My time back on contract with the University of Salford is
rapidly coming to an end. It finishes on
18 September though I will still be doing a little work after that date and
I'll be hourly paid again from January 2019. I've enjoyed the work but will be glad to get
back to my "retirement" or should I say freelance work?
I'm always finding something to make me busier. I'm still
reading a lot of children's books, so have decided to catalogue them in such a
way that would be useful to teachers, parents and scholars. Take a look here.
News about my writing
The House of Clementine continues apace. I've finished the further scenes
involving Rozia mentioned last time. I'm now working on the "snazzy"
thread. What do you understand by the work "snazzy"?
I'm also still working on the fifth book in the Schellberg cycle:
The Round Robin and that is going well.
I'm currently doing a lot of research into farming in the 1940s in Germany.
I'm pleased to report that Clara's Story: a Holocaust Biography is selling slowly but
Useful links for writers
I am now keeping a list of these on my web site. Find them here.
Just a reminder: this
is a Facebook group for all people who write about the 1940s. Fiction
and non-fiction, for young and old. Topics might then be: the Holocaust, World War
II, Civilian Experience (all sides) and the battle front. We can exchange ideas
about research and marketing. We may promote books and stories, - the last day
of every month and on launch / release day.
Of course, with my
Schellberg Cycle I'm constantly in that world.
The Dream Team
continues to grow. Find members here.
This is a personal recommendation. Initially I intend to use
my Dream Team a lot myself but gradually I would add in people that friends and
friends of friends have recommended.
You sign up to a mailing list and every time a request comes
in we mail it out to you or the enquirer contacts you directly via my web site.
The conversation then carries on between you and the person making the request.
You may also have a page set up on my blog and you may update that once a
Interested? You may sign up for more than one category.
Beta readers sign up here.
Illustrators sign up here.
DO REMEMBER THAT
AT ANY TIME YOU’RE APPROACHED AND YOU’RE BUSY IT’S PERFECTLY FINE TO SAY NO.
I'm delight to
have Neil Campbell on board as a reviewer.
Yes, we have one. Or at least we are starting one now for
all of the imprints. All of the submissions we already have will be read in
order and in fact we'll move them as of today into the A Pile. Thereafter,
submissions from authors who are published in one of our anthologies, already
published in one of our imprints or are published on CafeLit, web site is
enough, will go into the A-list and all
others will go into the B List aka slush
editing my twelve stories for Crackers. This
went very smoothly and quickly this time. The standard is certainly getting
We’re still getting
plenty of interest in our single-author collections. These are for authors
we’ve published before and they may include stories we’ve already published,
ones they’ve had published elsewhere and new ones. The description for this is
now on the web site. We’ve already had some enquiries and we’re currently
working on several anthologies. You may recycle stories we’ve already
included in another anthology, and you may reedit these if you wish. You may
also add in new stories. We’re aiming at a total word count of between 30,000
and 70,000 words.
Stories are now
all being posted at 4.00 p,m, Afternoon Teatime, Kaffee and Kuchen time and it's also when the
kids are home from school. Just the right time for a cuppa and a good story.
In August we had stories from: James Bates, Andrew Bramwell,
Alan Cadman, Sue Cross, Jo Dearden, Susan A Eames, Richard C Elder, Jacqueline
Harrett, Janet Howson, Caroline Humes, Celia Jenkins, Amanda Jones, Dawn Knox,
Keelan LaForge Kim Martins, Fred Miller, Roger Noons, Jenny, Palmer, Rachael Peralez, Niles Reddick, Rich Rurshell, Iris N Schwartz, Julie Upton and Lisa
Williams. The most viewed story in the last thirty days is On Time by Lisa Williams.
Here's a reminder of how we select stories: I open my inbox
and I'll often see four or five submissions. I'll select the best of the bunch
and schedule it for in a few days' time. I'll let you know. I may reject one or
two but ones that are basically sound I'll keep forever or until they’re
published. Consequently if one you've
submitted to us has not been rejected, and you find a home for it elsewhere,
let us know the name of the story and the date you submitted and we'll remove
it from the archive. Try to include the drink each time. Do put CafeLit in the
subject line so we can identify your submission. Remember to include your bio
(50-100 words including links for longer stories, just links for 100 words or
less) each time. I haven't got time to look up an old one and in any case your
bio is probably changing all the time.
