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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.

R C Bridgestock – the dynamic crime writing duo – visit me on their blog tour

I’m chuffed to bits to be hosting the ‘dynamic

duo’ of crime writing,

Bob and Carol Bridgestock,

better known as

R C Bridgestock

Pic Joan Russell
Bob and Carol Bridgestock, who write crime novels together, at their home in Bradshaw and out in the surrounding countryside.

to my blog as

part of their tour in support of their latest fab



If you loved Scott and Bailey and Happy Valley TV series then you will be fascinated to know the couple is the storyline consultants/police procedural on

BAFTA-winning BBC1 police drama Happy Valley and series 3 of ITV’s Scott and Bailey, and are presently working with Scott Free Production scriptwriters on two commissioned TV drama series.

I first came across Bob and Carol some time ago on Facebook and we’ve been ‘friends’ ever since.

 They’ve both been very helpful to me at times, answering questions about police procedure and other crime-related matters, for which I am forever grateful.

It is, therefore, my immense pleasure to host them on my blog and help promote their fabulous new offering:

Poetic Justice

which is the prequel to their DI Jack

Dylan series.

Let’s find out about Bob and Carol and their writing:

R.C. Bridgestock

is the name that husband and wife co-authors

Robert (Bob) and Carol Bridgestock

write under.

Between them they have nearly 50 years of police experience, offering an authentic edge to their stories. The writing duo created the character DI Jack Dylan, a down-to-earth detective, written with warmth and humour. The ninth book in the series will be published by The Dome Press in 2019, along with their backlist. A further crime series is presently being scripted by the pair, which has a strong Yorkshire female character – Charley Mann – at the helm.

Bob was a highly commended career detective of 30 years, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent. During his last three years, he took charge of 26 murders, 23 major incidents, over 50 suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults. He was also a trained hostage negotiator with suicide interventions, kidnap, terrorism and extortion.

As a Detective Inspector, he spent three years at the internationally acclaimed West Yorkshire Police Force Training School where he taught Detectives from all over the world in the whole spectrum of investigative skills and the law. On promotion to Detective Superintendent, Bob was seconded to a protracted enquiry investigating alleged police corruption in another force.


He worked on the Yorkshire Ripper and Sarah Harper murder, and received praise from Crown Court Judges and Chief Constables alike for outstanding work at all ranks, including winning the much-coveted Dennis Hoban Trophy.

As a police civilian supervisor, Carol also received a Chief Constable’s commendation for outstanding work.

The couple are the storyline consultants/police procedural on BAFTA-winning BBC1 police drama Happy Valley and series 3 of ITV’s Scott and Bailey, and are presently working with Scott Free Production scriptwriters on two commissioned TV drama series.

Carol started and chaired the Wight Fair Writers’ Circle in 2008, along with Bob, where she created an annual charitable community writing competition to inspire others of all ages. This event has raised over £10,000 for Island charities.

The couple pride themselves on being up-to-date on past and present-day UK police procedures, and as a result, Bob is regularly sought by UK television, radio and national and local newspapers for comment on developing major crime incidents etc. They have also taken part in BBC Radio 4 (Steve) PUNT P.I.

Together they can regularly be seen as speakers at a variety of events in the literary world and work with colleges in schools in providing writing seminars and workshops, and they also work with International TV / Film make-up artist Pamela Clare, to help inspire her students at the White Rose Colleges.

Eight annual R.C. Bridgestock trophies are annually awarded to students.

Carol and Bob are also patrons and ambassadors for several charities.

Poetic Justice – February 2019

 When Detective Jack Dylan heads home to his wife after a residential course, he has no idea that an extraordinary succession of events is about to turn his life upside down. A vicious, unprovoked personal attack is just the start. The discovery of his wife’s death in a road accident also reveals her affair, and his step-daughter is being expelled from university for drug use. Professionally, two teenagers have gone missing and one is soon found dead.

An ordinary man might break under the strain, but Dylan is no ordinary man. He knows that his survival depends on him carrying-on regardless, burying himself in his work, relieved by the distraction of newcomer to the admin department, Jennifer Jones.

His determination to pursue the criminal elements behind the events – both personal and professional – is to be his salvation, and his relationship with Jen, his ‘Guardian Angel’, will turn out to be the mainstay of his future, both within the Force and at home.

Life may have changed, but nothing will stand in the way of Dylan’s determination to seek justice.


Bob had his collar felt by overzealous police officers on three occasions before he joined the police – wrong place, wrong time, or he might just have ‘that face’? Mind you, on one occasion he was carrying a bloodstained butchers smock rolled up under his arm, on a bus… Can’t blame the bus driver for calling the police about a ‘suspicious’ young man really, can you? Bob eventually decided, If, you cant beat em, join em!

Bob is a qualified butcher and part of his training took him to the slaughterhouse. Perhaps this prepared him for what he was to see as a law enforcer – first-hand experience of man’s inhumanity to fellow man on a regular basis was sometimes seemed unrelenting…

The butchering brought in little money to the family man, so Bob spent two years in a dye works where the money was good but his health suffered. His back still shows the scars from the splashing of boiling water from the huge vats. His hair during this time was forever changing colour – that week’s preferred dye.

He joined the West Yorkshire Police in 1974, and he would go on to serve the community for 30 years at every rank, being presented – on retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent – with a Certificate, and a Long Service medal:

In appreciation and recognition of 30 years Loyal and Devoted Service to the Community’ – Conduct assessment- Exemplary. Over two dozen times during his service, he was highly commended by chief constables and high court judges; a senior detective for over two-thirds of his career. Regarded in high esteem by his peers as a ‘safe pair of hands’, his former colleagues can still be heard calling him “Boss” when we meet. “I haven’t been your boss for over a decade,” I hear him say. “You’ll always be my boss,” comes the standard reply.

Bob hates flying and motorways. He avoids them wherever possible; Carol has an intolerance to some spices – best not to serve curry when Carol is coming to supper!

Bob and Carol worked as the Production Management Team on Carisbrooke Castle: 1000 Years of British History,that was sold by English Heritage. Bob took on several ‘acting’ parts to keep the budget down, and Carol too as the ghost of the formidable woman Isabella de Fortibus!

Carol & Bob met at work and next year they will celebrate their Silver Wedding Anniversary.

During their relatively short writing career, the couple has been voted by WH Smith

readership as the #8 Best Crime/Thriller Writers of all Time.

They have been characterised in the Dick Tracy

Hall of Fame.

Carol and Bob are Patrons and Ambassadors for a number of charities and their books and talks have raised substantial amounts of money for their charities, and others. The Dylan series alone has raised in the region of 20k by way of auctioning the opportunity to be a character in a book.


Carol and Bob are often asked how they write the books together. Bob writes the storyline from start to finish, with ‘the mask’ of the detective firmly in place. This first draft reads like a crime file rather than a story, such is the attention to detail. There is no emotion, and the characters are just a name – that Carol usually changes! The draft could be 40K – 80K depending on the depth of the police procedure in the narrative. Carol will tell you that this is ‘gold dust’ to her – a skeleton, the bones of which she can put flesh on. She develops the second thread of the story, and creatively breathes life into the scenes and characters – hence why she changes names whilst Bob starts the next book.

Carol is an award-winning hairdresser – taking a winning place on occasion in hairdressing competitions. With Fashion being her preferred subject, at the age of eighteen, she owned a successful salon in Hebden Bridge, and went on to teach hairdressing at Percival Whitely College, Halifax before joining the West Yorkshire Police after her youngest went to nursery school in 1988. She was commended by the Chief Constable Graham Moore for her idea, promotion and work on a school’s project for the police initiative, Autumn Fall. Examples of Carol’s hairdressing achievements:

Carol’s City & Guilds & Advanced Hairdressing – 1st in Fashion City and Guilds & Advanced Hairdressing – 1st in Fashion


Here is my 5* review of Poetic Justice

(thanks to Dome Press and Emily for sending me a copy to review – I was going to buy it anyway)

There hasn’t been a crime duo since Bonnie and Clyde which has got my imagination working over-time in such a delightful manner. OK, they are on a different side in the criminal world, but just imagine if they weren’t; 50 years of high-level knowledge and experience in West Yorkshire Police put to another use!  Doesn’t bear thinking about. Thankfully, Bob and Carol Bridgestock are on the side of the goodies.  They write about the baddies.

They are a team of crime fighters turned crime writers.

Poetic Justice is the prequel to their other, equally enjoyable, and enthralling books in the DI Jack Dylan series, which I’ve absolutely loved. Peter James has Sandy and Roy Grace and now  there is Jack Dylan and his – well, that would be telling! read it and find out…

It is how and where it all began for this human and believable police detective whose private life would have driven another man to commit the crimes he usually investigates.

Jack Dylan is on a police course and his wife, Kay, is playing away unknown to Jack, although he has his suspicions. Their daughter, Isla, is away at University but her life is spiraling out of control and when Jack returns from his course he finds his life will never be the same again.

His wife is dead – apparently the victim of a car accident in Jack’s ca, but she wasn’t driving. Who is the man lying in hospital and why was he driving Jack’s car with Kay as his passenger? Jack has to find out.

To top it all someone tries to kill him as he waits for a train and Isla is fading fast from drug use and self-neglect. Even so, Jack is determined to soldier on finding answers to the questions tormenting him, and his grief will have to wait.

As if he didn’t have enough to cope with a local residential home for children seems to be at the heart of a child sexual exploitation ring. He hardly has time to catch his breath, to grieve for his wife, and to cope with his daughter’s failing health whilst investigating two teens who’ve gone missing from the home.

Poetic Justice helps put Jack Dylan into perspective, his back-story is fascinating and explains so much about the detective featured in the initial books in the series. I’ve read their series and Poetic Justice is the icing on the cake for me. It all adds to the reader’s understanding and enjoyment of Jack Dylan and what makes him the credible, and likeable, but determined character he is. The experience and in-depth knowledge of Bob and Carol Bridgestock shines through every chapter of this absorbing read. 

I thoroughly recommend you read it. I am so happy I did. The Dylan series is a keeper.

Look what I’ve got


Their Blog Tour continues:

Social Media

Twitter: @RCBridgestock


Facebook: @rcbridgestockauthor

Instagram: @rcbridgestockauthor






Facebook: @rcbridgestockauthor
Instagram: @rcbridgestockauthor



Happy 7th Anniversary to my Blog – thanks for being with me.

Leeds Castle (c) Jane Risdon 2016

It’s my 7th Blog Anniversary


I’d like to thank each and every one of you for visiting here and sharing my

experiences over the last 7 years.

Thanks especially to those who have been here from day one and thank you to all those who

have joined me recently.

It is great knowing you all, engaging with you, your thoughts, and comments and getting

to know you through your blogs as well.

I never thought I would still be doing this 7 years down the road.

Leeds Castle (c) Jane Risdon 2012

I started my blog without

much of a clue as to where it might go but I had hoped I would meet like-minded people


in writing, photography, and life in general.

And I have.

I’ve enjoyed sharing my writing journey as well as my photos and the history of some of the

places I’ve visited on my


and I hope you have as well.

Displayed in the Eastern Museum, Kedlestone Hall (c) Jane Risdon 2016

I have met the most wonderful people:

writers, readers, bloggers, and people from all over

the world who

have shared their lives and experiences with me and my visitors, enriching and

entertaining as well as informing us along the way.

During this time I have become a published author, appeared in 15 anthologies, written for

numerous online magazines and blogs,

and co-

authored the 1960s novel,

Only One Woman

with Christina Jones.

 I’ve also – recently – published a collection of

my short stories

Undercover: Crime Shorts.

It’s been quite a ride so far.

Greys Court, Oxfordshire (c) Jane Risdon 2018

I’ve had some wonderful guest authors on my blog – writers in all genres – and I’ve learned so

much from them sharing their writing stories with us all.

It has been quite a trip –

so much so, I hope we can do it all again this coming year and years to come.

Thanks once again for being here.

Jane xx

Gorran Haven (c) Jane Risdon 2017


Undercover: Crime Shorts. So excited to announce my first collection is published

Undercover: Crime Shorts

eBook edition

available most digital platforms – Amazon to follow soon.

  is published 

(with the paperback to follow soon)

I hope you will enjoy my first collection of short stories in one place at last.

If you enjoy a gripping yarn with more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction,

Undercover: Crime Shorts

will take you to the edge of your seat.

