Wednesday 3 November 2021

News 3 November 2021


Save, Protect, Future, Receive, Rescue

Opening up and saving the planet

Shortly after I retired I found myself wondering how I’d ever had time to go to work. Then as the pandemic took hold, I wondered how I’d ever had time to go out anywhere. Many things started happening via Zoom and other similar platforms. You could join a meeting straight from your desk and work on something up until about five minutes before the meeting started. .

However I have started going out again and I hope in doing so I’m doing my bit about getting the economy moving again.

I worried a little at first about attending a Society of Authors Meeting that would involve about an hour and half traveling, or going to a Talking About My Generation news room meet up that would take half a day rather than half an afternoon.

I found it didn’t actually matter; you gain as much as you lose. There are some things that work better with a face to face meeting than when you’re communicating via a screen. The journeys can be interesting as well. There’s some good fodder for stories on a bus ride.

Yet the online meetings are still valid, particularly if there is a geographical challenge. Most of the groups I’m involved with are going for a half and half approach. I even ran my U3A Creative Writing group partly on Zoom.  It was a little odd in the social part just before the meeting got down to business. Those on Zoom chatted amongst themselves.  It was like having an extra group of little people in the room. However, once we started sharing work it all went smoothly. In any case we hold one hybrid meeting a month and one completely on Zoom.  

I’ve been out for one or two lunches and it’s clear the hospitality business is still suffering.  They are generally short of staff. Prices may have gone up a little as they try to make up for trade lost over the last eighteen months. Staff they’ve had to make redundant have now found work elsewhere.

There’s another balance to be brought in as well.  We must all do what little thigs we can to combat climate change. So, I’ve opted for public transport where possible. Most of the things on the list of the small changes people can make we do anyway. So, we’re also looking now at reducing our meat intake.

There is the danger that as we open up more after the Covid lockdowns we’ll go back to our old ways: emissions from cars, lots of paper and plastic waste from take-out lunches and more air travel. 

I hope we’ll continue to work with a hybrid pattern of on-line and face to face meetings.  Funnily enough they do just that in my Peace Child’s world.          



Current writing

I’m now on the tenth draft of my fifth Peace Child novel, The Glastonbury Specification.   After edit nine I added a new chapter. This helped the Glastonbury specification gain a little more momentum. I think there is still more to be done however. 

My latest non-fiction work as well is finished and on its way out there.  I’m also putting together The Big Book of Prompts, which combines Prompts 2020, 2021 and 2022.   

I was pleased to appear on Hannah’s Bookshelf   on 9 October.  This is a great programme for readers and writers and goes out every Saturday afternoon on North Manchester FM . Well worth a listen. You can hear my interviews at:  

I’ve had another story published with Reedsy. It’s described as Christian.  It sort of is and it isn’t. You’ll see what I mean if you read it. Find it here:   Saving Gracie   


The Young Person’s Library

I’ve added one book this month:

Hide and Seek by Robin Scott-Elliot This is the story of a young Jewish girl living in Paris.  Her parents are taken away but she hides in her mother’s wardrobe. She eventually works for  the resistance and also helps to save some Jewish orphans.  A pleasing Teen / YA read.   


Current reading recommendation

I’ve gone back to one of the masters this month: Charles Dickens. In fact, the great work I read took most of the month. I’ve made my way through his Sketches.

It’s a long read but the title is so apt. It’s a collection of sketches of and anecdotes about people and places.  Dickens was so ahead of his time. Monty Python didn’t really bring us anything new.  And although he satirises the behaviour of people there is also respect and fondness.

He apologises at the beginning of the book.  He was very young and an inexperienced writer when he created these works. Fine.  We can see here his writers’ craft growing.

The collection also acts as time machine for a 21st century reader; we are transported to a London, an England and a society very different from the ones we know now.           

Get your copy here.      



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

This month I’m offering my short story collection: Girl in a Smart Uniform

Gisela yearns to belong. Yet life conspires against her.

At first Gisela is delighted to be a member of the BDM. She struggles as she has to care for her disabled half-brother, she firms a taboo relationship with another girl and also loses her father and her precious brother, Bear.

Girl in a Smart Uniform is the third story in my Schellberg Cycle which includes themes of identity, the Holocaust and World War II.                  

Find out and grab your copy and lots of other freebies here.

And please, please, please leave a review when you’ve finished.    

Note: 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.  They may also be interesting for other readers of historical fiction.

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

I’ve added three posts this month.

Shortages – then and now compares what we’re experiencing now with what happened in the 1940s. Maybe we shouldn’t grumble?

Racism and Anti-Semitism looks at some of the root causes of racism and anti-Semitism.

I have also added here information about Hide and Seek by Robin Scott-Elliot,  also discusses above, as it gives insights  into the Resistance     


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.  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 and some other editors 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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