#BadMoonRising Undercover: Crime Shorts by Jane Risdon #shortstories #mysteries #thriller

Today’s author lives in England, but when she contacted me, she mentioned her featured book was being used by a class at Western Kentucky University. Which is located ten minutes from me. It’s a small world, my friends. She’s also experienced some hair-raising moments with figures in her peripheral vision. Making her debut at BMR, welcome Jane Risdon!

Hello Teri, thanks for hosting me on your fab blog. I hope your readers my answers to your questions.

Have you ever had a Tarot card reading?

Actually, I’ve had many. Years ago, when I was still working in the international music business we (my husband and I) were asked to get involved in a series for the new and revolutionary Satellite television which was all the rage. One production company asked us to put together a show about Mediums, Clairvoyants, Spiritualists, and Witches – it was in return for some favours.

It involved us spending a year going the length and breadth of England interviewing all manner of people and during many such interviews, we—of course — had Tarot card readings.

Some readings were hilariously ridiculous but one or two were rather hair-raising. Suffice to say we filed it all away for the programme, which sadly, didn’t transpire because the production company lost their funding. But from our point of view, we put it down to experience. We are still waiting for what the cards told us, to come true.

Do you ever see figures in my peripheral vision?

I haven’t seen any for many years but when I was first married, we had a grotty flat in an old Georgian house — my husband’s band was still struggling back then – and the flat was all we could afford, especially with a new baby, and many landlords back then refused to entertain allowing babies and children in their accommodation; I used to see many figures out of the corner of my eye. Shadows walking out of a cupboard and across the room, a feeling of not being alone when I knew I was.

Prior to my experiences at the flat, I had also had an experience when I was pregnant and lived in another flat, also in an older property, when I used to get the feeling that someone was watching me while I slept. My husband and his band were way on tour, and I was alone. I was often woken by sensation of being observed and a few times I opened my eyes to see an old lady, dressed like an Irish crofter, leaning over me staring. In fact, when my husband returned from tour, she appeared again, and he saw her too. I went into labour the next day.

Candy Apple or Candy Corn?

In England we call an apple covered in toffee, a toffee apple, and I gather that is what you mean. Although I have lived and worked in America, I have never had candy apple or candy corn, so I cannot say yes to either. I have had toffee apple, but not for many years. I value my teeth.

In response to your questions, Teri, I’d like to talk about my latest — as yet unpublished novel –  Ms. Birdsong Investigates, which is the first in a series and is out with my agent now.

Would you and your main character get along?

Ms. Birdsong Investigates: Murder in Ampney Parva, is the title of my series about a former MI5 Intelligence Officer who has been forced into early retirement due to a joint operation with MI6 — involving the Russian Mafia and Ukrainian people traffickers — going pear-shaped. Lavinia Birdsong tries to find her way back into the Security Services when a local woman goes missing and she has the opportunity to investigate her disappearance, hopefully inveigling herself back into the Security Services.

I think Lavinia and I would get along really well. We both love rock music, and good wine.  She is an intelligent woman, and she is a martial arts expert and a crack shot — and that is where we part company — I am most definitely neither. She does not tolerate fools gladly and has a wicked sense of humour. Lavinia is a true patriot, a ruthless opponent with a keen sense of right and wrong.

I am fascinated by the secret world of spies and criminals where Lavinia Birdsong has spent most of her adult life. I know we’d get on like a house on fire.

A ‘taster’ chapter can be found in my crime collection – Undercover: Crime Shorts which is available now.

If you decided to write a spin-off character, who would you choose?

I’ll stick with my new series, Ms. Birdsong Investigates for this. My spin-off character would be Michael Dante, MI6 Intelligence Officer.

Lavinia has worked at MI5 for twenty years and during that time she has worked in several areas of the Security Services, including being on secondment to MI6 for some years. She met Michael Dante, whilst working with a team of MI5/MI6 officers sent on a mission, Operation Matryoshka.  

Michael is her former lover when my books begin, but he is a great candidate for a spin-off character. Michael and Lavinia have unfinished business in the series, and who knows what might happen, but he would be good to follow in a spin-off series throughout his career and his investigations as part of MI6. He is a determined man, ruthless in his pursuit of terrorists and criminals just like Lavinia is. He has a strong love of country and justice.

