THE FIRST BOOK
It took me just three months to write Meat Market, a novel that recounts two days in the lives and loves of a London recruitment agency. An obvious choice of subject, easy to write, with an Essex "heroine" and a multiple viewpoint approach – but it took two years to find a publisher (with very limited marketing).
Meat Market is for you if you enjoy office politics or if you've ever wondered about the attraction of toy-boys...
Obviously, I did not want to spend so much time "placing" a book, especially when marketing budgets for novels are spent on established authors who don't need it, rather than beginners... an interesting dichotomy.
So what next? My son, of all people, provided an answer. He likes "list" books and couldn't find a list of "famous" people from the area we live in – Southend-on-Sea. So I approached some non-fiction publishers and managed to get some interest for this project... the result, the first of my local history books, now out of print, so contact me if you are having trouble getting hold of a copy.
People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond (from King Canute to Dr Feelgood) looks back at the people who made the town what it is today. Writers, actors, a mountaineer, a cartoonist, a murderer...
One thing certainly leads to another. As I gained experience in writing, in researching, in approaching editors, more local history books followed in reasonably rapid succession. In 2008 I did self-publish an anthology of poetry about infamous women written over a number of years (Bad Girls) because poetry is even harder to place than novels! This book, too, is available by contacting me direct.
A nostalgic look back at the 50s and 60s, the town's heyday.
Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in and around Southend-on-Sea looks at real life crime in the area from the 13th to 20th century.
An anthology in praise of the notorious, the naughty, but not omitting the downright nasty...
Royal mistresses, murderers and the rest.
Contemporary and historic figures who spent their formative years in the county – including a few surprises.
Entertaining bite-sized pieces of historic and contemporary trivia... Be amused and amazed at the stories and history of Essex's landscape, towns, villages, heritage, buildings and, above all, its people.
Anyone who knows Stepney, as resident, visitor, or ex-resident, will be amused and entertained, surprised and moved by these stories of the 50s and 60s.
Vivid memories are recounted within these pages - with Land Army girls, evacuees and members of the forces and the Home Guard, plus memories passed down through the generations recalling WW1 in Southend. This book looks at how the town was affected during both wars of the 20th century.
Funny, fast-paced, fact-packed compendium of frivolous, fantastic or simply strange information. A reference book and a quirky guide to dip into time and time again.
A revealing collection of tales from around the town includes ghostly sightings in Prittlewell Priory, ominous sounds and smells on the seafront and tales of mysterious shapes at the town's pubs and taverns.
The sights, sounds and lifestyle of the 1960s experience can be relived through the pages of this book, but be warned - you'll need a sense of humour. Quirky facts and fascinating data covering the whole of the U.K. - not to mention the rest of the world.
This is not a guidebook.
This little book brings together past and present
to offer a taste of Southend-on-Sea.
Learn about the movers and shakers
who shaped this fantastic town.
The great and the good; the bad and the ugly.
Small wonders, tall stories, TRIUMPH and tragedy.
Best places – worst places.
Local lingo, architecture, green spaces, events,
traditions, fact, fiction.
Origins, evolution, future.
Written by a local who knows
what makes SOUTHend-on-sea tick.
A book full of intriguing information on the incredible residents, visitors and events that have played a part in Southend’s story. Southend-on-Sea, the largest town in Essex, has had an amazingly rich history,and this book collects together hundreds of little-known facts and anecdotes that will make you see the town in a new light.
This book not only includes interviews with some of the last surviving land girls but also contains a wealth of material unearthed in diaries, letters and in the stories handed down from one generation to the next about women in Essex who were, literally, wearing the trousers. They were not all local girls, and many arrived from the cities never having seen a cow or a tractor before. But the British spirit persevered, and the wit and camaraderie that serves us so well during those tumultuous years shines through in every story.
My Little Brother, My Little Life
This novel, available as a paperback and e-book, tells the story of Linda,
from the harsh abandonment of her mother, at the age of ten, through
adolescence, marriage and children of her own. The one constant in Linda’s
life is her little brother, Douggie, whose autism sets him apart, but at the
same time, forces him to be included.
As middle-age, divorce and a new love approach, Linda is faced with a
series of difficult decisions, all of which revolve around her constant
feelings of guilt. She wonders whether it was her fault that her mother left;
whether she did enough to help her father; whether Douggie is really happy
and if there’s anything she can do about it.
