Thursday 31 December 2015

Newsletter December 2015

Another year almost done, then. 2015 has had its ups and downs for me and my friends and associates but we’re all generally making progress. I’m glad that not too many of my friends have been badly affected by the floods and those that have seem to be well supported.
The Book Case at Hebden Bridge suffered badly. However, it was good to see them so well supported by Blue Moose and Salt publishers and authors Melvin Burgess, Marion Keyes and Ian Rankin.
I expect as the day goes on we’ll all be making our new year’s resolutions and I look forward to reading them all.
My own is along the lines of getting back to my writing routine which has been very disrupted by the day job. It’s beginning to happen anyway.      


Bridge House

We had a great celebration event, featuring Snowflakes, The Best of CafeLit 4 and the Shelagh Delaney winners in London, 5 December, at Waxy O’Connors. It was marred somewhat by Debz having her handbag stolen. In her usual cheerful way though she didn’t let that get in the way. This time I did take along some books to sell and I’m glad to say I didn’t have to take any home. However, you’ve got to allow that against the taxi fare.
“Blimey, this is heavy,” said the taxi-driver as he loaded my suitcase into the cab. “What have you got in here? 40 books I should think?” He wasn’t far off. There were 41, in fact.
We did the book swap again. Everyone brought along another of their books or a book they’d enjoyed reading. Oddly, there were several left at the end. My daughter dropped them off at a place she knew on the way home.    
It’s always good to meet people in person. A few people read, though the acoustics weren’t brilliant in that space.
I was very pleased with the video in the end. Take a look here.
We’ve decided on the theme for next year. Baubles. Short, snappy, sparkly stories that brighten up the darker nights like baubles enhance the Christmas tree. We’re not talking about things that give you a good belly laugh nor anything that is overly sentimental. Feel good is fine, yes, but just a light touch. You’ll know it when you think of it. Check out full submission details here.
We seem to have sold quite a few more books than normal this time. For the first time ever we’ve had problems with delivery. So apologies to anyone who has had to wait a long time.


Remember, we’re always open to submissions. Find out how here. I’m now making the selection for The Best of CafeLit 5.

Creative Café

We’re always looking for new cafés.  If you visit one of the cafés in the project and would like to write a review of between 250 and 350 – nice, too to have a couple of pictures – send it to me here.
I’m now going to send out a welcome letter to each new café that’s added. This will also offer them the opportunity to join the mailing list.
The  Creative Cafe Project

School Visits

I’m proactively promoting my school visits associated with The House on Schellberg Street project. I’m still offering visits on this for a donation towards the project. I’ve devised a whole interactive workshop for this. It would be a real asset for any school teaching the Holocaust at Key Stage 3. Even if a school can’t afford a donation, I’d be happy to run the project.
Here’s some further news about the Schellberg project. I’ve also now created a page about the process of writing The House on Schellberg Street.  
Query for a school visit here.

The Red Telephone

I’m continuing to promote Kathy Dunn’s The Demon Magician yesterday. It is just 99p. Get yours here! If you love it, do write a review for us.  
There will be a new call for submissions next autumn. We’re leaving it quite a while now so that we can give our current authors all of our attention.
I’d like to remind you of our new enterprise - something between a mentoring system and an online course. Though publication is not guaranteed, we will at least look at your full book if you’ve attended one of the courses. We’re offering it for free to a few people at first. We’ll refine as we go along based on feedback from our clients. We’ll then continue to offer it at a discount for a while before going to full price when we’re completely happy with it. We’re not sure what full price will be. Again, we’ll be guided by our current clients. Find out more here.    

Books and short stories

I’ve now almost finished the edits on Girl in a Smart Uniform.
I completed a ten word pitch on the sequel:
“A gun.
An anetroom.
A Führer.
Will she shoot him?”
This was a competition at the SCBWI conference in Winchester. I was a runner-up and consequently an agent is now taking a look at Girl in a Smart Uniform. Deep breath.       
I’m busy writing a formal proposal for my academic book. It’s quite lengthy process as each publisher wants slightly different material.
As part of my day job I have to produce some academic papers. I’m rewriting one and I’m writing up another one about the activity I led at the NAWE  conference.  This was Build a Book in An Hour and a Quarter. This is based on the school workshop that I do on Build a Book in a Day. The emphasis here though was on kick-starting inspiration for adult writers, coupled with a knowledge that the work will get out there.
I  was very pleased to have had two of my short stories published in  The Best of CafeLit 4  

Looking Forward

I do have some interesting plans, but alas, for the moment they’re under wraps. Watch this space!


This month I’m giving away a copy of Mosaic, a Bridge House publication. The first person to message me via Twitter that they’d like the book  -  @gilljames – gets it. 

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