Catch up with what’s happening on our social media feeds, and find out about the latest authors to publish with The Book Guild… there’s also company news, the latest author events and a round-up of our latest reviews and media coverage.

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Catch up with what’s happening on our social media feeds, and find out about the latest authors to publish with The Book Guild… there’s also company news, the latest author events and a round-up of our latest reviews and media coverage.

Book Guild’s Cracking Christmas Reads – Author Spotlight

To celebrate the festive season, we’ve put together a 9-day programme of some of Book Guild’s ‘Cracking Christmas Reads’. We asked Dick Warburton, author of Stoker to chat to us about the writing and publishing process:

Why did you write Stoker?

I had always hesitated to write a novel, mainly because I had absolutely no ideas. The potential canvass is huge, and it wasn’t until a publisher mentioned that westerns were selling well that I could focus. I am a cinephile with a good understanding of the tropes and conventions of western films. I felt this would help in planning the book. Understanding the iconography of the genre is useful when deciding which conventions to subvert and which to adhere to.

How did you carry out the research and planning for your book?

The research was fun. I had to understand horse riding, paddle steamers, weaponry and the topography of the mid-west. All without going to America. After all, Stephen King has never met a vampire and I’m sure Lee Child has never shot or beaten anybody to a pulp. Therefore a writer can rely on his imagination and if you want to hear a Mississippi paddle-steamer’s whistle you can ask Google. In fact it took some self-control to stop researching and get writing.

What did you enjoy the most about writing Stoker?

I enjoyed about 40% of the writing process. When it’s going well you feel ecstatic. I particularly enjoyed writing fight scenes where a quick event is slowed down in the description yet gains a powerful, almost balletic flow. Dialogue was also fun to write and finesse.

At the Stoker book launch!

Is there any advice you would give to other writers/how have you found the publishing experience?

Invite and get used to criticism. Join a group or do a creative writing course where people will give feedback on the stuff that’s good and the stuff that needs work. If you can take negative comments you are more likely to be able to cut out chunks from your own work. I removed 15,000 words from Stoker, much of which was a flashback that I felt interrupted the rhythm.

What’s next in the writing pipeline for you?

I’ve started a sequel set in London. If Stoker goes well, I’ll crack on with it. I’ve also written a radio play and am trying to find a producer.

Stoker is available to buy from our bookshop.

Ex-soldier to run 22km for 22 days to help army veteran PTSD sufferers

From soldier to bodyguard living with PTSD – Mark Inman tells his story of survival in Squad Average, which is due for release this Sunday!

Beginning his military career on the wrong foot, Mark found himself incarcerated in Hong Kong for a crime that he did not commit. Back in the UK, he rapidly progressed through the ranks, but was halted after a serious incident which threatened to end his career. Through pure determination, he picked himself up and fought to achieve his dreams. However, soon after attempting his ultimate goal of SAS Selection, Mark made a decision which changed his entire life.

Opting for a career change, he became a qualified bodyguard, subsequently picking up a close protection contract in Afghanistan. During his adventures in Kabul, Mark encountered endless close shaves including suicide bombings, a kidnap attempt and a plane crash. He became addicted to the adrenaline which would eventually become his downfall. His journey came to an abrupt end and, once home, flashbacks and nightmares controlled Mark, severely affecting his life. After discovering that he was suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Mark was able to regain control.

From a man who had everything to being faced with homelessness, Mark Inman’s whirlwind life story is one of both great opportunity and immense heartbreak. Squad Average is a bold and inspirational memoir.

Mark has launched a campaign to raise awareness and funds for the military charities who save lives and support PTSD sufferers. Statistics show that there are 22 suicides a day from army veterans suffering with PTSD. In light of this statistic, starting on 27th October, Mark will be running 22km a day for 22 consecutive days, some of which will coincide with book signings. Mark is donating some of his book royalties to The Royal British Legion, Once We Were Soldiers and Daz’s Den – all of which help veterans combat this devastating illness. Donations can be made via JustGiving.


