Ducie’s Diary: March 2021
In the introduction to last month’s blog, I suggested winter was on the wain. Last week we passed the Spring Equinox; and last night we moved into British Summer Time here in the UK. In the house, the windowsills are full of trays and pots of seeds. And in the garden we are overrun with wild garlic once again. I still have the heater on in the office today, but next week promises to be warm enough for me to open the French Doors for a while. And with the Easter weekend looming, we’re hoping to start eating outside occasionally. The seasons are definitely changing.
Writing This Month
I was over-confident when I referred to the fifth and final draft of Murder at Mountjoy Manor. But the feedback on the latest changes have been good and I’m now well into the sixth and final draft. I’ve changed the gender of one of the characters; and renamed several of them. It definitely feels like it’s coming together AT LAST! (Think Midsomer Murders set in South Devon.)
And as promised last month, I can now reveal the cover design, from the talented Bernie Stevens, about which I am very excited. The book is set in the fictional village of Coombesford, a couple of miles up the road from my home town of Chudleigh. It is the first in a series of Coombesford Chronicles; and we thought we’d use gates as the focal point for each of the covers. A gate has so many uses: it lets visitors in – or excludes them; it lets residents out – or imprisons them. And it tells you something about the place and the people inside.
The pharmaceutical textbook project has suddenly taken centre stage as the next deadlines are rapidly drawing near. I’m definitely going to be wearing my non-fiction hat quite a bit over the next few weeks. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how quickly I’ve been able to slip back into that world. But I guess I was there for thirty plus years. This is the cover of the first edition, back in 2002. It will be interesting to see if trends in design have changed in the last couple of decades.
Sales and Marketing
Over the Easter weekend, I will be running a promotion on my Jones Sisters series of thrillers. From Friday 2nd April, you can download Counterfeit! for free, while Deception! will be just 99p/$0.99 and Corruption! will be £1.99 / $1.99. So that’s the full series for less than the price of an Easter Egg. And with far fewer calories. Look out for the reminders on social media and grab your copies while you can.
Out and About
I had the best time taking part in The Women in Publishing Summit at the beginning of this month. It covered all things related to writing, publishing, and selling a book. It was great to be involved in a celebration of women who are absolutely rocking it in the writing, publishing, and selling of books. There was so much going on, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the presentations; luckily we have six months to work our way through them all. I missed Happy Hour, as it was in the middle of the night UK time, but I did go to as many of the other live networking events as possible. And I made some great contacts.
Later in April, I will be speaking to a North Devon U3A group about travelling and working in Russia. A little quieter than the publishing summit, I suspect, but I’m looking forward to sharing my pictures once more.
Short Story Competition
For the writers among you, a reminder that Exeter Literary Festival’s short story competition is open now; closing on 31st July. The theme is open, and 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 will know how addictive it can be. And if it’s new to you, why not give it a try?