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2 years young today – My blog is a toddler still, but growing fast.

February 12, 2014
Desk with a view (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Desk with a view (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Two years ago today I took a momentous step – well for me that is.  I decided to write a blog.  I’d been toying with the idea for some while and suddenly decided to go for it.

All very well, but what on earth did I think I could write about which might be of any interest to any one else I wondered as I gazed at the blank screen, all set up and ready for a world-shattering something or other.

It is one thing to get the urge to do it and mull over ideas, I found, but when faced with the actuality of it I froze.  Lost for words.  Those who know me would laugh at that I know.  Jane, unable to think of anything to talk about – unthinkable.

All the blogs I had visited had impressed me with their intelligent comment and topics of discussion, their content and the quality of their followers.  Ye Gods!  What on earth was I letting myself in for I asked myself staring at the blank screen.  Who would even find me, let alone read or follow me – where do these followers come from?  Why would they visit or comment?

Setting the page up was fun, it stopped me worrying about content for a while. 

Then I had a good think about what attracted me to a blog.  Coming from a background in music and all that goes with it – PR and marketing and experience in what sells and why (well in theory), got me thinking hard about the image I wanted to create

Simple is what I decided.

Authors of Romance tended to go for Pinks and bright colours it seemed, and whilst it is eye-catching I didn’t feel comfortable doing a ‘bling thing,’ and as I am interested in Crime and Mysteries and all that goes with it I was tempted to go for the other end of the spectrum; the blood and guts end.  Then I thought how off-putting that would be.  It is to me.

Fantasy and Young Adult writers go for a more surreal (in my humble opinion) appeal and that wasn’t going to be my thing either.  I am not into cartoons and creepy graphics.

  Nope, I wasn’t comfortable with that.

I managed to find a photograph of a tree I had taken one day when out walking; anyone visiting here often knows how I love to walk.  That tree would be my banner.  I fiddled around and managed to get it in place.  Step one achieved.

Tree which became my banner header. (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Tree which became my banner header. (c) Jane Risdon 2012

I love nature and trees and the link between trees and paper hit me; I would use a tree.  The bark of a tree to be precise. 

My blog would be about my writing and things that interested me and I hoped that other like-minded people would pop in and take a look around at my posts, and read my stories, and look at my photos, and generally enjoy their time with me here.  So content was decided.

I’d already had a  Facebook author page some time and I was finding it a lot of fun. Through it I found lots of like-minded people; authors and readers and those who loved nature and photography, history and music, and so I hoped they would come and take a look at my blog and come back again and again and help me create a little family here.  My long-term vision was so limited.  I really thought I’d be lucky to have a handful of visitors – ever!

I checked today and I have somewhere in the region of 1,000 followers here.  I am astounded that so many people pop in and out to see what I have got to waffle about.

I am so humbled by the fact that a busy writer, a reader of books by famous authors, a blogger, or a passing visitor would want to drop in here and have a look around. And I am even more astounded that they like what they see. 

I’ve had some wonderful comments about my stories and pod-casts, and some really fabulous exchanges with people, which I love;  discussions about something I’ve posted with a lot of spin-off conversations.  I’ve enjoyed some really funny exchanges and some incredibly sad ones too.

I’ve met some fantastic people, so interesting and creative and so kind and helpful and inspirational during my two years here.

 Checking upon my first post I see it was a Welcome post which I guess we all do when starting out; an introduction.   That took some thought but I think it still works.

Whitney Houston  sadly died soon after I started here, and I found myself writing about working with songwriters and producers who had helped create her wonderful music and gave her so many hits.

I moved home and I found there was lots to write about.  Discovering my new surroundings, finding new places to walk and photograph and places to inspire my stories.

Ideas take form (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Ideas take form (c) Jane Risdon 2012

Starting my first  novel – ‘Ms Birdsong Investigates’ – has been an amazing experience for me and the encouragement I have received has been second to none. 

My short stories and flash fiction publications led to me writing two short stories for a charity anthology, ‘Telling Tales.’  In aid of The Norfolk Hospice, the book was a wonderful opportunity for me. 

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

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

My first time published as an author if you like.  I’d written music articles in the past, and worked on biographies and press releases for Musicians and Singers but never anything which was for me.

This hardback/paperback book is now out of print.

