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Guest Post from Sharon Black: On Books & Movies

I’m pleased to welcome Sharon Black back to my site today to chat about her romance novel, Going Against Type.

This post is part of Sharon’s blog tour- make sure you read to the end to find out all the other tour dates, and to take part in a giveaway.

Over to you Sharon…

Going_Against_Type_by_Sharon_Black_200

EARLIER this week, I sat and watched Miss Congeniality on DVD. It’s the romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock and, amongst others, Michael Caine. As actors, I adore them both. I’ve seen it before of course. Romantic comedy? I’ll make the popcorn and luxuriate in ninety minutes of sheer escapism.

But this time I was watching it through the eyes of my younger daughter, who’s never seen it. When she shrieked with laughter, at the parts that now only make me smile, I found myself laughing again.

And it occurred to me that for some of us, romantic comedies may be timeless. Classics, almost. The sort of movies that you can put on, when you need a bit of comfort viewing.

Books, of course, are the same. Some of us have favourite novels that we return to again and again through our lives. As a child I read a lot of Enid Blyton and E Nesbit, for example. I still remember particular novels, to which I returned, right through my early years. When I was twelve, I read The Diary of Anne Frank, and found myself rereading this through my early teens. Emotionally connecting with a young girl I’d never met. Who’d lived and died long before I was even born. Drawn in, through her honest outpouring, to the tiny world that became hers.

Later, I discovered the wonderful world of romantic comedy. I watched reruns of the great Hollywood romantic comedies of the 1930s and 40s: Adam’s Rib, Shop Around the Corner, Lady Eve, His Girl Friday, and one of my favourites, Woman of the Year. In my early twenties, I discovered great writers of romantic comedy, amongst them Catherine Alliot, and later again, Sophie Kinsella. They became old friends, a pleasure to spend time with in the evening. And, like the ninety minutes of a movie, pure escapism. They are not, of course, my only reading. I read a lot of literary fiction, in particular because I’m part of a great little book club. We read everything from Irish writers like John Banville, Colm Tóibín and Anne Devlin, to American authors like Alice Walker and William Faulkner.

And everything in between.

In between this reading, I always try to dip into commercial women’s fiction, and if it’s  romantic comedy, so much the better.

I once read that the world is divided into readers and non-readers. But maybe it doesn’t always have to be the written word first? I know youngsters who won’t read, but love to watch a good comedy or edge-of-the-seat thriller, instinctively understanding story arcs and appreciating well drawn characters. A well written book in their favourite genre, has the potential to convert!

For me, a good book or a good movie can be interchangeable. Perhaps because I’m a visual reader. I need to be able to see characters and locations very clearly. And the writer who can do that with the least amount of words or flowery description, will grab me every time.

Here’s to the great novelists and the great screenwriters of our time!

***

EXCERPT

‘I hope you like Mexican food,’ said Derry as they drove from Charlotte’s house into the city centre on Thursday evening.

‘Well, I’d love to try it,’ Charlotte said, uncertainly.

‘Maybe another time, so. We’re actually going Greek tonight,’ Derry deadpanned. Charlotte smiled and snuck a glance over at him from the passenger seat of his twelve year old, very beautiful Ferrari. She placed her hands tentatively over her stomach, trying to calm her nerves. She’d spend an hour readying herself, much to Helen’s amusement.

‘Why are you so nervous, Charlotte? It’s just a date!’

‘Oh come on, Helen. The last guy I dated was Mr Uptight Conor, and before that I dated sports jocks. Derry is different. He’s Premier League status!’

‘And you’re Scumthorpe United? Take a look at yourself, woman!’

I’m not sure what he expects, but I’m not his type, Helen. I’m floundering.’ Helen caught Charlotte’s hands and forced her to meet her gaze.

‘Don’t you dare run yourself down, Charlotte Regan. You’re intelligent and totally gorgeous! But you need to do one thing!’

‘What?’

‘Allow yourself to be a woman! How do I put this without you taking it the wrong way? Don’t talk sport all night. You are incredibly bossy when you start. Let Derry take charge a bit. Allow him to be a man!’ Charlotte blinked.

