Author Jane Risdon has long been an enthusiastic supporter of Being Anne, and that’s always very much appreciated – thank you Jane! It’s been a particular pleasure to feature her on a few previous occasions: the cover reveal for Only One Woman (written with Christina Jones, first released as an ebook by Accent Press in November 2017), an extract for the blog tour that followed, and the loveliest guest post from Jane when the paperback and audiobook were released in May 2018.
I’m delighted to welcome her back today, because I’ve been reading a lot about her latest book, which is something very different – welcome Jane, and over to you…!
Anne, thanks so much for inviting me to write a post – so excited to be doing so.
For a change I thought I’d let Only One Woman take a back seat and write about my collection of crime short stories, Undercover: Crime Shorts which was published by Plaisted Publishing in May 2019.
I’ve returned to my great love, crime. I enjoyed writing Only One Woman with Christina Jones (Accent Press Ltd), it was something we’d always said we’d do – write together – but ever since I could read I’ve enjoyed adventure, crime, and espionage stories; reading and writing them.
A while back I counted. I have about 100 short stories awaiting publication and 5 novels in various stages of completion – crazy! Just sitting on my computer waiting for what? So I thought I’d self-publish because my publisher, Accent Press, doesn’t publish collections by just one author, so I am free to do whatever I want with short stories.
Cripes, what an ignoramus I am. I had no idea what self-publishing entailed, and if it hadn’t been for Claire at Plaisted’s doing my formatting, I’d still be messing around with it all. Having a traditional publisher has spoiled me.
Choosing which stories to include was difficult, I wanted them to be long enough to be value for money and short enough to read during a train ride, lunch-break, or in bed. In the end I picked 6 stories and added an extract from my still-to-be-published novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates. I’ve had some fab endorsements from former detectives who are now respected crime writers, so that’s made the pain worthwhile.
Undercover: Crime Shorts – Gripping yarns with more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction….
Sweet Sable: The Red Siren is a sexy redheaded jazz singer in Hollywood during 1939 who has a lucrative side-line. She is never short of rich lovers and she has ways to make them pay for her life-style, but then it all goes so dreadfully wrong when she tangles with a would-be politician. All the glamour and flavour of Hollywood in the Golden Age with a twist.
Apartment 206c is a fast paced edge-of-your-seat story. Meet China, an author living in an old New York apartment building with – suddenly – rowing neighbours. Screams and crashes worry her so much she creeps along the corridor to investigate and suddenly she is witness to a bloody murder, and a threat to a Mafia thug whose girlfriend seems happy to see her parents slaughtered in front of her. She tells China she is undercover FBI and help is on the way, but no-one is who they appear to be and the FBI isn’t coming to rescue them both after-all.
Murder by Christmas sees the reading of Tiffany Blunt’s Will. Those who expected to inherit didn’t, and those who did find there are strings attached in order to do so. Three beneficiaries can only inherit if they perform certain tasks before Christmas, and one by one they realise that they haven’t any choice; they must carry out their benefactor’s wishes because the alternatives are too terrible.
The Watchers sees Candice living in fear of a stalker. She has no idea who it is, but she knows she is being watched. Every night her phone rings but there’s no-one there. Who is doing this to her and why? She watches everyone, suspicious. Every night the stalker lurks unseen in the hedges opposite her house, watching her, biding his time. One night a car passes by her home as the watcher watches her. The occupant is looking for someone and soon he spies him, watching Candice’s home, and the scene is set for a terrible confrontation.
The Honey Trap is reminiscent of a Cold War sting with a deadly twist. A British diplomat, at a conference with Ministry of Trade delegates in a foreign country, flirts with a beautiful girl in a hotel bar and eventually they make their way to her friend’s vacant hotel room. She has plans for him and soon sets the scene. He plays along with the girl and soon they are having sex. Things a get a little too exciting, scary even, but she has to obey orders; he has to be ‘compromised,’ but her controllers hadn’t considered that he might have plans of his own.
