Fresh air and meeting people face to face
The Manchester Society of Authors group met for a picnic today. It was lovely. It was warm but overcast. Simon, our organiser, had bought some bits and bobs and others brought things to share. We were very careful about how we shared. And so we had a lively mixture of goodies: juicy olives, pink lemonade, prosecco, red wine, crisps, savoury muffins, mini pork pies, stuffed peppers, raspberry crumble, strawberries and chocolate biscuits. And much more.
There were some interesting conversations. I am more convinced than ever that it is right to publish certain of my projects myself or through one of the imprints I manage. One of our groups has done this very successfully and will only go back to the traditional publishers if they will offer her an advance as big as what she’s making from self-publishing.
Whichever way you are published you have to embrace publish and marketing and at least when you’re self-published you can have so much more control over this.
I also met someone who writes a lot about family history. And another writer who like me is moving away a little from writing for young adults.
It was very enjoyable being out in the fresh air. Did you know that Greater Manchester has thirty-two green spaces? Actually, that’s not true. There is web site that lists thirty–two but there are many, many more. The important lido at Bury, at Clarence Park, isn’t listed. I am sure there must be many others missing. Greater Manchester has at least thirty-two green spaces.
As I crossed the city to get to the Whitworth Park I noticed that the cafes were thriving and there are still a lot of street cafes in operation. Piccadilly Gardens was heaving. Everywhere else was quieter than normal for a week end in Manchester but lively enough even so.
I’m on the second draft now of my fifth Peace Child novel. Former protagonist Kaleem has now become a minor character. A minor character, his now adopted daughter, Petri, has stepped up
I continue to write for Talking About My Generation. My latest offerings are reviews of the Manchester International Festival:
It was great that this festival could go ahead. It was all very well organised and felt very Covid secure.
I’m also delighted to have a story in https://www.matchgirls1888.org/feathers-pennies . This is all to do with the match girls who went on strike. It appeals to my trade union nature. I have written a piece of flash fiction about one of the girls who were involved in the strike. I enjoy strorifying history
The Young Person’s Library
I’ve added just two books this month.
This is a carefully developed young adult book about a girl who narrowly avoids being radicalised.
This is a novel for fluent readers. It is a fast-paced rip—roaring pirate story with some more homely touches. I’m very proud of what Susan Brownrigg has achieved here. She is one of my SCBWI friends.
Current reading recommendation
The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
Odile obtains a post as librarian at the American Library in Paris. She continues working there for most of World War II. She makes many friends, some of whom later are in danger: Professor Cohen, who is sent to an internment camp, Margaret, an English woman who is the wife of a diplomat, Bitsi who works in the children’s section and many others.
She has a twin brother, Remy, who dies whilst he is a prisoner of war.
She finds out that her father and the man she married, both of whom are policeman, have been responding to “crow” letters – letters that giveaway illegal activities. Odile hides some of these letters. She leaves her husband of one day when she finds out this that he has been involved in beating up Margaret who had had an affair with a German soldier.
We read of Odile in World War II but also of her life in the 1980s as a widow in America. She married bigamously an American soldier she met at the American hospital. She befriends a young neighbour, Lily, and tries to help her avoid the same sort of mistakes she had made.
Some of the characters are based on real people.
Grab your copy here.
Note: these are usually mobi-files to be downloaded to a Kindle. Occasionally there are PDFs.
This month I’m giving away Spooking, my gentle YA paranormal romance.
Tom crashes his car and he wakes up in an unfamiliar place. He is unable to reach Amanda. They argued just before the crash. He meets cheeky but friendly Marcus, who, though younger than Tom, has more experience in the areas that now matter. But Marcus has his own concerns and eventually has to leave Tom to deal with his problems on his own. How can Tom let Amanda know how much he loves her? Does she feel the same way? Will they ever be able to move forward?
Grab your copy and lots of other freebies here
Note: Normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I manage sell for anything from £0.99 to £10.99. Most on Kindle are about £2.99 and the average price for paperback is £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. They may also be interesting for other readers of historical fiction.
Sometimes I also write about what might be of interest to other writers.
I have been quite busy again this month.
In Complex Situations I discuss how often people find themselves in really difficulty situations to which there is no easy way out. This was my response to reading An Obsolete Honor by Helena P. Schrader. This is about the German resistance during the Nazi era. Schrader takes a German point of view, as I do in many of the Schellberg novels.
I also remind readers to leave reviews for us writers. It’s one of the most helpful things you can do to support us. See what I’ve said in Reviews Reminder.
More complex situations exist in occupied France. This is shown in the novel The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles , reviewed here. This is also my recommended read, mentioned above. I delve a little more into the complexity of the situation in Never Easy Choices.
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.
The Bridgetown Café Bookshop where you can buy my book and books published by Bridge House Publishing, CafeLit, Chapeltown Books and The Red Telephone. We’re building up our inventory, so please bear with us. Visit us 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 and some other editors 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 The children’s book catalogue. 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.