Ducie’s Diary: May 2021
What a difference a month makes. In April’s diary, I was talking about spending Easter with friends in the garden wrapped in blankets and cuddling a hot water bottle.
For the past few days, I have moved my office permanently outside onto the patio, where I can watch the beans and peas swell before my very eyes and the roses and poppies are bursting into bloom. I’ve even had complaints on my Zoom calls that the blackbirds have been singing too loudly! May is such a verdant month; I think it might be my favourite – at the moment, anyway. But what about work this month?
Writing This Month
The pharmaceutical textbook project is coming on apace. My co-author and I are about to deliver another three chapters to the publisher, making the book 50% complete. Another two months and we’ll be there. One thing I’ve learned during this exercise is how my writing has improved in twenty years. When I read some of the prose in the first edition, from 2002, I cringe. But I guess it’s a good thing I’ve got better with time.
I am delighted to announce I finished the final rewrite of Murder at Mountjoy Manor this month. It’s now sitting with my beta readers, some here in the UK and others in the US, and so far, the feedback I’ve had is very encouraging. All being well, it will be winging its way to my wonderful proofreader, Julia Gibbs, by the middle of June; the Advance Reader Copies will be ready for distribution from mid-July onward; and my launch date is set for 15th October. If you would like to join my VIP team and get your hands on an ARC before launch, do drop me a line and I’ll add your name to the list.
And as this is a new series, I’m still working on the world building, to introduce my readers to the village of Coombesford and its people. If you’d like to know how some of the characters from my thrillers, Charlie Jones and her family, have ended up running a pub with rooms in South Devon, just click here for a free download.
Sales and Marketing
Sales have been a bit sluggish this month, as I haven’t done any extra promotions. But I’m still seeing some carryover from the thriller promo in April.
I am coming to the end of the second month of Women in Publishing School, a four-month program run out of the US. I’ve spent the month setting my goals for the new book and building my ARC reader list. And I’m in the middle of revamping my website. There’s still some work to do there, but I’d be interested in your feedback on my new colour scheme.
Out and About
Work-wise, I’ve not done anything outside the house this month, although we did have a conversation about the new book while sitting in the sunshine drinking coffee after a wonderful lunch in a real restaurant last week. But I guess that doesn’t count.
From the comfort of my own home, I took part in a brilliant poetry workshop last week with the Band of Bards. Run by Kimwei McCarthy, Grand Bard of Exeter, it culminated in a collaborative piece which he recorded for BBC Radio Devon. It’s called Devon-folk Origins, and I’m really chuffed to have a verse based on my words in there.
Exeter Literary Festival
Finally, eighteen months after the end of the 2019 festival, we are ready to announce details of the next one. It will be going up on the website any day now. If you are located in the south west of England, do check it out. We have some great sessions coming up, both for readers and writers.
A reminder that Exeter Literary Festival’s short story competition is open now; closing on 31st July. Once again, the theme is open, but the word limit is just 750. Writing flash fiction is something that’s growing in popularity. If you’ve already tried it, I’m sure you’ll know how addictive it can be. And if it’s new to you, why not give it a try? It’s open to anyone, from anywhere!