Don’t just take my word for it:

 Roger A Price: Former Detective and Author of Nemesis and Vengeance:

Undercover: crime shorts; is a wonderfully satisfying anthology of six short stories which

transcend above the crime fiction genre providing a ripping yarn irrespective of the reader’s

crime fiction preference.

Jane Risdon has cleverly stitched together a mix of tales to suit all

fans of the genre.

Just a few tasters of what to expect.

How far would you go to inherit a fortune – as far as murder?

The reading of Tiffany Blunt’s Will was a subdued affair.

Those who’d hoped to inherit didn’t, and those who had been

invited to attend – without knowing why – were suddenly beneficiaries.

It was all a bit odd really. 


You never know who is living in the apartment next door – until…

She was so deep in thought she didn’t realise that her foot had hit against the bottom of the door as she pressed against

the wood, still debating what to do, if anything.

The noise was subtle and she hadn’t heard it, but it had been heard.

An eye watched her through the spy-hole.

The trap is set, she has her orders;  he can’t wait to play the game…

Suddenly he began to squeeze tighter and tighter. Somewhere in her oxygen-starved brain, as she began to choke, it

dawned on her that this wasn’t a game after all.

By then it was too late.

Bathroom (c) Jane Risdon 2012

 photo: Jane Risdon 2002

Never trust a syncopating redhead

The red-head chuckled to herself as she repaired her lipstick, pouting seductively at herself in the mirror, waiting for the

stagehand to knock on her door with her final call.

She was buzzing.

She’d done it again, she’d pulled it off.

It was better than any sex she’d ever had, and that was saying something.

She chuckled, puckered her ample lips and blew herself a huge wet kiss. 

Mary Pickford Cocktail – photo Will Shenton

Outside in the darkness someone waits and watches – but why?

Just as Candice was getting into bed a car passed by slowly, headlights dimmed and its occupant difficult to see.

His jacket collar was almost covering his face and his baseball cap was pulled down low.

As the car entered her street the man in the shadows moved further into the gloom, puzzled.

He was sure the car had gone by twice before, moving slowly as it passed the house.

 Kicked out after 20 years loyal service, without even a thank you

For the last three years, she had lived another life, had buried her real self taking on the mantle of a hardened Madam –

a trafficker of girls, the worst kind of criminal – and, for the umpteenth time, she had fought nausea as she negotiated

with the Eastern European.

Undercover: Crime Shorts is published by Plaisted Publishing House and Mara Reitsma is responsible for the graphics on my cover. Thanks so much to them, especially Claire Plaisted who has had the patience of a saint with me when formatting and doing edits.


Season’s Greetings to you all and Happy 2019: thanks for being here with me

Happy Christmas

to those who celebrate and

Season’s Greetings to

those who don’t.

Happy New Year to you all as well.

Thanks so much for all your wonderful support throughout this year, it has been fab getting

to know new friends and to

welcome those I’m already familiar with.

You have all been a great support to me with my blog and my writing and I want to thank you all so very much.

I was going to list everyone by name but it began to resemble War and Peace and I was worried I might miss someone

out, so please accept this as a huge


to you all for being such amazing friends.

It has been an incredible year for me.

Having dreamed all my life of being a published author with a traditional publisher,

my dream came true in 2014 when I signed with

Accent Press Ltd.

Until then I’d been featured in 15 anthologies for various publishers, newsletters, and online magazines

but not as a signed author.

My publishers took some of my short stories in 2014 and included them in two anthologies:

Shiver and Wishing on a Star.

(both these and my other contributions to anthologies are still available on Amazon and other digital platforms)

In November 2017 my first novel,

Only One Woman

co-written with award-winning, best-selling author,

Christina Jones,

was published as an eBook by

Accent Press Ltd.

Only One Woman

is the result of 5 years of writing, changes of editors, and publishing delays – but we made it

and our 1960s tale of two girls and one musician was published on

November 23rd 2017

as an eBook

and on

May 24th 2018

Only One Woman

was published in Paperback as well,

for mass markets including Waterstones Book Stores

ISBN: 9781783757312

and Simon & Schuster – North America

ISBN:  9781682994252

and for Kindle

around the world

Not my usual crime/thriller story for a change, this is the tale of two girls growing up in the final years of

the Swingin’ Sixties whose shared love of music and fashion

and their love for the same lead guitarist in a rock band,

Narnia’s Children,

linked them even though, at that time, the girls had never met.

The novel is filled with musical references, authentic musical events and with familiar venues which were on ‘the circuit’


then for bands on tour in the UK and overseas.

The lives of the musicians have been recreated from experiences Christina and I shared or observed – though not at the

same time – and of course the fabulous 1960s fashions and make-up styles everyone was wearing get a mention too.

Only One Woman

is not only a love triangle, but it is a social comment on the life in the 1960s and two teenage whose lives were

influenced by and

changing rapidly due to world events and the choices they were making as they moved towards a new decade.

 It has been well received and we are grateful for each and every reader review and purchase of

Only One Woman

not to mention the numerous calls for a sequel – which I’ve just started writing.

Throughout 2018 I’ve continued to contribute towards anthologies with my short stories –

Various Crime Anthologies

and The Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018

as well as writing articles for various online Newsletters and Magazines –

see my Facebook pages and Amazon Page for more information.

However, another dream came true in December 2018 with the publication of my first

collection of Crime stories –

Undercover: Crime Shorts

It is published as an eBook on most digital platforms

on Amazon in January 2019

and will be in Paperback in early January 2019…

Watch this space for details in January.

I have been a  little remiss in not posting many ‘jollies’ this year and that is mainly due to

illness and immobility issues, but I have a back-log of ‘jollies’ to write up for trips prior to

recent health issues, and I shall do my best to share them more frequently from now on.

I shall continue to host Guest Authors throughout 2019 and have a couple of fab authors

lined up for the next few


I love finding out about new writers and their career paths.

I hope you will drop in and read all about them when they visit me.

Anyway, thanks again for being here, it is fun chatting with you,

visiting and reading your blog posts and finding out about your latest

books and reading materials and I do hope we can all do it again in


Be safe, be happy, keep healthy and have a prosperous and joyful

2019 everyone.


Undercover: Crime Shorts by Jane Risdon coming soon

 Roger A Price: Former Detective and Author of Nemesis and Vengeance:

Undercover: crime shorts; is a wonderfully satisfying anthology of six short stories which

transcend above the crime fiction genre providing a ripping yarn irrespective of the reader’s

crime fiction preference.

Jane Risdon has cleverly stitched together a mix of tales to suit all

fans of the genre.

UNDERCOVER: Crime Shorts

is my first collection of

Crime Short Stories

under one cover.

Featuring stories specially written for this collection,

plus some old


and including a short extract – taster – from my next novel

Ms Birdsong Investigates.

Undercover: Crime Shorts

has something for everyone who enjoys a gripping good

yarn with more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction.

I’ve been toying with the idea of putting a collection

together for some time and decided to

take the bull by the horns and get on with it.

Selecting stories which I have especially enjoyed writing

has been difficult – choosing what to

include and what to leave out – this time – proved very taxing.

I don’t know about other authors by I get attached to every story and the last story is always

the best as far as I am concerned.

Luckily I find I have enough material for

 more collections at a later date.

 Roger A Price: Former Detective and Author of Nemesis and Vengeance says:

Undercover: crime shorts; is a wonderfully satisfying anthology of six short stories which

transcend above the crime fiction genre providing a ripping yarn irrespective of the reader’s

crime fiction preference.

Jane Risdon has cleverly stitched together a mix of tales to suit all

fans of the genre.

UNDERCOVER: Crime Shorts

in time for Christmas 2018

 in Paperback and Ebook via

Plaisted Publishing House.

My cover artwork is courtesy of Mara Reitsma

Jane Risdon is on the Case

Ghostly Writes writers write together again…2018 Anthology published

Ghostly Writes Anthology Writers

are back

with their 2018 Anthology

to be published by Plaisted Publishing House

in time for Halloween.

Paperback and E-book

The ebook will be FREE on Amazon from 31st October and is

also available on Kobo, Nook, Tolino and Apple etc., FREE


23 fabulously spooky and discombobulating stories from around the world.

Including my own spooky crime story THE GIFT.

Pop over to enjoy blog posts about our writers:

Here is mine:

The Gift by Jane Risdon

and here are some others for you to enjoy:

Keep ’em peeled for more blog spots.

Here is our YouTube video presentation – I hope you enjoy it.

Four Anthologies and one more to come in October 2018

The Gift: Crime and Spookiness all in one story coming soon

For the last few years

I’ve contributed to a series of anthologies

published by Plaisted Publishing House:

 Ghostly Writes Anthologies

and this year is no exception.

Four Anthologies

The stories are written by authors from around the globe

and are available in E-book and some are Print on

Demand Paperbacks.

The E-books are usually FREE to read.

Most of these anthologies have featured in the Kindle Top 20 and Top 100 Anthologies since publication.

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016 has received the SILVER Award in the Summer Indie Book Awards 2017.

The 2018 Ghostly Writes Anthology

will be published in time for Halloween

and this year my contribution is called


The Gift by Jane Risdon

My story is a Crime story with a spooky twist.

 Here is a taster…

The room stank of bleach but that couldn’t be helped, he’d opened the windows and was sure that the odour

would soon evaporate.

Air fresheners would help too.

Nothing was left that he could see but he knew that modern forensics would be able to find blood splatter if

they sprayed Luminol where they suspected the murder took place…

Coming soon

Keep ’em peeled for the latest Ghostly Writes Anthology.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in reading some of my contributions and those from other authors, drop

over to my Amazon Author page where you will find links to the books:

And my GoodReads page is:

My Facebook Author page is:

Wanderings with my Camera since last Summer: 2017/18

It has been a long hot summer

And I know I have not posted any ‘jollies’ for a while.

I will soon, but it has been a hectic year so far….my excuse anyway.

Meantime here are some photos from some of the

little trips I’ve had out since summer last year.

I hope you enjoy them.

Normal service will be resumed soon…with some ‘jolly’

posts which will include photos and lots of

information as normal.

Here are some hints as to where I’ve been and what I

have been up to….well, so far this year.

All taken by me and on my camera phone for a change.

(c) Jane Risdon 2018

All Rights Reserved.


Graham Bonnet with Only One Woman

Iconic rock singer,

Graham Bonnet

not only wrote the foreword to

Only One Woman,

he kindly posed for a photo with his signed copy (by Christina and Jane)

at his Los Angeles home.

Thanks so much Graham. Much appreciated.

Hope to see you in London in August.

Graham will be on tour in the UK in August 2018 with his band

The Graham Bonnet Band

In support of his new album

For more information:




Here are some Only One Woman links….

ISBN: 9781783757312…/…/B075D88JBP…/B075D88JBP…/…/B075D88JBP…/…/1783757310…/…/B075D88JBP…/…/B075D88JBP…/…/B075D88JB

Only One Woman:


Tartan Noir is alive and well: Crime writer Val Penny is my Guest Author.


My Guest Author this week is

Val Penny

who has been compared with Ian Rankin

She has kindly agreed to tell me something about herself and her writing

and to share an extract for her latest book

Hunter’s Revenge

published 9th September 2018

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland.

She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats.

She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University.

Val has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer.

However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy


Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.

Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and Hunter’s Revenge are set in Edinburgh, Scotland,

published by Crooked Cat Books.

You are an American, why did you venture to South West Scotland to live?

I married a Scottish man – who can resist a man in a kilt?

Did you have reservations about writing crime for a British market?

Absolutely none.

I have lived in Scotland for many years and am impressed by the quality

and variety of crime writers in the

UK and

Tartan Noir is vibrant.


Did you have to make a conscious effort to read a lot of British crime novels before attempting your own?

I enjoy reading crime novels: this is my favourite genre.

I read authors from all over the world: Scotland, England, Canada, US and Scandanavia.

Amongst my favourite authors are several British modern writers: Alex Gray, Ian Rankin, Erin Kelly,

Michael Jecks, Stephen Booth and Katharine Johnson. 

Do you find writing from a Scottish perspective difficult, especially as the American Justice System is quite

different, especially from State to State too?

I have made mistakes with regard to police procedure and other issues,

but luckily I have very frank beta readers who have guided me in the right direction.

Have you had to change anything to suit American readers?

As a reader of a lot of crime, American and British, even Scandi-crime,

I can see the differences between writers from each country.

I do not and would not change my stories for different markets.

