too.

Was he there a moment ago? Why didn’t I see him?

Smoothing her palms down her red pencil skirt, she started toward the house and the man on the steps. If he wasn’t Dr. Arnold, maybe he could give her directions.

Taking a deep breath, Jess reminded herself that she wasn’t superstitious about this Friday the thirteenth nonsense. People liked to scare themselves with the silliest things. What was supposed to happen on this day? It was a day like any other.

That certainly looked like a real man on the steps. He wasn’t going to bite her. Today being a Friday and the thirteenth meant nothing, but now that she’d thought of it, the idea would stick with her like the taste of garlic.

Leaving the car door open for a quick escape should she need it, she’d gone no more than a few steps when she heard something other than the crunch of her shoes on the gravel. It sounded suspiciously like a dog whining.

She slowly turned her head, curling her fingers into the fabric of her skirt. It couldn’t be a dog. She hadn’t seen any dogs when she drove through the gate.

I don’t do dogs!

Her breath hitched in her throat when she saw them. They were right next to her car, beside the door she’d deliberately left open, a whole pack of them. Their lips curled away from their teeth, their tongues lolling out the sides of their mouths, dripping saliva onto the gravel. Yellowish eyes watched every move she made.

Where did they come from?

How many were there?

They cut her off from the safety of the Fiesta!

Now she had only one way to go—into that house. Why hadn’t that man called them off? Why wasn’t he helping her?

Slowly, making no sudden moves, she took another step toward the porch. The dogs followed her. Her heart hammered against her ribs. Another couple of quick steps toward the house. The dogs did the same. She broke into a trot, her scream shattered the still of the afternoon.

Missing the first step, she stumbled, recovered her balance, and took the rest of the stairs two at a time. The dogs were on her heels, whining and yelping, their breaths hot on the backs of her legs.

Thanks so much for being my guest this week Maggie. I wish you much success.

You can find out about Maggie and her books here:

My Golden Age story Cue Murder is FREE to read in A Stab in the Dark: Cons, Dames and G-Men

Lupe Velez

Lupe Velez

It started like any other day. The early morning studio call came far too early, as it always did, and as Maxwell Murphy walked across the lot to Stage 58 in the cool crisp Hollywood air, the heat of the sun still to reach his skin, he silently rehearsed the lines he’d learned the night before. He wasn’t the first to arrive, the grips had been there for an hour already and so had many others who worked on the technical side of movie making. Sleepy actors – those needed for the first takes, the effects of their various narcotics – barbiturates or booze, still clouding their eyes and their brains, wandered in and made straight for the coffee and smokes.

But it wasn’t like any other day. Maxwell knew there would never be a day like any other day ever again, as he recalled what changed an ordinary days filming into an unforgettable day; a day when part of him died…

A Stab in the Dark: Cons, Dames and G-Men FREE to read


It’s always exciting to be asked to take part in an Anthology 

I love reading and writing short stories and any excuse to pen one, I am there.

And, if it has anything remotely to do with Crime, well, try to stop me.

I must say writing a crime story this time has proved a  bit of a challenge as it had to be set in the 1930/1940’s with a nod to the Golden Age of Detection; an era I love reading about but have never tried to write….until now.

The anthology is the brain child of author Adam Mitchell and features the short stories of 7  authors.

Image may contain: text

It will also be FREE to readers as from today on Smashwords:

also available elsewhere including Amazon

and Kobo:


Barnaby Rogers PI and the Case of the Singing Canary: Cue Murder



Adam Mitchell’s anthology is called ‘A Stab in the Dark: Cons, Dames and G Men.’

I’ve called my story ‘Cue Murder.’

 I have set it in the late 1930’s in Hollywood – anyone who knows me cannot have failed to know that I love that era…the movies, the fashions and the music for starters.

Hollywood Boulevard 1930's

Hollywood Boulevard 1930’s

 Researching the dialogue, the street names – some of which have changed with time, and the restaurants and bars which were there during that era, has been sheer heaven, and researching the Movie studios and the lives of the stars has been so exciting.

Greenblatt’s Deli is somewhere I’ve spent many happy times enjoying their food when I’ve been in Hollywood, and it was there in the 1930’s and features in my story too.

Greenblatt's Deli in the 1930's. Unkown Copyright.

Greenblatt’s Deli in the 1930’s.

This has been such an enjoyable experience.

My story is about a young movie star called Allis Blondell who is found dead in her bungalow on the lot of the movie in which she is co-starring with Maxwell Murphy, who plays Barnaby Rogers, PI.

The movie is called Barnaby Rogers PI: The Case of the Singing Canary.

Some years ago when researching family history (on my husband’s side) I’d touched on Hollywood in the 1930’s when looking into the life of an aunt of his, the actress Elizabeth Risdon.

Elizabeth Risdon 1918

Elizabeth Risdon 1918

Elizabeth Risdon

Elizabeth Risdon

She was born in England in 1887 and was a star of the stage before heading for the movies in America.

A Broadway actress she ventured into the Silent movies.

She starred in 1913 in Maria Marten, the Mystery of the Red Barn, and was one of the few Silent Era actresses who successfully made the move into ‘talkies,’ which many stars failed to do.

I  can’t help thinking about the movie ‘Singing in the Rain,’ and the story of the silent movie actress in that – fiction but reflecting what happened during the exciting days of ‘talkies.’.

Elizabeth Risdon had over 140 movies under her belt by the time she died in Santa Monica in 1958.

Some of the other movies she starred in – for those who are curious:

1939 – The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn (Widow Douglas) with Mickey Rooney.

Elizabeth Risdon in Huckleberry Finn 1939 with Mickey Rooney.

1939 – The Girl from Mexico (and the Mexican Spitfire series) (Aunt Della Lindsay) with Lupe Velez.

1938 – Mad About the Music, a musical, (Annette Fusenot) with Deanna Durbin.

1942 – Reap the Wild Wind (Mrs Claiborne) with John Wayne.

1952 – Scaramouche (Isabella de Valmorin) with Stewart Granger.

Elizabeth Risdon 1941

Elizabeth Risdon 1941

With all this research, used mainly for Family History purposes, I had dipped my toe into the life and times of movie stars of the era and one in particular,

Lupe Velez, who was known as The Mexican Spitfire,

The Mexican Spitfire

The Mexican Spitfire

and with whom my husband’s aunt appeared many times in her movies.

Lupe Velez has inspired my story, ‘Cue Murder,’ because of the manner in which she died,

but actually my story about Allis Blondell is nothing like hers.

I won’t give any more away – you will have to read it.

If you download a copy do leave your thoughts on Smashwords, Kobo, Amazon and the other places this anthology is available, so we can have some feedback, and do please, let me know here.

We all love to know we are not working in vain.

If you ever get chance to watch any of the movies I mentioned do let me know what you think of them, and do look out for Elizabeth Risdon

Lupe Velez

Lupe Velez

 I hope you enjoyed the extract of Cue Murder and that it inspires you to want to read more of my story and the others included in A Stab in the Dark: Cons Dames and G Men.