We're always open
to submissions. Find out to submit here. Remember,
this gives you some exposure, you can add in a short CV each time, and there's
always the chance that your work might be accepted for the annual anthology.
We have some
seasonal opportunities coming up now:
Autumn in general
So, get writing.
On offer for
CaféLit authors is a page on our web site. See examples here. The list is growing. Click on the names to
find out more about the authors and to access their work. If you're a CaféLit
author and would like a web page, use the ones there to get ideas. You need to
send me between 250 and 350 words about yourself, an attractive image, a list
of up to six publications, up to six awards and up to six links. I then also
link the page to your stories on CaféLit. Send to gill at cafelit dot co dot
We have some good
news from one of our writers, Susan Cross. She writes: "Stories
to Go is a compilation of very short stories gathered over the years
and which I have recently had published. Flash fiction is great as a read for
situations like finding yourself in an airport departure lounge, sitting in a
dentist’s waiting room or just want a quick read with a coffee. Each story is different,
some are funny, some sad, some set in a different time zone or country - but
all encapsulate the human condition. I hope that you will enjoy reading them as
much as I have enjoyed writing them."
The book is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon,
Barnes & Noble etc. read more here.
authors continue to be very proactive in promoting their work. They have
managed to get their books into shops and libraries. They are also buying lots
of author copies and being very proactive on getting on to blogs – mine
included, of course.
suggestions and review them if you can.
I'm continuing my
tour of creative cafés where I collect stories for an anthology. In some cases,
writers may offer them and in others customers may tell me their story and I'll
write it for them. Do you know of a café that might be interested in this? Let
me know if you do.
Remember you can
now buy merchandise for the Creative Café project. The profit on anything you
buy here goes to the Creative Café Project. Check this out here.
looking for new cafés. If you visit one
of the cafés in the project
and would like to write a review of between 250 and 350 words – nice, too, to
have a couple of pictures – send it to me here.
Do the same if you find a new café.
The Red Telephone
I have some books now lined up to read. I'm particularly
interested in near-futures speculative YA fiction.
Facebook Group for the Imprints
Scribblers Sans Frontières - Here you can:
Discuss all technical issues re our books
Exchange marketing ideas
Advertise and report on your events
Promote any of your titles or successes
Share good practice and ideas
Get help with writing problems
Anything else appropriate
Please come and join us if you're
eligible. Or you can ask me to sign you up.
I’m proactively promoting my school visits associated with The House on Schellberg Street
project. I’ve now developed a whole workshop for this. It starts off with a
board game, includes some role play and creative writing and ends with a
It is now possible to purchase the kit to work on on your
own. Find details here.
Costs for my workshops = travel expenses plus £400 for a
full day and £200 for a half day. This includes all materials and some
freebies. Two schools near to each other might consider splitting the day and
halving the travel expenses and fees. This is open to negotiation in any case.
I also offer a free half day visit, though you pay my travel
expenses, if you allow me to promote my books.
I’m continuously adding materials for schools to the site
that are different from the ones I use for the workshops. I’ve recently added
in resources and books to do with the topic. See them here
Query for a school visit here.
I’m also happy to tailor a visit for your agreed donation.
This can be for either a Schellberg Cycle
visit or a creative writing workshop. Any monies raised this way will go
specifically to a project I have for a non-fiction book about a journey that
will follow the footsteps of Clara
I’m hoping to do the whole journey by train, including departing via
my nearest Metrolink station. It’s important to feel the rails beneath my
I offer as well standard author visits which include
readings from my books, Q & A sessions and creative writing exercises.
Please remember, with these as well, I’m open to negotiation
if you can’t afford the full price.
Free listing for our writers
If you are one of
our writers and would like to offer school visits, please contact me. I'm
offering a free listing on the imprint pages.
State: age groups
you are prepared to work with, a definition of your work, distances you are
prepared to travel. Appropriate links. Please provide an image.
I have four events
- I'm hoping to run a workshop on marketing for indie writers /
publishers. This will be free of charge but you may make a donation if you
wish. This will enable me to put on further events.
- A Pushing Boundaries, Flying
Higher Master Class about writing the young adult novel.
This will follow
our normal pattern of events.