I think the joy of novels by different authors is different voices.

I am doing my first promotions in the USA early next year,

so I will hear even more directly from my readers there then.


Are your books sold in the USA?

What sort of feed-back do you get, if any, from your readers?

I expect they love the differences in legal systems and investigations.

My books are sold through Barnes and Noble and Amazon and are available all over the world.

I am lucky to receive excellent feed back from both sides of the pond.

You’ve studied Law – been a lawyer – has this helped you with your writing or did you have to put your

knowledge aside when thinking about your stories set in Scotland, where the law is also quite different to

that of the rest of Great Britain?

I practised law in Scotland and the USA. So that was not a problem for me.

Police procedure is a different matter and I often require guidance with that.

When did you first want to write?

I began writing stories when I was eight or nine years old.

I had quite a select audience – my little sister!

What was the first thing you wrote?

I wrote my first book for my sister called ‘The Douglas Family’ – I still have the jotter somewhere,

with original illustrations!

Have you reams of stories written and discarded or are you working on lots of new material now?

Like all authors I have hundreds of notes, ideas, phrases

and scenarios sitting in different notebooks and on computer files.

I am sure some of them will appear in future novels.

Which authors do you admire and why?

I enjoy the humour that Linwood Barclay puts into the crime novels he writes.

Ian Rankin, Kathy Reichs and Lee Childs tell great stories

and Erin Kelly weaves the most incredible plots in

her psychological novels.

However, this year I have made a point of reading books by

authors whose work was previously unfamiliar to me

 and I have been engrossed by Death Wish by Linda Huber,

Chasing the Case by Joan Livingston,

Death of a Doxy by Chris Longmuir

 and The Secret by Katharine Johnson.

So many good books and so little time!

Who do you think you might be compared with and why?

My novels are often compared to those by Ian Rankin –

but I think it is only because he also writes police procedural crime novels set in Edinburgh.

Has being a hair-dresser at one time helped you with your plots? My tongue is in my cheek….

I think every experience brings something to my novels.

When working in a hairdresser’s shop, I had to interact with different people and that has been invaluable

when creating characters. 

Why did you give up Law?

I took early retirement when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Such big changes in life style and priorities were difficult to deal with all at once.

I am sorry to learn this and hope you are fully recovered now.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Do you have lots of ideas swimming inside your head at the same time,

or does something happen (News, TV,

Papers, overheard conversations etc) which inspires and sets you off?

I have always had a vivid imagination so I always have ideas swirling around and often a news article or a

snippet of a conversations will spark an idea that I will note down for later use.

Do you believe in the concept of evil or do you think there is a reason for every crime?

Often there is a reason for crimes that are committed, even if only the culprit understands the reason  or

condones the crime.

However, there are some individuals who are simply evil.

I find them less interesting to write about.

Which is your favourite crime story and why?

The queen of crime is undoubtedly Agatha Christie.

My favourite of her stories is Death on the Nile.

It combines a finite number of suspects, a fascinating setting and a clever conclusion. Perfect!

Tell us something about your writing day.

It has taken me years to formulate my perfect writing day.

Now my days have a shape the way my earlier professional life did.

I catch up with readers comments, blog articles and promoting my work in the morning.

In the afternoon I work on my WIP.

I am presently writing the third book in my Edinburgh Crime Mystery


‘Hunter’s Force’

and that leaves my evening free to make dinner and enjoy life with my family. 

How long did it take to write Hunter’s Chase?

‘Hunter’s Chase’ took me a long time to write, probably over two years,

but I was being treated for cancer during much of that period.

My subsequent novel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’, which will be published by Crooked Cat Books

on 09.09.2018 took me about a year to write.


How long did it take for you to obtain a publisher and do you have an agent?

I don’t have an agent.

I was negotiating with an agent when I accepted the offer from Crooked Cat Books and decided that as I had

a publishing deal, I probably didn’t need an agent.

It took me a long time to gird up my courage to send my book out to anybody.

What if they didn’t like it?

Could I cope with rejection?

I was really lucky, and when I did send it out, I had interest from two different publishers.

I have since discovered that even tiny independent publishers have about 2000 manuscripts submitted to

them every month but only accept two for publication.

If I had known that, my books would still be on my computer!


Tell us about DI Hunter and what inspired his character

and where you think you might take him in the future

– if you want a long term series with him or not.

DI Hunter Wilson is an easy character to work with.

He is astute, experienced and fair.

He is a combination of people who have passed through my life

but I hope he is here to stay and will appear in a long series of novels.


Bear a/k/a DC Winston Zewedu:

what inspired his creation and why did you include an ethnic sideman to


I set the novels in Edinburgh largely because it is an internatonal city.

In order to reflect that cosmopolitan city, I wanted all types of people and, visually,

Winston Zewedu made a nice contrast to Tim Myerscough.

I have also included Doctor Meera Sharma

and the same-sex couple Jane Renwick and Rachael Anderson.

Characters of all types are welcome within The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries.


What are you working on now and when can we expect it?

I am presently writing the third book in the series, ‘Hunter’s Force’.

It is lovely to be working with characters I know, as well as new ones.


Do you think you will stay with this genre or are you up for trying others? Which and why?

I think I will stay writing crime, because that is the genre I most enjoy reading.

However, I became a grandmother for the first time this year

and that has made me flirt with the idea of trying my hand at a children’s book.

Many congratulations on becoming a grandmother, how exciting.

Let’s read some of your work and hopefully you will gain lots of new readers as a result:


Extract from Edinburgh Crime Mystery #2 – published by Crooked Cat Books 09.09.2018


Hunter’s Revenge


East Germany, January 1968

The last thing Georg did on his eighteenth birthday was kill a man.

He really hadn’t meant to kill the Stasi officer in front of him, but it was him or Georg – and Georg did not want to die. It was the first time he’d seen a corpse. The streets were slick with ice. The man lost his balance and cracked his head on the pavement. Georg stared down at the body: there was blood and brains all over the pavement. He looked into the officer’s eyes. They stared blindly to heaven, but Georg knew there wasn’t a Stasi officer on earth who was going there. He looked away from death and towards his friends in horror, but when they saw what had happened, they scattered. Georg picked up the officer’s gun and began to run.

More Stasi officers appeared as the boys fled.

Georg was out of breath when he got home.

“What’s the rush, son?” his father asked.

“Shit, Dad! It’s bad.”

“You’re drunk! No language in this house, boy,” said his grandmother.

“Dad, the boys and me were leaving the bar to come home and we saw a Stasi officer”


“We were laughing and having fun.”


“For a laugh I knocked his hat off.”

“Idiot! You know Stasi have no sense of humour. Ever. So what next?”

“He pulled his gun and told us to stand silently against the wall.”

“And you apologised and complied, I hope.”

“I panicked and punched him. He slipped on the ice and fell over. He hit his head on the ground, and when I checked him, he wasn’t breathing. He was dead. I just took his gun and ran.”

The silence in the room was deafening.

“You did what? You fucking idiot! Did you really punch a Stasi officer? Are you mad? You know we don’t even have to openly engage in resistance to draw the attention of the Stasi and incur its retribution. Just failing to conform with mainstream society can be enough. Shit! I sired a fool.” Georg’s father’s red face reflected his rage.

“And now you are here,” his grandmother added. “You ran home, leading them straight to us. We will all die now. Thank you.”

“What is all the noise?” Georg’s mother came through from the kitchen, drying her hands on her apron. His twin sister Ingrid and younger brother Wilhelm followed her. They looked bewildered. Their father rarely raised his voice, especially not to Georg.

As his father explained the issues, Georg’s mother burst into tears.

“They will kill him,” she whispered.

Here is another treat for you, another excerpt from Val’s novel, Hunter’s Chase.

Excerpt from ‘Hunter’s Chase’ – published by Crooked Cat Books 02.02.2018

Chapter 1


Jamie Thomson swaggered along one of the tree-lined streets in the wealthy Edinburgh suburb of Morningside. To him, the capital of Scotland was really just a big village. Everybody knew everybody else, and tonight, everybody would know Jamie Thomson. He felt it as he moved quietly along the dark street. Excitement. Pop was away, but, although he had just turned twenty, Jamie would show folk it was business as usual. Pop would be so proud.

Jamie’s uniform was clean: black trousers, black jacket with a hood – other folk might call it a hoodie – black silk gloves, and cheap, new black shoes. So much more difficult to trace, especially as he chose to wear them a size smaller than was comfortable. If he left a footprint they police would be looking for the wrong size of shoe. Genius!

He was glad of the hood. The rain was not heavy, but there was a lot of it. The wind blew it into his face and almost took his breath away. His Granny called this wet rain. Jamie missed her. A lot. Silly old sausage! Who ever heard of dry rain? He was glad the road was quiet. But then nobody with any sense would go out in this unless they had to, and Jamie had to.

The house was dark. Jamie smiled. Good. He liked it quiet and peaceful when he was working. He could concentrate, get on with it and get the job done quickly. Very satisfying. The old boy was usually out late on a Thursday, Jamie knew. Jamie watched. The old boy would come home with a babe, back of eleven o’clock, usually. Jamie had no idea what the hotties saw in the old geezer, but good luck to him.

Jamie sauntered up the path as if he belonged, although it was not easy to saunter with shoes so tight. Still, the pain was worth it. He quietly slipped the lock and the door creaked as it swung open. Then he sighed wearily as the burglar alarm sounded. He found the control panel behind the door (they always put it behind the door) and hit in a code. Silence.

Jamie nodded. He could not believe how many folk left their alarms on the factory settings, but he was very glad they did. Idiots. They deserved whatever they got, or whatever he got, more like it. He chuckled at his own wit.

Jamie pushed the door open and paused as it creaked. He breathed in deeply. Cigar smoke. Expensive. Didn’t the old boy know smoking was bad for your health? But the carpet was lovely! Thick. Far more expensive than that stuff Mam and Pop got on sale from Carpet Worth. Jamie flexed his knees and felt the thick, soft pile give beneath him. Class. He switched on his torch to check the soles of his shoes. No wet, no dirt. Good. Torch off. He didn’t want to leave muck on this carpet; that would be criminal.


Thanks so much form being my guest Val, I wish you continued success.

I hope visitors here will leave you comments and you will find new readers too…

For those interested in buying Val’s books

Author contact details:

1960s Movie Star Adrienne Posta draws winning names for signed paperback of Only One Woman

1960s Movie Star Adrienne Posta

picks three winning names for our

Only One



This paperback features a foreword written by rock icon Graham Bonnet

and includes photos of both Christina Jones and Jane Risdon with a different back cover too – the epub copies do not have these.

The event at which our draw took place was a fund-raising weekend of 1960s music in aid of Jessie’s Fund –

Music Helping Children

 Congratulations to:

Carole Jackson (Australia)

Jan Wyatt (Australia)

Gloria Clulow (England)

signed copies are on their way this week

Adrienne gave an interview to Pam Howes (author of 1960s music novels and blogger)

who was

one of the organisers

before Adrienne made the draw announcing our winners – shown on video here:

The winners correctly answered a question about Only One Woman which was: Which movie, released in

1968, starring Adrienne Posta, did Stella go to see in Only One Woman?

The answer is: Up The Junction.

Congratulations to all our winners, better luck next time to those unlucky this time round.

Only One Woman is in Paperback from Waterstones and other good Book Stores including The Bookstore,

Bury St. Abingdon, Oxon.

Also all digital stores including Amazon.

Visit our Facebook Page for updates and information.




Only One Woman Paperback for mass markets Published 24th May 2018

Paperback for Mass Markets:

Only One Woman

is published 24th May 2018


mass market paperback

is Published

24th May 2018

and is available from

Waterstones’ and Amazon

order from Waterstones’ if it is not in stock yet.

ISBN: 9781783757312

It is available for Pre-order from Amazon now.

UK/USA/Australia etc.

This paperback differs from the E-pub and Kindle Paperbacks already available from Amazon

Here is how:

We have a fabulous new back cover

We have a fabulous foreword written by

Graham Bonnet

of The Marbles, Rainbow, Michael Schenker, Ritchie Blackmoor, Alcatraz and The Graham Bonnet Band to name a few.

Here is a snippet of what he said about reading Only One Woman:
‘For me Jane and Christina’s book – “Only One Woman” – reflects very honestly those times and the feel of those times. I can picture myself back in London when reading some of the pages. The 1960s, for me, was probably the most wonderful time in the music business with such bands as The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, The Who, and The Bee Gees and more: the list is endless’.

