Today I’m welcoming a fellow Accent author to my site- the lovely Jane Risdon.
Over to you Jane…
Hello Jenny and everyone, thanks so much for this opportunity to introduce myself and to chat about my writing and blogging with you. I really appreciate it and I hope you will find something here of interest which might lead you to delve into my work a little further.
A little about myself for those of you who have not already made my acquaintance. I came to writing a little later than I had wished. I’ve always wanted to write, but you know how it is, life gets in the way.
When I was young – still at school – I met a young rock musician whose band came to live next door whilst they were in England touring; it was love at first sight but I was due to go overseas and so it was four years later, and a lot of trips back and forth to England to visit him, before we got together long enough to get married. By this time I had a career in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London – I got a posting from Germany where I was working with the Ministry of Defence, to be near him eventually — so at least we got to spend some time together in the same country, and town, and sometimes even the same building now and again. Though we did share a house with some of his band in the early days. If you have a vivid imagination, let it wander….you won’t be far off the truth. My dreams of writing were put on hold. Someone had to have a regular income.
Later we ventured into the Music Business on the other side of the desk, and went into Artist Management, Production and Publishing. We managed Recording Artists, Song Writers, Record Producers, and Actors, for our sins, and we worked, travelled, and lived all over the world but mainly in Singapore, America, and Europe. So you can imagine touring with rock bands and spending months on the road, then months in recording studios trying to babysit a bunch of eighteen years olds, isn’t really conducive to writing, or anything else for that matter. Life as I knew it went flying past as I spent my time working hard to create and sustain success for our artists. Writing? Well, that was something I’d get round to one day.
I guess one of the good things to come out of my life experience working in the FCO and various other government-related jobs and within the International Music Business, is a wealth of stories. Stories about life on the road, and stories inspired by my time working within the corridors of Whitehall and stories about life in Hollywood living and working with the movers and shakers in the Movie and Music Industry. We worked with some of the most iconic people in those businesses and yes, I admit it, Pamela Anderson kissed my cheek and everyone told me not to wash for a week, and working on Baywatch was a blast; the guys liked it anyway. David Cassidy was a babe, Alice Cooper was a real gent, Gloria Estefan a star, Weird Al was a laugh, and working with the guys from Queen, was, well, an experience! Just name dropping a few to get you in the mood.
Having survived earthquakes, tornadoes, race riots in LA, fires, floods and mudslides, I am waiting for the plague of locusts, knowing my luck they are sure to come. So I knew that there was something out there, keeping me alive, so I could write.
I’ve always been an avid reader of Crime, Thrillers, Mysteries, and Espionage, so it is little wonder that when I eventually got the chance to have some time to myself, I found myself writing Crime stories, sometimes with an Espionage edge, and often with a musical theme as well. Write about what you know, right?
If it hadn’t been for an old friend, someone who is now a very successful writer in her own lunch-time, I might never have had the courage to go naked with my work. She was originally my husband’s Fan Club secretary – well, the group’s – and she was also a rock and pop journalist working on music magazines, interviewing rock stars, and writing for Jackie and Romeo and the like as well. Later she wrote books which became a huge hit with fans of romance and comedy, and she still is.
We got chatting about my stories and she was kind enough to read a load of them, and she loved them, some made her laugh, others made her cry and some made her nostalgic for the good old days of Rock n’ Roll. The cool thing is she encouraged me to carry on, and because of her I am now writing full time.
I started off with online publications in writing blogs which went down well with readers, so I even ventured into Flash Fiction which I must say I really love. Anyway, eventually some of my short stories were Pod-cast and soon people were asking me to write stories for anthologies in aid of various Charities. They were published in print and e-book formats and were well received. I was chuffed to bits. I have written for a couple of online magazines too. In the past the only magazines I’d written for were Music related.
You can find some of my Short Stories and Flash Fiction with Pod-casts, over on Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog:
http://wp.me/p18Ztn-4ID Follow this and you’ll find links to my other work or just type Jane Risdon into Morgen’s search bar and lots of my work will pop up.
I don’t want you to think I just write short stories; I don’t, but more about that a little later if you haven’t dropped off and gone into a coma.