‘Sorry, I just time travelled to the 1950s for a moment. What were you saying?’ Helen smiled.

‘Charlotte! You like this guy! So give him a chance. Don’t send him to sleep with triathlon stats. If he wants that, he’ll go drinking with his mates.’

‘If his mates are anything like him, they probably wouldn’t know a sports stat from the price of heifers in Mullingar.’ Charlotte sighed.
tourbutton_goingagainsttype

BLURB

Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite as sure as she seems. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends, surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV.

Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking – and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain and shallow women.

Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but is soon drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist The Squire – and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just whom the opponent is…

When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake, than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings.

When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?   

Buy Links:

Amazon USA: http://amzn.to/1pKAZtF

Amazon UK:   http://amzn.to/1zjr0fT

All buy links:  tirpub.com/gatype
sharonblack

Bio-                                              

IRISH author Sharon Black is a diehard screwball comedy enthusiast. Her first novel, Going Against Type, a contemporary romantic comedy set in Dublin, was e-published by Tirgearr Publishing in September, 2014 to great reviews.  She has had short stories published, and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition. She worked for a number of national newspapers. She writes a regular blog, This Funny Irish Life, featuring light, fun, personal columns, and tweets at Authorsharonb.

When she’s not writing, she reads, walks, sees friends, and drinks far too much coffee. She co-founded a local book club 15 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, every romantic comedy ever made, and edgy stand-up. She hates shopping. She lives in a Dublin coastal village, with her husband and their three children.

Find Sharon: Blog: http://sharonblackauthor.blogspot.ie/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SharonBlackAuthorPage/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Authorsharonb

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Black/e/B00RPI1I10

NOT FORGET THE GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/sharon-black/

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/OGI5ZWM1YmU4ZGM2YmI0ZWQ2MTgyNmNkMjI0MWJhOjE1OA==/?

 ***

Many thanks for coming by today Sharon,

Jenny x

Guest Post by Sharon Black: Going Against Type

Today, I’d like to welcome debut novelist, Sharon Black, to my site, to tell us all about writing her first work of fiction, and what inspired its creation.

Over to you Sharon…

HI JENNY, thank you so much for having me here on your blog today. I’d like to tell you and your readers a little about myself and my inspiration for my debut novel.

My background is in journalism. After I left college, I worked as a features writer for a national newspaper here in Dublin. I married and took a substantial break from paid work, when my children were small, before returning to write for another national paper for a while.

By the time I was ready to write a novel, it seemed natural for me to write about what I knew.

Going Against Type by Sharon Black - 200

Going Against Type is a romantic comedy, it’s set in the world of Dublin-based national newspapers. Because the setting was familiar, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone in other ways.

Going Against Type tells the story of rival newspaper columnists, who write under pen names, and unknowingly fall in love with their arch enemy: each other! They each have good reason to protect their alter egos. So their relationship develops, each blissfully unaware of whom the other is. Until they are forced to reveal themselves….

My inspiration for the book was the 1940s Hollywood film, Woman of the Year, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. I loved all their films! Hepburn plays a high brow pundit, who rubbishes sport in one of her columns. Tracey is a sports columnist who leaps to defend his beloved sport and in turn, attacks Hepburn’s views, and the fun begins. In the film, however, they meet quite quickly and despite knowing who the other person is, they fall in love.

In Going Against Type, I turned the stereotypes around. So Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan is the sports buff. At the beginning of the story, she is given a chance to write the new, anonymous sports column, Side Swipe.

My hero, Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer and gossip columnist, The Squire for the rival paper. He’s sophisticated, man-about-town and a bit of a playboy. They fall in love, and that’s where the fun begins.

While that whole build up was really fun to do, it was also extremely challenging. The main reason was that I to ensure that Charlotte and Derry’s columns were quite acerbic. That way, you could see a huge contrast between their views in the papers – their weekly banter – and how they were with each other. It also meant there was more at stake.

