Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Adventures of Odysseus by Hugh Lupton, Daniel Morden and Christina Balit


Click on the image to go to Amazon  


2010, fluent reader, Key Stage 2, ages 9-11, upper primary

This is a simple retelling of Odysseus’s story.  It is divided into neat chapters. Each chapter is to a large extent an alone-standing story and the whole story overarches. Towards the end, however, where Odysseus claims his home back, we have cliff-hangers at the end of chapters. 

Both Hugh Lipton and Daniel Morden are professional story-tellers and indeed this text would really  come to life if it were read out loud.  Nevertheless it is very readable by the fluent reader and greatly enhanced by Christina Balit’s delightful illustrations. 

It is important that young people become familiar with the ancient myths. Much of our culture relates to them and this book allows the young readers to access this story on their own.     
     
It is a very pleasingly tangible book. It has a good weight and glossy pages. It uses blocked text and a serif font with difficult ‘a’s and ‘g’s.  It is 12 point and in this particular font is rather small. However the text is double-spaced, which makes it a little easier to read.    

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Kick the Moon by Muhammad Khan




young adult, teen, Key Stage 3. Key Stage 4, upper secondary, lower secondary 



Protagonist Illyas faces many challenges. He has GCSEs at school. He is small for his age. His father constantly tells him to “man up”. There is pressure too for him to join the family business.  He is compelled to be a member of the DedManz gang. He is helped at first by unlikely friend Kelly Matthews but she then also gets drawn into the world of DedManz and becomes the girlfriend of bad boy Imran.  However, Illyas’s greatest interest is in creating a comic book with an inspiring super-hero character.  
 The novel ends on an optimistic note though the reader is left to decide what happens next.
Muhammad Khan presents us with some believable rounded characters. Some of the dialogue is impressive and really captures the voices of the struggling teenagers. However, at times the words and thoughts seem far too sophisticated for the young people here. Illyas quakes inside but speaks out aggressively and at times philosophically.
Illyas’s relationship with Kara and Kelly is not sexual but Kelly and his sister are sexually exploited.
We watch Illyas grow and acquire a little more confidence. This growth, the references to sexuality and the somewhat open end make this suitable for young adults.  Illyas is however quite naïve so the text would also be suitable for younger teens.    

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Keeping track of ideas




“Where do your ideas come from?” That used to be the question I dreaded getting when I did school visits. The truthful answer actually is probably “I’m not really sure.”

 

When ideas come

They don’t come when I’m sitting at my desk for sure. Occasionally as I type a story may go off in a surprising direction. I might get insights into one of my characters or one of them may start behaving badly or unexpectedly.
The big ideas though come at other times:
·         When I’m driving, cooking, ironing, walking, swimming or exercising at the gym  
·         From conversations I overhear
·         From how I observe people behaving
·         From news stories I come across
·         From dreams 
·         From prompts by others

 

How to remember them

There is always the danger that I think I’m going to remember them as they are so vivid at the time and I may even rehearse then in my mind. Unfortunately they are ephemeral; they disappear as easily as they appear. No, they must be written down in my notebook or typed into my phone. The newspaper article must be clipped out and filed in a pile next to my computer.

 

Air above the head

A speaker at a conference I organised recently claimed that we are more creative when we are less enclosed. That would explain why walking brings ideas. When I first started writing I worked in the long part of our L-shaped dining area. The ceiling was at normal level near the front door and went up to double level by the time you got to the lounge, which was the only room on the first floor, it was double height. So, it was almost double height where I wrote.   I never ran out of ideas in the early days.
The gym and the swimming pool also have high ceilings.
A student conformed this also.  She worked on one module that she loved with a tutor that usually inspired her. However, she only got her bright ideas as she walked to the bus stop. The class took place in a low-ceilinged modern room.

Getting fussier about ideas

Most of us have bags of ideas when we start out. Then we use them all up and have to look for more. We become fussier. Is it really a story? Has it been done before? Will I be able to write it?
Fortunately I have a list of ten ideas for short stories and have a very rough outline of five more novels in my head. I’m not going to run out of steam any time soon.

And if you do run out of ideas?

Try these:
·         Retell fairy tales, Shakespeare, and the Bible
·         Tell a well-known story from the point of view of a the baddie or a minor character
Happy writing
               

Monday, 14 January 2019

Theodore Boone The Fugitive by John Grisham




2015, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, ages 9-13, upper primary, lower secondary, fluent reader 


I actually found this book in the teen section at the local library.  Younger teens may very well enjoy it though it lacks some of the peer pressure and sexual angst often seen in books for this age group. 


