Today I am thrilled to have Jackie Baldwin and Brenda Bannister on the blog. Both had some ups and downs last year but have hopes for a better year this year so read on and find out exactly what I’m talking about.
2018 Here I come! – Jackie Baldwin
I do like a year that’s an even number. There’s something about an odd numbered year that strikes me as inherently chaotic. Last year was a case in point. One Sunday evening in February I attended my usual spin class. The very next day I developed angina and booked a ticket into the world of the unwell, not sure if my return portion was going to be required. Like I say, chaotic! Anyway, long story short, six months later, I was the proud owner of a reopened artery and three shiny (in my imagination) new stents. Given that I wasn’t able to do much apart from the day job, I also managed to write my second DI Farrell novel, Perfect Dead, which was accepted in October. Things were starting to look up!
I would like to say that I exploded into 2018 like a velvet and lace clad ninja juggling champagne bottles. The reality is that I was under house arrest dealing with my editor’s notes. Looking a bit like a character from a zombie apocalypse I made it to midnight to toast the other half. My life now resembled Groundhog Day. Eat, edit, sleep, repeat. When you read this post I will still be editing and my cream dressing gown will, rather like the portrait of Dorian Gray, bear witness to my stress snacking excesses.
Perfect Dead, or, as I like to refer to it currently, ‘the instrument of torture,’ will be out in ebook on 15th June and available in paperback on 23rd August. However, the excitement of those days will pale for me beside the far greater excitements of my daughter’s graduation in June and my son’s wedding in August. After a difficult year, there is so much to look forward to! I also intend to have a third literary baby and conceive a fourth. My third novel will be another DI Farrell book and my fourth will be something completely different.
Another goal, is to hit the gym and regain the fitness that I have lost. Around eight years ago I became a ‘born again’ gym bunny. Nobody was more surprised than me! I would hear myself bragging to my bemused friends about how many weights I could lift in my Body Pump class. My proudest moment was when a really strong girl turned round and checked out MY weights. I had arrived. And now, I’m back to square one, lifting ‘baby’ weights. By the end of 2018 I want to have equalled or surpassed the weights I could lift before. (Makes impressive grunting noise which doesn’t translate to print.)
After September, I intend to go on a big adventure as I should be able to obtain travel insurance by then. Can you imagine the indignity of being turned down by SAGA? At my age!!!! I haven’t decided where yet but I’m thinking somewhere like The Galapagos Islands or Machu Picchu. Even thinking about it brings a smile to my face.
Finally, I would like to wish Sandra and all of her readers all the very best for 2018! There’s something so invigorating about the start of a New Year brimming with possibilities. May all of your dreams come true!
Jackie Baldwin is a Scottish crime writer. Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, was published by Killer Reads, Harper Collins on 2nd September 2016. The second in the series, Perfect Dead, is due to be published on 15th June 2018. For most of her working life, she has been a solicitor specialising in Family and Criminal Law. However, she now practices in Dumfries as a hypnotherapist.
My new book is called PERFECT DEAD and is the second in a series following DI Frank Farrell, a former practicing RC priest, and his team. The action takes place in the Artists’ town of Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway. A young man is shortlisted for a major art prize and a week later is found dead, having apparently shot himself. Suspicion falls on two other shortlisted candidates, one who is allergic to sunlight and one who heads up a decadent Art Collective at Ivy House. Bones are then discovered on a massive MoD firing range which belong to a missing Irish Girl who was the girlfriend of one of the other artists at Ivy House and went missing three years ago. The police are also investigating a forgery ring believed to be operating out of the town, necessitating officers going undercover. The investigation is hampered by secrets that people are desperate to keep hidden. The team are pushed to breaking point as they strive to catch a callous killer before he strikes again, this time much closer to home.
The first book – Dead Man’s Prayer
Blurb: A dark and gripping crime debut, the first in an exciting new series. Eighteen years ago, DI Frank Farrell turned his back on the church. But when an ex-priest is murdered in his hometown, he has no choice but to delve into his past. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, James Oswald and Val McDermid.
Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell has returned to his roots in Dumfries, only to be landed with a disturbing murder case. Even worse, Farrell knows the victim: Father Boyd, the man who forced him out of the priesthood eighteen years earlier.
With no leads, Farrell must delve into the old priest’s past, one that is inexorably linked with his own. But his attention is diverted when a pair of twin boys go missing. The Dumfries police force recover one in an abandoned church, unharmed. But where is his brother?
As Farrell investigates the two cases, he can’t help but feel targeted. Is someone playing a sinister game, or is he seeing patterns that don’t exist? Either way, it’s a game Farrell needs to win before he loses his grip on his sanity, or someone else turns up dead.
Brenda Bannister – Highs and Lows
Last year was one of highs and lows. My first novel, The Tissue Veil, was published on the 26th January, so is coming up for its first birthday, but 2017 wasn’t the best time to be promoting a book. My father had a fall in February and died in April, after a couple of difficult months with hospital-acquired infections and another fall. My mum needed — and needs — a lot of support. On a happier note, my daughter got married in July!
The Tissue Veil was launched in bookshops both in my home town of Frome and in Brick Lane, East London, reflecting its Stepney setting. It’s self-published and sales are still modest, but It has received some great reviews, and I’m planning to capitalise on a recent one in the School Librarian journal (the book is not specifically YA, more a coming-of-age novel with cross-over appeal) by approaching sixth forms and colleges locally and in London. Told over two time frames, the story follows Emily and Aysha, young women living in the same house a century apart, and deals with themes of friendship, love, betrayal and the importance of self-determination for girls.
I moved to Frome in 2010 after a career in educational libraries — the last eighteen years in further education in Tower Hamlets — bringing the seeds of a story with me, seeds which the writing classes and groups I joined helped to nurture. I was one of the founder members of Frome Writers’ Collective in 2014 and in 2016 we went on to develop Silver Crow Books – a new initiative which provides a cost-effective manuscript screening service for members and support through the self-publishing process — for more info see http://silvercrowbooks.co.uk/. I also organise the annual Frome Festival Short Story Competition.
I’m currently writing a novel based in Somerset from Edwardian times to the second World War. What’s it about? A girl called Lily, changing times, disappointments, father figures, reconciliation — but I’m not great at detailed advanced plotting, so am still feeling my way into this one. I guess my resolutions are to continue to promote The Tissue Veil, get stuck into the second and find more time this year for fun and travel.
The Tissue Veil (ISBN 1785451464) is published by Black Dog in association with Silver Crow Books and is available in paperback and as an e-book through Amazon and trade suppliers.
1901 is a traumatic time for sixteen-year-old Emily. Her brother and mother are dead and her father wants her to marry his devious business partner, William Baines: she needs to get away. A century later, life for most young women has changed, but Aysha, a Bangladeshi ‘A’ level student, understands family pressure only too well.
What if you discovered a hundred year-old diary under your floorboards – and then found references in it to yourself? Or what if you lived in 1901, yet kept seeing glimpses of a girl from modern times? And what if both of you had problems that only the other could really understand? Emily and Aysha live in the same Stepney house and an inexplicable link develops between them, fuelled by Aysha’s discovery of a journal and Emily’s sightings of a ‘future ghost’. Each takes courage from the other’s predicament – after all, what’s a hundred years between friends?