Thursday 7 December 2023

Newsletter November 2023


Writerly activities

Sometimes I feel so privileged to be a writer and therefore to be allowed to indulge in several activities that aren’t exactly writing but might be described as “writing related”. There have been two this week:

I attended a meeting of the Manchester City of Literature partners.  Yes, we’re very proud that Bridge House is a partner. Take a look at the other partners here:  And have a look at what the City of Literature does. Even more exciting was to find that one of my former students from the University of Salford now works for them. Another former student was representing one of the other partners. Our meeting involved some brainstorming about the year’s literary calendar in Manchester. We also talked about the aims and objectives of the organisation.  This was followed by a social event where I was able to network and made a lot of useful contacts.

We Talking About My Generarion  reporters were invited to a show case of some younger reporters’ work: It’s probably also the first time I’ve been to Stretford, so new experiences all round.

I also love going to the theatres and have two visits planned next week. I’m going to the Bolton Octagon to see Around the World in Eighty Days  and Home to see Little Women This helps satisfy my continuous need for story. And I can convince myself it’s work; it helps my understanding of how plots work.      



Writing news


I’m pottering on with Peace Child 6. I’m now just finished the fourth draft which looks at the logistics of time with the novel; no two year pregnancies and enough time / space for characters to eat and sleep. I also had to work on the transition between two chapters where it wasn’t clear how much time had passed.  I tend to have cliff hangers at the end of chapters in this novel, so picking up the story again is important.   

I continue to write for Talking About My Generation. I have written a review of a play at our local Whitefield Garrick, and I’ve taken a look at the new episodes of Neighbours:

I’ve also supplied a few ideas about mincemeat:

I may have mentioned last time that I’m having a go at poetry? Yes that continues, but I’m still on ‘A’ in Alison Chisolm’s The Poet’s A-Z

Another book has appeared in my Kofi-shop. You can now buy 140 x 140 there.

If you would like to know more about the Creative Writing Tip Sheets I mentioned recently, you may like to watch this video: Creative Writing Tip Sheets    



On My Blog

This month I’ve talked to several people who have appeared in our Gifted anthology. Read all about them here:  Hidayat Adams, Linda Flynn, Adjie Henderson, Paula Readman, Seamus Norris, Ellen Sullivan,Allison Symes

Their account make interesting reading.


The Young Person’s Library

I’ve added just two books this month, both are teen  / YA. Totally Deceased by Sue  H Cunningham, a humorous murder mystery where a young heart transplant patient and the ghost of the girl whose heart she has received investigate who murdered the latter and why.

Happiness Seeker by Jennifer Burkinshaw is totally different though may appeal to the same reader. It all takes place at Grange-over-Sands, which can be dangerous enough.  Peer pressure and modern slavery make it even more perilous for the young people involved. This is a well-written novel with a strong sense of place and well-developed characters.       



Recommended read 


So, this month I’m recommending: Happiness Seeker by Jennifer Burkinshaw

Yes, again I’ve chosen a text for younger readers again.  I could hardly put this one down.  

Allie is at Grange-Over-Sands on a school trip. The very place is beautiful and dangerous at the same time.   

There are other delights and dangers too. Allie is irritated by the relationship developing between her best friend and her nemesis. Then she becomes romantically involved with the mysterious Mareno. He is threatened not just from the shifting sands and strong currents. Allie’s attempt to put this right is doomed to failure.  When her greatest enemy attempts to right a wrong, four lives are put in danger. There are deaths and near misses. This text tackles some modern but also age old problem: migration and modern slavery.            

Happiness Seeker is beautifully narrated by the very talented Jennifer Burkinshaw.    



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

This month I’m offering The House on Schellberg Street, the first in my Schellberg cycle.  

Renate Edler loves to visit her grandmother in the house on Schellberg Street. She often meets up with her friend Hani Gödde who lives nearby. This year, though, it is not to be. Just a few weeks after a night when synagogues are burned and businesses owned by Jews are looted, Renate finds out a terrible secret about her family.

At a time when the world is at war and the horrors of the Holocaust are slowly becoming apparent, Renate has to leave behind her home and her friends, and become somebody she never thought she could be.

The house on Schellberg Street needs to stay strong. Will it and those who work in it be strong enough? Will Renate ever feel at home again? And what of those left behind?


Grab it  here:  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.

I’ve not added nay new material this month, but there are over 370 posts and 30 pages of extra information, so it is worth a browse?  Take a look at The House on Schellberg Street.  



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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