Bad Girls from History
Mistresses, murderers, smugglers, pirates, prostitutes and fanatics with hearts and souls that feature every shade of black (and grey!). From Cleopatra to Ruth Ellis, from Boudicca to Bonnie Parker, from Lady Caroline Lamb to Moll Cutpurse, from Jezebel to Ava Gardner … Less familiar names include Mary Jeffries, the Victorian brothel-keeper, Belle Starr, the American gambler and horse thief, La Voisin, the 17th century Queen of all Witches in France – but these are random names, to illustrate the variety of the content in store for all those interested in women who defy law and order, for whatever reason. The risqué, the adventurous and the outrageous, the downright nasty and the downright desperate – all human (female!) life is here. From poverty stricken backgrounds to the aristocracy, class is not a common denominator. Wicked? Misunderstood? Naïve? Foolish? Predatory? Manipulative? Or just out of their time? Read … and decide.
COMPLETED BUT CURRENTLY UNPUBLISHED WORK
- My Best Friend is Deaf – picture book for pre-schoolers, one of a planned series.
"I was hooked from the first page... great story... a novel that I couldn't put down… I would definitely recommend it... must read for all lovers of chicklit... something that almost anyone will enjoy."
"Fascinating new book... highly recommended."
(The Times Group)
"Inventive style... well-written work... a light, entertaining read."
"An enjoyable romp"
(Recruitment Consultant Magazine)
"something to interest them [readers] from start to finish"
(The Times Group)
"Wonderful book... fascinating comparisons"
"heart-warming stories... fascinating snapshot... endearing black-and-white photographs"
"a triumph... a gripping account..."
"fascinating... an insight into society..."
"Difficult to choose a favourite... excellent collection ... not treated too seriously ... one of my favourite poetry books of the year - highly recommended!"
"an insightful look at the role of Essex women"
"shows the Essex Girl in a different light"
(Southend Yellow Advertiser)
"Dee's catalogue of Essex personalities... is long and heavy enough to squash any outsider who regards Essex greatness as a contradiction in terms"
"a rich bounty"
"This great little book includes everything you ever wanted to know about Essex ... in entertaining bite-sized pieces ... wacky facts ... some authentically bizarre bits of historic trivia."
"Dee Gordon has done a wonderful Job,well worth a read, well done Dee."
(Amazon UK - A. Nicholl)
"Nobody until now has told the full story of Southend at war. Who better to fill the gap than Dee Gordon, whose previous books about Essex people qualify her as an expert on the county's history... Dee Gordon's book finally does justice to a magnificent municipal story that will make any Southender proud. Her eye for detail makes this a colourful read, but the book amounts to a lot more than that. It proves that the Battle of Britain spirit was no myth."
(Southend Echo - 22nd July 2010)
"Dee Gordon's compendium of facts and strange trivia is perfect for anyone with an interest in the East End."
(Newham Recorder - 2nd January 2011)
"Following on from her brilliant title The Little Book of Essex, Dee Gordon has gone back to her roots and picked out countless trivia gems from the East End. Every Cockney should own a copy!"
(Amazon UK - 27th October 2010)
"A new spectral roundup ... Coverage of the Southend ghost scene is comprehensive and solid."
"This is a great book and has many pictures and ghostly stories featured. Dee Gordon has really done a great job of covering some truly interesting tales of haunted Southend."
"Trip down memory lane ... a treasure trove of facts about that magical decade ... a fun compilation about the period ..."
(Yorkshire Post - 2nd October 2012)
"Full of quirky, off-beat information on the 1960s."
"This is not a guide book. This little book brings together past and present to offer a taste of Southend-on-Sea. Learn more about the movers and shakers who shaped this fantastic city. The great and the good; the bad and the ugly. Small wonders, tall stories, triumph and tragedy. Best places and the worst places. Local lingo, architecture, green spaces, events, traditions, fact, fiction. Origins, evolution, future. Written by a local who knows what makes Southend-on-Sea tick."
"The book is so full of interesting, golden nuggets that it is difficult to select any one of them to emphasise how good the book is... I understand the enormous amount of research that Dee Gordon must have put into this very informative book to bring it to the market place, and I would strongly recommend reading it to obtain its full flavour."
The Woman Writer, Review - August 2014 issue
"A book about the secrets that the town holds … focuses on a brief history of the town, as well as secret places and people that have lived in the town… finding secrets isn’t the easiest thing to do!"
Yellow Advertiser - 07.03.2014
"From indiscreet MPs to 'crop circles' and a horrific murder that inspired Hitchcock – Dee’s dug it all up in her book... Dee has managed to discover not just the existence of mysteries, but their solution. For instant, diligent trawling through back copies of the Southend Standard identified the truth behind a mystery object in Southend Museum – and in historical terms, the solution is a sensation." (Read the book to find out more!)
Southend Echo - 21.02.2014
“Dee Gordon has clearly had to do a great deal of research for her latest book, but it is a story that needed to be told. There have been many books about Land Girls, but this is one devoted to their role in Essex. Essex Land Girls gives us an insight into the part they played in this area and the experiences they had.”
