Posted in Life Playlists, Psychological Thriller, Writing


Hi, there, lovely to be asked by Jo Lambert to do my Life Playlist.

SADIE RYAN PhotoI’m 54 years old and very proud of my age. It’s the time in my life where I feel most comfortable with myself and with who I am. It’s taken me along time to get to this place where I think life is just what it is…it’s just life…just live it.

I live in Cheshire, I have been married and divorced, have two wonderful children, a dog called Willow and a cat called Freddie. This year I had my book Behind Closed Doors, a psychological thriller published and what a dream come true that has been after over ten years of writing and rejections.

I love my own company which is pretty important for a writer. I don’t like travelling as much as I used to when I was younger. Having said that, I love cruises and have travelled with Cunard in the last few years and been totally spoilt. I think it’s an age thing or so my kids tell me, but who needs the hassle of airports if you can avoid them, right?

I speak Spanish fluently and a little French. My ideal day would be, if the weather is good, to write in the morning and then sit in the garden with a glass of something naughty and read a good book. I’m an avid reader and even though I vowed never to read on Kindle, I must confess I am now hooked. There’s something magical about a paperback that I adore, the smell and the feel of them, but practically a kindle is so light to carry around. I can even read on my phone if waiting for an appointment! That’s the advantage.

I love my garden and spend a lot of time there when I can and when the British weather allows me to.

I’ve not always written, but I’ve always read a lot. I remember the first book that got me into a heavy reading pattern where I just became obsessed with books, that was Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers. I was sixteen. From then on, I knew that I wanted to write. But I knew to do so I had to read a lot and learn and that’s what I did. I started writing around ten years ago. I first started writing paranormal romance, a genre I still enjoy reading. I do have a novel hidden in the back of my drawer, which I hope one day to blow the dust off and take another look at it. I then wrote chick lit and finally fell into writing thrillers. I think sometimes you have to just write until you find your niche.

Now back to the music and here are my choices:

Ventura Highway by America

Ventura Highway is a 1972 song by the band America from their album Homecoming.
I love listening to this. I have wanted to visit California all my life and at one time I was about to move out there but met my husband the day before I was to send my papers in the post. And as they say that was that. This song fills me with happiness and sunshine and sandy beaches. I still want to visit.

Soldier of Fortune by Deep Purple

When I wrote my first book, a paranormal romance, (unpublished) about fifteen years ago, after finishing I heard this song on the radio and thought how beautifully it corresponded to my book. I love the sound of David Coverdale’s voice, so emotive and gritty. It’s a beautiful song.

Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush

When I heard this song and that voice in 1978, I was mesmerised. Kate Bush was so different and her music so marmite. I loved this video and whenever I hear this on the radio today it takes me back to a time when I was twelve years old and carefree.

California Dreaming by The Mamas and the Papas

I’ve always loved this song because of the unique delayed harmonies. A real masterpiece for all time. It evokes images of West Coast cruising in corvettes, malt shops, beach boys cruising down the California coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Mamas and the Papas created music that changed the culture of that time. It’s happy music, to sit in the garden on a hot summer’s day with an iced cool glass of wine and just relaxing.

Fairy Tale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl

What can I say! This song is amazing. Brilliant. The lyrics and music are perfect. I love hearing this at Christmas time and all year round. It makes me laugh and smile and just feel happy.




A simmering sense of dread dominates this brilliant debut thriller. Highly recommended!

She’s in your house, now she wants your life …
Tina Valentine has it all: the loving family, the beautiful house, the successful career.
But then Megan Pearson starts work at Tina’s law firm and with her arrival the perfect world Tina has built for herself starts to collapse as it becomes clear that the newcomer is intent on infiltrating every aspect of her life.
Something is obviously wrong with Megan but nobody else seems to see it. As the mind games and manipulations continue, Tina comes to the sickening conclusion that now she’s opened the door to Megan, it’s going to be impossible to make her leave …

Available to order on Amazon Universal Link –
Audio available to order on Amazon
Google Play

Posted in Crime Thriller, Life Playlists, Publication Day, Writing

Life Playlists is back and today my guest author Wendy Dranfield is choosing her five all time favourites…

I’m Wendy Dranfield, British writer of crime fiction, avid reader, Twitter addict and owner of 3 rescue cats. When Jo asked me to join Life Tracks I thought it would be easy to come up with 5 songs. How wrong I was! It actually made me realise how many songs have been the soundtrack to my life and it’s hard to leave out so many and choose just 5. I enjoy a wide range of music but I’ve realised through doing this that the best music of my life was definitely from the nineties/early noughties. I guess that’s because I was young! Well, and because we had the best music in the nineties…
I think these 5 are my stand-out tracks:

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)
It would be tempting to pick all Nirvana songs for this exercise, and this one is an obvious choice, but I’ve chosen Smells Like Teen Spirit because it introduced me to Nirvana when I was a teenager and I’ve loved them ever since. Thanks to them, grunge music became an important part of my life and Kurt Cobain really was the voice of our generation. Of course, this made it so much harder when he took his own life and that affected me deeply. My initial enthusiasm when listening to their tracks now turns to sadness at what we lost. Nirvana are the band my husband and I share a special fondness for and what we originally bonded over.