The hardest columns to get right were Charlotte’s. Paradoxically, she turned out to be a wonderful character to write. I know very little about sport, having never been sporty myself. But I admire people who are, and I wanted Charlotte to be very different from me. Because Charlotte’s a journalist, I didn’t want anyone to think I was writing bits of me into my heroine.

So I did a lot of research. I read a lot of sports columnists, I checked all my facts, and then I tried to put myself into the head of a feisty, twenty-something woman, working in an area that’s largely dominated by men.

Her columns took a lot of writing and re-writing. I wanted them to be sharp, funny and very controversial. And as her columns got better, the character of Charlotte became more defined and easier to write. In the end, she felt like a real person; somebody I had known a long time.

A lot of people are surprised when they see that my hero is a gossip columnist and fashion writer. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but mainly these are areas in journalism that tend to be dominated by women.

Quite apart from wanting to just shake things up, I wanted to write a strong male character, who is completely comfortable in his own skin, and his fabulous tailor made suits! He is manly, yet completely relaxed with having a female boss and working in a features department, surrounded by women. Actually, he likes that a lot!

It sounds like a terrible cliché, but writing this book was a huge learning experience. I had written short stories down the years, and had some of them published. And I’d started so many books – but had never finished them.

This time, I armed myself with the tools: the nuts and bolts of novel structuring. And I knew I had a good story. I was determined to see it through. I’m so glad I did. I became an author and I’m so grateful for that. And I’m very proud of my debut.

***

EXCERPT

Note: Charlotte is sent to cover Ladies’ Day at The Galway Races. It’s here that she meets Derry for the first time.

‘So, did you get lucky?’ a deep voice drawled.

Charlotte spun to find Mr Panama Hat grinning down at her. Bloody hell, she thought, smiling back despite herself. Any other man she knew would look utterly ridiculous in what seemed to be a tailor made, striped linen jacket and trousers, combined with that damned hat. But he carried it off with a self-confidence that bordered on swagger.

‘Yes actually, I did,’ she admitted, still smiling. ‘What about you?’

He grimaced.

‘I lost. My own fault. I took a flier on somebody else’s tip.’

Charlotte grinned sympathetically.

‘Oh?’

Mr Panama Hat shook his head, scowling briefly.

‘I read some bloody sports columnist from Ireland Today. Had a few winners earlier this week. As I said, it’s my own fault. I never normally bother with racing tips. Whoever it is, he obviously doesn’t know a horse from a three-legged stool.’

Charlotte swallowed hard.

‘So how much did you lose?’ she managed, trying to sound casual.

‘A thousand.’ He caught Charlotte’s horrified expression and laughed. ‘Hey, don’t look so worried! I’m a big boy.’

Charlotte stared at him in amazement. Who did that? Maybe he was a rich eccentric, the kind of guy who hung around the race courses, betting big. Not caring whether or not he won – or lost everything on the day. That said, she was damned if she’d come clean!

‘So do you normally gamble this recklessly Mr…?’ Charlotte trailed away meaningfully, biro poised over her notebook. He stuck out his hand, a warm smile forming.

‘Sorry I should have introduced myself. I’m…

‘Derry! Where have you been? They’re just about to start the judging. Come on darling, I have to go line up. I want you to be able to see!’

A tall blonde, wearing a rose pink knee-length dress with tiny matching jacket, pink stiletto sling-back shoes and a dizzy spiral of cream and pink headwear, teetered over and clung to Derry’s arm. She looked, Charlotte thought, vaguely familiar. The blonde smiled tightly at Charlotte and then noticed her press badge.

‘Oooh, you’re from the papers! Maybe I could talk to you when the judging’s over. Do you have a photographer with you?’ She didn’t wait for Charlotte to answer, but rushed on. ‘You’ll have to excuse us right now, okay?’

‘Of course, don’t let me delay you,’ Charlotte said, stepping back.

‘Wait,’ Derry began, shooting her a sudden intrigued look. ‘You’re not with Ireland Today, are you?’

‘Shit. Charlotte managed a surprised laugh.

‘Um, yes,’ she squeaked. ‘I’m er, writing a piece on Ladies Day.’

