Archive for May 2013

Summer Reading…..





I’m very happy with the Kirkus review of Nix Minus One, which you can find on Nix’s home page on this website.

And I’m taking some time off to read.

True Confessions: I can’t read fiction when I’m writing or editing my own fiction.

Because I’ve done so much writing and editing in the last year or two, I’m hungry for other people’s novels. Here’s the list so far:




JoAnn Yhard’s adventure-filled thriller for middle readers, Buried Secrets at Louisbourg.Namesake_C



Sue MacLeod’s evocative and intelligent Namesake, about two teenagers called Jane Grey, one of whom lives in the 21st century, while the other is awaiting execution in sixteenth century England.



Two (adult) novels by Pat Barker, renowned for her books about WWI.

Anne Simpson’s novel Falling, a book that for me was filled with grace.

And Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent, set in nineteenth century Iceland, also about a woman awaiting execution – I’m going to Iceland in July, and plan to read some Icelandic sagas before I leave.

Gotta go. There’s a big stack of books waiting for me….

Don Aker – YA Writer Profile


Don Aker - YA Writer

Don Aker – YA Writer

CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) (repeat that with your eyes closed) asked me if I’d write a profile of the YA writer Don Aker for the Fall/Winter issue of their magazine, CANSCAIP News.

What fun it was! I read all I could find online about Don – along with all his YA titles, he’s also written for middle readers, One on One.

We talked face to face non-stop for three hours, then I wrote the profile.

This is a new venture for me. I think it’s called non-fiction. You have to stick to the facts. But I hope I will have conveyed my admiration and respect for a fine writer.

The Space Between is my favourite of all his books, and his too.

And then there’s The First Stone.

If you haven’t yet discovered Don, you have a treat in store.

Check him out at

My Week in Calgary – Part 3



I visited two of the Calgary Public Library branches on my trip out west – branches, so I was told by Anne O’Sullivan, who drove me to both of them, that only rarely got visits from authors. Thank you, Anne.

Glenmore Square Library

Glenmore Square Library

At the first, Glenmore Square, I was met by Suman Gangopadhyay, the branch supervisor – so much enthusiasm for her job and the community programs she was able to implement.

A class of grade fives arrived, some of whom had read The Nine Lives of Travis Keating.

I only had 45 minutes with them, not nearly long enough. A wonderful group of kids. In the Q/A, one girl asked me if I knew the ending of the book when I began…what a great question!

Shaganappi Library

Shaganappi Library

The second day, in the Shaganappi Branch, I was greeted by Joey Sayer, also so helpful and kind. A mix of grades four, five and six.

One of the teachers had hooked the students on Nine Lives, and Joey had collected their questions for me. Somehow the conversation segued to how my grandson helps out with “techy” questions, including the intricacies of Modern Warfare, and how Stuart always beat me hands down. A lot of the boys there obviously knew about Modern Warfare, so I read the poem about it (swearword omitted) from Nix Minus One. It was really fun.

Libraries, as I must have said at least six times on this blog, are among my favourite places on earth. Where else can you be given access to so many books – and they’re free. Think on it. Free.

My Week in Calgary – Part 2





More on my recent visit to Calgary, courtesy of Pajama Press.

A week ago Tuesday, we spent the day with Heather Parsons, a sales rep from Michael Reynolds and Associates. Bright, energetic, great sense of humour, and very very good at her job – thanks, Heather! I signed a lot of books that day.


Pixie Hollow Books in High River, Alberta

Our first stop was Pixie Hollow Books in High River, about an hour south of Calgary. A delightful store, with the best chai latte I’ve ever had.

And guess what? While I was there I found out that Martine Leavitt, whose writing I’ve long revered, lives in High River. She was kind enough to come to the bookstore, where she signed my copy of her brilliant, grim, and very courageous free-verse novel, My Book of Life by Angel. Such a pleasure to meet her! Thank you, Martine.

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Owl’s Nest in Calgary


Owl’s Nest, Shelf Life Books, and Chapters in Chinook Mall took the rest of the afternoon, then in the evening I did a reading at Monkeyshines Children’s Bookstore – and was delighted when my daughter-in-law’s brother, who lives and teaches in Calgary, walked in the door. The only thing better than having a Newfoundlander present when you read from Nix Minus One is having family there.

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Window display for Nix Minus One in Monkeyshines Children’s Bookstore, Calgary


My thanks to Sue Hill of Monkeyshines for a terrific window display and lovely treats.


Reading from Nix Minus One



Signing Sue Hill’s Authors’ Wall – I was in very good company!

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The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden
Jill MacLean's latest book The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden , published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside and is available in bookstores and on-line!

This book is the completion of the Newfoundland trilogy which started with The Nine Lives of Travis Keating, followed by The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy.

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Nix Minus One

Jill MacLean's book Nix Minus One , published by Pajama Press and now available in bookstores!

Nix Minus One is geared for readers in Grade 7-8 and up.
Published February 15, 2013


Jill MacLean's books on Goodreads

Home Truths
Home Truths

reviews: 34

ratings: 143 (avg rating 4.20)

The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy
The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy

reviews: 14

ratings: 69 (avg rating 4.19)

The Nine Lives of Travis Keating
The Nine Lives of Travis Keating

reviews: 26

ratings: 91 (avg rating 4.16)

Nix Minus One
Nix Minus One

reviews: 6

ratings: 13 (avg rating 4.15)

Brevity of Red, The
Brevity of Red, The

ratings: 1 (avg rating 3.00)