Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Photoshoot and a Misunderstanding

The best way not to be nervous about having your picture taken is to have it taken as somebody else.  Enter Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle, striking heroic, elderly poses, yomping about in the heather in a skirt the size of Birmingham, and consorting with scarecrows.  I'd like to see that, you say?

You can - here.  Painting with Shadows is the blog of Kim Ayres, Photographer Extraordinaire.  On our shoot, which was at all times deadly serious, except for the times when it wasn't, I managed to take a few photos myself, of Kim striding about and generally getting the sunset and landscape organised -

and of Renita Boyle balancing her super-size top hat on her glasses before leaping up onto a rock as Turniphead -

My own costume included a hat and ENORMOUS skirt borrowed from the Blairgowrie Players, my father's bird-headed stick, and a big blue scarf clothes-pegged round at the back.

And the misunderstanding?  Well, on another topic altogether, I learned about a request for books for prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs and sent a couple of my sci-fi novels for reluctant readers.  And then forgot about it.  And was then bemused when an email landed on my screen with the subject line "Book Rooms in Prison" ... I thought it was some sort of weird holiday offer.  It's only when you stop reading "Book" as a verb that it starts to make sense.  To find out how to take part, without moving in, look here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nostalgia and Dotting

I was thinking about where I was, round about this time last year, and re-visiting the photos of Roshven.  

I remember that spectacularly strange sunset -

This year is full of other good things, of course, but nostalgia still creeps in from time to time.

Today I am dotted about the place:
        An Awfully Big Blog Adventure 
        Girls Heart Books
        Reading Bus Patron
(and the weekly Friday Spark over on the BOOKMARK website)

I leave you with an otter splash -

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Friends of Your Fledglings

You write your socks off, send your piece out into the world, sigh a little over royalties, and move on.  (Of course you've moved on long before there's any question of royalties, and you don't get royalties for a magazine story, but the sentence works better the way it is.)  The point is, you can't hold all your stories in your head at one time.  It's the ones in the nest that are right in your face - the fledged and flown ones tend to be forgotten.

Which made an email I got this week even more special:

I was hoping to learn if you are the same Joan Lennon who happened to write a story called "In Search of..." in the 2006 editions of The Cricket magazine? If it is not then please disregard this message.
If it is I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this story, it was very instrument in encouraging me to write-mostly because I only have the first part of the story and I haven't been able to find any copies with the continued story. So, I had to imagine how it ended. Anyway, this is a thank you. 

I remember that story!  It was a 3-parter I wrote for Cricket Magazine not far off a decade ago.  It was an awkward length, so I was particularly grateful to find a home for it.  But, I thought, magazines have a pretty short life,* so in 2011 I had a go at ebooking 3 similarly awkwardly-sized sci-fi stories -

So I had somewhere to send my young friend, to find out at least one way the story ended.  It's a good feeling, meeting friends of your fledglings after all these years - especially if they've got those friends hooked on the same thing that gets you out of bed every morning!  

Thank you so much and happy writing!

(* Not so short - my correspondent added, I've carried the one copy of The Cricket through 3 different moves trying to find the rest of it.  I love being part of a quest!)

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Back into the Saddle

Whinging, begone! Today I'm returning to work on a book that has a little bit of this -

and a little bit of that -

and a soupcon of t'other -

It's been not far off a year since I put word to page on this one - it doesn't even have a working title - so, wish me luck, yoicks and tally-ho!

P.S. Over on the History Girls this week with a lass called Mabel - come and get an earful!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

East Perthshire Churchyards

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"You're just a butterfly." *

Whenever they try and find me
They find me where I am not -
I'm hither and yon
I'm there and gone
I'm Johnny not on the spot - **

Bit of a busy time.  If my mother were here, she would tell me it's too busy, but she was an outrageously busy person - I figure I learned from the best.

Back to Blairgowrie High School for a delightfully warm welcome from students and a really exciting meeting with the Art Department, then on to 1-to-1 writing clinics, then up to Inverness for a writing workshop at the fabulous Eden Court - today, off to Kirkmichael for a BOOKMARK Meet the Authors event - then, heading out on Monday for a photo shoot over Dumfries and Galloway way, for Wigtown Book Festival's next authors-as-characters calendar with that amazing photographer Kim Ayres.  Thanks to a kind loan from the Blairgowrie Players, I have nearly finished assembling my Old Sophie *** costume.  My fellow model of gorgeousness will be Renita Boyle, as Turnip Head ***.  (I will tell more about this adventure later, though for the final image, you'll have to wait till the calendar's unveiling later in the year.)  And in between, from car and train, great swathes of iconic Scottish summer landscape to look at.

As well as actual places, I can be found in several virtual places as well -

A Friday Spark
An Awfully Big Blog Adventure
Girls Heart Books

Which is why I chose for this blog's title those immortal words from Bringing up Baby -

"You're just a butterfly." *

If you haven't watched/re-watched any of these movies lately, do yourself a favour!




Saturday, June 14, 2014

Evening Skies

Driving back from a busy and successful evening writing workshop with the Blairwriters this week, I admit I was pretty wabbit.  (It's no secret I wear out by about 5:00 in the afternoon normally - and that commuting that isn't coming down the stairs in my jammies is new to me!)  But there was an enormous bonus to being out and about - in the sky ... 

First, coming up over the big hill between Blairgowrie and home -

 and then, looking back over Dundee - 

Totally perked me up again!

And, elsewhere, you can find me on the BOOKMARK website with another Friday Spark, and on my new blog Reading Bus Patron - you're welcome to visit!