Well that’s January done
On a personal level I have to report that yesterday we
completed the sale on our Southampton house – just as the snow arrived down
there. So now we’re looking for one to buy. We’re in a good position – we’re
cash buyers and we have somewhere to live until we find the right place as
we’re still in the house we’ve rented for ten and a half years. We’d quite like
to buy this one and we’re currently negotiating with the landlord. However
we’re still looking at others – and decluttering. Even if we buy this one we shall do quite a
bit of this. Getting rid of junk is always a good strategy.
I’m doing a little work for Salford University again – on
the Masters programme this time on an intriguing module called Professional
Practice. It does what is says on the tin and embraces the academic, the
pedagogic and the creative practitioner life. It’s a lovely module and I met
the students for the first time this week. They’re a very pleasant bunch.
Neither of these two factors will encroach on my writing or
my work as a publisher but I will be taking a little time from my own promotion
and submission activities for a while.
There may be a little more disruption if we actually move
for a few days around the time of the move.
News about my writing
My own writing is
carrying on much as I mentioned last month.
I'm now on the fifth
edit of Peace Child 4. Between edits I write a short story and start
my writing day with a bit of flash fiction if all I’m going to do for the rest
of the time is editing. I’m continuing to work on my book about the dark side
of children's literature – which is making me read a lot and also reread
several works I’ve read before. I’m spending quite a bit of time at the moment
on reading older texts and I’m using http://www.gutenberg.org
for this. There’s something quite satisfying about reading children’s books and
it counting as work. I’m currently working on the chapter about the history of
children’s literature. To some extent this established where the darkness comes
Weekly offers on our book
I advertise via Twitter and Facebook and have started to build
up an email list.
And I’ll let you into a secret: many of the offers are
permanent though we only push them for a week.
Catalogue of books for children
I’ve added several titles to this over the last month. It is
growing apace. You can find it here.
Do take a look if you’re into children’s
Useful links for writers
My list of links for writers is also growing steadily. Find it
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.
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.
News from all of our writers
keep sending news like this and remember to supply a link to where reader can
buy the book.
We have a new book
out this month: The Art of Losing by
Paul Williams. Paul is a British academic living and working in Australia. The
stories in this collection are quite literary.
You’ll find the Kindle edition here.
The paperback is here.
As usual, reviews are welcome. I can
provide a mobi file for your Kindle or a PDF. Get in touch if you would like to
We have two calls
for submission out at the moment:
We’re still getting
plenty of interest in our single-author collections. These are now only 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. http://www.bridgehousepublishing.co.uk/index.php/single-author-collections
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.
Your work will go through three stages of editing, and will
be proof-read twice in-house. We design the book and the cover. We hook it up
to all the distributing channels and we complete first-level marketing. We are
risking all of this on you as well as the set-up costs and the copies to the
British Library and Legal Deposit Agency.
You’ll probably not get rich quick: anthologies by new
authors do not sell in big numbers initially. Each month we post to a dropbox
information about books’ performance. A link is sent with the monthly
newsletter. See below for how to access this newsletter.
Stories are 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 January we had stories from: James Bates, Lynn Clement, David Deanshaw, Jo
Dearden, Thoma Elson, Robert Ferguson, Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, Richard Hough, Michael
Howell, Joseph Isaacs, Gill James, Mark Kodama, Roger Noons, Mari Phillips, Hannah
Retallick, Holly Anne Shaw, Louise Taylor, Roxy Thomas and Sandy Wilson.
Highest performing posts in January were:
A reminder to o those people who appeared in The Best of CaféLit7 to cast their votes
about what to put in into The Best of CaféLit
8. Look out for a separate reminder email about that. So far the following
stories have votes:
Budgies and Bingo
by Alyson Faye
Injustice by Allison Symes
Gemini Rising by
God works in
mysterious ways especially at Christmas by Robin Wrigley
Induction Day by Janet Howson
Jeopardy in Pink by
Losing Tony by Gill
Marking Time by Janet
No Room for Them by
On Time by Lisa
Rose Tinted Glass
by Linda Payne
Salisbury Plain by February
1946 by Laura Gray
Self Assessment by
She says we’ll get there soon by Hannah
The Art Critic by
The First Time by
The Lady in Red by
Caroline S Kent
Years and Years by
Note these are in alphabetic order, not number of votes.
This would probably already make a book. We may not be able to include all of
the ones voted for.
You may be interested to know that the top performing posts
in 2018 were:
A quick reminder of how stories are promoted: if when I go to my editor’s dashboard I see
that a story has fewer than 20 hits, I put it on my own Twitter feed and the
Our stories are generally spread in the following ways:
- 36 people have signed up to have the stories
fed from the blog site
- I tweet about the site from time to time
- some members visit daily or when they have
- authors make efforts – blog,
website, FB, email signature, word of mouth
- casual readers come across the site
- one story being read leads to another
Maybe you could all share your ideas of how to make us more
visible and tell us what you do?