However, protagonist Theodore Boone does take charge of his world and in this case helps convict a man of murder. In a sub-plot we see him act as a lawyer in an Animal Court.

There may be no latent sexuality or love interest but Theo’s best friend is April. 

Theo is just thirteen years old and we and our young readers may be amused that he and his classmates take great delight in “passing gas” on the coach when they go on a school trip. 

John Grisham employs a very readable simple prose here. His characters are very well-drawn – believable and rounded.  Theo waivers between demanding justice and being scared of the consequences of his actions. Uncle Ike is a rather eccentric but good-hearted character. The Boone parents argue about the law in a friendly way.  With Theo, they are firm but fair. April is more adventurous in her choice if ice-cream than Theo; she goes for a new flavour every time whereas he always has the chocolate covered in Oreos. 

Grisham raises the tricky topic of illegal immigrants or “undocumented workers”.  The chief witness in the trial, Bobby Escobar, is an illegal immigrant. The defence argues that he is taking an American’s job and that he s is only giving this evidence so that the police will protect him. In the discussion around this Theo thinks that many Americans would not want to do the work that Bobby does.      

This particular edition is easy to read.  It is a double-spaced hardback, part of  five book box set. At the end of the main text there are some useful further activities.      

               

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The Writer as Reader



 

My history as a reader

I’ve always loved reading and I’ve always been fascinated by books. My father was the youngest of nine siblings and we lived with his mother. After school, at weekends and in the school holidays there were nearly always a few cousins in the house and from time to time they would read. This seemed to be a process of staring at page for a long time. I tried it and made up my own stories about the pictures in my books. Of course many of these books I knew almost off by heart anyway. As far as I was concerned I was reading.
I learnt the names of the shops we visited and began to recognise the shapes of the letters. I insisted that my dad taught me by reading the Children’s Bible to me and pointing out some of the words. School and the Dick and Dora books arrived. These predate even Janet and John. Then suddenly I was off the reading scheme and reading fluently. The little black marks on the white page disappeared and instead I got a film in my head. In my second year at junior school I discovered the local library and the Famous Five. There was no going back.  
My grandmother used to say “You should do something useful with your hands instead of reading that book.”
I could see her point but I also thought reading was useful; it was taking me to other places, it was teaching me all manner of things and it was making me ambitious for a better world.
I had to read a lot for Grammar School andUniversity, so it became a bit of a chore, but reading for pleasure came back after the children were born and I enjoyed reading to and with them.  

 

And now?

I buy books and I borrow them from the library. I avoid second-hand books and some free books because I know how important it is that writers get paid. I read at least 50 books a year as I’ll often get through two or three a week and considerably more when I’m on holiday. Occasionally a dense book will take longer. I keep a diary with brief notes about everything I read.
I spend little on clothes or household objects and always give these items a lot of thought before I buy. I make my mind up much more quickly about books. In fact, I’ve often been known to go out looking for an essential item of clothing and come back with a book. However, it’s not breaking the bank: books are actually good value for money.

 

Sourcing books  

Amazon recommends a few by email though they often don’t give all them much detail.  I’m more inclined to respond to their “Customers who bought this also bought …..”  
I’m on a couple of email lists which send me news of books that might suit me.
I’ll often buy a book by an author I know personally. I may or may not buy more of these depending on whether I enjoy the one I’ve sampled.
I have some favourite authors.
I love going to book festivals and talks and find it very hard to resist buying a “souvenir” book.
I’ll often react to an interesting review.
I review for a couple of publications so that also provides me with books.
I belong to a book group so that also suggests titles.   
At the library I always look at the latest additions and selections the librarians have made if the theme of the selection suits me.
Occasionally I’ll buy a book that will help me with my research.

My choices

So what do I read, in fact?
Books similar to the ones I write e.g. young adult, science fiction, near future, historical fiction (especially those set around World War II), books about feisty women
Books by authors I like
Books by authors I know
Books for other young people.
Biography
Memoire
Books on the craft of writing
Literary criticism
Short story collections

 

Kindle or physical book?