Fellow author and blogger Morgen Bailey has been a fantastic and valued support for me.  She has given me the opportunity to reach a wider audience through her blog;  Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog, and via her Pod-casts of my work.  I shall forever be grateful to her.  She is an inspiration.

http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/

Christina Jones, an old, old, mate who is such a laugh and such a talented author, nudged and encouraged me to write.  Without her there would not be any blogging or short stories or a ‘Ms Birdsong Investigates.’   I cannot thank her enough for making me open my eyes.

The Vale of the White Horse - Lavinia Birdsong's new home

The Vale of the White Horse – Lavinia Birdsong’s new home

Christina has a blog ‘Bucolic Frolics,’ and has written about 30 books to my knowledge during a successful and award-winning career.  She is on Facebook too if you want to check her out.

Her main website is:

http://www.christinajones.co.uk/

Chrissie kindly put up with my early attempts at writing.  She says I made her laugh and that my characters were ‘real,’ and the stories entertaining.  Not all of them were crime-related but she enjoyed reading whatever I threw at her. 

‘Ms Birdsong Investigates’ should be seeing the light of day this year I hope.

‘God’s Waiting Room,’ and ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,’ both of which are still Works in Progress. 

My Music Industry novel, which again is a Work in Progress –  is not going to be complete for some time to come, but  our (Chrissie and I) have a co-authored novel – another Work in Progress – due out this year we both hope.  I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be writing with her.  It is a such a blast!

Following ‘Telling Tales’  I was thrilled to be included in ‘I Am Woman, volume One,’ in aid of Breakthrough, Women for Women and Women’s Aid charities.  I had two stories included.  Victoria Watson enabled me to be included in this anthology.

I Am Woman Volume 1 Anthology

I Am Woman Volume 1 Anthology featuring my short story The Look

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Woman-Anthology-Anthologies-ebook/dp/B00817P8DI

Many other authors and bloggers have been  inspirational and valued supports to me and I thank each and every one of them.  I have enjoyed being Guest Blogger on so many blogs – something I would never have imagined myself doing two years ago.  Thanks so much to all those who have hosted me and have been such fab friends here.

Especially Margot Kinsberg who is thankfully (it seems) ever-present, and always welcome with her comments on my posts and stories. She is a mine of interesting and intelligent information and knowledge.  I am honoured to have her follow me and if you ever get the chance do read her blog ‘Confessions of a Mystery Writer,’ – packed full of wonderful articles about Crime and Crime Writers. 

Margot is also the author of a series of books featuring her sleuth Joel Williams. 

http://margotkinberg.wordpress.com/

I was over the moon last year to be included in her tribute to her great friend, editor, author and blogger, Maxine Clarke, who passed away over a year ago.   Margot compiled a Crime anthology with Crime and Mystery authors from around the world, called ‘In A Word: Murder,’ and I was, and still am, so excited to have two stories included in the book which is in aid of The Princess Alice Hospice, Esher, Surrey.

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

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

US Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/In-Word-Murder-An-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00GFXNZYE/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1383674275&sr=8-8&keywords=in+a+word%3A+murder

UK Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/In-Word-Murder-An-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00GFXNZYE/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1383674321&sr=8-12&keywords=In+word+Murder

The Princess Alice Hospice:   http://www.pah.org.uk/

Without this blog I would never have met Morgen or Margot.

What a loss that would have been for me.

Without this blog I would never have known any of you reading this now.

What a loss that would have been for me.

Each and every one of you has made my life so rich and interesting and full of fun.  I have learned so much from every person I have ‘chatted,’ with here.  It has been the best experience.

Two years ago I’d never ‘met,’ any of you or read any of your books or blogs.  I was starting out with a blank screen; I was full of trepidation and wonder.

Today, the screen is filled – some may prefer it to be left blank – and I am able to chat to friends from around the world about all sort of subjects.  We share experiences, knowledge, information and things which get us all of a quiver.  We share books and authors we like and enjoy and we natter.

Oh boy! Can we natter.

So thanks for sharing my blog’s 2nd birthday with me today. 

I look forward to sharing many more with you and to visiting you over on your blogs soon.

Thanks so much for encouraging me to fill this blank space.

I blame you!

