Books, some of Mine, some of Others’; An Update

First thing Saturday morning, a rep from the Wadadli Pen team was on local radio chatting up our new #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda initiative to select a readers choice Antiguan and Barbudan book of the year (well, technically, the last two years). As I’ve blogged, this initiative is meant to boost new and new-ish Antiguan and Barbudan lit, and fill the gap brought about by the absence of the Wadadli Pen Challenge, which has been a staple of the project since it launched in 2004. Life is heavy sometimes and I needed to put something down; Wadadli Pen was something.  But because it’s something that brings me an immense sense of purpose, I couldn’t let it go altogether. This project is less time intensive but will hopefully pay off for Antigua and Barbuda lit arts. And hopefully when I feel less like I’m flaying and taking in water (yes, in spite of all the recent good news because, happy and thankful as I am about those developments, none of that is the full story; it never is), I can put the full weight of Wadadli Pen on my back again. But enough about me (just keeping it real for a minute). Check out the books (you don’t have to be Antiguan and Barbudan), read the books (which range from children’s books to romance to deep thoughts), read even one of the books (step outside your usual zone), if you like it, go to the Wadadli Pen #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda post linked in the article on this blog, and say why. By so doing, you’ll be registering your vote and giving it a boost which is always a gift to a writer.

Poetry readAntiguaBBarbuda 2018
It brings me great pain that I’m such a snail reader these days but periodically I do finish a book. This week’s finish was book three in Mary Robinette Kowal’s historical fantasy Glamourist series which, as I said in the beginning of my review, I have really come to fall in love with. Excerpt from the book and review:

“She looked at the barely contained chaos and turned to Vincent. He was staring at her with the strangest expression on his face. He blushed and looked away, wetting his lips. Still looking across the yard, he leaned down to whisper, ‘I was thinking about what my father would say if he knew that I found you attractive in trousers.’

Her coat seemed too warm, suddenly. She whispered back, ‘I do not care what he would say, if you like them.’

The corner of his eye wrinkled into his small private smile.”

Read the full review of Without a Summer. Now on to book four, Valour and Vanity.

Remember to scroll to the bottom of the Blogger on Books page for recent reviews including most-most recent Lisa Allen-Agostini’s Home Home.

More book talk. Of the I wish I could variety.  Like I wish I could catch up on sleep and then disappear to my own private island and read to my heart’s content. These are some of the books I’d pack.

Some of the good news I mentioned above: I am happy to announce the release of ¡perdida! Una Aventura En El Mar Caribe, a Spanish language edition of my most recent book, the children’s picture book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure which came out last November. I will be presenting both editions November 17th 4 p.m. at the Miami Book Fair. In advance of that, I wanted to share the first page as I do for all my books (click on the book titles). Please let me know if you, or anyone you know, would like to review the Spanish language edition as I try  get the word out.

Here’s the Caribbean Reads Publishing newsletter with these updates and news of Musical Youth being added to the Antigua and Barbuda schools curriculum.

While you’re here, don’t forget to check out the latest in the CREATIVE SPACE series – one on the service of British West Indians in WW1, one on our Independence art exhibition, and an update about Eileen Hall – who is Eileen Hall? Well, read to find out.

Linking this up to The Sunday Post by Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s been a while. Also linking to It’s Monday, What are You reading?

Haven’t checked out any of my books yet? Children’s picture books to teen/young adult fics to adult novels; read more. If you’ve read my books, please consider posting a review to Amazon or Goodreads if you haven’t already done so. It makes a big difference. Thanks! For information on my writing and editing services, here’s where you go. – blogger, author, mango lover, Joanne C. Hillhouse.



Wadadli Pen Logo

The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, a project committed to nurturing and showcasing the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda since 2004, has opened polling for an Antigua and Barbuda Readers’ Choice Book of the Year. This will cover books released throughout 2017 and up to the end of October 30th 2018, and voting will remain open until the end of March 2019.

This is part of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize’s #readAntiguaBarbuda initiative to encourage people to #buylocal and #voteAntiguaBarbuda. The hope is that the initiative will boost awareness of literary content out of Antigua and Barbuda. As the country moves from Independence – a time of heightened cultural awareness – in to Christmas – a time of gift giving, Wadadli Pen sees this as a good time to push the purchase of books by Antiguans and Barbudans.