I’m becoming more and more in favour of the Kindle.  Certainly I never take physical books on holiday any more. And here’s a quirk: at the beginning of the summer holiday and the Christmas break I read one book by Dickens. I’ll carry on doing that until I’ve read all of his works. For my sixtieth birthday my husband gave me the complete works of Dickens uploaded on to a Kindle.
I find reading on Kindle easier than reading physical books these days. Even though I have the correct prescription for my glasses, I like to have the print a little larger. In addition, the Kindle is easier to hold.
Yet I still love physical books, particularly if they are beautifully illustrated or have a very tactile or attractive cover. I tend to buy a lot of picture books.

How I decide what to read when

Generally, I’ll read the book I’ve had the longest first. However, if I’ve just read, for example, a biography and the next book that pops up is a biography, I’ll skip that and come back to it.
Occasionally I have a deadline for a book review or for the book group.

 

Do writers need to read?

I believe they absolutely do. We strive to get that picture in our head into our reader’s heads and occasionally as I’m reading and getting a very good film in my mind, I’ll pause to ask myself how the writer is achieving this.
We should expose ourselves to good writing and learn to identify - and forgive – what is less good.
Some writers avoid reading as they don’t want other writers to influence their writing. Ah, they deprive themselves and anyway, couldn’t they read something that was totally different from what they write?
In the end, reading is probably my default activity, followed by writing, day-dreaming and watching good drama.      
If you’d like to know more about what I read see Gill’s Recommended Reads

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

News 1 January 2019



 

Welcome 2019

There is always something hopeful about a new year. This time however there’s a lot going on in the world that causes us concern. Still, it will come right in the end, I guess, even though it will probably become uncomfortable on the way. I engage in the arguments but maybe my better contribution comes in what I write.
For our family 2018 has had its shadows and saddest of all is that we lost my mother-in-law suddenly on 18 November. But we’re feeling positive as we face 2019.
I’m pleased that I have come to grips with an effective submission strategy and am really getting my work out there.  Oh yes, there are rejections, and more of them than acceptances, but there are enough acceptances now for me to feel that this is all going somewhere.               
                  

News about my writing

My own writing is carrying on much as I mentioned last month. 
I'm now on the fourth edit of Peace Child 4.  Between edits I write a short story and start my writing day with a bit of flash fiction if all I’m going to do for the rest of the time is edit. I’m continuing to work on my book about the dark side of children's literature – which is making me read a lot and also reread several works I’ve read before. I’ll also be visiting the MMU and Manchester City libraries soon as I investigate versions of Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding-Hood.  Schellberg 5 is still on hold for the moment, but Schellberg 3 is being professionally edited in February.  

 

Fun with UPS

Our printers, Lightning Source, are currently using UPS as a courier. They’ve used various ones over the years but this one is by far the worst.
We’ve had particular problems with delivery in the Republic of Ireland.
One real bug bear is that when we are sent the proof copies of the paperbacks they send an email and ask us to sign in advance.  Why on earth would we want to do that? Yet they simply put the book through the letterbox, usually at 9.30 in the morning.  Okay, so we get our books. Except one time we didn’t.  It was delivered to a completely different part of Manchester.
“I think our driver needs to go to Specsavers,” said the manager of the local centre.
They kept trying to retrieve the book without success. However, a few days later it just appeared through our letter-box at tea-time. A good-hearted person had trekked through the rush-hour to redeliver it.
Proof copies cost £21.00 a time. We must see them before we release the book.  
Whenever UPS can’t deliver, they issue an “exception notice”. A recent one said that the customer had refused the delivery. It made me worry that the books had been less than perfect or that there was something going very badly for one of our clients. No, it simply meant that they’d left the books in the porch. All was after all well. However, we do pay more for a “signed-for” service so this isn’t quite what we expect.
They often fail to leave notes about what they’ve done with parcels. We supply a customer telephone number so I’m puzzled as to why they don’t use it to contact people who aren’t in.
Other couriers haven’t encountered these problems.
I was impressed though with a delivery in Australia. Of course the books were printed there but shipping is relatively expensive. Nevertheless a consignment of books was printed and delivered within three days and we still made a healthy profit.    
And in the end, most of our books are delivered successfully.             

 

Catalogue of our books

I have now started work on the catalogue and there have been three issues: https://www.scribblersbooksbooksbooks.co.uk/
So far we’ve made offers on the little square books, the single author collections and on our charity books.
I’m still looking for a volunteer to be a featured author.  Get in touch if you’d like to have a go. 
I advertise via Twitter and Facebook and have started to build up an email list.
And I’ll let you into a secret: the offers are permanent though we only push them for a week. 
                