Leigh Times - 02.06.2015
“Well researched book covering not one but both world wars and showing the importance of Essex Land Girls in saving the country from starvation in both conflicts. Loved the personal interviews and good use has been made of recorded interviews held at museums all over Essex and at the Imperial War Museum. Favourite anecdote? Elsie's use of Ex-Lax to replace chocolate for the 'conchies' she didn't like working with."
Review on Amazon - June 2015
“As a novelist, Dee Gordon [writing here as Dee H. Gordon to differentiate the title from her local history works] shows a strong ability to evoke the pulse of everyday life, and a mastery at evoking unspoken feelings and the quiet compromises that make life manageable. Anyone who reads My Little Brother, My Little Life will wait with keen expectation for the next [novel].”
Tom King, Southend Echo - 2.10.2015
“Brilliantly written. Very touching. Couldn’t put it down until I’d finished it."
Review on Amazon - 07.09.2015 - Kindle version
"British historian [Dee] Gordon delivers a slim yet rollicking survey of 100 female renegades, many of whom would otherwise remain on history’s margins. Gordon categorizes her subjects by different aspects of notoriety and opens with sexual misconduct, focusing mainly on the class of women who consorted with the English royal family, including Camilla Parker-Bowles’s ancestor Alice Keppel (1868–1947), the most enduring of King Edward VII’s mistresses. Biographical sketches of mass murderers, such as the 19th century Mary Ann Cotton, known as the Black Widow, are separated from those of wives who took revenge on abusive husbands, such as “Killarney Kate,” who fed her husband arsenic in 1935. Gordon rounds out the book with pickpockets, plunderers, gunslingers, and eccentrics such as Princess Caraboo, aka Mary Baker, an English servant who reinvented herself as a foreign princess. Newspaper clippings and photos of the subjects bring colorful characters, such as accused axe murderer Lizzie Borden and Bonnie Parker, to life. This compendium of historical trivia is a lot of fun to read."
Publishers’ Weekly Review 9.10.17
"Local author Dee Gordon has published her latest book which, for a change, focuses not just on local people but on a medley of international womenfolk with quite a range of interesting reputations. Bad Girls from History - Wicked or Misunderstood" has been a labour of love by a writer who has always been interested in what makes women, in particular, rebel against what is regarded as acceptable - which varies from century to century, decade to decade. ... includes Camilla Parker-Bowles's ancestor Alice Keppel (1868-1947), the most enduring of king Edward VII's mistresses ... a lot of fun ..."
Leigh Times - 12.12.2017
"The author’s style is engaging and, despite the briefness of the vignettes, she manages to make these women compelling (and horrifying in some cases), and she is at pains to try and paint as balanced a picture as possible, rather than just present them according to the prevalent morality of their time. Reality and legend are sometimes difficult to tell apart, but the author, tries (and at times acknowledges defeat and provides the most interesting versions of a woman’s story available).
Among the many women in the book, I was particularly intrigued by Jane Digby (1807-1881), a lover of travel and an adventurer who also had a talent for choosing interesting men, Enriqueta Martí (1868-1913), who lived in Barcelona and who, according to recent research might not have been guilty of the horrific crimes she was accused of (I won’t talk about it in detail, but let’s say that, if it was true, she was not called The Vampire of Barcelona for nothing), Princess Caraboo (aka Mary Baker: 1791-1864), who knew how to come up with a good story, or Georgia Tann (1891-1950), that I felt intrigued by when I read that Joan Crawford (who has featured in one of my recent reads) had been one of her clients. But there are many others, and of course, this is a book that will inspire readers to do further research and look into the lives of some of these women (or even write about them).
The women in each chapter are organised in alphabetical order, and that means we jump from historical period to historical period, backward and forward, but there is enough information to allow us to get a sense of how society saw these women and how class, patronage, social status, money… influenced the way they were treated. There are personal comments by the author, but she is non-judgemental and it is impossible to read this book, especially some of the chapters, without thinking about the lot of women, about how times have changed (but not as much as we would like to think, as evidenced by recent developments and campaigns), and about how behaviours that from a modern perspective might show strength of character, intelligence, and independence, at the time could condemn a woman in the eyes of society, ruining her reputation and/or destroying her life.
A book to dip in to learn about social history and the role of women, and also one that will inspire readers to read more about some of these women (and others) that, for better or worse, have left a mark. A great starting point for further research into the topic, and a book that will make us reflect about the role of women then and now"
Extract from a review by Olga Nunez, academic and writer/blogger on www.authortranslatorolga.com