Wednesday 1 July 2020

News 1 July 2020

I hope everyone is keeping well and cheerful in these strange times. This bizarre situation seems to be bringing out the best and the worst in people. I’ve just finished watching Devs (BBC, Ealing Studios, but also filmed on location in San Francisco, North Carolina and one or two other places). Recommended.  It poses many questions. Do we have free will? Is everything pre-determined? Can we make choices? Are there multiple universes?  So, can we choose to do the best thing or the worst thing at any given moment? And: is it our job as content creators to pose this kind of question.  Is it our role as readers to look for answers?  Certainly that is part of the attraction for me in reading and writing.                

News about my writing and other creative projects

I’m delighted to be involved, as a culture champion and also as a creative writing teacher, with Bury Art Museum. There are lots of on-line activities being planned and they’re looking for a creative response. I’m offering a three hour online creative writing workshop, using some of the resources at the museum and some that participants can find at home. I’m just waiting for the time to be finalised.  You are all very welcome though there will be a limit on numbers.  It will be suitable for beginners and more experienced writers. Watch out for me on Twitter with more news.            

I’ve had more flash speculative fiction published this month with Page and Spine. They have also accepted a longer story: . So, I’ve earned another $30.  I’m not complaining at all.

I’m still carrying on much as before: The Round Robin, the fifth book in the Schellberg Cycle, Not Just Fluffy Bunnies, and I’m still working on The Business of Writing. 
I’m also continuing to write stories relating to what might happen after the virus leaves us – if it does. This is Aftermath, an invitation to write speculative and near future fiction about what may happen after the virus.

The Young Person’s Library

I’ve added new this month:  

This was originally written for a young American fan and only appeared in the UK many years after it was first written. I picked up my copy on a visit to the Lakes just before lockdown started.

Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery

A lovely classic.  This was the first book I read when my primary school teacher tried to wean me off Famous Five books. I’ve recently reread it.  It is suitable for fluent readers and upwards.


Forever by Judy Blume

First published in 1975, this is a YA novel way ahead of its time. I think it’s better written than many contemporary novels for this reader and it doesn’t gloss over a young girl’s first sexual experiences


Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

Fast pace and full of adventure this is suitable, I think, for both fluent readers and early teens – and older people like me who still enjoy reading children’s books.


The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

The world contained in a Catholic boys’ school. This is for a skilled reader. It’s complex but thought-provoking.


A Walk in the Park by Anthony Browne  

A delightful picture book by the former children’s laureate. And it contains some astute social commentary.


Anne of Avonlea by L M Montgomery

Another “Anne” book but this time perhaps for the early teen reader.


Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Books by this man and wife team are always lovely. This contains an I-Spy element and relies somewhat on the child’s knowledge of fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters.


The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Again the Ahlbergs produce a text that relies on the child’s knowledge of fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters. This is to some extent a novelty book and also contains post to and from some well know characters.   


Current reading recommendation

I’m recommending this month Anne of Green Gables.
I’ve now read this four times.  
You can read my full review of it here.          



Note: these are usually mobi-files to be downloaded to a Kindle.  Occasionally there are PDFs.
I’m giving away all three novels in the Peace Child series in case you missed out over the last three months. Protagonist Kaleem started nagging at me and I had to write a fourth story about him. I have a fifth one planned. So much for it being a trilogy!   

Certainly the economic situation at the moment is making me realise how the Zenoton may have created their society. And that is one of the bits of Aftermath writing I’m currently working on.  
You can download The Peace Child Trilogy and lots of other free materials here. Look out for the three titles: The Prophecy, Babel and The Tower.  

Please, please, please review it if you read it.     

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. Also at the moment I’m quite happy for you to share these links with other people and any of the items you’ve downloaded before - just until the end of the lock-down.   


The Schellberg Project

The posts may be helpful for teachers who are familiar with the Schellberg stories or who are teaching about the Holocaust and also for other writers of historical fiction.
This month I’ve written about my experience of the first edit of book five, The Round Robin. Read my comments here.   

School visits

I’ve suspended these until further notice. I’m now starting work on a series of on-line materials.  

Some notes about my newsletters and blogs

They do overlap a little but here is a summary of what they all do.

Bridge House Authors For all those published by Bridge House, CaféLit, Chapeltown 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.

Chapeltown Books 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.   

Gill’s News: News about my writing, The Schellberg Project, School Visits and Events. Book recommendations and giveaways. Find it 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 up here.

A Publisher’s Perspective Here I blog as a publisher. Access this here.   

The Creative Café Project Listings and reviews of creative cafés. See them here.   

CaféLit Stories Find these here

Gill James Writer All about writing and about my books. View this here.

Gill’s Recommended Reads Find information here about books that have taken me out of my editor’s head and a reminder of the ones I’ve highlighted in this newsletter.    

Gill’s Sample Fiction Read some of my fiction here.

The House on Schellberg Street All about my Schellberg project. Read it here.

Writing Teacher 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. 

The Young Person’s Library I am gradually moving the children’s book catalogue over to this site.  Access it here.

Fair Submissions I am gradually moving the Opportunities List to this site.  Find it 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.  
Happy reading and writing. 
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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