Bryan Adams – Everything I Do (1991)
I know, I know! Everyone was sick of this song in the nineties but I absolutely loved it! It’s VERY different to the grunge I was just starting to get into, but it was the soundtrack to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. This was the first film I ever saw at the cinema, even though I was mid-teens (we were poor and couldn’t afford luxuries like cinema tickets, so I saved up as soon as I got a paper round). It was a great experience and I’ve loved going to the cinema ever since. This is still one of my guilty pleasure films that I’ll watch if it comes on TV as it reminds me of a summer spent being young and (almost) carefree, growing up in Hampshire. I started listening to Bryan Adams a lot after this and the first album I ever bought was his So Far, So Good, on CD. It was £1 in a car boot sale with a broken case and a scratch down the middle. Man alive, I wore that album out!

The Offspring – The Kids Aren’t Alright (1998)
The Offspring are my second favourite band after Nirvana and the band my husband and I listen to on every single road trip – such great car music. It’s probably the only band I don’t get sick of listening to (Nirvana can be a little depressing after a while!). When this song came out, I was working full-time at a large college but I also worked nights at Rock City in Nottingham. I heard a lot of great music working there and this song came on all the time. I used to get home from my night shift at 4am and then get up for my day job at 6am. I didn’t sleep much during that time but my life had an awesome soundtrack!

System of a Down – Chop Suey (2001)
Although this song was released in 2001, I wasn’t introduced to System of a Down until 2003. That was when I moved myself and my younger brother to Cornwall. My brother introduced me to System and Rage Against the Machine and we spent a lot of time working hard, partying hard and living a surfer’s lifestyle opposite the beach. This was also the time I met my husband, who happened to own all the same System/Rage albums as my brother, and he was impressed at my musical knowledge (thanks bro!). That summer my now-husband introduced me to Richard cheese who does ‘lounge’ versions of classics such as Chop Suey. If you’ve never listened to Richard Cheese, give him a try. He’s a musical genius!

Feeder – Just A Day (2001)
I saw Feeder live at Glastonbury 1998 and loved them. Just A Day came out in 2001 and has one of the best music videos ever because it contains the fans – if you’ve never watched it, give it a try. It’ll make you laugh! Listening to this song makes me smile because it reminds me of the friends I had at the time and the grunge nightclub (Harvey’s) we used to go to after work. They were the days I could drink on a week night and still function at work the next day…

This was so much fun. Thanks Jo!


Wendy is a former Coroner’s Assistant turned crime writer who lives in the UK with her husband. She’s been writing ever since she was a child, but only found the confidence to submit her work to publishers when she was in her thirties.

Who Cares If They Die and Where the Snow Bleeds are the first two books in the Dean Matheson series, with more on the way. As well as her crime thriller series, Wendy has written a YA crime novel – The Girl Who Died – and she has several short stories published in UK and US anthologies. She has also been shortlisted and longlisted for various competitions, including the Mslexia Novel Competition.

For behind the scenes gossip and updates on her books (or photos of her cats), follow her on social media!
Twitter: @WendyDranfield

Her second crime novel is being released on 30th July 2019 by Ruby Fiction. It’s the sequel to Who Cares If They Die, which was released last autumn. She has also just finished writing the third in the series! They follow Dean Matheson (and his wannabe police dog, Rocky) on his journey to becoming a homicide detective.


Where the Snow Bleeds

“You want to know what I’ve learnt after living in Lone Creek all my life? I know the snow bleeds here …”

Former police officer Dean Matheson has been playing it safe since the case that cost him almost everything. But working as a PI doesn’t quite cut it, that is until a British woman walks into his office with a job that Dean can’t resist.

The woman’s daughter, Hannah Walker, and her friend Jodie have gone missing whilst working at a ski resort in Colorado. It’s clear there’s something sinister about the girls’ disappearance, but then why are the local police department being so unhelpful?

So begins Dean’s journey to Lone Creek on the trail of the missing girls – and he’ll soon find out that in Lone Creek, everyone has something to hide …

Posted in General, Life Playlists, Life Soundtracks, Music, Writing

Life Playlists: this week I’m hosting blogger Joanne Baird of Portobello Book Blog – who is choosing her five special tracks…

The Voyage – Christy Moore

This was the first dance at our wedding so it has to be included. I don’t think many of the wedding guests had a clue what the song was! We both really like Christy Moore’s music and have been to see him several times in concert. The words of this are particularly appropriate, describing the journey of a relationship.

Zanzibar – Billy Joel

Billy Joel is my all time favourite singer/musician and I’ve been lucky enough to see him three times. I like so many of his songs but have picked this one to show there’s more to his music than Uptown Girl! It has a brilliant trumpet solo in it.

Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

Surely the ultimate feel-good start of the weekend song? I’m a big fan of Queen and wish I could have seen them live. Freddie Mercury was such a huge talent, a real performer.

Morningtown Ride – The Seekers

This is a song which takes me back to my childhood. Now it came out several years before I was born so I must either have heard it on the radio or maybe my mum sang it to me. I used to sing it to my girls when they were little as a bedtime song and I sing it now to my much younger nieces when they come to stay.

She – Elvis Costello

This is such a beautiful song. I like the particular version because when it’s used near the end of the film Notting Hill, it’s at a part which always makes me smile – any maybe cry a little. It’s also a song which I can play on my flute as part of a small music group and I get a wee solo bit.

About Me

Joanne Baird

I can’t remember not being a reader and always have at least one book on the go. I started my blog, Portobello Book Blog, in April 2015 to share my love of the books I was reading and it’s been great fun. I’m a busy wife and mum to two lovely girls, an avid book reader of course, a nature watcher, a keen cook and baker, always on the go and I love living by the sea.

Twitter Handle – @portybelle

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Instagram – @portybelle