Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Devil Has the Best Tunes (Part Two)

It's over on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.

Cheers, Joan.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Devil Has the Best Tunes

Over the next little while I'm going to be concentrating on beefing up the bad boy within. It has been said that my authorial voice is too maternal. I don't like my characters to suffer too much or too long before stepping in and making it all better. Well, I'm now going to have a bash at making my characters wish they'd never been born ... and THEN I'll step in ...

Which makes the timing of my choir's concert this weekend perfect. We're singing Mendelssohn's Elijah - full of Old Testament mob scenes and operatic yelling for blood. Good fun. And it's a good sign that I am frequently finding myself happily humming along to “Find all the prophets of Baal and let not one of them escape us! Find them and slay them!” Bodes well for the new meaner me. Now all I have to do is figure out what this new authorial voice wears when she sits down to work. Black leather? Stiletto boots? Devil's horns?

Maybe I'll just stick to my jammies.

Cheers, Joan the Devil Woman/Old Testament Mobette

P.S. If you live anywhere near, come along to the Caird Hall for Dundee Choral Union's blood-baying rendition - Sunday 21 March 7:30 pm. Orchestra of Scottish Opera. It's going to be great!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dancing Frogs

I haven't done tinies in ages, but one of the schools in my World Book Day marathon wanted something for every class, from Nursery right on up.* Well, three separate somethings, to be accurate. And because Ribburta and the Rootintootin' Highfalutin' Ballet Extravaganza has just come out in Spider magazine, I thought I'd use that. The picture above is from the cover for the January issue, by John Sandford, and is fabulous. The illustrations for my story are by Rupert van Wyck and I love them. But the pictures that my Nursery and P1s did for me - being scanned and put into the Readers' Gallery on my website as we speak - make me smile as wide as a frog.

Make your day - go here (then click on "Ribburta the Frog Stories") and see some Dancing Frogs ... A Ribburta page is planned for the website, but you'll need to check back on that maybe next week, as even for frog lovers there are only so many hours in the day.

Cheers, Joan.

* It was a bit disconcerting when one little boy burst into tears as he came through the door. I was reassured to discover it wasn't because he'd taken one look at me and been appalled. It was because he thought he was going to have to do gym ... If my memories serve me, it was an eminently reasonable response.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Delights of Quiet Coaching

World Book Day week - which now includes the week before AND the week after - is knackering. This year I will have visited 8 schools and talked to just over 800 kids by the time I can officially say WBD is over, which is an enormous record for me. And many, many things about it all have been great. Today, though, I would like to pay tribute to just one of those things.

The Quiet Coach.* I love the Quiet Coach, when I have a window seat, airline configuration, nobody sitting beside me, a wodge of editting or other rewriting to do (it's harder to write first drafts on a train) and nothing but the sound of other people being quiet as far as the ear can hear. Six hours to London? It was excellent. I got so much work done - it was like a little travelling writing capsule. Coming back started out crowded but thinned out around Darlington, and from then it was back to perfect peace.

Was I lucky? Was I. The next morning I was back on the same train, in the Quiet Coach, only this time it was a Friday ... Practically every seat was taken, including a hen party from Aberdeen who had been drinking steadily for several hours already and were still doing so very, very LOUDLY. I put on my headphones and cranked Verdi's Requiem up to full volume (not that I was wishing anything on them. Not really.) and I could still hear every word. Boy, was I grateful I was only going to Edinburgh that time!

Quiet Coach, I love you. But why, oh why, do you not have ejector seats?

Cheers, Joan.

*If you don't live in Britain, you may not have this wonderful invention. It's an entire train coach where mobile phones and stereos with speakers cannot be used AND CONVERSATIONS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE VERY, VERY QUIET if at all. There's a little logo in every window of someone miming SHHHHH! Bliss.