If this has interested you inmy writing, you can find more of my work on my Amazon Author Page:

and on

GoodReads Page:

I’m on Twitter:  


Authors included in this anthology are:

100 Miles to Murder – Matthew L. Schoonover

Cue Murder – Jane Risdon

Dark at the Top of the Stairs – Elizabeth Noreen Newton

Sorry Vivian – Neal Skye

The Mickey – Paul Newton

Well I Die Tomorrow – Adam C. Mitchell

Deadly Steps – Stacey Margaret Allan


All photos are in the public domain apart from the covers for A Stab in the Dark.

Coming November 2017

Only One Woman

published by Accent Press

and written by me and my life-long friend Christina Jones.

If you dig music, fashion and the late 1960s and can recall the Moon landings, the assassination of  Robert Kennedy, and more, this is the book for you.


Vegas or Moscow: FREE to read short story published in The Writers Newsletter June 2017


Another FREE to read short story

written by Jane Risdon

Published in The Writers Newsletter June 2017 issue.

 The music business in Los Angeles is running along smoothly with the wise-guys from Vegas controlling it – and one record label in particular – until the Russians arrive and put a spanner in the works.

Click the link to read FREE.

And if you enjoyed this story, check out my FREE to read story in the May edition and I have an article in there too.

Let me know what you think. Leave a comment on the Newsletter and here if you enjoyed them.

Thanks so much. Jane xx

Hardwick Hall: Part Two of my 2016 Jolly with additional photos

               Harwick Hall – part two.

At the end of 2016 I participated in several ‘jollies’ to some of the most amazing houses and beauty spots in England, and I’ve shared my experiences, as I often do, with visitors here.

If you are new here and think you might enjoy reading about and seeing photos of some of the wonderful places around England I’ve visited since I started this blog over 5 years ago, do take some time to go to Menu/blog, then scroll down, and you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied on a rainy day.

You’ll also find posts about my writing and interviews with my Guest Authors, which I feature from time to time. Feel free to nose around.  

Bess Hardwick was over sixty when she started building the house which survived virtually unchanged for more than four centuries.

She had an army of builders – men and women – working on the building. Masons, wallers, paviours, carpenters, lathmakers, sawyers, and slaters, and plasterers, plumbers, glaziers – she purchased a glazing company and made her own glass, and eventually supplied glass for many other important houses -smiths, painters, mat-makers and embroiderers – do check out the tapestries. Awesome.           

Materials used in the house include sandstone, limestone and lead, glass, alabaster, timber and Derbyshire blackstone, and were all locally sourced.


Bess owned many of the coal mines and quarries surrounding Hardwick, and men from her mines provided some of the labour.

There are still stonemasons working at Hardwick today, using stone from the park that yielded ashlar blocks used for the house for over 400 years.

Great Hall Ground Floor

The ceilings are so beautiful, and the workmanship amazing. I got a crick in my neck looking up for so long.  

Three craftsmen in particular – plasterer Abraham Smith, stone carver, Thomas Accres and painter John Ballechouse – were responsible for much of the interior decoration.

The Hardwick household was supplied with milk, cheese, butter and cream from the estate diary, fish came from the stewponds, meat from the cattle grown fat on the estate land and slaughtered and butchered in the Stableyard.

There were deer in the park for sport and for food, and there was a supply of fruit from the orchards.  


Long Gallery Second Floor

There were hen houses, with fowl, producing eggs and meat for the kitchen. sheep grazed in the orchards and their fleeces used to make garments and yarn, and there was honey from their bees and beeswax too for the hundreds of candles the house used.







If you get chance to visit Hardwick Hall, do go. I shall post part three as soon as I can get the photos organised.

It is a fascinating house, the history is gripping and Bess of Hardwick was a woman way before her time.

Part one of this series can be found here:

There is mobility parking in the main car park. A buggy service is available. Adapted toilets are in the Stableyard and Park Centre. There is wheelchair access to the ground floor hall and Lady Spencer’s walk. Stairs to 2nd and 3rd floors, with resting benches and chairs. Be aware that there is deep water and height drops around the estate. The Hall is open from 13th Feb until 30th Oct, 11am to 5pm, Weds to Sun. The park closes at dusk if earlier.

Telephone: 01246 850430            Email:

If this has interested you do please explore some of my other ‘jollies,’ to gardens, villages, ruins, cathedrals, churches and great houses.

As ever do let me know if you have enjoyed this ‘jolly.’ Your comments are always most welcome.

All photographs (c) Jane Risdon 2017 All Rights Reserved.

Bobby Underwood: Multi-genre Author is my Guest – tipping his hat to Pulp Fiction and The Golden Age

Bobby Underwood

Multi-genre author Bobby Underwood is my Guest today. I’m so pleased to feature him. I love his writing.

This is what he has to say about himself – my interview with him begins further down.

Like Robert Ludlum and Raymond Chandler, things didn’t line up for me until my forties, when I began seriously pursuing writing. I have been prolific since embarking on my writing career, steadfast in my belief that a story told well, in any genre, will find a home in the heart of most readers. Because of that belief, I write in many genres, including modern day Mystery and Crime, Romance, Westerns, Science Fiction, and Pulp suspense homages set in the 1940s. My style, and the type of stories I tell, harken back to writers of old. I bring something ethereal to my more romantic pieces, something nostalgic to my stories set in the past, something grittier yet hopeful to my present-day crime and mystery stories, something poignant and human to my stories of science fiction, and finally, something  almost tangibly sensual to a series I write which is set in a near-term dystopian Earth.


When I write, it is always my voice readers hear, based on my life experience and observations. But the authors who touched me growing up can be heard in the echoes of my voice, and their literary influence seen lingering in the shadowed archways and darkened corridors at the edges of my pages. I have always attempted to write the kind of stories I would like to read. My hope is that each reader will be touched by something within the pages of my books, while at the same time being entertained. If they are, then I have been able to share a part of my soul with them, creating a connection between author and reader which allows us to know each other a bit better. In the end, that’s really all a writer can ask. 

I found this really interesting, thanks Bobby.

Right now down to business with my interview:

You write in more than one genre, how did this transpire? Did you consciously decide to do this or did it just happen?

That’s a good question. Like Chandler and Ludlum, circumstances didn’t afford me the opportunity to begin my career as a writer until my 40s, and by then I had a wealth of different stories I wanted to tell. Naturally, not all of them fell within the same genre, so I write in many different genres. I’ve always believed that if a story is well-told, no matter whether it falls within their preferred genre or not, readers will find a home for it in their heart. Ed McBain always said that when he sat down to write in a different genre, it was as though a completely different writer took over. I feel the same, and have no difficulty slipping into a different style, mood, cadence, to fit whatever story with which I’m currently in love (a Ray Bradbury reference).

Which is your favourite genre, if you have one and why?

I would have to say mystery, if pinned down, because it really is in everything I write. The Seth Halliday series and the Matt Ransom series most certainly contain mystery elements, but even the Westerns I write have some unknown factor, some mystery that is revealed at some point. In romantic fantasies, such as Beyond Heaven’s Reach, Joy Island, Surfer Girl and City of Angels, there is an element of mystery as to what is actually happening, and what is going to happen once that mystery revealed.