‘Oh right.’ He frowned. ‘What about their Side Swipe columnist? Do you know him?’

Lie Charlotte. And do it well.

‘No. It’s being written anonymously. I think the writer works from home…’ She smiled brightly at him. Behind Derry, the blonde shot Charlotte a steely glare. Charlotte glanced one last time at Derry.

‘You should go. And I have to work. Nice to meet you.’ She turned and walked away…

***

Sharon 254 ac smaller file

BIOGRAPHY

SHARON Black grew up in Dublin. She studied history and politics at University College Dublin and then did post-graduate in journalism at Dublin City University.

She has worked for national newspapers, including The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner.

She had short stories published in U Magazine and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition.

When she is not writing, she reads, walks and sees friends. She co-founded a local book club 14 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, science fiction and good stand-up comedy.

She lives in a Dublin coastal village, with her husband and their three children.

BLOG: http://sharonblackauthor.blogspot.ie/

WEBSITE: http://coldcoffeecafe.com/profile/SharonBlackhttp://coldcoffeecafe.com/profile/SharonBlack http://coldcoffeecafe.com/profile/SharonBlack

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PG: http://on.fb.me/1AG4C3J

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Authorsharonb https://twitter.com/Authorsharonb

ALL BUY LINKS: tirpub.com/gatype tirpub.com/gatype

***

Many thanks for visiting today Sharon, I wish you much luck with your new book.

Happy Reading,

Jenny x

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Risdon’s criminal mind

Today I’m delighted to welcome Jane Risdon back to my place- although I fear we should be wary.

She’s talking about her criminal mind!

Over to you Jane…

Jenny, many thanks for inviting me to share some of my experiences with you and your followers today. It is so generous of you and I really appreciate the opportunity.

I’ve a criminal mind. At least my readers must think I have. I must admit I wonder about myself. Where do all my murderous ideas come from when on the outside I seem quite normal? I think I’m normal but, hey, they say you’re the last to know if you’ve lost your marbles.

If you’re reading this and are of a delicate disposition go and make a cup of tea, swing from a chandelier or just pretend I’m not here. Things might get a little hairy because I am going to discuss murder. Just kidding. It’s sanitised.

Some of you may have come across me through the novel I co-wrote with Christina Jones, Only One Woman (Headline Accent), set in the 1968/69 UK music scene and at its heart there’s a love triangle. Forget love and all things nice. I’m not going there, although I’m sure you know that most murders are committed by a close relation or friend. Just saying – that cuppa seems tempting now, I bet.

Crime, thrillers, and espionage novels have always rung my bells, even from a very young age. I guess I love adventure and when young I read all the adventure stories such as ‘Kidnapped,’ ‘The Secret Seven,’ and books like that. Reading a ‘girlie,’ book never crossed my mind, although I admit to having read and loved ‘A Swish of the Curtain,’ by Pamela Brown. Somewhere deep down I knew I was going to be the next Prima Ballerina or an Oscar-winning actress – delusions of being a thespian have never left me. I imagine that is why I eventually worked in the international music business – those who can do, and those who can’t help others to achieve their dreams.

 

Capitol Records Building

The entertainment business is in my DNA, although whose DNA kicked started those ambitions I’ve no idea. My family is devoid of such rebels and subversives (the Mater’s viewpoint), and thespianism – still legal last time I looked – comes from my husband’s side – he’s a musician. His mother was quite a looker in her day and a member of an Aqua ballet (synchronised swimming) show. His father was a crooner (singer) and his brother is an actor. Actually ‘himself’ has acted a lot too, mostly in India where he’s appeared in many movies and television series alongside some of the Bollywood Superstars.  He has been known to be ‘recognised’ in the street by Indians who watch hours upon hours of cinema. His great aunt, Elizabeth Risdon, was a famous Hollywood actress and starred in over one hundred movies with stars such as John Wayne, Cary Grant, and Lupe Velez, the Mexican Spitfire, to name a few.  I guess thespianism has rubbed off on me. My husband says I’m a bit of a thespian at times. I cannot argue.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisabeth_Risdon

The chances of becoming an actress or a prima ballerina became ever more remote the older I got and eventually I settled for The Diplomatic Service – better known as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Whitehall. Although by then I was dreaming of being a writer. And, reading some of the archived files at the FCO really fed my imagination. Thespians are rife in the Service: all those spies pretending to be someone and something else. The files were a treasure-trove for a would-be writer.

