I hope you've all been enjoying this amazing weather. It's
been lovely working next to an open window and hearing the birds singing. I
have a bird feeder actually attached to the window of my study and a lot of
birds have been visiting. I think they're mainly youngsters. It's good, too, to
be able to spend some time enjoying the garden.
I also find I have the strangest dreams when it's so warm like this.
Some of them may turn into stories. Is it because we sleep more lightly?
News about my writing
Our Daily Bread, my collection of short stories, is now out.
Thanks to Allison and Paula for their reviews – and for spotting a few typos.
I'll be getting it out on Amazon shortly. I can also still get review copies
out to people. Just email me and specify if you would like a mobi file or a
I'm still making
arrangements to have the play script of The
House on Schellberg Street read out on 8 July. If you'd like to be involved
and you live within commuting distance of Greater Manchester, let me know. This will be at the Garrick Theatre, very close
to the Metrolink in Whitefield. We shall start at 1.30 and finish at 6.00 p.m.
I'm hoping to have read through and a walk through. I hope to pre-cast
it. I shall provide cake and other refreshments.
The first draft of
The House of Clementine is complete.
I'm now about two thirds of the way through reading it. I'm aware that several
threads aren't quite tying up and I'll be working on those over the coming
Clara's Story is now out. You can find it here.
As usual reviews are welcome and I can provide the mobi file or a PDF. Here's
will not be daunted. Her life will not end when her beloved husband dies too
young. She will become a second mother
to the children who live away from home at an early age in order to visit a
rather special school. When life becomes
desperate for a particular class of disabled children growing up in Nazi
Germany she takes a few risks. Is her ultimate faith in the goodness of human
beings a fatal flaw that leads to her tragedy or is her story actually one of
"Clara's Story is
the second book in the Schellberg Cycle, a collection of novels inspired by a
bunch of photocopied letters that arrived at a small cottage in Wales in 1979.
Renate James, nee Edler, Clara's granddaughter, began to recognise the names of
the girls she had been at school with.
"The letters give us some insights into what life was
like growing up in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. Renate used to tell the
story of a school for disabled children that defied the Nazi regime.
"We have a few verifiable facts and research has
uncovered a few more. Some repeated experience added more understanding. But most of all that act of imagination that
belongs to actors and writers enabled us to fill the gaps."
I have actually now also started writing the fifth book in
the cycle: The Round Robin. This
looks more closely at the lives of some of the people who were involved in the
class letter in The House on Schellberg
Street: Anika who becomes an actor, Gerda who helps to run the family farm,
Elsa, one of identical twins, who ends up running the family business and Hanna
Braun, their former teacher who refuses to teach the Nazi doctrine and who
knows more about what is going on than many other young women do. I'm finding this much easier than my fourth
Peace Child book
This is a Facebook
group for all people who write about the 1940s. Fiction and non-fiction,
for young and old. Topics might then be: the Holocaust, World War II, Civilian
Experience (all sides) and the battle front. We can exchange ideas about
research and marketing. We may promote books and stories, - the last day of
every month and on launch / release day.
Last weekend we
went to the 1940s weekend on the East Lancs railway. There was a fantastic turn
out and many people really got into the spirit of the occasion with some
personally would welcome a more immersive experience. Something is bubbling at
the back of my mind about creating that.
The Dream Team
continues to grow. Find members here.
This is a personal recommendation. Initially I intend to use
my Dream Team a lot myself but gradually I would add in people that friends and
friends of friends have recommended.
You sign up to a mailing list and every time a request comes
in we mail it out to you or the enquirer contacts you directly via my web site.
The conversation then carries on between you and the person making the request.
You may also have a page set up on my blog and you may update that once a
Interested? You may sign up for more than one category.
Beta readers sign up here.
Illustrators sign up here.
DO REMEMBER THAT
AT ANY TIME YOU’RE APPROACHED AND YOU’RE BUSY IT’S PERFECTLY FINE TO SAY NO.