This book will take you back to that time; read on readers.

Graham Bonnet, Studio City, Los Angeles, California

Christina and I hope you will enjoy reading Only One Woman as much as our reviewers to date have – 37 5* reviews from guy and gals alike….

Please let us know: leave a review or a comment on amazon and our Facebook Page if you have, and here of course.


Only One Woman FREE DRAW: 1960s Movie/Singing Star Adrienne Posta to Draw Our Winners: The Question is….






Which movie released 1968,


was Stella going to see in







1960s Movie and Singer Star

of such movies as:

To Sir With Love, Up the Junction, Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush, and many other movies

is going to make the draw which will be held in Buxton, Derbyshire, at a 2 day

event in aid of

Jessie’s Fund – Music Helping Children.

The mass market paperback 

 is slightly different from the Kindle Paperback and E-book on Amazon/Kobo etc.


This edition features a foreword written by Rock Icon,


formerly of The Marbles, Alcatraz, Ritchie Blackmore, and Rainbow etc; he now has his own band,


Graham Bonnet Band

Here is a snippet of what he said about reading Only One Woman:

‘For me Jane and Christina’s book – “Only One Woman” – reflects very honestly those times and the feel of those times. I can picture myself back in London when reading some of the pages. The 1960s, for me, was probably the most wonderful time in the music business with such bands as The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, The Who, and The Bee Gees and more: the list is endless.

This book will take you back to that time; read on readers’.

Graham Bonnet, Studio City, Los Angeles, California 2018.

Christina and Jane will be signing copies of 


at their publisher’s in Cardiff, Wales,

on 30th May between 6pm – 8pm (UK)

and invite you all to drop in and enjoy

the 1960s music and vibe.

Bring your own 45 rpm records to play and Paperbacks to be signed.



For those wanting to join us at our launch at Octavos Book Cafe and Wine Bar

West Bute Street
CF10 5LJ

Send Message

Call 029 2049 1220

We both hope you will come and say hello and join us in celebrating ONLY ONE WOMAN.

For details of the Fund Raising Event in aid of Jessie’s Fund 

Music Helping Children 

refer to the posters here:


Rebecca Bradley is my Guest Author: Former Detective turned Author and Blogger has a new book: DEAD BLIND

Rebecca Bradley

I’ve wanted to host my Guest Author Rebecca Bradley for ages – and now here she is chatting about her career in the Police and her writing.

If you’ve read any of my other interviews with former Detectives and  Intelligence Officers, you will know I like to get to the nitty-gritty of these detectives turned authors…I hope you enjoy finding out about Rebecca whose latest book

Dead Blind

is published 8th May 2018. 

Hello Rebecca, thanks so much for agreeing to be my guest author. I am really pleased to welcome you as I’ve wanted you to be my guest for such a long time. 

Hi Jane, thank you for having me!

Please tell us something about yourself and your former career in the Police: when and why you entered the police force?

Well, as you say, before I was a full-time author I was a serving police officer. I spent 7 years as a uniform officer before moving to a specialist CID department dealing with sexual exploitation where I served for 8 years. I always wanted to be a police officer, but when I was at school there were still height restrictions in place. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realised the restrictions were now defunct and I could join. So, that’s what I did. Crime is something that has always fascinated me. Obviously, being on the right side of it!

When and why did you first decide to become a writer or were you born with stories inside your head just bursting to come out some day?

I was one of those authors who always said I wanted to write a novel but never did anything about it. I was too busy in the career I had, I suppose. I did attempt a first chapter a couple of times, but I had no idea where it was going, so it went nowhere. It wasn’t until I was approaching a significant birthday that I actually sat down and wrote my first book.

The one that came out as Shallow Waters.

It took a few years to kick it into shape and I had a lot of help along the way, but eventually it got there.

I absolutely loved Shallow Waters and was bitterly disappointed when I turned the page to find it had ended.

Who or what event inspired you to write?

I’m not sure there was any one person or event, it was a yearning inside of me. I wanted to create a world and characters. I wanted to build it from the ground up and see it grow. To know that I had created it. Like I say, the impending birthday was the push that I needed.

Yep those ‘significant’ birthdays will do it!

When you were a serving police officer did you imagine that one day you would be a writer and did it ever cross your mind to retain details (mentally) of cases for use in the future as a writer?

No, I always presumed I would stay in the police and retire at the right age and then potter around and enjoy myself. It was ill health that meant I had to leave the police. Though, I did start writing while I was still serving. But, my health had already started to decline, so maybe in the back of my mind, at that point, I knew I needed a fall-back plan.

I know in TV crime dramas retired police officers often have records and files at home which they copied when they retired. Is this possible, or are there/were there, strict rules in place then/now preventing this?

Gosh, no. I have nothing. I have a certificate signed by the chief constable at the time, thanking me for my service and I have some training manuals, but as for work documents, that’s an absolute no. I’d be up on charges of some description if I had some.

That is what I thought. 

As a former Detective Constable are you able to tell us about the most interesting and exciting case you ever worked on? No need to give names etc.

I can talk about work, about cases that have now gone to court because – well, they’ve been to court. It’s difficult, members of the public who don’t do this job, see it as exciting, that’s why they read and watch and consume so much crime fiction, but the reality is, the cases are heart-wrenching and painful in the majority of cases, – if they are the type of cases you would be interested in.

Real people are affected by the most horrific offences.

And it was my very last case that will stay with me.

That case, I put about 18 months of work into. It was a human trafficking case. But one that we really struggled with evidence. I had the victims and I even had the offenders. But, for CPS charging, we didn’t have enough in the way of evidence. It was awful. I slogged over that case. I put in more hours than any case I have ever worked. And then I left. It was not the high note to leave on.

I can imagine. So frustrating and disappointing I am sure.

Have you used this case (or any other) as a basis for any of your novels?

No, this is the first time I’ve mentioned it.

I won’t ask you to go into detail but what did the sexual exploitation cases involve?

Sexual exploitation covers a wide range of offences from online grooming and indecent images to human trafficking.

I think we are all too aware, sadly, about these cases through the media and various  cases coming to trial in recent years. Harrowing experience I am sure.

How do you feel the role of female police officers has changed over the years?

Well, when I first started working, my tutor, he was a wonderful guy, he had great delight in winding me up and telling me that female officers used to have a hut in the car park from which they worked because they were not allowed to work with the men in the real police station. (He wasn’t far from retiring when I started.) There is still a disparity in the numbers of males and females, but it is changing and I wouldn’t say there wasn’t anything I couldn’t ever do or was stopped from doing because of my gender.

When writing do you find yourself creating characters from your past in the police, perhaps their appearance, personality or their crimes? Disguised of course.

There’s only one character who is taken from my past and he is moulded a little on my old tutor because he was a genuinely great guy.

Now I am trying to work out which character that is….

If your illness hadn’t caused you to retire early, did you see yourself going up the command chain and had you ambitions to be a Chief Constable for example?

I didn’t want to go too far up the chain, but I did want to go for promotion. There were also other departments I wanted to work on at DC level first as well. Being ill stopped me from doing a lot more than I realised. It had started to affect me before I even realised it had. The fatigue had set in and I stayed in my department when I should have moved somewhere else.

That is very sad to know. Life has a way of pushing us where we might never have otherwise gone – to writing perhaps!

I have to say the Police’s loss is our gain as readers.

I’ve interviewed a few former police officers and intelligence officers on my blog, including David Videcette, Roger A Price, Laurie Smith, James North, and also Sue Coletta – not a police officer, but an author who specialises in serial killers – and they always seem to go down very well with my followers.

Crime and crime fighters obviously fascinate us all – reading about criminals and finding out about the detection of those crimes.  We all hope they get their just deserts. Why do you think your readers enjoy your books so much? What makes your books stand out do you think?

Like I say above, crime, it’s fascinating to those who aren’t involved in it. It looks exciting and sexy, dashing about saving people who need saving and helping. The reality isn’t all like that – yes there is some dashing about and yes, the police do their best to help people, but it’s a more steady job as a detective, than fiction makes it look.

But, I think I bring some authenticity to the page.

It is a fine line though. I am well aware that people don’t want to read a police manual and they do want to read the exciting stuff, so I try to make the story interesting but then also include the inner workings of the police station. So, you get to see both.

Do you ensure your criminals are caught and punished?

That would be giving too much away for anyone who hasn’t read the books! But, in the main, I think readers do like a well-rounded ending. One where they can close the book happy that it has the ending it is supposed to have.

The reason I asked is that some authors keep a story going through more than one book, side stories taking over as the main criminal evades justice until possibly the next time….

Do you consciously try to put across a message in your books, such as crime never pays, or do you just write and see what happens?

I don’t put a message in, but, in the writing, a theme may appear.

Do you think it is important for the criminals to get punished after all?

I think it’s important that readers feel that the ending was correct. Whether the criminal managed to flee, or the victim got retribution, or the police made an arrest, whatever the story involves, it’s important that it ends the correct way for the story and theme of the story.

I love your blog which is so informative and generous with information. What inspired you to begin blogging and especially about Police Procedure?

Thank you. I’ve been blogging for years now. I can’t even remember why I started. It was so long ago and a couple of blogs ago. I think this is the third or fourth iteration of it. When I added the Writing Crime series I had been asking myself what I had to offer my readers that I could blog about, and that obviously came up. It has been a popular series and I’m glad people find it useful.

I loved Shallow Waters as I said before, and I have your other books on my TBR list. I did not want Shallow Waters to end and when it did, it was a shock. I can recall staring at the page willing there to be more…is there a writer who does that to you – who and why do you think they do?

Thank you for saying that! David Jackson is one of my favourite writers at the moment. Along with Sharon Bolton and Karin Slaughter. They all just bring their characters to life so well and you get so involved with them that you really don’t want the story to come to an end.

I’ve not read Sharon Bolton but adore Karin Slaughter too.

Tell my readers something about Shallow Waters and what inspired the story? Is DI Hannah Robbins based on you or someone you knew/know in the police?

The Hannah Robbins series is written in first person point of view, so I think a little of me seeps in. It has to. Though I was never a DI and I’m not single, I have kids and she doesn’t. But, there is some of me in her. The story was inspired by the department I worked on at the time I wrote it. It’s a difficult subject, but everything that happens is off screen, I make sure of that because of what it is.

What interests you most? The crime, the criminal or the detection of the crime and the catching of the criminal?

Are we talking fiction or reality now? I’m really not sure but I’m going with fiction as we were just talking about Shallow Waters. I think the criminal interests me the most. Motivation. The bad guy is never just the bad guy. They have a life like everyone else. They have their own story. They are not a two-dimensional character there because we need them to be there. They behaved that way for a reason and usually there are some redeeming features within them.

I think we both did the same Forensic courses on-line; how much do you think modern advances in Forensic Science has made the lot of a police officer easier or harder?

The forensics world changes rapidly. I think it helps. But as much as it helps, the criminals keep up and they take measures to prevent detection. Like the wearing of gloves to prevent leaving fingerprints. If you get a DNA match on a job though, it is another piece of evidence to help your case, but you don’t want your case to only hang on that evidence alone. You need to build a picture.

The loss/mishandling or contamination of forensic evidence can cause a miscarriage of justice, have you come across such an event when investigating? Do tell us about any cases you might possibly know about – without getting in to specifics where we might identify the case!

I can’t tell you anything because I’m lucky enough to say I haven’t been involved or know of anything.

That is good to know. I wasn’t inferring you personally might have been involved, but perhaps knew of a case.

Your latest book is called Dead Blind about a police officer who suffers from Prosopagnosia – face blindness. Tell us a little about the story and why you decided to write it. I imagine a police officer unable to distinguish one face from another and who might find it hard to recognise himself is a nightmare, but a fab story line for an author.

It was a fantastic story to write! I really enjoyed the researching and the writing. It popped into my head, practically fully formed and wouldn’t leave, so I had to write it. It’s about a police officer who acquires prosopagnosia (face blindness) after an accident at work. When he returns he refuses to disclose this to his colleagues and during an investigation into the trading of human organs he witnesses a savage murder. Only he will never remember the killers face…

When is this published? 

It’s published on 8th May.

Many congratulations and I wish you much success and I shall be reading it.

Can you share a small extract with us here? It sounds fabulous.

Book Blurb for Dead Blind:

How do you identify a ruthless killer when you can’t even recognise your own face in a mirror?

