Ducie’ Diary: August 2022

What a glorious month it’s been weather-wise. I appreciate that not everyone enjoys a heatwave, and I’m as concerned about water shortages and other environmental issues as everyone else, but there’s something about blue skies and the feel of sun on my skin that lifts my spirits and makes me glad to be alive. And I’m reveling in the opportunity to eat outdoors. It’s something that rarely happened when I was growing up and one of the cultural changes in this country that I really welcome. But enough whimsy. Let’s talk writing.

Writing This Month

The manuscript for Villainy at the Village Store is back from proofreading and I’m in the process of formatting it at the moment. I’m expecting to send it out to my wonderful team of Advance Readers later this week. There’s still places for a few more on that team. If you fancy getting your hands on a pre-publication copy and would like to help me build a pre-launch buzz, do drop me a line and I’ll add you to my list.

Further to my mention last month of the challenge arising from Authors in a Pickle to get something submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul before the end of the year, I’ve now written and submitted two pieces. And that’s reawakened my interest in submissions generally. So I’ve also entered a couple of competitions.

August is time for Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and for the past ten years, I’ve posted a daily blog while attending. You may have seen this year’s posts already, but if not, they start here. As usual, I took the opportunity to review my writing achievements over the past year and set my objectives for the coming twelve months. Plus there were some opportunities to just sit down and WRITE. I came away with a number of promising drafts plus lots of ideas for writing group exercises. All in all, a most productive month, writing-wise.

Sales and Marketing

My three Amazon Ads campaigns continue to be in profit, just about, although ebook sales always seem to slacken off in August. But I’ve done a couple of face-to-face events resulting in sales. And, of course, I had my books available in the Swanwick Book Room. So more physical copies than anything else this month. My main area of focus at the moment is obviously the new book and I continue to pick up tips and tricks via Book Launch in a Box and other WritePublishSell webinars.

Out and About

As already mentioned, I was back in Derbyshire for the Writers’ Summer School. And courtesy of the South Hams Authors’ Network, I spoke about being ‘A Broad Abroad’ at the Dartmoor Edge Creative Cafe in the Clay Factory at Ivybridge. Then, two days later, on Monday 22nd August, I talked all things cosy murder at the Totnes Literary Festival.

September is going to be very busy with ‘extracurricular’ activities. We have two events to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Cancer Lifeline South West: a quiz on 3rd and a concert on 24th. Plus I have a milestone birthday coming up and expect to be taking a bit of time off to celebrate that. So there’s nothing formal booked relating to my books or writing; but I’ve just had a WI booking coming in for September 2023, so I guess it’s time to buy next year’s diary.

What Have I Been Reading Lately?

I’ve known Val Penny for several years now since we first met at Swanwick. She has generously hosted me on her blog, helped with my virtual book launches and recommended my non-fiction series to other writers. I am always happy to return the compliment and was delighted to be asked to take part in the book tour for her latest launch this month.

Val’s been writing her police procedurals, featuring DI Hunter Wilson, for some years now, to great acclaim. The books are now being republished, in a second edition, with a wonderful new set of moody covers. If you’ve not come across them before, now’s your chance to discover a series that’s sure to be enjoyed by all lovers of crime fiction.

Here’s my review in full: DI Hunter Wilson is having a busy time. People are dying all around him. There’s the body discovered buried on the golf course. Another is killed in a car park right in front of Hunter. And the body count looks like it will continue to rise. So it’s not a good time to try and trace the new source of drugs on the streets while breaking in a new member of his team. And his son is coming to visit for the first time in a long time.

This is the first in a series of Tartan Noir novels and it establishes the main characters nicely. Val Penny is an American ex-pat living in Scotland, but her portrayal of this Edinburgh setting shows she knows her adopted home well. There are plenty of red herrings and I failed to spot the murderer until the very last moment. A promising start and I look forward to reading more in the series.

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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