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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.

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

Woman

draw

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.

http://www.abingdonbookstore.co.uk/

Also all digital stores including Amazon.

https://amzn.to/2J04J3c

Visit our Facebook Page for updates and information.

https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella/

 

 

 

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

Paperback for Mass Markets:

Only One Woman

is published 24th May 2018

ONLY ONE WOMAN

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.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones/dp/1783757310

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
2018.

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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella/

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

 

ONLY ONE WOMAN COMPETITION

HERE IS THE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ANSWER TO TAKE PART IN OUR FREE DRAW

TO WIN 3 SIGNED COPIES OF ONLY ONE WOMAN

 

Which movie released 1968,

starring ADRIENNE POSTA,

was Stella going to see in

ONLY ONE WOMAN?

TO ENTER SEND YOUR NAME AND ANSWER

TO OUR IN-BOX/MESSAGES ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE

BEFORE

NOON 1ST JUNE.

https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella/

ADRIENNE POSTA,

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,

GRAHAM BONNET 

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

THE GRAHAM BONNET 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 

ONLY ONE WOMAN

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.

WE SHALL HAVE COPIES AVAILABLE TO BUY ON THE NIGHT.

 

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

West Bute Street
Cardiff
CF10 5LJ

@OctavosBookCafe
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 rebeccabradleycrime.com.

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 – https://dl.bookfunnel.com/8ti73n39aj 

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

Shallow Waters – myBook.to/SWwebsite

Made to be Broken – myBook.to/MTBBWebsite

Fighting Monsters – myBook.to/FightingMonsters

Box set (which is the three book cheaper together) – mybook.to/HR1-3Boxset

Dead Blind – mybook.to/DeadBlind

Add your social media links here.

Rebeccabradleycrime.com

http://Twitter.com/RebeccaJBradley

http://Facebook.com/RebeccaBradleyCrime

 

 

 

 

 

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…

SCROTUS.

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.”

“GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY DOOR! NOW!!”

“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?

 Really?

REALLY?!

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

“IF YOU AIN’T GONE IN FIVE SECONDS, I’M GONNA DO THE SAME THING TO YOUR FUCKIN’ FACE!”

“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: amzn.to/ 20j8CQp    

Facebook Author Page: on.fb.me/1QPczqQ

Website: jeffleewriter.weebly.com

Farewell Tour’s Amazon link: amzn.to/1KEN8U3

Chump Change’s Amazon link: amzn.to/1LDs9VS

Hurricane Kreschman’s Amazon link: amzn.to/2uMECTk

SCROTUS—So-called Ruler of the U.S. Amazon link: bit.ly/tinyfingers

Twitter: @jfredlee

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

https://wp.me/p2dg55-26D

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…

Blurb

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-

Kindle

UK: http://ow.ly/RsKq30j0jev 
US: http://ow.ly/EvyF30j0jfk

***

Many thanks for inviting me today Jane,

Happy reading everyone,

Jen

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

Bio

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 www.jennykane.co.uk

@JenAshHistory

@JennyKaneAuthor

Jennifer Ash https://www.facebook.com/jenniferashhistorical/

Jenny Kane https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011235488766

Jenny also teaches creative writing at www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk

*** 

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

https://wp.me/p2dg55-1W4 

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) 

Non-fiction

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

Authl.it urls/:

Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/nikmorton.10

Twitter

@nik_morton

Goodreads

http://www.goodreads.com/Nikmorton

Linkedin

es.linkedin.com/pub/nik-morton/14/9b7/77/

www.freewebs.com/nikmorton

http://nik-writealot.blogspot.com

http://auguries-magazine.blogspot.com

FLORESKAND: WINGS

http://authl.it/B076HYD33X

FLORESKAND: KING

http://authl.it/B076MLR9Y4

MISSION: PRAGUE

http://authl.it/B06XFY7LLV

MISSION: TEHRAN

http://authl.it/B06XDWLKNH

MISSION: KHYBER

http://authl.it/B06XFYWBGR

CHILL OF THE SHADOW

http://authl.it/B06XJSB6J8

THE BREAD OF TEARS

http://authl.it/B06XBSGDRS

AN EVIL TRADE

http://authl.it/B07257LTT8

LEON CAZADOR, P.I.