Returning to work following an accident, Detective Inspector Ray Patrick refuses to disclose he now lives with face blindness – an inability to recognise faces.

As Ray deceives his team he is pulled into a police operation that targets an international trade in human organs. And when he attempts to bring the organisation down, Ray is witness to a savage murder.

But it’s a killer he will never remember.

The pressure mounts as Ray attempts to keep his secret and solve the case alone. With only his ex-wife as a confidant, he feels progressively isolated.

Can he escape with his career and his life intact?

This extract is from partway through chapter one and Prabhat Jain is DI Ray Patrick’s supervisor.

Dead blind

After six months off, his office looked bedraggled. Cops had obviously used it as a spare room when they needed the space and had then tried to clear it out again when they knew of his return. Chairs were shoved to the sides against walls, and there were stacks of opened letters on his desk. Prabhat had warned him that he had opened them in case any needed urgent action. The ones left here were ones for him to deal with now.

Ray slipped off his coat and hung it up. It felt like coming home. Home after teenagers had partied in the house, but home nonetheless. He fired up the laptop on his desk and started to work his way through the hundreds of emails that waited for him.

‘Well, if it isn’t Humpty Dumpty himself.’

Ray recognised the voice in his doorway as that of Jain and looked at the time on the screen; an hour had passed.

‘But this good egg doesn’t stay –’ He looked up, he had expected it, but the shock still stopped his flow. He needed to do better.

‘What’s that, mate?’ the Asian guy in the smart suit asked as he walked into the office with a big smile on his face.

Ray needed to act as though this was normal. He forced his legs to move, stood to meet him and walked around his desk. ‘– doesn’t stay down.’ He grasped Jain’s hand, and he used both hands in return, shaking vigorously.

‘It’s a good job, mate.’ He let go of Ray’s hand and pulled a chair over. ‘Can you imagine the outrage if we’d have had to do a second collection for your funeral flowers after we’d already done a collection for the hospital gift, with this bunch of tight-arses?’

Ray turned back to his desk, closed his eyes. The voice was the same. He knew who he was. He now had to keep this up all day and try to figure it out for every single member of staff who walked through the door.

Tell us about your other books: Made to be Broken, Fighting Monsters and your stand-alone novella, Three Weeks Dead featuring DC Sally Poynter.

They’re the books in the DI Hannah Robbins series.

Three Weeks Dead is the prequel novella.

It can be read before or after Shallow Waters and can be downloaded for FREE. Details can be found on the front page of my website

It’s about a man whose wife is dug up from the grave, a week after she’s been buried, in order to blackmail him into doing something the bad guys want the husband to do for them.

Made to be Broken involves a city in meltdown when a broken father uses poison to make a point.

And Fighting Monsters looks at where you would turn if you can’t trust the police . When a gang leader is released from court found not guilty of killing a police officer, he’s then found dead only a day later.

 After your latest book is published, what do you plan? Another Hannah Robbins. Perhaps something completely different? Do tell what you can…

I’ve just finished the first draft of Hannah 4 which will be out later this year. I also plan to write a new series this year – though it’s not likely to be out until early next year.

Please add anything else you want our readers to know here.

I think your questions have been pretty comprehensive! I’m not sure there’s anything left to say!

Thanks so much Rebecca, I hope this wasn’t too painful.

Thank you so much for having me!

Please list your books and add the live buy links for them here.

I hope you will get lots of comments and new readers as a result of being here. Everyone, please comment and let Rebecca know you’ve visited.

Thanks so much

Jane Risdon

Three Weeks Dead – FREE – 

I am reading three Weeks Dead now and loving it Rebecca.

Shallow Waters –

Made to be Broken –

Fighting Monsters –

Box set (which is the three book cheaper together) –

Dead Blind –

Add your social media links here.






Jeff Lee: the ad man turned author who doesn’t scare easily because he’s back as my Guest Author

Jeff Lee is once more my Guest Author

with a sample of his latest hilarious offering which goes live on Amazon on May 16th…


He doesn’t scare easily – scroll down to the end for links to his first interview with me.

I love his writing because he makes me laugh out loud.

Here is Jeff’s bio according to… Jeff:

Born in New York and raised near San Francisco,

I’ve been a copywriter and creative director for some of the country’s most creative ad agencies.

                                                         Won a lot of silly awards for my creativity and wise-ass sense of humor.

And I’ve been writing in L.A. since before KC even HAD a Sunshine Band.

So, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that, given half a chance, this city can be a never-ending cavalcade of rib-tickling fun — and funny — things, people and approaches to this thrill ride we call life.

Like phony televangelists who produce biblical-themed porn for the faithful.

Bat-shit crazy showbiz moms.

Defrocked talent agents posing as Reality Show producers.

The Rose Parade.    

And on.   

And on.    

It never freakin’ ends with this place.     

                                 There’s always something — or someone — to gape at and giggle over.                                                   

I tell ya, you’ve just GOT to love this town!  

It’s the law.

Jeff’s latest book is SCROTUS and is very topical.

I’ve really enjoyed Jeff’s take on life in La La Land and have laughed out loud at the antics of his fabulous and unforgettable characters. 

I’m sure I have worked with and have had lunch with many of them or their cousins!

Scrotus back cover:

“Fish” Fishbein and his girlfriend, Shawna Kretschman, have a nice, quiet life. He’s L.A.’s repo man and bounty hunter to the stars, and she runs the police force on a South Dakota Sioux reservation.

Then, the President of the United States comes to town. And her quiet life turns upside down when she has to arrest him for trying to forcibly exercise his ‘executive privilege’ on her in the back of the presidential limo.

Shawna wants the tiny-handed prez to stand trial for his assault and a handful of other violent felonies. But first, she and Fish will have to take on a corrupt Attorney General who wants to dismiss all charges, and an army of private security contractors out for blood.

And down in the White House Situation Room, the supremely unqualified, corrupt and wealthy members of the president’s cabinet are negotiating with the Russians to invade the country and free their woman-groping boss.

If this goes on much longer, someone is going to have to step in and save Shawna, Fish and the American people from their own government.

They say that politics makes for strange bedfellows.

In SCROTUS’ case, very strange. Very fast-paced and very funny, too. With more Alternate Facts than you can shake a White House Press Liaison at. Imagine All the President’s Men meets Jason Bourne and The Three Stooges.

It’s bigly. It’s beautiful. You’re gonna love it.

It’s a done deal.

5th book in “Fish” Fishbein’s Adventures in La-La Land series.

Humor, Satire, Crime, Murder, Political Thriller, Offbeat & Quirky Commercial Fiction,
Hysterical Explicit Sex.

Think: All the President’s Men meets Jason Bourne & The Three Stooges.

Other books by Jeff Lee:


If you’d like to read on you can enjoy a sample of Scrotus – be warned there is some ‘fruity’ language…

Chapter 1

Ordinary people can – and often do — go to some pretty extraordinary lengths, and do some seriously whacky things for love.

Just ask “Fish” Fishbein, L. A.’s repo man and bounty hunter to the stars.

A few hours ago, he was chillin’ on his patio in the North Malibu Clifftop Barrio. Bagging some rays, knocking back a Corona and listening to the whales down below in the cove. Rehearsing their cover of Gene Chandler’s old Doo-Wop hit, Duke of Earl.

But now, he and his two partners in bail enforcement, Kenny and Einstein, were half a continent away.

Shivering in the pre-dawn cold and darkness, and all decked out in their fugitive apprehension finery.

Outside the door to room seventeen at the End of the Trail Motel. A clapped out, former roadside attraction in Harmony, South Dakota that had seen better decades.

They were there to grab up a Superior Court failure to appear, who was sleeping off an epic bender on the other side of the motel room’s door.

And it was the second time that month they’d flown in to South Dakota to help corral a court no-show for Fish’s buddy, Sonny Matoska. A bail bondsman from the state capital, over in Pierre.

All of which was part of the compromise they had all hammered together. So that Shawna Kretschman, a blond-haired force of nature and the love of Fish’s life, would feel free to accept the Sioux’s offer to be Chief of Police on the Pine Creek reservation.

On Fish’s signal, Kenny hot-footed it around the building to cover the bathroom window with the paintball gun he was packing. Locked and loaded with a full complement of delicate little spheres of law enforcement-grade MACE and pepper spray powder, just in case their no-show decided to bolt.

The Big Dog nodded to Einstein, who removed the economy-sized can of extra-strength Mace clipped to his utility belt, shook it a few times and released the safety.

Then Fish knocked on the door.

No answer.

He knocked again, louder.

This time, the lights came on inside the room.

“What the Hell is it?” demanded a loud voice that sounded like it was in some severe discomfort.

The pained voice belonged to all six feet, five inches and three hundred twenty-five pounds of Timothy “Rushmore” Mikkelsdottir. A local pipeline worker with a nasty temper when he was just plain sober.

But get him this hammered, and the common wisdom around these parts was to simply nod and reply, “Yes, sir” to any syllables that made it past his pie hole.

“Pizza delivery…” Fish answered at the door.

“I didn’t order no fuckin’ pizza!”

“Sorry, Buddy. Says here you did.” Fish unfolded the failure to appear warrant and read from it. “Timothy Mikkelsdottir, End of the Trail Motel. Room–” He looked over at the cheap metal numerals nailed to the door frame. “Seventeen. That’s one extra large, deep dish Hawaiian. Says here, you also wanted extra anchovies.”

“Wasn’t me!” The pain and the annoyance in the voice coming through room seventeen’s door had definitely risen a few more notches. All the way to where the Air Force usually moved the threat level up  to DEFCON 3, just as a precaution.

“Now…GO AWAY!! Leave me the fuck alone!”

“Sorry, Pal. No can do. Hey, if you don’t pay for this pizza, then my boss is gonna make me buy it. And I’m allergic to freakin’ anchovies.”


“Wish I could, man. But the company manual is really clear on this. If you don’t pay, then, I gotta. I can’t afford it, and fish makes me break out in hives.”

“Your trip to the ER’s gonna cost you a lot more than that freakin’ pizza..!”

Mikkelsdottir was sleeping off a bender that had started three nights earlier. After hearing on the radio that the president of the United States was coming to his town to inaugurate a new section of that petroleum pipeline that had been in the news so much lately. Being the loyal Republican he was, Timothy felt like doing a little celebrating.

And now, three days later, the sun wasn’t even up yet.

The Prez was due in a few hours.

It felt like somebody was trying to force his head into a length of 6-inch diameter drain pipe, using a 5-pound sledge hammer for a little persuasion.

And some clown with a serious death wish was pounding on his door about a stupid-ass pizza?



Rushmore drove his fist clear through his room’s cheap, hollow-core door


“So…that mean you’re gonna take the pizza?” Fish chuckled. “Uh, listen, Timmy…there’s just one thing. You got small bills, man? All they gave me is a couple of ones.”

Mikkelsdottir pulled back and punched three more fist-sized holes in his door. Then he screamed every obscenity his hung over brain could access as he pushed his head through the opening he’d created.

Somebody was about to die.

Fish nodded to Einstein. “Hose him down.”

Twenty seconds later, their target was lying on the floor of his motel room, with a face dyed fluorescent green from Einstein’s spray can, and looking a lot like the old Jolly Green Giant.

Mikkelsdottir was still royally shit-faced.

But now, he was also coughing, crying and puking into the wastebasket next to his bed. While a pair of stout zip ties held his fists together behind his back, preventing them from assaulting any more building materials.

 Or pizza delivery people.

 And the Big Dog was seated on the backs of his Failure To Appear’s legs, further keeping the inebriated hulk from trying to escape, while he read out loud from the arrest warrant.

 “Timmy, Timmy, Timmy…C’mon, it ain’t that bad, man. Look, you go into court…tell the judge how sorry you are about standing him up. The two of you’ll swap a couple of jokes, maybe grab a brewski and play a round of golf together after work…and that’ll be it. No harm, no foul. You with me so far?”

 Mikkelsdottir nodded silently.

 “Good. So, then…how about you and me take couple of minutes here, to talk about our lord and savior, Lord Valdemort?”

Jeff’s Social Media links:

Amazon Author Page: 20j8CQp    

Facebook Author Page:


Farewell Tour’s Amazon link:

Chump Change’s Amazon link:

Hurricane Kreschman’s Amazon link:

SCROTUS—So-called Ruler of the U.S. Amazon link:

Twitter: @jfredlee

Jeff was my guest author in 2016 and you can enjoy his interview with me again by clicking here:

It would be fabulous to have your comments – so do leave them for Jeff or any questions you’d like answered. Thanks so much for your visit, we both appreciate it.

