Monday 1 August 2022

News 1 August 2022


I hope you are all well and have coped well with the recent heat.  

I’m quite pleased with my garden at the moment. I’m particularly happy about my sunflower that I grew from seed.  However, I did plant twelve and this is the only one that made it. I grew them in pots to start with and then transferred them to the garden.

We specially chose a house with a small garden as we didn’t want to have too much work,.  However, there is still plenty to occupy me here. It is gradually taking on some colour; it was very dull when we first moved here.   

It’s still a nice place to be, even though it’s small.


Current writing

I’m now on edit ten of the sixth book in the Schellberg Cycle. I’m looking at the moment at how description works. You never need too much of that but you do need enough to put a good picture of what’s going on into the reader’s head.  

I have a little piece of creative non-fiction in CafeLit:  We’ll be off there again at the end of September.

I also have two pieces in Talking About My Generation is a short story about a woman finding her way out of lockdown.  

There is also my introductory article to a series I’m going to write about sociable spaces:


On My Blog

I discuss The Pros and Cons of Being a Publisher as Well as a Writer . Our Annual Celebration Events describes our annual meetings on the first Saturday in December.  These are good fun and there is an invite there for you to join this year’s event. You would be most very welcome. Places are limited so hurry.   


The Young Person’s Library

This month I’ve added:

When Fishes Flew by Michael Morpurgo

This is suitable for both upper primary and lower secondary students. As ever Morpurgo brings a delightful voice to this text. The story involves sunshine, history, refugees and the embodiment of a Greek god inside a flying fish!      


Current reading recommendation

This month I’m recommending The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson

Clare Button runs this popular little library in the Bethnal Green Tube station.

She faces many challenges: she is a widow and her mother and mother-in-law don’t approve of what she’s doing. Her immediate boss is very hard to please. Then there is a whole war going on out there and she feels obliged to help to keep several young people safe in these trying times.         

Kate Thompson tells a good story in the account of The Little Wartime Library that really existed though was somewhat different from the one depicted here.      



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

This month I’m offering a mobi-file of The House on Schelberg Street

This is an historical novel and has a YA protagonist though isn’t necessarily a YA novel. It is also the first story in my Schellberg cycle.    

Renate struggles with her identity; is she German, English or Jewish?

It’s difficult enough for Renate when she arrives in England without being able to speak a word of English. Life becomes even more complex when Britain declares war on Germany. Her mother is in London being bombed by the Germans and her father is in Nuremberg being bombed by the allies.  And what of her grandmother, too stubborn to believe that the Nazis can be as cruel as they appear. Besides Clara Lehrs cannot leave the disabled children in her care. And what is happening as well with all the school friends that Renate has left behind?     

The House on Schellberg Street, based on some actual events, explores how despite there being many good people in the world some terrible things can happen and how we can yet recover from that.          

Find out more. Grab your copy and lots of other freebies here.

And please, please, please leave a review, perhaps on Amazon, Good Reads and / or Story Graph, when you’ve finished.    

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’ve added four posts this month.

Drafts 4 and 5 of Helga’s Story

Draft 4 is all about making sure that time works.  Draft 5 is about making sur that the text suits the target reader. As always though I notice other issues on a read through.

Draft 6 and 7 of Helga’s Story

Draft 6 is about character consistency and Draft 7 is about making sure there are no plot holes.

Drafts 8 & 9 Helga’s Story

These two drafts are all about pace and tension, important ingredients in any story.

The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson

Yes, this is the same book as I’ve recommended this month. The description here gives more account of how useful it is in depicting what life was like during World War II.  



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.  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.


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