You seemed to be an avid reader of Robert Ludlum – me too – and the ‘Pulp’ fiction of the Golden Era – which I grew up reading – and I think your writing reflects this, having enjoyed several of your books. Do you have a favourite writer or writers, and if so why? I loved Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler when I was growing up. Have your read them?

Yes, I love the great pulp writers. Spillane in fact, never stopped writing pulp, something a lot of folks don’t get. Chandler elevated an entire genre, turning pulp into art in some cases. So many great writers began in the pulps. Woolrich, Gardner, Cain, Hammett and Chandler, all began in the pulps, and some of their best work can be found there. Pulp is not always mystery however, so I can’t neglect to mention Jack Williamson, a legend in Science Fiction, who was one of the few to bridge the gap between the pulp era and the more serious Science Fiction which came later. No one wrote with greater movement within their narratives than Woolrich and Williamson.

Who is the writer you feel has influenced you the most and why?

Wow, there are so many. All of the above names, plus John D. MacDonald, Tony Hillerman, Ross Macdonald, the great Robert Nathan, whose lovely stories of romantic fantasy I still find enthralling, Earl Derr Biggers, M.M. Kaye, and Donald Hamilton, just to name a few.

Did you read any adventures when growing up written by authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Ransome, Enid Blyton, and even Daphne Du Maurier, for example? I’d love to know which books really excited you enough to want to write. So many writers name these are being incredibly influential.

I actually read more mysteries than adventure stories. I absolutely adored those mysteries for young adults written by Phyllis A. Whitney, remembered more today for her soft-gothic romance novels for adults. But she wrote wonderful books of mystery for young adults, teenagers and almost-teenagers. There was a mystery, but always little life lessons, something wonderful a child or young adult could take with them in their heart once the final page was turned. I hadn’t thought about it until you asked, but I would have to say that Phyllis A. Whitney mysteries, and the ethereal romantic fantasies of Robert Nathan, were definitely the most influential to me as a young person. Later, as an adult, John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series, Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm series, and Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer series had a great influence on me.

Goodness me Matt Helm, reminds me of Dean Martin in the movie role.

Have you always wanted to write? Did you write as a child?

Yes, as long as I can remember. Life just didn’t afford me the opportunity until later, so I’m making the most of it.

What are your ambitions if any, as an author?

To be read, to have people enjoy my stories, to have people be touched and entertained by the stories I write. And to be respected by readers and other writers. Fame and fortune, that’s all bunk, and mostly luck. Poe and Emily Dickenson prove that. In our day of the inconsequential being glorified, that’s even truer. Yes, some of the worse stuff out there is self-published books, and it’s ridiculous not to acknowledge that, but there are a lot of big publishing house clunkers too. Some of them are bestsellers! Some of the best stuff being written today is coming from writers working independent of the big publishing houses. The new market has left the large publishing houses scrambling, touting the next “big” thing, in order to survive. I don’t let it distract me from the really good stuff being written.

Have you submitted to publishing houses or agents at all or are you content to self-publish? And if so, why?

I seriously considered it, but after looking at my options, and a very changed landscape in publishing, I chose to go the independent route. I probably could have got on at some point with a smaller print publishing house, but they can only print so many books per year, and I’m far too prolific for that. I am not a cookie-cutter writer, cranking out paint by the numbers best seller material. Nor do I have any pretensions in my writing style(s) that big publishing houses love. My work harkens back to those authors of old that I grew up reading. By choosing to publish independently from the big guys, I can tell the stories I want to tell, being fulfilled creatively. Bradbury said you have to be in love with a story, and I always am. Being independent also allows me to keep my prices in line with the big publishing houses. I would rather be read than rich, and respected by a somewhat smaller but loyal readership, than lauded unduly for something I wasn’t proud to point to as my legacy.

You are incredibly prolific. I am blown away at the number of books you’ve written. Where do you get your ideas? Do they pop into your head or are there outside forces at work, stimulating your imagination? What would typically inspire you?

I have to say that classic films from the 1930s and ‘40s have been a tremendous influence in my work, at least in the type of stories I want to tell. Whatever I write, I try to capture a feeling, an emotion, and sustain that emotion throughout the entire narrative. It’s the same way a director attempts to sustain a mood and ambiance throughout a classic film. Ideas can come from anywhere, but for me, it’s always the overall feeling that’s important.

Do you write every day? For how long?

Like Anne Rice, I write when I feel like it. She said that someone telling her she had to write so many words every day, was one of the worst pieces of advice she ever received. That and this notion that your first draft would always be terrible and need tons of revisions. Asimov said the same thing about this terrible notion. He finally realized that Heinlen, who had told him to get it right the first time, was correct. Asimov wasn’t saying there was anything wrong with revisions if they were needed, but that there also was nothing wrong with getting your story right from the get-go.

I write most of the time, but if I don’t feel like it, I’ll take a short break, until I’m ready to write a story. When I do write, I always try to make sure the chapter I just wrote is as good as I’m likely to get it before moving on. There have been times when I’ll write the ending to a story, or a lovely scene I want to include that’s somewhere in the middle of the narrative, and then work up to it. But I have no set number of hours, or pages, I must meet. Each writer is different, and that rigidity does not work for me at all.

Do you have a routine, a ritual, for writing? Where do you write?

I always write at my desk. It’s how I’ve always written, my routine. I don’t really have any other rituals or routines, though I do tend to have Henry Mancini’s music playing a lot when I’m working. He always puts me in a mood to write. I think that the opening to a story is the most important for me. Once I have that, I’m off to the races, as the saying goes.

Do you write long hand or on a typewriter or computer?

On my Mac, but in my youth, I wrote longhand — computers hadn’t been invented!

Are you a plotter with lots of research, notes and plans – even spreadsheets – or are you like me – sitting in front of a computer screen hoping something comes, though I often have the title and a rough idea of what the story will be, I never know the ending?

I would say that almost everything is in my head, including the plot. Often, because I’ve been fairly prolific, as you noted — though I’ve deliberately slowed my pace this year, for a breather — there are several stories going on at once up there. I do jot down a few notes, usually just some phrases, perhaps some snappy dialog, or the setting for a scene. But it’s only sketchy stuff to remind me, so that I can refer back to it later — in case it’s a while before I get to that particular story. Mostly I keep every story in my head — no doubt safer for the general public at large!

I’m glad I am not alone in having several things bubbling away at the same time.

Have you ever woken in the night with a story running around in your head and had to get up to start writing it? Which story did this happen with?

I honestly can’t say that I have. I’ve always got stories going on up there, 24/7, but if I get up to write at night, which is rare — that’s my reading time — it’s usually only because I can’t sleep, and no longer feel like reading.

Do you forget meals and drinks when writing or do you have a favourite snack and beverage on hand? Tea get me through with supplies of liquorice when I allow myself.

No, if I get hungry, I’ll stop and take a break. I actually don’t like snacking while I’m working, so I wait until I do take a break. I do snack when I’m just mucking around on the computer, but if I’m writing a story, I don’t. Not sure why, I think it’s just because I’m focused on the story.

Do you receive feed-back from your readers and are you active in communicating with fans?

