June’s Pot Luck Club

Welcome to this month’s Pot Luck Club, a round-up of writerly bits and pieces. I’ve had the benefit of a wonderful break in Greece this month, which has really recharged my batteries, not to mention topping up my tan and improving my swimming skills. I even plucked up courage to venture into the sea on my own; and for someone born and brought up in Birmingham (the furthermost point from the sea, anywhere in the UK), who normally prefers her water enclosed by four tiled walls, that’s quite an achievement.

The Business of Writing

The relaunch for parts 1-3 went very well at the end of last month and the ebooks are available on all major online platforms. I’m very grateful to those of you who came to the launch party, bought copies and provided reviews.  I’ve had some great feedback so far. If you’ve read one of the new editions, I would really appreciate a review on your preferred platform when you have a moment. Reviews are so important for visibility, especially for indie authors.

One of my tasks this month was to get part 4 finished and published. However, I’ve had a change of heart on that. The whole purpose of The Business of Writing series is to put into book form the material I use during my training workshops. And my workshop on Independent Publishing is still quite new. I want to do a few more trials before finalising the book. So publication has been put on hold for a while. More news as soon as I have it.

I’ve also decided to keep the composite (paperback) book to parts 1-3 rather than adding in part 4, as it’s very different in nature to the rest of the series. This means I can bring forward the publication both of the composite and part 5 Workbook. So news on those next month.

Taking Flight For Penzance

I’m getting very excited now about the upcoming Penzance Literary Festival. The theme for this year is taking flight and in A Woman In The Snow, I will be talking about flight in several different contexts. There’s more than one hundred visits to the former Soviet Union countries as a technical consultant. That’s more than two hundred international flights, usually via BA and hence reasonably comfortable; plus numerous internal flights, probably best forgotten, on local aircraft. Then in 2007, another two flights: one from the dry crowded South East of England to the South West, which cannot be described as either crowded or dry; and the other from the rigours of science and technical writing, to the haven of writing fiction. And having been traditionally published during my scientific career, one final flight, into the world of self-publishing and as Runner-Up in the 2015 Self-Publishing Book of the Year Awards, I have finally arrived at my required destination.  The session runs from 3.30pm on Saturday 7th July in the Penlee Coach House. 

And earlier that day, I will be leading a workshop on The Business of Self-Publishing in the Morrab Library. This will be a highly interactive session with limited places, so if you want to come along, it might be an idea to book your ticket as soon as possible.

Kate Comes To Chudleigh

And just four days later, we have our own Literary Festival in Chudleigh. We’re all really excited to be welcoming Kate Adie as our guest speaker in the evening, along with local historian Dr Todd Gray. I’ve heard Kate speak on a couple of occasions and know she’s going to put on a great performance. And judging by the speed at which the tickets are flying out of the Box Office, a lot of other people feel the same way too. If you are planning on coming to this, do book your ticket in advance. We’re not guaranteeing any tickets on the night at this point.

The workshop on Short Stories by Jenny Kane is pretty much full now, but if you are desperate to get on that, do drop me a line; I’ve got a waiting list running. And of course, there’s still time to book for lunch, the open mic session and the free networking session in the afternoon. The Chudleigh Dragons is now closed to entries and we will be announcing the shortlist later this week. If you need a booking form, you can download it here.

Writers Are Readers Too

I’m glad to report I’m now doing much better on My Goodreads 2018 challenge. This time last month, I was ten adrift of my target. However, I have read and reviewed loads of books this month and am now up to forty four, just three behind target.

This month’s recommendation is a recent release from the pen of South Carolina writer, C. Hope Clark.  Newberry Sin sees USDA Special Projects Representative Carolina Slade sensing a mystery and a crime where others see just a death from natural causes. And once again, we are off on another excursion into life lived the Slade way.

Sometimes Slade makes me so mad, I just want to shake her! Why does she put herself – and her family and friends – through so much? Why does she keep bending or breaking the rules, doing what she does, even when she knows it’s not sensible? Why can’t she just play nice for once? Then suddenly, there she is, in the middle of another murder case, trusted by the women in trouble, if not the men, and still not being listened to by anyone else; and I realise what makes her tick and why she just has to keep going down a certain path, not necessarily the right one. Above all, it’s about the women sticking together.

The fourth Carolina Slade Mystery is just as good as the rest of the series. There are some well-developed characters; in addition to Slade, there’s her sister Ally, who is shaping up to be a great part; her kids, Ivy, with raging hormones, and little Zack, who’s got one of the best bit-parts in the whole book. And of course, the two men in her life, Wayne and Monroe. Plus a great cast of extras: Harden and Lottie are stand-outs this time. And the setting is beautifully laid out before us. Ms Clark is so obviously at home this part of the world, and she opens the door and invites us right in. Her turn of phrase is as engaging as ever. I loved “my daughter choosing a boyfriend I’d rather use as gator bait.” And one comment made me realise that small town living is probably the same wherever in the world you are: “A tug of war existed between wanting more for the town and wanting the town to be left alone.”

This was a great read; I finished it in just two sittings and gave it a well-deserved 5 stars on Amazon. I look forward to more from C. Hope Clark. Highly recommended.

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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