http://authl.it/B076M32Q3G

CATALYST

http://authl.it/56v

CATACOMB

http://authl.it/56w

CATACLYSM

http://authl.it/4hv

WRITE A WESTERN

http://authl.it/56x

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: http://timwalkerwrites.co.uk

Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/diqexz

Amazon Author Page: http://Author.to/timwalkerwrites

Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/timwalkerwrites

Twitter: http://twitter.com/timwalker1666

Abandoned! – a novella – http://myBook.to/Abandoned

Ambrosius: Last of the Romans – a novel – http://myBook.to/Ambrosius

Uther’s Destiny link is: http://myBook.to/Uther

Beautiful series book covers by the talented Cathy Walker (no relation) – http://cathyscovers.wix.com

 

 

 

 

 

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: www.amazon.com/dp/B079FWDPS8

Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079FWDPS8

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/38569336-six-strings

Author Facebook page: www.facebook.com/killingsisters

Author website: www.murdermayhemandmore.net

Author Amazon page: www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Westworth/e/B001K89ITA/

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

Excited

Another short story in an anthology with Plaisted Publishing Ltd.

Ghostly Writes Valentine’s Anthology 2018:

LOVE FROM THE OTHER SIDE

features stories from authors from all over the world

and including my story

ALEXA

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….

 

http://www.lulu.com/shop/claire-plaisted-and-c-a-keith-and-jane-risdon-and-lynn-mullican/love-from-the-other-side/paperback/product-23533322.html

Paperback is discounted for a short time from Lulu.com

Also

 e-pub is FREE to read on Lulu: 

http://www.lulu.com/shop/claire-plaisted-and-c-a-keith-and-jane-risdon-and-lynn-mullican/love-from-the-other-side/ebook/product-23526705.html

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.

LUCKY

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.

Website: https://www.louisemullinsauthor.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MullinsAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LouiseMullinsAuthor

Grab your copy of Lucky here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucky-Trust-Death-Valley-Book-ebook/dp/B078N9YXF7/

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.

http://scribblersink.com/#/writing-retreats/

To follow Bobbi:

https://www.facebook.com/Author-Bobbi-Lerman-564479847017048/?ref=bookmarks

https://www.facebook.com/groups/scribblersink2013/

Buy links for Bobbi’s Books:  https://www.amazon.com/Bobbi-Lerman/e/B074DGSNR6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_2

Link to latest travel essay: http://www.yourlifeisatrip.com/home/tea-in-st-andrews

 

 

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:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Lies-Jake-Carrington-Thriller-ebook/dp/B06VXQBR8B/

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-the-deadly-lies-marian-lanouette/1125814921?ean=9781516104758

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/all-the-deadly-lies

Social Media:

Author’s Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Pinterest 2

Goodreads

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

ONLY ONE WOMAN

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.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP

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: 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00I3GJ2Y8

 

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
THANKS  ALL OUR REVIEWERS AND THOSE READING AND LEAVING COMMENTS. MUCH APPRECIATED.
 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. 

https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella

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

https://www.youtube.com/user/AccentPress/playlists?view=1&view_as=subscriber&shelf_id=0&sort=dd

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

UK: http://amzn.to/2x1UIdr

Epub: £1.99

Paperback £7.99

 USA $2.57

https://www.amazon.com/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP

 Australia $3.99:

https://www.amazon.com.au/d/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/B075D88JBP

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.

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THE DETRIMENT: A compelling detective thriller based on tr…

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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
newspapers.

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.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/christina.jones.1677

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

Amazon

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

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

THE BLURB:

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.

Oracle.

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.

Links

The First:

https://amzn.com/B01DYF7I6G

http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01DYF7I6G

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01DYF7I6G

Oracle’s Hunt:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711FCV2M/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0711FCV2M/

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0711FCV2M/

And all rest of the Amazon bookstores

Website:

www.authorandsister.net

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/annaclaire.everward

Twitter

https://www.twitter.com/ClaireEverward

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/AuthorandSister

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/AClaire_Everward

 

 

 

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: http://suecoletta.com 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.

