Thursday 1 April 2021

News 1 April 2021


A bit of risk-taking and some writing inspiration

I’m having a problem with my leg and my GP sent me to the hospital for a scan and a blood test. The day everybody returned to work. The GP was running late, so I had to sit in the waiting room for a while, something I’d tried to avoid by arriving just five minutes before my appointment. Then I had cross some “medium risk” areas within the hospital. Martin had dropped me off earlier.  People are avoiding public transport at the moment so parking is a nightmare.  I needed to pick up the prescription my GP had given me, so I opted to risk coming back by bus and pop into the pharmacy on the way. And I hit the school run!  I have to say the kids were really good. They all wore masks on the bus.  They knew not to crowd on to it and when I got to my stop and had to make my way past them to get off, they stood well back and they all held their breath.   

I’m glad to say they found nothing untoward with my leg and hopefully the antibiotics I’ve been given will do the trick.

And what a joy to be out amongst people again and collecting hundreds of ideas for stories.

The bus route also takes us past a very pretty little park that is actually within walking distance of our house.  Spring is bursting out all over there, so I’m looking forward to visiting it again soon.      


News about my writing and other creative projects

The Class Letter, the fifth book in the Schellberg Cycle is now completely edited and queued for publication. I am now on the third edit of Not Just Fluffy Bunnies which I’m reading out loud.  I’m still working on The Business of Writing.  I’m interspersing all of this with short stories and flash fiction though not quite so much of that at the moment as I’ve started my fifth novel in the Peace Child series.  

I continue to write for Talking about My Generation, and I’m pleased to say that some of my creative writing series made it into the hard copy magazine, as did my article about my early childhood holidays at Colwyn Bay. 

Yesterday LOCKDOWN NUMBER TW0 was published. I have two stories in this volume. You can find it here.   I’ve bought a copy for my Kindle and three paperbacks. I see it already has three good reviews.

“A collection of fifteen winning short stories and an additional five stories, some of which contain adult language. These twenty short stories, based on "Lockdown Number Two" and "General" themes, are innovative, amusing and captivating to read. It is interesting to discover, particularly, how people spent their lockdown periods during 2020 in either real or imaginary situations.”



The Young Person’s Library

This month I’ve added:

The Power of her Pen by Lesa Cline-Ransome and John Para  

This is a non-fiction picture book possibly suitable for upper primary children. 

Prince Caspian by C S Lewis

A classic suitable for the fluent upper primary reader.


What We're Scared Of by Keren David

A young adult text that portrays some antisemitism.      



Current reading recommendation

This month I’m recommending Keren David’s What We’re Scared Of.

I’d also like to flag up here The Hive who recommended the book to me. This is a lovely on-line book shop that supports independent bookshops. Their site is clean and uncluttered, they deliver our print on demand books quickly and sell them at the RRP which Amazon is not doing at the moment.

What We’re Scared Of starts off with many of the marks of the chicklet-lit book. However, it becomes more serious as non-identical twins Evie and Lottie confront their Jewishness. 

Evie is a feisty stand-up comic and goes to the local comprehensive school.  Lottie is tall and thin.  She possibly has an eating disorder though this is understated. She also suffers from asthma. She attends a fee-paying school. As Evie gets to know the son of their mother’s friend and as Lottie gets to know school friend Hannah better the girls begin to realise that their being Jewish is significant.  After their mother protests openly on her radio show about antisemitism both girls are exposed to danger.  Will life ever be the same again? Will they be able to live with their Jewishness?

What we’re Scared Of   will really get you gunning for Evie and Lottie. Keren David has created an engaging and enticing read here.

Get your copy via The Hive here  or Amazon here.       


Note: these are usually mobi-files to be downloaded to a Kindle.  Occasionally there are PDFs.  

This month I’m giving away The Best of CaféLit 6

This is the collection of the best stories that appeared on the CaféLit site in 2016. Each story is accompanied by a drink suggestion. You might read the stories according to what you fancy drinking rather than in the order they’re listed in the book.

For CaféLit we like to have a variety of stories – short, down to 50 words or longer up to 3,000 words. We like darker stories that make you think or scare you. We also like lighter stories that make you smile or that lift your heart. We have some writers who really understand CaféLit and we publish them again and again. We also welcome new writers. Which story will you read today?

Hopefully you will enjoy this collection and you may then be tempted to purchase more in the series.  

The Best of CaféLit 6 is as you might suspect the sixth in the Best of CaféLit series. These are all short story collections by multiple authors.

Pick up your free copy here.         

Note, that normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I manage sell for anything from £0.99 to £10.99.  Most on Kindle are about £2.99 and the average price for paperback is £7.00. Writers have 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 and readers of historical fiction.

Sometimes I also write about what might be of interest to other writers.

There were two posts in March:

The Class Letter (Book 5) almost finished

As you would probably expect here I write about finishing The Class Letter.

I have also here another review of What We’re Scared Of  but here I go into more detail about how this reflects on the Holocaust.       




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.


The Bridgetown  Café Bookshop where you can buy my book and books published by Bridge House Publishing, CafeLit, Chapeltown Books and The Red Telephone.  We’re building up our inventory, so please bear with us. Visit us 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 The children’s book catalogue. Access it here.


Fair Submissions  Find it here.   

Opportunities for writers are added several times a day. Roughly once a month I send it out to a list. If you would like to be on that list, sign up here.  

Happy reading and writing.


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