You can read all of the stories here.
And 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 CaféLit 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.
If all stories are equally good I may select a new writer. If
there is no new writer I’ll go for the one that is easiest to post. It should
be in the body of your email and set out thus. I’v added notes in brackets and
(title, by-line, and drink centred. Note
lower case for “by” and drink)
by Jim Bates
mind which font – in fact I like the variety as we move from font to font)
Back then, back when he was just a gangly kid and before he became
an artist, I felt I had a job to do - teach my son to be better at sports than
I ever was. I'd been a second string jock during high school so on the day Joey
was born I vowed to teach him how to play football, baseball, basketball and
hockey better than I'd ever been able to. My underlying thought was that maybe
one day he'd become a superior athlete, someone I could be not only proud of,
but could also brag about to anyone who would listen. You can imagine my horror
(or maybe not, but let me tell you, it was real) when Joey, try as he might,
proved to be even less athletically gifted than his old man. (Note the paragraphs
are both indented and have a line space afterwards. Either, or, or both are good. Thsui translates
weel on to the Blogger platform)
He was nine years
old when, after pre-season hockey tryouts, the awful truth finally reared its
ugly head. Joey dejectedly skated over to where I'd been watching from behind
the boards and said, "Dad, I'm sorry, I really am. I'm trying, but those
other guys are just way better than me."
One look at the
fluid motions of the other kids on the rink, skating comfortably backward
better than Joey could ever skate forward, and I had to finally admit it - my
son was not now, nor would he ever be, a hockey player. Which was his best
sport. Football, baseball and basketball? Forget about it. The reality of the
situation was painfully apparent. Joey would never be the star athlete I once
imagined he'd be.
I swallowed my
disappointment and put my arm around his thin shoulders, hugging him a little.
"That's okay, son. Really. Let's head home," I told him, trying to
man up, along with beginning to adjust my game plan for him. Now that sports
were out of the picture what could I get him interested in? Chess, maybe?
Cribbage? Orienteering? I drew a blank. None of them sounded too exciting.
I went into the
locker room with him while he changed out of his gear. When we sat on the
bench, he unzipped his equipment bag and I saw a notebook.
nothing," he shrugged. "It's just my sketchbook from art class."
You're kidding." I hadn't a clue. Having trouble drawing a stick figures,
myself, I'd never once imagined he'd enjoy anything like painting or whatever.
"Yeah, Dad, for my drawings. Here, let me show you." He opened it.
"Lately, I've been sketching snowflakes and winter scenes. I'm thinking
about maybe using them for cards for the holidays. Tell me what you
He laid the
sketchbook on my knees and went about getting changed. I paged through his
drawings, each one more impressive than the previous. He'd used what looked to
be a pen and ink to create intricate snowflakes all with six pointed tips. Each
one was unique and amazingly detailed. The snowflake sketches were followed by
a series of charcoal drawings of winter scenes, mostly landscapes in the country,
some with farmhouses, some with people, some with animals. One even had a horse
drawn sleigh. He'd used colored pencils to make the scenes come alive with
subtle tones of greens and browns and reds and blues. To my way of thinking
they were utterly charming and made me think of those Currier and Ives
I turned to him,
"Joey, these are amazing. How long have you been drawing like this?"
"Ever since I can remember, Dad. Since I was a little kid." Then he
was quiet for a moment before adding, "Mom kind of got me started."
Oh. Gail. My wife
and Joey's mother. She'd passed away four years earlier when he was only five.
In many ways we were still coping.
I looked at him
seriously. "These really are wonderful, son," I told him.
Dad," he said as we stood up to leave.
He grabbed his
heavy hockey bag, hoisted it over his shoulder, tilting to the right a little
under its weight, and started for the door. I held his sketchbook in my hands,
aware that I was holding something special, something that really was what my
son was all about, not just some sad, preconceived sports fantasy of his
father's. I suddenly had an idea. "Hold on a minute." He stopped and
I took the bag from him. (It really was pretty heavy.) "How about if on
the way home we stop at Blick's Art Supply and check out what they've got,
maybe get you some supplies. What do you think about that?"
Joey picked up
his hockey stick and looked at me questioningly. He knew how much I loved
sports. "You sure, Dad?"
I said, biting a metaphorical bullet, "Looks like we've got an artist in
Joey grinned as
we walked to the car. His step seemed lighter, somehow, like a weight had been
lifted, and I don't just mean the equipment bag. It was good to see him so
Next to the art
store was a sporting goods exchange. We parked and while Joey went inside and
looked around for art supplies, I went next door to see if I could sell his
hockey equipment, which I did. Then I hurried next door to met him. But before
I went inside I stopped a minute, looked through the window and watched as he
perused the aisles, happily caressing the paints and brushes and sketchpads and
canvases. He seemed in another world, one that he felt comfortable in. Natural.
