Posted in Writing

The Mystery of the Disappearing Books

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)

cover of Dastardly Deeds at St Bride'sThe 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!


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)

To receive news via email about my books from Boldwood Books, sign up for their Debbie Young newsletter here.


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.

cover of Best Murder in Show autdiobooks

audiobook cover of Best Murder in Show

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


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:

cover of first German Sophie Sayers novel25th 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!

Posted in Writing

Scenes from my Cotswold Cottage #2: My Book Nook

This is the second in my new series of posts inspired by Dame Joanna Lumley’s charming memoir, No Room for Secrets, in which she tours her London house giving a commentary on her possessions. I’m sharing snapshots from my Victorian Cotswold cottage in which I write my books, with a commentary on what the objects in each picture mean to me.

Also in this post: news about the book I’m writing now and of a new self-publishing course that I’ll be teaching for Jericho Writers from 1st March. 

All authors ought to be avid readers too, so my house has many cosy corners in which to curl up with a book.

This book nook was built by my husband to my specification from a couple of planks of wood to fill in the space left by the vintage Rayburn solid-fuel stove that finally fell to pieces a few years ago.

But as my grandma would have said, “It didn’t owe us anything,” as we’d bought it for £50 twenty years before when we spotted it abandoned in a neighbour’s back garden. They were only too pleased for us to take it away.

photo of my book nook
The perfect place to curl up with a book

Starting from the top, the old enamel sign on the wall above was lying in the garden when I moved in, a relic from when my cottage used to be the village post office.

I made the crocheted lace that hangs from the beam about 25 years ago. Not sure my eyesight would be up to it these days!

On the two pillars hang two small embroideries:

  • The “Home Sweet Home” on the left was made my dad, who used to do a lot of counted cross stitch, usually on a much larger scale.
  • I sewed the Mrs Tiggywinkle on the right. I adore Beatrix Potter in general, and Mrs Tiggywinkle is my favourite, reminding me irresistibly of my late grandmother. I’m not sure quite why, but I can never see her without thinking of Grandma!

The bookshelf above the seat is for my “books about books” collection, which is constantly growing. The flat-iron acting as a bookend also came from my garden. The little photo beside it is my young neighbour who sometimes helps feed our cats when we’re away. She is especially fond of Dorothy and left this picture of herself so that Dorothy doesn’t forget her.

The small painting on the shelf is by my nephew Dan Gooding, also a writer. He painted it in Cornwall and gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago.

The cushions, from left to right:

  • “A present for a dear child” is the sentimental Victorian-style message on the first one, given to me by my parents many years ago.
  • The large green and white cushions are made from Penguin brand tea towels, and the smaller ones from Penguin tote bags, featuring two of my favourite mystery authors, Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I wish they also made one for Dorothy L Sayers!
  • The cushion in the centre was hand-felted by my dear Auntie Sheila. (My house is full of arts and crafts made by various members of my family, and I value them more than any Old Master.)
  • The small cream cushion on the right panders to my passion for Alice in Wonderland.
  • The green, yellow-edged cushion was crocheted by me from very fine wool many years ago and won first prize for crochet at the Hawkesbury Village Show that year – a great source of pride!
  • By contrast, the blanket covering the wooden seat is a mass-produced IKEA number, but I love it anyway as it adds more warm pink to my book nook, and also matches my pink, green and cream china, which will feature in a future post in this series.

In case you missed it, here’s the first in this series of posts:

Scenes from my Cotswold Cottage #1: Reading After Breakfast


Latest News about my Books

Meanwhile, back on the writing front, I’m poised to write the final chapter of my work in progress, Scandal at St Bride’s, the third in my Staffroom at St Bride’s School series, which should be published in the spring. I’ll bring you more news on that as soon as I can. In the meantime, here’s the beautiful cover by Rachel Lawston to whet your appetite. This story takes place in January, and it’s been helpful to be writing it at the appropriate time of year!

cover of Scandal at St Bride's
Rachel Lawston’s fabulous design perfectly conjures up a chilly January at this unusual boarding school for girls

If you’d like to catch up with the first two in the St Bride’s series in the meantime, you can buy them online here:

Or order them from your local bookshop – good booksellers can order them in from their usual supplier, as can public libraries.

New for Fellow Writers: Simply Self-publish – a new course taught by me!

At the same time (January was a busy month!), I’ve been writing a new course for writers, commissioned by Jericho Writers, the highly regarded group that helps writers become authors, through its courses and other resources on writing, editing and publishing. If you’re a writer and would like to take charge of your own publishing career, my ten-week course, Simply Self-publish, will show you how.

For more information, hop over to my course’s page on the Jericho Writers website here:

In case you missed it, here’s the first in this series of posts:

Scenes from my Cotswold Cottage #1: Reading After Breakfast