Tuesday 6 February 2024

News 6 February 2024


Coming up

The Talking about My Generation team met yesterday and I now find myself with a heap of interesting writing projects:

·         One about each of my U3A groups: French, German Spanish and of course, Creative Writing. These well be personal glances but will also give practical information about how to get involved. They will also offer ideas for other people’s groups. 

·         An account about my choir.

·         Some more guided creative writing exercises about interesting local places

·         Working with another reporter on an article on future-proofing your home and life: lasting power of attorney, stair lifts, choosing a care home, knowing how to finance getting old  - not as depressing as you may think: knowledge is power.

·         Then I also have to look forward to my final Schellberg novel, my final Peace Child novel and a three part family saga.

·         And all of the short stories, blog posts and newsletters like this of course.

It’s good to be busy.     


Writing news

I’m getting though the edits on with Peace Child 6. I’ve just finished looking at whether the characters are rounded and consistent.

My article on Talking about My Generation: https://talkingaboutmygeneration.co.uk/hackers-and-identify-theft-how-common-is-it/ This is about what happens when hackers get into big organisations and access our personal details. I include several case studies, two of which have impacted on me: The British Library and Capita that administers my university pension.    

I’ve also written a review of a super play that we saw at our local Whitefield Garrick: https://talkingaboutmygeneration.co.uk/review-be-my-baby-at-the-whitefield-garrick/  The play is set in 1964 and is very much of that time. It was first produced in 1998.

My story The Magic of Light and Shadow  is now available on Medium. It is a folk / fairy tale with an element of the grass being greener on the other side.

You can now set your own price for my first collection of short stories, My Daily Bread, on Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/s/2a1eb7c6d3  


On My Blog

Please enjoy my interview with Georgina Wright who tells us about her new book. See what she says here. If this has piqued your interest you might be tempted to join our Zoom event on 22 February 7 pm where Georgina talks some more about the book and the issues it raises.  Here is the invite:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/navaselva-an-evening-with-georgina-wright-tickets-804907218157

What is the best advice you have ever been given about writing? Here is mine: https://www.gilljameswriter.com/2024/01/the-best-writing-tip-ive-ever-received.html


And what do you enjoy about the writing life?  Here is my list: https://www.gilljameswriter.com/2024/01/these-are-my-favourite-things-about.html


The Young Person’s Library

Again, no new books added this month I’m afraid and I’m afraid a whole heap of work created on this site now because of the inexplicable actions of Amazon. Even so, I must get back to reading more children’s books again.   


Recommended read 


So, this month I’m recommending: The Porcelain Maker of Dachau  Note, this is an affiliate link and a small portion of what you pay may go to Bridge House publishing.   

Two stories intertwine: that of the romance between Jewish architect Max and ‘degenerate’ artist Bettina and that of her daughter Clara who after her mother’s death seeks to find out more about her father.

We know that Clara and Bettina survive so our question is not what happened but how did they manage that? Why did they come to England?  How did they get there? Who is Erza? How does this avant-garde artist reconcile herself to the Nazi era? How does Max, an architect, become a porcelain maker?

The text isn’t perfect. In the opening chapters I found some odd expression.  I’m not sure if it continued. If it did I stopped noticing. I was soon absorbed in the plot. There is also some odd formatting in some text in italics. I suspect this may be an Amazon rather than a publisher or author problem. 

Sarah Freethy is an author I shall certainly read again. She keeps us guessing about The Porcelain maker of Dachau.       


Sample pages

This replaces my previous giveaways. If you like what you’re reading you can click through and find out ways of buying the book. However, I’m still happy to give you a free copy if you’re strapped for cash and / or you’re willing to review.  Just contact me.  

This month I’m offering So Now You’re Published, What Next? This is my manual for newly published writers.


At a recent meeting of the Society of Authors Joanne Harris told how, when her first book was published, she asked the publishers if there was a marketing budget.

"We might run to a book of second class stamps," was the reply.

So, she made her own posters and hawked them around local libraries and bookshops. She seems to have succeeded.

Chances are if you're published by the small press your publisher won't have a lot of time and certainly won't have much budget to promote your book. In fact, though, if you're published by one of the Big Five, they'll hardly have any more time or money though they may have a little more influence.  So the habits and routines described here are good to get into anyway. It should all become easy and should not detract from the main task in hand: becoming a great writer.

Read more here       


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.

I’ve added a couple of posts this month.

One book review:

Max Hermann Maier:In uns verwoben, tief and wunderbar –Erinnerungen an Deutschland This is a rather dry text but nevertheless interesting and all the more so because Maier, who fled Nazi Germany in 1938, knew some people that we know.

The Nazi Attitude to Art looks briefly at ‘degenerate’ art and what the Nazis regarded as good art,  how art was stolen  and the influence and decline of the Bauhaus. Naturally this only scratches the surface.   



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 books 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.  I also invite other writers to provide prompts and work for critique.     


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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