To be accepted by the FCO (back then) one had to be Positively Vetted (PV) for security reasons. I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say they turn you, your family, and friends inside out probing your lives and even the lives of distant long dead relatives. You get a thorough going-over. My then boyfriend – now husband – found the intrusion into his life and his family a bit much, especially being a musician and very anti-establishment back then.

Old New Scotland Yard

Now, what the heck has this to do with crime I can hear you yelling? I’m getting there, keep your hair on. At that time the Old Scotland Yard building on the Victoria Embankment was one of seventeen FCO buildings in London and I worked there in Personnel ‘looking after,’ the Ambassadors, various Embassy staff and families around the world. It was the height of The Cold War and the IRA were being a bloody nightmare.

MI5 Building- Thames House

Espionage and intrigue was everywhere. One hundred plus Russians were expelled for spying in a ‘tit-for-tat’ with The Soviet Union at the time. Oh the excitement. My department handled the ‘personal’ side of all this.

https://www.mi5.gov.uk/the-later-cold-war

One of those responsible for my PV was a Commander from Special Branch called Ferguson-Smith (see his info below) who was responsible for capturing Soviet spies, Peter and Helen Kroger (aka Morris and Lona Cohen) in 1961.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29985359

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/ferguson-smith-special-branch-brought-2296496

He told me about the Krogers and of course my imagination went wild. I was a great fan (still am) of John Le Carre and Frederick Forsyth so imagine my excitement; real life spies and I knew their spy-hunter.

As I said, I was allowed to read files from the archives and another infamous and possible spy scandal was what came to be known as ‘The Profumo Affair’. Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies were ‘good-time’ girls involved with a government minister, John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War. Imagine having all that sex and intrigue at your fingertips when still in your teens, being an avid reader and would-be author; all mentally filed away for a future time.

https://www.britannica.com/event/Profumo-affair

Geoffrey Jackson, Ambassador to Uruguay, was kidnapped by Tupamaros guerrillas in 1970 in Montevideo, and was held for eight months during which time I and my colleagues in my department were working the personnel side of things. At night I’d go home to my guitarist boyfriend and his band and I wasn’t allowed to tell him or anyone anything. I was fit to burst.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/9/newsid_3634000/3634352.stm

I won’t bore you with other government departments I’ve worked for, it is quite a list. In the early days of marriage to my musician husband someone had to be the steady earner and hold the fort whilst he trotted off to exotic locations on tour and mixed with the ‘jet set,’ as they were called back then. Mind you, the Red Shoes Ballroom in Elgin was hardly exotic although everyone who was anyone has played there. It was only one of many ‘must play,’ venues on the UK circuit.  Hanging out with Liz and Richard Taylor in Switzerland was a bit more like it, I admit.

Later, we went into the international management of recording artists, musicians, songwriters, record producers, and the odd actor (odd, yes some were definitely that) and we placed music into movie and TV soundtracks internationally. This took us to Taiwan, Singapore, all over Europe, Canada and the USA, and of course Hollywood. Ah! Now we are getting closer to the crime part of my piece. Patience.

By this time I was reading a lot. All those hours on the road and in recording studios had to be filled when not actually doing anything myself, so crime novels kept me out of mischief. I got hooked on Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs, as well as many others. Their knowledge of crime scene detection and forensic science fascinated me. It perked my curiosity.