Blogging came to my attention and so I thought I’d have a bash at it as a means of reaching potential readers and also because I love writing. I get to write about anything I want and I do. I love photography so I try and add a few photos taken when I’ve been out walking, or visiting places. Last time I looked over 2,000 people were following me on WordPress. Get a load of that!
My WordPress Author Page is at: http://wp.me/2dg55
I also have a Facebook Author Page where the numbers are creeping up to 1,500, so I think I am doing something right.
My Facebook Author Page is at: www.facebook.com/JaneRisdon2
Through my blog I got to know another crime writer who is also an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing in the USA. She has been a wonderful support to me which I appreciate so much. In 2013 she asked me to contribute two crime stories to her anthology In A Word: Murder, which had to be set in the world of publishing.
In A word: Murder is in print and e-book – UK/USA links:
Various award winning authors were contributing as well, so you can imagine the trepidation I felt putting my work alongside theirs.
To cut a long story short – I can hear the huge sigh of relief – my stories were well received. Dreamer – about a London based rock band in 1989 about to hit the big time when the big money was about to roll in, with a super-star American manager wanting to sign them, who wrote what suddenly becomes an issue, leading to murder. (Extract below!)
Hollywood Cover Up – about an English girl working as a PA to a big Hollywood mover and shaker who witnesses something at an Industry bash involving a Presidential candidate, and is fired from her job. Unable to find work she decides to write a novel based on her experiences, and soon she and her publisher are in mortal danger, not just from the Politician and the Hollywood elite, but from the Secret Service too, all wanting to prevent the publication of her book.
My work came to the attention of various publishers in 2014 and after a lot of thought and consideration I am now published by Accent Press Ltd. My first outing with them was in their Halloween Anthology, Shiver.
Shiver – links: http://t.co/qw98OdKs9C
Shiver on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUofhdwu8JE
My story ‘The Haunting of Anne Chambers,’ has been really well received with some fab comments on Amazon which has cheered me no end. This was my first real attempt at a Ghost Story and I set it in Cornwall where I’ve worked over many years with some of my artists. It’s about Pirates (privateers) Anne and Andrew who are lovers. They’re planning to run away together to a new life after one last raid. But when Anne is knocked out cold, she comes round to find that the world has changed disturbingly.
Wishing on a Star followed Christmas 2014 with my short story, ‘Merry Christmas Everybody,’ included.
Wishing on A Star – links: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wishing-Star-seasonal-collection-stories-ebook/dp/B00PQL5H3I/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416250379&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=Wishing+on+a+Star+by+Accent+Press+Ltd
This story is based on true events with names etc., changed to preserve the dignity of those involved. There are tensions in the studio when Twister record their new album. The band members are at each other’s throats and someone is messing up their recordings. The band blames their producer, but it soon becomes clear that someone unexpected is trying to get a message of festive goodwill through to them….
If you haven’t dropped into a coma I shall add some further detail here about the full length books I am writing. As I said before I write mainly Crime/Mystery stories, although I have ventured into other genres from time to time. For the last couple of years I’ve been working on a number of projects, all in various stages of completion. I know, I know, I get it. I see many other authors publishing one, two, three books a year and here I am plodding along year after year without a full length book published. I’d hoped to have completed all my projects early last year but a fall down the stairs, Christmas 2012, put paid to that. I’ve been unable to spend too long writing as a result of breaking my shoulder and collar bones in a peculiar way. My consultant, a professor who is also an Army Colonel, says he’s never seen injuries like it on a lady of any age, and usually only on soldiers in combat or young lads coming off their Harley’s after doing the ton. When I do something, I do it well. Hence things are a little slower than expected. And following my operation saga, I am now having physiotherapy to get mobility and strength back in my left arm and shoulder.
Back to my main project. Ms Birdsong Investigates is a series I am working on. Lavinia Birdsong is a fortyish former MI5 Officer forced into ‘voluntary retirement,’ following a disastrous mission which included her now ex-lover and partner, on secondment from MI6. He got sent to Moscow and she ended up in The Vale of the White Horse, in the fictional village of Ampney Parva, where she is trying to keep a low profile, hiding from her enemies and her ex-lover, whilst also trying to make a life for herself. She can’t help herself, old habits die hard and soon she has her fellow villagers under surveillance, nothing heavy, just curiosity, causing her to keep notes on them and their activities. Lavinia soon finds herself investigating a missing woman. From the shifty playboy Solicitor to the Russian Oligarch in the early stages of Alzheimer’s; nothing is what is seems. Murder is afoot. Lavinia is in her element.