Catalogue of books for children

I’ve added several titles to this over the last month. It is growing apace. You can find it here.  Do take a look if you’re into children’s books.

 

Useful links for writers

My list of links for writers is also growing steadily. Find it  here.  

 

1940s Group

Just a reminder: this is a Facebook group for all people who write about the 1940s. Fiction and non-fiction, for young and old. Topics might then be: the Holocaust, World War II, Civilian Experience (all sides) and the battle front. We can exchange ideas about research and marketing. We may promote books and stories, - the last day of every month and on launch / release day.
If you feel that is you, do join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2026868870924138/ Please answer the three questions.      
Of course, with my Schellberg Cycle I'm constantly in that world.       

 

Dreamteam

Find members here.    
This is a personal recommendation. Initially I intend to use my Dream Team a lot myself but gradually I would add in people that friends and friends of friends have recommended.

What happens?

You sign up to a mailing list and every time a request comes in we mail it out to you or the enquirer contacts you directly via my web site. The conversation then carries on between you and the person making the request. You may also have a page set up on my blog and you may update that once a year. 
Interested? You may sign up for more than one category. 
Beta readers sign up here.
Reviewers sign up here.
Editors sign up here.
Illustrators sign up here.
Designers sign up here.
Proof-readers sing up here.   
DO REMEMBER THAT AT ANY TIME YOU’RE APPROACHED AND YOU’RE BUSY IT’S PERFECTLY FINE TO SAY NO.  

News from all of our writers

Do keep sending news like this and remember to supply a link to where reader can buy the book. 
         

Bridge House

We have two calls for submission out at the moment:
http://www.bridgehousepublishing.co.uk/index.php/waterloo-festival-2019-call-for-submissions The 2019 Waterloo Festival Writing Competition. The theme is “Transforming Being”. Follow the link for full details.
Our annual anthology next year will have the theme of “Nativity”. Again we don’t just want retellings of the Christmas story or about what went right or wrong at the local nativity play though such stories would also be welcome.  Full detail of how to submit are here: http://www.bridgehousepublishing.co.uk/index.php/call-for-new-submissions       

We’re still getting plenty of interest in our single-author collections. These are now only for authors we’ve published before and they may include stories we’ve already published, ones they’ve had published elsewhere and new ones. The description for this is now on the web site. http://www.bridgehousepublishing.co.uk/index.php/single-author-collections 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 70,000 words.

Your work will go through three stages of editing, and will be proof-read twice in-house. We design the book and the cover. We hook it up to all the distributing channels and we complete first-level marketing. We are risking all of this on you as well as the set-up costs and the copies to the British Library and legal deposit agency.   

You’ll probably not get rich quick: anthologies by new authors do not sell in big numbers initially. Each month we post to a dropbox information about books’ performance. A link is sent with the monthly newsletter. See below for how to access this newsletter.  
       
We have a huge backlog so please be patient. You can always check our progress at: http://apublishersperspective.blogspot.co.uk/p/work-flow.html

      

CaféLit

In the end we had more than enough stories for the Christmas period and in fact some have even been scheduled for Christmas 2019. 
Stories are at 4.00 p.m. Afternoon Teatime, Kaffee and Kuchen time and it's also when the kids are home from school. Just the right time for a cuppa and a good story.
In December we had stories from: Sheila Barclay, James Bates, Alan Cadman, Steve Carr, Lynn Clement, Alyson Faye, Janet Howson, Gill James, Dawn Knox, Mark Kodama, Geraldine McCarthy, Roger Noons, Helen O’Neill, Paula RC Readman, Michal Reibenbach, Hannah Retallick, Copper Rose, Kathy Sharp and Robin Wrigley,    

Highest performing posts in December were:
Tree People by Hannah Retallick 165
 No Room for Them  by Dawn Knox 150  
 The Untrodden Snow by Paula R C Readman 148  
Staff Shortages by Jane Howson 135     
A Song for Christmas  by Steve Carr   103        