I try to be interactive when I can. Generally feedback is great to get, so it’s usually a big plus. Some time back, I had someone phone me from out of the blue. An older woman, very nice, who was in an assisted living home. Her son had bought The Wild Country and Beyond Heaven’s Reach, and brought them to her to read. When she saw that I lived in her town, she took the time to look up our number, just so she could tell me how wonderful the books had been, and how much she enjoyed them. That kind of thing doesn’t happen often, so it was really special.

Do you use Social Media for publicity? How do you find this – beneficial for the amount of time spent, or a necessary evil which does/doesn’t reap sufficient benefit in relation to effort and time spent and sales garnered?

I use my Facebook author page, and sometimes I’ll boost a post about a promotion, but mostly I use Goodreads. I’m on there a lot anyway, because I read and review, so it’s not like I’m cutting into time I wouldn’t already have been allotting to Goodreads anyway. Even then, I just put my stuff out there and get out of the way. I don’t like to be pushy. It probably hurts me, because I don’t have tons of reviews, or even ratings, but I’m definitely being read. That’s the important thing.

How often do you read? What are you reading at the moment?  Do you read during the day or at night in bed?

I read all the time, but mostly at night. I’ve always got two or three books going, so I can read whatever I’m in the mood for. Currently I’m reading Hans Fallada’s Little Man, What Now? M.M. Kaye’s The Sun in the Morning, and Robert B. Parker’s Paper Doll. Far too many people limit their reading world to a single genre. I find most readers are eclectic, however, like me, and can enjoy anything if it’s well written. Because I write everything from pulp homages to modern crime and mystery, romantic fantasy to science fiction, those are my kind of readers!

Who are your favourite authors today and why?

It might not be cool to say, but I honestly don’t read many modern authors. I prefer the older authors, the older writing styles. I do read the Hamish Macbeth series — so does my wife — and there are a few cozy authors I like when I’m in the mood, but I can’t really point to someone writing today that I get excited about.

What are you working on next and when should we expect it to be published? Tell us something about it if you are able.

I’ll probably work on Death in Egypt, a light mystery set in the 1930s. I’m not certain how long it will be, but some of it is already written. Anyone who has read Night Cry, from the Where Lonely Lives collection, will recognize it as the story the protagonist was working on in the narrative. Sections of it were included in Night Cry, but now I’m going to finish it. It’s kind of a unique thing, because it was a story within a story in Night Cry, and now that actual story, in its entirety, will come to fruition through me. It should be great fun, with a 1930s flavor. I hope people enjoy it.

Tell us about your latest publication:

My latest release is titled I Died Twice, and is both a homage to all those wonderful soft-noir film melodramas of the 1940s, and the finer pulp stories from the same era. The title for each short but involving chapter is in fact taken from a classic film. A young woman whose only family is the orphanage in which she grew up, must finally depart her aunts and all her friends to make her way in the world. Traveling by train to Palm Beach, Florida to begin her first job, she meets a young man and falls in love. The innocent and inexperienced Anne Ferguson quickly finds herself drawn into a web of love, wealth, and finally, murder. Emotional and atmospheric, the swiftly moving narrative will have readers wishing they could help the adorable Anne, and warn her of the danger just ahead. Filled with memorable supporting characters, imbued with warmth, and punctuated by a terrific ending reminiscent of those great film melodramas of the 1940s, I Died Twice is a rewarding tale of romantic suspense! 

Bobby many thanks for being here and chatting with us about your writing. It’s been so very interesting.

I do hope those who pop over to read about you will leave comments for you to answer; always great fun I find. Wishing you much future success.



Kim Knight: My Guest Author with multi-cultural characters in exotic locations

Kim Knight

My Guest Author this week is Kim Knight who is talking about her writing, both as a traditionally published and self-published writer of romantic suspense, set in exotic locations with multi-cultural characters. I’m booking my ticket to paradise right now.

This is the first time I have featured an author of romantic suspense and so I hope you enjoy finding out about Kim and her writing as much as I have.

Welcome to my blog Kim, it is fab having you here.

Please tell us something about yourself. Why you write, what inspired you and when did you begin to write stories?

Hello, thanks so much for having me. I’m thirty four, from London. I write because writing fills me with so much happiness. It’s helped to pull me out of some difficult times in life. I started really young, since my school days journaling. Two years ago I started to write my first full novel.

My motivation comes from my love of creativity, I can’t think of anything else I’d like to do in life. Apart from maybe work as a make-up artist or fashion designer. I’m also passionate about my genre as a reader. My sub-conscious inspiration came over ten years ago when I first stumbled upon the genre, and read my first romantic suspense book. Fast forward over ten years later, I’m a proud romantic suspense author.

 Your stories are set in the most exotic locations – Cuba for example – have you been to any of these locations?

Cuba has been on my list of places to see for so many years! I had to research a little into what it’s like in Cuba whilst writing Havana Heat. My next book in the Romance Set in Paradise series is set in Sri Lanka – again research is the key. I’d love to visit the country some time. I have been to some of the places I use in the other stories I am working on.

Havana Heat

Tell us about your experiences, we are sure to be green with envy. If you have not visited these places how do you research and make sure descriptions and cultural depictions of your locations and characters are accurate?

I speak to people who originate from the region I’m using for a character. I ask their views and seek clarification. I use the internet a lot as well and use sources I can trust.

You write using multi-cultural characters to tell your stories. Do you find it difficult getting inside the skins of these characters?

Err, yes and no if I’m honest. To write from the POV of someone from a different cultural background, for me, is a challenge if I focus on writing certain stereotypical views their     culture may have or experience.  This is not my aim. As I mainly feature a diverse line up of characters e.g. race, religion, sexuality, then write from the character’s POV e.g. how they are as a person – it’s no problem. This is because I just create a character line up that’s diverse, in their appearance/style/way they speak, rather than get into their head and write their views from a cultural perspective. If that makes sense? Sometimes it can be a challenge to portray accents. I listen to accents on YouTube, or do whatever I must do to get speech as accurate as I can.

How do you write in a ‘Spanish or Cuban voice’ for example – do you have experience of living/working with people from those backgrounds?

Yes, my girlfriends are so diverse in their backgrounds. In London you have the opportunity to meet so many great people different to yourself. I had a conversation with a European Spanish girlfriend of mine from Madrid on Skype, she lives in Brazil now. I asked her about the differences between Spanish dialects, when I wrote Sebastian and Filipe in Havana Heat. They are both Spanish speakers, one is a Caribbean Hispanic and one is a European Spaniard. My Spanish native girlfriend pointed me in the right direction!

A Stranger in France

When I wrote A Stranger in France I took the same approach. I have a few French speaking girlfriends, who I practice my French with. I cross checked my accents.

I’ve tried portraying Russians and Ukrainians and am terrified of stereo-typing them. Do you find it difficult?

The last thing I want to do is stereotype. To avoid this I check accents via listening and ask where possible a native speaker for their views. I too am terrified of stereo typing, but I must admit my style is to use the actual language of the character to speak as well.  Sometimes it’s more about translating English text to the language in question.

Do you have any tips for those authors who have steered clear of writing characters from different cultures and backgrounds? 

