Saturday 1 June 2024

News 1 June 2024


What feeds a writer’s soul?  

I love being at my writing desk and I love those days when I know I can spend a long time there. Yet I also relish the times when I can get out and about.

It may be something simple, like taking the bus into town to go to a meeting. I might stroll through the shops or the market and enjoy a coffee somewhere. These all offer great opportunities for people watching.

I go to a lot of live theatre.  The content of it feeds my need for story. The journey there and back and the waiting times in between again offer the opportunity to sit and stare.

Occasionally a time away from the desk is more focussed.  This week my OH and I went to Hereford for his annual meet up with his friends from university. It was good catching up and staying in the lovely Green Dragon Hotel, a genteel old-fashioned sort of place.   

We also visited the cathedral, seeing the famous Mapa Mundi, an extract from the Magna Carta and the chained library. Not to forget the statue of Elgar and his bicycle.  

The journey there and back was pleasant as well. The trains in both directions were mainly on time and passed through some lovely country side.

It was good to be back, though.

How does one differentiate between holidays and working time when you’re doing your dream job? Well on holiday, I stop submitting, I only deal with essential email – the rest gets deleted, and I’m more passive on social media. But I still write. I also read a lot. The writing feels a little different and there is also plenty of opportunity for further feeding my soul.    

Writing news

I’m still working on edits of Peace Child 6. I’m currently looking at point of view, making sure that it’s consistent and if it does zoom in and out, it does it in a reasonable way.  

I’ve had a handful of publications this month. There are three reviews with Talking about My Generation:

Little Shop of Horrors and the Octagon   

Silence at Home

Things I know to Be True at the Whitefield Garrick     


Talking about My Generation has also published my article about my first car: My First Car, an Hillman Imp Van   


My short story, finalist in the WAWA competition is now published: The Old Boots .  You have to scroll down to read it but the other stories are worth reading as well.


I’ve also made Prompts 2020 available in my Kofi shop.              

On My Blog

What about this as a novel way of launching a book?  Describes a novel way of launching a book – in a chip shop!

Celebration Event for the House of Clementine 8 May 2024  is an account of the launch of The House of Clementine. Incidentally, I still have offers on all of the Peace Child books.  Read more here.  

I also interview Amanda Jones about her biography / memoir of her mother, Kathleen.  Read more here.    

Recommended read

This month I’m recommending Lessons in Chemistry by Wilding by Bonnie Garmus

This is the story of Elizabeth Zott, a scientist who is trying to establish herself in the 1950s.  

She has to fight a lot of prejudice against women and female scientists in particular. She is an unmarried mother, which was much less acceptable then that it is now. And she has a wonderful dog, Six-Thirty, who understands a lot more than many humans.

The characters are well- drawn and colourful. This story keeps us engaged. And although things are not yet perfect for women we are appreciative of how much better they are now than they were then.

Bonny Garmus certainly keep us guessing in the story for Every Woman, Lessons in Chemistry.

Find your copy here.

Note, this is an affiliate link and a small portion of what you pay, at no extra cost to you,  may go to Bridge House Publishing.      

Sample pages

If you like what you’re reading you can click through and find out ways of buying the book. However, I’m still happy to give you a free copy if you’re strapped for cash and / or you’re willing to review.  Just contact me.  

This month I’m offering Other Ways of Being

Dancing to the Moon

The first time I set eyes on Patrick O’Leary what I had left of a heart almost jumped out of my chest. All I could see to start with were his soft blond curls I wanted to touch and his smiling blue eyes I wanted to have looking into mine forever. Then I saw him dance and I knew that I wanted to be his only dancing partner. For eternity.

I shouldn’t have even been there. I’m only sixteen. They’re very strict at the Clerkenwell Arms, especially when the Irish dance trials are on. But it was a new moon that night so I guess I was at my best. Talbot had warned me that I would still have a monthly cycle of sorts though it would be very different from before. And spot on, it follows the moon. This is always my shining day, the day of the new moon.

I’ve been like this for over a year now and I’m getting used to it. I can never remember the details of the moonless nights, but the next day I’m always full of energy, and confident and look much older and very glamorous. So, what with the lipstick, and the short skirt and that bitchy glow inside, I got in without them even asking for ID. I even bought a glass of wine for form’s sake. No sweat.

It was the music that made me go in. The music and a need for some warmth. Some human warmth that is - I don’t notice the winter’s cold any more. And I guess it was because I was just in that sort of mood. New moon day. Daredevil day.

I couldn’t take my eyes off him as he danced. Back and neck straight. Gaze fixed. Arms rigid by his sides. His feet never missed a beat and always came down in exactly the right place. My own feet started tapping to the music.

I used to dance when I was a little girl. Lots of us do. I never got all that far with it, though I was not at all bad. I just got into other things. Like you do. But I can still remember all of the steps.

He started dancing around the room. He paused at each table where any good looking female sat. His feet still worked, of course. I had to exercise so much self-control not to go over to those hussies and scratch their eyes out or tear out their hair. He was sweating slightly and his manly, slightly musky smell was getting to me. There were others in the room, other good-looking young men, some of whom were also dancers, but I only had eyes – and a nose for him.

At last he paused by my table and fixed me with his eyes. Tap, tap, tap tap, tappity tap, went his feet, as if they were asking a question. A faint smile opened his lips, his eye-brows rose slightly. His pupils grew large. He was taking me in, was he? The bitch inside smirked but I tried to keep my gaze neutral. Tapity, tap. Tap tap. He nodded. 

I got up from the table. My feet began to work.  Yes, I remembered the steps. It was easy, especially with all this energy. In fact I had to keep it in check a little, or somebody would have noticed something. I didn’t even break a sweat or get out of breath. He was breathing hard by now yet he still kept exact time and rhythm. I loved him for that. I loved him because he was finding it tiring now and was still being perfect. The smell of him made my head light.

We were close at times. The place was so full there was barely a dance floor. We almost touched but not quite. As our shoulders and hands came within inches of each other I felt an exchange of energy. Tingles crackled through my body and I had the feeling that he gained some energy from me. We moved lightly around one another, our eyes and our feet in conversation. This was ecstasy. This I wanted forever. Tap tap tappity tap.

The music stopped. It had to eventually. It felt as though a thread between us was broken. The crowd in the pub started clapping and cheering. He was a little out of breath.

“Patrick O’Leary,” he whispered.

“Fyonah McBride,” I whispered back.

Read more here


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’m continuing looking at German resistance during World War II and the Holocaust and specifically I’ve written a skirt sketch about a young girl and her mother clashing about Nazi ideals: Grumbling Behind Closed Doors: a daughter and mother are at loggerheads

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.     


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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