February 14, 2014

Guest Post: Jane Risdon

Filed under: The Writing Life — jenny @ 9:17 am

In A Word: Murder

There turns out to be a pairing of literary losses and angels here on the blog right now. Jane Risdon is both. She’s part of an anthology whose proceeds benefit a lost light from the crime writing world. But Jane has also suffered herself during her life, and if you read her blog (or her moment from last year) you’ll see that if you point to a world catastrophe, well, there’s a good chance Jane was nearby for it. And writing while she was at it. That’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but only a bit, and in a way, it’s what’s going on on the blog right now, I think. A celebration of the writing spirit, of the sense that if you love and labor over words, that will help you survive a lot. For proof, just meet Jane.

Jane Risdon

In 2012 I was fortunate enough to meet (online) an inspirational and talented mystery author who is also a prolific blogger and a professor at a California university, who has shown a great interest in my work and is a wonderful source of support for me as a crime/mystery writer.

She has always read my stories and pieces of flash fiction and commented favourably upon them and so when she accepted two of my short stories for her anthology, In A Word: Murder, I was over the moon.

Margot Kinberg decided to put together an anthology in memory of her good friend and prolific blogger, crime writer, and editor, Maxine Clarke, who died last year.  The anthology is in aid of The Princess Alice Hospice where Maxine passed away and all funds raised go to them.

But in 2012, my own hard time hit. On Boxing Day, I fell down the stairs. I broke my shoulder and collar bone and so any movement using my left shoulder has been agony and typing was especially painful. But, I had those two pieces for the anthology to write, and was determined to get them completed so they could be included.

I was due to have an operation on my injuries in January 2014 but when I was actually about to have my anaesthetic, the surgeon decided my shoulder still needed time to stabilise – he described my injuries as being similar to those suffered by a twenty something biker coming off his machine at high speed, or the injuries he had encountered on soldiers returning from a war-zone.

This is not the first time I’ve encountered obstacles that almost prevented me from achieving my goals. I finished recording an album in 1992 in Los Angeles during the riots there and later in 1994 – again recording an album – was there during the Northridge Earthquake.

Most of my plans for 2013 and so far 2014 have been on hold or have been progressing very slowly due to my injuries.  It has been a very disappointing time for me but the one bright light in the whole year has been my contributions to this anthology.  It has kept me writing and determined to carry on whatever happens.

Jane Risdon is a writer of Fiction working on a Crime Novel called ‘Ms Birdsong Investigates’, about a 40 something ex MI5 agent who has retired (under a cloud) to a rural village where she hopes to lose herself and anyone who might be seeking her. She is thrilled to be contributing to an Anthology of Crime Stories set in the world of Publishing alongside award winning authors from all over the world.

February 13, 2013

Made It Moment: Jane Risdon

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 9:57 pm

Sometimes there is a Moment that hasn’t quite happened yet, or an author who is hoping for that Made It sensation to arise. When that happens, I often think it’s important to publish a little taste of that writer’s work–at times, this blog has been the first place a writer ever shared her prose.

Today’s guest, Jane Risdon, has been published before, but as she embarks on the long and awesome process of novel-writing, I wanted to give readers a chance to hear both her voices: the one in fiction, and the one just beginning to experience that Moment.

I know it’s coming.

Jane Risdon

I suppose I’ve enjoyed many ‘Made It Moments’ during my lifetime.  Most have been directed and facilitated by me on behalf of others – artistes – whom I’ve managed in the Music Industry.  Although I’ve been instrumental in bringing about success for others, including Number One hits in China and SE Asia, Top Twenty hits in the USA, Movie and Television Soundtracks, including The Jersey Girl, Power Rangers, Baywatch and Sinbad, I have yet to experience my own full blown ‘Made It Moment’.

Having always wanted to write and always finding excuses not to, I found myself free from all the time constraints and excuses about two years ago.  I decided to stop dreaming of writing and just get on with it.

An old friend who used to be my husband’s Fan Club Secretary was also a Pop/Rock journalist at the time, and she had turned her hand to writing. I guess I thought if she could do it, then so could I.  Mind you, she has umpteen books published and is award- winning too.  Aim high I always say!

To cut a long story short, she read my stories and encouraged me. The result has been a series of Short Stories and Flash Fiction pieces, which I’ve received great feed-back about.  Three stories have been published in ‘real’ books and others via Kindle.  I am writing four novels, including one co-written with my friend who invited me to write with her.  I am thrilled she has belief in me and so I guess to date this might be considered my ‘Made It Moment’. I feel very honoured and privileged to be writing with such an accomplished and successful writer, and I really am hopeful that this is just the first of many more personal ‘Made It Moments’.

An excerpt from Ms. Birdsong Investigates:

Amelia Payne closed her dressing-room door and leaned against it.  Her head was fit to bust as the blood pounded her temples.  She held on to the handle steadying herself, her legs felt as if they were floating from under her.  Think, think, she told herself trying to take deep breaths and centre herself.  Think.

After a while her breathing calmed a little and her temples didn’t thump as much and she moved to her sofa and sat down heavily.  She felt totally drained.  She closed her eyes and leaned against the back of the sofa, the soft fabric soothing against her skin.

Eventually she leaned over the arm and grabbed her handbag from the floor. Opening it with shaking hands she took two tablets from the bottle inside.  Then she moved into her bathroom and filled a glass with water and swallowed the pills.  She checked her watch: Linden wouldn’t be home for a while yet.

She splashed her face and wrists with cold water, leaning heavily on the basin, taking deeper breaths.  Amelia closed her swollen eyes.  When she felt strong enough she opened them and gazed at herself in the mirror – Christ, she looked a mess.  Her mascara was all but gone, so was her lipstick, and her hair looked as if she had been making passionate love all night.  She smiled wryly at her image in-spite of everything.

Moving back into her dressing-room she locked the door and removed her clothes. Her trouser suit was covered in grass and mud streaks.  She put them inside the wash basket,  removed her mud-caked shoes and lay them on the bathroom floor.  She ran a bath and automatically added her favourite bubble bath.  Sitting on the edge of the bath still shaking, she managed to put her hair up in a cloth cap then lowered herself into the hot water, sinking right up to her neck. Amelia closed her eyes waiting for the pills to kick in: her mind longing for numbness.

After years on the road and in recording studios, Jane realised a life-long ambition two years ago when she began writing. Jane was thrilled to have two stories included in an Anthology, ‘Telling Tales,’ written in aid of The Norfolk Hospice, and another in an Anthology in aid of Women’s Aid, Breakthrough and Women for Women, ‘I Am Woman’ Anthology Volume One.

She is also working on a novel with a co-author about their exploits in the 1960’s Music Business, which they hope will be ready for publication during the early part of 2013.

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