Saturday, December 29, 2012

At the Petrol Station of the Soul

We always go away the second week of the holidays, to a cottage up near Loch Rannoch.  That's where I am now, filling up at the petrol station of the soul, and here are some photos from other visits.  Snow, sun, fog or rain - makes no odds.  A good way to start a year.

Thanks for reading - have a Happy New Year - and may 2013 be the best yet!

Cheers, Joan.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fancy a Bit of This?

Click on the link and see if this day conference with top editors Catherine Coe and Louise Bolongaro might just be what your new year needs!  Organised by The Association of Scottish Literary Agents, it includes the chance to speak with super agents Kathryn Ross, Lucy Juckes and Lindsey Fraser.  AND  there's lunch!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dance Like a Weasel - Gloat Like a Stoat!

After a gentle reminder that it was my day, I got my post up on Girls Heart Books - the answer to the Did She?  Didn't She? question can be found HERE! 

Big thanks to all my cheerleaders near and far - couldn't have done it without you!  And if my weasel-stoat-ferrety beast can hear me, thanks to you too.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Please Hold ...

You know that 22nd Dec. deadline I've been whittering about?  That would be today, and I'm still writing.  Friends and family are outside my door chanting (quietly) "You can do it!  You can do it!" - and I can, and I will.  And tomorrow, in the peaceful aftermath,* I will post properly.  So, till then, please hold ...

* aka the bit where I face just how much more needs to be done before Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Born to Giggle!

As part of Save the Children's No Child Born to Die campaign, here is Born to Giggle! - a collection of funny poems and pictures for children, donated by UK poets and cartoonists, and gathered together by Ian Billings and Hunt Emerson.  All of the profits go to help children in the UK and 120 other countries, so go ahead - grab yourself a copy from a Save the Children shop near you.  And when you've done that, let me recommend pages 44-45, especially if you're in the mood for A Few Zoo Haikus ...

Cheers, Joan.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


All week she was my weasel, busily defying me to catch her on camera as she whipped about the place - you can get an idea of her enthusiastic footwork from the top photo of her prints in the snow - and after all that, I think she maybe wasn't a weasel at all.  I think she may have been a stoat.  Which is fine by me, and may explain why every time I squeaked "Weasel!" and dived for the camera, she paid absolutely no attention.  Got leaves to move.  Got dances to do.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


This week I'm holed up in Ardormie Farm Cottage, the latest in a series of Get-Way-And-Get-It-Written spots in the Scottish countryside that have helped me drive books forward and meet the looming menace of deadlines.

You can also find me over on The History Girls blog, posting about Bicycles and Revolution (see what I did there?)

And in the most recent issue of Northwords Now, there is a poem about a buzzard on page 17 that I like a lot ...  You can have a look online, download the magazine onto your computer or your Kindle, or pick up a free paper copy from libraries, galleries, art centres and bookshops all over Scotland.

When I get back home I'll do my best to edit and post photos of the weasel that appeared outside my door here, dancing across the snow, crazy as paving.  She was delightful but so blooming fast I've struggled to get more than a) a blur or b) the back end only or c) no weasel at all.  And why was she dashing about with a leaf in her mouth?  If anyone knows, get in touch!

Cheers, Joan.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Fine Farlin Photos at the Mid-Point (Take Two)

 The Farlin Project* is pretty much at its midway point now between Shetland's Wordplay Festival and Fife's StAnza Poetry Festival,** and these great photos of the interim exhibit at Bonhoga Gallery just arrived in my inbox, so I decided to share.  Sarah Riley and I have been throwing the theme of "Hands" back and forth between our disciplines (artist and poet) and now we've added a third one - translator!  Sarah and her mum and some other family members have been turning my poems into Burra, one of the Shetland dialects.  The results are amazing!  The only down side is that I'm starting to really like their versions better than mine ...  There will be more on this development in the New Year.

* The Farlin Project is a joint venture of poets and artists from Shetland and Fife, dreamt up by the fine folk of Shetland Arts and Fife Contemporary Art and Craft.

** If you like to plan ahead, the programme for StAnza, 6-10 March 2013, has just gone online here.  Great stuff!