Tuesday 11 July 2023

News 11 July 2023


Back to where it all began   

We’ve just come back from three weeks’ holiday in the place where it all began: Nerja, on the Costa del Sol, where there are mysterious explosions on the hills and wonderful caves that led to a fantasy story for children.

Even on holiday these days I tend to do a little work. Anyway, I need holidays less: the day job feels a bit like how a holiday used to.

And yet.  Plenty of people-watching, plenty of relaxing and plenty of time to take stock. And I’ve read lots of books, three of them by John Steinbeck. What a brilliant writer. I have two choices here; either I give up because he is the absolute master or I persevere and now my goal is to be as good as him.   

I think it will have to be the latter; I can’t not write.

Then there was this hotel that we stayed in on the way back to the ferry. The castle was actually built in the 14th century. Our room was in the castle itself. It had a “Gothic” swimming pool. I feel a few stories coming on ….           


Writing news

I have several articles on Talking About My Generation this month:

A review of the 1940s weekend on the East Lancs Railway:   https://talkingaboutmygeneration.co.uk/lancaster-bombers-and-singing-belles-east-lancs-railway-1940s-weekend/

A creative writing exercise a group of us did at Bury market:  https://talkingaboutmygeneration.co.uk/we-wrote-the-bury-market/

A review of Blond Bombshells at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton:  https://talkingaboutmygeneration.co.uk/review-blonde-bombshells-of-1943-at-the-octagon-theatre-bolton/

A video I made with a colleague about one of the wellness walks organised by Bury Council: https://www.tiktok.com/@mygen.gm/video/7250048965603888410?



On My Blog

I talk to Alicia Rouverol about her novel that we’ve recently published:

Talking to Alicia Rouverol about her writing and her newly published novel, Dry River

I have also written a short article on what I consider to be mistakes that people make when submitting work: Most common pitfalls in submissions



The Young Person’s Library

I have added just one new book this month:

Joy by Yasmeen Ismail and Jenni Desmond The title says it all: a delightful picture book about a kitten.


Recommended read

This month I’m recommending The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  I guess because of the comments above you are hardly surprised.   


A farming family struggles as the Dust Bowl and the banks put them out of business.  

John Steinbeck creates believable characters with whom we can empathise. He gives us a good sense of time and place. He presents the struggles of the times that in many ways still exist today. As the Joad family move to California they encounter all of the prejudice and fear that migrants face today. These working people struggle to make a living, always with hope but rarely with success. There is a little state aid: special camp sites, help with funeral costs and something almost like our modern day foodbanks. Further drama is added as Tom becomes a man on the run; he has served a jail sentence for man slaughter. As he is out of state he has not met the conditions of his parole – and then he kills again.

A long text, but John Steinbeck keeps the reader engaged in this classic novel, The Grapes of Wrath.           


Note: these are usually mobi-files to be downloaded to a Kindle.  Occasionally there are PDFs. This month I’m offering a Kindle file and a PDF of The Tower, the second story in the Peace Child series.  



Kaleem has given up the love of his life in order to protect her. He now lives and works on Zandra. A sudden landquake, not known on the planet for many years, destroys many of the forests his father has planted to bring life back to the planet. The new relationship Kaleem has helped to establish between the Terrestrans and the Zandrians is also under threat. A third party gets involved and Kaleem has to use all of his diplomatic skills to keep everything on track. Mistakes cost him dearly and he looks set to lose Rozia for a second time. The Babel Tower mystery, others mysteries and sadness plague him. Can he find a way through to fulfil his role as the Peace Child?


Find out more. Grab your copy and lots of other freebies:


Note, you may have to copy and paste the link.   

And please, please, please leave a review, perhaps on Amazon, Good Reads and / or Story Graph, 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 £8.00. 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 useful to other writers.

I’ve not actually added anything new this month but I shall soon be writing about the two launches I had for Face to Face with the Führer. This will include an offer on the package of books. Watch this space. (And others!)     


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 books 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.  I also invite other writers to provide prompts and work for critique.     


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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