I’ll shortly be  asking those people who appeared in The Best of CaféLit7 to help me to choose what to put into The Best of CaféLit 8. Look out for a separate email about that. You may be interested to know that the top performing posts in 2018 were:
Accentuate the Stubble  by Hannah Retallick
A Field for Polly by Bronte Pearson
Goodbye, My Lush... by Shawn Klimek
The Payback  by Foster Trecost
These may also be included in The Best of CaféLit 8.                                                
If when I go to my editor’s dashboard I see that a story has fewer than 20 hits, I put it on my own Twitter feed and the Facebook page.  
Our stories are generally spread in the following ways:
  • 36 people have signed up to have the stories fed from the blog site  
  • I tweet about the site from time to time
  • some members visit daily or when they have time  
  • authors make efforts – blog, website, FB, email signature, word of mouth
  • casual readers come across the site      
  • one story being read leads to another 
Maybe you could all share your ideas of how to make us more visible and tell us what you do?
You can read all of the stories here.

Here's a reminder of how we select stories: I open my inbox and I'll often see four or five submissions. I'll select the best of the bunch and schedule it for in a few days' time. I'll let you know. I may reject one or two but ones that are basically sound I'll keep forever or until they’re published.  Consequently if one you've submitted to us has not been rejected, and you find a home for it elsewhere, let us know the name of the story and the date you submitted and we'll remove it from the archive. Try to include the drink each time. Do put CaféLit in the subject line so we can identify your submission. Remember to include your bio (50-100 words including links for longer stories, just links for 100 words or less) each time. I haven't got time to look up an old one and in any case your bio is probably changing all the time.

.           

We're always open to submissions. Find out to submit here. Remember, this gives you some exposure, you can add in a short CV each time, and there's always the chance that your work might be accepted for the annual anthology.    

We have some seasonal opportunities coming up now:
Winter
Valentine's Day
Pancake day
Spring
Easter  
So, get writing.
On offer for CaféLit authors is a page on our web site. See examples here. 

The list is growing. Click on the names to find out more about the authors and to access their work. If you're a CaféLit author and would like a web page, use the ones there to get ideas. You need to send me between 250 and 350 words about yourself, an attractive image, a list of up to six publications, up to six awards and up to six links. I then also link the page to your stories on CaféLit. Send to gill at cafelit dot co dot uk. 
I’m happy to update the pages each January.  

Creative Café

I’ve added another American café in this month: http://www.creativecafeproject.org/2018/12/the-rosendale-cafe-rosendale-us.html
This one has brought up a new Creative Café Project activity: salsa dancing. Well, why not? I just wish it was a bit nearer.  
Keep sending suggestions and review them if you can. 
Cafés might further support the project in the following ways. 
Do you have any further suggestions?
I'm continuing my tour of creative cafés where I collect stories for an anthology. In some cases, writers may offer them and in others customers may tell me their story and I'll write it for them. Do you know of a café that might be interested in this? Let me know if you do.         
Remember you can now buy merchandise for the Creative Café project. The profit on anything you buy here goes to the Creative Café Project. Check this out here.    
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.

 

The Red Telephone

I have some books now lined up to read. I'm particularly interested in near-futures speculative YA fiction. Again, I’m only accepting proposals form people we already know.     

 

Facebook Group for the Imprints

Scribblers Sans Frontières - Here you can:
·         Discuss all technical issues re our books
·         Exchange marketing ideas
·         Advertise and report on your events
·         Promote any of your titles or successes
·         Share good practice and ideas
·         Get help with writing problems
·         Anything else appropriate
Please come and join us if you're eligible. Or you can ask me to sign you up.  

School Visits

I’m proactively promoting my school visits associated with The House on Schellberg Street project. I’ve now developed a whole workshop for this. It starts off with a board game, includes some role play and creative writing and ends with a discussion.
It is now possible to purchase the kit to work on on your own. Find details here.
Costs for my workshops = travel expenses plus £400 for a full day and £200 for a half day. This includes all materials and some freebies. Two schools near to each other might consider splitting the day and halving the travel expenses and fees. This is open to negotiation in any case.       
I also offer a free half day visit, though you pay my travel expenses, if you allow me to promote my books.       
I’m continuously adding materials for schools to the site that are different from the ones I use for the workshops. I’ve recently added in resources and books to do with the topic. See them here:       
Query for a school visit here.
I’m also happy to tailor a visit for your agreed donation. This can be for either a Schellberg Cycle visit or a creative writing workshop. Any monies raised this way will go specifically to a project I have for a non-fiction book about a journey that will follow the footsteps of Clara Lehrs. I’m hoping to do the whole journey by train, including departing via my nearest Metrolink station. It’s important to feel the rails beneath my feet.       
I offer as well standard author visits which include readings from my books, Q & A sessions and creative writing exercises.
Please remember, with these as well, I’m open to negotiation if you can’t afford the full price.