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30 Comments
  1. Hi Jane,
    My blog is three years old and I’ve got 180 posts on it. I really enjoy getting my short stories, 400 to 600 words, out there. I am going to check out that anthology. I just joined the U3A in Kettering. I am in a Writers Critique Group. Where I read out my work and get feedback and I offer feedback to others. Your blog is interesting.
    Your Friend,
    Writer Dave

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    • Sounds good fun Dave. I can’t say I’ve joined any writer groups which have been that good, apart from chatting. I go it alone. Good luck with them, let me know how it goes. Good that you are getting short stories out there. They are fun to do and a break from writing the longer novels I find. I’ve no idea how many posts I’ve done, many I think but of late time has been an issue for me. I think by the end of the year I shall hopefully be back to some sort of order. I enjoy your short stories a lot, usually funny. Happy birthday to you and your blog. It is a feat worth celebrating. 🙂

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  2. supernova1c permalink

    Very well done Jane! You have overcome a lot and fought your way back admirably, you can be proud!
    Just so you know you are not alone, I too have so much to say but cannot think constructively when I come to write about it, it’s a trial sometimes and no mistake. It’s probably because we feel so strongly about the importance of ‘getting things right’. Maybe that’s the best way in the end but I just wish it would come easier sometimes.
    You are doing a great job in my book Jane!
    My best regards to you Jane, have a great rest of the week 😉 James.

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    • How sweet James, thanks so much for popping in again. Always welcome and appreciated. I know I just wish I could type faster or clone myself! Mind you my husband has his hands full as it is without two of me poor chap! I’ve been enjoying the re-runs of Time Team, really miss it. I shall have to call in to you more often; James Team! Hoping you are well and things not too wet where you are. Take care and keep in touch, love hearing from you 🙂

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  3. congratulations!! make more!

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  4. Happy second blog birthday Jane. It’s a pleasure to be part of your ‘circle’ that pops in and out. I wish you a great year in blogging and health.
    Cheers
    Laurie.

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  5. Two already? Happy Birthday! When you line all your acheivements up like that, Jane, it’s pretty impressive. Congratulations and blog on!

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    • Thanks so much Jane, coming from you I take that a s huge compliment. It all takes time and effort and you know – your own blog is so informative and interesting and I could spend all day there if I didn’t smack my wrist and move on. Blog on to you too. 🙂

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      • Ha ha! If I never sell any books, at least I can say I built a pretty blog. 🙂

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        • LOL ain’t that a fact! Marketing is the key and it takes time and effort and money but building a ‘fan-base’ is still worth it – it will pay off in the end. Fingers crossed for you 🙂

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  6. Happy Blog Birthday, Jane – so glad you took that plunge so that we could share in your world 🙂

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    • Susan, how kind and I am happy too. The new anthology is going into Paperback today and will be helping the Hospice even more. I love catching up with you and everyone here too. 🙂

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  7. Happy Birthday, Little Blog! And many happy returns!

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    • How lovely, Little Blog – I love it. Thanks so much and thanks for the greeting and for being here. Lovely to see you 🙂

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      • Hope the recovery is going well? Feeling better?

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        • I didn’t have the operation in the end as my shoulder etc too unstable and could result in nerve damage so waiting for a few months and then they will decide what to do. I got as far as the theatre and then it was called off last minute. Still in pain and still lacking in mobility but life has to go on. Thanks for asking, appreciated 🙂 How are you?

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          • Doing well, fighting the sniffles, and having a lovely valentine’s day. Hope cupid brings you chocolate and a respite from the ouchies… fingers crossed that the docs will sort it out.

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            • Ah thanks so much, really sweet of you. I am more of a liquorice lover than a chocolate lover but either would be welcome. It is my hubby’s birthday today so I try to ensure that it is HIS day rather than just ours. 🙂 Get better soon and have a fun day. Sending virtual Kleenex. 🙂

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  8. Happy blog birthday, Jane. You have crammed these two years full of accomplishment. Way to go, music writer!

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    • Thanks so much, yep lots has happened. Music writer indeed….one day eh! Great to see you today, thanks so much. Be over to you soon. 🙂

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      • Cool, Jane, on this snowy day in Syracuse.

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        • We have some snow in GB but mainly floods. Noah has forgotten to send the Ark. As an Island we are sinking slowly into the Atlantic and the North Sea I think….keep warm and safe. I am in danger of getting webbed feet and miss LA just now. 🙂

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