Project Sample – the Sally series (#onthehustle)

If you’ve been here before you know that I am an author of several books of fiction (plus numerous short stories and poems) and that that (creative writing) is my passion; and you hopefully also know by now that I freelance as a writer, editor, writing coach, and course/workshop facilitator – a title that broadly tries to capture the range of interesting opportunities I’ve had to apply my training, skills, and experience (in mass communication and creative writing) to client projects. It’s always challenging and the best ones are never boring.

The writing of the Sally series certainly wasn’t and I’ve now added it to my Publications and Projects page, which serves as my online portfolio (re my writing, editing, and related services).


The Sally series of 2015 was a content creation project focused on the impact of climate change in a small island community – which I approached as a creative writing challenge exploring the seriousness of the issue and empowering the characters and hopefully the readers with community solutions. I always love working on environmental projects because it is so important, and it’s a challenge of finding a way to communicate that importance to folks who, like me and Sally, have bills to pay. It was meant to be serialized across various media platforms (and, as I was formatting it for posting here it occurred to me that it had potential as a video series as well). The realization of the potential of any project hangs on so many variables, of which the content creator is only one part – though it begins with you trying to get your message right.  You can judge for yourself if I did as I’ve gathered the Sally series in full here for the first time.

Give it a read.

This post was inspired in part by a potential client who asked to see samples of my work. Whether I get that gig or not, it seemed a good opportunity to remind other potential clients (companies, non-profits, individuals – big, small – local, multinational, global) that, if you need someone with my skills, you can check out some of what I’ve done and some of what my clients have had to say about some of it.

Then, of course, contact me to discuss your project.

Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series (2018) – the Reading List

The Jhohadli Writing Project CWWS ran all through 2018. I’ve not yet decided what will happen with this programme in 2019 (though I’m leaning toward once a month critique sessions plus written critiques for people with works in progress, what do you think?) but I thought I’d share the 2018 reading list. Meaning the published creative writing we discussed in our sessions and from which we hoped to learn (we discussed unpublished writing as well but those will not be included on this list). My reading lists change and evolve, so while some of these may cycle back in, if when I continue the series, I don’t think it’s telling tales out of ‘school’ to share them here for your reading enjoyment. So, without specifics re how we used them or what we learned by using them, here was my 2018 JWP CWWS reading list.

The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi
Black Stones by Amy Bonnaffons
By Way of a Life Plot by Kelechi Njoku
The Cat has Claws by Joanne C. Hillhouse in Akashic Books’ Mondays are Murder series
City of Specters – A Short Story Smuggled Out of North Korea From Bandi’s (aka ‘Firefly’) Translated Collection of Fiction – (Trans. Deborah Smith)
Corn Curls and the Red Bicycle by Shakirah Bourne
Eel by Stefanie Seddon
Game Changer by Joanne C. Hillhouse in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters
Greetings from a Violent Homeland by Ritu Monjori Kalita Deka
Last Chapter on Hotel Stationery: A Short Story By Ursula Villarreal-Moura
Light by Lesley Nneka Arimah
Little Prissy Palmer by Joanne C. Hillhouse in The Machinery
Ngoma: a Zimbabwean Origin Story Retold by Gerald Hausman and Seth Cohen
Mary When You Follow Her By Carmen Maria Machado, Illustrations by Sergio García Sánchez
The Other Daughter by Joanne C. Hillhouse
The Reformatory by Tananarive Due
“Run, Lola, Run” by Jeton Neziraj and translator Alexandra Channer
The Second Waltz By Madeleine Thien
Something from nothing by Barbara Jenkins
Stickfighting Days by Olufemi Terry
The Price of Happiness An Excerpt from Chechen Writer Zalpa Bersanova’s Novella ‘The Price of Happiness’
The Ways by Colin Barrett
We Always Smile for Photos by Shakirah Bourne
What will happen to the Sharma Family by Samrat Upadhyay
Who Will Greet You at Home By Lesley Nneka Arimah

Musical Youth

Books (excerpted):
Ayiti By  Roxane Gay
Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse
Oh Gad! by Joanne C. Hillhouse
The Price of Happiness by Zalpa Bersanova

*The particular excerpts of my book are not available online but you can read the first pages for Oh Gad! and Musical Youth. Please note that while some of my books (and stories) are referenced, it was in great part due to familiarity with the material (and the intention); participants were not obliged to buy my books – the relevant section was often excerpted in the Kit (or text) I created for each theme (Plot, Characters, Openings, Pacing, Tension, Setting etc.) covered during the course of the year.