The Wadadli Pen team is taking a break from the annual Challenge, which has been encouraging and rewarding new writing since Wadadli Pen’s inception and has been the project’s most consistent activity over the years. This invitation to readers to vote on their favourite recent Antiguan and Barbudan book or spoken word CD will fill that void.

There have been no limits placed with respect to book genre, nor whether the books were self-published or found their way to market via an independent press or established publishing house. Some of the books are available locally in print form, others via e-platform and/or audio, and one has a version in translation. Some of the writers are resident here, some abroad; some are born Antiguans-Barbudans, some descended from Antiguans-Barbudans or nationals of other countries who have made Antigua-Barbuda their home. The voting too is very open. You don’t have to be from Antigua and Barbuda, nor have read every book in order to vote – but at minimum you should have read the book for which you’re voting.

What does the author win? At present, only boasting rights. The goal really is to boost awareness of these books and to encourage people to support local talent and #readAntiguaBarbuda

The books in the running are A 2nd Anthology of Radical Thoughts & Empowering Perspectives by Marcus Mottley, The ABCs of the Black Panther Party by S. Khalilah Brann (w/Chemay Morales-James), Be With You: A Valentine’s Romance by Roxy Wilson, Bothism by Tanya Evanson, The Cleansing of the Souls by Romenita Barrett, Delilah the Donkey and the Missing Tooth by Anne Harewood George (w/illustrator Izzy Bean), Dreamland Barbuda: A Study of the History and Development of Communal Land Ownership on the Island by Asha Frank, Explore Antigua and Barbuda and its companion colouring book by Gemma Handy w/ Irene Danic and illustrator Manuel Morgado, F.A.K.E.! by Vivian Luke, Frank Walter: the Last Universal Man by Frank Walter (w/Barbara Paca), A Friend Indeed by Kimolisa Mings, Friends to Forever: A BWWM Friends to Lovers Romance by Roxy Wilson, Fu You Tongue Heavy Lakka 56 by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, The Gift (Falling Like A Johnson Book 1) by Rilzy Adams, Gillie’s World by Gillian McDonald Howie, God’s Sovereignty Over Our Lives by Aloma Mason-Stanislaus, Greer’s Alphas: A Paranormal Menage by Roxy Wilson, Hidden Secrets of St. Croix by Clarice C. Clarke, Hol de Line and Other Stories by Mary Geo Quinn, How to Work Six Jobs on an Island: An Island Boy’s Dream by Shawn N. Maile, I Do…NOT by Kimolisa Mings, If the Shoe Fits by Kimolisa Mings, Into the Black Widow’s Web by K. N. Mings, Just One More Time (Falling Like A Johnson Book 3) by Rilzy Adams, Just Write Antigua Journal by Brenda Lee Browne, Learning Bible-verses: the Vow, the Wow, the Now by W. Elloy D. de Freitas, Legend of Integrity and Courage by Nuffield J. Burnette, Life as Josephine by Claytine Nisbett, London Rocks by Brenda Lee Browne, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure by Joanne C. Hillhouse (w/illustrator Danielle Boodoo-Fortune), also available as ¡Perdida! Una Aventura en El Mar Caribe, Meant to Be: A BWWM Friends to Lovers Romance (Loving A Morrison Book 1) by Roxy Wilson, Milo’s First Winter (Milo’s Adventures)(w/illustrator Ros Webb), My Guardian Vampire: a BBW Paranormal Romance by Roxy Wilson, The Nakedness of New by Althea Romeo-Mark, Off Key by Rilzy Adams, The Plantations of Antigua, the Sweet Success of Sugar, Volume I by Agnes Meeker (w/Donald Dery), The Royal Wedding by Dotsie Isaac, The Shout: For HALCYION STEEL’S CHAMPIONSHIP PANORAMA 1975 by Franklyn Jones, Sunny Dreams Of Rainbows (The Secret Lives of Babies) by Jacquelin Webson and Faye France (w/illustrator Ros Webb), When Grandma Comes to Stay (When Family Comes to Stay Book 1) by Jacquelin Webson and Faye France (w/illustrator Jayamini Attanayake), Will you be Mine? (Falling like a Johnson Book 2) by Rilzy Adams, Will You Be My Friend? (Making Friends Book 1) by Jacquelin Webson and Faye France (w/illustrator tullipstudio), and The Wonderful World of Yohan by Floree Williams Whyte (with illustrator Stoogeco). Forty-three books and/or CDs in all.

childrens fiction read AntiguaBarbuda 2018
Children’s fiction, above; adult fiction, below.Fiction readAntiguaBarbuda 2018Non Fiction readAntiguaBarbuda 2018Non-fiction above; poetry, below.