Jennifer Ash (Jenny Kane) is My Guest on her Winter Outlaw Blog Tour

Jenny Kane

It is rare for me to feature a Guest Author twice, but today I am welcoming Jenny Kane a/k/a Jennifer Ash, to my blog for the second time with great pleasure.

Her first visit was in 2015.

Today I am her host as part of  The Winter Outlaw blog tour in support of her latest book, Mathilda, which was published  2nd April 2018.

I’d appreciate you getting to know Jennifer/Jenny and letting us have your comments later. Do seek her books, you won’t be disappointed. Jenny is also a prolific blogger.

Mathilda: An Unexpected Heroine

Jennifer Ash (Jenny Kane)

When I first created the character of Mathilda of Twyford, she was simply a character that one of my contemporary fiction heroines, Grace Harper (from Romancing Robin Hood), invented. Mathilda was a protagonist within a novel that was never supposed to be written- as the author was a creation I’d made up.

At that time, I had no idea Mathilda was to going to escape from Grace Harper’s imagination to become a major player in a series of darker novels, which are far more crime and romance.

Mathilda of Twyford is a nineteen year old potter’s daughter, thrown into the midst of the notorious criminal family, the Folvilles – quite literally. Originally their hostage, Mathilda’s skill for finding out information – and her quick wits – quickly made her an asset that the Folville’s don’t want to give up. She has also- much to her surprise, found herself endeared to the principles of the seven brothers (well- six of them- one is just pure evil). She admires their brand of justice, which is less corrupt than the legal officials that run the country.

Not only does has Mathilda become a vital part of the Folville family, she has become their friend. And soon…if the winter outlaw can be stopped…she is destined to become much more…


1329:  It is the dead of winter. The notorious Folville brothers are on edge. There are rumours of an unknown outlaw terrorising the Leicestershire countryside—a man who has designs on the Folville family’s criminal connections.

Determined to stop this usurper in his tracks, Robert Folville unearths a man hiding in one of Ashby-Folville’s sheep shelters. A steward from far-off West Markham in Nottinghamshire, the cold, hungry Adam Calvin claims he knows nothing of any threat to the Folville family. He has troubles of his own, for he is being pursued by vengeful sheriff, Edmund de Cressy, for a crime he did not commit.

Mathilda of Twyford, newly betrothed to Robert de Folville, believes Adam’s story, but with rumours about a vendetta against the family growing, the Folville brothers are suspicious of every stranger.

After an attack on the household’s trusted housekeeper, it falls to Mathilda to work out who can be trusted and who can’t… With the Folvilles’ past about to trip them up, it’s going to take a level head and extreme bravery if Mathilda and Robert are ever going to make it to their Winter Solstice wedding.

The Winter Outlaw is the sequel to The Outlaw’s Ransom

(You don’t need to have read The Outlaw’s Ransom to enjoy The Winter Outlaw)


One of the things I like best about, Mathilda, is that she stops to think before she acts – unlike the brother’s she is helping! Here’s an extract from The Winter Outlaw to whet your appetite. An unwanted messenger has delivered bad news to the household- a ruthless outlaw is in the area…

… Robert de Folville rose to see if his steward, Owen, had returned, but Mathilda put out a hand to stop him.

‘There’s something else.’

Robert frowned. ‘What do you mean?’

‘Someone has been taking food from the store in the night.’

‘What?’ Robert’s shout echoed through the room ‘Why didn’t you say?’

‘Are you going to stay calm long enough for me to tell you; because I don’t think it has anything to do with what happened to Sarah, nor with the messenger. Yet it occurs to me that the soul it does concern is in danger of becoming a scapegoat for whatever else is going on around here.’

‘What in Our Lady’s name are you talking about Mathilda? I think you’d better start from the beginning.’

The afternoon of Sarah’s attack, Mathilda reported, she had been working late in the kitchen, making a thin broth to tempt the housekeeper with once she’d come to her wits. She thought she’d heard something moving outside. The yard had already been secured against the early winter night, so the slight shuffling sound had alerted her attention.

When Mathilda had gone to investigate, there had been no sign of anyone. On entering the stores however she’d discovered that a few apples had been knocked over. As she’d looked around she had wondered if everything else that should have been there, was there. Nothing was obviously missing, so she had assumed all she’d heard was the fall of badly balanced fruit. The following evening, though, she’d listened out on purpose, and again heard the soft shuffle of something that sounded very much like feet. Waiting until the noise had passed, her heart beating fast, Mathilda had gone to check, and found that two apples were missing.

At the time, she explained, she’d decided not to say anything to Robert, as he was already in a fury about Sarah’s attack, and thinking that only the very desperate or very stupid would steal from the Folvilles, Mathilda had been convinced that someone with a score to settle against the family would have caused as much damage as possible, not just scrumped a few apples.

Convinced her instinct was correct, and that the minor theft from the store was nothing to do with Sarah’s attack, Mathilda had kept her suspicions to herself.

‘I decided to test my theory before I accused an innocent man of theft. So the following night I baked three extra loaves of bread, making a distinctive cross pattern in the top. I sprinkled them with flour and crept out into the store to leave them as tempting bait.’

Mathilda had spoken into the flames of the fire as she relayed what had happened until that moment. Now she squarely faced her future husband, ‘I checked that Sarah was alright. Then I waited until the household was asleep, before hiding at the back of the store.’

Robert sighed. ‘I ought to be angry. I am angry; yet at the same time… well, let’s just say I’m sure you were born to be a member of this household.’

Touched and surprised by her future husband’s calm acceptance of what she’d done, Mathilda took up her story again, ‘The more I thought about it, and the fact that no damage had been done and only a tiny amount of food had been taken, convinced me that this thief isn’t greedy. This is a person who needs to eat. This is a question of survival, and having found a good supply of unguarded food, they dived in and out at speed, taking what they could consume instantly, and hopefully, what won’t be missed. I thought however, that the lure of fresh bread last night would be too hard for him to resist.’

‘Last night!’ This time Robert did shout, but Mathilda held up her hand placating him.

‘Yes, last night. I crouched behind the barrels of cider. I didn’t have to wait long. That was when I knew I should have told you, my Lord. I was anxious, and your comforting presence was missed. Especially when a shadowy figure sidled into the store. I could hardly even hear his breathing. This person had learnt to be careful.’

‘Get to the crux, woman!’ Robert barked in exasperation.

‘The man hesitated in the doorway. He hadn’t expected the loaves. His hand hovered over them for ages while his eyes stayed on the apples he’d evidently returned for. I guess he was weighing up if he could hope the missing loaf would be blamed on theft by a dog or some such.

‘In the end I got fed up with waiting for him to do something. He was just stood there, staring longingly at the bread. So, without showing myself, I spoke to him.’

‘Saying what? And I hope you truly did keep to the shadows that time!’

‘I did, my Lord. I said, “You must be extremely hungry to invade this particular household.” He ran to the door straight away, but I called after him. I said, “Enjoy the bread, I made it for you.” That’s when he stopped and turned to where I was crouched.

‘He asked me why I’d baked for him. I told him only a desperate man steals from a Folville, so he must be truly in dire need of food. He stuttered, “A Folville…?”, then he ran. I doubt he’ll be back. He had no idea this was your manor, Robert, I’m sure of it. Which means this man is not connected with today’s loathsome messenger.’

‘Why in the name of all that is Holy didn’t you tell me? Why so reckless? Honestly, woman!’

‘I was going to tell you this morning, but our conversation was interrupted.’

Incensed that someone had dared steal from them, Robert threw his tankard of ale at the fire. ‘There was a time when the Folville name was enough to keep the thieves away. Is the state of the country so bad that I have to employ a guard dog?’


I hope you enjoyed that. It is so hard to share an extract that won’t give too much away!

Buy Links-




Many thanks for inviting me today Jane,

Happy reading everyone,


You are more than welcome, good luck Jen. Everyone, tour dates are a the end of this post.


With a background in history and archaeology, Jennifer Ash should really be sat in a dusty university library translating Medieval Latin criminal records, and writing research documents that hardly anyone would want to read. Instead, tucked away in the South West of England, Jennifer writes stories of medieval crime, steeped in mystery, with a side order of romance.

Influenced by a lifelong love of Robin Hood and medieval ballad literature, Jennifer has written the first two novels in The Folville Chronicles series.

The Outlaw’s Ransom – Book One in The Folville Chronicles (pub. 2018, Littwitz Press)is a short novel, which first saw the light of day within the novel Romancing Robin Hood (written under the name Jenny Kane; Pub. Littwitz Press, 2018).

The Winter Outlaw – Book Two of The Folville Chronicles (pub. 2018, LittwitzPress) – in a full length novel continuing the adventures of Mathilda of Twyford.

Edward’s Outlaw – Book Three of The Folville Chronicles – will be released this coming winter.

All of Jennifer Ash’s and Jenny Kane’s news can be found at



Jennifer Ash

Jenny Kane

Jenny also teaches creative writing at


If you would like to catch up with Jenny Kane’s first Guest Author post with me follow this link: 

Nik Morton – Prolific Multi-Genre Author, is my Guest this Week

This week I am pleased to welcome multi-genre author

Nik Morton

as my guest.

Nik Morton

We hope you will enjoy reading about his prolific and lengthy career and that you’ll leave a comment for him and investigate his books following his interview with me.

Hi Nik,

Thanks so much for agreeing to be my guest author. I am really excited to host you.

Thank you for inviting me, Jane.

Here is Nik’s Bio:

Nik served in the Royal Navy for 23 years, has been writing for over 50 years, and sold over 100 short stories: adventure, romance, ghost, horror, sci-fi, western and crime.
He’s had 30 books published, among them a noir western Coffin for Cash; a co-authored fantasy novel Floreskand: King, a psychic spy series Mission: Prague, Mission: Tehran and Mission: Khyber, modern vampire thriller, Chill of the Shadow, time travel sci-fi Continuity Girl, and 6 books of short stories, plus Write a Western in 30 Days – with plenty of bullet points.Nik lives in Spain with his wife Jennifer.

 Your career has been and is, so prolific. I’ve noticed books, short stories, TV and Movie scripts going back to 1971 included on your really interesting and comprehensive website.

Please tell us something about yourself which is not revealed in any of your biographies shown on Amazon and your website, it can be whatever you wish: hobbies, daft moments, amazing experiences, former career(s) and so forth…

I was adopted (and so was my wife, Jennifer). My name isn’t Nik, but Robert. It’s a nickname (no pun intended) that stuck; almost everyone who joins the forces ends up with a nickname and I was no exception; however, I spelled it without the ‘c’ and signed my cartoons and illustrations ‘Nik’. My surname is Nicholson-Morton, which is far too long when writing cheques (what are they?); I’ve lived with variations of that moniker, notably Nocholson-Mitten and frequently Nicholas Morton! And I went Up the Khyber with the Navy… (Related in the book Under the Queen’s Colours by Penny Legg.)

You write in a variety of genres: Thriller, Romance, Crime, Westerns, Science Fiction, Horror, Ghost, Fantasy and Spy – which is your favourite genre and why?

Sorry, Jane, I don’t have a favourite. I read books in all those genres, so I’m happy to write in any of them. It depends on the story. On the back-burner I have a Victorian detective novel, a pirate novel, and a time-travel novel.

Do you find some genres easier to write than others?

I’m comfortable writing in all the genres I’m drawn to; whether I’m good in all is another matter…

The structure may vary for a thriller as opposed to a western, though not necessarily: my westerns have the pace of thrillers, and often include romance as well. But, whatever the genre, they all require research. I invariably do research for all my stories, whether short or novel-length. Fortunately, I find the research aspect as much fun as the writing. I prefer to write a plot plan for my work, so that probably helps make the going easier!

After fifty-eight years of book-collecting, I have tomes on most subjects that interest me – history, geology, astronomy, science, espionage, wars, weapons, travel, the paranormal, all of which I can refer to if necessary. I do use the Internet as well, though I find that certain nuggets of information need to be gleaned from reading non-fiction books. When writing MISSION: PRAGUE I read a couple of biographies on Gorbachev, since he figured in the story in a minor capacity.

Where do you find inspiration for a story and a character? Do you model your characters on anyone you know, or have seen in the media or read about?