60 WAYS TO MURDER YOUR CHARACTERS

CRIME WRITER’S RESEARCH

 

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.

http://amzn.to/2x1UIdr

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.

https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella/

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

https://www.youtube.com/user/AccentPress/playlists?view=1&view_as=subscriber&shelf_id=0&sort=dd

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:

https://edenisebillups.com/

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

http://www.visitbuxton.co.uk

http://www.tripadvisor.com

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:

Imackenzie@buxtoncrescent.com

http://www.buxtoncrescent.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Hermes – RuthAS (Talk/Contribs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for nicosia airport 1953

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

Image result for bahrain airport 1953

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

                                         

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

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

Bangkok. Do I recall anything about Bangkok?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is called the co-witnessing effect.

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

This is called unconscious transference.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do I have memories? Who knows.

Yet I was there.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

https://thewritersnewsletter.com/happy-birthday-writers-newsletter/

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

Summer Wanders Around Only One Woman and Other Stories

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

Hardwick Hall (c) Jane Risdon 2016

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

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

Hardwick Hall Part two: http://wp.me/p2dg55-34z

Hardwick Hall Part one: http://wp.me/p2dg55-3cA

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

 Edit Hell

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

Only One Woman.

(not a crime story for a change)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://wp.me/P2dg55-37l

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

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

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

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

Then along comes Only One Woman again…

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

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

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

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

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christina-Jones/e/B001K8U57Y

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

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

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

         

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

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

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

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016  

Published by Plaisted Publishing,

nominated for the Metamorph Summer Indie Book Awards 2017

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in which I have a short story,  

The Beneficiaries of Secret Cottage.

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

 Metamorph Publishing Summer Indie Book Awards 2017.

The other being:

Cons, Dames and G-Men

You can read about it here:

http://wp.me/p2dg55-3bw

And you can read about

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016

http://wp.me/p2dg55-2Dz

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You can download Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016,

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

The eBook  is FREE and will be available world-wide 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1125012369?ean=2940153508849

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ghostly-writes-anthology-2016/id1169859655?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/ghostly-writes-anthology-2016

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/53129dd2-5565-4fd7-b431-472696191264

https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=1730315

https://plaistedpublishinghouse.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/haunting-you-this-hallows-eve/

And many other book sites.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Click here to read all about the inspiration behind my story and for details about the other authors and their stories:   http://wp.me/p2dg55-2C2

 

 

 

You can download the anthology free from here:

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https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/725443

also available elsewhere including Amazon

http://amzn.to/2s7UqRZ

http://a.co/afLi4Sx

http://amzn.eu/0vwtRri

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/con-s-dames-and-g-men-anthology-2017

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

We love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

Welcome Karen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“A feel-good summer escape.” Mandy Baggot

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

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

But does Reece have ulterior motives?

Will Ellie’s efforts be for nothing?

You discover more about Karen here:

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Karen King Young Adult Books Facebook Page

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenkingauthor/?hl=en

You can purchase her books here:

Amazon

Waterstones

W.H.Smiths

Thank you for hosting me!

You are most welcome Karen.

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

Here are the blog tour dates for Karen:

Karen has kindly provided this excerpt from

The Cornish Hotel by the Sea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The door started to open.

She’d better get out of here. Fast.

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

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

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

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

You are in for a treat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Right, now the Q&A:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roger A Price

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

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

PSNI: Police Service of Northern Ireland for those wondering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now to the good stuff – ABOUT ROGER:

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

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

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

Roger A Price Detective

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

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

PATH TO PUBLICATION

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

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

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

THE GOOD NEWS:

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

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

And you can use these links too:

AMAZON UK: http://goo.gl/dMxw09

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

AMAZON UK: http://goo.gl/hAKR3A

THE NEW BADGE AND THE PEN SERIES

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

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

AMAZON UK: http://goo.gl/CUjwAv

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

AMAZON UK: http://goo.gl/CUjwAv

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

AMAZON UK: myBook.to/Thrillers

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

Please stay in touch via the usual ways, my various links are at the bottom. You can also join my mailing list if you wish via my Blog at: https://goo.gl/7nrI44 and receive a free short story. I’ll then send you the occasional newsletter and include further giveaways and promos too.