Poetry readAntiguaBBarbuda 2018

This Readers Choice Book of the Year initiative was attempted last year but has been revamped; so, if you voted for any of the listed books before, you will need to vote again. A minimum of 20 votes will be required for a winner to be declared. Let’s get it up to 2000 votes and debunk that tired myth about Antigua and Barbuda not being a reading public.

To vote go to and leave a comment indicating your choice (parents, remember to help your children to vote for books in the children’s fiction genre) and (optionally) a reason for your choice by the end of March 2019. And remember, Christmas is coming #buylocal #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

ETA: Linking this to the book meme Talk of the Town because this is the talk of my town, because you don’t have to be Antiguan and Barbudan to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda and because I love it when books travel.


Haven’t checked out any of my books yet? Children’s picture books to teen/young adult fics to adult novels; read more. If you’ve read my books, please consider posting a review to Amazon or Goodreads if you haven’t already done so. It makes a big difference. Thanks! For information on my writing and editing services, here’s where you go. – blogger, author, mango lover, Joanne C. Hillhouse



Top Tenning the Back List (a Book Meme Post)

Doing this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (my first in a long while), I realized that there are nearly 1000 books on my books I’d like to read list (woiiieeee!) and that’s not counting the ones on my bookshelf nor the ones by my bedside (i.e. the ones in progress which I can barely find time to read). *sings* To Dream the Impossible Dream!

But I doing this anyway, well halfway, because I’m doing the back list of books I’d really like to get and read (so I don’t have them yet). Sorry for breaking the rules but it’s what I can manage right now.

Here goes:

RossThe Bone Readers by Jacob Ross – I read an excerpt from this in an editing workshop a couple years ago and then this summer had the opportunity to do a writing workshop co-led by the author; I’ve also had some mentoring from him and had stories edited by him. So for all those reasons he’s on my radar but this book is a Caribbean mystery and I haven’t read a lot of those, so for that alone I am in.

jones_american-marriage_hc_hr_rgbAn American Marriage by Tayari Jones – This is an Oprah’s book club pick and was on Obama’s summer read list. But that only confirms what I’ve known about this writer since reading Silver Sparrow (instant favourite!). Been eager to read this one for a minute.

GirlThe Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig– I don’t remember what this is about to  be honest, but I found a note to myself that said I started listening to the audio book and found I couldn’t focus which is a problem for me with audio books which I only started trying this year (so far only completing Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime, Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, World War Z by Max Brooks, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House).

KeiAugustown by Kei Miller – I’ve been mentioning this one and mentioning it; still haven’t gotten to it. But bottom line is I’ve read 2 or 3 books by this Jamaican author, loved them all, and I do think he is one of the voices of our current generation of Caribbean writers.

ClaudiaCitizen by Claudia Rankine – every excerpt I’ve read from this has fired my interest and in light of ongoing conversations on race, it feels especially timely.

repentersThe Repenters by K. Jared Hosein – I’m falling behind on my reading of this Trini writer; he’s won some more awards and published another book since releasing this one, probably more before I get to it. I best hurry up. Been wanting to read this one since it dropped.

zombiesEverything I know about Zombies I learned in Kindergarten by Kevin Wayne Williams – zombies plus the title amuses and intrigues me.

wolf giftThe Wolf Gift by Anne Rice – When the Queen of the Vampires (love her Vampire chronicles) writes lycans, I’ve got to at least check it out.

railroadThe Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Don’t know a lot about this one but been interested since it won its parcel of high profile awards and popped up on my radar.

bealeIf Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin – love Baldwin, love that he’s having a resurgence; would love to re-read this one without seeing the movie by Barry Jenkins whose Moonlight was sublime and poetic.

While you’re here, the latest updates to the site (probably of a little less interest to my non-Antiguan-Barbudan readers, but I hope not) are three new entries in the CREATIVE SPACE series. Start here.

