Monday 2 November 2020

News 2 November


So, here we go. Into another full lockdown. We were already in Tier 3 here in Greater Manchester though when I went out on Friday to the dentist it was hard to believe; the traffic was like pre-pandemic days.

The dentist was a little spooky however   - quite appropriate I suppose as it was 30 October, one day before Halloween. He was wearing so much protective gear that he looked and sounded like Darth Vader. You have to wait to be let in and they take your temperature. The chairs in the waiting room are spread out. They leave ten minutes between appointments and they have great extractor fans that take the air out of the room.  Huge yellow tubes hang from the windows. You go out via the back door.

My appointment was delayed a little as he had a nervous patient who was having an extraction.  The patient was sedated so he decided to do a filling while he was still “under”. That wasn’t a problem – expect that a whole family then arrived in the waiting room and it really did become difficult to maintain social distancing.

No trick or treaters this year.  In fact we only had two last year.  But we’d stacked up on goodies as we didn’t know what the rules were going to be.  

Ah well, we carry on. Glad we bought decent mini chocolate bars which we will just have to finish.  Do we have your sympathy?  Especially as we missed the lovely costumes?               


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. Just four more stories needed? Will one of them be yours?   

I've had another article published on Talking About My Generation. Read my account about my firt part-tiem job

I'm also please to have  another piece of flash fiction published by Page & Spine:   


The Young Person’s Library

The full catalogue is now at

I’ve added new this month:  


I, Ada by Julia Gray

Ada is Ada Lovelace who went some way towards inventing the computer. This is a YA text.


The Golden Sceptre by Elizabeth Arnold

A fluent reader ghost story and historical novel.


Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz

Another thriller for teens.


Indigo's Star by Hilary Mckay

Real life story for early teens.


Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz

More about Alex Rider.


The Last Wolf by Mini Grey

A delightful picture with a new take on Red Riding Hood.


Russian Roulette by Anthony Horowitz

The final story in the Alex Rider series though it’s mainly back story and more about another character than about Alex.


Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis

A picture book with a powerful message about the effect of kindness and also about regret.  The story is a little unresolved.  


Current reading recommendation

I’m recommending this month Salt by Catrin Kean. This starts off in Cardiff in the late 1800s. The story is based on Catrin’s great- grandparents who married in 1878. This was a mixed-race marriage.

Ellen goes to sea with Samuel and they lead a pleasant romantic life as they make their way across the world.  However, when they return to Wales they encounter prejudice.

It’s quite a topical read.

It is beautifully written and the language reads like poetry.

There are big gaps between paragraphs and this feels odd at first but this layout actually enhances the rhythm of the words.

Interestingly I read this book because I know Catrin. She also made it easy for me to buy it by providing a link. Soon I’ll be blogging about how I buy books and how we might examine our book-buying habits when we market our own work.

You can find the book here.         



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

The month I’m giving away my YA paranormal romance, Spooking. I suppose it’s appropriate for the time of year.  But it’s not really a scary one and it was just the next on the list anyway.   

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.

I provide an excerpt for the book in A comical figure and a serious boy This deals with the civilian attitude to the realisation that Germany was losing the war and was about to be invaded by enemy soldiers.

In The nature of the bystander I define the girls as bystanders. Were they completely innocent? Were they indoctrinated? Towards the end of this latest novel – which I’ve decided now to call The Class Letter – the girls are certainly overcome with guilt. Is it also shame?    



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  Find it here.   

Opportunities for writers are added several times a day. Roughly once a month 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 Jill Wellington from Pixabay  


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