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

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

Kindest regards,

Roger.

My Links: FB: www.facebook.com/CrimethillersbyRogerAPrice/videos/1223748534312903/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RAPriceAuthor

Website: www.rogerapriceauthor.com

Blog: http://rogerapriceauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

INTERNATIONAL AMAZON BUYING LINKS FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD

NEMESIS: myBook.to/myThrillers   VENGEANCE: myBook.to/Thrillers

FREE TO  READ SHORT STORY

Hard Time

© Roger A Price 2016

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

First published 2016 by Roger A. Price.

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Now look here—’ Small started.

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

     ‘About what?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘But of course, fifteen minute checks.’

     ‘Where is Crayton?’

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

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

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

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

     ‘What will it say?’

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

     Small just nodded.

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

     Small nodded again.

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

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

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

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

     ‘Worse,’ Small replied.

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

     ‘Both scum.’

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

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

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

     ‘What?’ Small snapped.

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

     ‘You Mr Small?’

     ‘Yes, why?’

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

     Small nodded.

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

     Worthing, that name rang a bell, Small thought.

     ‘You’ve forgotten him already?’ the driver said.

     Small didn’t answer.

     ‘I know what goes on in there, I have ears on the inside,’ the driver said, as he pulled a flick knife out of his hoodie pocket, and then made the blade spring out of its handle. Now Small was really scared.

     ‘The way you protect the likes of Crayton and his like has to stop. And Worthing gets moved to a local open prison, not some shithole the other side of the country.’

     Small knew who Worthing was now, and he was pretty sure the driver was his brother Ben; the one he’d put the phone down on earlier. He was about to say “I know who you are, and you’ll not get away with this” but for once common sense silenced his loose mouth. He just nodded.

     ‘If not I’ll pay you another visit and next time you won’t be so lucky’, the driver said as he produced a Taser from his other pocket and held it in his free hand. It was obviously what he had used on him earlier, but it wasn’t gun shaped and yellow like the ones the cops had, more like a black torch. He stood facing him, a knife in one hand, and the Taser in the other.

     Then the driver lunged at him, and in that split second he couldn’t be sure which hand was flashing its way towards his chest. The van was immediately behind him giving him nowhere to go. Not that it would matter, the driver was too fast.

 

The End.

This short story tells its own tale but it is also a prologue to ‘NEMESIS’ my new crime thriller which is out now in paperback and as an e-book. I hope you are tempted to try it, kind regards, Roger.  

NEMESIS – BACK OF BOOK BLURB.

The body count is rising…
When psychopath Daniel Moxley makes his escape while being escorted to Broadmoor high security prison, he sets off on a trail of bloody revenge, leaving police forces throughout the north of England floundering in his wake. Moxley’s paranoia has him seemingly selecting victims at random. The only thing they have in common is the gruesome nature of their killings. Police, prison warders and even old ladies have been the target of Moxley’s cold-blooded murder spree.

When Detective Inspector Vinnie Palmer is assigned to the case, Moxley decides that he too must die, but not before he has led him from one blood-soaked scene to another. Among his victims is Vinnie’s offsider, Detective Constable Rob Hill, who he discovers has his own dark and destructive secret that rips Vinnie’s life apart.

With the help of Moxley’s psychiatrist, Vinnie delves deep into the man’s criminal past and uncovers a history of corrupt police, sexual coercion and gaol brutality. But when Vinnie closes in on Moxley and takes the law into his own hands, he ends up suspended and stripped of his police powers. Determined not to let Moxley escape justice, Vinnie continues his pursuit of the maniac as a private citizen. He teams up with determined television reporter Christine Jones and together they pursue Moxley north to Scotland and back again.

But the killer always seems to be one step ahead, leaving a trail mutilated bodies in his wake. Lured on by Moxley’s taunts, Vinnie discovers that it is his own wife – a fellow police worker – who has been an unwitting aid in Moxley’s deadly deeds. As a result, his suspension is lifted in time for him and Christine to gain full police support and finally confront Moxley in a terrifying final encounter.

But is it too late?

