Jackie Baldwin was born in Dumfries. She studied law at Edinburgh University returning to Dumfries to practice criminal and family law for the next twenty years. During that time she married and had two children and a variety of pets. She later retrained as a hypnotherapist. Dead Man’s Prayer is her debut crime novel and is set in Dumfries. When not working or writing, Jackie can generally be found in a forest or by the beach on long muddy walks with her two Retrievers.
A Writing Retreat On The Cheap
Writing retreats can be a marvellous way to claw time out of a busy life and immerse yourself in writing with the company and support of like-minded individuals. They can vary tremendously from fully tutored through to simple communal living whilst each person works on their own writing project. Over the years I have been on a few superb retreats with wonderful tutors that really inspired me to keep moving forwards with my work. These usually lasted from Monday to Friday and, whilst I didn’t begrudge a penny, they were generally not cheap.
However, if money is an issue, and it is for most of us, there is an alternative. For a couple of years now, one of my writing friends has hosted a writing weekend from Thursday to Sunday. Generally about six people attend and are all given their own space to write in. We all pay a small daily sum which goes on the communal food and bring a stash of alcohol. Everyone helps set the table, clear away and wash up. The food has been prepared in advance.
We write all day with a break for lunch and down tools around 6pm. The surroundings are gloriously bucolic with rolling hills and verdant fields. The free range hens are part of the entertainment. They leave no stone unturned in their determination to breach the house. One day we were having lunch outside when a very plump, delightfully militant hen landed on the middle of the table and pecked at a slice of bread before triumphantly re-joining her cohorts. The cats know better than to mess with them.
Every year we do one main thing for evening entertainment. Once we clubbed together to hire a massive hot tub for the weekend. This year we had a Murder Mystery Dinner. Well, we are all crime writers! It involved a 1920’s theme and we all dressed up. My jaw dropped when I turned the last page and saw that I was the murderer!
Plot problems can be mulled over during breaks. Yesterday someone was writing a scene where a character was tied to the chair and couldn’t visualise how it would resolve. She ended up tied to the chair with different knots and in different ways until she had worked it out in her head.
There is peer pressure to write and keep to your area so you don’t disturb others. It is amazing how the word count mounts up when you are sitting in a room with no distractions and nothing to do but write or stare at a wall. Sometimes we share some of our work in the evenings but there’s no pressure to do so. We are all at different stages in our writing. Some are published, a few at the submission stage and some working away on that first draft.
So, if you feel that your writing could benefit from going on a writing retreat then why not get together with a handful of writing friends and hold your own?
Sometimes perfection is worth killing for…
The second gripping crime novel in an exciting new series. Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell finds himself on the trail of a vicious killer in rural Scotland. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, James Oswald and Val McDermid.
Each murder brings him one step closer to the perfect death.
Ex-priest DI Farrell is called on to investigate a gruesome death in rural Scotland. All evidence points to suicide, except for one loose end: every light in the cottage was switched off. Why would he kill himself in the dark?
The question sparks a murder investigation that leads to the mysterious Ivy House, home of ‘The Collective’, a sinister commune of artists who will do anything to keep their twisted secrets hidden.
And when the remains of a young girl are uncovered on a barren stretch of coastline, Farrell realises that there is something rotten in this tight-knit community. Now he must track down a ruthless killer before another person dies, this time much closer to home…
***** 5 STARS
Perfect Dead is the second instalment in the DI Frank Farrell series, the follow up to the Two Thousand and Sixteen Debut Dead Men’s Prayer where we met Ex Catholic Priest Frank Farrell now turned Detective Inspector, set in the close net community of Dumfries, when I first picked up the debut novel two years ago I found it difficult to put the book down and ended up reading it in two days as Jackie Baldwin managed from page one to the final page managed to capture the readers attention and took the reader on a emotional roller coasters, the story flowed nicely and the setting, atmosphere and characters were so very believable that you felt as though you were right there along with the characters following in their very footsteps as the action in the story progressed. When two months ago I was asked to be a part of the Blog Tour for Jackie’s follow up novel, Perfect Dead I jumped at the chance and after reading the novel I was not disappointed she has in my option topped my expectations and produced another can’t put down novel that again had be on an rollercoaster ride of emotions and action, a believable story line, loveable characters and a real feeling that even though you have not left your own surrounding you feel like you know Dumfries and the surrounding areas so well. I won’t spoil the novel for you by telling you what it is all about but by using the strap lines of Each murder brings him one step closer to the perfect death and Sometimes perfection is worth killing for then you will get the idea tthat Perfect death is one creepy and gripping novel that you absolutely need to read for yourself, I can’t wait to see where the next book in this series takes us, though I don’t want to wait another two years to find out what happens next and If you have not started reading these books then I recommend that you do, you won’t be disappointed.
Perfect Dead Amazon Page
Amazon Author Page