Short Stories: I Love Writing Them

I love writing short stories. It’s a challenge to get a complete and satisfying tale over to a reader within a limited number of words.

Novels are easier to write because – as a writer – one has time to dig in and develop a character, a location, and a plot. You can unfold all this over many chapters and pages gradually taking your reader on a journey of discovery.

In a short story, one has to do all this but faster, in a tighter format, without sacrificing a satisfying beginning, middle, and ending.

I’ve striven to do this in the many short stores I’ve written for anthologies of all genres. I never thought I’d ever write a ghost or a time-slip story, a romance, or a tale of pirates and modern smugglers. But it’s amazing what you can turn your hand to once asked.

Victory 75

Many of the anthologies I have contributed towards have been in aid of various charities, such as Help for Heroes, SSAFA, Princess Alice Hospice, and others.

When Stars Will Shine
In A Word Murder

Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson) was a great personal favourite as a child – I still love tales of buccaneers and pirates, and I’ve written such a story in my two-parter: The Secret of Willow Cottage – The Tale of the Reluctant Bride, and I followed it up with The Secret of Willow Cottage – The Tale of the Jilted Lover.

Willow Cottage: Photo Jane Risdon – Features in The Secret of Willow Cottage Cottage

Both stories cannot be found in any anthology (yet), in case you thought to look. But there are audio recordings of them both – see further on.

The first part of the story, The Tale of the Reluctant Bride, began life as a piece of Flash Fiction and it proved so popular with my readers – who wanted to know what happened to one of the characters who fled the scene and was never heard from again – that I was frog-marched into considering another story.

I decided to write The Tale of the Jilted Lover – which let the reader know what happened to him and why he seemed to have disappeared. It was such fun researching pirates and Galveston Island off of Texas. I had no idea until I started the story that Galveston was an island, let alone the bolt-hole for so many famous pirates.

The Secret of Willow Cottage – parts one and two – can be heard, narrated by Canadian Actress, Sherri Dahl, when you click their links.

The Secret of Willow Cottage,: The Tale of the Reluctant Bride
The Secret of Willow Cottage: The Tale of the Jilted Lover

Another pirate/smuggler story I wrote is featured in an anthology and is called ‘The Haunting of Anne Chambers,’ and you can find it in ‘Shiver,’ published by Headline Accent. I’m dead chuffed with the reviews my story garnered. It’s a modern smuggling story – with a time-slip, set in Cornwall, in a village with a strong smuggling tradition back in the days of privateers. I’m thrilled with this review on GoodReads.

Colm Herron USA

Haven’t been as spooked since I saw Halloween

GoodReads Review 5*

Format : Kindle Edition

Just finished reading Shiver and I have to confess – I haven’t been as spooked since I saw Halloween in the cinema all those years ago. The nine short stories in Shiver are so varied, so strange and so chilling in their own peculiar ways, ways that sometimes carry the horror of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining yet other times are as playful as Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

Each of the nine is a gem and I would be here all day if I were to write a critique of each. But I must tell about three that nearly had me hiding under the eiderdown.

The most extraordinary of these stories is The Haunting of Anne Chambers by Jane Risdon. This writer employs an ingenious device that was first used in the Gothic novel – telling her gripping tale in two time periods. John Fowles pulled it off in The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Risdon achieves it using so many twists that are all her own. A humdinger.

If you love music and find the whole business of recording and how a group of musicians manage to stay together given the enormous stress and strains of living in such close proximity with each other- whilst endeavouring to be creative – under financial, and time pressure from the record company, then you must read ‘Merry Christmas Everybody.‘ This is included in the anthology, Wishing on a Star, published by Headline Accent.

Jane with Wishing On A Star. Photo Jane Risdon

Review by Bobby Underwood USA on GoodReads:

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY – Jane Risdon -Wishing on a Star.

A rock band with its fair share of conflicting personalities is recording around Christmastime and can’t understand why keyboards and a different song continue to be heard on a track without any. Creating tension and hostility between band members and producer, engineer, and fellow band members, it baffles everyone except for two band members, who think they know what’s happening, but can’t bring themselves to tell the others for fear of being scoffed at. Events soon escalate and they are forced to come clean. Good little offbeat Christmas story, and a nice change of pace after the previous story. Five stars.

A short story I wrote some time ago is featured today, in Allan Hudson’s blog ‘Short Stories from Around the World.’ The link is below:

Photo Jane Risdon

My collection of short stories Undercover: Crime Shorts has been used (since Oct. 2021) by Western Kentucky University, KT, USA, in their ‘Introduction to Literature,’ classes for 2nd-year students.

From MyVLF Feb Book of the Month.

My collection represents a small number of short stories I’ve written and it was difficult choosing which to include. I hope you enjoy them. I love writing crime – it’s my favourite genre – and I read mainly crime, thriller, and mysteries as well as spy thrillers. So my influences may well show through.

Review by Jennifer Sherpard for Undercover: Crime Shorts

I do lots of research for my writing – novels, and short stories – and I often find myself losing hours reading about various methods of ‘dispatch,’ and ‘disposal.’

Click on the link for the Authors show, channel 4, to find my interview. I am always in their archives 24/7 so you can always turn up anytime. Or…

You can listen to my interview about Undercover: Crime Shorts, on the global network,

The Authors Show, click below.

My short stories can be found in several anthologies. Visit my Amazon Author Page

to find most of them, and others are included in various online magazines, including my regular series, In the Mix, where I share tales about my experiences in the international music industry. Issues can be found on Amazon – the Writers’ and Readers’ Magazine.
My series, In the Mix, is featured in each issue.

Back in the day - Recording Studio with SSL Desk (c) Jane Risdon 1991
Studio with SSL Desk (c) Jane Risdon 1991

Thanks for visiting me and for taking the time to read my blog and look at my photos. Your visit is always appreciated and I love to interact with you so don’t be shy. Have a fabulous summer and enjoy yourselves. Until next time, Jane xx

Ghostly Writes anthologies


    • LOL that would be nice but most of them are under contract to Headline, so I would need to ask for the Rights back. But others, possibly, I have dozens on my computer, some as comic, observational and quirky. I have no idea how to self publish and that puts me off. I love your short stories, and I agree, they are enjoyable to read and to write. Sometimes when we are not in the mood for a novel, reading flash fiction or shorts does the job. I love Jeffrey Archer’s stories, Daphne Du Maurier’s and similar. Is it hot in Ireland?


  1. One of the beauties of writing is there’s something for everyone, both readers and writers. One of the people in my critique group writes nothing but short stories.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi, it’s going to be hot here as well but it’s not really abnormal for us to have temps in the 90 Degrees F.

        The humidity is what gets me. I know we don’t have it as badly as people in places like Mississippi where my daughter lives but still, hot, sticky muggy is nasty to me.

        I always feel as though I should shower after being outside for so long.

        I know it’s not your normal to be this hot so I hope you find a cool escape.

        Maybe write a short story about a crime spree that took place in the middle of an unusual heatwave.

        Have a super Saturday.

        Liked by 1 person

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