Sunday 1 November 2015

Newsletter 1 November 2015

At work this month and much of last month I’ve been involved with two colleagues in getting a lot of paperwork ready for a review of our programmes. In my case Drama and Creative Writing and English and Drama. This process is called PPRR – Periodic Programme Review and Reapproval. It’s been a lot of work and I’ve done quite a bit at weekends – that’s the only time I’ve found the brain space.

There have been three really positive sides to this however:
  1. We’ve been able to scrutinize our programmes closely and we’ve brought in several changes as part of the process. Changes that we think will make to our programmes even stronger.
  2. One of our strengths we’ve always believed has been how well our programmes integrate. As we go through this process, we’re become even more convinced.
  3. I’ve been able to work really closely with my two colleagues whose programmes are going through the same process.
The down side of it has been that I’ve got less writing done than usual. Today I get back to it.  But eh oh: look what I’m actually writing about ….       

      Books and short stories

I’ve finished my post Skylark edit of Girl in a Smart Uniform. I’ve collected all the “Bear” bits together and made it more coherent, actually cutting out much of one scene. I’ve actually added another BDM (female Hitler Youth) scene to try and increase its importance for the main character. I’ve also given a little more back story for the mother – through Eberhard’s monologue when he’s on the Russian front.        
I’ve finished my chapter on war in children’s literature. It’s ended up being quite a long one. I’ve concluded with talking about Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful, a really disturbing story, yet one with which young people seem to cope. A young man is court-marshalled and shot at dawn by his fellow soldiers. He’d refused to obey a command that he’d thought was suicidal. He stopped behind to look after his injured brother. At the end of the book Morpurgo discusses the fact that the British government has not pardoned such people as Private Peaceful. He tackles some big issues for young people here.
I’m still continuing to write flash fiction and short fiction though I haven’t submitted anything for a while.
However, I have a Gold Award from my publisher for Science Fiction German short stories. This means royalties of 15%/ Wow!        

Bridge House

Snowflakes is almost ready. I’m still working on the book trailer. This is almost ready as well. always good fun. We’ve started looking at covers as well.  
We’ve had a hitch with our celebration in London, 5 December. Our venue was double-booked.  However, I’m hoping to find somewhere else by tomorrow. Those writers in the anthology will be given first refusal on tickets. The CafeLit4 people will follow, then other Bridge House and CafeLit writers and finally anyone. We’re hoping to get between 50 and 100 people there. We’re making the event free this time but there will be a cash bar. There will be books on sale, too – Snowflakes and The Best of CafeLit 4. There will also be a few other Bridge House titles on sale.
The Shelagh Delany competition is going well. We had 55 entries and have picked a long list of 20 for anthology. We’re almost there now with the short list of six. It’s hard choosing. Most of the writers have set their stories in Salford. It’s good to read about those places we know so well.  
You can see the long list here.   


Remember, we’re always open to submissions. Find out how here. We’ve now put together The Best of CafeLit 4. This is currently being proof read. It will be a slightly slimmer volume than usual; this time we have more pieces of flash fiction. Our 100-worders are in fact very popular.    

Creative Café

We’re always looking for new cafés. I’ve now added some resources for café owners. We’re also continuing to look for reviews of existing cafés. If you visit one of the cafés in the project and would like to write a review of between 250 and 350 – nice, too to have a couple of pictures – send it to me here.
I’ve visited a new café myself recently - one quite close to me. It was lovely.  Read a review here.        

School Visits

As I said last month, I am now limiting my school visits to these associated with The House on Schellberg Street project. I’m still offering visits on this for a donation towards the project. I’ve devised a whole interactive workshop for this. It would be a real asset for any school teaching the Holocaust at Key Stage 3. Even if a school can’t afford a donation, I’d be happy to run the project.
Here’s some further news about the Schellberg project.
Query for a school visit here.
I am giving my voice a bit of a rest. I think it’s a little worn out after 41 years of teaching.

The Red Telephone

I’m pleased to say we released Alex Dunn’s The Demon Magician yesterday. For the first week it will be just 99p. Get yours here! If you love, it do write a review for us.   
There will be a new call for submissions shortly.
I’d like to remind you of our new enterprise -  something between a mentoring system and an online course. Though publication is not guaranteed, we will at least look at your full book if you’ve attended one of the courses. We’re offering it for free to a few people at first. We’ll refine as we go along based on feedback from our clients. We’ll then continue to offer it at a discount for a while before going to full price when we’re completely happy with it. We’re not sure what full price will be. Again, we’ll be guided by our current clients. Find out more here.      

Looking Forward

I’ve now booked for the NAWE conference in November, where I’ll be delivering a session on Build a Book in An Hour and a Quarter. This is based on the school workshop that I do on Build a Book in a Day. The emphasis here though will be on kick-starting inspiration for adult writers, coupled with a knowledge that the work will get out there.
Then the following week I’m off the SCBWI –BI conference in Winchester. This will be a little like going home. I did my MA in Writing for Children there. At this conference I’ll just sit back and listen though I shall be looking for copy for Network News in Words and Pictures.         


This month I’m giving away a copy of In the Shadow of the Red Queen, the first publication from Bridge House. The first person to message me via Twitter - @gilljames – gets the book. 

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