Inspiration can come from so many sources. Too many stories, not enough time! For example, while in the Navy our class sat down at a table and indulged in an Ouija session. Nobody seemed to be moving the glass consciously, and it only pointed to gibberish. Off the cuff, I remarked that the gobbledegook might be in code. That was the birth of the book MISSION: PRAGUE, though it took a long time to gestate after that. There are small things included that are taken from my time in the Navy, such as Tana’s crossing Portsmouth Harbour in 1965. The secret service training building, The Fort, is in Gosport, a short distance away from our old home, and is featured too.

Unlike D H Lawrence, I don’t consciously write about people I know. Admittedly, some of my genre fiction will have more character depth than others; it can depend on the word-count: some publishers have a set maximum. A fast-paced thriller will not dwell on character as much as a psychological thriller.

Do you read a great deal, and which genre is your favourite reading material?

I don’t read as much as I’d like. The highest number of books I’ve read in a year was 96 in 1990. I’ve kept a record since 1982; last year I managed only 40! They will vary from adventure, crime, historical, espionage, classic, horror, fantasy and non-fiction (invariably for research).

Again, I don’t have a favourite genre. I do believe a writer should read widely, not only in their own genre.

Who are your favourite authors and why?

That’s a tough question. There are so many favourites!  But there would be since I have over 4,000 books… Off the top of my head, Ruth Rendell and her alter ego Barbara Vine for her understanding of the human condition; Edgar Rice Burroughs for his exciting imagination; Arthur Conan Doyle for his breadth of subject matter; Neville Shute for his poignant storytelling with people at the core; Charles Dickens for his wit and humanity; Raymond Chandler for his atmospheric prose and one-liners; George MacDonald Fraser for his amusing amazing Flashman chronicles; Margaret Mitchell for Gone with the Wind; Leslie Charteris for his humour and wit; Louis L’Amour for his honest depiction of the Old West and its people; Richard Matheson for gripping the heart; Charlotte Bronte for the wonderful Jane Eyre; H Rider Haggard for his splendid adventure stories; Anthony Burgess for being a writer’s writer; O Henry for teaching me how to write short stories; Edgar Allan Poe for his strangeness; Bernard Cornwell for putting me in the thick of the Peninsular War; J B Priestley for his artistry;  Joseph Conrad for his command of English and powerful descriptions; Mary Stewart for bringing alive for me the Arthurian legend; Hammond Innes for his intense adventure tales; Nelson DeMille for his non-PC humour; Ray Bradbury for his bravura imagination; Somerset Maugham for immersing me in his stories, places and characters; D H Lawrence for his emotional depth; Jack London for capturing the psyche of wolves and dogs. That list doesn’t include a good number of more modern writers, admittedly, for which I apologise unreservedly.

Who inspires/influences you and your writing the most, if at all?

I can’t say that any one author has inspired or influenced me over the years, though I suspect in my early days my first attempts at writing were reflections on Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ian Fleming! Naturally, as I’ve read so many books, I’ve subconsciously analysed many of the books and learned how their stories were told. My noir western COFFIN FOR CASH was homage to Edgar Allen Poe, for example beginning with a premature burial!

You have been writing for a long time – over 50 years – do you think your writing has changed a lot, and if so, in what way?

The more you write, the better you become, they say. I’d like to think so. Somebody has said that you’re not a good writer until you’ve written a million words (like an apprenticeship). Well, the word-count of my published books is about two million at present.

At the outset, I knew the basics and had studied a good number of books to see how writers laid out their tales – paragraphs, sentence-length, word-flow, vocabulary etc. My early writing, in retrospect, was probably too rushed, and not sufficiently visual.

Long ago I learned that if I can’t see what is happening, where it’s happening, or feel what the characters are feeling, then the reader won’t either. Having recently self-published over eighty of my previously published short stories (they go back to 1971), I feel that despite their early shortcomings they do their job in the word-limit that the magazines allowed.

We live in a visual world and many aspiring writers have grown up watching TV and films, where ‘things happen’; however, you can’t write books like that. To involve the reader, you have to internalise, and that’s something I learned along the way. The protagonist isn’t simply moving along with the plot, he or she is emotionally involved in it.

Has it become easier to write or harder and why?

It gets easier, because I can detect my lazy errors as they’re committed. I usually know where the story is going; however, the emotional journey for the characters can lead to many interesting side-routes, and these can add depth and increase my – and the reader’s – understanding of the character. Even now, after so many books written, each one is a journey of discovery – even with that plot plan map.

Having written so many books and short stories, TV and Movie scripts, how do you keep coming up with new ideas and stories to tell?

Characters themselves can create a storyline. Some writers say they always begin with a character and then they see where he or she will lead them; this can be at the planning stage or the writing-by-the-seat-of-the-pants process. Other writers prefer to begin with a plot or a dramatic situation and then thrust characters into the mix. I probably do a bit of both.

For THE BREAD OF TEARS the character came first; a nun who had previously been a policewoman; it hadn’t been done before. Initially, I wrote it as a third person narrative set in the US; then I transposed it to UK, with a total rewrite in the first person, and the initial chapters won a Harry Bowling Prize.

For the Leon Cazador short stories, their origins came from actual events and my P.I. was grafted on to them. Every day, open a newspaper or magazine and you’ll have the kernel of an idea for a story; though it seems these days that every day is April fool’s day! Then decide if the story has legs to fill a book or a short story…

Your stories are staged/set in many exotic and even dangerous countries, and your readers and reviewers mention your attention to detail and in-depth descriptions of these countries. Have you been to any of those you write about? 

The old adage is to ‘write what you know’. I translate that as ‘what I’ve learned’; whether from life’s experience or from research. I try not to overload the story with travelogue description; it has to serve the story or the characters.

We had a time share in Tenerife for several years so I know all the places shown in my book AN EVIL TRADE. My vampire novel CHILL OF THE SHADOW is set in Malta and the action occurs in real places in the islands; I’d lived there for eighteen months. Since the last time I was there, the buses changed colour, but fortunately I discovered this on the Internet. So, yes, I tend to back up personal knowledge with research.

If the story allows, I include places I’ve been to, either privately or with the Navy. Whether or not I’ve been to a place, I tend to read two or three books about the country or city to absorb and possibly use a little of the detail and also gain a broader impression; that’s what I did for CATACLYSM set in China (since the closest I got in my travels was Hong Kong!)

I served on the frigate HMS ZULU in the late 1960s. When writing MISSION: TEHRAN (set in 1978) I used that ship briefly in the story, as it really had been in the area (the Persian Gulf). In the same novel, my characters were going to Yazd in Iran, the ancient city of the wind-catchers; as it happens, Google Earth told me there’d been an earthquake there on the dates my characters would be in the city, so the tremors were used in the story!

As I mentioned earlier, I went up the Khyber Pass in the late 1960s; so when it came to writing the third Tana Standish novel MISSION: KHYBER (set in 1979), I referred back to my notes of the time plus photographs, constantly checking to ensure that there were no discrepancies between 1969 and 1979!

The short stories in LEON CAZADOR, P.I. are primarily set in Spain. I’ve used real events in some cases, names suitably changed, of course, and real places, to convey a little of the flavour of this vast and varied country.

If you have not, how do you research the locations and write about them so convincingly?

I try not to skimp on research reading, even if I’ve been to a place I’m writing about. Memory plays tricks; check, if you can. Immersion in the place – and time, when it’s historical – helps. Recently I wrote a long short story for an American anthology set in 1930s London, told in first person narrative; it’s a pastiche of August Derleth’s Solar Pons adventures (which are pastiches of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes!) I immersed myself in a good number of those Derleth stories and then wrote my tale. The anthology editor accepted the story, commenting that I’d captured the voice of the narrator. Due to immersion.

I study photos, if available, to aid in the description, and try not to forget the sounds and smells. Sometimes, there can be sensory or information overload; everything must go in, because you’ve researched it. Certainly by the final self-edit stage, I try to excise anything that doesn’t move the story forward or isn’t actually experienced by the character(s). The objective always has to be: put the reader there. I may not always succeed, but that’s what I strive to accomplish.

How do you conduct research for your stories? Do you travel a great deal and are you a great fan of Google and other search engines or do you research traditionally?

I’ve touched on some methods of research, and it’s a mixture of the traditional book-delving and referencing the Internet. Google Earth is certainly useful. I’ve used it to travel down streets I’m writing about, for example. And I still have to write about places I’ve been to, such as Rome, Elba, Mombasa and Greece.

Do you write by hand or go straight to the computer?

I learned to touch-type in the Navy, so I write direct to the computer. I believe Frederick Forsyth buys a new typewriter for each novel he starts. I could not go back to those days of carbon paper, ‘snopake’ and ribbon changes! I recall typing in the ship’s office at sea; if the sea was contrary and rough, it was not unknown for the platen to jump from the ratchet and slide with the roll of the ship! 

Do you keep reams of notes and make maps of your locations and storylines?

Many of my books have maps – such as, for example, the Canary Islands (AN EVIL TRADE), Malta (CHILL OF THE SHADOW), and Floreskand and Lornwater (FLORESKAND: WINGS and FLORESKAND: KING). I also use maps for my own benefit to check the whereabouts of characters; especially in a western town.

For the Tana book MISSION: KHYBER I had printed off about a hundred pages of notes – flora, fauna, weather, history, people, notes, more notes, weapons, references from many books etc.

For my first Tana Standish book, once the Ouija idea took hold, the story had to be in the realms of the paranormal. At that time I was interested in a variety of books by Edgar Cayce, Lyall Watson, Ingo Swann and a few others. There’s a believability threshold to cross, suspending disbelief, and if the subject is dealt with in a matter-of-fact manner, perhaps it can become believable. The poltergeist phenomenon, particularly relating to young girls reaching puberty, can be construed as psychic forces being unleashed unwarily. Although Tana showed signs of psychic ability, it was heightened at puberty. I mention the psychic tests that the secret services conducted, and those with astronauts and men in nuclear submarines: all fact. Remote viewing has a significant part to play in MISSION: TEHRAN and MISSION: KHYBER.

You have written with Gordon Faulkner at times, and we would love to know how you go about this as I understand you both live in different countries – do you use email to communicate with each other? Tell us how this works.

Our writing is a kind of symbiosis. For many years Gordon has been creating and evolving his creation Floreskand. He would tell me about a handful of main characters and their goal. Often, it was up to me how they got there. However, I had his wealth of Floreskandian knowledge about the landscape and history to aid me. There’s limited magic and supernatural goings on; nothing too earth-shattering. I’d create obstacles for our heroes, and often by return of email Gordon would have evolved a flora/fauna/political/religious explanation for that obstacle!

For our latest, FLORESKAND: MADURAVA, Gordon visited me for a week and we thrashed out the plot for the novel. This suited me, as I’m quite happy to write to a plot plan. It still gave me sufficient leeway to create characters and events, so it was not a straitjacket.

Did it take a lot of discussion to meld your writing styles together, or are they similar and it was easy?

While I do the majority of the writing, the main plot is Gordon’s; he has thousands of years of history annotated, with many family trees drawn up! I will introduce additional characters, more intrigue or character conflict as appropriate, and he will add to that based on his knowledge of the history and religion etc. I couldn’t write the story without Gordon’s imaginative input. More than once we’ve been on remarkably similar wavelengths as the nitty-gritty takes shape! While the Floreskand books are standalone, they interlink with events and characters; that’s where Gordon’s planning proves of great value. The writing is easy and fun.

Who comes up with the ideas for a new story when writing with Gordon?

While Gordon has the overarching story-line mapped out – and I’m not necessarily privy to that until we get there – there are plenty of sub-plots I introduce. And, time permitting, I can write separate tales outside the main plot-line.

You have many lead characters – you’ve written so many books and short stories – and one is the psychic spy, Tana Standish. Where did the idea for her character and adventures come from?

In the 1960s I wrote a couple of spy novels (unpublished!) and one main character was very similar to Tana, though at the time she wasn’t psychic. I wrote these before knowing about the existence of Modesty Blaise. At the time I’d been reading a lot of science fiction, some of it concerning psychics – among them Alfred Bester’s THE DEMOLISHED MAN. Always intrigued by the concept, it seemed a natural leap since I was a fan of spy fiction to make my hero female and psychic. The concept was the easy part.

