Ducie’s Diary: March 2023

British Summer Time, Daylight Saving Time, whatever you call it, we’ve passed the point where the clocks go forward an hour. I have to confess that our walk this morning was a tad later than normal as we’re still adjusting to the darker mornings, but what a joy it was to look out of the window after 6pm last night and see it was still fully light. It won’t be long before we’ll be able to sit outside reading after supper as the bats begin their evening hunt and the sun slips gently behind Chudleigh Rocks. I love the longer evenings. Roll on summer.

Writing this month

It’s been a very quiet time, writing-wise. Last month, I finished this section of the blog with the following words: Maybe in March, while my novel is with my alpha readers, I will do some writing just for the heck of it. Well, here I am, four weeks later, having to admit I’ve done NO writing this month at all! (Apart from quite a few book reviews – see below.) But the feedback is in from both my alpha readers and I’m all fired up ready to get the second edit of Calamity at Coombesford Church done during April (with my brand new cover to spur me on). Plus I’ve got a book of short stories to finalise and launch. So a busy month coming up, methinks.

Sales and Marketing

There’s been quite a bit going on in terms of sales, including my first ever purchase from Japan, which was very exciting. Both my US and UK Amazon Ads continue to work well; and while I’ve not seen significant effect of having a book featured in Amazon Prime, it’s nice to know that Murder at Mountjoy Manor is currently available for Prime Members to read for free. The marketing is all a bit passive at the moment, although I love checking my KDP dashboard each morning to see I’ve been making money while I sleep. (And yes, I know that’s sad!)

Out and About

For the third year in a row, I was a speaker at the Women in Publishing summit. This year, I ran a workshop on writing your first business plan. It seemed to go down well; and while presenting a webinar where you can’t see the audience or hear their comments is a weird experience, the continual stream of hearts and other emojis floating across the screen assured me that at least someone was still awake and paying attention .

The Meet the Authors Day organised by South Hams Authors’ Network to co-incide with the final day of the English Riviera Literary Festival was held in a beautiful room with plenty of space, comfortable chairs, and a whole host of authors. Due to circumstances completely beyond our control, the footfall during the day was very small; however, if you’ve done these events as often as I have, you learn to be sanguine about that sort of thing. We sold a few books, were all interviewed for local radio and several of us are booked to do longer programmes in the future. Plus we did lots of networking and chatted to the organisers about opportunities for future festivals. Definitely a case of lemonade from lemons, in my opinion.

What Have I Been Reading Lately?

Another book launch to report this month: this time, it’s from friend and fellow Chudleigh Writers’ Circle member, May Georgina de Grey, whose debut novel, Then The Earth Moved, was published on 20th March. As regular readers of this blog will know, I read mostly crime or fantasy. But I am happy to make an exception and try other genres on occasion. This novel is a romance set in Italy. Mary Georgina is an avid traveller and setting is always going to be a big part of her writing. Here’s my review:

When Isla Bruni takes a six-month secondment to work in a design studio in the Abruzzo region on Italy, the last thing she has on her mind is romance. She plans to spend the time gaining experience while planning the next step in her career – setting up her own practice, either in Italy or back home in London. But life’s journey has a habit of taking unexpected turns and when she meets Edmundo and his son, Adriano, she realises she may be in for a bumpy ride.

Then The Earth Moved is the debut novel for Mary Georgina De Grey. And what a great way to start. It’s a classic romance story, with a very ‘no nonsense’ strong woman as a heroine; and a sincere, hardworking single father as a hero. But it’s so much more. The author’s detailed knowledge and love of Italy shines through every page and the Italian countryside becomes a character in its own right. There are a number of subplots that are satisfactorily completed. And the moments of tension are compelling. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Highly recommended.

And elsewhere on my bookshelves, I’ve also been reading:

Dark Skies, Seven Bridges, The Hermitage, Longstone and The Infirmary, all by L J Ross (another binge session for this author; although I’m taking a break before reading the rest of the series)

Murder at Aspen Creek by Anne Shillolo (a very short introduction to Anne’s new series of police procedurals set in Western Canada)

The Closers by Michael Connelly (a return to the mean streets of LA and Harry Bosch)


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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