General Data Protection Regulation. This newsletter
is brought to you by MailChimp, which is compliant with the regulations, or is
displayed on Blogger, where you watch us but we don't know who you are. You can always opt to unsubscribe from the
mailing list but we ask that you don't; this is the main means of communication
between us and our writers and readers. It's very hard to get you back on the list
if you remove yourself. We don't expect you to read everything every time, so
your delete key can be handy.
In addition, we're destroying all submissions for
books that are over a year old. In
future we'll no longer ask for your address on contracts or submissions. No
photos will be kept on local computers / disks and at any time you may decline
having a photo taken or ask for it to be removed from social media.
Update on Amazon
It seems to be
back to normal now, though "normal" isn't necessarily all that
satisfactory for us small publishers. Amazon UK, as opposed to all of the other
Amazon platforms and other online retailers, is cautious. If it doesn't actually have your book in
stock it will suggest an outrageous delivery time. It prefers to do this than
promise one to two days and then let customers down. On the other hand we've had an example
recently of the Book Depository (ironically also owned by Amazon) promising a
two day delivery and actually taking two weeks. The best way round this is to
sell lots of books …. Then Amazon will keep a stock. Of course, that may be easier said than done.
However, here's a note of encouragement: A book I reviewed recently published
by one of the Big Five has fewer reviews on Good Reads and Amazon and a lower
sales ranking on Amazon than the average of all of Chapeltown's little square
There is another
side to this that is worth looking out for. It's a bit of a negative, really,
but you can change it into a positive.
Sometimes if your book is taking up shelf space and not moving, Amazon
will sell it off at a loss to themselves. Often this will be below the price of
an author copy. The trick is to order five – they may only have two or three at
that price but this may trigger them to stock more.
I'm a member of
the Independent Publishers' Guild and shortly I'm going on their course about
selling more books on Amazon. Watch this space and watch our sales on
We are currently
processing Crackers. In the end we
had over 100 submissions.
We've made the
selection for the Waterloo festival. We have chosen sixteen stories /
monologues coming to about 13,000. The Waterloo festival people have announced
the winners I've also been in touch.
The book has now
been put together and proof copies will be to authors in the next few days. We
have a tight turnaround on this. But it will be out as an e-book on 14 June.
We're actually launching it on 14 June in London. Details here.
We’re still getting
plenty of interest in our single-author collections. These are for authors
we’ve published before and they may include stories we’ve already published,
ones they’ve had published elsewhere and new ones. The description for this is
now on the web site. We’ve already had some enquiries and we’re currently
working on several anthologies. You may recycle stories we’ve already
included in another anthology, and you may reedit these if you wish. You may
also add in new stories. We’re aiming at a total word count of between 30,000
and 70,000 words.
Stories are now
all being posted at 4.00 p,m, Afternoon Teatime, Kaffee and Kuchen time and it's also when the
kids are home from school. Just the right time for a cuppa and a good story.
In May we had stories from Mehreen Ahmed, James
Bates, Alan Cadman, David Deanshaw, Ann Dixon, Jesus C Deyquitez, William
Edgar, Boris Glikman, Bren Gosling, Iris Green, Shawn Klimek, Dawn Knox, Clyde
Liffey, Kim Martins, Thomas J Misuraca, Roger Noons, Wendy Ogilvie, Jenny
Palmer, Marilyn Pemberton, John Riley, Karen Schauber, Allison Symes, Foster
Trecost and Sandy Wilson. This includes several new writers. Our community is
Here's a reminder of how we select stories: I open my inbox,
I'll often see four or five submissions. I'll select the best of the bunch and
schedule it for in a few days' time. I'll let you know. I may reject one or two
but ones that are basically sound I'll keep forever or until they’re
published. Consequently if one you've
submitted to us has not been rejected, and you find a home for it elsewhere,
let us know the name of the story and the date you submitted and we'll remove
it from the archive. Try to include the drink each time do put CafeLit in the
subject line so we can identify your submission. Remember to include your bio
(50-100 words including links for longer stories, just links for 100 words or
less) each time. I haven't got time to look up an old one and in any case your
bio is probably changing all the time.
