Friday 3 December 2021

News 3 December 2021

 Letter, E-Mail, Mail, Hand, Write

A new regime  

I have made a slight change to my writing routine and the results have bene very rewarding. Now, my first task of the day it to submit a piece of writing. This will involve another edit / proof read and the due diligence about finding the right publisher. It’s an exciting start to the day. I’ve been doing this now for a couple of weeks and already it’s paying off. Okay, so I’ve had two rejections (from older submissions) but also two acceptances, for work submitted this week.

So, I’m recommending this approach.        

Current writing

I’m now on the twelfth draft of my fifth Peace Child novel, The Glastonbury Specification. It’s now almost ready for the next stage.   

The Big Book of Prompts, which combines Prompts 2020, 2021 and 2022 is now finished and will be released at the end of 2022. I’m now working on a manual for writers’ group now. It will have fifty-two plans for creative writing sessions. This includes a description of   equipment needed, any activity that needs to be done in advance, timing for writing, sharing work, with suggestions of how to do the latter and suggestions of how to build on the work.

I’ve had two articles published with Talking about My Generation:


The Young Person’s Library

I’ve added three books this month, all fluent reader texts:

October, October by Katya Balen (illustrations by Angela Harding) This crosses over into teen. A young girl lives with her father in a home in the woods.  Both of them love nature. But changes have to be made when her father is badly injured in a fall from a tree.


Gracie Fairshaw and the Trouble at the Tower   My kind of book! This is a well-told and well-written tale. Here The Family from One End Street, meets Noel Streatfield, meets the Secret Seven, with a good deal of quirkiness and a 21st problem thrown in.


A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig illustrated by Chris Mould  Really great for this time of the year. This story contains some familiar tropes, some quirky passages and the sadness that Nikolas loses his father.

I’m reading most books on Kindle these days but I do buy physical books for young people though YA will also go on Kindle. I source most of these books from The Hive. I really recommend this lovely online shop that supports indie bookshops and delivers promptly.   



Current reading recommendation

I really enjoyed the Gracie Fairshaw book described above. So, I’m recommending that one his month.

The story is set in Blackpool 1935 as Christmas approaches. But someone is trying to sabotage the Children’s Ballet Christmas spectacular. A piece of scenery injures a dancer, another dancer has itching powder put inside her costume and a several poisonous-pen letters are sent. Naughty chimps and escaping lions add to the drama.  The damage the chimps do often looks like part of the sabotage.  

Gracie becomes a reporter for the local newspaper. This affords the reader several details about what a writer does – and helps Gracie to do more investigating.  

There are many details of time and place here. We have a glimpse of what Christmas was like back then and in a boarding house in particular. Paper chains feature in abundance. 

Susan Brownrigg is a brilliant story teller.  This is a well-told and well-written tale. Here The Family from One End Street, meets Noel Streatfield, meets the Secret Seven, with a good deal of quirkiness and a 21st problem thrown in.  I hope Brownrigg will bring us many more episodes about Gracie.      

The book is 235 pages long – some forty pages longer than the first book in the series.  The text is blocked but double-spaced. The font has a serif. The chapters are relatively short.  Chapter headings are in a cursive font and are fronted with a picture of an envelope with a question mark on it. At the end of the book there is a glossary which contains a lot more information about Blackpool, a note from the author on her research about the Children’s Ballet, and an author bio.           

Grab you 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: Other Ways of Being  

Stories that suggest alternative ways of life.  

Is a stranger a threat or is he just trying to help? It may be as clever as being a fortune-teller but is it helpful?

Is the wild woman really a little girl that she used to know? Will they be safe now or should they worry about the bright soldiers marching? Which horror does the deep sleeper hide?

Who was that strange child? How did they manage to feed so many people?

Can a couple remain together even when their natures threaten to keep them apart? Is a seemingly incompetent wizard cleverer than he seems? What happens when an alien makes a mistake and almost gives himself away? Do animals help each other in their struggle against the damage that humans are doing? Who exactly is the lady in blue? Is Bradley’s the best story ever?

Can a man survive in a dystopian future if he has no more human contact? What can ATMs do when society goes moneyless? What happens when the money runs out? Just how smart will the smartphone get? Or driverless cars for that matter? Where will we find sanctuary when the extremists start winning? What happens to the clones when the blueprint gets sick?

Will we get used to Toni?

Other Ways of Being is a collection of thought-provoking stories that have all been published elsewhere first.    


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 two posts this month. Both of them are really about my plans for future stories.

Find them here:

More stories coming soon

More about Helga’s Story



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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