Posted in Events, Writing

An Eventful June

A round-up of what I’ve been up to this month.

Bleddfa Centre Self-publishing Workshop (16th June)

This month I was delighted to revisit the beautiful Bleddfa Centre near Knighton in Wales. It’s an inspiring setting for creative activity, and perfect for the self-publishing workshop that I’d been invited to run there with fellow authors David Penny and Katharine E Smith who also runs Heddon Publishing, a self-publishing services company.

Photo of David Penny, Debbie YOung and Katharine E Smith
David Penny and Katharine E Smith enjoyed the day as much as I did

Together we provided an eager group of delegates with an overview of how to become an independent author, drawing on our own extensive experience, and with much reference to the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), of which we are all members and of which I’m UK Ambassador. I was especially pleased to meet John Musgrave, who had been on another publishing course there two years before, there I had spoken about self publishing. He had since joined ALLi, self published his first book and had more in the pipeline.

I’m kicking myself for forgetting to take any photos of the gorgeous setting, but the expressions on our faces in the photo above taken by event organiser Caroline Sanderson, author, journalist and Bleddfa Centre trustee, at the end of the day, shows how much David and Catherine and I enjoyed ourselves.

Do take a moment to check out the Bleddfa Centre’s website for the details of further arts events in their programme. It’s always good to have an excuse to go there.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire Book Club (26th June)

On this month’s show, the usual gang – lunchtime presenter Dominic Cotter, fellow panelist Caroline Sanderson (yes, the same Caroline as at Bleddfa – she’s everywhere!) and I discussed The Salt Path by Raynor Winn.

Photo of Debbie and Caroline with The Salt Path by Raynor Winn at the BBC Radio Gloucestershire studio
Shame I had my eyes closed for Dominic’s photo!

The book is an extraordinary tale of a middle-aged couple whose way of dealing with a double crisis – bankruptcy and the diagnosis of terminal illness for Rayner’s husband Moth – is to backpack and wild camp their way around the south-west coastal path. In turns poignant, shocking, funny and lyrical, this is an unforgettable memoir of triumph over adversity and the redemptive power of nature. It is also beautifully written. Caroline and I had the good fortune to attend one of Raynor Winn’s many speaking engagements, organised at the Nailsworth Quaker Meeting House by the Yellow-Lighted Bookshop a couple of months ago, and we can confirm that she speaks as beautifully as she writes.

As always on Dominic’s show we talked about all manner of bookish things, and also chose next month’s book, Daniel Defoe’s seminal Robinson Crusoe, arguably the first English novel and inspiration for so many further works from The Swiss Family Robinson to Lost in Space to Desert Island Discs. I can’t wait to see what we all make of it when we reconvene at noon on Wednesday 24th July.

In the meantime, you can catch the show on iplayer here – Book Club starts eight minutes into the show, just after the news. And if you’d like to track down a Raynor Winn talk near you, her current schedule is below – and you can find out the latest news on her Twitter account at @Raynor_Winn.

graphic of cover of The Salt Path by Raynor Winn and list of her coming talks

Evesham Festival of Words (27th June)

At the time of writing, this event has yet to come! Tomorrow night I’l be chairing a panel of crime writers as part of the Evesham Festival of Words, with a fabulous trio of authors: David Penny (yes, as at Bleddfa, above!) who writes historical thrillers set in medieval Moorish Spain; Barry Faulkner, who writes contemporary police procedural novels; and Angela Buckley, who writes true crime. We’ll be discussing all different kinds of crime fiction, past, present and future, both as professional writers and as avid readers. The event is at 7pm in the enticing setting of Evesham Rowing Club on the banks of a beautiful stretch of the River Avon. Tickets are still available at £7.50, so if you are in town, do please come along on the night – it would be great to see you!

Photo of Evesham Rowing Club
Evesham Rowing Club is the congenial setting for our Crime Panel discussion

In Between Times: Lots of Writing!

I love doing events like this and am always open to invitations – so if you would like me to speak at an event for you, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m now taking bookings from mid-July onwards. At the moment I have no bookings for July and am looking forward to spending lots of time with my daughter, now on an extended holiday from school after completing her GCSE exams.

It’s also been good to have space to catch up with online activity, including this delightful review on YouTube of Best Murder in Show by vlogger J P Choquette.