Pretty People by R. A. Stokeld

In celebration of National Poetry Day, R. A. Stokeld shares a poem called “Pretty People”:

While still in the land of the living
Though not far from Heaven’s stares
The pretty people gathered
Flashing their pretty people wares

The not so pretty people
Were honoured just to be there
For the pretty people gave them
Glamour beyond compare

The voices were loud
In the pretty people crowd
So the not so pretty people had to change face

To keep pace
In the pretty people race

Each shining star
Was admired from afar
Consumed by the flame
The not so pretty people played the pretty people game

R. A. Stokeld is the author of Breathe – a debut poetry collection!

The Future by Sarah Davis

In celebration of National Poetry Day, Sarah Davis shares a poem called “The Future”:

I’m sure that in the future
We’ll have many conversations
When you will tell us all about
Your plans and aspirations.

I hope that you will use
The many things that you’ve been taught
And we will be right there
If you want guidance or support.

You know we’ll always love you
Whichever path you choose
Whichever of your skills and talents
You decide to use.

When it comes right down to it
What I want most for you
Is independence, health and happiness
And to have your dreams come true.

Sarah Davis is the author of Baby Daze – a debut poetry collection exploring her journey into motherhood!


Out and About this Autumn with the Book Guild

The autumn is a busy time for indie publishers, with the focus shifting towards the Christmas sales market and the final push on summer sales. On top of this we have lots of events coming up that we are attending or hosting. Here is our quick round up of what we’re looking forward to in the next couple of months.

Historical Novel Society Annual Conference (24-26 August)
Managing Director Jeremy Thompson will be speaking on a panel, running a workshop and hosting one-to-one sessions at the Historical Novel Society conference in Scotland this coming Bank holiday (24th–26th August).

Gardners Trade Show (9 September)
The annual Gardners Trade show (organised by the UK’s largest wholesaler) takes place in Birmingham and follows on from the Booksellers’ Association Annual Conference. The trade show features just 50 selected publishers, who display their new and forthcoming titles to the widest selection of UK booksellers – we’ll be there showing our latest books and all picks for Christmas sales.

IPG Autumn Conference (19 September)
As members of the Independent Publishers Guild, we try to attend as many of their publishing and bookselling events as possible throughout the year. An important date on the calendar is their one-day autumn conference in London, where we have a chance to network and swap knowledge with other hard-working indie publishers. This year’s conference sees many important speakers and issues being tackled; we are, in particular, looking forward to talks by James Daunt (Waterstones’ MD) and sessions on copyright, new routes to market, audiobooks and new ideas in podcasting.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of the best British films of all time

Filming If…. is the first written memoir about the cult classic film, If…., which was directed by the very talented Lindsay Anderson in 1968. David Wood co-starred as one of the three rebel schoolboys in a public school, alongside Malcolm McDowell (Mick) and Richard Warwick (Wallace), and they led the revolution against authority – which was regarded by many as a metaphor for the social and political situation in the UK.

Photo: David Wood, author of “Filming If….” and star of If….

If…. celebrates its 50th anniversary today and this book is a perfect addition to the celebrations for this classic film. The book contains David’s memories, from the personalities involved, the day-to-day challenges, and the reception given to the film, including winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes. This book also reflects the brilliance of Lindsay Anderson and his team.

With a foreword by Malcolm McDowell and an afterword by George Perry, Filming If…. has been highly endorsed and enjoyed by many:

“…What a brilliant thing you have done, recalling what it was like being directed by the great Lindsay Anderson, and being part of this hugely important film and its dazzling cast.”Joanna Lumley OBE

“David Wood has written a wonderfully evocative insider’s view of the shooting of one of the best British films ever made.”Sir Alan Parker

“If…. is a classic movie – I was at the première in 1968 and we all sensed it then… I’ve a feeling this book’s going to be something of a classic, too.”Gyles Brandreth

Filming If…. is now available to purchase here.