Available now on Amazon UK: http://goo.gl/CUjwAv and US: http://goo.gl/wkLSMz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maggie Tideswell: my Guest Author writes Paranormal Romance

Maggie Tideswell

Maggie Tideswell is my Guest Author this week

I like to mix it up a bit and not always stick to authors of crime.

So please welcome Maggie Tideswell – author of Paranormal Romance.

To begin here is some information about her and her writing:

Maggie lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with hubby Gareth. Over the years she’s worked in everything from nursing to catering, and then she started writing love stories. With three kids, a girl and two boys, and eleven cats at that time, life could become quite interesting.

The paranormal, things that happen for which there are no logical explanations and ghosts, are of particular interest to Maggie. What events in a person’s life would prevent that person from ‘resting’ after death? The ‘Old Religion’ is another special interest.

And love, of course. Why do people fall in love? What keeps them together for a lifetime when so many relationships fail?

Roxanne’s Ghost Saga, a new mystery series from internationally acclaimed author Maggie Tideswell, is set against the stunningly beautiful backdrop of modern-day South Africa. It is a compelling ghost story of identical twin sisters’ love for the same man, and the magical connection the women share.

And the theme?  Nothing is what it seems.

Here, we move into the realms of the mists of time that could either reveal or conceal.

Goodbye My Love

Book 1, Goodbye, My Love, sets the scene. It introduces country vet, Ben, his four-year-old autistic daughter and the would-be nanny, Jessica James. Jess’ interview with Ben for the nanny position takes place on Friday the 13th. An attraction between the two is immediate, which by all accounts isn’t entirely normal.

Ben’s three oddball sisters-in-law descend on him for the anniversary of his wife Roxanne’s death. They try to convince Ben that Roxanne isn’t dead, more than likely to put an end to whatever might develop between Ben and Jessica. But Ben knows that no one could have survived what led to Roxanne’s death.

His daughter, diagnosed as autistic, only sometimes does she display the symptoms that led to her diagnosis. Autism is not a disease, it’s a condition. A condition with symptoms that can’t be turned on and off at will. So…what is the child really suffering from?

Ben’s wife’s twin sister, Millicent, is accompanied by an over-board caricature of a psychic to Ben’s home in order to help them find Roxanne. Of course, Millicent isn’t happy to find Jess already in Ben’s house—trouble is imminent. But only as far as Ben’s ancient housekeeper, will allow her to. What does the housekeeper know that will keep Millicent’s ruffled feathers under control?

More importantly…

Where is Roxanne?

Here’s a taster:

Does anyone live here?

The house looked deserted, kind of spooky. Jess couldn’t see any other houses nearby. Sally had not been kidding—this was a rather isolated place.

Dilapidated outbuildings behind the sprawling house looked as unused as the house itself. Some sort of creeper covered most of the buildings except the house—it looked far too fragile to bear the added weight.

There were what looked like turrets on each end of the house, and a domed one in between. That might be a skylight. Jess worried her bottom lip. What century was this place built?

Lightning played over the majestic mountains behind the house, silhouetting it against the darkening sky, but down here in the valley, the late sun cast long shadows over the overgrown garden.

It all fit so well with Friday the thirteenth, because this was creepy. What had she been thinking? She should have postponed the interview until Monday. One weekend surely wouldn’t have made that much of a difference.

Jess studied the map on her tablet, which she held propped up against the steering wheel. This could be the right place, but she had thought that about both the previous two places, and neither had turned out to be Weltevreden. Neither had been as eerie as this place, either.

No, this couldn’t be it. Tapping her finger against the edge of the tablet, she studied the house again. This whole thing smacked of a Friday the thirteenth Sally-prank.

Sally, her bestie since high school, ran a very successful employment agency. The professional image notwithstanding, she still loved pranks of any kind—she would never outgrow them.

Her eyes had lit up that morning when Jess sat in front of her desk, mugs of coffee steaming on the polished wood between them. The platter of doughnuts had been for Jess’ benefit. Sally and her perpetual dieting.

“Something different,” Sally mused, tapping her pen against her front teeth, then pressed a button on her laptop, and reached for the sheet of paper the printer spewed out. “This might be just the thing. It came in just now.” She’d tossed her platinum curls over her shoulder, grinning at Jess.