However I’m also pleased when I can space them out in the diary to allow plenty of writing time – and this month I’m thrilled that I managed not only to finalise the manuscript of my next novel, Secrets at St Bride’s, due to launch next month, but also to write an 11,000 word short novella, The Pride of Peacocks, a bonus extra to my Sophie Sayers Village Mystery series, and which also segues into the world of the new series! Also coming soon is the new audiobook of Best Murder in Show, narrated by Siobhan Waring, who I thought was the perfect voice for Sophie Sayers.

Thanks to my designer Rachel Lawston for creating the required square cover for the audiobook!

If you’d like to get an email telling you when Secrets at St Bride’s and the new audiobook of Best Murder in Show are available – and also to receive a free ebook of The Pride of Peacocks next month (it’s an exclusive gift for members of my mailing list – not available to buy in shops!), just leave your email address in the form below, and I’ll add you to my list.

Cover of Secrets at St Bride's by Debbie Young
Coming in July – join my mailing list to receive notification when it’s available to order

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Posted in Reading, Writing

Not So Lonely with “The Loney” on BBC Radio Gloucestershire Book Club

BBC Radio Gloucestershire logoIt’s always a joy to appear on BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Book Club feature with presenter Dominic Cotter and fellow local author and Bookseller journalist Caroline Sanderson. The June 2016 edition of the show was especially good fun, as we had three extra folk for company! Continue reading “Not So Lonely with “The Loney” on BBC Radio Gloucestershire Book Club”

Posted in Personal life, Reading, Writing

The Joy of Book Clubs and Local Radio

Group photo of Caroline, Claire and Debbie
The BBC Radio Gloucestershire Book Club 2015 – from left to right, Caroline Sanderson, Claire Carter and Debbie Young. You can tell how much fun we’ve been having!

A post about the book club I’ve been part of during 2015 on BBC Radio Gloucestershire

Until last year, I’d never belonged to a book club, and have since joined two that have added a new strand of enjoyment to my writing and reading life.

Continue reading “The Joy of Book Clubs and Local Radio”

Posted in Self-publishing, Writing

How I Came To Write for ALCS News

ALCS News logoI have to thank Hereward Corbett, proprietor of the equally wonderfully named Yellow-Lighted Bookshops in Nailsworth and Tetbury, for his personal introduction to Caroline Sanderson, editor of the ALCS News.

I thought I was busy till I met Caroline. Not only is she newsletter editor for the ALCS, she’s also non-fiction editor for The Bookseller (the trade paper of the British book trade), chair of  literary festival events, book award judge, and a respected author – and she still finds time to volunteer in the local community, choreographing a fabulous Book Week for one lucky primary school in the neighbourhood.

A meeting with Caroline in one of my favourite coffee shops, The Olive Tree in Nailsworth. resulted in her commissioning me to write this overview of self-publishing in the March issue of ALCS. (The best author meetings happen in coffee shops, something I blogged about here.)

So what’s ALCS? I hear you cry

ALCS logoThe organisation’s full name is the Authors’  Licensing and Collecting Society. This marvellous membership organisation for authors is much-loved by writers of all kinds because it looks after their rights and ensures they receive fair payment for the various uses of their work.  Membership costs just a one-off fee of £25 when someone first joins (this usually comes out of the royalties they collect), and in return members receive a regular income stream in addition to the earnings received directly from their writing (advances, royalties, etc).

The ALCS News is issued monthly online to keep authors abreast of developments affecting their rights and earnings.

Caroline asked me to write about self-publishing to raise awareness of its potential as a further source of income for members. My brief was to help ALCS members make informed decisions about whether or not to self-publish any of their work.

The reason Caroline asked me to do this is because I am more or less her counterpart within the Alliance of Independent Authors, for whom I edit a blog of self-publishing advice.

And ALLi….?

ALLi logoThe Alliance of Independent Authors is the professional, non-profit organisation for self-publishing authors. Not surprisingly, there is a significant overlap between our membership groups. As time goes by, I’m hoping that overlap will increase. I should point out that ALCS is a UK organisation, and ALLi’s membership is worldwide, but there are equivalent organisations fulfilling ALCS’s functions all over the world.

How wonderful – and appropriate – that such a quest was kicked off in our local indie bookshop! There’s so much more to bookshops than just books. Use them or lose them, folks!

To read my article about self-publishing in the March issue of ALCS News, please click here.

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