Ex-Journalist Peter Evans launches his political memoir, Rebel with a Cause

Photo: Peter Evans by Hannah Couzens

Peter Evans recently launched his 12th book, which follows his award-winning career as a journalist on The Times for 30 years. Peter was one of the very few to anticipate both the Brexit vote to leave the European Union and the Tory debacle in the 2017 general election.

Rebel with a Cause exposes, with hard evidence, the complacency and sometimes arrogance which causes the government failure to meet its constitutional priority – to protect the realm and maintain the Queen’s peace.  In his career he was hijacked by knife-carrying religious fanatics, threatened with violence by the London Richardson gang, and saved Cardinal Hume, the Roman Catholic leader, in a rock-throwing Notting Hill riot after being attacked himself.

Today, Peter is a frequent commentator on The Times Online and shares his thoughts on current political and social issues. A campaigning journalist, Peter’s book exposes scandals in the National Health Service, and others, including the misuse of power by MI5. It included an intended coup by dissident officers to replace the Prime Minister and intimidation of Evans and others. Leading a six-man news team at The Times, Evans had an aeroplane immediately at his disposal to other disasters and other breaking stories. The book continues his on-going investigation since 1962, to explore the causes of terrorism across the world.

Guests from left to right: Tony Macer, Marion Hearfield and Garry Lloyd

Among those who attended his book launch were Gary Lloyd, whose investigation of corruption in the Metropolitan Police with a colleague, Julian Mounter, sent three policemen to jail and led to a clean up of the force by a new commissioner, Sir Robert Mark. Garry and Julian were both in The Times six-strong team, founded by Peter. Michael Knipe, another news team journalist who was among the first to unmask China’s imperial ambitions also spoke at the launch. Other guests included Marion Hearfield, an author and driving force behind the Stroud Local History Society, and she attended the launch with Tony Macer, who is also part of the society.

Guests from left to right: Sally Pearson, Arianrhod Pazzi-Axworthy and Ann Evans

 The event was organised with thanks to Arianrhod Pazzi-Axworthy whose father, George, left his birthplace and Mussolini’s Italy to come to Britain and broadcast news as part of the World Service of the BBC. Sally Pearson is the daughter of Jane Kilvington, a family that has benefited Peter’s for 200 years through education and other support.

Photos at the event were taken by Ann Hall, wife of Frank Hall, a former chief assistant to the head of the International Monetary Fund and senior adviser to the Bank of England. Peter launched the event with a personal speech, which enclosed further details on his research and findings, as well as acknowledgements to those who have helped him along the way. His final words were “in reading this book I would ask you to see the escapades I got up to as a small child in the context of my future campaigning as a journalist I describe. Do we really change?”

Rebel with a Cause is available to purchase and was published on the 28th November 2017.

Peter J. Farmer shares an inspiring blog post to help you to kick-start your dream business

“Are you building your dream?”

A leader once wrote to some of his team that being a “know-it-all” makes us feel important but what is really needed to build a team or project is love.

Love? What’s that got to do with building your dream – you might be asking?

Well love is what makes the world go round…It’s what motivates people to get out of bed in the morning, it’s what compels people to start up businesses and projects when the odds seem stacked against them and it’s the starting place for everything we do. It’s the glue that keeps the very fabric of our society together and what binds people together in families, teams and communities. It’s the key to unlocking purpose, potential and productivity – both personally and amongst teams.

“What do you love?”

As I’ve travelled Europe training entrepreneurs and business owners I’ve started by asking one simple question – what do you love? For some ‘know-it-alls” it appears a strange question!

But in a world that is increasingly communicating through short tweets and statuses and looks to apps and organisers to maximise productivity – could we be overlooking the most powerful force for motivation and change?

As you embark on another year – take a few minutes to ask yourself the question – “What do I love?” and write down your thoughts…

Maybe you’ve grown disillusioned in your current job and are seeking something different? Maybe you’re looking to launch or grow your own business?