Another thing Sally would never outgrow, her Barbie-doll looks.

“It has my name on it, then.” Jess leaned her forearms on Sally’s desk. “Tell me, tell me, tell me.” She grinned back, barely able to contain her excitement. “Does it involve a man?”

Neither Sally nor Jess had found their Mr. Full Potential yet, although both had been ready for wedded bliss, the kids and the house in the suburbs thing, a long time ago.

“As a matter of fact it does, but he doesn’t seem to be in the market. It says here that a nanny is required for a four-year-old autistic girl. Dr. Arnold specifically requested that only older women be put forward for the position.”

“How old-fashioned. Where is this job?”

“In the Wellington area.” Sally frowned at the monitor.

“There you go. He won’t find anybody qualified to work that far from Cape Town. It is his child, I presume?”

“It is, but do you seriously want to give this a go?” Sally looked worried as only she could. It went with the Barbie look.  “I’m intrigued. What kind of doctor is he?”

“A veterinary surgeon. And a widower, it says here. That is all the information I have for you, I’m afraid.” Sally sat back in her chair. “I shouldn’t disregard so specific an instruction, Jess, but just this once, I’ll make an exception. Then it’s up to you to change his mind for him. It’ll be in his own best interest in the end.” She passed an information sheet across the desk. “I’ll tell Dr. Arnold to expect you at four. I’d pack an overnight bag if I were you. Call me, okay?”

Now, sitting in front of the house that might or might not belong to Dr. Ben Arnold, Jess didn’t feel all that confident anymore. And it didn’t really sound like a prank, unless Sally had kept some information to herself.

There was only one way to find out, and that was to knock on the door and ask.

If there was anybody in the house to ask.

Switching the engine off, she consulted the rear-view mirror to apply some color to her lips and pat her shoulder length bob into place. She took a moment to admire the rich auburn color in the late afternoon sunshine and sighed.

I don’t know about this. It was a long way from Cape Town.

What did people do around here for fun?

Trying her best to ignore the goose bumps on her forearms, she opened the car door and stepped out. Her heels sank into the gravel, her shadow stretching all the way back to the gate.

Only when she turned toward the house did she see the man sitting on the top step in the shadows, his shoulder against the railing, one knee pulled up with his arm resting on top of it. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, and it looked as if his feet were bare, too.

Was he there a moment ago? Why didn’t I see him?

Smoothing her palms down her red pencil skirt, she started toward the house and the man on the steps. If he wasn’t Dr. Arnold, maybe he could give her directions.

Taking a deep breath, Jess reminded herself that she wasn’t superstitious about this Friday the thirteenth nonsense. People liked to scare themselves with the silliest things. What was supposed to happen on this day? It was a day like any other.

That certainly looked like a real man on the steps. He wasn’t going to bite her. Today being a Friday and the thirteenth meant nothing, but now that she’d thought of it, the idea would stick with her like the taste of garlic.

Leaving the car door open for a quick escape should she need it, she’d gone no more than a few steps when she heard something other than the crunch of her shoes on the gravel. It sounded suspiciously like a dog whining.

She slowly turned her head, curling her fingers into the fabric of her skirt. It couldn’t be a dog. She hadn’t seen any dogs when she drove through the gate.

I don’t do dogs!

Her breath hitched in her throat when she saw them. They were right next to her car, beside the door she’d deliberately left open, a whole pack of them. Their lips curled away from their teeth, their tongues lolling out the sides of their mouths, dripping saliva onto the gravel. Yellowish eyes watched every move she made.

Where did they come from?

How many were there?

They cut her off from the safety of the Fiesta!

Now she had only one way to go—into that house. Why hadn’t that man called them off? Why wasn’t he helping her?

Slowly, making no sudden moves, she took another step toward the porch. The dogs followed her. Her heart hammered against her ribs. Another couple of quick steps toward the house. The dogs did the same. She broke into a trot, her scream shattered the still of the afternoon.

Missing the first step, she stumbled, recovered her balance, and took the rest of the stairs two at a time. The dogs were on her heels, whining and yelping, their breaths hot on the backs of her legs.

http://buff.ly/2rDx2w3

Thanks so much for being my guest this week Maggie. I wish you much success.