Do your research and crack on with it!  Don’t be scared.  Just stay clear of trying to make your character act like a “typical stereo type,”  of the background you are using.  This could offend someone. If I ever read a story and the writer has gone out of their way to portray young black, Hispanic, African-American or ethnic males as “aggressive trouble makers and public enemy number one,” I’d be offended. I have a son. This stereo type in my humble view is the cause of many race relation problems in  society but that’s another discussion!  Just use diversity to pepper your stories with different types of people, as that is the reality of life, we are not all the same.

Where do you like to write? Do you use a computer or write by hand? Do you have a special place where you write? Do you have a special time of day?

On my laptop to write my stories, via hand for my journal in pretty notepads. Normally I’m at my kitchen table, or a café.

Being a mum, I write when the house is quiet and peaceful. Normally in the late evening. It helps that I’m more of a night owl when it comes to creativity. My most creative hours I have noticed are about 10:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m.  That’s when I knock out the most words. I’m in the zone.

Where do you get your inspiration for a story? How long does it take you to write a book?

Life, being a woman in her mid-thirties, earlier life experiences. Experiences I’d love to have! Anything is an inspiration to me. Be careful what you tell me about your love life, it could end up in a novel. It depends on what I’m writing, how much research is needed and whether it’s a full novel, novella, or short story when it comes to time. My Romance in Paradise series are novella length books. Havana Heat in all honesty took me just a few weeks to write, I was in the zone.  Same with Lover’s Retreat book #2. But as you know that’s the easy bit!  The editing, perfecting and cover design takes everything from start to finish about two months for novellas.

Do you do a lot of plotting and note-making or do you write at the computer with a rough idea of what you want to write? Tell us something about your writing process.

I’m a plotter, I give myself a brief outline of my story and chapters. Develop my characters on paper in detail and then write. I don’t always stick to the outline, I let my creativity talk to me. But I must always have a plot outline so I know where I’m going. For me as a suspense writer it is a must, so I know where to build the heat and where to hold back.

Not Just for Christmas

 You self-publish but have been traditionally published too. Can you tell us what you think the benefits and downside of traditional verses self-publishing is from your own experience?

Yes, at first I was traditionally published then discovered self-publishing. I kinda like the freedom of self – publishing that’s a massive pro, I don’t regret it, I love it! That said my romantic thriller has been requested by another traditional publisher, as soon as I finish it, and I’m in two minds whether to self pub or go traditional. The drawback is (with self – publishing) you must understand and learn the process to do it well, but that said if you’re a serious writer this is not an issue. The pros of traditional publishing are that if you have a good publisher you don’t need to worry. Everything is taken care of for you. Just write and do your edits to the best of your ability. The drawback is if you have a crappy editor you are stuffed… well and truly my friend you are stuffed. And you have less control over deadlines and what you want for your work. That said if you find the right publisher you won’t have this problem. My advice is ask questions, make sure your publisher is the right home for your work, and never compromise on quality if you ain’t happy walk away.

Please add anything else you’d like us to know about yourself and your writing, including a list of your published books with links where to buy them, and also any new books in the pipeline.

Readers can download the first four chapters of Havana Heat on my author site for free, and receive a 15% discount on Smashwords until 14th May.

Please share something from Havana Heat to give our readers a flavour of your writing:


Sebastian takes Melinda’s hand as they leave the dance floor of Casa De Amigos. They weave their way in and out of the crowds. The crowds have built up the bar is now busy with local Cubans and tourists, enjoying the ambience of cheap cocktails, beers, the wide screen TV and small dance floor to salsa.

As they exit the bar into the late afternoon sunshine, the humid heat does nothing to cool down their perspiring bodies hot from all their dancing.

“Sebastian, which way from here? I have no idea where I’m going.”

Sebastian looks down at Melinda fanning herself with one hand. With the sunshine on her smooth brown skin, Sebastian can’t deny that his attraction toward Melinda is growing. His eyes sweep up and down her curvy body as he admires her sun dress and wedge heels. He wonders to himself what’s underneath her sundress, his mind runs wild as he fantasies about the kind of underwear Melinda likes to wear, and the kind of underwear he would like to see her in. Tearing his eyes away from her he hides his smile.

“Hmm, let’s try this direction.”

“Okay, let’s go.”

With a warm glow inside of each of them they take off in the opposite direction from where they came. Walking along the hot pavement they admire the colourful array of pastel colour buildings and downtown hotels they pass, as they walk deeper into the town.  Local youths pass them on moped bikes zooming down the main road, along with 1950s era Cadillac cars which catch Sebastian’s attention.

“The cars out here are really something, a real throwback in time.”

Melinda follows Sebastian’s gaze over to the main road as he smiles and admires the retro Cadillac cars.

“Totally, they’re amazing aren’t they. But totally fitting with the Spanish architecture and colourful buildings.”

Within a twenty minute walk the sea comes into view in the distance.

“Well, look what we’ve found.” Smiling Melinda tugs at Sebastian’s arm.

“C’mon let’s go check out the beach, we have time for a stroll before we head back.”

“What about food?”

“That’s what the hotel’s for.”

Melinda calls over her shoulder as she takes off jogging toward the beach. Sebastian smiles, then ups his pace to keep up with her.

“Wow, this looks like some kind of paradise.”

Melinda kicks off her wedge heels as she steps onto the warm sand. Sebastian joins her removing his comfortable plimsols.

“Sure does, the water is so blue.”

They walk farther onto the beach toward the water’s shore.  Melinda and Sebastian take in the ambience of the beach. Palm trees slightly lean to one side as they sway in the light sea breeze. The sand is clean with a bright sugar white colour. The beach is calm but busy with sun worshipers stretched out on their beach loungers, and groups of friends playing volleyball. A few teenagers splash around in the sea making fun of each other. Taken back by all of Santa Maria del Mar beach’s beauty both of them lower their shades as they walk along the coastline at a leisurely pace, with the warm sea water washing over their feet. As they stroll farther up the coastline a secluded area of rockery comes into view, they head over and settle themselves on the sugar white sand to admire the aqua blue sea.

“So tell me a bit more about yourself Sebastian, other than work how do you spend your time?”

Sebastian thinks for a moment, of late his free time has been consumed with mourning the absence of his late girlfriend Anna, and what he could have done to ensure Anna felt needed and valued as his partner. A vision of Anna appears in his mind’s eye as he stares out into the calm sea. Sebastian rubs the back of his neck and tries to push his vision of Anna’s face to one side.

“Ah, to be honest … not much. I guess I’m kinda boring.”

Melinda let’s out a small laugh and looks up at Sebastian.

“I’m sure you’re not, seriously you have no hobbies or interests?”

“Hmm, I like music— a lot, and to work out I guess, books interest me too.”

“What kind of music and books? I love them both.”

“I listen to a lot of classical, flamenco and modern music. When it comes to books obviously, crime is my thing.”

“Of course, Mr. Detective. And …”

“And that’s about it Melinda. I never realised how boring I am until you asked me that question.”

The pair crack up laughing.

“No girlfriend back in London then?”

Sebastian looks down at Melinda sitting by his side, his reflection in her large oversized sunglasses stares back at him. Damn she looks hot in those shades runs through his mind. Suddenly he feels overwhelmed and confused. He loves Anna and is still not quite over losing her. At the same time his attraction to Melinda is becoming more obvious to him. Her style, beauty, rhythm to a salsa beat, and bubbly sense of humour appeal to him in a major way.