Ms Birdsong Investigates and a couple of other books I am working on in the series should, I hope, be finished later in the summer ready for publication, if my publisher likes the end product of course. You can find some information about my projects and writing, on my WordPress blog and of course the books I have been published in are available via Amazon. Sadly one book I contributed two stories towards, Telling Tales, in aid of charity, is no longer in print, but the other three are still on sale. Both books for Accent are available also. If you buy/read anything do please leave a comment on Amazon and my blog, I would really appreciate it and so would the other authors. I have an Author Page on Amazon with links to my work as well.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00I3GJ2Y8
I Guest Blog often and have been interviewed several times, and also written articles and you will find links on my Author page. I have a regular Guest Blogging spot on Creative Frontiers where I have 300 words, every fortnight, to come up with stories about my life and experiences in music. If you find yourself over there, do check them out and let me know what you think; they have a comments section.
Creative Frontiers: Parts 1: Snore Poison so I’ll remember it:
Creative Frontiers: Part 2: The Auditions: http://wp.me/p3YvQS-14Q
Creative Frontiers: I must have a criminal mind:
I’ve got a blog spot over on Chill with a Book:
Chill with a book, blog spot:
I have also contributed to the anthologies, Telling Tales Anthology by Writers for Welfare (http://www.lulu.com) and I Am Woman Anthology vol 1 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Am-Woman-Anthology-Anthologies-ebook/dp/B00817P8DI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427798013&sr=8-1&keywords=I+am+woman+volume+1)
Extract from my Short Story Dreamer published in In A Word: Murder.
(c) Jane Risdon 2013
No-one spoke, they couldn’t look him in the eye; instead they fidgeted and stared at the floor, the mixing desk, anywhere rather than register the hurt and shock on his face; anywhere other than confront the affect their duplicity had upon their now former band mate.
‘I formed this band, at school. I asked you to join me!’ Jake nearly choked, his throat tight and dry. He stared at his three best mates in the world, his band, disbelief all over his face.
‘Why?’ he almost sobbed, ‘What the hell’s going on?’ He held his Gibson to his chest as if it would comfort him, he never felt whole without it in his hands.
‘Nothing personal mate, you gotta believe that, we can still be mates.’ Bozz, pretty-boy lead singer, and last to join the band all those years ago tried to brighten his voice as if it would soften his words.
‘Nothing bloody personal, what is it then, eh? Tell me what’s not fuckin’ personal about being sacked from my own fuckin’ band?’ Jake’s voice broke and he turned away, fighting tears welling up.
‘They want someone more, well, you know, sexy.’ Rab said bashful all of a sudden. He carried on restringing his Warwick bass, determined not to see Jake’s hurt.
‘Sexy! Fuckin’ sexy? What the fuck?’ Jake couldn’t help yelling. ‘Don’t I pull enough is that it?’ He was outraged. ‘I get totty, more than plenty. What’s it gotta do with them or the friggin’ music anyway?’
‘The record company won’t sign us if you’re still in the band.’ Mickey twirled his sticks as he spoke. He was always the ambitious one and he was damned if he’d let personal allegiances get in the way of his chance to hit the big time. If the label wanted Jake to go, Jake had to go.
‘More of a showman sort of thing; the girls like that,’ whispered Bozz, ‘a proper axe-man.’
‘Won’t sign the band? Are you friggin nuts? I write the bloody songs.’ Jake towered over Mickey, the Gibson now resting against the SSL mixing desk, his fists at his sides, ready to strike. ‘Not enough of a …..? They saw the festival video; they loved it, that’s why they wanted us they said.’
‘They think you’re too static, you don’t move enough, and I think they’ve got a point,’ Mickey smirked, ‘you just ain’t sexy mate. As for pulling, well, you pull all right but you’re too scared to do anything about it, it doesn’t look good; you’re almost married, it’s not cool.’
