Saturday, November 29, 2008

The View from the Other Side

Reviews. I've had some. (I'd love to have more, especially those really clever and wise ones that say my books are excellent.) But this is the first time I've been asked to do reviewing, and I'm finding that it's a lot of fun! I've been sent a bunch of books loosely grouped as "Fantasy" and told to write a (very) few words about 10 of them. I'm to choose one as my "Reviewer's Choice" and four others that each get to have 100 words written about them, and then five "Best of the Rest" who get 30 words each. Oh, and there are little symbols to indicate that the books are suitable for boys, girls, younger readers, older readers, reluctant readers, things like that. Straight-forward, you'd think.

And it is, sort of. I mean, I've been expressing opinions about the books I read ever since "See Dick run." I like expressing opinions about books. (And parcels of new ones coming to the door feels a lot like Christmas.) But then I had a bout of doubt. Am I supposed to be reading and talking about these books as me, or as a boy/girl/younger reader/older reader/reluctant reader ...? Or as a book buying adult parent or teacher? Or as a sympathetic/jealous/impressed fellow writer?

It has to be a bit of all of them, I decided. We'll see if that's right.

If you want to see the end result, check out February's Junior Education Plus. If you're not a subscriber, you can see it online at

Now I better get back to reading ...


(By the way, I googled "Ultimate Power" and clicked on Images, thinking to find a picture to jazz this post up a little ... It was, on reflection, a bit of a mistake. Reviewers generally, I'm willing to bet, do not look like that.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Or, An Awfully Big Blog Adventure. Find me on 21 November, 2008!

(I know I promised reports on the Northern Children's Book Festival, but technical difficulties have ensued and I've come away with a blank disc instead of one full of fabulous photos ... I'll try to get this under control by next posting! See you back here next week - Cheers, Joan.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Wickit Chronicles Head South

Or north. Depending on whether we're talking about me taking my Wickit Chronicles event south to the north of England, or the books being set in a bit of England that's south of that ... Anyway, I'm off to the Northern Children's Book Festival or NCBF (not to be confused with those other NCBFs - the National Concert Band Festival OR the National Cherry Blossom Festival) (I didn't make those up - I just googled NCBF and there they were!) It's going to be a tough old time - 9 events in 3 days - but very exciting.

I'll be in:
Stockton-on-Tees - Monday
Gateshead - Tuesday
North Tyneside - Wednesday

Oh, and in case I get bored by the end of the week, I'm also doing 2 Ferret Princess events in Angus (Brechin and Monifieth), and another Wickit Chronicles event the next Wednesday in Forfar. These things certainly bunch like buses! Which is what I will likely feel as if I've been run over by. But I'm not complaining - I get to head south in November!

I'll report next week, all things being equal - Cheers, Joan.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Thank You, West Wing

You'd have thought that at some point in the 25 years I lived in Canada, I would have got some sort of handle on the electoral system in the US - such a large, close, NOISY neighbour, after all. But I never did. Like the rules of cricket, there was usually somebody about at parties who would have been happy to explain it all in tedious technicolour, but I can be slippery in a crowd when I need to be. So how is it that I wasn't as completely bemused as usual during the recent excellently-outcomed US presidential election?

The answer is West Wing. We've got the DVDs and I think it was for the third time we watched them ALL all over again not so long ago. So now I know! Granted, when Obama thanked his campaign manager in his acceptance speech I did jump up and shout, "3 cheers for Josh" but it was quite early in the morning for us here.

Who says fiction can't be educational?

Don't worry. If we ever meet at a party, I will not try to explain it. But the very next time CJ Craig is up for election you can bet I'll find SOME way to cast a vote!

Cheers, Joan.

P.S. And if you haven't watched West Wing even once, I'm happy to recommend it.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

An Awfully Big Blog Adventure Again

I'm over on the SAS blog again this week - look for me on 30 October 2008.

Back here next week - Cheers, Joan.