I headed for the
front door. Once inside, I'd get him to show me what all the art supplies were
used for. Maybe I'd buy him an easel or something to get him set up properly
for his art work. He was a good kid. I guess I had a lot to learn. It was time
I started paying better attention.
About the author
Jim is a former hockey player and devoted parent, hence the
genesis of this story. (Jim has provided a succinct story-specific bio. This could be enhanced
a little if he had added a link. He usually does, actually! )
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:
So, get writing.
Don’t forget also
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.
I’m happy to update
the pages each January.
I’ve added two
cafés this month:
suggestions and review them if you can.
further support the project in the following ways.
Do you have any
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 particularly
interested in near-futures speculative YA fiction. Again, I’m only accepting
proposals from people we already know.
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.
The work we are doing is rapidly expanding and we could
really do with some extra help now. We’re looking for help with commissioning,
editing and marketing.
You should be either one of our own experienced writers –
three or four stories published in our various
anthologies and / or a single author / flash fiction book or have commissioning, editing and marketing
skills from elsewhere.
We’re offering a one day course for you to see if this suits
you and you suit us. Commissioning and
editing will be one course, marketing will be separate.
The course is free and travel expenses will be paid. It’s
even all right for you to take the course and then decide you don’t want to be
involved; it will have given you some insight into our editing process.
However, I do ask that you only apply for the course if you think you would
like to be an editor or publicist.
The course will include some homework before and after the
course. It will probably be 10.00 to 4.00 with a working lunch.
Venue and date will be mutually decided once people have
registered their interest. I’ll probably make a decision at the end of
February, sooner if we get lots of applicants. The venue may well be in London
If you do decide to edit or market for us, you will be paid
a fee and later royalties after the fee has “earned out”. This will show up on the monthly book
performance statements. It would be great to have separate editors for each
stage of editing.
If this is of interest, please email me, let me know if
you’re away any item in the next few months, which course you’re interest in –
you can of course do both – and where you’re located.
Waterloo Festival Marketing Workshop
This will take place on 8 June 10.30 – 1.30 St John’s
Westminster. This is different from the course mentioned above. This is about
marketing your own work. Save the date and watch this space!
Waterloo Festival Celebration Event
Free event. Again 8 June at St John’s Westminster. It will
follow a similar pattern to the one we held last year. Stars of the show will
be those selected for the 2019 anthology. 2.30 – 4.30. Save the date. Watch
Imprints Celebration Event
7 December 2.00 - 4.30.
St John’s or St Andrew’s Westminster. Save the date and watch this space
for more detail.
Current reading recommendation
enjoyed reading Kate Atkinson’s A God in
Ruins. It is my book group’s pick for our February meeting. I do like
Atkinson’s writing and I’ve had the privilege of meeting her.
The book moves
between the present and past chapter by chapter and within chapters. I found
myself particularly engaged with Teddy Todd who could possibly be described as
the protagonist. However we also have the point of view of several other characters,
including Teddy’s wife Nancy, daughter Viola, and grandson Sunny. In any case
all of the characters are emotionally rich and very convincing.
Quite a bit of the
story takes place in and around World War II so you can imagine that it is of
particular interest to me.
I’m impressed with
Atkinson’s research. We’ve covered some of the same ground for World War II but
she also includes a lot about the RAF that I’m less familiar with. She has old
age and nursing homes spot on. Teddy is about the same age as my late father. Yes
that is what it was like in the noughties for World War II veterans.
There is a slightly
odd twist near the end that at first I found a little bizarre. In retrospect it
makes perfect sense. I’ll say little more as I don’t want to spoil your experience
of the book but I will say that it sanctions Teddy’s life.
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
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
- 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 a PDF of the first book Bridge House ever
published, Making Changes.
Access it and lots of other freebies 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 we’re offering these free samples so that you can
try before you buy.
Naturally we welcome reviews.
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 or
interested in being published by us. General news about the imprint. News for
writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.
For all those published by CaféLit. General
news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. News about
the Creative Café Project. Sign up here.
For all those published by Chapeltown or
interested in being published by us.
General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book
performance. Sign up here.
News about our books and our authors. Sign up here.
The Creative Café Project
about the project and CaféLit – for the consumer rather than for the
Sign up here.
News about my writing, general news about what the
imprints are doing, news about other writers I know, news about the Creative Café
Project, a recommended read, and a giveaway each month. 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 Authors
For all those published by The Red
Telephone or interested in being published by us.
General news about the imprint. News for
writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.
Schellberg Cycle Workshop News
Offers and news of events to do
with Schellberg Cycle workshops. Sign up here.
Offers and news of school visits. 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 all of our books.
Find them here.
Happy reading and