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!

New Creative Space

If you’re a regular visitor to the Jhohadli blog, you may be aware of two things. I am a music lover and I once fell down a musical hole of Joss Stone love. In particular, in my post Joss in Africa.  I celebrated her collaborative spirit, her generosity of spirit by sharing her sizeable platform with regional artists, her spirit of engaging with and sharing the music – and by extension the culture – of every stop on her tour. Well, it’s Antigua and Barbuda’s turn. Here you go.

Actually go here to read the rest and enjoy the music. Big up Asher Otto!Asher

This 11th installment of CREATIVE SPACE is sponsored by the Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series, so that I can let you know that new sessions begin September 15th, so there’s still time to register.

JWP Sept 2018

More Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series

I have organized and led three independent series in the Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series since the start of 2018 – 4 Saturdays each time for 12 sessions overall. And continuing.

New sessions will begin in June 2018 as long as there is even one registrant (and sometimes it has been just one) interested in participating. If that’s you, don’t hesitate to contact me to be put on the mailing list re future sessions.

I enjoy doing deep dives in to the art and craft of writing, analysis and practice, and if participant feedback is any indication, they seem to be getting something out of it too. Pass it on.

“My favorite character* workshop activity had to do with reading about characters and being able to figure out what the writer is trying to show the reader about the characters personality and actions…I learnt about how to develop a character more effectively.”

“I wanted to get some formal on techniques that would make my writing more compelling. I also wanted to get feedback on if my work was interesting. (My favourite activity was) writing a character profile… It really was an exercise in imagination and conjecture based on little information…I achieved the goal of refining just a little bit more the skill of writing compelling characters…I would recommend the workshop for amateur writers because we many times think we can just write. But the workshop presented different ways to think about writing.”

*p.s. these workshops are primarily fiction focused with emphasis on one area – the emphasis for the April-May sessions being, you guessed it, character.

Remember, workshops will be ongoing throughout the year, and though set in Antigua are open to participants from anywhere in the world; if you want to participate, contact me

JWP #Onthehustle

The first of my workshop series for 2018 has wrapped and I’m getting ready for the second in early March. If you’re interested in being put on the mailing list or registering, or need more information, contact me.

March 2018 workshop
One of my favourite moments in my final of four sessions in the first series earlier this month was just watching a woman who had to fight her instincts to make the first draft perfect. During a writing assignment, she said, “I swear what I’m writing doesn’t make sense” and I replied, “It doesn’t have to make sense, just write forward”. This is the first draft, I reminded her; there is more drafting and editing to come; let go of the need for the first draft to be perfect; give over.

She put pen to paper again and I noted when she stopped over thinking it, when the pen was flowing because she was not trying to control and constrain it anymore. I felt happy and in my purpose in that moment – after our weeks of looking at the writing of others and how they explore and reveal setting (the focus of that first series); weeks of me testing her grasp of what I was trying to teach,  coaxing her writing out, nudging it forward.

When I called time on this last in-session writing exercise, in the groove, she didn’t stop right away. When she did stop so that we could share and discuss, it was clear she still had a lot of writing left in her. Considering that pushing past writers’ block was the main reason she gave in week 1 for taking the course, I’d call that progress.

I was keen to see her evaluation of the workshop series to see if she felt progress had been made.  She wrote that her favourite activity was “reading the assignments and the discussions which assisted with writing my own settings”. She wrote that she learned what she’d hoped to, how to create settings (the focus of the first series), why they matter, how to write them, how to evaluate their effectiveness as she tried to move her story along.  As for if she would recommend the Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop series; yes, she would: “Yes, I would recommend this workshop. This course is designed specifically for anyone with an interest in creative writing.”

The next series begins on March 10th 2018 like I said. You can participate from anywhere (that’s right, you don’t have to be in Antigua and Barbuda to participate). Contact me to find out how. Moving forward.