For as long as I can remember, I have been on a quest to find the perfect handbag. Until a few weeks ago, I seemed as likely to discover the Holy Grail. But unlike the Holy Grail, the object of my mission has changed as I aged.
A news round-up featuring my book publishing schedule from now until Spring 2023
If you’re currently trying to order any of my novels, you may be wondering why they’re proving tricky to find – or at least, my original editions. That’s because they’re all in the process of being relaunched by publishing houses to whom I’ve licensed the rights – ie I’ve signed contracts with trade publishing houses.
Over the last few weeks I’ve therefore been in the curious position of having to UNpublish my novels, which feels odd after spending the last five years publishing them! This has been necessary to make way for the new trade-published editions.
I am in the very fortunate position of now having not one but three publishers about to launch their own editions of my books, superseding my original self-published editions.
I also have a contract to write two new books a year, one in each of my series, for Boldwood Books. Boldwood will be publishing an all-new third in my boarding school series in November, and the all-new eighth in my Sophie Sayers series in the spring.
Over the next six months, they’ll all reappear in beautiful new editions as paperbacks, ebooks, and audiobooks, plus there’ll be a new German translation of the first three books in the Sophie Sayers series.
At the bottom of this post, you’ll find a summary of what’s happening with the my two series. All of them will be available worldwide, online and to order from wherever you usually like to buy your books and audiobooks.
You may still find the old editions for sale secondhand – there are a lot of them out in the world, so it’s inevitable they’ll still pop up now and again. I’m especially pleased when I see them in charity shops, knowing that they’re having a new life raising money for good causes.
But by the end of March 2023, they should all be reissued in their new editions – along with a new novel in both the Sophie Sayers and Gemma Lamb (St Bride’s) series.
I will still continue to self-publish other books in my back catalogue, for example the Tales from Wendlebury Barrow novellas,The Clutch of Eggs and The Natter of Knitters, and to self-publish any new books that don’t fit the lists of my new publishers or find homes elsewhere.
GEMMA LAMB COZY MYSTERIES (The series set at St Bride’s School)
The multi-award-winning Boldwood Books is launching new editions of both books previously published in my school series, with new jazzier titles and bright new covers hand-drawn by the wonderful Rachel Lawston. They’ve rebranded them as the Gemma Lamb Cozy Mysteries to focus on the central character, English-teacher-turned-amateur-sleuth Gemma Lamb.
The publication schedule for the Gemma Lamb ebooks, paperbacks and audiobooks is as follows:
15th September 2022 Dastardly Deeds at St Bride’s (formerly Secrets at St Bride’s) – *out now*
11th October 2022 Sinister Stranger at St Bride’s (formerly Stranger at St Bride’s)
14th November 2022 Wicked Whispers at St Bride’s (all new – not previously published)
July 2023 – Book 4 – no title yet!
SOPHIE SAYERS VILLAGE MYSTERIES – Ebooks and paperbacks
The new editions of the first two Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries will be published on 1st November with bright new cover designs, to be revealed shortly. Unlike the Gemma Lamb stories, they’ll all be keeping their original titles, except the second one, which Boldwood have renamed Murder at the Vicarage. The publication schedule for the new editions of the ebooks and paperbacks is as follows:
24th November 2022 – Best Murder in Show & Murder at the Vicarage
15th December 2022 – Murder in the Manger & Murder by the Book
January 2023 Springtime for Murder & Murder Your Darlings
February 2023 Murder Lost & Found
March 2023 A Fling with Murder (working title – not previously published)
The launch of the new series of audiobooks is already under way by audiobook specialist Saga Egmont. They have created their own cover designs, and the first two are below.
The launch programme for the audiobooks of the first seven Sophie Sayers novels is as follows:
18th August 2022 Best Murder in Show – *out now*
15th September 2022 Murder at the Vicarage – *out now*
27th October 2022 Murder in the Manger
2nd January 2023 Murder by the Book
9th February 2023 Springtime for Murder
9th March 2023 Murder Your Darlings
6th April 2023 Murder Lost and Found
SOPHIE SAYERS VILLAGE MYSTERIES – German translation
Meanwhile German publisher DP Verlag has undertaken to translate the Sophie Sayers novels and to publish them in ebook and audiobook format. As you can see from the cover image, the title is completely different, of course, and I don’t yet know what the German language titles will be for books two and three, but here is the production schedule:
25th August 2022 – Sophie Sayers #1 ebook – *out now*
27th October 2022 – Sophie Sayers #2 ebook
15th December 2022 – Sophie Sayers #3 ebook
July 2023 – Sophie Sayers #1 audiobook
October 2023 – Sophie Sayers #2 audiobook
November 2023 – Sophie Sayers #3 audiobook
I’m hoping that if sales in Germany go well (which so far they seem to be doing for the 1st book, which has been hovering around the top 1000 mark in the whole of Amazon’s German ebook store), that DP Verlag will also want to translate the rest of the series.
By the way, if you have borrowed any of the previous editions of these books under your Kindle Unlimited subscription, rest assured you may continue to read them at no extra cost.
Also, if you ever have any problems getting hold of copies of any of my books in your preferred format, just drop me a line via the contact form here, and I’ll do my best to rustle one up for you.
Onward and Upward
As you can imagine, all of this activity, plus my new contractual obligation to write two new novels a year, is keeping me very busy, which is why I haven’t had a chance to publish a new blog post here since 1st September – but I’m hoping to share my latest columns for the Tetbury Advertiser and Hawkesbury Parish News here, as usual, before the month is out.
