Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Teaching comedy!

I'm three weeks into teaching a five session course at a local library. We decided to call it 'Comedy for Kids', although I suppose that one writes 'humour' rather than 'comedy'. But who cares?

I have four middle graders. One girl is a regular at my courses, and is very talented. Her story involves a giant inflatable shark called Melvin, and his search for stolen fish sticks. It's pretty darn good for a twelve year old!

The others aren't quite as advanced. One boy is a sports nut, and seems a bit lost when it comes to actually adding real humour to his writing. But, hey, he's nine. When I was nine I wasn't a great talent either.

OK, I know what you were about to say -----

Anyway, it's huge fun, and I'm glad to be teaching the next generation. And giving them homeweork as well.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

The Island of Mad Scientists --

-- continues to get really good reviews.

Here's one:

another here:

This is great, since I think it's my best book yet.

Of course, even if I thought it was a pedestrian effort, barely adequate at best, I'd still want the great reviews :)

What I really want is for lots of actual kids to enjoy it. I'd like them to buy it, of course, since I have to buy groceries like everyone else, but I didn't start writing for kids so I could buy a Rools Royce.

Dam' lucky really for me, thenm since I am stilll driving the dented Mazda ---

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Standing up in front of a stone wall

I've grown used to giving presentations for groups of kids, and generally they go well. I ham it up, ask questions, read bits of my books, answer questions.

Usually the organisers have to drag me off the stage. At the very least, they hold up a hand telling me that I have two (or three, or five) more minutes.

I love it. It's like stirring up anarchy.

This week, though, I did a presentation for a mixed, largely unconnected group of educators. It was a tough audience. They didn't respond to the obvious 'funny bits'. They had no questions. I had to poke at them to answer mine. After a while they warmed up a little, and a couple even admitted using hmour in a classroom setting. It was -- okay. But for a good while I felt like a stand up comic working a room on a wet Tuesday at a Holiday Inn in Vidalia, Ga.

I did sell a few books, though. Onward and upward!

Another children's author had been first to address the crowd (I hadn't arrived yet, so I missed her presentation). She came up and congratulated me on looking so relaxed in front of this very tough audience. That was very nice of her, and maybe I am able to appear confident and at ease. But, really, I'd like to connect with the audience. And this group were tough to connect with!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Something new!

So far I've written only about the Emmaline and Rubberbones stuff. But It's worth mentioning that, since I am a Renaissance Man (which means I don't bathe and get into knife fights with bad poets) that my next creation from KCP will, in fact, be "Bogbrush the Barbarian", a fantasy romp about a barbarian hero so utterly stupid that, er, all the other barbarian heroes notice. It's as if Conan the Barbarian was bigger, dimmer, and his creator made fun of him constantly.

I think the target audience is ten year old boys, juvenile delinquents and my own friends.

I've had to make it a little more kid-friendly, or rather, delete anything too risque. Which is a shame, as the ladies find Bogbrush strangely appealing, in the "I like 'em big and stupid" range of taste. of course, Bogbrush fails to comprehend any of this. British readers will remember the classic (that means 'old and bad') Carry On films for the 50s - 70s. Bogbrush is a fantasy version of that style.

Bill Slavin will illustrate it.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Out among the fifth graders --

"The Island of Mad Scientists" is out in the US as of Oct 1st, and I've been to scenic Rockport, Massachusetts to read bits of my books, sign copies and generally ham it up to audiences of middle graders, their families and some unsuspecting adults.

It was enormous fun.

There's something about getting a roomful of eleven year olds to laugh uproariously. It's just fantastic. You can't buy it.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Bloggers and supposed to blog ---

--- and I fail to do so for months on end. What a loser!!

"The Island of Mad Scientists" is now out, sort of. I think the official date is Sept 1 in Canada and Oct 1 in the US. but I may have this wrong. Either way, when I was in Toronto last week there were copies in the shops, and I signed them. It's amazing how people in repsonsible positions (i.e. book store clerks) will accept my claim that I am, in fact, this "Howard Whitehouse" who has his name on three books on their shelves.

I thought of asking if I could sign the Tom Clancy novels next, but I didn't ----

Thursday, 26 June 2008

My best work yet!

My wife says that "The Island of Mad Scientists" is the best yet of my Emmaline and Rubberbones books. This may be true - after all, after three books I may be approaching a level of basic competence.

Then again, it may be because there's a tortoiseshell cat in it. A heroic tortie cat.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The Island of Mad Scientists!

My wife never reads my stuff before it's published. That's fine, as I don't read hers in advance either (and never in the case of her PhD dissertation, fine piece of work that I am certain that it is). But now - since we have ONE copy - she's reading "The Island of Mad Scientists" - and gives it a thumbs up (so far - it may take a sudden lurch towards mediocrity).

There's a seance scene in it that I think is the funniest thing I have yet written.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

I found this blog --

-- and it's mine, dammit!

I just haven't actually done anything with it since, er, a very long time.

The next book, "The Island of Mad Scientists" is out in August. I received the first advance copy and it looks great. It has a map of Britain in it and everything - although it features places that don't actually exist.

I promise to write more from now on.

Well, I could hardly write less!