I've just come back from a trip to the Great War
battlefields with Honour
choir. We had quite a hectic programme, so there wasn't a lot of time for being
on-line and it was in some ways quite a relief to get away from the constant
bombardment of social media and email. On the other hand, maybe if social media
had been around at the time of the Great War, World War II and the Holocaust,
the ordinary citizens would have had much more of a say.
When you see those lines and lines of graves, many unmarked,
and you read the rolls of those lost at war whose bodies were never found, and
you see the countryside where the battles took place, it and its horror become
more real. Even today, bodies are being found on, at farms and at archaeological
and building sites.
Poor Belgium. So
often a battle ground.
We took part in the Last Post ceremony at the Menin
This takes place
every evening at 8.00 p.m. The local fire brigade provide the men who
All very moving as were the two concerts we performed in
There are some funny things happening in the world right
now, so it's even more important to remember these things. Thank goodness I've
just spent five days with 60 very lovely people.
And we writers now have our work cut out, I guess.
News about my writing
I'm still working
on the extra material needed in The House
of Clementine. I've finished the episodes of Rozia's Glog mentioned last
time. I'm now creating some further scenes involving Rozia. It's still a bit of
a struggle, but I'm gradually getting there.
On the other hand, I'm also still working on the fifth book
in the cycle: The Round Robin an that
is going swimmingly. 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. This is going
My second collection of flash fiction is out on Kindle and
paperback. Details here.
usual, reviews are welcome and I can supply a mobi file or a PDF. 140 x 140
is made up of 140 pieces of
flash fiction, each 140 words long. Each one is written from a prompt – the
first picture I saw I my Twitter feed that day. I'm now working on 280 x 70
. I think you get the picture. 140 x 140
is one of the little square
books but has to retail at an RRP of £7.00 as it has more pages that the
I also have a collection of short stories Our Daily Bread
out. I've experimented
here using Draft 2 Digital
. This can be
used to publish to all e-platforms – you can chose as many as you like. Draft 2
Digtial is great for those technically challenged like me. You pay a small fee
out of the royalties. You can find the book here.
Naturally, of course, reviews are welcome and
I can supply the PDF or the mobi file.
Just a reminder: 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.
Of course, with my
Schellberg Cycle I'm constantly in that world.
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.
I'm delight to
have Neil Campbell on board as a reviewer.
More about Amazon
I attended a very
useful meeting with Amazon on 6 July. Another small publisher and I did manage
to pin one of the sales people down. Amazon denied trying to force publishers
towards Create Space.
However, it is
clear that they are selling our books "reactively". They obtain books when they get orders and don't
keep a huge stock. We need to convert our books into ones they want to sell
proactively. I learnt a couple of tricks from them that may make this easier.
I'll be putting those into practice over the next few weeks. I'm still
prioritising editing, selection and post-production. Gradually, though, ….
Jenny Palmer's Keepsake
is out and about now.
Keepsake and Other
Stories is a collection of Jenny Palmer's finest writing. There are stories
to make you smile and stories to make you think. And they ask many questions. Why do the
visitors decide never to return? What will happen to a relationship if one of
the partners becomes too obsessed with a project? What is in the shed? What exactly is the
keepsake? One thing is for sure: you will enjoy finding out.
Jenny Palmer brings us stories of otherness, witchcraft and
magic close to home and further afield within Europe. We meet all sorts of
characters: those who rely on guard dogs, those who shun social media and those
who are obsessed. We even meet a Neanderthal man. There are paranormal stories,
a story of bad neighbours and a story of redundancy. And many more. All to be enjoyed.
Jenny lived and worked abroad and in London for many years,
teaching English to foreign students. She has co-edited four anthologies of
short stories, published by the Women's Press and Serpents Tail. Following her
return to Lancashire in 2008, she self-published two memoirs and a family
history. Nowhere Better than Home
a childhood memoir about growing up in rural Lancashire in the 50s and
60s. Pastures New
is the sequel
and covers the heady days of the 70s and 80s. 'Whipps, Watsons and Bulcocks: a Pendle family history'
history of her family, who have lived in the same house for 400 years. Her
poems and short stories have been published in the Lancashire Evening Post, on
in various local anthologies. 'A59' and 'Fatal Flaws' are in the Best of
CafeLit 3 and 5.
To Be … To become is
also out. Find it here.
To Be .. To Become was
the theme of the 2018 Waterloo Festival Writing Competition. It is also the
title of the e-book, which contains the sixteen winning entries. Some fantastic writing was offered and all of
it was potentially publishable. We chose
these because they told a good story, had a strong voice and were imaginative
in their interpretation of the theme.
Entrants were asked to produce a short story or a
monologue. Style was diverse and each story is completely
different from the others.
This delightful English language anthology of literary
fiction comes to you for under £2.50.
Naturally we would love reviews and I'm happy to supply a
PDF or a mobi file for either book if you're willing to review.
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 July we had stories from: James Bates, Alan Cadman,
Michelle Christophorou Jeanne Davies, Matthew Roy Davey, Jesus C. Deytiquez, Richard
C Elder, Thomas Elson, Yvonne Fein, Boris Glikman, Iris Green, Bren Gosling,
Gill James, Celia Jenkins, Dawn Knox, Keelan
LaForge, Kim Martins, Charlotte McLeroy, Traci Mullins, Nora Nadjarian, Roger
Noons, Helen O' Neill, Rachel Rodman, Stephanie Simpkin, Edel Williams, Emily
Williams, and Lisa Williams
Here's a reminder of how we select stories: I open my inbox
and 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.
The other great news is that Best of CaféLit 7
is out. The Kindle version is already available here.
It has been registered with Nielsen's
and will be available from retailers shortly. It can take up to fifteen days to
appear and Amazon usually, these days, put it up without an image to start with.
Beware of course of Amazon's misleading statements about availability. Reviews
as ever very welcome. I can supply a mobi file or a PDF.
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
authors continue to be 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 course.
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
I have some books now lined up to read. I'm aprtiuclalry interested
in near-futures speculative YA fiction.
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 three
events to mention:
- 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
It was very difficult
to choose a book this month. I think I'm getting hypercritical of other
people's work. So, I'm actually going to recommend two.
First, The Alarming Palsy of James Orr. I
picked this up at the 2017 NAWE conference. It is very well written and
engaging throughout. At just 153 pages long it's an easy read. I was just slightly
disappointed by the resolution – if you can even call it that. It didn't quite
compute. However, I'll leave you to judge that. Find it here.
James Orr wakes up
one morning to find his face disfigured by Bell's Palsy. As he learns to live
with it, other parts of his life start to change.
I've also been
reading the books that were short-listed for the CLIP Carnegie
Medal and the Kate Greenaway Award. I've not quite finished reading Thornhill by Pam Smy but I am intrigued.
Two stories are told and are interconnected. One is told purely in pictures,
the other in diary entries. All of these books, so far, are very good indeed.
Find this one 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
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