What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

I am a crime writer mostly, and my writing often features my past career in the international music business and also my earlier career working at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Both careers are a gift to a crime writer for so many reasons. However, I have also written Women’s Literature (Only One Woman with Christina Jones) which is available now, and in various other genres which can be found in many of the anthologies I’ve contributed toward with short stories, and my experiences in music and in public service have definitely influenced my writing and how I mould my characters.

Using my experiences and memories from those times in most of my writing, it is easy for me to get inside the heads of my characters because I have worked in these areas, have met people similar to my characters and observed them. I know what makes most of them tick. I can put my experiences and knowledge into my work because of my past careers. And I know where to look for information, and I have detectives I can call upon to assist me if I get stuck.

In order to ensure my writing is as accurate as it can be, and to ensure that I don’t have Lavinia or any of my characters in any of my books do something which is wrong or impossible — when tracking and investigating terrorists or criminals — I decided some years ago to educate myself in the basics of Forensic Science and Criminal Justice. I took several courses especially designed for crime writers who want to ensure their writing is as correct and accurate as it can be. These courses also helped me get inside the heads of my characters, not only the investigators but the perpetrators too.

I read a lot of crime novels, thrillers, and mysteries, as well as watcing True Crime on TV too. This helps me with writing my characters and trying to see events from their point of view.

This has been fun Teri, once again, many thanks for letting me loose on your blog.

Under one cover for the first time a collection of Crime Shorts from Jane Risdon featuring previously unpublished stories which will have you on the edge of your seat. There is an extract from Jane’s forthcoming novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder at Ampney Parva: Operation Matryoshka – with the title of Undercover – for those who’ve been awaiting this series about a former MI5 Intelligence Office, Lavinia Birdsong. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a good yarn and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction.

Purchase Link


Author Bio and Social Media

Jane Risdon is the co-author of ‘Only One Woman,’ with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and ‘Undercover: Crime Shorts,’ (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having many short stories published in numerous anthologies. She writes for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine, and The Writers’ and Readers’ Magazine.

Undercover: Crime Shorts was the February Free Book of the Month on the virtual library and festival site, MYVLF.com, and her live video interview features in their theatre. She is a regular guest on international internet radio shows such as theauthorsshow.com, chatandspinradio.com and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show, as well as podcasts and online video interviews including Donnas Interviews Reviews and Giveaways and Be Bold and Break the Mould.

Undercover: Crime Shorts is being used by Western Kentucky University, Kt. USA, in an Intro to Lit Class for second year students Autumn 2021. Jane will be doing a Zoom Q&A session with the student in October 2021.

She is the Lead Panellist, next March (2022), for an online discussion of The Intersection of Literary Fiction and Women’s Literature at LitCon, an author’s conference out of New York USA.

Before turning her hand to writing Jane worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers.  They also facilitated the placement of music in international movies and television series.  In her early life Jane worked public service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The Ministry of Defence and other government departments.

In December 2020 Jane signed with Linda Langton of Langton’s Literary Agency in New York City, New York USA. You can contact Jane via Linda at: www.langtonsinternational.com

Jane’s Links:

Ms. Birdsong Investigates has her own private Facebook Group and you can join her here:


You can find Jane on:






87 thoughts on “#BadMoonRising Undercover: Crime Shorts by Jane Risdon #shortstories #mysteries #thriller

  1. How wonderful to see Jane here on BMR. I can´t wait for her Ms Birdsong book to be published. Having someone watch over me while I was sleeping would certainly spook me and I’m not surprised Jane went into labour.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. LOL Darlene, years later a clairvoyant saw the old lady over my shoulder as she spoke to me! I had only just said hello, so she knew nothing about me. Thanks for waiting for Ms. B to appear. My agent is working hard to place her. Thanks for being here. xx

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Teri, during our interview with one clairvoyant, in particular, told us about having people come to her sessions who had passed on, and she thought they were real people, l and it was not until whoever had come with them, said, no, they came alone, that she realised their dead relatives etc had come to the session too!! Interesting.