We're always open
to submissions. Find out to submit here. Remember,
this gives you some exposure, you can add in a short CV each time, and there's
always the chance that your work might be accepted for the annual anthology.
I hope to get the Best
of CaféLit 7 book out by the end of June. I've almost put the book together.
On offer for
CaféLit authors is a page on our web site. See examples here. The list is growing. Click on the names to
find out more about the authors and to access their work. If you're a CaféLit
author and would like a web page, use the ones there to get ideas. You need to
send me between 250 and 350 words about yourself, an attractive image, a list
of up to six publications, up to six awards and up to six links. I then also
link the page to your stories on CaféLit. Send to gill at cafelit dot co dot
uk. Latest addition is Kim Martins. See
her page here.
authors have been very proactive in promoting their work. They have managed to
get their books into shops and libraries. They are also buying lots of author
copies and being very proactive on getting on to blogs – mine included, of
I'm always pleased
to mention where Chapeltown authors have success elsewhere and must
congratulate Amanda Huggins on the publication of Separated From the Sea by Retreat West Books. It has endorsements from
Joanna Campbell, David Gaffney, A M Howcroft and Angela Readman. Read
I'm still trying
to build up the Chapeltown readers list. I'm giving away a free copy of my January Stones 2013 to anyone who joins.
See details here: http://www.chapeltownpublishing.uk/
Spread the word.
However, two more
are waiting to be added in the wings.
suggestions and review them if you can.
I'm continuing my
tour of creative cafés where I collect stories for an anthology. In some cases,
writers may offer them and in others customers may tell me their story and I'll
write it for them. Do you know of a café that might be interested in this? Let
me know if you do.
Remember you can
now buy merchandise for the Creative Café project. The profit on anything you
buy here goes to the Creative Café Project. Check this out here.
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 words – nice, too, to
have a couple of pictures – send it to me here.
Do the same if you find a new café.
The Red Telephone
programme is now full. I’m working quite closely with three very different
authors: Charlotte Comley, Dianne Stadhams, and Nina Wadcock. They are all
presenting some fascinating material. University of Salford graduates Lauren
Hopes and Christian Leah have also joined our happy band.
I was delighted to
see Lauren at our recent Celebration Event in London. She read from her novel.
Facebook Group for the Imprints
Scribblers Sans Frontières - Here you can:
Discuss all technical issues re our books
Exchange marketing ideas
Advertise and report on your events
Promote any of your titles or successes
Share good practice and ideas
Get help with writing problems
Anything else appropriate
Please come and join us if you're
eligible. Or you can ask me to sign you up.
I’m proactively promoting my school visits associated with The House on Schellberg Street
project. I’ve now developed a whole workshop for this. It starts off with a
board game, includes some role play and creative writing and ends with a
It is now possible to purchase the kit to work on on your
own. Find details here.
Costs for my workshops = travel expenses plus £400 for a
full day and £200 for a half day. This includes all materials and some
freebies. Two schools near to each other might consider splitting the day and
halving the travel expenses and fees. This is open to negotiation in any
I also offer a free half day visit, though you pay my travel
expenses, if you allow me to promote my books.
I’m continuously adding materials for schools to the site
that are different from the ones I use for the workshops. I’ve recently added
in resources and books to do with the topic. See them here
Query for a school visit here.
I’m also happy to tailor a visit for your agreed donation.
This can be for either a Schellberg Cycle
visit or a creative writing workshop. Any monies raised this way will go
specifically to a project I have for a non-fiction book about a journey that
will follow the footsteps of Clara
I’m hoping to do the whole journey by train, including departing via
my nearest Metrolink station. It’s important to feel the rails beneath my
I offer as well standard author visits which include
readings from my books, Q & A sessions and creative writing exercises.