Free listing for our writers

If you are one of our writers and would like to offer school visits, please contact me. I'm offering a free listing on the imprint pages.
State: age groups you are prepared to work with, a definition of your work, distances you are prepared to travel. Appropriate links. Please provide an image.         

 

Past events

Our celebration event on 1 December was as ever great fun. Many thanks to Allison Symes who gave it such a great write-up. She really captures the atmosphere of what our celebrations are all about. Read it here.     

 

Current reading recommendation

This month I’m recommending Meeting Coty by Ruth Estevez. I know Ruth through SCBWI  North-West. Like me, Ruth sometimes writes for children and sometimes writes for adults. This is one for adults.
I’m intrigued, too, that this book is published by the small press: Kings Hart Books.
Protagonist Tessa’s younger sister eloped from under the Mother Superior's nose. Her elder sister believed herself to be the Madonna Incarnate. Her mother spent entire days lying in bed.  Her father hid in his study eating liquorice allsorts. Tessa herself decapitated flowers and plunged their heads into aromatic waters and dreamed of meeting Coty.  
This is an intriguing story of a by-gone age. The characters are richly drawn.
A great read if you like historical fiction.
Find it here.
And another little note about Ruth. She works for the Portico Library.  
  

Calling all writers

I'm running an occasional series of interviews on my blog.
If you would like to be on my blog just answer the questions below and send them with appropriate images to gill dot james at btinternet dot com.
Please feel free to pick and choose which of these to answer. 
1.      What do you write? Why this in particular? 
2.      What got you started on writing in the first place?
3.      Do you have a particular routine? 
4.      Do you have a dedicated working space?
5.      When did you decide you could call yourself a writer? Do you do that in fact?
6.      How supportive are your friends and family? Do they understand what you're doing?
7.      What are you most proud of in your writing?
8.      How do you get on with editing and research?
9.      Do you have any goals for the future?
10.  Which writers have inspired you?
Please write as much or as little as you like for each section and supply as many pictures as you like. Also let me know your latest publication and supply me with a link if it's not on Amazon. 
I 'm also happy to offer you a post whenever you have a new book come out, even if I'm not your publisher. In this case answer the following questions:
  1. Tell me about your book.
  2. Tell us about your research for this book.
  3. What inspired you to write this?
  4. What's next?
  5. How can we get a copy of the book?
  6. Do you have any events planned?
Again write as much or as little as you please. Alter and add to the questions if you wish. Provide as many pictures as you wish.
Send to: gill dot james at btinternet dot com

Giveaway

I’m giving away the Kindle version of my first Schellberg Cycle book: The House on Schellberg Street. Access it and lots of other freebies here.  
Note, that normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I manage sell for anything form £0.99 to £10.99, with most on Kindle being about £2.99 and the average price for paperback being £7.00. We have to allow our writers to make a living. But we’re offering these free samples so that you can try before you buy.   
Naturally we welcome reviews.

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 or interested in being published by us. General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.

CaféLit Writers For all those published by CaféLit. General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. News about the Creative Café Project. Sign up here.

Chapeltown Authors For all those published by Chapeltown or interested in being published by us.  General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.  

Chapeltown Books News about our books and our authors. 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, general news about what the imprints are doing, news about other writers I know, news about the Creative Café  Project, a recommended read, a giveaway each month. Find it here.   

Opportunities List Remember I keep a full list of vetted opportunities on my writing blog. See them here. New ones are added several times a day. Roughly once a month I go through it and take out all of the out of date ones. At that point I send it out to a list. If you would like to be on that list, sign up here.  


Pushing Boundaries, Flying Higher News about conferences and workshops to do with the young adult novel. (infrequent postings) Sign up here.  

Red Telephone Authors For all those published by The Red Telephone or interested in being published by us.  General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.

Schellberg Cycle Workshop News Offers and news of events to do with Schellberg Cycle workshops. Sign up here.  

School Visits Offers and news of school visits. 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.   

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 all of our books.  Find them here. 

Happy reading and writing.