I’ve signed up for a playwriting course at MMU. I hope my friends
from the University of Salford will forgive me. It’s two days in October and
will involve analysing Hamlet
Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern are Dead. We’ll also be dabbling in virtual reality.
There will be some writing during the course. You can find more details about
it here. Care to join me?
I’m really looking forward to this and I hope it will bring a
new dynamic to my writing.
News about my writing
My story Grey will soon be published in the
Ginoskso literary journal. (Volume 23)
My biggest news is
that the third story in my Schellberg
Cycle, Girl in a Smart Uniform is now out. This is the most fictional to
date. Some characters, familiar
to those who have read the first two books, appear again here. Clara Lehrs,
Karl Schubert and Dr Kühn really existed. We have a few, a very few, verifiable
facts about them. The rest we have had to find out by repeating some of their
experiences and by using the careful writer's imagination.
Gisela adores her brother Bear, her gorgeous BDM uniform, and her little
half-brother Jens. She does her best to be a good German citizen, and is keen
to help restore Germany to its former glory. She becomes a competent and
respected BDM leader. But life begins to turn sour. Her oldest brother Kurt can
be violent, she soon realises that she is different from other girls, she feels
uncomfortable around her mother’s new lover, and there is something not quite
right about Jens. It becomes more and more difficult to be the perfect German
We know that BDM girls set fire to the house in Schellberg Street but got the
children out first. This story seeks to explain what motivated the girls to do
that, and what happened to them afterwards.
At some point I’ll
be doing a proper launch though I’m still trying to decide exactly what to do.
I’ve also continued to work on The House of Clementine, 280 x 70 and Not Just Fluffy Bunnies. The latter is proving to be huge and I’m wondering
whether I should serialise it.
books for children
This month I’ve
TaylorTake Another Look by
Anna Mainwaring. Anna is one of my SCBWI
friends and I’m very pleased for her. This was published just a few weeks ago.
It’s definitely YA and is welcomely different from what has now become the
School at the Chalet
by Elinor Brent-Dyer This is suitable for fluent
readers, Key Stage 2.
It’s quite a classic
and was first published in 1925.
many familiar tropes from the school story. I reread it in connection with Not Just Fluffy Bunnies.
Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett More classics. I’ve included
all of the One End Street books here.
They were first written in 1937, 1956 and 1962. I read these just out of
curiosity. A lot of nostalgia there for me. They would suit the fluent reader Key
Stage 2 and maybe early teens. However I
do suspect that the 21st century young reader may find them
puzzling. I was looking to see if they were “working class novels”. They’re
about the working class, certainly, but Garnett can hardly be classed as working
Current reading recommendation
This month I’m recommending one of our own writers. I really
enjoyed Gail Aldwin’s String Games. I’m
not giving anything away when I say there is an abduction and murder involved.
This is mentioned on the back cover blurb.
The story is in three parts and from the point of view of the
victim’s sister Nim / Imogen:
- At the time of the abduction
- Nim as an adolescent
- Imogen trying to get
It took me out of my editor’s. That’s always a good sign. I
also soon forgot that it was written by someone I knew. Another good sign.
You can read more about it here.
This month I’m giving
away my book on marketing for indies: So
now You’re Published, What next?
The last thing most writers want to do is spend a lot of
time on marketing. Yet books don't sell themselves by magic, no matter how good
they are. Publishers do what they can but time and money is limited, and
inevitably they have to move on to the next project. If you can adapt a few
useful routines, especially ones you find palatable and fun, you'll hardly
notice you're doing it. There are heaps of useful suggestions here and handy
check lists to keep you on track.
Get your free mobi-file and lots of other goodies here.
Note, that normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I
manage sell for anything from £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 I’m offering these free samples so that you can
try before you buy.
Naturally I welcome reviews.
Many of the giveaways come as a mobi-file that you need to download to
your Kindle. Just plug your Kindle into your computer and save the mobi-file to
your Kindle. Or you can transfer it across later. If you don’t have a Kindle
here are some instructions that may help:
make a range of apps that emulate a Kindle device on other platforms:
(Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10)
- Choose which device you would like to
read the .mobi file on. (PCs, Macs, iPhones and iPads are good).
- Go to https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=GZSM7D8A85WKPYYD and select the device. Follow the
instructions to install the app/software.
- If your chosen reading platform is not
the one on which you received/saved the .mobi file, transfer the file
across. For most combinations of source and target this will simply
involve connecting the two together with the appropriate cable, or via a
USB memory stick. For example, for a PC to an iPhone or iPad, connect
using the uPhone/iPad power cable and transfer using iTunes.
If you only have access to a
Linux platform, you will need to use one of the many online ebook converters
(Google is your friend here) to convert the .mobi file to an .epub file, then
install Calibre to read it.
The Schellberg Project
I’ve continued adding to the Discovery Pack, posting the
same material on to the web site / blog. I’ve added another page about Käthe
Edler, Renate’s mother. Although she was quite a feisty woman she was
constrained by the notions of the time of what a wife and mother should be.
The posts may be helpful for teachers who are familiar with
the Schellberg stories or who are teaching about the Holocaust.
You can read the posts here.
I’m still 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
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.
Some notes about my newsletters and
They do overlap a little but here is a summary of what they
Bridge House Authors
For all those published by Bridge House, CaféLit,
Chapletown or The Red Telephone or interested in being published by us. General
news about the imprints. News for writers. Links to book performance. Sign up here.
News about our books. Sign up here.
The Creative Café Project
News about the project and CaféLit –
for the consumer rather than for the producer.
Sign up here.
News about my writing, The Schellberg Project, School
Visits and Events. Find it here.
Opportunities List 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.
Pushing Boundaries, Flying Higher
News about conferences and
workshops to do with the young adult novel. (infrequent postings) Sign up here
Red Telephone Books
News about our books and our authors. Sign
A Publisher’s Perspective
Here I blog as a publisher. Access
The Creative Café Project
Listings and reviews of creative
cafés. See them her
Find these here
Gill James Writer
All about writing and about my books. View
Gill’s Recommended Reads
Find information here
about books that
have taken me out of my editor’s head.
Gill’s Sample Fiction
Read some of my fiction here.
The House on Schellberg Street
All about my Schellberg project.
Read it here.
All about teaching creative writing.
Some creative writing exercises. Access this here.
Books Books Books
Weekly offers on our books and news of new
books. Find them here.
Happy reading and