Tuesday 1 September 2020

News 1 September 2020


Zooming around

I’m continuing to enjoy some excellent on-line events. I even managed to attend a book launch in Florida recently.  It was eight o’clock here and lunch-time there.  I think this was deliberate as the launch was of an anthology that included some UK writers.  One of the speakers came from just a few miles from where I’m based.
We missed the Bolton Food festival, always a great event this summer bank holiday weekend. However, the online version was pretty good. You don’t get the smell and tastes as you wander around but there were a lot of interesting demonstrations and you could buy online many of the items they usually sell at the stalls.  
I now have three events arranged myself. You are all cordially invited to all of them. The first  is the Lancashire Authors Association’s talk led by Nick Oldham, a local writer and publisher. This is by invite and if you would like to be invited, please contact me. It takes place on 12 September at 2 p.m.
Then on 17 September at 8 p.m. I will be speaking with three colleagues about writing the 1940s. There will be readings, a Q & A, possibly the opportunity for an open mic and digital giveaways for everyone who attends.
On 26 Sep I’ll be reading from my short story collection and will be joined by two other readers. Again there will be readings, a Q & A, an open mic, if there’s time and again there will be digital giveaways for all attendees.      

News about my writing and other creative projects

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.  And of course I’m interspersing this with short stories and flash fiction.
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. Reflective writing about what is actually happening now is also welcome, along with stories set now or a little into the future.  

The Young Person’s Library

I’ve added new this month:  

The B on Your Thumb: 60 Poems to Boost Reading and Spelling by Colette Hillier (writer) Tor Freeman (illustrator)

This a book of poems that help with spelling and pronunciation. It is suitable for primary school.

I am Brown by Ashok Banker (writer) Sandhya Prabhat (illustrator)

This a picture book for the pre-school child and presents multiculturalism effectively.

Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz and Scorpia by Anthony Horowitz These books are becoming even more exciting – and they’re getting thicker and longer. Alex is growing up.



Current reading recommendation

I’m still making my way through the full series of the Anne Shirley and the Alex Rider books and also the 2019 short list for the Man Booker prize.
This month’s choice therefore has to be The Testaments by Margaret Atwood .
These accounts by three individual witnesses are beautifully written. Margaret Atwood has created a unique voice for each of the narrators. We have the accounts of two young women, both of whom are training to be Aunts in the Gilead system. We also have the voice of the feared and revered Aunt Lydia.
All is not well in or outside Gilead.
It would be difficult to understand these accounts if you are not familiar with The Handmaid’s Tale. You really need to have read that first book or have seen the TV productions. The story in this volume contradicts a little what we have seen in the TV series.
It is the story of what happens after Baby Nicole is smuggled out of Gilead. Certainly the events described here happen when Nicole is a teenager. However, we still don’t have the full story. Will there be one? Or must we use our imaginations?
I gave this a five star review on both Amazon and Good Reads.  It was interesting reading other reviews including some one and two star ones.  Yes, even the literary greats get those!
For me this remains one of those rare books that I’d gladly read again. Perhaps this is partly because I feel I may have missed something. It is also in part because I find the prose so enchanting and not as one reviewer said: “dull and lifeless with no linguistic subtleties that Atwood is so very good at.” So, take heart if you’re a writer and get some one or two star reviews. It’s all so subjective after all.              



Note: these are usually mobi-files to be downloaded to a Kindle.  Occasionally there are PDFs.
This moth I’m giving away Fibbin’ Archie, a young adult text that is also a writing experiment using the Fibonacci series.  I hope you like the pun.  
Here’s the blurb:
Archie has quite a reputation as a practised fibber. Normally his lies are harmless but as time goes by they begin to get him into more and more trouble. They lose him his girlfriend, and bizarrely, his hearing as his ears begin to react in a very strange way every time he is less than truthful.  Giving honest opinions isn’t enough. Deep truth is called for. But finding that isn’t easy. Some truths are very hard to face. Then numbers become interesting, too.
Fibbin’ Archie, is, however, more than the story of a disenchanted young man. It is also a writing experiment based on a fascinating number series (Fibonacci!) It is a piece of experimental writing, a humorous story of love and sex, an examination of social issues affecting young adults and a story of coming of age.

You can download it and lots of other free materials here.
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.


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 highlighted a few useful accounts of the Nazi era in five books that might be of interest to younger readers. You can find this post here.  

I’ve also written more about the BDM girls.  You can find that discussion here. This topic is a crucial aspect of the whole project. What was life like for young German women during and in the years surrounding World War II? Their membership of the BDM has to be very significant.    

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 Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

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