In the meantime, as well as pressing on with writing Sophie Sayers #8 (halfway through so far and I’m having great fun!), I will now be updating my website to reflect the new editions as they come out. Plus of course I’ll be doing the many other things that are part of my writing life – running author talks as part of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival series (the next HULF Talk on 29th October will be about The World at War – book your tickets here), teaching my Simply Self-publish course for Jericho Writers (next course runs October-December), keeping my Little Free Library stocked up, and, of course, reading voraciously!
In my column for the July issue of the Hawkesbury Parish News, I’m looking forward to this year’sHawkesbury Horticultural Show on Saturday 31st August – a pleasingly longstanding village tradition and the social highlight of the village year for all ages
In an ever-changing world which seems to be lurching from
one crisis to the next, it’s comforting to have some events in life that are
dependably consistent – such as the imminent Hawkesbury Horticultural Show
(Saturday 31st August).
Although each year the hardworking Show Committee announces
a handful of carefully considered changes to the schedule – a new category
here, changed criteria there – part of the joy is that on Show Day, the essential
formula remains the same.
But I wasn’t aware of just how true to tradition our Show is until my father recently brought to my attention an extract from a book published privately around 1950, Life in a Hampshire Village by Kathleen E Innes. Her description of St Mary Bourne’s village show at the turn of the 20th century could almost be of the present day Hawkesbury equivalent, without the influence of modern technology and the rise of equal rights for women!
… the village Flower
Show was the great summer event. A marquee was hired to protect exhibits from
sun, wind and weather and beside it in the field there arrived the day before
the show, a fair, with all the traditional equipment of roundabouts, swings,
coconut shies and wonderful sideshows… Pennies saved up for months soon
vanished in rides on the shiny-painted horses of the roundabout, which went
round and round to the droning music, working up to what to the riders seemed a
terrifying speed… Amid shrieks and laughter, boat-shaped swngs were worked up
to a height far above the horizontal, till it seemed as if the occupants must
fall out, but they never did…
Judging took place in
the morning, and the judges, who came from outside, did not see the names of
competitions till the decisions were taken. Then the cards with names were
turned face upwards, ready for the rush of excited entrants as soon as the tent
was open in the afternoon. Gardeners had separate classes to prevent them,
through any unfair advantage, carrying away all the prizes, but many a
non-gardener’s exhibit would have gained the award even in the gardener’s
There was always a
class for cakes, and a dish of boiled potatoes “to give the women a chance”,
but on more than one occasion the prize for the best cake was borne away by a
boy who had made up his mind to be a chef…
The scene inside the
tent was gay and colourful. Vases of mixed flowers, the best table decorations,
bowls of roses, sprays of sweet peas, were placed to meet the eye on entering.
Classes of vegetables were in their allotted places on long tables round the
edge – marvellous marrows, spotless and shapely potatoes, peas and beans with
pods full from top to toe; cabbages solid as cannon balls, cauliflowers round
and comely, carrots long and straight. All these were set out as an inspiration
and a challenge. Their owners hovered with pride near at hand to hear the freely-expressed
envy and admiration.
When the exhibits were
removed and the tent left empty, the fair went gaily on till the summer
nightfall, the monotonous music of the roundabouts inviting all and sundry to
stay and make an evening of it, for it would be gone on the morrow. It was late
before even the tired and happy children went to bed.
That nostalgic description has whetted my appetite for the 2019 Hawkesbury Show – now I’m off to find the schedule and start preparing my entries. See you at the Show next month, whether or not my name graces any prize certificates!
Everyone’s welcome at the Hawkesbury Horticultural Show – come and join us on Saturday 31st August for a day to remember! I’ll be in the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival tent, near the playpark and the Pimms stall fun by the Friends of St Mary’s (another committee that I’m on!) More details on the show’s website at www.hawkesburyshow.org
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Little did I know what I was getting into when five years ago I decided to mark World Book Night in my village by running a mini literature festival…
The idea was to bring together a few author friends for an evening of talks and readings in one of our local pubs. What started out as a sedate two-hour schedule quickly overflowed into five hours, to allow time for all who wanted to take part. These included illustrious guests such as the bestselling romantic novelist Katie Fforde, who kindly accepted my invitation to declare it open, and Orna Ross, bestselling historical novelist and poet and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, for which I’m UK Ambassador.
Before the evening was over, people were already saying to me:
“This is going to be an annual event, right, Debbie?”
“Can you make it a whole day next time?”
“Let’s have it on Saturday next year so the kids can join in.”
Five Years On…
Always eager to please, I fell in with all of those suggestions. Five years on, here we are a month away from the most ambitious Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival yet, on Saturday 27th April.
That modest evening in the pub has morphed into a village takeover, with events now scheduled simultaneously in six venues, with different things starting on the hour every hour from 10am through 5pm.
A Vast Array of Talent & Goodwill
Over seventy authors and artists will be taking part in talks, discussions, readings, a poetry slam, an art exhibition, children’s events and a series of workshops.
We’ve gained huge local support, including sponsorship from local individuals and organisations – the Hawkesbury Parish News, Head Start Studio, Hawkesbury Writers, Sid Crighton of Orange Dog Studio – and also from the globetrotting travel writer Jay Artale, who is managing our Twitter account from wherever she is in the world! (See our list of sponsors here.) Their generous support and encouragement has enabled us to keep the Festival free to attend, while increasing its reach and appeal.
How to Attend the 2019 Festival
If you’d like to attend, no prior booking is necessary – just come along on the day. Head for the Village School, the hub of the Festival, to grab your programme and venue map.
Even better, download them now from our website to plan your day in advance, so you don’t miss any of the events that especially appeal to you. You can also keep up with Festival news on Twitter at @HULitFest.