Wednesday 5 September 2018

News 5 September 2018

My time back on contract with the University of Salford is rapidly coming to an end.  It finishes on 18 September though I will still be doing a little work after that date and I'll be hourly paid again from January 2019.  I've enjoyed the work but will be glad to get back to my "retirement" or should I say freelance work?
I'm always finding something to make me busier. I'm still reading a lot of children's books, so have decided to catalogue them in such a way that would be useful to teachers, parents and scholars. Take a look here.    

News about my writing

The House of Clementine continues apace. I've finished the further scenes involving Rozia mentioned last time. I'm now working on the "snazzy" thread. What do you understand by the work "snazzy"?
I'm also still working on the fifth book in the Schellberg cycle: The Round Robin and that is going well. I'm currently doing a lot of research into farming in the 1940s in Germany.
I'm pleased to report that Clara's Story: a Holocaust Biography is selling slowly but steadily.

Useful links for writers

I am now keeping a list of these on my web site. Find them here.  

1940s Group

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.
If you feel that is you, do join us:    
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.

What happens?

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 year. 
Interested? You may sign up for more than one category. 
Beta readers sign up here.
Reviewers sign up here.
Editors sign up here.
Illustrators sign up here.
Designers sign up here.
Proof-readers sing up here.   
I'm delight to have Neil Campbell on board as a reviewer.

Slush Pile

Yes, we have one. Or at least we are starting one now for all of the imprints. All of the submissions we already have will be read in order and in fact we'll move them as of today into the A Pile. Thereafter, submissions from authors who are published in one of our anthologies, already published in one of our imprints or are published on CafeLit, web site is enough,  will go into the A-list and all others will go into the B List  aka slush pile.   

Bridge House

I've finished editing my twelve stories for Crackers. This went very smoothly and quickly this time. The standard is certainly getting higher.
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.
We have a huge backlog so please be patient. You can always check our progress at:



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 August we had stories from: James Bates, Andrew Bramwell, Alan Cadman, Sue Cross, Jo Dearden, Susan A Eames, Richard C Elder, Jacqueline Harrett, Janet Howson, Caroline Humes, Celia Jenkins, Amanda Jones, Dawn Knox, Keelan LaForge Kim Martins, Fred Miller, Roger Noons, Jenny, Palmer, Rachael Peralez, Niles Reddick, Rich Rurshell,  Iris N Schwartz, Julie Upton and Lisa Williams. The most viewed story in the last thirty days is On Time by 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.    

We have some seasonal opportunities coming up now:
Autumn in general
Guy Fawkes
New Year
So, get writing.
We are of course very proud of Our Best of CaféLit 7. Read all about it here.

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. 

We have some good news from one of our writers, Susan Cross. She writes: "Stories to Go is a compilation of very short stories gathered over the years and which I have recently had published. Flash fiction is great as a read for situations like finding yourself in an airport departure lounge, sitting in a dentist’s waiting room or just want a quick read with a coffee. Each story is different, some are funny, some sad, some set in a different time zone or country - but all encapsulate the human condition. I hope that you will enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them."

The book is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc. read more here.



Our Chapeltown 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.


Creative Café

I've added just one café, The Shire Hall Café  
Keep sending 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.    
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 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 particularly 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.  

School Visits

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 discussion.
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 case.       
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 Lehrs. 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 feet.       
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.         


Upcoming events

I have four 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

London event 1 December 2018 Places are free but must be booked:  
This will follow our normal pattern of events.
There will be:
  • general mingling
  • cash bar
  • an opportunity to buy books at an advantageous rate    
  • “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 other writers
  • author readings
  • latest news from me  
  • collection for the Mustard Seed 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)  

Scribblers Celebration Event 23 December 14.00 – 17.00 GMT. Do come even if you can't come at that time. Items will be added to before and after that time.
This is for all those people who cannot attend the event on 1 December; perhaps you live too far away or you have something else. You can attend outside of those times but it will be live then.    
Take a look at my blog post about cyber events: There is also a chapter about this in my book on marketing:  So Now You're Published, What Next?
This gives you some idea about how this all works.
In addition, I ask that everybody who attends offers a secret Santa. This good be a physical gift that you send to one other attendee. One of your books, a notebook with your bookcover   or coffee mug. Or you could offer a one off service such as a critique of a short story.  Or you may offer a file that I'll put into a dropbox and you could expect multiple downloads. This could be a mobi or PDF of one of your books, an audio file, an excerpt, or a tip sheet.
Would you like to make a short video of you reading?    

Past Events

I was really pleased to attend Jenny Palmer's book- signing of Bride House published Keepsake, her single author collection, on 17 August at the Pendle Heritage Centre. It's a really lovely place though I did rather break my own rule; I'll attend author events if they're up to twenty miles away. This one was more like thirty but I was curious about the centre so I went anyway. I'm glad I did.
It was fascinating to look round the exhibitions there. I had a lovely lunch. The café there will certainly go into the Creative Café Project.
Jenny managed to sell five books in the first five minutes. What a great start.


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

This month my recommend choice has to be Goodbye Mr Tom, by Michelle Mogorian. I found myself rereading this for an academic book I'm writing. I've read it before and I've also seen the film. I found it totally engaging again.    
Set in World War II, this story brings us the themes of war, death, abuse, friendship and growth. Young William Beech poses reclusive set-in-his ways Tom Oakley a challenge when he arrives as an evacuee in Little Weirworld. There are some grim scenes and both Will and Tom have a hard time of it but the ending is upbeat.  
This is perhaps the best known of Magorian's books, many of which are set in this era. This one could be described as a modern classic. 
This is clearly suitable for the fluent ready in the latter stages of Key Stage 2 and the last two classes of junior school, ages 9-11. It would also appeal to slightly older readers and adults.
Magorian's characters are richly drawn. She uses a close third person point of view and we get to know each one of them really well. She does flit from head to head a little which may disturb the modern reader somewhat but nevertheless we remain gripped until the end.
Find a copy here.

Calling all writers

I'm running an occasional series of interviews on my blog.
In August I was pleased to welcome Pat Jourdan:
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 answer. 
1.      What do you write? Why this in particular? 
2.      What got you started on writing in the first place?
3.      Do you have a particular routine? 
4.      Do you have a dedicated working space?
5.      When did you decide you could call yourself a writer? Do you do that in fact?
6.      How supportive are your friends and family? Do they understand what you're doing?
7.      What are you most proud of in your writing?
8.      How do you get on with editing and research?
9.      Do you have any goals for the future?
10.  Which 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 following questions:
  1. Tell me about your book.
  2. Tell us about your research for this book.
  3. What inspired you to write this?
  4. What's next?
  5. How can we get a copy of the book?
  6. Do you have any events planned?
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 The Build a Book Workshop - my guide for teachers and writers about producing a book with children. This takes them through the whole process – writing, editing, design, illustration and marketing.
You will also find in this dropbox
·         An extract from Clara’s Story
·         Some seminars for schools about The House on Schellberg Street
·         Some fiction writing exercises
·         The 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 writing.

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