Also new to the site, an addition to the Books page: the Spanish edition of my most recent picture book LOST! A CARIBBEAN SEA ADVENTURE: ¡PERDIDA! UNA AVENTURA EN EL MAR CARIBE.

Some updates from the Wadadli Pen blog:
#ReadAntiguaBarbuda #VoteAntiguaBarbuda
Caribbean Reads Announces Two New Spanish Language Titles
Lost! At the Miami Book Fair

Oh and real quick (since I’m unlikely to do a separate post for this and it’s all arts), recent watches are (movies) Sorry to bother you which is a satire about capitalism and which was trippy, and 22 July a film about that mass terrorist incident in Norway a few years ago, which was unsettling and sad, both very timely in their own ways; and (TV) despite what I said here, I have been watching The Walking Dead as appointment TV again this season – sad about the departure of Andrew Lincoln who was Rick (his last episode was an emotional roller coaster), and I expect I’ll be checking in from time to time with The Evolution of Hip Hop season 2 – I’ve only seen ep 1 so far but I had been anticipating more in this series since discovering the first season. Hard to believe the hip hop I grew up on is now music history. Time keeps on ticking, ticking. What have you been watching? dying to read? blogging?

Haven’t checked out any of my books yet? Children’s picture books to teen/young adult fics to adult novels; read more. If you’ve read my books, please consider posting a review to Amazon or Goodreads if you haven’t already done so. It makes a big difference. Thanks! For information on my writing and editing services, here’s where you go. – blogger, author, mango lover, Joanne C. Hillhouse

Cover Shoot

ETA! Be sure to check out the updates to the Appearances page for upcoming bookings.

The Boy from Willow Bend was my first book. Real talk, one of my lowest moments early in this writing and publishing journey was when The Boy from Willow Bend was pulped by its first publisher. But in time, it found another publisher, found a place on schools readings lists in Antigua and Anguilla, and continues to find new readers and (I’m grateful to read) fans. These images (I haven’t been as active on Instagram as other platforms so I’m only just finding these but) are from bookstagrammer booklempt.gyal.

And a review, describing it as “an enchanting and relatable read”, shared by booklempt.gyal has been added to The Boy from Willow Bend’s Review page – which as you know includes both critical reviews and reader reviews pulled from different public platforms. Read the full review and other reviews here.

Finally, if you zoom in on the artfully presented images by booklempt.gyal, in addition to the bottle of Cavalier and our lovely beaches, you’ll peep some amazing reads in the stacks. Some – like Kei Miller’s Fear of Stones, Marlon James’ Book of Night Women, and Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses by Floree Williams – I’ve reviewed in my Blogger on Books series, others I’ve read – like V. S. Naipaul’s House for Mr. Biswas, Earl Lovelace’s Wine of Astonishment, Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, Lucy, and A Small Place, and some are on my wish list – like Kei Miller’s Augustown. Plus a couple of my other books – Musical Youth and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight (the original edition) – got some camera time as well. Feels good to be in good company.

If you’re here for the first time, my name is Joanne C. Hillhouse. I’ve authored some books – I hope you’ll check them out (and if you already have, I encourage you to post a reader review to Amazon or Goodreads, or even here); and I offer freelance services – look me up if you need any of the listed services. Thanks!

Jhohadli Writing Project

As I write this, I’ve wrapped the last of three (technically four) editing projects this week and prepping the next installment of the JWP Creative Writing Workshop series. Which is to say, two things:

1, There is still time to register for the JWP CWWS – themed Back to Basics and starting this Saturday, it will look at basic language and literary terms, and story structure and technique. The goal is, as always, to get you writing and to help you grow in the practice and use of craft to improve your writing. Remember that you can participate remotely from anywhere and, if in Antigua, remotely or in person. To register or for information, contact me at jhohadli at gmail dot com

For more on Jhohadli Writing Project, go here.
For more on Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series, go here.

business-card 2018

2, I am available for work and the work I do includes writing (for all types of projects and clientele), editing, training (coaching and through workshops) – the latter from creative writing to written communication. This past week I, also, received word that a piece I had been invited to submit for a publication out of Norway has been accepted as is. This publication found me through my platform (so, thanks, platform for working for me). Meanwhile, I continue to work. Hit me up at jhohadli at gmail dot com

For more on my services, go here.


…And now back to your regularly scheduled programme.