Much later, when the Ouija story became a novel, and changed title and length a few times, evolving into PRAGUE, I realised I had a series in the making. Linking real events with the fiction: PRAGUE relates actual events and we meet some real people from that time. And to perpetuate the conceit, each book begins with a clandestine meeting and the handing over of a manuscript.

Are you an avid spy novel fan? Who is your favourite author in this genre?

I’ve been a fan of spy fiction since the early 1960s. I deliberately avoided mentioning spy novelists in my earlier list.  I don’t have one favourite. I’ve always admired Adam Hall’s Quiller books. I enjoyed all of Len Deighton’s and Ian Fleming’s spy thrillers. I learned a lot from Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden tales. And of course John Le Carré: he breaks many so-called writers’ rules but maintains the interest and sucks me in.

Why did you make Tana a psychic spy? Does this limit you with her character and her adventures? Must she always come out on top, always be one step ahead of her enemies?

During my studies of the paranormal, it became obvious that if psychic ability existed in the real world, it was not easily called upon at will. I made a point of this early on in MISSION: PRAGUE. She can sense ill-will and danger, and at moments of heightened tension she may snatch a thought or feeling, but she can’t mind-read and is not a super-heroine. She’s extremely fit and capable, but she is fallible, and indeed is captured. She has an edge, but that can be blunted. And of course the Russians have their own psychics, who have detected her presence in their bailiwick…

Are there plans to write more stories about her or have you moved on now? Tana for the 21st century might prove a challenge, but the technology would open up so many opportunities for adventure.

Nik Morton Avenging Cat series 3

So far, Tana Standish’s adventures have taken her to Czechoslovakia (1975), Iran (1978) and Afghanistan (1979). Her next mission will be the Falklands (1982). There may be others; in the early 1980s she’d be in her forties; it depends when her psychic faculties will wane – or evolve…

Tana was born on May 12, 1937 in Warsaw, so she’d now be 81…. At the time of the uprising of the ghetto in 1942, she was five years old. She had two brothers, Mordechai and Ishmael, both now deceased. She was adopted by a British couple in 1942, but her adoptive father Lieutenant Hugh Standish was killed in a car crash two years later. Her mother Vera never remarried. She joined Edinburgh University in 1955 and read Psychology, gaining a BA (Hons) in 1958. Thereafter, she worked for the Parapsychological Research Unit, Northamptonshire – 1958 to early 1965; during this time, she travelled to the US and the USSR, among other countries, to give talks on memory. Besides possessing psychic abilities, she has a photographic memory.

Right now, it would seem the UK needs Tana to come out of retirement. Maybe as someone healthy in her eighties, she could still make a difference?

Have you considered her for a role as a ‘remote viewer,’ for example, used – if she has aged in your stories – from an office based situation to direct her adventures?

Ingo Swann (1933-2013) was a famous remote viewer; I’d read his book Star Fire in 1979, and I’ve researched remote viewing quite a bit too. Yes, Tana utilises this technique, most notably in TEHRAN, though then she’s still a novice. Again in KHYBER, she employs it to spy on the Russians. She’s an active agent, however, and would not settle for merely sitting behind a desk and remote viewing!

Tell us something about Tana, her character and motivation.

Having escaped Nazi oppression, she grew to loath evil individuals, whatever doctrine they espouse. She does not baulk at killing evil men – or women, for that matter. Wherever she can, she will save innocents. 

Please list the books in which she appears.

MISSION: PRAGUE (Czechoslovakia, 1975)

MISSION: TEHRAN (Iran, 1978)

MISSION: KHYBER (Afghanistan, 1979-1980)

Which of your characters is your favourite and why? Who is the most exciting to write?

I can’t have favourites; they might decide to get jealous, and who knows where that would lead! Seriously, I’m fond of all of them; whether that’s Jim Thorp (the hero in my first published book, DEATH AT BETHESDA FALLS) or Corbin Molina THE $300 MAN with a hook for a hand, or Catherine Vibrissae, the ‘avenging CAT’, or plucky journalist Maria Caruana in black magical Malta, or even Leon Cazador, the half-English half-Spanish modern-day Knight Templar. Perhaps I’d select Maggie Weaver also known as Sister Rose, as I was told I captured her voice and an ex-nun liked her story THE BREAD OF TEARS so much she asked for a sequel!  

As for the most exciting to write, I imagine that will be Tana, though all my heroes and heroines have excitement in their lives.

What are you working on now and do you have anything due for publication soon? If you do, tell us about your new work.

I’ve just finished the third book in our fantasy series – FLORESKAND: MADURAVA. A madurava is a compass; the story continues from FLORESKAND: KING concerning the ongoing civil war of Lornwater.

Also completed and awaiting publication is a commissioned noir western DEATH FOR A DOVE, which again features Cash Laramie and is my homage to Anthony Hope’s THE PRISONER OF ZENDA!

Thanks so much for agreeing to be my guest Nik, I wish you continued success.

Thank you again for inviting me here.

Please list your publications and share some reviews with us:

Books by Nik Morton

An Evil Trade

The Bread of Tears

Chill of the Shadow

Gifts from a Dead Race – Collected stories vol.1

Nourish a Blind Life – Collected stories vol.2

Visitors – Collected stories vol.3

Codename Gaby – Collected stories vol.4

I Celebrate Myself – Collected stories vol.5

Leon Cazador, P.I. – Collected stories vol.6 

The Tana Standish psychic spy series:

Mission: Prague (#1)

Mission: Tehran (#2)

Mission: Khyber (#3) 

The Avenging Cat series:

Catalyst (#1)

Catacomb (#2)

Cataclysm (#3)

Bullets for a Ballot

Coffin for Cash

Death for a Dove

Continuity Girl (also featuring We Fell Below the Earth)

A Fistful of Legends (Western anthology: editor) 


Write a Western in 30 Days – with plenty of bullet points!

Old Shoes and Medals (memoir) 

Fantasy co-authored with Gordon Faulkner, writing as Morton Faulkner:

Floreskand: Wings

Floreskand: King

Floreskand: Madurava

Westerns writing as Ross Morton:

The Magnificent Mendozas

The $300 Man

Old Guns

Blind Justice at Wedlock

Last Chance Saloon

Death at Bethesda Falls

Nik’s Social Media/buy links urls/:



















Excerpt from Mission: Prague (570 words)

 1942 Five-year-old Tana has escaped from the Warsaw ghetto with her brother Ishmael. Their brother Mordechai was killed. They’ve secretly boarded a ship in Gdynia…

Tana cautiously followed Ishmael and scaled down a ladder onto the well deck. He partially lifted the cargo hatch tarpaulin cover and they both slid into the for’ard hold, where it was pitch-black at first. But after a while, their eyes became accustomed to the darkness; it was not unlike the sewers, Tana supposed, though smelled less rank.

The hold was stacked with crates but no food. Rats scurried to the forepeak, in deep shadow, but neither Tana nor Ishmael was particularly alarmed. Even the prospect of eating these vermin as a last resort held no horrors.

Tana’s stomach rumbled emptily at the memory of the last food scraps to pass her lips two days ago.

Ishmael chuckled and she imagined that he was smiling; he told her she was to make herself comfortable, while he went ‘up top’ to steal some food.

Fearful for his safety, she pleaded with him not to go. He kissed her forehead. “We’ll starve here if I don’t find something, little Tana. I promised Mordechai I’d look after you. I keep my promises.”

He was gone for ages. She had no way of knowing how long. It could have been an hour, perhaps much longer. The waiting seemed endless.

Deep in the creaking, dank-smelling hold, Tana was a little afraid. She would much rather have stayed in the sewers of Warsaw. Known terrors seemed preferable to those unknown. Besides, she had too much imagination.

Then her heart lightened, as she recognised Ishmael’s limping stride across the deck above. He sounded in a hurry. Intuitively, she knew something was wrong.

Anxiously, she scrambled up, her little knees grazing on the metal ladder. She peeked over the coaming.

Silhouetted in the searchlight beam that lanced down from the ship’s bridge, Ishmael attempted to run for cover, heading towards her, dodging around winches and the cowls of ventilators. Under his arm was a brown paper parcel that was spewing apples and he left a trail of broken eggs behind him.

A German voice shrieked: “Halt!”

Ishmael faltered. He turned to face the bridge.

Running out of the wheelhouse, a black-clad sailor leaned over the Navigation Bridge. In his arms was a sub-machine gun. Tana recognized the weapon and her heart froze.

Ishmael’s face was unnaturally pale in the pinioning light. He seemed resigned. His youthful cracked mouth twisted in a breathless agonised grimace. Suddenly, he jack-knifed backwards, six inches in the air to the staccato sound of the Schmeisser MP40 weapon. His out-flung arms violently discarded the stolen food; most of it splashed overboard as he crumpled almost on top of Tana, inches away from her ashen face. A solitary apple rolled past his staring eyes and unthinkingly she snatched the fruit.

Ishmael’s head was on one side, his right cheek squashed against the metal deck and his eyes stared at her. His lips trembled but he was unable to speak. Yet she caught his words, faintly echoing in her mind. “I hope Mordechai won’t be too annoyed with me when I see him…” What little light there was went out of him and a thin gasp of air passed his lips and she felt it, like a kiss, on her cheek.

Eyes wide in shock, she slid back into the shadows under the tarpaulin.

She knelt in the dark. Her mind was completely numb, but she gripped onto the apple – her brother’s last gift to her.

Excerpts from some reviews

Mission: Prague

For me, the best scenes are the one-on-one confrontations, claustrophobic closed room battles of expert second-guessing. There’s a superb fight sequence which takes place in a pitch-dark living room, where weaponless Tana must defend herself against an armed opponent using her memory, wits, senses and what falls to hand. It’s beautifully choreographed and delivered.

The finale … (is) preceded by a simply chilling chapter, the best in the book, where Tana must marshal all of her mental strength to resist the worst that her opponents employ against her. I also thoroughly enjoyed the scenes in the Soviet psychic investigations unit. Likewise, the author’s attention to detail in his descriptions of Prague, and Tana’s cracking back-story, were superb. – Rowena Hoseason, Murder Mayhem and More

Mission: Tehran

There are not too many books that stay with you long after you finish reading them, not too many characters who are so alive it seems like you recently met them. And so it is with Tana Standish, the psychic spy in this page-turning thriller. We travel to Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and England and meet a variety of brilliantly portrayed characters – both chillingly cruel and highly talented, some of them torturers, others who control a team of remote viewers, others traditional British MI6 characters. The locations are so finely drawn we can almost reach and touch them, the atmosphere so vivid that we can shut our eyes and sense ourselves there. – Maureen Moss, travel journalist, author of More to Life

Mission: Khyber

… is thought-provoking and intellect-expanding stuff, meticulously researched, with a carefully planned plot and a fascinating core character to provide rock solid foundations. A rewarding read suitable for folks who enjoy meaty literary series like Patrick O’Brian’s Napoleonic naval epics. – Rowena Hoseason, Murder Mayhem and More 

Floreskand: Wings

A beautiful and atmospheric tale. The author has skilfully developed the characters in a way that you feel you are right there with them on their quest. I can say that I have read many fantasy stories I have truly enjoyed, but only a few have left that lingering haunting feeling within me. Can’t wait for the next instalment.  – Amazon reviewer

… twists and turns in the presentation of the plot expand the telling of the tale and there are many duly woven into the pattern to enrich and excite the reader. The journey through the Sonalume Mountains has a strong element of authenticity to it, concentrating on the treacherous ice and snow coupled to an intense bitter cold. This seems to derive from an actual experience that must have been quite wretched at the time.  – British Fantasy Society reviewer

Floreskand: King

Long anticipated follow up to Wings and not a disappointment… Nice twist at the end linking in with ‘Wings’ which was set at the same time in Floreskandian history… This story widens the scope of history and certainly leaves you wanting more. – Amazon reviewer

The Bread of Tears

This is a gritty and at times downright gruesome thriller. Written in the first person, Morton has achieved a true sense of feminine appeal in Maggie, the narrator, and despite her religious calling, she comes over as quite a sexy woman… I found myself totally empathising with this full-blooded, gutsy woman… All the characters and horrific events in this crime thriller are extremely visual and well-drawn, making this a riveting read. It would make a brilliant TV series! – Jan Warburton, author of The Secret and A Face to Die For

 Please leave us a comment and your thoughts on Nik’s interview, we’d both love to read them.

Thanks for your visit.

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:

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Amazon Author Page:

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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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 Image may contain: sky and outdoor

 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: