Thursday 1 October 2020

News 1 October 2020


I was very pleased with the two events we held this month: 1940s’ Readers and Writers (17th September) and Meet Some of Our Writers (26 September). I’ll certainly consider doing more of these in the future.  

My work with the Culture Champions continues. You can hear all about this at the Sonder Radio: Bury Culture Champions. All of the programmes are interesting.  I take part in the recording about the Jinnah centre.    

This work has led to me working with Talking About My Generation. I am now a “staff reporter” and here is my first article:  Part of the rationale behind this web site is that idea that older people have something of value to offer.   


News about my writing and other creative projects

I’m still carrying on much as before: The Round Robin, the fifth book in the Schellberg Cycle, Not Just Fluffy Bunnies, and I’m still working on The Business of Writing.  And of course I’m interspersing this with short stories and flash fiction.

I’m also continuing to write stories relating to what might happen after the virus leaves us – if it does. This is Aftermath, an invitation to write speculative and near future fiction about what may happen after the virus. Reflective writing about what is actually happening now is also welcome, along with stories set now or a little into the future.  


The Young Person’s Library

The full catalogue is gradually moving from to

I’ve added new this month:  

Letters of a Lovestruck Teenager by Claire Robertson  

This is an early new-type young adult novel, written in 1990.


Snakehead by Anthony  Horrowitz

Alex is certainly maturing. The adventures are getting edgier. And the books are getting longer.  


Mates, Dates and Pulling Power by Cathy Hopkins

A great teenage romp with a slightly more serious side. Chicklet-lit.


Wolves by Emily Gravett

A delightful but quite sophisticated picture book.


The Beautiful Game by Jon Blake

The beautiful game here is snooker. This is a teen high-low and also a  coming of age story.

Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers   

A sophisticated picture book that helps the child to understand their place in the world.  


Ark Angel by Anthony Horrowitz  

Another adventure for the young secret agent.


The Boy at the back of the Class by Anjali Q Raúf

A fluent reader text about bullying and refugees.  


Current reading recommendation

Alas, I have now finished all of the Anne Shirley books and what wonderful escapism they’ve been. Yet they’re not without their shadows: Matthew Cuthbert dies suddenly at the end of the first book, Anne’s first baby dies as a very young infant, and this final book is impacted by the Great War.  

Rilla of Ingleside is for Rilla, Anne’s youngest daughter, a coming of age story. At the beginning she is a girl of fifteen and by the end a young woman of nineteen. Her brothers and fiancé have gone to fight in the Great War.  The ending is upbeat and makes us feel good. Yet there are ups and downs throughout the story and we get much detail about what is happening on the war front.

L. M Montgomery was way ahead of her time.  Yes, she has a shifting point of view and very occasionally she takes on an authorial role and lectures the reader but only a little compared with other writers of her time. She achieves as well if not better than many 21st century writers a strong sense of time and place.  Her characters are rounded and believable. We are close to them and have empathy for them. There is plenty of story as well.



Note: these are usually mobi-files to be downloaded to a Kindle.  Occasionally there are PDFs.

Unusually this month I’m giving away a paperback.  This is a non-fiction book about language learning. The Complete Guide to Learning a Language, the first trade book I ever had published. It is a guide for the hobby language learner and informed by my twenty-six years of teaching languages. It covers the four language skills- listening, speaking, reading and writing, gives tips on how to get free help and discusses different ways of learning.   

It’s a matter of “while stocks last”.          

If you’re interested, let me know your contact details and I’ll post one out to you.

Please, please, please review it if you read it.

You can download lots of other free materials 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. Writers have to make a living. But I’m offering these free samples so that you can try before you buy.


The Schellberg Project

The posts may be helpful for teachers who are familiar with the Schellberg stories or who are teaching about the Holocaust and also for other writers of historical fiction.

Sometimes I also write about what might be of interest to other writers and that is certainly the case this month.

In A Necessary Cut   I write about how I’ve edited my latest novel.  In Creating a Sense of Time and Place in the Historical Novel   I write about some useful tools available to the writer of historical fiction.  


School visits

I’ve suspended these until further notice. I’m now starting work on a series of on-line materials.  

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.   


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 and a reminder of the ones I’ve highlighted in this newsletter.    


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.   

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.  

Happy reading and writing. 

Image by Mediamodifier from Pixabay


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