Monday, 3 October 2016

Newsletter 3 October 2016

So, here it is then. The first official day of my retirement. I’m on a new writing regime and I as I write am 2.45 hours into my new daily total of four hours. I’m doing a lot of bits and bobs – a book review, an account of the recent SCBWI retreat at Gladstone’s library – look out for that appearing in Words and Pictures on Thursday. I’ve also completed my post of Wednesday on We Are European. And of course, this newsletter.  
At Gladstone’s I managed to complete a couple of chapters on my WIP.
Plenty of folk have reminded me that once I’m retired I’ll wonder how I ever got the time to work. Well, it’s a bit like that already. This week is hectic. As well as my new writing routine and a few regular activities, I’m at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery for Tea with Oscar Wilde. I’m meeting a former colleague on Friday afternoon for a look at Bury museum and gallery. Both occasions merit afternoon tea…. And Friday evening I’m at the Octagon to see To Kill a Mocking Bird.
On Saturday we have another SCBWI meeting.  
All go, then and that’s just the first week.            

Bridge House

All the edits are now in for Baubles. Debz Hobbs Wyatt   is of course my partner in this. We’ve also had a look at the cover and have some great ideas bubbling along. We’re even starting to think what next year’s collection might be. Over the next few days I’ll be putting the book togther. This is always an exciting point.  
We’re also looking at doing some single author collections. These are for authors we’ve already published. You may recycle stories we’ve already included in another anthology, and you may reedit these if you wish. You may also add in new stories. We’re aiming at a total word count of between 30,000 and 80,000 words. 
If you’re interested in this, contact me here.    


Remember, we’re always open to submissions. Find out how here.  I’ve been encouraging my students to submit. I’m beginning to see some of their work appearing.
The Best of CaféLit 5 is now available. There are some lovely stories in this. I’m very pleased that I have a story in this collection. Order your copy here.      



We’re currently looking for collections of Flash Fiction. See our submissions page here.


Creative Café

We’re always looking for new cafés.  If you visit one of the cafés in the project and would like to write a review of between 250 and 350 words – nice, too, to have a couple of pictures – send it to me here. Do the same if you find a new café.
I’m now going to send out a welcome letter to each new café that’s added. This will also offer them the opportunity to join the mailing list.  
I’m also now proactively encouraging cafes to stick. The best of CafeLit. Do you know anyone who might like to stock it? We can offer 35% discount to  retailers.   


School Visits

I’m proactively promoting my school visits associated with The House on Schellberg Street project. I’m still offering visits on this for a donation towards the project. I’ve devised a whole interactive workshop. It would be a real asset for any school teaching the Holocaust at Key Stage 3. Even if a school can’t afford a donation, I’d be happy to run the project.
Here’s some further news about the Schellberg project. I’ve added in a page referring to “deleted scenes”. You know, just like you get on some DVDs. There are also article about Fact and Fiction in the cycle and about how it was written. I’m adding in more and more materials for schools.  
There is also now a page of links to some articles about the process of writing the novels.    
Query for a school visit here.


The Red Telephone

We are currently open for submissions. Hoorah! We’re looking for the next great YA novel. Check out the details here.
I’d like to remind you of our new enterprise - something between a mentoring system and an online course. Though publication is not guaranteed, we will at least look at your full book if you’ve attended one of the courses. We’re offering it for free to a few people at first. We’ll refine as we go along based on feedback from our clients. We’ll then continue to offer it at a discount for a while before going to full price when we’re completely happy with it. We’re not sure what the full price will be. Again, we’ll be guided by our current clients. Find out more here.  Three people have now signed up. We’re running out of space so if you’re hesitating, now is the time to make your mind up.  We look forward t hearing from you.       


Books and short stories

I continue to make good progress on Shooting Hitler.
Clara’s Story is being serialised. The cover makes this theme quite clear. The novel is can now be found on Channillo. You may read it here.    
Clara’s Story is the second in the Schellberg circle. All five stories cove roughly the same period and are very much happening in and associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. They can be read in any order. The stories overlap to some extent but where they repeat we see the happening form another point of view. For instance The House on Schellberg Street is mainly about a young girl, Renate, who comes to England on the Kindertranpsort. Clara’s Story is about her grandmother. Girl in a Smart Uniform explains how at least one German girl associated with the story became a Nazi – and then gave it all up. Shooting Hitler is Renate’s mother’s version of events. In The Round Robin we learn about what happens to Renate’s friends.  
I’m now having to flesh out my proposal for an academic book about children’s lit for one publisher. This has meant deciding exactly which books to discuss. So, I’ve had to buy and read a few more. One super one I’ve read recently is Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders. It’s a sequel to E. Nesbit’s Five Children and It, though it is considerably darker. I really recommend this.

Upcoming events

3 December is the Bridge House / CafeLit celebration. It was open just to people in the two anthologies. Now we’re opening it to other guests. We’ve found a pub that will let us use their private space for free. They must have heard that our writers always spend generously in the bar. Book your places here:  



This month I’m giving away a copy of Shata Everington’s XY. The first person to message me via Twitter that they’d like the book  -  @gilljames – gets it.  

Happy reading and writing.

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