“Did I say something wrong Sebastian? You’re looking at me like I’m some kind of alien.”

Sebastian snaps out of his weird trance of heartache over his late girlfriend, and lust over the ebony skinned beauty with exciting potential by his side.

“No sorry… I don’t have a girlfriend as such no.”

“As such? What does that mean?”

“It’s complicated—I”

With disappointment Melinda cuts Sebastian off as she gazes out at the deep aqua sea.

“Hmm, it always is with you men isn’t it.”

Thoughts of all the wasted dates she had been on over the last year run through her mind.

“No, I mean it’s complicated as she… she died almost one year ago.”

Melinda looks up at Sebastian as he stares off into the sea again.

“Oh, my Sebastian I’m sorry I didn’t mean to—”

“It’s okay, honestly by now I should be coming to terms with my loss. Well at least that’s what my shrink tells me.”

“You see a doctor?”

“Yeah, I have been for a while now. He helps but I know that the main bulk of the work to deal with my grief is down to me.”

“It’s hard, grieving is different for everyone.”

Many thanks for agreeing to be my guest, it has been a pleasure having you Kim, I wish you all the best with your writing and publishing future. 

 Connect with me:– author site

@kimknightauthor – Twitter

@kimknightauthoruk – Facebook

 Other books by Kim:

Lover’s Retreat: Romance Set in Paradise series (released June 2017).

In the Name of Love: Romantic Thriller (released summer 2018)

Code Red – A Serial Novel

Not Just For Christmas: A Romantic Novella

A Stranger in France- Romantic Suspense

Buy now links:

Smashwords with discount.

I hope everyone enjoys reading Kim’s interview and will leave comments for her to answer. Thanks for being here.


Dying to Meet You: My FREE short story and The Technicalities of Crime Writing – my article for The Writers Newsletter

I’ve been busy

Today I have a FREE short story in The Writers Newsletter – it’s called Dying to Meet You.


I hope you will pop across and read it and let me know your thoughts.

Some scenes are set in a library and it is about a crime writer.

There’s also an article I have written about Forensic Science and how taking courses has helped me learn more about Crime Scene Investigations and more.

I hope you get time to read the story and the article and let me know what you think.


Traci Sanders Multi-award-winning Author is my Guest Author with Tips on Colons and Semicolons

Traci Sanders

I thought I’d do something different with my Guest Author Spot – something I think you will find useful – especially those of us who write and possibly find themselves struggling with Grammar and Punctuation at times.

For those who don’t know her, Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies. An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and non-fiction guides.

Her ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.

Welcome Traci and thanks for being here to share some of your tips with us today

Thanks for featuring my new books on your blog. I am going to share a tip which is focused on the technical side of writing, discussing usage of colons and semicolons.

TIP 128: Colons and Semi-colons

The following tips, and many more on writing and editing, can be found in Before You Publish, now available in digital and paperback format.

You can think of this as a reference guide, rather than a book you need to read from cover to cover. It will become your new go-to guide for all things writing, grammar, and editing. The tips are easy to follow and explained in simple terms that anyone can understand and put to use right away.
I’ve seen colons and semi-colons thrown around in a haphazard manner within several books recently. It’s time to stop the madness!
Here are some rules broken down in simple terms, with examples for each one:
Semicolon – Basically, this mark symbolizes a point in the sentence that is not strong enough for a period but is too strong for a comma. Hence, it combines both (;).
A semicolon can replace a period when linking two similar, complete thoughts.
Her heart led her back to her childhood home; it was the only place she felt safe. A period could also be substituted here, but the semicolon closes the gap more effectively. Also, if this sentence were shortened—say the words “it was” were taken out—the sentence could be constructed differently.
Her heart led her to her childhood home—the only place she felt safe.
Either of these would suffice.
A semicolon can differentiate between two separate (complete) thoughts an author wants to convey in a relational way. Example: Your heart belongs to music; mine belongs to sports.
She thought she’d found the love of her life; she was wrong.
Use a semicolon to set apart sentences that are introduced (or divided) by conditional words such as: however, therefore, consequently, etc.
I wanted to marry a doctor; therefore, I dated only medical students.
You can date anyone you want; however, don’t be surprised if your heart gets broken.
Use a semicolon to break up a sentence in which one or more commas are present, or where a coordinating conjunction has been omitted (as in a series or list of items).
I called my mom and told her that I loved her, and I promised to take care of Daddy for her; it was one promise I intended to keep.
These are my three favorite movies of all time: Untamed Heart, starring Marisa Tomei and Christian Slater; Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere; and The Bodyguard, starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. 
Don’t fall into the trap of using a semi-colon to replace a colon.
Incorrect: Most teenage boys have only one thing on their minds; girls.
Correct: Most teenage boys have only one thing on their minds: girls.
Colon – An easy way to remember when to use a colon is, only use it at the end of a complete sentence, never following a sentence fragment. Colons are most often used to signify the beginning of a list or series of items. They can also be used to signify that an important document is about to be read, or a speech is about to take place.
Here is a list of the things I need you to pick up from the store: bananas, milk, sugar, eggs, and rolls.
I’ve only had one dream since I was a little girl: to be a professional writer.
She opened the letter, and it read: “Dear John…”
I’ve provided several ways to properly use semicolons and colons in this tip. There are a few other, more-specific rules; however, this is a good starting list for those who are confused on proper usage.
 You can find out more about Traci Sanders, award-winning author of parenting, children’s, and romance titles here:
~Reviews keep authors writing~
Traci thanks so much for sharing some of your expertise with us. I do hope everyone has enjoyed your post and will visit your pages and books as a result. This has been so interesting.
Jane x

Dave Sivers: My Guest Author – A Day in the Life of Det. Insp. Lizzie Archer.

Dave Sivers Author 2017

Dave Sivers is my Guest Author and we are going to explore

A Day in the Life of Detective Lizzie Archer with him, but first:

Dave, tell us about yourself, why you write, and why you write in this particular genre. What is your inspiration?  What is your next project?

I grew up in West London and spent my working life in the civil service until I took early retirement from the day job a few years back. I’ve always been a reader and have been writing stories since I was about six, so during that first career – when I wasn’t moonlighting as a bouncer or a bookie’s clerk, or studying for my Open University degree – I was busy with a number of writing projects, with varying degrees of success.

When I found myself with more time for writing, I followed my dream of writing novels in earnest, and then the digital revolution offered me a business model where, as an Indie author, I could manage my own brand the way I wanted. I’d always had quite eclectic tastes, and this has been reflected in the fiction genres I’ve tried my hand at – but I’ve always been drawn back to crime – I think most people like a mystery.

Writers who have inspired me include Stephen King, who always does such a great narrative voice, Val McDermid, who really knows how to structure a crime novel and carry a series forward, and Stephen Booth, who first showed me rural crime doesn’t have to be cosy.

My next project is the fifth Archer and Baines novel, and then I might take a short break from the series to do something that’s been in my head for a while – but Archer and Baines will be back after that!