There will be:
- general mingling
- cash bar
- an opportunity to buy books at an advantageous
- “speed-dating” where you get to speak to as many people as
possible in the room i.e. promote yourself to readers, swap tips with
- author readings
- latest news from me
- collection for the Mustard Seed charity
- big book swap (bring one of your other titles and take something
else home – hopefully all will be reviewed. If you bring a non-writing
friend they can just bring a book they love)
Scribblers Celebration Event
This is for all
those people who cannot attend the event on 1 December; perhaps you live too
far away or you have something else. You can attend outside of those times but
it will be live then.
This gives you some
idea about how this all works.
In addition, I ask
that everybody who attends offers a secret Santa. This good be a physical gift
that you send to one other attendee. One of your books, a notebook with your
bookcover or coffee mug. Or you could offer a one off
service such as a critique of a short story. Or you may offer a file that I'll put into a
dropbox and you could expect multiple downloads. This could be a mobi or PDF of
one of your books, an audio file, an excerpt, or a tip sheet.
Would you like to
make a short video of you reading?
I was really
pleased to attend Jenny Palmer's book- signing of Bride House published Keepsake,
her single author collection, on 17 August at the Pendle Heritage Centre. It's a
really lovely place though I did rather break my own rule; I'll attend author
events if they're up to twenty miles away. This one was more like thirty but I
was curious about the centre so I went anyway. I'm glad I did.
It was fascinating
to look round the exhibitions there. I had a lovely lunch. The café there will certainly
go into the Creative Café Project.
Jenny managed to
sell five books in the first five minutes. What a great start.
Remember I keep a
full list of vetted opportunities on my writing
blog. See them here. New
ones are added several times a day. Roughly once a month I go through it and
take out all of the out of date ones. At that point I send it out to a list. If
you would like to be on that list, sign up here.
Current reading recommendation
This month my
recommend choice has to be Goodbye Mr
Tom, by Michelle Mogorian. I found myself rereading this for an academic
book I'm writing. I've read it before and I've also seen the film. I found it
totally engaging again.
Set in World War II, this story brings us the themes of war,
death, abuse, friendship and growth. Young William Beech poses reclusive
set-in-his ways Tom Oakley a challenge when he arrives as an evacuee in Little
Weirworld. There are some grim scenes and both Will and Tom have a hard time of
it but the ending is upbeat.
This is perhaps the best known of Magorian's books, many of
which are set in this era. This one could be described as a modern
This is clearly suitable for the fluent ready in the latter
stages of Key Stage 2 and the last two classes of junior school, ages 9-11. It
would also appeal to slightly older readers and adults.
Magorian's characters are richly drawn. She uses a close
third person point of view and we get to know each one of them really well. She
does flit from head to head a little which may disturb the modern reader
somewhat but nevertheless we remain gripped until the end.
I'm running an occasional series of interviews on my blog.
If you would like to be on my blog just answer the questions
below and send them with appropriate images to gill dot james at btinternet dot
Please feel free to pick and choose which of these to
What do you write? Why this in particular?
What got you started on writing in the first place?
Do you have a particular routine?
Do you have a dedicated working space?
When did you decide you could call yourself a writer?
Do you do that in fact?
How supportive are your friends and family? Do they
understand what you're doing?
What are you most proud of in your writing?
How do you get on with editing and research?
Do you have any goals for the future?
writers have inspired you?
Please write as much or as little as you like for each
section and supply as many pictures as you like. Also let me know your latest
publication and supply me with a link if it's not on Amazon.
I 'm also happy to offer you a post whenever you have a new
book come out, even if I'm not your publisher. In this case answer the
- Tell me about your book.
- Tell us about your
research for this book.
- What inspired you to write
- What's next?
- How can we get a copy of
- Do you have any events
Again write as much or as little as you please. Alter and
add to the questions if you wish. Provide as many pictures as you wish.
Send to: gill dot james at btinternet dot com
This month I'm
giving away The Build a Book Workshop -
my guide for teachers and writers about producing a book with children. This
takes them through the whole process – writing, editing, design, illustration
extract from Clara’s Story
seminars for schools about The House on
fiction writing exercises
opening chapters from my manual for writing the young adult novel
Note, that normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I
manage, sell for anything form £0.99 to £10.99, with most on Kindle being about
£2.99 and the average price for paperback being £7.00. We have to allow our
writers to make a living. But we’re offering these free samples so that you can
try before you buy.
Naturally we welcome reviews.
Happy reading and