There are many legends in the entertainment business and not just the artists. The managers, the heads of record companies, and movie studio supremos are just as interesting as the artists they work with, including Clive Davis and Tommy Mottola who signed and nurtured the careers of singers such as Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, for example. Fascinating characters.

https://collider.com/clive-davis-documentary-interview-soundtrack-of-our-lives/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Mottola

And then there are those who are notorious for many other reasons. Those who were criminals or involved with the criminal underside of the music business. Their crimes are legendary and have been written about time and again. There were also ‘heavies’ in the business and you need look no further than Don Arden (father to Sharon Osborne) who managed so many of the huge artists in the UK music business throughout many decades, and also Peter Grant, manager of Led Zeppelin, who changed the way musicians got paid for their gigs. I’ve met both. Do follow the links and blow your mind.

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/ozzy-osbourne-manager-dangled-robert-10688655

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Grant_(music_manager)

Working in the music business one soon realises that everyone does business with these people daily. The first time we met a ‘legend’ in the USA we were confronted by body guards and were ‘welcomed’ to their ‘family,’ when we signed some artists to their record company and there was a gun and a base-ball bat on the lawyer’s desk as we signed contracts. I won’t mention names in case we get the horses head in the bed or the concrete boots to swim with. But, there are some seriously dangerous dudes out there and I think we have met and done business with many of them. Several were in the Payola scandals of the late 1970s when Pink Floyd and others were kept off USA radio stations because their management wouldn’t pay for air-time. ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ nearly collapsed sales-wise.

Books have been written about many of these all powerful movers and shakers and so far no-one has been sued for what they’ve written. Many found themselves before Grand Juries and had to take ‘The Fifth’ to avoid incriminating themselves. Others disappeared off the face of the earth without a trace. Not guilty!

https://www.stereophile.com/news/080105sony/index.html

With all this experience and our amazing connections you can see why crime writing was and is what I want to do.

I soon discovered that an interest in all things crime is not enough. I needed some background knowledge to help me write authentic and – I hope – mistake-free stories. Kathy Reichs is an author who is also a Medical Examiner, a real-life pathologist, and I love her books. It rapidly became clear to me that I needed to inform myself better so I enrolled in seven online university courses taught by the best in their field – internationally recognised tutors. I undertook six Forensic Science and Criminal Justice courses and a basic course in Archaeology to help me with my crime scenes, victim identification (even from shallow graves and a few bones and no ID) through detection and prosecution of perpetrators. Fascinating stuff. I’m not an expert but I can see what sort of weapons make cut marks on bones, how blood splatter can give so much detail about how a victim was attacked by a knife, axe or gun. Bullet hole identification, finger-print and DNA analysis, and how police interviews should be conducted – just some of the knowledge I gained to help my writing. I also studied and followed investigations of famous miscarriages of justice. Vey unsettling.

I don’t write police procedurals so you won’t find details of how an investigation works in my books. I don’t put too much blood and guts into my stories – my writing is a little different. However, it’s good to know these things in-case I stray into writing a little more detail than usual. No-one wants emails from irate detectives or knowledgeable readers shouting ‘rubbish that could never happen,’ or worse.

I’ve also made friends with a few former murder detectives and a counter-terrorism expert which has been very helpful when writing my series, ‘Ms Birdsong Investigates,’ featuring a former MI5 Intelligence Officer (still to be published), hoping to find her way back into the fold having been ‘voluntarily’ retired from the Security Services. It’s also helped with various stories I’ve contributed to in anthologies, magazines, and newsletters.

Being able to bounce stuff off of them has been invaluable especially when writing ‘Undercover: Crime Shorts,’ (Plaisted Publishing House), where my collection of short stories feature various methods of murder in everyday situations. Forensic knowledge was especially useful when devising methods of murder where I wanted the murderer to be long gone from the scene when my victims died.

You can come back now, get down from the chandelier and enjoy your tea once more without fear of reading something nasty. I’ve kept it clean. My road to writing has been an interesting one personally and my experiences have provided me with endless ideas for stories.

Every writer uses personal experiences at some point. I know Christina and I used those we shared in the 1960s when she was fan-club secretary to my boyfriend’s band, and writing ‘Only One Woman,’ was an amalgam of people, events and situations at that time. I am happy to say that murder is not something I have experienced first-hand, although as I mentioned earlier, crime and espionage has never been too far away during my various careers. Perhaps I’ve whetted your appetite and you’ll find your way to reading some of my work. That would be grand.