The Blood that Binds

I’ve asked Dave to take us through a Day in the Life of Detective Inspector Lizzie Archer:

How does your character’s day usually begin? Let us know how your character might spend a typical day, working or being a parent, whatever it is they might get up to.  Perhaps they have two jobs, or are retired?

Detective Inspector Lizzie Archer’s alarm is perpetually set for 6.00 am, weekends included. It’s a hangover from her days in the Met, before she transferred to Buckinghamshire’s Aylesbury Vale a few years ago. The area hasn’t turned out to be quite the sleepy hollow she expected, but it does have its relatively quiet patches. Even so, she just can’t break that early morning habit.

Her morning routine is longer than most people’s because she has to artfully apply make-up (as taught by a TV make-up artist) and arrange her carefully cut hair to conceal the crescent scar on her left cheek, a souvenir from a bottle-wielding drunk she arrested in a London pub. The hair and make-up help with her confidence, even though she can’t hide the droop on that side of her face where the facial muscle was severed.

That’s interesting Dave, giving her a scar. I have given Ms B a scar down her left leg because at some point, in another book, I can write about how she got it. 

Right now, her team has one case on its books that’s a bit more urgent than the run of the mill car thefts, garage and shed break-ins, and petty drug dealing. Archer’s attention today will be focused on catching the piece of scum that, two nights ago, forced his way into an old lady’s bungalow and left her half-dead, all for a couple of hundred quid and a bit of jewellery that he’ll get next to nothing for, if he can even find anyone to fence it.

It’s a case that has enraged the community, and has the team determined to get the culprit off the streets before he goes for a repeat performance.

Fortunately, they know who they’re looking for. It really isn’t smart for a career criminal to leave bloody fingerprints all over the crime scene. By yesterday afternoon, they’d known they were looking for one Bradley Fane. But he hadn’t been at home when they’d gone looking for him there, and then someone must have tipped him off that the police had been round.

They haven’t found him in any of his usual haunts, either, but wherever he’s laying low, it won’t be for long. The team has spoken to Fane’s ex-wife, who hates his guts, and she’s promised to drop off a list of associates this morning. Archer would have liked it last night, but decided it was worth the wait to secure the ex’s co-operation.

Dead in Deep Water

Archer hits the office in Aylesbury nick just before 8pm. At 8.30 there’s a catch up briefing with the team – there’ll be a couple more during the day – and then, just as Archer is thinking about getting stuck into her mountain of paperwork, Melanie Fane turns up with the promised list.

Archer divides the names and addresses up amongst the manpower at her disposal. She decides to get DC Joanne ‘Joan’ Collins, who’s always first in the office and last out, away from her desk partnering DC Jason Bell. Archer has never been a hands-off, desk-driving DI, so she goes with DS Dan Baines. As usual.

At the second address they call at, the woman living there, Shelley Parks, seems decidedly nervous and is obviously stalling. They hear a crash at the back of the house. Baines shoulders Shelley Parks aside and charges through, with Archer right behind him. The rear door is still swinging on its hinges.

They catch up with Fane as he’s trying to scramble over the back fence. Baines drags him down, but Fane’s a big man. He shoves Baines to the ground and turns towards Archer, his face ugly. Whatever he intended to do to her, Archer will never know, because she kicks him full-on in the balls and all the fight goes out of him. His eyes are still watering as she snaps the cuffs on.

Even with the support of the duty solicitor, and even with his slim intellect, Fane doesn’t make much effort to deny what he’s accused of. He shrugs a lot when confronted with the obvious evidence against him and asks if he can get a lighter sentence if he pleads guilty. The infuriating thing is, he probably can, to avoid putting his victim through testifying.

By mid-afternoon, Baines is typing up the report and Archer is finally knee-deep in that paperwork. Tonight there’ll be a celebratory drink or two. And, unless anything horrendous happens in the next couple of hours, it might even be an early finish for a change.

Not that she has much to rush home to.   

 Does she juggle a career and a family? If  she has either/both, does her career drive her to the detriment of everything else, home life for example?

 Archer is a bit of a loner, although not by choice. Both her parents are dead, and her brother cut himself and his family off from her after their mother’s death. The man she thought she would make a life with broke up with her after she was disfigured in an arrest that went wrong. She was off duty at the time and her then lover witnessed the whole thing and then couldn’t stand the guilt when he looked at her scarred face. Since then, she’s had one disastrous affair. She doesn’t have too much of a home life, because she usually works long hours, but the house she bought in a small Buckinghamshire village has never felt too much like a home to her anyway.

Evil Unseen

Does Archer have a love interest?  How does this ‘interest’ impact her story? Does this significant ‘other’ often drive the story, interfere with his character and his plans?  Are they important to the story or just there in the background?  If there are kids, how do they fit into Archer’s story?

 Archer doesn’t exactly have a love interest, although one of the few friends she has is her next door neighbour, Dominic. She does fancy him, but she vowed at the outset that she wouldn’t get involved with him – she feels it would be too awkward for them both if it went wrong. They do cook for each other – Dominic does a mean curry – when she’s got a free weekend, and he’s one of the very few people she can relax and be herself with. He and Dan Baines are the only two people she really trusts. She has no kids, and isn’t interested in having any, although Dominic’s cat, Monty, has adopted Archer’s property as an extension of his territory.

When you first envisaged Archer’s character, did you have her whole life mapped out?

I wouldn’t go quite that far. I knew her back story pretty well from the get-go, and I have a story arc for the main characters roughed out over a number of books. But, whilst the plot for each book is mine, the story is theirs – and  once in a while they can still surprise me. They nearly always do something unexpected, which will tweak the trajectory a little.

Does she have political views?  Strong views about controversial topics for example?  Perhaps you steer clear of involving your character in strong viewpoints, being vocal about them – why?

I guess she does have quite strong views – she has very strong feelings about justice – and they must include politics. It just hasn’t figured much in the stories, because there are bad guys to be caught and whatever’s happening in the characters’ lives to handle. If there was something controversial impacting on a story that Archer would have strong views about, I wouldn’t shy away from her expressing them.

Do you think Archer’s views might alienate her in some way from her readers, or perhaps stimulate their interest in her character even more, even though Archer’s views and opinions might be worlds apart from their own?  Are you worried about writing anything too controversial?

I think any writer who doesn’t care about alienating their readers has a problem. But Archer, for all she isn’t perfect, is a character readers like. She might have some views that don’t coincide with theirs, but nothing extreme. I think she and the reader would amicably agree to differ.

What made you decide upon the physical attributes of Archer’s character?  Is she the amalgamation of several people you know, or have you created her from scratch?  Your perfect woman for example – someone you might/might not care for if you met them in real life?

I suppose there’s something of me in both Lizzie Archer and Dan Baines. But I insist to this day that both characters, and my mental image of them, came to me fully formed. Archer is quite tall, blonde and blue-eyed, but that’s all the description I’ve really given in the books. I think readers like to have their own mental picture. She has her disfigurement, obviously. I haven’t consciously based her looks or her personalities on anyone.

What made you decide upon Archer’s personality/character?  Was her profession or personality the driving force behind you creating him?  Is she a music fan?  Which genre and why? Does he read?  Which authors and why?   Help us get to know something about DI Lizzie Archer.