    1. Joan, yes the old lady was a shock the first time. A clairvoyant, who became a friend, later, saw her the first time we met. She saw her and described her looking over my shoulder. We had only just shaken hands and she asked who my friend in the strange clothes was!! Thanks for taking time to read my interview. Appreciated. x

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Robbie, thanks for being here and for your comments. I’ve had some strange paranormal experiences, not so many in recent years but I do know I have three spirit guides. Not sure if I believe it still…but I have sort of seen them all!! Have a fab week xx

      Liked by 1 person

        1. LOL so greedy having three. a couple of clairvoyants have seen them and described them to me. Which makes you wonder. Open-minded still, but some of the stuff those we interviewed came out with – well, just mind-boggling!!

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Didi, thanks so much for reading my interview. Yes, many readings with all sorts of folk. We also spent time with White Witches and their Covens, Spiritualists in their churches, and Mediums too. Quite a year! So interesting. I hope enjoy my short stories, I have written novels too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great guest today, Teri. Another morning, another trip to Amazon! 😁

    I really enjoyed learning more about your background, Jane, and your books sound fascinating. The ghost leaning over my bed I’ll skip, thanks. At least I hope none turn up to visit me. (So far, so good.) But your research into being sure you “get it right” in your books is wonderful! Good for you. And here’s to much success with Under Cover Crime Shorts! 😊 Sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Marcia, thanks so much for your kind words and if you read Undercover: Crime Shorts, let me know your thoughts. Yes, someone leaning over my bed was a scare, later clairvoyant told us she thought the woman was a great, great, grandmother from Ireland. Later research – I research family history – revealed family in southern Ireland going back generations! Weird or what! Have a good read. xx

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: #BadMoonRising – Post 17 Featuring Jane Risdon | The Write Stuff

    1. Hello again, how are you? Fab seeing you here. Yep, 7 courses over a couple of years, which I found so useful and enjoyable. I am not an expert by any means, but I learned enough to ensure that I know how things work, how to look for causes of death, how to ID skeletons, and about witness interviews. We covered miscarriages of justice too. My books are not procedural, but I am happier knowing things, than not knowing. I know when my knowledge is lacking and I can go to former detectives etc. to ask for advice. It all helps. Have a fab week. xx

      Liked by 2 people

        1. It was hard studying at my age (even then) because I hadn’t had to do any since leaving school in the late 1960s! I wondered if I’d cope, but I found it fun and interesting so it was not as hard as I thought it might be.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Teri, thanks so much for hosting me and sharing my interview with your friends and followers. I appreciate being here and I have enjoyed it so much. Thanks to your lovely followers for the RTs and super comments. Have a fab week. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Victoria, thanks for being here, glad you enjoyed it. There were some hilarious interviews, some were with people who were ‘out there!’ One couple was dressed like Merlin (curling shoes and head-dress which made him look hysterically funny) and his wife was called Dot and was the White Witch of England and she was dressed like Guinevere. Seated 2 feet from us on thrones. Hubby nearly bust a blood vessel trying not to laugh. Had one lady whose voice and face changed to look like a Chinaman – seriously! I could go on… a shame it did not happen as a programme but Sky and other Sat TV channels were new and it was a risky time for investment. We carried on with our music business activities in any case, but it would have a change for us anyway. xx

