Monday 1 July 2024

News 1 July 2024

 Writing the park 


Last Thursday I went with my Creative Writing Group to a country park that’s about fifteen minutes’ drive from where I live.  One of our members knows the park well and gave us a short guided walk around some of the interesting features.

There is a lot of history. In 1792 a spinning mill was established there. There was a major fire there in 1829 and so the mill had to be rebuilt. This meant it was ready for the cotton trade boom in the 1850s.

All you can see of the mill now are the workers’ cottages and the chimney. The latter is in need of repair.

Burr’s Park is typical of the post-industrial scenery that features in a lot of places around Greater Manchester.  Now there is a lot of wildlife and fresh air.  At Burr’s there is also an interesting pub, the Brown Cow, built in 1752.  And there is a lovely café, the Lamppost Café where we were able to enjoy coffee and cake.

My mantra that day was “if you want to write about the park, write in the park”.

Here are my suggestions about for “writing the park”:

  • write with the senses to try to recreate  for your reader what you experienced there – what did you see, hear, feel, smell, touch,
  • did people-watching suggest a story?
  • what about the history of the place?  - a story or a non-fiction piece?
  • what about this as a “post-industrial” landscape?
  • and what about the cake?

And here are my suggestions about how to go about writing the park.

  • Spend the first twenty minutes or so just enjoying the place
  • Spend the next twenty minutes or so making notes, scribbling down ideas, even writing a little. Perhaps take some pictures with your phone.    
  • Meet your group again and swap ideas. If you’re in a lovely place like Burr’s you might even have a splendid café where you too can enjoy a brunch or a brew and some cake.  


Writing news


I’m still working on edits of Peace Child 6. I’m currently working on the all-important edit: show don’t tell – although knowing when to tell instead of showing is perhaps an even more advanced skill.

I’ve had a couple of stories published this month:

The Diamante Waistcoat has a connection to Dolly Parton.  

When the Doorbell Rings is all about an older lady helping a young offender.

My review of Dracula at the Octagon Theatre appears on Talking about My Generation.

I’ve put another book into my Kofi shop. You can now buy The Big Book of Prompts  there.      



On My Blog


I have to a certain extent embraced AI.  It talk about this in my blog post: AI, friend or foe?

I also tackle that frequently asked question: Where do you get Your Ideas From?

I’m hosting a book launch for another author. You are all cordially invited. Do come and support this new writer: Book Launch Coming Up It’s online so you won’t have to travel far.  


The Young Person’s Library

After a short pause I have at last added some new books to the library. There are two this month and they were both a little icy. I actually read them during that short heat wave we had last week. 


Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick is a YA thriller set in a wintry landscape. 


The Ice Children by M. G. Leonard, illustrated by Penny Neville-Lee is a fluent  reader text. It makes reference to The Snow Queen and Narnia but it also discusses climate change.      



Recommended read

It was difficult to choose this time as I’ve enjoyed all of the books I’ve read this month. 


I’ve finally settled on A Lancashire Story by Ged Melia.  Ged is local to where I live and also a fellow member of The Lancashire Authors Association.

Austin Melia is ambitious.

The story tells how he escapes a career path that would have made him work as a miner or a cotton spinner. He becomes a skilled engineer. His family too grow up and become successful. Yet the shadow of war threatens.

Ged Melia has created characters we care about and a pleasing story line in A Lancashire Story.

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.      




This month I’m giving away Face to Face with the Führer.

Käthe wants to be a scientist. She sees herself as more than a housewife and a mother. And she is in her own eyes definitely not Jewish.

Life in Nazi Germany sees it another way however. She has to give up a promising career and her national identity. She has to leave the home she has built up for her husband and daughter. But she is not afraid of challenges. She enlists the help of a respected professor to help her fulfil her ambition, she learns how to use a gun and how to drive a car. But what will she do when she finds herself fact to face with the Führer or, indeed, with the challenges of modern life?

Face to Face with the Führer is the fourth novel in my Schellberg cycle.

Grab your copy here You’ll find two different e-book files and a PDF plus a lot of other free materials here.

Please leave a review on Amazon, if you’re allowed to, on Good Reads and anywhere else you can.

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.

This month I’ve written just one article about how some people who seemed to be supporting the Nazis only in fact paid lip service to the regime: Paying lip service



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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