You can find out about Maggie and her books here:

http://tinyurl.com/oj9slgkhttp://

http://tinyurl.com/n2ko8u4

http://maggietideswell.blogspot.co.za/http://

My Golden Age story Cue Murder is FREE to read in A Stab in the Dark: Cons, Dames and G-Men

Lupe Velez

Lupe Velez

It started like any other day. The early morning studio call came far too early, as it always did, and as Maxwell Murphy walked across the lot to Stage 58 in the cool crisp Hollywood air, the heat of the sun still to reach his skin, he silently rehearsed the lines he’d learned the night before. He wasn’t the first to arrive, the grips had been there for an hour already and so had many others who worked on the technical side of movie making. Sleepy actors – those needed for the first takes, the effects of their various narcotics – barbiturates or booze, still clouding their eyes and their brains, wandered in and made straight for the coffee and smokes.

But it wasn’t like any other day. Maxwell knew there would never be a day like any other day ever again, as he recalled what changed an ordinary days filming into an unforgettable day; a day when part of him died…

A Stab in the Dark: Cons, Dames and G-Men FREE to read

*****

It’s always exciting to be asked to take part in an Anthology 

I love reading and writing short stories and any excuse to pen one, I am there.

And, if it has anything remotely to do with Crime, well, try to stop me.

I must say writing a crime story this time has proved a  bit of a challenge as it had to be set in the 1930/1940’s with a nod to the Golden Age of Detection; an era I love reading about but have never tried to write….until now.

The anthology is the brain child of author Adam Mitchell and features the short stories of 7  authors.

Image may contain: text

It will also be FREE to readers as from today on Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/725443

also available elsewhere including Amazon

http://amzn.to/2s7UqRZ

http://a.co/afLi4Sx

http://amzn.eu/0vwtRri

and Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/con-s-dames-and-g-men-anthology-2017

 

Barnaby Rogers PI and the Case of the Singing Canary: Cue Murder

Hollwoodland

Hollywoodland

Adam Mitchell’s anthology is called ‘A Stab in the Dark: Cons, Dames and G Men.’

I’ve called my story ‘Cue Murder.’

 I have set it in the late 1930’s in Hollywood – anyone who knows me cannot have failed to know that I love that era…the movies, the fashions and the music for starters.

Hollywood Boulevard 1930's

Hollywood Boulevard 1930’s

 Researching the dialogue, the street names – some of which have changed with time, and the restaurants and bars which were there during that era, has been sheer heaven, and researching the Movie studios and the lives of the stars has been so exciting.

Greenblatt’s Deli is somewhere I’ve spent many happy times enjoying their food when I’ve been in Hollywood, and it was there in the 1930’s and features in my story too.

Greenblatt's Deli in the 1930's. Unkown Copyright.

Greenblatt’s Deli in the 1930’s.

This has been such an enjoyable experience.

My story is about a young movie star called Allis Blondell who is found dead in her bungalow on the lot of the movie in which she is co-starring with Maxwell Murphy, who plays Barnaby Rogers, PI.

The movie is called Barnaby Rogers PI: The Case of the Singing Canary.

Some years ago when researching family history (on my husband’s side) I’d touched on Hollywood in the 1930’s when looking into the life of an aunt of his, the actress Elizabeth Risdon.

Elizabeth Risdon 1918

Elizabeth Risdon 1918

Elizabeth Risdon

Elizabeth Risdon

She was born in England in 1887 and was a star of the stage before heading for the movies in America.

A Broadway actress she ventured into the Silent movies.

She starred in 1913 in Maria Marten, the Mystery of the Red Barn, and was one of the few Silent Era actresses who successfully made the move into ‘talkies,’ which many stars failed to do.

I  can’t help thinking about the movie ‘Singing in the Rain,’ and the story of the silent movie actress in that – fiction but reflecting what happened during the exciting days of ‘talkies.’.

Elizabeth Risdon had over 140 movies under her belt by the time she died in Santa Monica in 1958.

Some of the other movies she starred in – for those who are curious:

1939 – The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn (Widow Douglas) with Mickey Rooney.