Ducie’s Diary: February 2022

Well, that’s February done with. It’s only two or three days shorter than the other eleven months, but it seems to make a huge difference, doesn’t it? I spent most of the month recuperating from my knee surgery and am delighted to report very rapid progress. I’ve already dispensed with the walking sticks most of the time and am back at my desk working every day. (Which reminds me; I haven’t done any exercises so far this morning. Must put that on the To Do list!) There’s lots of colour in the garden already and I’m even beginning to think about putting away my winter jumpers (well, in a week or two, anyway). But what’s been going on in my writerly world?

Writing This Month

My alpha readers finished their feedback on the second Coombesford Chronicles novel. I’m due to start the next stage of editing tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ve being putting the final touches to the stories making up Coombesford Calendar Volume 1 which is due out in April. I totally failed to sort out the cover, so the promised reveal will have to wait until next month.

Sales and Marketing

It’s been a bit quieter this month on the promotion side of things. I’m still working on Amazon Ads for Murder at Mountjoy Manor; it’s definitely a slow process, but I’m much happier taking my time and learning as I go along, rather than throwing lots of time and money at it and making expensive mistakes as a result.

Counterfeit! continues to be permafree and I’m still getting a small but regular level of downloads without any additional promotion. Plus, I get the occasional spike where dozens of copies are downloaded overnight for no apparent reason. I’m assuming that’s due to an Amazon email of some kind. But as I have no advance warning, it’s hard to tell. Read-through to the rest of the series is starting to appear, but it still remains to be seen whether this will be my long-term strategy or not. I’m going to reassess the situation after 6 months.

Finally, news of a promotion being run by a group of eight authors, of which I am one, offering help with growing your brand. There are free books covering self-publishing, marketing and business planning. As normal, you sign up for the author’s newsletter in return for the download, but there really is no obligation to remain on the list afterwards, although we would obviously love you to stick around and find out what else we do. So why not grab yourself some free samples here. You have nothing to lose and you never know what you might find.

Out and About

I had great fun earlier this month, talking to the WI group here in Chudleigh about my writing journey and how I moved from a quest novel set in Russia, via a series of thrillers set in the sometime murky world of international pharmaceuticals, to cosy mysteries set in a fictional Devon village. It was so nice to be back in a room with real people once more.

Last night, or should I say early this morning, I took part in a slightly raucous Round Table meeting via Zoom on the benefits of working in Author Pods. It’s not often one can get away with attending a business meeting in one’s PJs, but somehow, it didn’t seem a problem in this case. The meeting was a precursor to this year’s Women in Publishing Summit which starts tomorrow night with a Keynote Presentation from publishing industry expert, Robin Cutler (which is free of charge and open to the public, although you have to register to get the Zoom link) and runs until Saturday evening. I don’t think I’m going to be getting much sleep this week, but it’s so going to be worth it.

And a final reminder about the Exeter Writers’ Short Story Competition which closes at 23:59 GMT tonight. There’s a first prize of £700, plus several other prizes and it’s well worth having a go, if short stories are your thing.

What Have I Been Reading Lately?

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will have seen my interview earlier this month with Carol Amorosi. She is an American who has spent a fair bit of time in recent years in Europe and currently lives in Germany. Like me, she’s working on the second in a murder mystery series, although hers are set in the eighteenth century. Her debut novel, Death on the Line was published last October.

Young Angus MacKay leaves home to work for Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon as they define their eponymous line separating Pennsylvania and Maryland. He leaves behind one set of problems but soon finds himself surrounded by new ones as dead bodies start to appear and he is implicated in the crimes. With a lazy sheriff looking for an easy answer, Angus needs to set about finding the true culprit himself.

This book is a wonderful mix of crime writing in the tradition of cozy mystery and well-researched historical fiction. The style is easy and flows well. It’s a fun read, and I look forward to hearing more about Angus, his employers and his friends as the series develops.


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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