The Look takes us into the world of Facebook and groups. ‘He’ joins the photographic group in search of someone with ‘The Look.’ He’ll know her when he sees her. ‘She’ joins the group because he is there, and has ‘The Look.’ Soon they are good friends and plan to meet in ‘real’ life to photograph an old mill and to discuss their interests. He cannot wait to be alone with her and she cannot wait for him to make his move. Things are about to get deadly.
Undercover is the title of the extract I have included from Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder in Ampney Parva: Operation Matroyshka. The first in a series featuring Lavinia Birdsong, former MI5 Intelligence Officer, who was ‘voluntarily’ retired from MI5 when a joint operation with MI6 went belly-up. Her MI6 partner and now former lover, Michael Dante, got Moscow and she got a new life in rural Oxfordshire and an offer to join the ‘Jam and Jerusalem’ brigade. Desperate to find a way back to MI5 she agrees to investigate the disappearance of Ali Yelling and unwittingly stumbles across Russian Mafia People Traffickers, Ukrainian Drug and gun smugglers, and someone she’s not too happy to see again.
Undercover: Crime Shorts is available in paperback and digital formats on most platforms including Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, iTunes, Apple, Indigo, Angus & Robertson, and many others: here’s the universal buy link.
Let’s take a look at a few reviews…
“Crime Shorts is a wonderfully satisfying anthology of seven short stories which transcend above the crime fiction genre providing a ripping yarn irrespective of the reader’s crime fiction preference. Jane Risdon has cleverly stitched together a mix of tales to suit all fans of the genre.” Roger A Price: former detective
“As with all Jane’s stories I find them intriguing and unpredictable, leaving me wanting more; I don’t want them to end.” Gloria Clulow: reader
“Undercover, what a gripping story, so well written. You’ve packed so much ‘punch’ into it, loved it. I really felt the rising tension and suspicion! You’ve captured the suspense of it beautifully and it is such a great set-up with good characters.” Professor Margot Kinberg: Associate professor and author of the Joel Williams crime novels
“ Fast-paced, well written, page-turner that had me so engrossed my train journey flew by. The author clearly has done a lot of research, these short stories all felt very authentic and each had me gripped and on the edge of my seat wondering how they would play out. It’s been a long time since I read anything quite so intriguing and twisty. It certainly got my heart beating faster and I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great murder, mystery. ” Charlie Plunkett: reader
Jane, thank you – wishing you every success with this one, and with all your other endeavours…
About the author
Jane Risdon began her working life in the international music business where she managed recording artists, songwriters, record producers, and where she has been instrumental in placing music on to soundtracks of many TV series and Movies, working alongside her musician husband.
After years of promoting talented young artists Jane decided it was time to do what she’s always wanted to do: write. She began writing in earnest some ten years ago starting with flash fiction and short stories – mostly crime/thrillers – and her writing was soon included in various anthologies – to date 15 different publications, some award winning. She has written for numerous online newsletters and magazines and is a regular blogger.
She has also written a best-selling novel with author and lifelong friend, best-selling, award-winning author, Christina Jones, set in the UK music scene of the late 1960s. Only One Woman is published by Accent Press with whom Jane signed in 2014.
With over 100 short stories needing a home, Jane has recently published Undercover: Crime Shorts with Plaisted Publishing House, which went straight into the UK Amazon ratings at #18 and into the USA Amazon ratings at #333 upon publication.
She is writing the sequel to Only One Woman and is completing a series of novels about a former MI5 intelligence officer, Ms Birdsong Investigates. These crime/thrillers are set in the Vale of the White Horse, Oxfordshire, and Jane digs into her early career with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at the height of the Cold War for her inspiration and knowledge of Britain’s Security Services.
Jane’s interests include photography, history, and science, and she and her husband enjoy walking and visiting places of interest – something they never had time to enjoy when ‘baby-sitting’ singers and musicians whilst travelling all over the world.