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Jane, fascinating post. I love to read and blog about short stories, especially contemporary and classic authors. I have had several of my short stories published in magazines and then I reformatted them for Kindle Singles on Amazon for 99 cents and sometimes for free as promotional freebies for my mystery novels. I’ve discovered almost no one wants to spend 99 cents on a single short story; sales are usually flat but free downloads are usually high. I’ve been considering putting them all into a collection of short stories on Amazon. Any advice or tips for short stories authors on selling short fiction collections?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Paula, thanks so much for your comments. I wish you great success with your short stories. I haven’t a secret to sales for them. I have never tried to sell individual stories and never sold anything for 99c or 99p. I have a traditional publisher for my novel and some anthologies but they are not promoted by the publisher, they do so little these days. I indie published Undercover because I knew that my trad publisher would only be interested in my Women’s Fiction writing. I do all my own PR for everything I write. My agent is looking at placing Ms. Birdsong series, so fingers crossed. She was attracted to me because of my writing, but also because I am prolific at promotion – blogs (as a guest author or hosting guests), Facebook blogs and posts, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on. I do promo every day. People are kind and try to help each other within the writing community. So, my advice is to get out there and do podcast/video and internet radio interviews, just ask if you can be a guest if they don’t come to you. Post other authors on your FB author page, share their posts, join groups and review books and post on Amazon and elsewhere. That is all I can suggest. I wish I had a silver bullet and a secret, but I don’t. I wish you great success. Try, try and try again. Every no leads to a yes. xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan, thanks so much for your comments. There have been a few odd experiences, some I mention in various anthologies – Ghostly Writes anthologies on Amazon. Yes, my husband is a musician, we have been together since 1968 and went on to manage other musicians so there is a lot of scope for stories as you can imagine. In fact, the novel I co-wrote with Christina Jones set in 1968/69 Only One Woman, is set in the UK music scene of those days so lots of research was needed – good job I kept diaries, posters, fan mail, and tour schedules otherwise I would still be researching. Thank you so much xx Have a fab week.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Wow, yes then he would love OOW, lots of guys have read it more than once and musicians enjoy it because they know the venues, the life on the road and so much more. Graham Bonnet, from (at the time) The Marbles, wrote our foreword because he and his cousin, Trevor Gordon, had the UK hit with Only One Woman, written for them by The Bee Gees who write other songs for them. Graham went on to sing with iconic rock bands such as Rainbow, Alcatraz, Michael Schenker, Richie Blackmore, and others – GB is still singing and recording, and touring. When I met my husband he was in the UK to tour and record and eventually when he decided enough was enough, we went into business together, managing other musicians, singers, songwriters, and record producers as well as facilitating the placement of music onto soundtracks for movies and TV around the world. So we have been in music all our lives, apart from when I worked in the early days to help support us when he and the band were still gaining success. So, we have lots in common Jan, how amazing. Such a different life. I am sure you will enjoy OOW too. Let him read it as well. So many men love it too. Thanks so much for being here. Jane x

          Liked by 1 person

  6. alexcraigie

    Fascinating! I didn’t realise that there were classes on crime for writers – that would be sooo useful. When I look up something on the Internet I do wonder whether it alerts someone somewhere who thinks I’m planning something diabolical…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL Alex, just imagine what our Google footprint has to say at us. I live in fear of the men on black knocking on the door. Yes, there are university courses for crime writers. I also know some former homicide detectives and counter-terrorism detectives – now authors – who are kind enough to answer my daft questions at times when I am really stuck. good luck with your searches and I hope you have an alibi!!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Wow, Jane, that’s spooky to open your eyes to see an old lady, leaning over staring at you, and your husband saw her too. I read about you taking classes in forensic science and criminal justice for your writing. How exciting that your book Under Cover is being used for Western Kentucky University. Congratulations on the success of your book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Miriam, thanks so much, and yes, I am chuffed Undercover is being used by 2nd-year students. I hope they like it. It was chosen over so many other books apparently. Studying for the courses was something I decided when I found I kept having to ask former detective author friends so many questions, so frequently, I thought I might be a pest. I had to find out things for myself. I am not an expert, just have the basics, but enough to understand what I am doing – I hope – and it was fun. Yep, that old lady is with me all the time I am told, alongside a man with horses and a Japanese Geisha. go figure!! Thanks for your kind words. Appreciated. xx


  8. I feel so boring after reading Jane’s wonderful interview. As far as the ghosts in the flat…uh, NO! I may enjoy all aspects of horror but I could never live with spirits. I would need an endless supply of knickers. Really enjoyed the responses, Jane!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Chuck, you made me laugh out loud! I get you and the knickers. I had a new baby at the time and I put it down to hormones but my hubby saw things too. Later so many mediums and clairvoyants said they saw my ‘guides’ that we had to wonder. Never telling them anything beforehand, about ourselves was the rule. One even predicted the Lockerbie Disaster in Scotland and we were in the recording studio with her when we had lots of phantom keyboard tracks appear on the recordings overnight. We would wipe them, and next day they would be back. All good fun. I wrote about that particular episode in Wishing on a Star anthology for my publisher, Headline, in 2014. Glad you enjoyed my interview. It was fun to do. xx