‘I don’t fuckin’ pull…what about you then, eh Mickey? Who do you pull eh?’
Jake grabbed a nearby mic stand, swinging it at Mickey who ducked down in his seat just in time, ‘Hey, man, cool it!’
‘Seems they want us, Jake, not you,’ Rab looked up sheepishly, ‘and the video convinced them you don’t cut it live mate. They want a real axe-man, like Page or Townsend or Slash even…’
‘Yeah, sorry mate, after coming to all the gigs, that video did it,’ Bozz shrugged at his friend, glancing at the others, ‘they don’t think you’ve got it, we tried to change their minds, didn’t we?’
‘Right! I just bet you friggin’ did.’ Jake shook his long blonde curls and grabbed the mic stand again. ‘So what’s the deal then? Who’ve you got just happened to be waiting in the wings then, eh? Not that fucker from Dawn Treader?’ Jake stuck his face right into Mickey’s. ‘Yeah, that’s about right, that wanker’s always hanging around you isn’t he, Mickey – got well in has he?’
‘Cool it Jake.’ Their engineer/producer Bo Baldacci came into the studio, DAT copies of the final mixes for their label financed demo ready to hand over to the A&R manager at Gypsy Records. ‘Take that shit outside; I don’t want any aggro in here.’
‘So you’re some sort of bloody Freddie Mercury or Robert Plant, are you Bozz? That’s a friggin’ laugh! And don’t forget our ultra-sexy bass player, what a joke! Of course we’ve got Moonie on the drums, or is it John Bonham?’ Jake fumed.
‘If I’m out the band you can’t use my songs, so hand over all the mixes Bo, let them write their own fuckin’ songs, see how far they get then.’ Jake made a grab for the DATs and Mickey leapt up and smacked Jake in the face with his unopened can of Stella.
‘They’re not just your songs you pillock, we co-wrote them, you agreed; four-way splits on all the songs, so they’re not YOUR bleedin’ songs anymore!’ Mickey ducked as the mic stand headed his way again.
‘But Mickey, we never did…..’ Bozz didn’t finish as the mic stand whooshed over his head.
‘I’m taking them back; you’ll get nothing without them, nothing without me. I can prove they’re mine, you can’t.’
‘Cut it out!’ Bo shouted grabbing the mic stand as it narrowly missed his head as well. ‘Jake, haul your arse out of here, now!’
Jake held his face where Mickey had bashed him; eyes filled with hatred he grabbed his guitar case and placed his beloved Gibson inside. He took his book of lyrics off the desk and shoved it inside his back-pack. Bozz stared at the floor, totally gutted at what had just happened to his childhood mate. He really didn’t like this one bit. Rab shook his long brown hair, his face in his hands, seriously freaked by it all. But neither would rock the boat, ruin their chances, and miss out of the chance of a lifetime, however distasteful.
Only Mickey seemed to be fine with things, he glared at Jake, and then sat back down tapping out a rhythm on the arm of the sofa with his new Zildjian sticks. The band was getting sponsorship deals for their gear, arranged by the record company; lots of perks were coming their way. And not just perks; there were the advances from the record deal and the publishing to look forward to. Why should they lose out on all this because of Jake? Nope, he wasn’t going to miss out because of that stupid bastard. No way.
‘Go home Jake, I’ll get your stack to you and the rest of your gear tomorrow.’ Bo held the control room door open.
‘This isn’t the end, you bunch of shits; you’ll come crawling back when you need new material. Well screw you, screw the fuckin’ lot of you!’ Jake kicked the desk as he passed Bo…
A taster from my Short Story, Dreamer, which is included in In A Word: Murder and is available on Amazon. The anthology is in memory of Crime Writer, Editor and blogger Maxine Clarke and all proceeds go to The Princess Alice Hospice where she passed away.
I really hope you enjoyed my Guest Blog and the sampler from my story. I’d love to know your thoughts.
Thanks so much Jenny for allowing me this opportunity to connect with your readers. I really appreciate it.
Wow!! What an amazing life!!! Thank you ever so much for visiting today Jane.
Happy reading everyone,