Our Newforms Business Path Journal helps people harness their passion and what they love to start up their own business. It’s all about understanding passion and purpose and ‘picturing’ the business and future of your dreams.

What are you passionate about? What do you love?

Build your life, business and dreams around that

Peter J Farmer
Author of the Newforms Business Path Journal


Liz Parker reflects on the year that her book was published

Liz Parker writes a blog post to reflect upon the year in which her memoir, A Life Lived was published:

I am astonished and delighted to have reached my 83rd year. Astonished, because, during my youth and time in the theatre I led a riotous life! This was curtailed when I developed Cancer. I am delighted that I have a few years left to live. When I visited a Palm Leaf Reader in India many years ago, he foretold the year that I would die – I haven’t reached that date yet, so I have a lot of living left to do!

Liz Parker meets visitors at her book signing earlier in the year

I am fortunate to be able to spend most of my time in sunny Greece and have tranquillity, which enables me to think about some ideas for my next book. However, the disadvantages about living in a country where English is not the common language, is that I cannot do book signings to promote my book. I have sold several copies to my English-speaking friends, but the majority of Greeks who have bought my book do not read it immediately. They save it up until they are not busy, when the summer season has finished. One friend dropped their copy in the bath and it’s still drying out.

In England this July I had a successful book signing at a pub in the area where I used to live and was included in my book. On the 23rd January 2018 I will be giving a talk at the Library in West Molesey. This will hopefully bring more interest in A Life Lived.

Reviews of my book have been in the 5-star category, which means that many readers have already appreciated it. My favourite reviews include the following:

“A life fulfilled as well as lived… I couldn’t put it down”

“Liz has a zest for life…what an extraordinary life.”

“…Made me laugh out loud and reach for the tissues.”

A Life Lived: Memories of the Famous and Infamous is available for purchase and shares extraordinary memoirs, which cover a myriad of topics and tragedies. Liz’s memoir is in turns harrowing, uplifting, fascinating and bittersweet. Stories of her flamboyant lifestyle during her time in the theatre and films, where she met famous starts are contrasted sharply by a life of struggle and hardship.

Peter Lyon receives prestigious Mountbatten Maritime Award presented by the First Sea Lord

On Wednesday 8th November 2017, author Peter Lyon received the Maritime Foundation’s “Mountbatten Maritime Award for best literary contribution Certificate of Merit”, at the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall. The award was presented to Peter by Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord, and highlighted his great work in his book, Merchant Seafaring Through World War 1, 1914–1918.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones presents Peter Lyon with the Mountbatten Maritime Award Certificate of Merit for best literary contribution at the Maritime Media Awards 2017 in London on Wednesday, 8th November 2017.

The certificate thanks Peter for his dedicated work seeking to establish not only the contribution of British seafarers during the First World War but also their sacrifice. The British Imperial Mercantile Marine was an essential strategic arm of supply and defence, but the threats, privations and tragedy experienced by British seafarers are here documented through first-hand accounts and archive research. With 3,154 ships sunk and 14,428 lives lost to enemy action, this civilian aspect of maritime history has never been fully presented. This book makes an outstandingly original and disturbing contribution to maritime awareness.

Peter Lyon’s book begins by looking at the low status of the mercantile marine and the seafarers at the turn of the 20th century. Particular emphasis is given to the relationships between the merchant seafarers, the ship owners, the British Admiralty and the Government, with the consequential heavy losses of British, Allied and neutral merchant ships at the hands of German U-boats.Following this, Peter looks at the strain this put on Britain and how this affected their continuation in the war. He draws on various experiences including individuals’ accounts, ships’ logs, crew agreements, consular reports, press cuttings of the day and other publications, to create an authentic and fascinating insight into this area of history.

Merchant Seafaring Through World War 1, 1914–1918 is available to purchase!