The key to the personality Archer has at the start of the series is the incident that led to her being disfigured. Before then, she was confident, fearless and marked as a high flyer in a profession that’s in her blood – her late father was a copper too, and very proud of her. After the injury, she lost confidence, both because of her looks and their impact on her self-esteem, and because her sense that she could deal with any situation had been shattered. She fled London for the Met to try to rebuild her life, her career and her confidence. It’s happening, but slowly. I think she came to me in this form because I wanted two cop characters with strong back stories that influence their behaviour, but I didn’t want angst-ridden cops in the stereotypical sense. She’s not much of a reader, although she might pick up the odd crime novel. Her musical tastes are evolving. She’s just turned 40 and is playing a lot of the CDs that belonged to her father – Dire Straits, The Police. But Dominic is turning her into a bit of a country fan, too. She’s discovered the Dixie Chicks and now has everything they’ve recorded. You’ll find Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle on her iPod too. She gets that from me.

What are Archer’s character’s flaws/faults or failings?  You’ve created her with these if she has them, why was that?  Did you want a perfect all rounded lead character or a flawed one?  Is she kind and caring or a bully, arrogant, cruel….?

She knows she doesn’t take enough interest in other people’s lives and their problems. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and isn’t very good at finding out whether the other person has a problem. She’s also quite driven, which can give her tunnel vision. But she’s not actually unkind or uncaring, and certainly not arrogant. She can be too defensive sometimes. I didn’t set out to give her these flaws. They just flow from her history. But then, I’d hate for her too be perfect.

Does your character, Lizzie Archer, convey a moral message or aren’t you bothered about that sort of thing?

I like to have a bit of a theme in my head for each book, even if only I know about it. I don’t really want to convey deep moral messages.

Does your story write itself or do you plan and outline in advance, every aspect about your character and their life and exploits? Was this difficult to write, especially if it was not part of your ‘plan’ for them originally?

The story usually has a spark – it could be a thirty-second news item or something overheard – and a ‘what if? or two. When I sit down to make a start, I know what happened, usually how and why, not always who. I can’t do a big outline – just can’t. I have to sit on the characters’ shoulders and watch them investigate. What they do is in character, as affected by the case and what’s going on in their lives. If the direction I’d thought their lives were taking has deviated by the end, that’s fine. That’s what real life is sometimes like.

The Scars Beneath the Soul

Setting for a character and their story is important.  What made you decide upon the setting you have chosen?  Is the setting fictional or one you are familiar with?

The Archer and Baines novels are set in Buckinghamshire’s Aylesbury Vale, where I live. I grew up in West London, but I’ve lived here almost a quarter of a century now, and I know and love the area. I wanted to set a crime series here, and wouldn’t let suggestions that country crime is cosy crime put me off. Bad, brutal things can happen anywhere.

I agree. My Ms Birdsong Investigates is set in Oxfordshire, in the Vale of the White Horse, and is anything but a Cosy/traditional mystery often associated with beautiful rural locations. As you say, bad, brutal things can happen anywhere.

 Is your life style similar to your character’s life style in any way? Similar background/family/occupation/profession, education?

Well, I live in the same part of the world! And Archer hails from a part of London not far from where I’m from. My family background couldn’t be more different, but I was a civil servant for a whole career, which I suppose gives me a sense of public service ethos and a public sector way of doing things – although a very different part of that sector.

Would you like to be your character?  What do you like/admire about Archer the most?

Well, I’m the wrong gender to be her, but would I like to be a character like her? As I said earlier, I’m sure there’s a healthy dollop of me in her. I like the way she’s come through a horrendous experience and is gradually getting a new life on track, even though she makes a lot of mistakes, and is often disappointed, along the way. Sure, she ran away from her old life – but, having burned those bridges, it’s like she’s doggedly determined to lie in the bed she made for herself. I admire that about her.

Please write a little about your recent book/story involving Archer and why she is experiencing what is happening to her in this particular story.  Is Lizzie Archer part of a series?  List all your books featuring her.

DI Lizzie Archer is one half of the Archer and Baines duo of which The Blood That Binds is the fourth in the series. In this book, she’s come a fair way from the woman who arrived at Aylesbury Police Station for the first time in The Scars Beneath The Soul. The other books in the series are Dead in Deep Water and Evil Unseen.

In The Blood That Binds, she’s still self-conscious about her disfigurement, but it doesn’t define her so much, and she’s learning to trust people. She’s also trying to give members of her team a little more responsibility, to develop and stretch them, although part of that is necessity, because her quiet patch suddenly finds itself juggling several major investigations at the same time. A 12-year old girl has been killed by a hit-and-run driver, and now the two girls who were with the victim that night have both disappeared. The team also has the naked body of a women, discovered in woodland, to contend with. 

Dave Sivers Author

Dave Sivers:

Dave’s civil service career took him to exotic places like Rhode Island USA, Cyprus, Brussels, Northern Norway and Sutton Coldfield. Along the way, he moonlighted variously as nightclub bouncer, bookie’s clerk and freelance writer, as well as picking up a first class honours degree from the Open University.

Writing has always been his passion and, since giving up the day job, he has launched a second career as a novelist.

The Scars Beneath the Soul, the first book in his popular Archer and Baines crime series – set in Buckinghamshire’s Aylesbury Vale – and the follow-up, Dead in Deep Water, both hit the top three in Kindle’s ‘Serial Killers’ chart. The Blood That Binds is the fourth in the series featuring DI Lizzie Archer and DS Dan Baines.

Dave has also won prizes and publication with his short fiction, written for newspapers and magazines, and writes material for the amateur stage.

Dave lives in Buckinghamshire, England, with his wife, Chris.

You can discover Dave and his books here:

Twitter: @DaveSivers

Facebook: @davesiversauthor1

Goodreads: Dave Sivers

 The Blurb:

 “Two intriguing cases – one twisted plot.” – Alison Bruce

“Stylish, skilful and packed with suspense.” – Sharon Bolton


 The quiet Buckinghamshire village of Houghton is reeling. Soon after twelve year old Leanne Richards is killed by a hit and run driver, the two classmates who were with her that night disappear, one by one.

Jade and Becky said they couldn’t identify the car or the driver. Does someone want to make sure it stays that way? Or are other, darker motives in play?

As DI Lizzie Archer and DS Dan Baines search for the truth, buried pasts and secret loves begin to reveal themselves. But is time running out for the girls? Or is it already too late?


 ‘You’ll enjoy this if you liked Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Gillian Hamer’s Gold Detectives series and Val McDermid’s Wire in the Blood’
– J J Marsh, author of the Beatrice Stubbs novels.

 Thanks so much for entering into the spirit of this Dave. I have really enjoyed it and I am sure our readers will too and I hope this will inspire them to discover your books – if they haven’t already – and get to know Lizzie Archer more.

Do pop back to answer comments and likes and get to know the wonderful folk who kindly drop in here to meet new authors.  I am sure there will be many new followers for you.

Jane xx

Lesley Cookman, Traditional Mystery Author, is my Guest Author talking about her Writing and Panto.

Lesley Cookman Author

Traditional Mystery Author Lesley Cookman is my guest today.

I think you’ll find she is a fascinating lady and author.