Tuesday 3 December 2019

News 3 December 2019


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:
1.      I’d like reviews myself but feel it’s wrong to expect them and not take the trouble to write them myself.
2.      A lower star rating is more honest than silence.
3.      Consistently reviewing will raise my profile as a reviewer and increase people’s trust in the process.

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.

Paula Readman  

6 February Story Cubes

Try out the APP Story Cubes.  At the time of writing it costs £1.99.
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
Gill James


7 February Chocolate 

Can you say it with chocolate 🍫? Write a chocolate tale with a twist. Remember, Chocolate can be Dark, Milk or White? What shade will your tale be? 

Paula Readman

18 February 2019 Drink Wine Day

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.
Gill James


19 February 2019 The Mysterious Package

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?
Gill James

Note, 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.    

Catalogue of books for children

I’ve added:
  • 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 detective story.

You can read my full comments here and here.  

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 German women.
You can read the posts here and here.      


School visits

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 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.


Some notes about my newsletters and blogs

They do overlap a little but here is a summary of what they all do.

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.

Chapeltown Books 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.   

Gill’s News: 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 up here.

A Publisher’s Perspective Here I blog as a publisher. Access this here.   

The Creative Café Project Listings and reviews of creative cafés. See them here.   

CaféLit Stories Find these here

Gill James Writer All about writing and about my books. View this here.

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.

Writing Teacher 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 it here.

Fair Submissions I am gradually moving the Opportunities List to this site.  Find it here.   
Happy reading and writing.

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