My new attitude to reviewing
I’ve decided now
to review every book I read. I don’t mean
a long review such as I do for Armadillo
Magazine , my own Recommended
Reads or The Young
Person’s Library (note the new URL for my catalogue of Children’s
books. I’m gradually moving the archive
over.) No, this time I mean just short reviews with a star rating. I’m posting both
on Amazon and on Good Reads, even if the writer already has the magical 50
reviews. I used to only post reviews if I could give four or five stars. I actually did a three star review last week.
I’ve made these change for three reasons:
like reviews myself but feel it’s wrong to expect them and not take the trouble
to write them myself.
star rating is more honest than silence.
reviewing will raise my profile as a reviewer and increase people’s trust in
News about my writing
I’m still working 240 X 70, and Not Just Fluffy Bunnies, my
non-fiction text about the darker side of children’s literature though I’ve put
this on one side a little as I work on my book about writing prompts. There
will be 366 writing prompts. I’m going to give this book to all the people who
have contributed to it and to all the people I’ve published. I’m confident I’ll
get it finished in time for Christmas. I’m half way through October at the
moment. Would you like to contribute? Do you have any writing prompts?
Here are a few
examples of the sort of thing:
5 February Birth Choices?
The body is an amazing thing, but older women are
at risk in childbirth of having babies with health problems. Can you tell a tale
of the effects of older women having children may bring? Highlight the
positives and the change in mindset your character will go through. Maybe a
highflying business woman who didn’t employ people with disabilities suddenly
realises they have the same dreams as us to have successful careers, when she
gives birth to a disabled child late in life.
6 February Story Cubes
Try out the APP
Story Cubes. At the time of writing it
But if you don’t
want to buy I’ve “rolled my dice” for you.
I got: a cat, a fountain, an L plate, a book, an apple, someone sleeping
and an open eye. Pick at least three to build into your story
say it with chocolate 🍫? Write a chocolate tale with a
twist. Remember, Chocolate can be Dark, Milk or White? What shade will your
18 February 2019 Drink
As today is Drink
Wine Day write a short story where a glass or a bottle of wine is the catalyst
to something going well or badly.
19 February 2019 The
Two people meet on
a bridge. One hands the other a mysterious package. Who are the people? What is
in the package? What will happen next?
the book will also be available on Amazon as an e-book and all contributors
will get a pro-rata 50% share of net sales.
If you have ideas, send them to me.
The House of Clementine, the fourth book in my Peace Child series,
is now out with beta readers. I’ve completed my normal fourteen edits and I
guess there’ll be more when it comes back.
books for children
- The Devil’s Angels by Kevin Brookes. This is suitable for
10-13, Key Stage 3, Lower Secondary.
It is published by Barrington Stoke and is a high-low and dyslexia
friendly. There is some violence in it and much about relationships.
- Barking up the Wrong Tree by Philip Ardagh, illustrated Elissa
Elwick. It is suitable for upper primary, Key Stage 2. It is a quirky
Current reading recommendation
This month I’m
recommending a collection of stories by David John Griffin. Note, he is an
indie writer and his books are self-published. The stories are excellent. I can’t
fault the formatting of the book either – and this isn’t always the case with
the Big Five – who usually charge as much for their e-books as for paperbacks. They
sometimes charge more in fact.
The stories here
tend towards the quirky and the surreal. I’m a great fan of that sort of story. You can find David’s book here.
This month I’m
giving away a mobi-file for your Kindle of the third story in the Schellberg
Cycle: Girl in a Smart Uniform. This
is to date the most fictional of all of the stories.
Get your free mobi-file PDF and lots of other goodies here.
Note, that normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I
manage sell for anything from £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 I’m offering these free samples so that you can
try before you buy.
Naturally I welcome reviews.
The Schellberg Project
The posts may be helpful for teachers who are familiar with
the Schellberg stories or who are teaching about the Holocaust.
This month I’ve added more posts about Hani Gődde: about the
Waldorf School and the Reichsarbeitsdienst – compulsory work experience for young
I’m still 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
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.
Some notes about my newsletters and
They do overlap a little but here is a summary of what they
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.
News about our books. Sign up here.
The Creative Café Project
News about the project and CaféLit –
for the consumer rather than for the producer.
Sign up here.
News about my writing, The Schellberg Project, School
Visits and Events. Book recommendations and giveaways. Find it here.
Opportunities List 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.
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
A Publisher’s Perspective
Here I blog as a publisher. Access
The Creative Café Project
Listings and reviews of creative
cafés. See them her
Find these here
Gill James Writer
All about writing and about my books. View
Gill’s Recommended Reads
Find information here
about books that
have taken me out of my editor’s head.
Gill’s Sample Fiction
Read some of my fiction here.
The House on Schellberg Street
All about my Schellberg project.
Read it here.
All about teaching creative writing.
Some creative writing exercises. Access this here.
Books Books Books
Weekly offers on our books and news of new
books. Find them here.
The Young Person’s Library I am gradually moving the children’s book
catalogue over to this site. Access
Fair Submissions I am gradually moving the Opportunities
List to this site. Find it here.
Happy reading and