***

SWEET SABLE – The Red Siren 

From Undercover: Crime Shorts by Jane Risdon

Chapter One

Closing the safe door quietly and with an expert spin of the dial the black-clad woman straightened up, slinging the grip with her haul over her shoulder. She stood listening intently before moving towards the office door. Again she waited, her ears straining, before gently prising the door open and stepping silently into the corridor of darkened offices. She eased the door closed calculating she had barely two minutes before the night-watchman made his rounds, trying the doors and checking the building was secure.

The woman headed for the fire escape where she’d made her entrance to the three storey building some ten minutes earlier. Gently raising the window she climbed out on to the metal staircase with the athletic grace of a ballet dancer, giving the dark alley below a quick once-over to ensure no-one was around she hastily made her way down the rusting stairs. Her tar- toned unremarkable and unmemorable automobile was parked across the street, hidden in the gloom of another narrow alleyway. Glancing at her wrist-watch – an expensive pay-off from a married lover – she knew she’d better step on the gas. She’d less than fifteen minutes to get back to the night-club, park her car at the darkest end of the outside lot, and leg it back to her dressing-room with enough time to change into her gown for her last set of the evening. 

The red-head chuckled to herself as she repaired her lipstick pouting seductively at herself in the mirror, waiting for the stagehand to knock on her door with her final call. She was buzzing. She’d done it again, she’d pulled it off. It was better than any sex she’d ever had and that was saying something. She chuckled, puckered her ample lips and blew herself a huge wet kiss.

*****

As the spotlight found its mark the band-leader nodded to the scarlet-clad shapely figure who took up position in front of the microphone. Her hips swayed in time to the jazz trumpet and she took her cue. Her sultry sable-clad tones sucked her audience into her lair.

The figures outlined in the flickering candle-light adorning circular tables dotted around the smoke-hazed, expectant venue, stopped talking and turned their heads towards the elevated stage where Desi Garcia’s Syncopators went into full swing behind Sweet Sable – also known as the Red Siren – neither was her real name but no-one cared. When her song ended there was a moment’s silence before they pounded their tables shouting, ‘more, more.’

Sweet Sable wiggled her slender but shapely hips, leaned over the stage giving more than an eye-full of her full bosom on display in her tight-fitting, strapless gown and blew huge smackers into the air, aimed at no-one in particular but the full-blooded men in the audience got the message and so did their partners who silently seethed.

Her set over for the evening Sweet Sable made her way back to her dressing room, accepting compliments and congratulations on her ‘wonderful performance,’ smiling, blowing kisses and with a toss of her luxurious red mane, closed her dressing room door to keep the stage door Johnnies out. There was always a small stud congregated outside her door and gathered around the stage door following her shows. Sometimes she allowed a particularly handsome or obviously loaded guy inside who was good for a dinner or two – or for something else – if rich enough. They were ripe for the picking; such patsies.

This particular evening Sweet Sable was anxious not to have any company. She had plans and getting pawed by a fawning, slobbering man who felt ‘entitled’ after giving her dinner, was not part of them. She had to get her haul to a safe place so she could take a proper look at it before deciding what she had to do. Sweet Sable loved having options – and she had plenty. 

© Jane Risdon 2019

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Jane with Only One Woman and Undercover: Crime Shorts

Jane’s Links:

https://janerisdon.com

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

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Buy Links:

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

Only One Woman: Christina Jones Jane Risdon (Headline Accent)

ISBN: (Waterstones and all good book stores) 9781783757312

ASIN: (Kindle, Tablet, Phone) BO75D88JBP

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

Undercover: Crime Shorts  (Plaisted Publishing House)

ISBN: (Waterstones etc) 9780359397839

ASIN: (Kindle, Tablet, Phone etc) BO7RFRVL4P

https://books2read.com/b/4jD0wo 

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Huge thanks Jane. What a great blog!

Happy reading everyone.

Jenny. xx

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