Ducie’s Diary: January 2023

It’s been two months since I wrote one of these diary pieces, as I was on holiday last month. But time seems to be flying and our Christmas and New Year celebrations are but a distant memory already. The past four weeks have been very busy, work wise, as you will see below. On a personal note, I’m delighted to report that in addition to having a completely dry January, I’ve started going to aerobics (substituting a chair for the floor exercises) and am swimming twice a week. Not a New Year’s resolution; just a general desire to stay that much fitter, that much longer. But enough of that. What of the writing, I hear you ask.

Writing This Month

My main goal for this month was to complete the first draft of Coombesford Chronicles #3. And this morning I got up before dawn and wrote the last three scenes. So now starts the fun part. I have more than forty chapters written, some but not all of which are sequential. I have to sort out the timeline and decide what goes where. Much like a huge literary jigsaw. (And I do love puzzles.) So that’s February sorted.

I’m feeling quite pleased with myself, as I not only wrote nearly 20K words this month, but also entered three poems in a competition. Yes, I know I’m a prose writer, rather than a poet, and I have no illusions that my entries are anything special. But they are pieces I wrote during a number of workshops last year, and I decided it was time they saw the light of day. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Sales and Marketing

My Amazon Ads continue to push sales and page reads in the US. So, this month I started exploring the UK ads site as well. It’s a smaller market and the site is less sophisticated than its big brother, but I’m going to see how it goes for a few months.

I dipped my toe very cautiously into the Facebook Ads pool this month then very quickly withdrew it. This fairly unscientific test confirmed my earlier impression that it’s a money pit if you don’t know what you are doing. So I’ve retreated to dry land and will leave that one alone for the time being.

I mentioned in November that here in UK, the paperback editions of my Jones Sisters thrillers had all been reduced significantly in price by Amazon. Counterfeit! has now returned to full price, but there are still savings to be made on Deception! and Corruption!.

Out and About

Despite being on holiday during December, I took part in a couple of face to face events. The Christmas Fayre here in Chudleigh was a wonderful occasion, and my busiest three-hour selling spree ever. It was great to see so many people out in town, celebrating the switch-on of the Christmas Lights. The author event at a local bookshop later that month was a much quieter affair, but, as always, it was great to meet new people and introduce them to my books.

I had no events booked for January, and February is quiet too, although I did set up one speaking engagement for January 2024. However from the start of March, things start getting busy once again. And I want to remind you about the Women in Business Summit. It’s a 4 day virtual event, starting on 1st March, packed with workshops, Q&A sessions, networking opportunities and more, centering on women who are writing books, publishing books (for themselves or others) editing, marketing experts, book designers – basically, it’s a place for everyone involved in the industry of books to come together and network, learn together, and grow together! Add a great lineup of sponsors to help you determine the tools and services you need, and even get a discount on them in the process, and you’ve got an incredible four days! (And while the speakers are women, it is not a women-only event. Men are welcome to attend too.) I’ve been involved in the summits for three years, and this time I will be leading a workshop on Author Business Foundations: getting that first business plan written. Do take a look at what’s on offer by clicking here. (In the interest of transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I get a small commission for each ticket booked, but it costs you absolutely nothing extra to do so.) And if you decide to sign up, use this code: 50OFFWIP23 to get a $50 discount on the entry price. The offer expires on 15th February.

What Have I Been Reading Lately?

One of the changes I’ve decided to make this year is to halt the interview slot which has run for the past few years on the second Monday of each month. And looking for something to replace it with, I thought about my book reviews. Last year I read and reviewed over 80 books in twelve months. I always post my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. So I toyed with the idea of posting them on here as well. I may still do that at some point. But for now, I’m going to do a summary in the diary instead, featuring one book in detail and mentioning the rest. So here goes.

I’ve mentioned my friend, and fellow Swanwicker, Val Penny more than once recently, as she’s having a very busy time re-issuing her Scottish crime novels with her new publisher. And this month, she’s done it again. Hunter’s Force, the third in the series, came out just last week.

Can DI Hunter Wilson keep Edinburgh safe when he is the hunted?

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is woken in the early hours of the morning by a call from his son. Cameron’s flatmate was murdered. Why would anybody want to kill a young woman recently arrived in the city?

Hunter must call in the new Major Incident Team (MIT) to lead the investigation due to the reorganisation of police services. Hunter’s ability to be involved, however, is put in severe doubt when someone from his past decides to take revenge on him. He goes missing, and his team have no idea where to look for him. Who would want to stop Hunter in his tracks?

Meanwhile, Hunter’s team must work closely with the MIT and with or without him, solve the murder in this taut crime thriller.

I very much enjoyed meeting DI Hunter Wilson and his team once again. Here’s my review:

The third in the series of Val Penny’s Edinburgh Noir series really lives up to its genre. Opening with a brutal murder in the home of DI Hunter Wilson’s son, the story rapidly spirals to cover human trafficking, money laundering and more. But at the same time, Hunter has his own issues to deal with as someone from his past re-appears, bent on revenge. The development of the characters continues well; not only Hunter and his own team but also local criminal Ian Thompson and his family, especially teenager Frankie and his young twins. A gripping story with an unexpected ending. I look forward to more in the series.

And elsewhere on my bookshelves. I’ve also been reading this month:

Dying Inside by Damien Boyd (tenth in the series and they just keep getting better)

Stolen Ones by Angela Marsons (a reminder of home that never goes stale)

Sign of Nine Stripes by Carol Amorosi (the third in a series by my writing buddy)

Agatha Christie by Lucy Worsley (a rare foray into non-fiction for me)

Julia Prima by Alison Morton (such a joy to return to Roma Nova)

Goodbye Linden Square by Anne Shillolo (review awaiting approval by Amazon)

A Litter of Bones by J D Kirk (review awaiting approval by Amazon)

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.

Comments (1)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.