If you’re here for the first time, my name is Joanne C. Hillhouse. I’ve authored some books – I hope you’ll check them out (and if you already have, I encourage you to post a reader review to Amazon or Goodreads, or even here); and I offer freelance services – look me up if you need any of the listed services. Thanks!

Site Update (Ms. Hill…and Some Other Stuff)

Well, my favourite Spike Lee films have been scrubbed from Joanne’s Picks and replaced with my favourite Lauryn Hill rap performances. I argue that Hill is without question part of any legit Top 5 conversation. Check out the rhymes that I picked to make my case.

Remember this page changes so hurry up.

No new Blogger on Books but FYI this week I’ve mainly been reading Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis (with whom I shared the stage back in 2014 when her book and mine were top three for the inaugural Burt Award in Trinidad – she eventually placed third while my manuscript Musical Youth placed second). I’m liking the main character so far and the authentic sounding detail re her life in a Kingston, Jamaica ghetto. I’ve also been reading, plucked from that active reading pile, Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal. I like that these characters have now become so familiar to me that I can pick up their lives without missing a beat notwithstanding how long ago I put it down- but makes sense considering that I’ve already read two other books in the Glamourist series – which is Regency era romance-adventure; three if you count the one I co-edited.

The only other site update, since the last updates post, has been on the reviews page for my other writing – journaled or anthologized poems or fictional stories. Check it out.

That’s it. Oh! My guest post at Women Writers, Women Books, Are Children’s Books Real Books, went live this week.  And photographer Beowulf Sheehan’s book Authors – which has me in it among some true marquee writers – drops this week and the author did an article about the process of photographing authors over at Lit Hub. It’s worth checking out. As for the week that is…some disappointments, some challenges, some fears, but also writing (well, mostly editing) and living and, mostly, working (workshop prep, editing assignments, acceptance, disappointments, follow ups – you know, the jigsaw).

If you’re here for the first time, my name is Joanne C. Hillhouse. I’ve authored some books – I hope you’ll check them out (and if you already have, I encourage you to post a reader review to Amazon or Goodreads, or even here); and I offer freelance services – look me up if you need any of the listed services. Thanks!


Site Updates (Home Home, New Daughters, JWP)

ETA: Linking this one up with The Sunday Post meme and adding that if you want to know what I thought about Quincy, Nappily Ever After, Leave No Trace, and  the season 9 premiere of The Walking Dead, check this post from earlier in the week. Also, since finishing Home Home (review linked below), I have started another one from the pile of Burt Award winning teen/young adult Caribbean books, Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith Dennis. So far, so good. Oh I also finished Faye Kellerman’s Straight into Darkness this past week but due to work commitments didn’t do a full review, though you can read my quick take in the listing at the main Blogger on Books Vl page.

I finished Lisa Allen-Agostini’s Home Home. Review excerpt:

Lisa Allen-Agostini’s  Burt award winning book Home Home is a wrenching read, and yet a hopeful one. It’s tough at first as it drops you right in to 14-year old protagonist and narrator Kayla’s post-suicide-attempt-recovery. She’s in Edmonton, Canada to heal in a way she cannot  Home Home in Trinidad where the empathy toward mental illness and suicide and otherness generally (the aunt she lives with in Canada is a lesbian in exile) is comparably low. When we meet her she’s having a panic attack over bus routes. You may get exasperated with her, I’m looking at you my Caribbean people (because, yes, you might find her mopey and self-indulgent), but hang in there. Hanging in her headspace will, if you are open to it, give you valuable insight to what living with chronic mental illness – in this particular case anxiety and depression – is like. For a teen/young adult reader with these issues it can also be a much-needed reminder that, they are not alone.

Read the full review.


I’ve also updated my Books page on account of my new story Evening Ritual in New Daughters of Africa, a follow up to the seminal Daughters of Africa – which pulls stories from all over the continent and its diaspora. I am thrilled to be repping Antigua and Barbuda.


Finally, still time to register for my October sessions, Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series.

October 2018ETA 2: On Friday, I spoke with a niece of Eileen Hall who contacted me to share more insights on the local writer I had only recently-ish discovered and done some digging about, resulting in this post. It was an interesting (and fun) discussion about a woman who in many ways sounds like she was ahead of her time, and about ancestry and related things. I’ve been promised more information which I’ll be happy to share when I get it.