  9. I really enjoyed reading this, Jane and Teri. It sounds as if Ms Birdsong is a character I need to get to know as well. Aren’t the different names we have for things confusing, though, Jane? I remember toffee apples from my childhood too, but have never heard them called Candy apple or Candy corn.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Val, I know, names can be confusing and the differences are really made clear when you hear American names for things and it takes a while to realise what they mean. I had a funny experience at a radio station in the USA once when on tour with a band doing PA and live performances on air. During the interview the musicians had to sign photos for fans and the felt tip pens (called Sharpies over there) were smudging because they were still wet when being piled up ready to be sent off. One of the band said ‘it’s a pity there aren’t rubbers for felt-tips!’ Total shocked silence on-air and a phone call from ‘upstairs’ said for someone to shut the band up! It transpired that the station big-wigs thought they were being obscene and were talking about contraceptives!! ‘No! No!’ we cried trying to explain. ‘Oh! you mean erasers!’ the DJs realised. I think you will like Ms. B. she is quite a lady! Fingers crossed my agent finds a home for her soon. xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Priscilla, thanks for being here. Yes, an odd time. Living in London during the early 1970s and being with a band and all that entails. Life was never dull. I didn’t get much time to think about being pregnant. It was all so hectic. Much later we (all of us) had some odd experiences in studios with phantom keyboard tracks and strange happenings – many years later. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Jane’s paranormal experiences are hair-raising. I’d have been out of those flats and running for the hills as fast as I could. I can’t imagine what it must have been like waking up and finding a ghost looking down at you. No wonder you went into labour the following day, Jane. I’d love to know if you’re still experiencing any paranormal experiences and what they are.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Hugh, thanks for your interest. I have not had so many since my early 20s but there have been some. When my Dad died in 1987 aged 60 I kept smelling TCP which is odd because I never used it but perhaps it was used when he was sick. We 9hubby and I ) used to put rock nights on at the London Hippodrome and the first show we did after he died, I wore some earrings for the first time ever. One of them kept being tugged off. I also had a levitation experience up from my bed but I may have been dreaming. All around the time he died. We had several strange experiences with the various people we interviewed for the Sat TV show – see the thread. A couple of times in the recording studio we experienced strange feelings and a clairvoyant friend who knows nothing about music, bands and musicians etc. described Phil Lynott and Snowy White in detail when she was with us for a recording session just to see what it was like. A few months before we were in the studio – which is owned by former Whitesnake guitarist, John Skyes – Thin Lizzie had been there visiting and messing around. Just before Phil died. We also had phantom keyboards recorded on the tracks each day and they had to be wiped. I could go on, but since about 1990 I cannot think of anything in particular. Over the years there had been many. I have written short stories about some of them and they are in various anthologies. My novels steer clear. Hope you are ghost-free. Have a fab week. xx

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you for responding to my question, Jane. I’d say that paranormal activity seems to respond to you. It makes me wonder if some people are more susceptible to paranormal activity than others. I’ve had a couple of experiences in my lifetime, but they were well apart from each other.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hugh, I wonder if it is something to do with heightened emotional states. I don’t know. I get feelings and premonitions now and again which prove to be correct. I am open-minded. What experiences have you had? Be interested to know. x

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Only three that I know about Jane. One involved some scratches I found on the underneath of my bed a few months after being woken by a scratching sound and the duvet being pulled off the bed. I lived alone and had no pets at the time it happened. I mentioned the story on Bad Moon Rising a few years ago in answer to one of the questions Teri asked that year.

        The second experience was witnessing what I can only describe as a maid walking across the landing of the first floor of a house where I rented a room. Her feet were a couple of inches off the floor, though. Later that night, I was woken by something sitting on the end of my bed and saw a figure looking at me.

        The third happened recently and involved a blog post I wrote that somebody left a comment on, giving me flashbacks of a previous life.

        I don’t know what to make of them, but I’m curious about why they happened.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. It is odd. I am of the opinion that we occupy parallel time with those who have ‘gone’ before us. We get glimpses of them when something causes them to be in the same place as us – like a film being played perhaps? May be a portal of some sort. I have had someone sit on the end of my bed. It is real. Not sure if they were aware I was there or not. It is odd, just as intriguing as UFOs…and I have seen some odd things which could be described as unidentified flying objects. I am again, open minded. x

          Liked by 2 people

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