Please remember, with these as well, I’m open to negotiation
if you can’t afford the full price.
Free listing for our writers
If you are one of
our writers and would like to offer school visits, please contact me. I'm
offering a free listing on the imprint pages.
State: age groups
you are prepared to work with, a definition of your work, distances you are
prepared to travel. Appropriate links. Please provide an image.
I have two events
2 June at the
International Burgess Foundation., 2.00 p.m. until 5. 00 p.m. It follows the pattern of the London events.:
- general mingling
- cash bar
- an opportunity to buy books at an advantageous
- “speed-dating” where you get to speak to as many people as
possible in the room i.e. promote yourself to readers, swap tips with
- author readings
- latest news from me
- collection for a local charity
- big book swap (bring one of your other titles and take something
else home – hopefully all will be reviewed. If you bring a non-writing
friend they can just bring a book they love)
Flash Fiction Reading and Workshop at
Buxton Fringe 19 July
details of the following will be posted later of the following:
- I'm hoping to run a workshop on marketing for indie writers /
publishers. This will be free of charge but you may make a donation if you
wish. This will enable me to put on further events.
- A Pushing Boundaries, Flying
Higher Master Class about writing the young adult novel.
- London event 1 December 2018 (Save the date!)
Remember I keep a
full list of vetted opportunities on my writing
blog. See them here. New
ones are added several times a day. Roughly once a month I go through it and
take out all of the out of date ones. At that point I send it out to a list. If
you would like to be on that list, sign up here.
Current reading recommendation
Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll.
Emma Carroll is a graduate from the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath
Spa University. I personally champion the MA in Writing for Children at
Winchester. But then I would do. That's where I got my MA. I have to admit
though in Carroll's case they're on to a winner.
She has a diverse portfolio of novels and I'll now try to read some more of
Letters from the Lighthouse
is set in World War II. It touches also
on the Holocaust. One of the main characters, Esther Jenkins, has come to
England on the Kindertransport.
A little unusually for this age group – I would describe this as a fluent
reader book, though it may cross over from late Key Stage 2 to early Key Stage
3 – it uses a first person narrative. However this gives Olive an authentic
voice and shows us what it was like for a child in that era.
There is also a very good story, woven together via a carefully crafted
plot. Not only is this story exciting and our attention is held but it explores
the themes of prejudice and friendship in a sensitive way.
A lovely read.
No wonder it was nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.
Read more here.
I'm running an occasional series of interviews on my blog. If
you would like to be on my blog just answer the questions below and send them
with appropriate images to gill dot james at btinternet dot com.
Please feel free to pick and choose which of these to
What do you write? Why this in particular?
What got you started on writing in the first place?
Do you have a particular routine?
Do you have a dedicated working space?
When did you decide you could call yourself a writer?
Do you do that in fact?
How supportive are your friends and family? Do they
understand what you're doing?
What are you most proud of in your writing?
How do you get on with editing and research?
Do you have any goals for the future?
writers have inspired you?
Please write as much or as little as you like for each
section and supply as many pictures as you like. Also let me know your latest
publication and supply me with a link if it's not on Amazon.
I 'm also happy to offer you a post whenever you have a new
book come out, even if I'm not your publisher. In this case answer the
- Tell me about your book.
- Tell us about your
research for this book.
- What inspired you to write
- What's next?
- How can we get a copy of
- Do you have any events
Again write as much or as little as you please. Alter and
add to the questions if you wish. Provide as many pictures as you wish.
Send to: gill dot james at btinternet dot com
This month I'm
giving away Babel.
extract from Clara’s Story
seminars for schools about The House on
fiction writing exercises
opening chapters from my manual for writing the young adult novel
Note, that normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I
manage, sell for anything form £0.99 to £10.99, with most on Kindle being about
£2.99 and the average price for paperback being £7.00. We have to allow our
writers to make a living. But we’re offering these free samples so that you can
try before you buy.
Naturally we welcome reviews.
Happy reading and